The cottage was dark as Emily walked softly down the stairs. Her hand covered the light of the torch so she could just make out the railing in the gloom. She had found the torch on a shelf in the laundry and hid it in her pocket earlier in the day. That night she had lain in bed pretending to be asleep when her mother came in to kiss her goodnight. That had been around ten o’clock. Then she waited until the clock downstairs chimed eleven times before she crept out of bed.
Her feet padded gently on the thin carpet. Emily was careful not to wake her mother. She stopped at the door across the hall and looked at the sleeping body. Mrs Wells’ breathing was deep and even.
Emily turned the door handle carefully and opened the door. It creaked and she froze again. All remained silent.
It seemed as though every floorboard creaked as Emily made her way slowly to the sitting room. The torch made ghostly shadows move on the wall. Emily could hear her heartbeat thumping loudly.
The doorway to the sitting room appeared in front of her. She took a deep breath and stepped inside.
Shadows moved under the torchlight. Spooky. Emily looked up at the book shelf. There it was. Glowing again.
Emily dragged a chair closer to the wall and climbed up. She couldn’t quite reach the book; it was too high. She put one foot against the shelf and edged herself higher, hoping the shelf wouldn’t collapse. Her fingers could just reach the spine of the book and she was able to move it out an inch. The book glowed brighter when she touched it.
She rested for a moment before trying again. Listening carefully to make sure the house was still quiet. The only sound was the ticking clock on the mantlepiece. It seemed to count down the moments before Emily could reach the book.
She took a deep breath and tried again. This time she was able to wrap her fingers around the book and pull it out. It glowed brighter and suddenly tingled in her hand. Emily heard whispering and dropped the book in fright. It landed on the floor with a loud thump, still glowing.
Her heart was in her mouth as she waited for her mother to stir. But all was still quiet and she quickly climbed down, grabbed the book and hurried back to her room. She climbed under the covers with the torch and opened the book.