The Intruder
By Molly Macleod, aged 10

I was trapped, humiliated, tamed in a box, forced to do the bidding of another. Lamely, I licked the glass which separated me from the world beyond. I writhed and struggled for hours, pounding the glass relentlessly, but in vain. As dusk fell, I gradually withered and settled down.

Much, much later, I was disturbed by a man. I noticed his eyes were red and tired, and his hands clumsy, as he fumbled with the box’s catch. Using a long metal pole to poke at me, he cursed under his breath as he thought I had gone. The man turned away defeated, and trudged off to bed. Seizing my moment, I threw myself silently out of the box that had been my prison. I was burning with anticipation – I was free!

Eager to explore the house, I tore around, wriggling into every little corner I could find, caressing the walls, playing with the curtains and lampshades. I raced up the stairs. An alarm sounded, shattering the silence like breaking glass. I became desperate, searching everywhere for an escape. As I entered each room, I heard the people screaming in horror as they realised my presence. As panic rose inside me, I grew more nervous. Suddenly, I stopped playing and became deadly.

I rampaged around with reckless abandon, dizzy with power. It was too late to stop now. I was out of control. I seared around a corner and found the door in front of me jammed with eiderdowns, quilts, magazines, anything the people could get hold of. I could hear them pushing furniture against the door to try and block my entrance.

“Fools!” I thought, “Fools the lot of them! No-one can stop me now!”

I heard the piercing wail of a siren approaching. I pushed myself under the door, eating up everything in my path. I saw the people hurriedly clambering out of the window. I set about devouring their pathetic belongings, my soul possessed with merciless revenge. Downstairs, I heard crashes as firemen burst through the doorway. As the first taste of sweet fresh air fuelled my blazing inferno, I reared up like a flaming stallion and plummeted instantly into battle. The firemen burst in, weapons pointed directly at me.

I thrust myself forward, burning the nearest fireman. He backed away, but there were more to come. Firemen were pouring in from all sides.

“I can`t make it!” I said to myself. If only I could reach clean air, I could win. I was nearly there; not far to go now. I struggled to breathe through the water now overpowering me. The fire-fighters were beating me to it! I felt searing agony wash over me as the water demolished me in one go.

The ghost of my flames flickered lifelessly, and I knew I had failed. The men had defeated me, but I knew it would not be the last time fire must fight. Next time it may not be the humans who would win ….