The dank fog rose from the river, swirling round the children like a phantom, reaching out its spectral fingers to twine in their hair and clothing. The youngsters remained rooted to the spot, shivering as the mist trailed its sinister touch over their faces. They recoiled from its clammy grasp, unable to see a single thing in the gloom.
‘Where are we?’ asked Joe. ‘This is really creepy. It’s so quiet and what’s that horrible smell, like something rotting? D’you think we’re in a graveyard?’
‘Well, we’re not standing on grass,’ said Charlie thoughtfully. ‘I think there are paving stones under our feet, but be careful ‘cos they’re slippery – sort of mossy and wet. I don’t like the feel of this place though. Like you said, it’s creepy.’
Jemima squeezed Max more tightly as she shuffled closer to her brother. ‘I don’t like it either. I’m scared.’
Suddenly, in the impenetrable blackness of the moonless night, a raucous shriek rang out, piercing the enveloping blanket of silence. Jemima froze, hardly daring to look sideways at the two boys. She felt Max tense in her arms, his ears pricked and alert.
‘What was that?’ she whispered, her teeth chattering.
‘Don’t know,’ replied Joe, who sounded just as scared as Jemima. ‘Whatever it is, it can’t be human.’
‘But what sort of animal makes a noise like that?’ asked Charlie.
‘I didn’t mean an animal. I was thinking of something more… um… supernatural.’ He was interrupted by another harsh cry which echoed through the night air. It sounded uncomfortably close by. ‘Crikey! What is it, Charlie? Do you think it could be… a ghost? Are you sure this isn’t a graveyard?’
‘Stop it,’ pleaded Jemima. ‘You’re frightening me. Look, we need to find out where we are. We can’t stand here all night. What are we going to do?’ She took a step forward in the darkness and gave a sudden cry. Instead of her foot making contact with solid ground, she felt herself teetering above an empty space. Her arms windmilled as she tried to stop herself from falling and only Joe’s quick thinking as he grabbed her arm, yanking her backwards, prevented her from going headfirst over the edge. Jemima had no time to catch her breath, though. A terrified wail, followed by a loud splash, filled her with complete horror.
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