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Authors: James Dawson

Hollow Pike

BOOK: Hollow Pike
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This book is dedicated to anyone who has ever hated school. Unlikely Gang forever, x


Part One


The Copse

Fulton High



Party Hard







Part Two

The Next Day

Q & A

Who’s There?

In Memoriam

The Legend of Hollow Pike

The Watcher

First Date

Part Three


The Babysitter

The Laura Files

At Laura’s

Dear Diary

Tick Tock

The Solution

Making Up/Out




Living the Dream




Lis knew she was dreaming, although this brought little comfort as the blood ran over her face. It rushed up her nostrils and caught in the back of her throat. The metallic
taste choked her, panic creeping in.

This was not the first time she’d knelt in the red stream. She had encountered this nightmare many times in recent weeks and each time the vision became more realistic, more visceral.

Sometimes, the focus of the dream was her long, wet hair matted to her face. Sometimes it was the freezing rain and howling wind. Sometimes it was the frenzied screams far away in the distance.
On this particular visit, Lis was very aware of the pebbles, so cold and round and perfect under her hands. They scraped her skin but somehow she knew that the blood rushing over her body was not

In a twisted way, she was starting to enjoy these nightly terrors. Every dream brought a new piece of the jigsaw puzzle, although she remained far from seeing the picture on the box. In reality,
she had never seen her dream brook or the forest it trickled through, or maybe she had . . . a distant childhood memory, eroded by time.

The desperate screaming grew closer, coming in loud, distorted blasts as her head dipped in and out of the water. She became aware of her own panting and groaning. How much farther could she

Every movement felt laboured and slow. Even adrenalin could not counter the exhaustion in her arms and the water may as well have been treacle. She fought to keep going regardless of the pain in
her bleeding knees. Her sodden clothes clung to her body, pulling her back.

Far overhead, owls circled the charcoal trees. They were there for her, she knew that much, although she couldn’t be certain why. She had no time to worry about that now; she had to get

But she knew what was coming. The dream always ended the same way. Sure enough, she recognised the icy hand now reaching into her hair. Such was the grip that it was impossible for Lis to turn
and face her assailant. Not once had she set eyes upon her attacker. She let out a howl before her face was plunged into the inky water.

There was no moonlight to illuminate the stream and Lis was submerged in blackness. Air bubbles rippled against her cheek as the vice-like grip pushed her deeper; all the way to the bed of the

Lis tried to relax. She knew she would wake up any second now. Her chest seemed to shrink inwards and she tried to inhale oxygen that wasn’t there, her lips parting uselessly. This was the

Lis’s eyes snapped open. She always felt she should spring upright and pull sweat-soaked sheets from her body, just like in the films. But she was safe, curled up under
her duvet; cosy in her familiar old bedroom.

She reached for her mobile. No texts and the clock display read 2.14 a.m. She rolled over to try to get back to sleep, knowing that it was utterly pointless.

For today was the day she moved to Hollow Pike.

The Copse

Opening her eyes, Lis immediately recognised the Yorkshire Dales. The twisting, turning country lanes had caused her sleeping head to bang against the window as her mother
followed the snaking road to Hollow Pike.

‘Wakey-wakey, love,’ her mother said. ‘We’re almost there.’

Lis blinked and hoisted herself upright in the seat, her new outfit now more than a little crumpled. All her old hoodies and trainers had been left in Wales. She’d wanted new clothes for a
new start. ‘How much further?’ she croaked.

‘Oh, not far at all. You can see Pike Copse from here.’

Leaning forwards, Lis squinted towards the horizon and saw the furry blanket of trees covering the hills ahead. Her mum was taking the back way into town. ‘How come we’re going this

‘There are roadworks, love. I can’t be bothered with temporary traffic lights; we’ll be there all year. I’ve never been this way, but Sarah says it’s a short

Lis bit her tongue to stop herself saying anything sarcastic about her mother’s dubious history with short cuts, the incident in Tenerife where they’d nearly driven over the edge of
a cliff being a particularly terrifying memory. Instead she rolled her eyes and turned back to the road. The tiny silver Corsa passed onto an ancient bridge that vanished into the looming trees
ahead, and she wound down the window to get a better look.

Staring down at the rushing, chattering stream beneath, Lis felt a sudden shiver ripple down her spine as she recalled her dream. She quickly did what she always did with that unwelcome memory
and pushed it to the back of her mind, focusing on thoughts of anything else: what it would be like living with Sarah, whether her mum was right and her new clothes did look ‘a bit
much’ (Lis had aimed for ‘pretty but chic’ with some new skirts and cute tops), whether anyone at Gwynedd Community College would even notice that she’d gone.

Of course Bronwyn Evans would notice.
was the reason Lis was moving in the first place. Her old school had refused to acknowledge any ‘real bullying’ was taking place, so
her mum had cooked up the plan to move her up north with Sarah. Lis had jumped at the chance. Her mum was so busy with her new fiancé (soon to be husband number three), that Lis sort-of
wondered if she’d even be missed. Lis had dreamed of living with her big sister ever since Sarah had moved to Hollow Pike years ago to care for Gran. Really, in Lis’s mind, this suited

Within moments it was as if the car had driven from day into night. Inside the copse, only long diagonal fingers of light pierced the leaves and Lis peered into the gloom to see where the road
led. The wood closed up behind them, sealing them inside its damp foliage. It felt like being swallowed by some huge, green whale; Lis shuddered at the thought.

As she looked more closely at her surroundings, she realised that the copse was very much alive. Every surface was covered in moss or lichen, and the birds . . . the birds were deafening. The
density of the trees caused the radio to lose reception so only an eerie hiss filled the car, and for a moment Lis felt that it was the sound of the forest itself – growing, moving,

Her mum squeezed the brakes as the road became narrower. Broken branches hung perilously close to the car and it seemed as if the darkness itself were edging nearer, becoming more intense as
they advanced through Pike Copse.

‘Mum . . .’ Lis didn’t really have anything to say, but hoped that fishing for chitchat would lighten the suddenly sinister atmosphere.

‘I know, love. Sarah and her short cuts, eh?’ Deborah smiled a thin smile.

Instantly regretting giving her mother an opportunity to criticise her sister, Lis turned off the radio static and reached into her mum’s box of cassettes. For once, the thought of Deborah
attempting to sing along to hits of the seventies was a comforting one.

Without warning, her mum slammed on the brakes. Lis’s forehead smacked into the dashboard. ‘Ow!’ she yelped. ‘Mum, what are you d—’

‘Bloody animal!’ her mum exclaimed.

Lis sat up to look at whatever had caused her mum to brake so sharply. In the centre of the road stood a single, black and white magpie, playing chicken with their car. It simply waited,
watching them with beady black eyes, alight with intelligence.

Deborah pressed on the horn, a short blast, but the bird didn’t move a muscle, didn’t even flinch. Instead it seemed to peer even more intently at Lis.

‘What’s it doing?’ Lis murmured.

‘Do I look like an animal psychologist?’

Her mum edged the car forward, but the magpie stood its ground, blocking entry to Hollow Pike. There was no way they could drive around it.

‘Will you shoo it away please, Elisabeth? It’ll be dark at this rate.’

Lis dutifully unclipped her seatbelt and opened the door. Swinging her legs out, she stepped into freezing water. She recoiled and looked down. The car had come to a halt in a shallow, trickling

BOOK: Hollow Pike
9.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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