Dear friends, may I share with you a composition written by my student, Myranda Lai? This story was written in two consecutive lessons. Please comment! 

A Haunted House

A veteran Hans stared at the old house in the moonlight. He walked up the steps to the door and stared at the "Keep Out" sign on the door.

"Hey, old man, you can't go in!" a passer-by said.

"Can't help it," Hans muttered. "It is my home anyway."

He winced as the door creaked. He shivered. The night was chilly. He sighed as the musty smell of wood hit him. It brought back the memories of his childhood summers, the sound of the piano, the taste of ice cream melting on his tongue.

"Captain, nice to see you here tonight. Have a seat," said a voice.

He whirled around. Before him stood a man clothed in the brown uniform of the British infantry. The man was tall, with an air of command. His uniform was stained with blood.

"Freddy? Aren't you dead?" Hans gasped. He was sure of that fact, as he had dragged Freddy's body back from enemy lines. He sat down, as Freddy took the seat across from his.

"You remember that poem In Flanders Field, Hans?" Freddy inquired.

"Yes," Hans was dried-mouthed with shock.

 "We are the Dead. Short days ago
  We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
  In Flanders fields." Freddy quoted. 

"Are you dead?" Sweat was breaking out on Hans's forehead.

Freddy gave a dry chuckle. "Yes I am," he sighed and turned to the window, staring at the frozen moon. "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."

"It is glorious and honorable to die for one's country," Hans translated drily.

"And we believed in that… fools! We were His Majesty's loyal dogs. Ready to die for the King and England. Fools!" Freddy shook his head. "Nothing is sweeter than life."

All of a sudden, Freddy turned to face Hans, his face expressionless.

"Why did you kill me?" Freddy asked quietly.

There was a dead silence.

"Why did you kill me, Hans?" Freddy asked again, his voice breaking. "Why?"

"Because of that old German man you killed when you were drunk," Hans hissed.

"Him?" Freddy asked incredulously. "Him? What did he mean to you?"

"He was my father," replied Hans, gritting his teeth. "You thought I was English, didn't you? My mother was English. That was true, but my father was not."

"Your father, who ran away from you? Who never acknowledged you as his son? Whom you never knew?" Freddy asked quietly.

"Yes!" Hans raged with absolute certainty.

"We were friends. Did that mean nothing to you? We grew up together! Did that mean so little?" Freddy's voice was husky with anguish.

Hans said nothing.

"Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields." Freddy quoted.

"Only your death would set me free, Hans. Only when you are dead can I rest in peace!" Freddy stood up. "As you have broken faith with me, I cannot sleep." He vanished.

The next morning, as a cold grey light crept into the house, a shape loomed through the freezing fog. A man was hanging from a rafter. He was dead.

P.SIn Flanders Field is a very popular poem written during the 1st First World War.

22 則留言:

  1. 你既學生好叻, 中二就幾乎可以出小說!  想問吓"A Haunted House" 是否作文題目?  真係好好想像力呀!  就似是電影裡的情節般, 而且很有懸疑性, 想問吓最後 : ( The next morning, as a cold grey light crept into the house, a shape loomed through the freezing fog. A man was hanging from a rafter. He was dead. ) Hans 是被Freddy 所殺害還是自殺呢?  
    還有如果劇情可以改寫, Hans 的爸爸原來是沒有死, 又或起死回生, 突然衝入屋內.......... 這樣更perfect 呀!!
    [版主回覆07/03/2010 14:20:00]Yes! The title is "A Haunted House". Don't forget that it was written in
    two consecutive lessons without any preparation beforehand. Hans killed
    himself out of guilt. HAHA... the twist is great! However, she was
    instructed to write 200 words only.

  2. 中二?就算係中文我都寫唔出,你班學生跟你一樣英語能力超強嘛!
    我諗既然係作文,一定有字數限制吧?假如 Hans 可以講多少少佢父親的事,個故事會更完整。
    [版主回覆07/03/2010 14:20:00]She is simply talented. Her English is even better than some Hong Kong English teachers' frankly speaking and I am so proud of her. I think the characterization is well done. Yes the word limit is 200 words. As a short story, it is really good.

  3. 無諗到中二可以有咁0既功力, 真係佩服!!!!
    [版主回覆07/04/2010 14:28:00]She is probably the strongest student in S2. That's why I have to spend more time preparing for my lessons in order to make them challenging, which is simply not a piece of cake.

  4. I SEE
    [版主回覆07/04/2010 23:39:00]Thanks!

  5. Wow! Incredible! It’s almost flawless vernacular English. For a Form 2 student, her writing skill is really beyond her age. She must be an avid reader.
    Did she write this in the classroom all the while without the help of anything such a computer, a dictionary, etc.?
    [版主回覆07/06/2010 21:22:00]I think she is a gifted writer. She is also very good at debating. Not knowing the topic beforehand, she wrote this in the classroom for 1 hour and 15 minutes with the help of an electronic dictionary. The first composition handed in was not flawless. There were a few grammatical mistakes, just a few. Besides, the characterization and setting were not well developed enough, so in the second draft she described the man's appearance --- Before him stood a man clothed in the brown
    uniform of the British infantry. The man was tall, with an air of
    command. His uniform was stained with blood. and I added --- as a cold grey light crept
    into the house, a shape loomed through the freezing fog. in the last paragraph. I also made a few subtle changes to the verbs of speaking and the plot (she did not explain why he killed his Dad in the first draft.). Anyway, the original one was already very impressive because of the powerful dialogue, a wide range of vocabulary used, the use of a poem which tells us the background of the story and the interesting story. You know what? The one in my blog is already the third draft and she was also pleased when I asked her to turn the story into a script and invite her classmates to stage a drama in front of her classmates. Their performance really made my day as they prepared the props and rehearsed for the performance on their own and they took it seriously. I was so proud of them, but at the same time, my friends understand why teaching English at my school can be a daunting task. HAHA.

  6. No wonder you find it daunting. Such high standards in a F 2 student. But you should feel a certain satsifaction too. She's as lucky to have you as you to have her!
    [版主回覆07/06/2010 23:11:00]Exactly! Totally agree with your last line. The experience benefits me in many different ways and at the same time I provide my students with opportunities to explore their potential. I will work harder next year. ^^ P.S. Next time, I will share with others a composition written by me.

  7. It could be more idiomatic and fluent as a matter of fact, but as a form 2 student, having done something like this is amazing absolutely.
    [版主回覆07/08/2010 18:27:00]It can be more fluent?

  8. I can't wait to see your own "compo"!
    [版主回覆07/10/2010 10:28:00]I wrote the composition when I was in S5, but it was just OK, not as sophisticated as the one by my student haha. After all, I believe my student is a gifted writer, while I was just an ordianry local learner of English. Don't expect much haha~~

  9. 以一位中二生來說,故事寫得很好,尤其中間一段轉折位"Freddy原來被Hans所殺",帶出了故事的張力,本人建議不妨把這故事再化成話劇劇本(將Freddy及Hans的性格再多著墨),在校內演出。
    [版主回覆07/12/2010 23:56:00]Thanks for your suggestions. Indeed I invited the student to turn it into a script and staged a drama in the class. Her classmates were impressed and it was great fun.

  10. HELLO,您好嗎﹖開始放暑假未﹖希望你好好休息。
    [版主回覆07/14/2010 21:03:00]Just started... so exhausted and depressed. Tons of things to do and some rude colleagues, but I will try to smile. I will never give up. ^^ Thank you for your message. I will go travelling next week. ^^

  11. 那就好好享受假期,充充電﹗祝旅途平安愉快
    [版主回覆07/14/2010 22:27:00]THANKS so much!!!

  12. 其實覺得最後還是Freddy比較慘, 被Hans 殺了之後還要負上逼害他的罪名!!  btw, 對着一位教band 1 中學的英文老師, 其實不懂致評呢! ^^   想問問你那張相片是在你S5 那時影的嗎?  祝旅行愉快喎!
    [版主回覆07/15/2010 10:50:00]I used to be a band 3 school English teacher haha. Which picture?

  13. 你剛post 的[小弟的劣作]那張呀!  i'm a little bit curious, pls don't mind.
    [版主回覆07/15/2010 11:07:00]You mean the picture showing a classroom? That one is a movie still of a Japanese cartoon. It is not a picture.

  14. Yes I mean that picture!   Your summer holidays just begin?  You have a lot of planning? will you share to us ? I always think that it's so good to be a teacher because of a lot holidays.
    [版主回覆07/15/2010 22:38:00]Sure. I hope I will have time to share some pictures with you at the beginning of August... right... this is why some choose to be teachers, but there are lots of disadvantages too. My working environment is too stressful and depressing. I have to thank god that I have some very good natured students. Otherwise, I really can't make it.

  15. 我也覺得世界其實很公平, 有得必有失!  沒有完全完美或醜惡, 在乎觀點與角度, 看得通就會是無缺和樂觀!  有時候覺得自己面對人際問題的方法是懶得去想, 可能都不是好方法!! btw, wait for your share^^!
    [版主回覆07/16/2010 00:14:00]Right Let's look at the bright side!

  16. Have a nice trip!
    S2 level can write such good essay, that's great!
    Composition is really my weakness!
    [版主回覆07/20/2010 16:13:00]Thank you! ^^ She is very different... I mean talented. At the same time, I always emphasize the importance of attitude. Attitude, instead of aptitude, determines your altitude. I hope she is not only gifted, but also humble and polite.

  17. Thanks for dropping in, Kenji.  I just opened up my regular blogs to you.  Please come back soon.
    My comment: If it's not an international school, it's got to be one of those Grant Schools Council schools, yes?  And this girl learns her English from home.
    [版主回覆08/12/2010 11:52:00]Thanks so much. It is nice to meet professional people working in the same field. Mine is just a government school. She is the best student in Form 2. She revealed that her English was good because of her friends who were native English speakers and her reading habit.

  18. Native speaker friends, yeah, that's the panacea!  I tell my young adult students, only half jokingly, that the quickest way to improve oral and listening skills is to date a native speaker...     But your Miss Lai got her superior writing skills from reading.
    No, I would never dream of calling myself a "real teacher", although I do teach a class or two at night as a post-retirement activity.  I got my blogname from that Dan Brown novel ...
    [版主回覆08/12/2010 12:32:00]I have just learnt that from your blog. I always imagine what I will do after I retire, since my working environment is very stressful and I think I am overloaded with adminsitrative duties. Sigh...

  19. A nice story. What's more amazing is that the poem written in WWI is quoted.
    To me, the student got the talent and sense of 金庸.
    [版主回覆09/11/2010 23:46:00]She is talented. I also love the poem which implicitly tells the readers when the story is set. It is just great!

  20. Good English, particularly considering that the essay was written by a F.2 student, and this reminds me that I also once saw a piece of composition, also by a F.2 student from a Band 1 school, years ago. That was a boy though.
    [版主回覆11/19/2010 22:10:00]Thanks for your visit. If possible, please share the composition in your blog. Besides, do you know if there are any websites showing very good compositions written by Hong Kong students?

  21. Haha, it's impossible to locate that essay now because I read that some 25 years ago when I was still a high school student.  I found that essay from a school magazine of a very famous boys school.  Websites showing good composition by HK students? I am afraid not.  It seems there are only books on that.
    [版主回覆11/19/2010 22:48:00]Thank you so much. I do enjoy reading the ones published by the English Club. ^^

  22. The student is probably STILL seething about the fact that you posted this...
    [版主回覆07/27/2011 05:24:00]Congratulations on the opening of your new blog.