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The Path to High Crag - part 2

an intermediate English short story

 by Andrew Rossiter  

Continued from part 1

    Lost on the mountains in Yorkshire, four teenagers on a weekend expedition have settled down for the night in an old stone barn .....
    Amira could not sleep; the hay was soft, and her sleeping bag felt warm and comfortable, but her ankle hurt. Emily on the other hand was fast asleep, and one of the boys was snoring.
    Outside it began to rain: not hard, but steadily, the drops drumming in a dull rumble on the roof slates above her head. She looked at her watch. It was just after midnight.
    Suddenly she shook Emily hard.    "Hey, wake up Emmy. All of you. Wake up, will you!"
    "What?" Emily mumbled, half asleep. "What is it?"
    "Wake up quick! Someone's coming!"
    Emily sat up sharply.
Setting off.
    "Look! There's a car coming!"
    The mist seemed to have lifted, and through a small opening in the side of the old barn, they could see out along the track they'd taken six hours earlier.
    Emily rolled over and pushed Steven. "Wake up, someone's coming!"
    By the time Steven had shaken Peter from his sleep, the car was coming to a stop outside the barn.
    "It'll be the police or the army out looking for us!" whispered Emily. "Perhaps we ought to shout and let them know we're here!"
    "No, shut up," Steven whispered back. "If it's the police, they'll call......"
    From where they were lying in the small barn, they could not see the car; on the other hand, through the hole in the wall, they soon saw six powerful headlights coming towards them.
    "There's a lorry coming too," whispered Peter.
    "Hide under the hay," said Emily. "I don't like this."
    There was plenty of loose hay on top of the bales on which they were lying. Peter threw it lightly over the girls and their bags, then slid silently back down into the dip where he had been well hidden anyway.
    Outside, the lorry came to a stop beside the car, and turned off its engine; with the drumming rain on the roof above their heads, they could not hear what anyone outside was saying, but they could hear people talking.
    Then they heard a door squeaking on its hinges.
    "They're opening up the big barn," whispered Emily.
    "Shhhh! Quiet!" said Amira.
    It was impossible to tell what was happening outside; there were bumps and thuds, and a rattling of chains. Either someone was putting something into the lorry, or they were taking something out of it. Maybe both. There were men's voices - someone seemed to be shouting orders. The noises seemed to go on for hours.
    In the end the barn door squeaked again, another door banged, and the lorry's engine started up; a minute later, they saw its red tail-lights disappearing down the track into the darkness of the night.
    "They've gone," whispered Amira. Emily hit her hard. At that moment, a torch shone in through the door of the small barn where they were lying.
    Then everything went dark again, and they heard the door being shut.
    Emily was about to say something when there was a click, and a small light shone in the dark. The man with the torch had sat down just inside the door, and was lighting a cigarette!
    Emily felt hot and cold at the same time. Was he going to spend the rest of the night there?
    The answer came sooner than she had expected. Outside in the rain, someone called "Al ? You coming?", and the man in the barn got up, opened the door and left. A moment later three car doors slammed shut, and the car moved off. Emily lay still as a stone.
    Apart from the drumming of the rain on the slates overhead, it was quite quiet again. No-one spoke; it seemed like half an hour before, suddenly, Emily broke the silence as she began to cry.
    "It's O.K, they've gone," said Peter; "We can breathe again now."
    "What if they come back again?", asked Steven.
    "No, they've gone."
    "I want to get out of here," Amira pleaded. "Right now!"
    "Not now!" said Peter. "They won't come back. They've done whatever they had to do."
    "But there might be another lot too! You never know!"
    "Yeah," said Steven.
    "Well look," Peter replied. "Someone'll stay guard. If any more lights come down the track, we'll get out as fast as possible before they get here; otherwise we'll stay 'til it gets light, then move on. O.K.?"
    It was broad daylight when Emily woke up again with a start. A car had drawn up outside - it sounded like a Land Rover. A door banged, and Emily shut her eyes. Then there was shouting.
    "Anyone here? Peter! Amira! Emily! Steven! "
    Peter had woken up. "It's a search party," he whispered. Then he shouted back. "Heyho, here we are!"
    The door swung opened and a young soldier peered in.
    "You in 'ere, are you?" he shouted.
    "Oh thank God," said Emily.
    "Sergeant!" the soldier called, "I think we've found them!"
    It only took the police helicopter twenty minutes to arrive; and then within minutes a policeman had broken the lock on the door of the other barn.
    A minute later the inspector emerged, and walked over to the Land Rover where the teenagers were sitting.
    "You'd better come and see what you've stumbled on," he said, ushering them towards the barn whose door stood half open.
    They looked in. Inside were dozens of wooden boxes.
    "Have a look," said the inspector. "But don't touch anything!"
    Emily peered into one of the boxes, whose lid had been removed.
    "Guns!" she exclaimed.
    "Yeah! Guns, ammunition, semtex, the lot. You've found some pretty interesting stuff. And those men you saw in the night must have been some pretty dangerous guys."
    "Who were they then?" asked Amira. "Were they terrorists, or what?"
    "Might be," said the inspector. "They'll find out....." and he looked round, back up the track.
    At that moment, a black Mercedes came into view, and stopped abruptly. Then it turned round very fast, and raced off.
    The inspector shouted to the helicopter pilot. "Follow that car!"

The end.
Word guide :
snore: breathe noisily - dull rumble: a low noise - slates: thin grey stones used for covering roofs - on the other hand: but - loose: not attached - lorry (GB) : truck (USA) - dip: recess, lower part - hinge: pivot - plead: implore - stumble on: discover by chance - usher: guide - peer: to look -  lid: top, cover

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Student worksheet Intermediate English

The Path to High Crag - Part 2

Irregular verbs:
This part of the story is very rich in irregular verbs. Read through the story or listen to it, then complete as many of the missing verb forms in the interactive grid below as you can. Finally, complete any other forms that do not occur in the story:

Present Preterit Past Participle Present Preterit Past participle
Begin Lie
Break See
Can Shake
Come Shine
Do Shut
Draw Sit
Feel Slide
Find Speak
Go Stand
Hear Swing
Hide Take
Hit Throw
Hurt Wake

Fill in the missing prepositions and adverbs from these extracts from the story.

The mist seemed to have lifted, and  a small opening  the side  the old barn, they they could see   the track they'd taken six hours earlier.
    Emily rolled  and pushed Steven. “Wake  “ someone’s coming!"
     the time Steven had shaken Peter  his  sleep, the car was coming   a stop  the barn.
   “It'll be the police or the army looking us!" whispered Emily. “Perhaps we ought   shout and let them know we’re here!" 
  “No, shut  " Steven whispered back. “lf it's the police, they'll call "

    where they were lying  the small barn, they could not see the car;   the other hand the hole   the wall, they soon saw six powerful headlights coming  them.
   "There’s a lorry coming too," whispered Peter.
   “Hide   the hay," said Emily. “l don't like this."
   There was plenty loose hay  top of the the bales  which they were lying. Peter threw it lightly  the girls and their bags, then slid silently back   the dip where he had been well hidden anyway
      the lorry came  a stop  the car, and turned  its engine.



 Language. Pay particular attention when taking this story, to: a) irregular verbs , b) prepositions and adverbs  and (c) modals.

 Written expression. Either: Amira's or Peter's diary; Imagine how one of the two might have described their weekend adventure in their diary, or alternatively in a short article for their school newspaper. Or: Complete this story, saying either what happened after the Police helicopter went in pursuit of the Mercedes, or what might have happened if the black Mercedes had arrived before the army and the the police.

This teaching resource is © copyright Linguapress .
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised

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This teaching resource is © copyright Linguapress .
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised

Linguapress home English grammar Discover Britain

Return to Linguapress home page

Intermediate level EFL resource

Readability easy.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 2.8
Reading ease level:  90.4
CEF level: B1
IELTS Level 5

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This resource is © copyright Linguapress renewed 2022
Originally published a in Freeway magazine.
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