by William Gwynne, aged 12
"Happy Birthday," I said to my friend Alex. I was staying at his house and arrived to find him playing on his new Xbox.
"Shush," Alex said, concentrating. His presents were scattered everywhere. One caught my eye, a large cardboard box with writing on the side.
For an adventurous heart! it said.
I have an adventurous heart.
"It's from my uncle. It's empty. He's mad."
Walking closer I stumbled and fell into the box! There was a roaring sound and a sucking feeling like I was falling into a deep hole that never ended. I felt dizzy and scared and opened my mouth to scream.
Suddenly I struck solid ground and lifted my mud covered face to look around.
This can't be happening.
I was on a hillside - not the bad bit - in the centre of a battle - quite a bad bit -thousands of warriors running up the hill straight towards me, brandishing spears and tear-shaped shields - the very bad bit. I looked behind me, up the hill. At its top was a shieldwall, sharp weapons poking out like a hedgehog, shields brightly painted...
Did I bang my head? Is this real?
The warriors charging up the hill screamed their battle-cries.
They sound real enough.
I jumped to my feet and ran, looking for somewhere safe, getting bashed and trampled by warriors. At the side of the hill I paused, trying to catch my breath.
Hey, I recognise this place!
I was at the Battle of Hastings. I've been to the re-enactments at Battle Abbey, and learnt about it in history at school.
This looks more dangerous and scary than I imagined when Mr Jeffery's told us about it.
At the bottom of the hill archers were lining up. At the top I saw the King of England, Harold Godwinson, surrounded by his Huscarls with their big axes and I remembered one theory of how he died.
An arrow through the eye.
I ran up the hill. Harold looked quite terrifying with fiery eyes and a long black beard. I screamed "DUCK!" as I rugby tackled Harold to the ground (my PE teacher would be proud) A second later arrows fell where Harold had been standing.
"Thank you," he said, pulling a gold ring from his grimy finger. "Take this ring and find me at the end of the battle. I'll not forget your bravery."
Then a charge of knights attacked and Harold rushed to the defence.
"RUN!" he shouted at me.
A Norman knight followed me with spear raised. I spotted the magic box and leaped head first into it. I heard the roaring sound again and I was rolling across Alex's bedroom floor.
"Stop mucking about," Alex said. "Make a mess and my mum'll kill me."
"Alex," I said, "I think I've just changed the course of history."
"Quiet, I'm concentrating." sighed Alex
Did I dream the battle? Wait, what's in my fist?
I unclenched my sweaty palm and saw a golden ring. I smiled.