IGCSE narrative essay | 2008 Oct-Nov | As you shake your morning breakfast cereal from the box,


You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on the following topic:

As you shake your morning breakfast cereal from the box, out tumbles a small, red envelope with the words ‘Open me now!’ stamped on it. Inside, there is a list of instructions that you must carry out ‘before night falls.’ Write the story of your day.

Model Essay

As I shake my morning breakfast cereal from the box, out tumbles a small, red envelope with the words ‘Open me now!’ stamped on it. Startled, I set the cereal box down and pick up the envelope. It’s unusually heavy for its size, and a faint scent of vanilla wafts from it. Curiosity piqued, I carefully open the envelope, revealing a neatly folded piece of parchment inside. Written in elegant, flowing script, the message reads:

To the Finder, You have been chosen for a special quest. Follow these instructions carefully and complete them before night falls:

  1. Visit the old bookstore on Maple Street and find the book titled “Whispers of Time.”
  2. Go to the city park and leave a penny on the third bench from the entrance.
  3. Head to the coffee shop on Elm Avenue and ask for a “Midnight Special.”
  4. Finally, meet us at the abandoned lighthouse by the pier at sunset.

Intrigued and slightly apprehensive, I glance at the clock. It’s only 8 a.m., giving me ample time to complete these mysterious tasks. I quickly finish my breakfast, get dressed, and head out.

The old bookstore on Maple Street is my first destination. The bell above the door jingles as I enter, and the smell of aged paper and ink envelops me. After a few minutes of searching, I find “Whispers of Time” tucked away on a dusty shelf. Its cover is worn, and it looks like it hasn’t been touched in years. I take it to the counter, but the elderly shopkeeper merely nods and smiles, as if expecting me. “Good luck,” she says cryptically as I leave.

Next, I make my way to the city park. The sun is high in the sky, casting a warm glow over the lush greenery. I locate the third bench from the entrance and place a shiny penny on the seat, feeling slightly foolish but also excited. What could this possibly lead to?


With the second task complete, I head to the coffee shop on Elm Avenue. The barista, a young woman with bright blue hair, raises an eyebrow when I ask for a “Midnight Special.” She hands me a cup of dark coffee and slips a folded note across the counter. “Enjoy,” she says with a knowing smile. I open the note to find a simple message: “Almost there. See you at the lighthouse.”

The day passes quickly, and soon it’s time to head to the abandoned lighthouse by the pier. The sun is beginning to set, casting a golden hue over the water. The lighthouse stands tall and imposing, its once white paint now peeling and weathered. As I approach, I see a group of people gathered at the base, their faces familiar and yet unplaceable.

One of them steps forward, a man with kind eyes and a reassuring smile. “Welcome,” he says. “You have successfully completed the tasks. You’ve shown curiosity, determination, and trust—qualities we value highly. We are the Guardians of the Past, a secret society dedicated to preserving history and protecting its secrets.”

He hands me a small, intricately carved box. “This is your reward and your key to joining us. Inside, you will find relics from different eras, each with its own story. Use them wisely and continue to seek the truth.”

As the sun dips below the horizon, I feel a sense of fulfillment and excitement for the adventures that lie ahead. The day began with a simple breakfast, but it ended with the discovery of a hidden world and a new purpose. I hold the box close, ready to embrace the mysteries of the past and the promise of the future.

Word Count: 613