IGCSE descriptive essay | 2011 May-Jun | Describe what you see and hear from a hiding place.


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

Describe what you see and hear from a hiding place.

Model Essay

Huddled behind a thick curtain of ivy, I pressed myself against the rough bark of an ancient oak tree. My heart raced, its pounding loud in my ears, but I forced myself to breathe slowly, silently, so as not to betray my hiding place. The dense foliage concealed me well, offering a limited view of the clearing beyond.

The world outside my leafy sanctuary was bathed in the soft glow of twilight. The sky, a deepening shade of indigo, was dotted with the first twinkling stars. The last rays of the sun painted the tops of the trees in gold, but below, shadows lengthened, cloaking the forest floor in darkness.

From my vantage point, I could see a group of people gathered around a flickering campfire in the clearing. The flames danced and crackled, sending occasional sparks into the air. Their light cast long, eerie shadows that played on the surrounding trees, making them seem like silent, watchful giants.

The sounds of the forest were a symphony of night. Crickets chirped incessantly, their rhythmic song providing a constant backdrop. Occasionally, the hoot of an owl echoed through the trees, a haunting call that added to the nocturnal melody. Leaves rustled in the gentle breeze, whispering secrets as they swayed.

The group around the campfire spoke in hushed tones. Their voices were low, almost conspiratorial, as if they were sharing tales meant only for the night. I strained to catch snippets of their conversation, but the distance and the crackling of the fire made it difficult. Laughter would occasionally punctuate the air, sudden and sharp, before fading back into murmurs.

One figure, taller and more animated than the others, seemed to be the storyteller. He gesticulated wildly, his shadow growing and shrinking with each movement. The others leaned in, their faces illuminated by the firelight, eyes wide with rapt attention. The storyteller’s voice rose and fell, though I could only catch fragments – something about an ancient legend, a hidden treasure, a curse.


As I listened, my eyes roamed the clearing. Beyond the circle of firelight, the forest was a dark and mysterious realm. I imagined all sorts of creatures lurking just out of sight, drawn by the warmth and light of the fire but wary of the human presence. Occasionally, a twig snapped or leaves rustled more forcefully, and I tensed, wondering if it was merely an animal or something more sinister.

The earthy scent of the forest floor mixed with the faint aroma of the campfire’s smoke reached me, a reminder of the wildness of the night. The air was cool, and I pulled my jacket tighter around me, trying to keep the chill at bay.

The group around the fire began to sing, their voices blending into a harmonious chorus that floated on the night air. The melody was haunting and beautiful, a song of old that seemed to resonate with the very soul of the forest. It was both comforting and eerie, a lullaby for the night.

From my hiding place, I felt a strange mixture of fear and fascination. The forest, with its hidden dangers and secret beauty, was alive around me. The group by the campfire, unaware of my presence, seemed part of a different world, one of camaraderie and shared stories.

In my concealed spot, I was both an observer and a part of the night, enveloped in the symphony of sounds and sights that made the forest come alive in the twilight hours.

Word Count: 580