Sophiea the ‘Brave’?
“Sophiea the ‘Brave’?” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Nur Syaza Qistina Kwan, Sri KDU Primary School, Malaysia.
Sophiea the ‘Brave’?
Thirteen year-old Sophiea hugged her backpack tightly to her chest as she walked hurriedly. The moonlit path looked creepier than usual although she was familiar with the way home. The tall trees which lined both sides of the path with their low-hanging branches seemed to reach out to touch her as she walked past them. It was weird too that it was quieter than usual, even the crickets were not chirping on that warm night.
She started to scold herself softly for coming out late from her kelasmengaji. Sophiea always had her nine-year-old twin brothers, Zafran and Aqeef to accompany her home after classes. Both boys have gone home earlier because they did not want to wait for her. She had to walk home alone tonight.
“No! I am a brave girl! And I am not scared of anything!” Sophiea thought fiercely.
“I will be able to handle anyone and anything!”
And then she trembled as she felt a shiver go down her spine.
“What if I bumped into someone evil?”
“What if I was kidnapped? Who will help me?” her mind shrieked.
“No! I am a brave girl! And I am not scared of anything! And I will be able to handle anyone and anything!” Sophiea thought fiercely again. “I cannot let Zafran and Aqeef see me like this. There will be no end to it. These two rascals will make sure that I will remember this for a long time to come. No one will talk about me like that. Definitely not my brothers! Not ever!”
Sophiea awoke from her burning thoughts when she heard some rustling noises from behind her. She quickly turned around to see what could have made them but could not see anything as the moon had hidden behind the clouds. This made her even more creeped out and her heartbeat quickened even further. Her stride immediately picked up speed too.
Sophiea was sweating now. Her house was only another five minutes away but it felt so far away. She then heard sounds from the bushes beside her. This time she dropped her backpack and ran screaming. Puan Laila, her mother quickly opened the front door when she heard her screams. Sophiea ran straight into her arms and sobbed loudly.
“What on earth is the matter, Sophiea?” asked her mother.
“Something chased me!” Sophiea shrieked in between her sobs.
“What is chasing you?”
“I don’t know. It was in the bushes. I ran when I heard it.”
Just then Zafran and Aqeef came in the door. “What happened? Why is Sophiea crying, mama?” asked Aqeef.
“Sophiea heard something in the bushes on her way back from the surau.”
Zafran started laughing. So did Aqeef.
“What are you laughing at?” cried Sophiea in between her sobs. “It’s not funny at all.”
“It is funny. Very funny!” squealed both her brothers.
“The sounds that you heard in the bushes were actually us! We heard a kitten meowing pitifully in the bushes and we decided to look for it and help it. It was caught between the roots of the bushes and we freed it. We then heard you screaming and ran after you!” explained the boys.
“And you said you are not scared of anything! Who is scared now? Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” Zafran teased her.
Sophiea’s eyes grew bigger from the teasing. She huffed and puffed in between her sobs and screamed at her brothers.
“Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!!!”
“That’s enough boys. Now what do you have to say for yourselves?” asked their mother. The two boys quietened down immediately and said, “We are sorry mama.”
They turned to Sophiea and apologised to her too. “We are sorry, KakSophiea.”
Puan Laila turned to Sophiea who has calmed downby now and said gently to her, “You see Sophiea, nothing chased you. They were just your brothers. Stop your sobbing now.”
“Now the three of you get ready for bed. You have to get up early for school tomorrow.”
* kelasmengaji – religious classes
Puan– a polite term of address to a woman
surau – a place of worship for Muslims
Kak – a term used for an older sister