Highly Commended Story - Junior Category
“A Legacy to Leave” by Ibtihal Iftikhar, International School of Pakistan, Kuwait, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Ibtihal, a young, budding, imaginative writer of stories and poems, loves reading exquisitely, and can finish a thick book at a remarkably short span of time. She is curious, observant and explorative. All these qualities help her in abundance in her writing, and also in painting, which is her passion. Her vocabulary and imagination has been greatly cultivated as a result of her love for reading. She is also exceptionally fond of studies, has a knack for public speaking, and has a great interest in science and languages. Along with being studious, she never fails to find time to think, imagine, and read her favorite novels, written by her authors of choice, Jules Verne and Frances Hodgson Burnett. Her favorite book is “Secret Garden”, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
A Legacy to Leave
I was just a middle-aged professional, with a very fruitful job, and quite a good income. Well, it actually depended on my luck, which varied due to certain circumstances. And also on certain security measures of people and the amount of their banknotes left open to cunning hands like mine.
So, it was this one day I came upon a beautiful, rich, diamond necklace upon a slender neck (I didn’t really pay much attention towards the neck), and I thought to myself, “Ah, here’s today’s income!”
Well, I followed her to her house, without creating much suspicion, for as I mentioned before, I was an expert, having learned thieving at a very young age. I found her residence, and decided to work on the night shift.
When I got home, I told my wife there’d be a beautiful necklace on her neck by tonight. Of course, I wasn’t going to give her the very necklace, but was going to sell it and get a cheaper one. My wife was elated and exclaimed, “Oh, you’re the best, Benjamin! I know how hard you work for us!”
Well, the right time came, and I was by the window of the room containing my income. Circumstances were extremely favorable, and if I’d have failed, it would have been my own fault.
All I had to do was sneak in, get the necklace, and sneak out again. It was done quickly enough, and I had my loot. But before I could get to the gate, I heard someone approaching the room. I hid amidst some overhanging bushes in the garden, and heard the possessor of the necklace, along with her husband, get in the room. Thankfully, the couple didn’t notice the missing necklace, but were looking at an evening gown.
“This is perfect for tomorrow’s meeting. And it would look lovely with that wonderful necklace you got me.”
“Yes, but I’m awfully paranoid about it being stolen.”
“Oh, even if it was stolen, you’d already have shown your thoughtfulness in getting it for me. Besides, I don’t think there’s much danger about these parts.”
“Nevertheless, let’s lock the windows.”
After locking the windows, the couple started another conversation.
“Dear, do you know what our son, Albert, told me while going to bed?”
“No, what about it?”
“Why, he asked me from where you got the money to buy me the necklace, and also for paying the fees and rent. I laughed a little and said ‘You know that job daddy has, as a doctor? Well he gets some money for curing people and he told me he loved your job and wanted to be like you when he grew up.”
“Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did become a doctor, seeing he’s been studying really well, keeping Daddy in mind I suppose,” chuckling a little.
This conversation put me into a whole new world of different thoughts (though also I thought them rather foolish not to notice the necklace was missing). Here was this man, a doctor, a great and noble professional (specially to a very sensitive person like me, for I used to get sick every other day), with a worthwhile legacy to leave for his child that looked up to him, and with a wife who knew he was noble and thoughtful, while I lied to my angelic wife of getting my income as a civil worker, and always working overtime, while in reality I was just strolling around looking for something worthwhile to steal. I started to wonder, what legacy and picture about myself would I leave for the world and my family? “No,” I thought to myself, “I will change, be a noble and honest worker, and I’m gonna put this necklace back.” Of course, I still wasn’t really going to tell my wife I was a thief, I’d just tell her I was fired. I proceeded to put the necklace back, opening the window lock with a hairpin I had. Well, I was just on the verge of putting the necklace back when a sinewy hand caught me and turned me around, “Aha, stealing at night, eh?”
“I wasn’t stealing it, I was putting it back!”
“A likely story!” boomed that darn policeman.
Well, I was taken to the court, and I had to spend a long time in jail, because no one believed me. I can’t say I was entirely not to blame, for I was stealing it in the first place, but still! My wife was infuriated when she got to know but forgave me eventually once she got convinced of my genuine repentance.
Well, there ends the story of my failure, but there also begins another story, the success of the rest of my life, how I became a successful and honest man. There really are some very tiny clues in the world which can talk a great sense into a human being.