Highly Commended Story - Junior Category
“Emily” by Anjali Hari, Singapore National Academy, Indonesia, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Anjali Hari was born on 5 December 2005 in Kerala, India. She has a sister who is in university right now. Her mother is a housewife and her father is a chartered accountant. She enjoys drawing because it lets her show out her ‘true’ colours. The other two hobbies of Anjali are reading and listening to music.
She looked outside the window. Nobody was there. All her life she has been stuck in a hospital because ever since she was 18, everyone thought that she had mental problems. However, she didn't. She just saw stuff. She just knew too much. All this she had tried to explain to someone, no one listened.
She stood up and went to the window sill. She looked outside thinking about how useless her life had been. As she was thinking all this, there was a knock on the door. She turned back. It was the nurse. And a stranger.
The nurse said," Vanessa, this is the famous author, Melanie Dunkenwood. She wants to interview you. Remember, be well behaved."
With that, the nurse left. Vanessa rolled her eyes. She looked back outside the window. Melanie Dunkenwood slowly took a chair, and sat down on it.
Melanie said, " Vanessa, look at me."
Vanessa didn't move a muscle.
"Vanessa, look at me. I know you are not mental. I am not even an author. I lied just to meet you."
Vanessa looked at her. Was this Melanie lady lying? What does she want to know about Vanessa? Vanessa slowly sat down on the bed.
“Ok Vanessa,” said Melanie. “ Tell me what made you this.”
Vanessa hesitated for a while. Then she said, “39 years ago, when I was going to the bus stop, where my school bus normally dropped by, I saw my friend being murdered.” Vanessa stifled some sobs, and went on. “ She was crossing the road to come to the bus stop. Then, I called her name, and then she waved back at me. She was running to me and then, all of a sudden she fell down...and never got up again.”
Vanessa looked away and wiped her tears.
After a while, Melanie asked, “But, why did you say it was a murder? She fell down right? In shorter words, she just tripped over.”
Vanessa slowly turned her head to Melanie.
“I don't want to get out. I came here to ask you stuff, and I am not going until you answer them.”
“I don't want to answer anything. So, get out before I throw this knife at you.”
“Hell no! I am not going out. And I know you are acting mental.”
“GET OUT OF HERE!!!”
Vanessa started throwing random things. Melanie ran out and closed the door behind her.
The next day, Melanie woke up determined and ready to make Vanessa answer all her doubts. She needs to know. Why did Vanessa think it was a murder? Was there anything behind it? She wasn't an author, but she was a human, and Vanessa’s long lost sister.
Melanie went up to the same room. This time, she didn't bring the nurse along. Vanessa may not be mental, but staying in that hospital might have made her mental. Melanie slowly opened the door. Vanessa was sleeping.
Melanie sat down on the chair next to the bed and prepared all of her writing materials. When Vanessa was asleep, she was mumbling something. “ Don't hurt her, Emily. I will be with you. Stop! NOOOOOO!
Melanie went to her and patted her on the head. It was hot . She was sweating like crazy. Vanessa suddenly woke up with a loud scream. Melanie fell back in shock.
“What happened Vanessa? Who is Emily?”
“What-how do you know? Why? You've been spying on me! YESTERDAY, I TOLD YOU TO GET OUT! YOU CAME BACK! YOU WON'T GIVE UP WILL YOU????”
She pushed Melanie again. Melanie got up and pinned Vanessa to the wall. “Vanessa, calm down. I just want to know why you think your friend’s death was murder.”
Melanie let go of her. Vanessa started crying and sat down.
“I think it was murder because I know it was murder. When I was younger than 18, I had no friends at school. I was alone all the time. So, I made up this imaginary friend called Emily. Emily was everything to me. Even though I can't see her, I could feel her. But then, when I was 17, this human girl became my friend. We became close friends. I guess that made Emily angry and…”
Vanessa started crying again. Melanie sat down helplessly. Her sister was in depression. Her parents knew that Melanie was alive. But, they didn't tell Vanessa because she was in her “mental condition”. Melanie stood up and went away. Melanie couldn't ask any more questions. As she got out, she heard a loud scream. She ran back to Vanessa’s room. Vanessa’s body was laying there lifeless. Emily had come and will never go. Vanessa was her friend and will always be her friend. Only hers.