“Whisp” is one of the outstanding stories (senior) of the second biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Ruqayyah Brookman, Tazkia IIBS Malang, Indonesia.


Whisp sighs. 7 minutes and 43 seconds into Miss Mcdowns class and she had already yawned 13 times, not including the few she had to unsatisfyingly end half way through whenever Miss Mcdowns look her way, in order to stay polite. Whisp had always seen Science as an extreme bore. At the beginning of the year she'd tried her hardest to enjoy, or at least understand the subject, but after countless attempts and continuously dozing off, she just dubbed the subject as unimportant and extremely boring. 'It's not like I'll ever need it anyway', she continuously reassured herself.

Whisp didn't want to be anything big. She was never one for planning ahead. Never had a dream even, her ultimate goal was to finish high school with all good marks and choose a career later on. This had been quite a disappointment for her parents and older brother, Henry. They always planned everything before they commenced. Even eating, every meal was according to how it was scheduled the week before, never once had they dared break the schedule.

Everything was planned. Mum liked it planned, dad liked it planned, and Henry liked it planned, but for Whisp, it was the opposite. Whisp hated the schedule, routine was her biggest enemy. From the day she was born she had been different from her family, nothing in her life had ever really gone to schedule. Not even her birth!

When Whisp was born 2 weeks earlier than planned, her parents had been shocked. They hadn’t even had time to choose the unusual child’s name yet. So when hippy grandma Greentree had brought up the name ‘Whisp,’ her parents reluctantly agreed. Whisp had always secretly been grateful for grandma Greentree choosing her name. She never liked the boring names her parents chose. Mum had once told her some of the names that dad and she were planning on giving her, Jane, Ann or Mary. Plain plain, plain. Yes she was very grateful for grandma Greentree.

“Whisp pay attention, please” Miss Greentree’s voice drags her from her daydreaming state.

“Yes Miss,” she replied in a boring sound, then looked at the whiteboard. She was teaching the differences between a plant and animal cell. She keeps her attention on the teacher for another 2 minutes before, quickly losing interest and turning to look out the window once again. She yawned for the fourteenth time that day and rests her head on the desk.

“Whisp, There is someone waiting for you in the office. Said they're here to pick you up. Pack your things and make your way there, please,” Miss Mcdown said from the front of the class.

‘Odd’ Whisp thought, she'd only gotten through 30 minutes of her first class. Who’d be coming around to pick her up from school at this time of hour? Mum? No, she is working at the office till 5 pm today. Dad? Nah, couldn't be, he had a big conference at work which he's been both nervous and enthusiastic about all week. Hm...maybe something came up?

Whisp made her way to the teachers’ office, glad to finally be free from that horrible science lesson. When she got there, she searched for any familiar faces waiting on the chairs. Confused when she found none, she studied the faces of the people occupying the uncomfortable plastic waiting chairs to look for the mysterious person who pulled her out of class. On the left, sat an old man, he held a wooden walking stick which was so tattered it looked like it had been pulled straight from a tree, he had lost almost all his hair and had a hairline that Whisp thought kind of resembled the Mcdonalds M. The man's eyes were half closed and his mouth was in open wide. Whisp was sure she heard him snore. She stifles a giggle, ‘Couldn't be him’

“Whisp, How come ye juist standing over tharekiddo ?” Barbara, the office lady called to me in her thick Scottish accent.

Whisp walked to the desk. “Someone called for me?” she whispered, awkwardly due to the two eyes that stare at her from the chairs.

“Aye. The three sitting on the chairs over there,” she pointed to the weird trio sitting on the chairs. The old man has woken up now and now he too joined the two in staring.

The lady is the first to break out from the, what seemed like, staring competition. “Whisp darling! How much you've grown,” she gushed out in a posh voice. She picked up the big frills of her dress and walked graciously towards her. “My, my. You've gotten very tall,” she reached out to pink Whisp’s cheeks and she immediately back away. She retracted her hand slowly, confused. “Is something the matter dear?”

“I’m sorry” she apologized “have we met before?”

The lady’s smile quickly falls. “You don't remember child?” she shook her head. “Hm...maybe you were too young to remember, at the time. My name’s Spring.” she reached out to shake Whisp’s hand. She then turned to face the two in the back, “and these two are,” she pointed to the old man and he gave a sweet gummy smile, “Winter, but don't bother talking to him, he’ll probably fall asleep mid conversation.” She snickered as the old man's smile turned into a glare, at her remark. She then pointed at the boy, who just stared, arms crossed. “and this is, Autumn. He's a bit of a grouch at first look, but a sweetie at heart.”

Whisp giggles, they were all named after seasons, yah at least I can be free now.. Let’s have a ride!

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