Story Contest 2019 #2 - Highly Commended Stories »

Highly Commended Story - In Our Head

“In Our Head” by Sara Yogesh Dixit, Rustomjee Cambridge International School, India, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.

Sara Dixit is a student of Rustomjee Cambridge International School in Mumbai, India . She studies in grade 8. She enjoys reading and writing books and stories. "In our heads" is the first of any of her work to be published. She writes in the fantasy, horror and adventure genres. She is fond of the works of many authors such as J.K Rowling, J.R.R Tolkien, Roald Dahl, Ruskin Bond and Neil Gaiman. She also likes reading classics such as "The wind in the willows" and "The secret garden." She has written many short stories. She is currently writing a novel and hopes many other voracious readers like herself might enjoy it.

In Our Head

Lisa has always believed that the scariest thing in the world is the human mind. As a child psychologist she has met so many young children who have dreamt up monsters. Some had vague fears, like darkness and shadows. But some cases, that kept even her awake at night, were ones where little children vividly described gruesome creatures that could trigger various phobias. Such cases fascinated as well as terrified her, because it seemed almost preposterous that such things were mere figments of an innocent child’s imagination. What else could the human brain cook up? The fact was and still remains, that most of us are too scared to find out. So, we drive away such thoughts, in this case, by visiting psychologists like Lisa. They give us explanations for our fears and that, somehow, reassures us. But, once in a while we come across a phenomenon that just can’t be explained. On this note begins Lisa’s story.

Lisa sighed as she took a sip from her mug. The dim tube light on the ceiling couldn’t keep the darkness from shrouding certain corners of her office. She had met five children that day and now she had to go through each file and write a diagnosis. She was sure that no amount of coffee would help her get through the night, yet she took another sip. Hours later, she pulled out the last file. This was one she couldn’t diagnose just yet. Julie Brown was a seven-year-old with a perfectly happy life, except for certain ‘visions’ that occurred anytime during the day. This bright, talkative girl had suddenly gone quiet at the mention of these episodes. Lisa had scheduled another session with her the next day. She put the file back and got up from her desk. Yawning, she left the clinic after locking the doors.

It was bright outside as Lisa walked up to her office. Despite staying up late the night before, she felt fresh. She entered the clinic. Naomi was already behind the counter in the waiting room. “Hello! Glad to see your keys work,” Lisa greeted her.

“Hey doc. I was just going over the schedule for the day. You first appointment is with Julie Brown in five minutes.” Naomi said. Lisa entered her office and got out Julie’s file. Naomi stuck her head in at the door. “Mrs. Brown and Julie are here”

“Send them in”

“So, Julie, last time we met you were a little shy about somethings that you see that other people don’t. I need you to open up to me about it so that I can help you. I know that you don’t like to talk about these things, but if you tell me then we can make them go away. So, what do you say?” Lisa spoke as gently as she could. She could see the hesitation in Julie’s big blue eyes. Then she said, “There is a lady, who is very tall and has black hair. She just stands in a corner and watches. She always says the same thing ‘11’ and then she just goes away.”

By the time she finished saying this, Julie was quivering. “What about her features?” Lisa asked

. Julie didn’t respond, but tears rolled down her cheeks. Then, suddenly, Lisa heard a quiet hiss from a corner of the room, “Eleven.” Astonished she turned to Julie. She remained silent.

The rest of the day passed quickly. Lisa tried to focus on the other sessions, but she just couldn’t get little Julie out of her head. She couldn’t comprehend what had happened. She stared down at Julie’s file, blankly. She heard Naomi say goodbye and the door creaking open then shut. It had to be her imagination. Julie’s monster had gotten in her head. But even in denial, she could clearly see her. The lady. It dawned on her why Julie didn’t tell her what this creature’s face looked like- It had no face. Lisa wanted to cry but instead she told herself that she was imagining this and that it had all come from her mind, but the creature just wouldn’t go away! Then, it spoke in a rasping voice, just one word, “Twelve.”

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