Story Contest 2019 #2 - Highly Commended Stories »

Highly Commended Story - The Curious Case of “A Missing Shoe”

“The Curious Case of 'A Missing Shoe'” by Emma Clement, Rustomjee Cambridge International School & College, India, is the Highly Commended story in the sub-junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.

Emma Clement is a class 5 student of Rustomjee Cambridge International School. She lives in Dahisar, Mumbai with her parents and grandparents. Emma has a sweet disposition and is friendly in nature. She is a budding guitarist who loves to play Bryan Adams’ “Summer of 69”. When she is not in school or playing with her friends, one can find Emma curled up in her room engrossed in a book. “Rebel with a Paintbrush” on the life and works of Amrita Shergil is one of her most favourite books. She loves travelling and wishes to see all the seven wonders of the world.

The Curious Case of “A Missing Shoe”

So, it was the funeral of Mrs. Maria that day. She was 78 years old. She was found dead in her garden, her favourite place in the whole wide world. Everyone from her neighbourhood, all her friends and family members came to pay their last respects to this great lady, including her grandchildren Cathleen and Joseph.

After the funeral the children took a stroll in their granny’s garden. It was really a beautiful garden, with a big shady oak tree. Mrs. Maria liked sitting on her rocking chair under the tree. As the children went near the oak tree, they saw a white wispy figure sitting on the chair. Their first instinct was to run away and call their father, but they were too curious to even move as they approached the wisp it slowly turned into an apparition of Mrs. Maria. It beckoned them towards it. With great courage the kids approached it.

Mrs. Maria’s ghost looked extremely gloomy. Daringly the children asked, “Granny is it you? And Why are you so sorrowful?”. The ghost replied, “Yes its me my dears. And I am sad to have been killed.” “Killed”, the children screamed in unison. “By whom?” they added. Wispy Mrs. Maria answered them that she doesn’t remember the killer, but the only thing she remembers from that night is that the killer left behind a shoe stuck in the bog by the wooden fence of her house and that the killer was someone she knew. The children followed the flitting ghost and truly found a shoe. Cathleen prised it out of the dirt and was about to call her dad, when Mrs. Maria said that no one, save for the two children, can see her. On hearing this Joseph said that no one would believe them without their story without any kind of proof. After all it was just a lost shoe, and everyone believed that Mrs. Maria died of natural causes as she was quite old.

After racking their brains for quite a few hours, Cathleen came up with an idea to find the killer. On the pretext of compiling a small book on Mrs. Maria’s friends favourite memories of her, they would visit every house in the neighbourhood. While Cathleen and Joseph ae busy talking the Mrs. Maria’s friends, Mrs. Maria’s host would search the house for the other matching shoe.

As per the plan the children went from house to house, in search of the other shoe, with no luck. In the end when they were talking to Mr. Pennyworth, a grumpy looking old man, Mrs. Maria found the other shoe in the attic under a dusty old wooden safe. She signalled the kids of their success and they quickly left to alert the police.

When the police came questioning Mr. Pennyworth, it was sight no one can forget. He was first shocked at the accusation, then got angry and after given proof started pleading and came out clan with his confession.

Mr. Pennyworth was a mean, old man with extreme jealousy for Mrs. Maria. She was the star of the neighbourhood. She was an excellent cook, well read, amazing dancer and a great gardener Everyone went to her for advice. No matter how hard Mr. Pennyworth tried, he could never match up to Mrs. Maria’s talent. As far as she was around, he would always be second best. Out of this jealousy he went to her house that night past bedtime, as he knew Mrs. Maria loved to take night- time strolls during summer. He hit her on her head with a log and killed her. It was while he was escaping when the darned shoe got stuck in the mud and he got caught. The police took him away.

Everyone in the neighbourhood was shocked at Mr. Pennyworth’s deed. But all Mrs. Maria’s ghost felt was relieved. She was satisfied that her grandchildren helped her to find her killer and get him put behind bars. She thanked her dear ones and left.

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