Highly Commended Story - The Mystery Of Missing Max
“The Mystery Of Missing Max” by Hiya Kadam, Rustomjee Cambridge International School, India, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Hiya is an agile and inventive child. As a class representative she has a jovial and caring personality and is always eager to help others. She had represented her school in district level interschool football tournament and won gold medal. Apart from reading Roald Dahl and Ruskin Bond, her favorite pastime includes drawing and plying various musical instruments viz. Harmonium, flute, melodica and keyboard.
The Mystery Of Missing Max
Tip, tip, it was drizzling and in no time it started pouring cats and dogs in Horridberg, a small town in Holland. Sorrow proliferated everywhere as Mr. Olive, a professor at Hillboard University, made his way to the heavenly abode. Actually, he had met with an accident and lost his life due to severe head injury. The family had lost their sole bread earner and all were wondering how Mrs Olive will raise her five years old Max by herself. The entire town was mourning with the bereaved family as Mr. Olive was the most popular amongst the students as his heart was full of milk of human kindness. After the melancholic funeral of Mr. Olive, his wife and son made their way to the lonely graveyard with a few pilgrims and the church’s holy priest. By then it was already pitch-dark and all they could see was an octogenarian oak tree which had grown crookedly with bare leaves on it, at the boundary of the graveyard which was besides a loo which stood like a tomb. “Hoot, hoot”, an owl was hooting shrilly in the neglected graveyard!!!
While the priest chanted few prayers for the peacefulness of Mr. Olive’s soul, little Max unknowingly wandered here and there and kept on fidgeting with his brass bracelet with his initials carved on it. He kept on exploring the queer place and during his wander, chubby little Max neared the shanty restroom. The door was half broken and a sign board saying ‘NO ENTRY’ was displayed. Naughty and errant little Max did not pay hid and entered the rest room. As he entered in he could see the window glass was broken into pieces and shards were scattered all around and chartreuse algae managed to live there. Cobwebs were made dexterously and scrupulously at every corner. Dust escalated in air as Max strolled. The rusted toilet door hinges made a creaking noise which made Max feel nightmarish. Out of the blue, the electric bulb with canary light started to flicker above his head and within a minute or two a dark figure with a cape appeared in front of him. The cloak slithered as the caped figure sauntered ahead. As a gentle breeze blew, the caped figure’s face was seen. There was dressing done on his head from which carmine blood kept on oozing. It came closer and closer every second and this made Max to freeze at his place. The poor boy glued his eyes to the black figure as it came closer and closer every second. Max’s blood started curdling. He almost collapsed when the figure cackled and just then….. Swish! The bulb went off! There was pin drop silence.
After that night, Max was never seen again. The cops have left no stone unturned to search for him but all they could find was a brass bracelet lying in the washroom. The missing posters and pamphlets of lost Max are still hovering in the town. People believe that it was Mr. Olive’s spirit which came back to take his beloved son. After all, it is an unsolved bewitched mystery which even cops are having a hard time to unravel.