Story Contest 2019 #2 - Highly Commended Stories »

Highly Commended Story - The Thing In The Dark

“The Thing In The Dark” by Munveer Dosanjh, Veritas Elementary School, USA, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.

Munveer is a 6th grade student and has always loved to read. She especially enjoys mysteries, paranormal stories, and books that enraptures her. The Hunger Games is her favorite book. Her story is based on The House on Stone’s Throw Island, another book of her interest. Aside from reading, her hobbies include writing and playing video games. She enjoys writing because it allows her to express herself and her feelings. When she grows up, she aspires to become an author.

The Thing In The Dark

It’s here again. The “Thing in the Dark,” as I call it. The doorknob of my room turns, and I dive under my blanket, trembling. I hear its soft footfalls on my carpet. I peek around my blanket, and see the dark shadow, staring at me.

I hide my head again and listen to my wild heartbeat. Fear surges through me and I begin to sweat. I try to calm myself, but I still tremble. Eventually, I hear it leave, but not before it whispers my names, “Abby.”

The next night, I sit up in my bed, waiting for it to come. I’m not scared but excited. I’ve decided to try and talk to it.

Suddenly, I hear a BANG! BANG! BANG! I dive under the covers. My excitement turns into pure and utter terror. It pounds against the door with such force, I start to scream. I cover my ears, but I can still hear it. The Thing in the Dark unleashes a wild, guttural howl. I scream and yell long after the banging stops. I begin to cry when it starts scratching at the door.

My parents come in to see me screaming and crying, the door banged up. They eventually calm me down and tuck me in bed. The next morning, they ask me about my health, and question me until they conclude that I had a nightmare.

“It wasn’t a nightmare, honest!” I protest, “Didn’t you see that person at my door?” But it’s no use.

At the end of the day, my parents hustle me into bed, but not before I see the word “Abby” carved messily into my banged-up door. I freeze when I see that, and my parents have to push me into my bed. That night, I lay awake in my bed, wondering why this is happening to me. Then, my door creeps open, and the Thing in the Dark slinks in.

This time, the shape freezes when it sees me and drifts away. Right then, I have an urge to scream for my parents. What if the person is a kidnapper or, even worse, a murderer! However, something makes me follow the figure down the stairs and outside.

Our house has one big garden, and a smaller, locked garden in which none of us could find a key Only now do I realize the insanity of what I’m doing. The full moon barely lights the main garden. For a second, I can’t see the Thing in the Dark, and I wonder if it left. Then something in the shadows move and I see it again.

I watch as it points to the door that leads to the other garden, and then to our old shed. I couldn’t make head nor tail of this, so I say quietly, “What?”

In answer to that, it steps back into the shadows and vanishes. I stay there for a while, trying to figure out what The Thing in the Dark was trying to tell me. I needed to defend myself. The next time it comes, I would set up traps.

The day passes and night comes. I hide under my bed, covered in blankets. I wait silently. I had rigged a wire in the doorway that led to my hand, so I would feel it vibrate. I had set heavy tables, boxes, and lamps against my door. Best of all, I had a wire leading to a bucket of freezing water that would spill over the thing’s head when it entered.

My wire vibrates and I tense up. The door rattles, then I hear the pounding of someone trying to get through my door. Right when I hear it crash open, I pull my wire, and the bucket spills . . . right on my mom’s head!

I have never seen my mom so angry! She had come to check on me. She’s drenched from head to toe and yelling at me. Eventually, her throat becomes sore, and she storms off to her room.

I know what I’m going to do. I grab a flashlight and march outside. I riffle through the shed until I find a loose floor board with a key underneath. I smile to myself. When I reach the garden door, I unlock it and it swings forward to admit me.

Inside it is just a bare patch of dirt. I frown and slump down on the dirt. All of this fretting, for nothing? Then I realize that there was a hollow “thump” when I sat down. I clear off the dirt to find a square of wood. When I lift it up, I gasp. There’s a diary and a necklace inside! I open the diary to the first page and settle down to read.

An hour later, I know what I have to do. The owner of this diary was my grandmother, who is still alive. She wrote about a cursed necklace that would control the wearer but would grant them three wishes as a bribe. When my grandmother figured this out, she was old, and no one believed her. She couldn’t move around, so she used her wish to go back in time and create a small shadow of herself to lead her past self to where she had to go.

She was me. I picked up the necklace and grabbed a sharp rock. I took a deep breath. What I was going to do could end my life. I raised the rock . . . and plunged it into the necklace. The last thing I remember is the rush of speeding light.

Sharon sighed and stared at her mother. “It’s Abby. She disappeared, and the police can’t find her.” Her mother stirred, and Sharon jumped back. Her mother sat up in her wheelchair and croaked, “I did it! Sharon, did it work?” Sharon was used to these rambling conversations and nodded. Her mother smiled and fingered her neck, at the exact place where a necklace would lie.

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