Story Contest 2020 #2 Highly Commended »

Highly Commended Story - Haunted By The Past

“Haunted By The Past” by Adrianna James, Penpals Writing Club, Jamaica, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2020.

15 year old Adrianna James lives in Kingston, Jamaica where she attends Excelsior High School. She is a senior member of Penpals Writing Club and is in love with the French language. She enjoys reading, arts & crafts, singing, and listening to music. Her dream is to become a psychologist, but she also has the goal of pursuing some entrepreneurial activity in the future.

Haunted By The Past

“Catherine, get out of bed you’re going to be late,” Gwendolyn shouted, as she dashed down the stairs heading to the kitchen.

“Gwen, why are you shouting? It’s still 6 am!” Catherine exclaimed while walking to the refrigerator to get a glass of water.

“Obviously your alarm clock is broken because its 8:00 am. You have literally 30 minutes, so hurry up!” Gwendolyn said, as she started to make breakfast.

“15 minutes is all I need!” Catherine promised, racing to her room.

Ten minutes later, Catherine appeared. She was fully dressed and ready to indulge in the pancakes, eggs and bacon Gwendolyn had prepared for her. In no time, she grabbed her bag and car keys, and dashed through the door.

“See you later, Gwen!” She uttered, not allowing for a response.

After ten minutes of driving, Catherine pulled up at her job, Lindsey’s café, where she worked as a waitress. As she rushed through the door, she spotted her furious boss standing with her hands folded.

“CATHERINE RODRIGUEZ!” Miss Lindsey’s stern tone intimidated her.

“Ms. Lindsey,” she replied, fixing her posture and rubbing her pale cheeks.

“This is the third time you are late this week, and I will not tolerate it. This is your last warning then you’ll be fired!” Ms. Lindsey walked briskly to her office.

Catherine exhaled deeply while scurrying to the lockers to get changed and start her shift.

“Good morning Catherine, can I have a double espresso and a Cinnamon crumb cake,” Anya said, tapping on her phone.

“Good morning Ms. Jones, your espresso and cake are coming right up!” Catherine headed to and from the kitchen. “Here you go. Have a great day.”

“I will,” Anya replied, leaving the café.

Hours passed and before she knew it, the time came for Catherine to head home. Placing her uniform in her bag, she went to her car and made her way.

The next day had no room for games. Catherine got up early, made breakfast and coffee, and she was out the door. The closest Gwendolyn came to seeing her was the note explaining her early departure.

For the first in what seemed like forever, Catherine was early enough to arrange the tables for opening time. Thirty minutes thereafter she had her first dining customer. He was like a well-built Greek god with thin lips, amber eyes and sleek black hair.

Catherine couldn’t help gawking for a second but quickly snapped out of her trance when nudged by another waitress. “Don’t I know him from somewhere?” she thought but quickly dismissed the idea.

“Welcome to Lindsey’s, can I take your order?” Catherine asked, still trying to place the handsome and familiar face.

“Can I get a black coffee and three Red Velvet pancakes,” he said as he returned the menu card.

With the order written in her notepad, Catherine left for the kitchen.

~ 5 minutes later ~

“Here is your order.” Catherine smiled, presenting him his food.

She immediately left, unconcerned, to clear the other tables.

After hours of hard work Catherine rejoiced at the idea of going home. Catherine knocked on Miss Lindsey’s door, happy to be collecting her cheque.

“Come in.”

Catherine entered the room and faced her boss. She did not receive the cheque without a stern warning about her tardiness. Before long, she was out the door and in her car. TGIF!

“Gwen, I’m home.” Cat announced, putting down her bag and keys.

“Hey, how was work?” Gwen inquired, descending the stairs.

“Good! Served a cutie today but it’s weird how familiar he looked. Cat recounted, walking toward the couch.

“Hmmm, just be careful,” Gwendolyn cautioned, as she sat beside her.

They sat hours chatting and decided to turn in for bed.

A month passed since Catherine saw the stranger, but was now bothered by a figure dressed in black which she would spot every night in the alley outside the café.

Tonight, as she stepped out of the café and walked to the car park, a car suddenly stopped behind her; a man in black clothing grabbed her from behind and placed a Chloroform cloth over her face.

After hours of trying to contact her friend, Gwendolyn became concerned and called the police. She, too, spent hours searching but it all lead to a dead end. It was in the hands of the police.

In the meantime, as the chloroform wore off, Catherine slowly opened her eyes and realized that she was strapped to a chair with duct tape over her mouth.

“Look who’s awake,” came a husky voice from the dark side of the room. “You know, I thought you’d recognize me from the café, but I guess old things are worth forgetting,” he said, ripping the duct tape off of her mouth.

“Alegro,” she gasped, tears running down her face.

“Yes, it’s me,” he laughed sadistically.

“I’m sorry for what happened,” Cat cried harder.

“Do you think after what happened to my sister, I’ll let you live?” he said taking out a knife.

“I swear I didn’t do anything to her and you know it.” Cat said shaking.

~ 5 years ago ~

“Megan, hurry! We have to leave now,” Cat said, leaving her room.
“I’m coming!” Megan replied, entering the kitchen.
“See you later, Alegro!” Cat shouted, about to exit the house.
“Later, Cat and Meg,” he replied from his room.
The fair was in full swing. After hours on the rides, Catherine and Megan were alarmed by the ringing of gunshots. Cat discovered Megan lying in a pool of blood.

Alegro blamed Cat for his sister’s death. Now here she is, God knows where, with the police thinking she is dead. There are those, though, like Gwendolyn, who believe she is alive but hope is slim with the case now closed after months of failed searches. If only they knew she was haunted by her past.

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