Story Contest 2020 #2 Highly Commended »

Highly Commended Story - The Black Figure

“The Black Figure” by Sukaina Zaidi, Beaconhouse School System Primary VI - North Nazimabad, Karachi, Pakistan, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2020.

Sukaina Zaidi is a keen learner or we can say that she is an all-rounder. Whether it’s sports, arts or education related activities, she participates with great enthusiasm and gives it her level best. Her most favoured hobby is painting. She spends hours on her paintings while playing with paints and brushes on canvas to create a wonderous scenery. Beside all this, Sukaina’s aim is to become a vigilant and wise doctor. Her mother is a splendid source of hope and inspiration for her. She is also thankful to her teachers and school for their continuous support.

The Black Figure

“Bing!” went the doorbell. “I’ll get it!” Andy said. Everyone was gathered around the table for evening tea, munching on sweet sugary cookies sent by Auntie Lora. As Andy opened the door, before anyone could enter, Andy saw a shadow figure run across the street smiling at her as if it were trying to get Andy’s attention. Andy shook her head thinking she was imagining things and swiftly welcomed Auntie Lora who had entered the house. “Would you like some warm tea?” Mrs. Collin asked Auntie Lora. “Oh well why not?” Auntie Lora exclaimed. “Andy! Can you pour some tea into Auntie Lora’s cup please?” Mrs. Collin asked. “Sure mum!” replied Andy. As Andy turned around, she thought she saw another shadow figure swoosh by her. She shivered with fear and started thinking over the fact as to why she kept on seeing this thing. Suddenly, her vision got blur and she started panicking. No one heard her as she was in the kitchen. She saw standing in front of her a black figure and then it quickly vanished and everything got back to normal as if nothing had happened. “Whoah! What was that?” she wondered. Andy then poured the tea in to a cup and handed it over to Auntie Lora. Still puzzling about what had just happened, Andy went to her room and started playing with her pets. Then, she noticed another abnormal thing. As she entered her room, the puppies started barking and moving around her as if they were worried.

“What…Ah, come on! What’s up with the barking?” Andy said oblivious of the fact that they knew something was not right. Soon, the puppies stopped barking and started acting normal. “There must have been something that was frightening them.” A thought ran through Andy’s mind before she was about to sleep. She quickly ignored that and fell deep a sleep. “Ah!” Andy woke up in the middle of the night. “Come on Andy! Go back to sleep.” Andy muttered to herself. Suddenly, she saw another black figure jump out of her bed and walk outside. Andy was brave enough to follow it but not brave enough for what she was about to see…

The black figure, which was oblivious of the fact that Andy was following it, went into the kitchen and hid there. It wasn’t coming back out. “Could it have teleported or something…” Andy thought. She hid in the store room and waited and didn’t move a muscle. A few minutes later, someone came out of the kitchen, though, she could recognize that person. “Wait a second! Is that my mother?” Andy wondered. And undoubtedly it was. It was Andy’s mother who walked out of the kitchen after the black figure hade vanished in the same kitchen. “No way I am believing that! How could it be? My family isn’t paranormal. Or, I think so…” Andy was trembling with fear while walking to her room. “I guess I’ll go back to sleep, this was probably just a dream. Yeah that’s right. It was a dream.” With that, Andy fell deep a sleep again.

Next morning, Andy woke up joyfully and seemed to have forgotten what had happened last night. Andy went to make some coffee for herself. Her mother was right there in the kitchen and something seemed peculiar. As soon as Andy saw her mother’s face, she remembered what she faced last night. “Oh! Mum… I… ah…didn’t notice you there…haha.” Andy said as she started trembling with fear again. “I’ll just grab my coffee and ah… leave.” Andy said acting weird. All her mother did was nod. Her mother nodded and continued on. It was as if her mother didn’t want to speak. Andy had her suspicions when she spotted her father reading the newspaper. “Good Morning Andy, what have you got there?” Her father asked. “Good Morning Dad, Oh yeah, it’s my coffee.” Andy replied. “Hmm…he seems normal but mum sure didn’t.” Andy thought in her mind. “So, seems like you haven’t had breakfast yet. Didn’t your mother tell you to wake up when we all did breakfast?” Andy’s dad asked. “Nope, she didn’t wake me up. You know, mum has been acting differently today.” Andy said as her fear vanished away. “Huh? No…I mean. Nothing abnormal here. Just being normal…because that’s what you should do…hehe.” Andy’s dad replied strangely. “Ok! I take back my words. I have my suspicions on both of them.” Andy thought, still talking to herself. “Whoah! What’s happening!” Andy yelled as she felt the whole floor shaking and then everything went slow…

Andy blinked but it was not as fast as usual. She felt everything going fast around her and she was in slow mode. She could see so many black figures surrounding her all of them trying to catch her but failing. She closed her eyes, covered her ears and started screaming on the top of her lungs. She could feel everything getting back to normal. And there she was standing in the lounge holding her coffee right in front of her dad. “What is it?” Andy’s dad questioned. “Uh…nothing.” Andy replied now feeling exasperated. “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME!!” Andy screamed inside her head. Soon enough, she started making a plan and tried to understand this phenomenon that was different each and every time. She quickly started to find meaning in it. At last, at Tuesday, Andy found the last puzzle piece to this puzzle. All she had to do now, was to wait for another appearance of the black figure. At midnight, Andy jumped out of her bed and went into the kitchen. There it sat the black figure slowly turning into someone who she knew for sure was going to be her mom. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw it sitting there. Andy knew the black figure’s biggest fear, light. (although, when the black figures were disguised as someone else, they were not affected by light) She shone the light on the figure and she could hear it scorching as it melted down and vanished. Andy’s real mother and her father appeared in front of Andy and they hugged each other.

No other black figure ever attacked the Collin’s house again. Although… Nobody ever knew what these black figures were and what did they do, where they lived or even just why they attacked Andy…

Until one night, Sofia turned up to look at the broken street lamp as its light flickered away and darkness spread everywhere. She saw a black figure coming close to her. Then her vision got blur and …

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