Through the storm

Category A: Highly Commended (2021) Monash Short Story Writing Competition

Author: Jayda Tram

Title: Through the storm

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Torrential rain splattered the ground at violent speeds as jagged lightning continuously struck the earth. Thunder boomed across the heavens. This was the beginning of a storm that hadn’t been seen in years - and it was definitely not weather to be out in. Yet, shrouded beneath the black skies and tumultuous clouds of menacing greys, detective Luna and her assistant, Thomas, trudged through the forest. While they had brought raincoats, they were utterly useless against the ferocity of the storm. 

But Luna wouldn’t give up. Not yet, not ever. 

She ran through the case file in her head repeatedly. Harold Horway. Loves cats and poisons. It was measly information, but Luna could do this. She wasn’t about to damage her prized reputation.  

Suddenly, lightning flared across the sky and struck a tree in front of them. It sizzled and crashed to the ground.

“Luna, this isn’t safe!” Thomas yelled out, but his voice drowned away into blackness as he vanished into the distance.

Instantly, he stopped. Thomas was dead frozen as the horrendous winds whipped at his hair. Luna made an effort to dash over to him through twigs and thorny bushes.

“Don’t move,” Thomas stumbled.

Luna steadied and squinted into the blackness to see what the problem was. At first it was nothing, but then in the distance, barely visible, a sliver of misshapen darkness stood there. It was hardly more than a silhouette, a shadow, but it was there, and seemingly edging closer towards them. Shivers of fear shot through the detectives and rattled their bones. 

“Get out of this forest,” Thomas admonished.

Luna snatched her colleague’s wrist and then ran - to where, she didn’t know. Lightning cackled continuously and trees shuddered with the swirls and hiss of the

storm. They ran for eternity, yet they were only greeted with an abyss of tress.  

But then Luna saw something. Light. It was exceedingly dim, but it was definitely light. Still clasping each other, they ran, and the forest was soon replaced by a road. A single house was before them. 

They hastened to the door and began to bang violently. It swung open, and they were greeted by a middle-aged man.

“What are you doing out in this storm? Get inside!” he piked.

As they stepped through the doorway they were welcomed with a comforting warmth and strong cat smell. The man ushered them into the living room and poured them each a cup of steaming tea, which they downed hastily. 

They sat in silence, until something fluffy tickled Luna’s ankle. She glanced down. 

Seven cats surrounded her and instantly she turned pale.

“E-excuse me… what’s your name?” she spluttered out.

But it was too late. Suddenly, her stomach began to throb and she felt herself double over in pain. Why did she drink that tea? Her whole body started to shudder, and she felt her blood sizzling in her veins. Her throat convulsed and she couldn't breathe-

“Harold Horway," he laughed.

 

 

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Last updated: 02 September 2021