Category A: Highly Commended (2020) Monash Short Story Writing Competition
Author: Abbey Lim
It was Tuesday, and not exactly the best day. The rain fell in bundles and buckets rather than pitters and patters. Depressing clouds loomed over our town, not that it wasn’t like that everyday. Dull, grey, boring and wet, very wet. My sister Deana stared at the window intently, as the drops of rain raced each other down the dusty glass.
I padded over to her, still in my fleecy elmo slippers. “Welcome to Jumber sis,” She didn’t answer as if not hearing me and my brows knitted with concern, “He won’t find us here. I promise,”
“You can’t promise that. No one can,” she whispered, her breath fogging up the glass. She turned those weary green eyes to my identical ones, wisps of her red hair sticking out in every possible direction. Deana placed a scarred and calloused hand on my shoulder. “I’m ready for whatever he brings this time,”
I brushed her hand off and turned away, refusing to accept her loss of hope. I wouldn’t give up, I wouldn’t let her give up. “I’m going to the store to get some food. Wanna come?”
She shook her head and resumed gazing out the window. I grabbed my woollen beanie and trudged out into the mud, not caring whether it was raining or not.
Coming out was a bad idea. There was barely any affordable food left and it was freezing. I swear I could still feel the chilling breeze across my neck as goosebumps prickled my skin. Though being the downcast, ageless town it was, it ensured safety. Safety from him, the one who was hunting us. The one who had cast those grisly scars on Deana.
I brushed the memory away as I quickly checked out the scarce food I could get with my precious, hard-earned money. I could feel the emptiness of my pocket as I clutched the can of beans to my chest and hurried home. I had taken this route many times, it was all muscle memory now. My pace quickened as the wind blew louder, harder. I gritted my teeth, I hated the wind, and so did Deana.
I passed a familiar man that always walked down our street, every morning, every day. I clutched my costly can tighter to my numb body and caught him giving me an imperceptible shake of his head… a warning. I didn’t waste any time and took off into a sprint, forgetting about the expensive can of food. I forced my legs faster as the wind whipped my hair out of my face. The man was obviously deranged, but I wasn’t going to risk that.
I flung open the paint peeled door and stumbled inside. I had imagined her sitting on that same wooden stool, gazing out the window. Instead, there was her pale, lifeless body, limp on the cold floor. My knees buckled as a deep chuckle sounded behind me, I didn’t have to turn around to know who it was. It was my father.