Lurking Behind The Shadows - written by Alfred (a short story for kids)
Once upon a time in a place called India. There lived a 9 year old girl who had a 12 and a half year of older brother who loved to bug her.
The little girl was scared of the dark and her big brother felt obligated to exploit his sister’s fears. They both shared a single bedroom. It had his bed on one corner of the room which had his stuff: posters and all, while the other corner of the room had her bed and her stuff: cute pink cuddly teddy bears and all.
Every night after their Mum had left their bedroom after reading them a bedtime story, her big brother would tell her made up stories about all that hid in the dark. The little girl believed all that her big brother said and with each passing night she got even more scared of the dark.
Their 13 year old cousin who came to stay with them for the holidays found out what had been happening and warned his 12 and a half year old cousin that he should stop disturbing his little sister. The 13 year old cousin explained that the more the 12 and half year old did it, the more he made the ability of his little sister to fear things grow. She would not only fear the dark but would also fear other things that threaten her and some day she would be afraid of every single thing that can threaten her. She would certainly grow up to be one big coward if he keeps filling her heart with fear now that she is young. The cousin kept admonishing him to stop that he was ruining his little sister’s future if he continues. Besides a follower of Jesus shouldn’t find someone being afraid even a little bit amusing much less make a hobby out of making his little sister scared.
But the little girl’s 12 and a half year old big brother wouldn’t listen to his cousin. He told his cousin that he should relax it was no big deal he was only having fun. Their cousin went back home after the holiday feeling sorry for his little cousin.
One Tuesday evening their parents were invited to a banquet with the Mayor of the city. It was last minute and they couldn’t find any babysitters for the kids but it was an invitation they couldn’t turn down. This type of invitation would be a dream come true to many.
It was too great an honour to pass up. Normally, nothing would have made them leave their kids alone but this was too big.
After a much longer than usual over protective parent speech of what to do and what not to do, both parents left for the banquet. Mom was a lot more worried than Dad about leaving the kids alone.
Not long after they left, the 12 and a half year old big brother decided he would start taunting his little sister much earlier today. So he started poetically and dramatically elaborating on the monsters that lay behind the shadows: how they thought, what they looked like and what they did to little girls.
A few hours later it started raining. The rain soon turned into a heavy storm. The little girl got scared while her big brother pretended not to be afraid. He suggested they go around the house and make sure all the doors and windows were shut, a task they performed very quickly.
At the banquet, Mom and Dad started to worry about the kids. Mom worried more but Dad said it would be OK, the kids are inside the house not outside it, nothing would go wrong.
The storm grew worse and ended up knocking down a few electric poles including the one that supplied electricity to the home where the kids lived. The kids were thrust into darkness. The little girl started screaming uncontrollably. She was experiencing her worst nightmare – the whole house was in darkness. Her big brother who was now undoubtedly shivering hurried for a packet of candles. He lit every last one, placing them strategically around the room to make the room as bright as possible. He rushed over to his sister and threw his arms around her, “It’s Ok! Little sister, there is light now, the monsters have gone away.” Now he was no longer taunting his little sister. This was serious. He was scared too. No matter what it looked like, he loved his little sister and all those times he said all those things to his little sister, he only said it because in his twisted mind it was his way of playing with his little sister. For some reason, he didn’t see it as being mean; he just saw it as just plain fun.
His sister stopped crying. He handed her her teddy bear – her favourite teddy bear. She held it closely wishing the electric lights would come back on and Mom and Dad would come back now.
At the Mayor’s banquet Dad held Mum’s hand as he begged her not to worry. The storm was bad there too but it was not herself Mom was worried about, it was the kids at home she was worried about.
Back at home, the storm grew even worse. Suddenly, the kids heard a loud thud that seemed to shake the very foundation of the building.
The 12 and a half year old boy suggested to his little sister that she stay behind while he goes to check out what made the sound. His little sister cried and begged him not to leave her alone. He persisted that he has to go and check it cut that it could be something very serious. It certainly sounded like part of the building they were in had collapsed and if that was the case, they were no longer safe, they would need to move out into the stormy night and look for a safe place to stay because nothing would be stopping the roof from caving in on them as they stool frightened in their bedroom.
Although it wasn’t easy, the 12 and a half year old brother succeeded in convincing his little sister that the noise should be investigated but she said she would come with him. She didn’t want to be left alone in their bedroom even though it was illuminated by one whole pocket of candle sticks spread around the room.
The 12 and a half year old brother took two candles from the bedroom. He gave one to his little sister but her hands where still trembling in fear so he decided to leave it in the bedroom, then they headed out the bedroom door; he took the lead, holding out the candle in front of him and his little sister followed closely behind him like she was hiding behind him from the darkness that dwelt beyond the reach of the candle light.
The sound they heard had come from the garage and they would have to pass through the living room which had a side door which led to the garage.
They had never known until now how dark and spooky the living room could be at night when the electric bulbs are all turned off since their parents never let them stay up late.
They both walked slowly the little girl grabbed her big brothers free palm and held it tightly. Suddenly, there was a gush of wind and the light from the candle in her big brother’s other hand went out. They were left in complete and absolute heart stopping darkness. It took some seconds before his little sister was able to breathe again and as quickly as she could she turned and ran back to their bedroom, it was the only place in the whole house that had any light now – candle light.
Her big brother reached out to grab her in the darkness as he called out to her but it was too late not even a super hero cartoon character with super speed could have caught her. Fear can do that to your legs and it’s not a good feeling.
Her big brother quickly brought out a match box from his pocket, lit a match stick and then lit up the candle. He taught about going back for his sister but going back would only mean more work trying to convince her to come out again. He decided it was best he continue alone, he had come this far already, he had to find out what made that sound.
Holding the candle in his right hand, he held his left hand a little distance away from the flame as if to protect it just in case there was another sudden gush of wind.
He tactfully leaned his right elbow on the living room’s side door handle and bending further downwards while leaning forward, he got the door opened.
Words could not describe how he felt as he stood there. A large tree had fallen and broken-in part of the roof of the garage. The heavy rain beat mercilessly into the now dilapidated part of the garage and the whole garage floor was covered with rain water.
His left hand had moved away from where it hung protectively over the candle flame and suddenly a gush of wind much stronger than the previous one; blew it out. He stood there a little scared, everywhere was dark even though the moonlight shone through the broken down garage door.
Suddenly he noticed two small bright lights shimmering in a corner. They were moving. Moving slowly in a monotonous ‘S’ – like pattern. He moved closer to it to see what it was. When he got too close he realized they were the eyes of a snake.
Now in India many people keep snakes as pets – dangerous poisonous snakes. It looks like some believed the more poisonous the better. Indian snake charmers made their living from it. Seeing a snake in India was just as newsworthy as seeing a dog in America – they were all used to it but that didn’t mean they should play with any snake they see domesticated or not.
He quickly looked round about him in the darkness hoping to find a stick or something – something that he could use to smack the snake and send it into the afterlife – something that would make him feel safer. Unfortunately he couldn’t see anything but even more unfortunate for him was that when his eyes went back to where the snake was he couldn’t see it. He knew the snake was still in the garage. It couldn’t have gone back out into the heavy rain. It was probably because of the storm the snake came into the garage in the 1st place. Oh! this was not good, not good at all. He had to get out of the garage. He headed for the door and there was a mighty gush of wind and it blew the door he came in from shut. Things had just gone from very bad to very-very-very bad.
Firstly, the candle light going out meant even if the snake was right in front of him he still won’t see it because the moonlight that came through the broken down portion of the garage wasn’t enough.
Secondly, and much more serious was that the door has closed. Now, that door had a problem with it. It only opened from the outside and not the inside. His Dad had always said he would get someone to fix it since the problem began a week ago but he never did. Now the 12 and a half year old boy was locked in a dark garage with a poisonous snake that he couldn’t see.
Back at the major’s banquet, Mom was so worried her Motherly instincts were going haywire and she picked up a phone to call her kids at home even though it was past their bedtime. She just couldn’t explain why.
At home, the phone started ringing in the living room. The 12 and a half year old boy was screaming from the garage for his little sister to hurry and come and open the garage door from the outside. His little sister lay on the bed in their bedroom sobbing silently with her hands over her ears. She was scared to death. She heard her big brother continuously screaming all the way from the garage; that he was locked in the garage and she would need to come and open it from the outside or else he would be killed by a snake. She could hear the fear in his screams of desperation. Plus she could hear the phone ringing in the living room. But she was too scared to get up. All the stories her big brother had told her about monsters lurking in the dark had seeped into her skin. She was scared she just stayed still. She didn’t want to leave the bedroom with all the candles in it. It was the only place in the house with any light at all. She had deduced from her big brothers screams that he had lit up the candle after she had run back to her room but the candle light was out again because of the wind, so she figured if she took one of the candles in the bedroom to go save her big brother the wind would blow it out too and she would be in the dark. She was too scared of the dark and so she couldn’t risk that. The living room where the phone rang was in between the bedroom and the garage her brother was locked in. She was too scared to come out of the bedroom and answer the phone in the dark living room and as far as she was concerned the snake her brother screamed he was locked in the garage with was one of the monsters he was always talking about. To her a monster had gotten her big brother or was about to.
Hours later their parents returned. Nothing in the world could prepare them for what they saw. Their own son had died from a snake bite, his body lay splayed on the garage floor while their only daughter lay dead on her bed. The Coroner said she died of a heart attack.
What could give their little girl a heart attack the parents wondered? They hadn’t known of how scared of the dark their daughter was, thanks to her big brother, just as there was no way of knowing that during those tragic hours their son was locked in the garage, their little girl stayed in the bedroom with all the candles lit and with all the candles lit at the same time they could only last as long as only one candle lasts, and with all the lights out and everywhere dark, the hallucinations of monsters plus the reality of her brother's last minutes of agony seemed all so real to her that it had caused her to have a heart attack.
Their Mum mourned them from the very depths of her soul and two weeks later she took pills to end her time on earth. She blamed herself for her children’s death. She blamed herself for living her children alone at home. She couldn’t take it anymore. She believed she deserved to die.
Her husband found her dead body lying on their bed when he got back from work. He was totally broken. He felt he had no reason to live. Why should he live? He had nothing to live for – No one left to live for.
He went to where he hid his revolver and the sound that accompanied the bullet that took his life rang all through the neighbourhood.
After the funeral of both Mum and Dad, the cousin who had warned their son not to make a hobby of making his little sister scared of the dark went straight home. The cousin wrote a detailed account of everything that went wrong from the years long habit of a boy delighting in making his little sister scared to their tragic deaths.
Their cousin posted the detailed account on the Internet and could only hope that people would see it and it would inspire someone out there to stop finding pleasure in scaring little kids whether a relative or a non-relative.
The cousin wrote it for you who is reading this bedtime story right now, hoping that if you are that way you would change before you ruin a live or some lives.