A Short Story

 

 

Thought I'd take this opportunity to share some other works that I have done. As part of college, I wrote a short story for my friend Alec's anthology book Duality. I don't write prose often and prefer scripting, but it does sometimes have liberating factors. When in the mood it allows great creative freedom in expression in use of description, metaphors and similies, which you can sometimes lose in scripts. I go back and forth from liking my prose work, I am proud of what I achieved with the short story, but I rushed the ending to meet the deadline and feel that it's rather flawed overall - not to put you off!

My friend Grant who is a fantastic writer took a complete different grounded, murky approach to the concept, his being a social horror and mines being a kid-like fantasty tale. I took inspirations from IT and Whedon's works (childhood anxiety, monsters as metaphors) and hope you guys like it! Leave me a comment to let me know what you think.

 

 


What's that Tip-Tapping Upon my Bedroom Window?

By Gary Chudleigh

 

 


 


There is a monster in my back garden. It only comes out at night, and no one believes it exists. I’m just a kid, only ten. It must be my imagination they say. Monsters aren’t real.

NIGHT

The boy stood frozen stiff at edge of his window. He had the curtains drawn back; creating a small chink for him to securely poke his face through. He held the curtain tightly around his body, his guardian, separating worlds as he peers into the black void. He was waiting to see it, to see if it will appear again. His mouth hung open; his eyes never blinking remained glued to the garden, waiting for any movement. His panting breathe glazed the window, his eyebrows twitched as his eyes danced frantically. His chest began to thump from the inside and his throat felt like it was gluing shut. He took from his pocket his inhaler, skilfully without taking his eyes away from the window. As he sputtered and coughed he dragged it up from his pocket; the curtain bulged from the foreign shape. He ducked back in, shot the gust of air into his lungs and popped back out to scan the garden. His fear was confirmed, the monster was there again.

DAY

The boy felt safe under the warming light of the sun. It was autumn, the chocolate leaves fluttered in the gusts of air. The sun was blinding, struggling to revive the dying trees as it faded away to winter. The boy felt the crunch of the leaves under his boots as he walked his way to school. He rubbed his nose with his jacket and peered back at his mother. She was standing watchfully by the door with a cigarette hanging from her fingers. The boy turned the corner from his street and plodded along the main road. At the school entrance cars clogged up the roads as the small children bounced out with lunchboxes in hands. The screaming and giggling, the roaring engines and clapping of feet created a cacophony of mayhem. The kids packed into the entrance as did the boy. He caught glimpse of the resident bullies cackling manically away to the far right. He hung his head in silence, and blended into the crowd. He became invisible.

During lunch he eagerly scribbled away in his jotter. He was sitting alone, squinting his eyes and slurping from a juice box as he wrote away. The boy was always fascinated by detectives. Solving crimes, mysteries, all with aid of a pen and pad. He noted everything on the monster and the back of his English jotter had become an evidence journal. Every day he rattled his brain trying to better the monster. He did this because the terrifying truth in his heart knew that every time he peered out, every time he hid under the covers, he knew. One night it will get him.

NIGHT

The darkness smothered the daylight as the sun sank below the earth. The boy sat on the edge of his bed with the blanket twisted around his body. He remained silent and stared towards the long curtains, daring not to approach. This night he didn’t feel so brave, the sudden courage that had lead to his chest exploding had disappeared and all that remained was a hollow quivering shell. He abandoned his guard and slithered into his bed. He curled up into a ball and sunk his head into the pillow. Just as he began to clench his eyes in the hope of sleep, the curtains began to sway every so slightly in the corner of his eye. They bounced back and forth as if a wisp of air had disturbed them. He began shaking and he wrapped his pillow tightly around his face.

DAY

“Hey geek,” The bully spat at the boy. It was the schoolyard, the boy’s attempt to reach the lunch hall and research the monster had been halted by the meanest kid in school.

“Did your mum buy you that gay little bag?” The bully snorted and was rewarded with laughter from two goons.

The boy never said anything, he was intimidated and the thought of even replying never entered his mind. It would be the end of him.

“Not goanna speak you little fag?”

The bully hammered his fist into the boy’s stomach sending him to the ground. He lay on the concrete playground chocking and gasping for breathe. The bullies surrounded him, howling like hyenas at the boys defeat. The rest of the school walked on, ignoring the entire situation. It was a different world.

In the lunch hall the boy shot the soothing air down his throat for a second time. Despite the setback he was on attack mode, he holstered his air can and took out his English jotter and checked all his notes on the monster.

It may be like a vampire. I saw a movie. Only at night, not during the day. Daylight can stop them. Only vampires look like people, this monster is smaller like a goblin, another monster I saw on films.

The boy pondered on this. He never dared enter the back garden, when he was forced out by his mother during an argument, he would always sit idly at the front, ignoring all the play toys in the shed. For all he knew that was where it lived, it’s sanctuary from the sun. The boy started to think of not only the great detectives, but the brave heroes that vanquished monsters in the films. They were the kind of films he would sneakily watch while his mum was over at her boyfriends drinking. He would be mesmerised by these films. This lead to his knowledge of creatures but found it difficult to identify the terror in his garden.

Separate worlds.

The boy looked over this line and went into a deep thought. He stuffed his mouth with a chocolate biscuit and it crumbled down his chin. The monster in all its appearances never came into his room. It scratched his window, it breathed into his curtains, it howled in the garden, but it never came in. In all its presence, it could never just come in and eat him. The boy always eventually drifted off to sleep each night and yet it never attacked. The boy sometimes felt a comfort in this but who knows when the “rules” might change. He thought about confronting the monster like Van Helsing in Dracula, stalking the monster in daylight with a stake in hand. But if he moved into its world, maybe it could enter his. It was a choice that plagued his mind daily. If he failed to kill it during the day, it would certainly kill him that night.

NIGHT

The boy ignored the bellowing scream from downstairs, the smashing plates and the many other things his mother and boyfriend do. He couldn’t do anything to make them stop; they’re constant arguing and the lonely feeling as they ignored him. He told his mother about the monster and she called him crazy. He told her boyfriend about it and he laughed in his face. The boy slowly ascended the stairs up to his room in the loft. He looked around the spacious flooring just in case the monster was there. He examined under the bed, hesitantly pulled open all cupboards before crawling into his bed. He dared not look out tonight again; he couldn’t look at it in case it figured it out. This night, after today’s events, he built it into his head: tomorrow morning after school, he was going to kill it.

Just as the boy drifted to sleep his eyes were pried wide open as he could hear the scratching against his window. He whimpered, and hid under the cover. He started to hear it. Tip. Tap. Tip. Tap. TIP. TAP. Each hit against the window grew louder in sound; it echoed and thundered throughout the room. The noise stop, the boy hid under the covers and tried to sleep. Just as a minute passed, he heard the hissing of breathe. It crept up into the boys ears and sent a chill down his spine. This night for the first time he swore he could hear it speak. Come out. Come out to play?

The boy had the startling realisation. The boy had to defeat it tomorrow. The monster knows what the boy is thinking about. And tomorrow night - if he doesn’t follow through and vanquish the beast – it will get in.

DAY

“Still not goanna say anything?” The bully sputtered. His goons laughed on the spot, backing up their leader. The boy shrank with terror and dared to not look him in the eye. The bully swung back his boot and kicked the boys shin as hard as he could. The boy fell to the concrete, clutching his shin and gasping in pain. He felt his throat start to seize and his chest start to pound. For the second time in two days, he was on the playground floor. Despite the boy’s cunningness to sneak past them at the school gates, at lunch time he played right into their hands like a caged lamb to a pack of wolves.

The two goons glanced around to make sure no teacher was present before kicking into the chest and arms of the boy. The bully watched on with pride and then surged down and grabbed the boy by the hair. The bully lifted the boys head up from the ground and punches him in the face with a sickening thud. The boy’s throat was glued shut; his chest was imploding with pain. The bully let go of the boys hair making smack against the ground. The bully and his goons, satisfied with their torment abandoned their prey with smiles.

The boy now stood at the gate that leads to his back garden, his hand held onto the rusty metal ready to pry it open. He froze for a second and mentally rechecked he had everything. Stuffed into his woolly pockets of his coat was his inhaler, easily accessible in case it is required. Already his breathing was panting heavier with anxiety. He checked the other pocket, in it sat a snapped branch from the park near the school. It had a sharp enough point for staking the monster. He patted around his neckline to double check the crucifix necklace that he stole from behind his mother’s wardrobe. He suited up based off of popular vampire mythology and if he was wrong, his stake would still be good enough to stab. The boy knew his plan wasn’t full proof, but a surge of confidence had grown in him. He was determined to end his terror, to end the loneliness and stop the beast. For the first time in 3 months, the boy swung back the gate and entered the back garden.

The boy held the make shift stake tightly in his coat pocket. His palms soaked with sweat under the wool. His eyes darted from the old rusted school bike that sat against the wooden fence to the patches of overgrown grass the cluttered amongst the stones and pebbles. He slowly approached the shed, which stood ominously at the far corner of the garden. As he approached he peered up to see his room window amongst the bricked wall. He looked back down to the spot he was standing at and realised this was where the monster was standing two nights ago. He jumped from the spot and nearly fell to the ground in an instant reaction thinking that somehow, no matter how stupid, the monster was there beside him. The boy exhaled deeply and nearly brought out his inhaler before he regained his calm. The boy resumed his stalk towards the cabin. If movies served him right, the monster should be immobile, making a perfect target. As the boy crept closer… and closer juggling thoughts scrambled around his brain. Was it even here? Can he kill it? What if I die? I’m scared. I hate school. Where’s my mum?

The boy’s hand shaking reached out and started to wedge open the worn door of the shed. His blood pumped furiously through his whole body, sweat poured all over his forehead and the hand that now held the stake readily above his head nearly fell from the jittering. In what felt like a slow motion film sequence the door flung open to reveal in shadowed insides. There was… nothing. A rake, some tools and old play toys from when the boy was even younger. No sign of the monster. It didn’t live in the garden! The boy’s lip quivered, he frantically searched around the shed and then out into the garden in a panicked frenzy. The boy fell to his knees; in a rush felt the pain in his sides, his arms, his shin and his face. The boy wept as he awaited his death tonight.

NIGHT

The boy dared not go near the window. His bed was soaking with sweat; the covers were plastered to the shape of his body as he gripped on to them with dear life. His eyes peeked over the top of the sheets and his head hovered over his pillow. He could hear the noises it makes. Tip. Tap. Tip. Tap. It was the sound of long, sharp nails playfully being struck against the window. They made an almost rhythmic beat and with each one he shuddered. His room grew cramped and tiny; his bed was drawn to the window, being sucked in by an evil force he could not comprehend. It elongated in shape and smacked against the wall. He could feel the window growing larger and looming over him; it arched all the way to the roof. He let out squeals of fear as the room changed around him. Tears streamed from his eyes and he thrashed his legs in his bed. The curtains, his guardian, fell down with a thud onto his face; they swept back and forth as if they were blowing under a gale force wind. The boy screamed as the moonlight smothered his body from the giant window. The tip tapping grew louder. Tip. Tap. Tip. TAP. TIP. The horrendous terrifying sound echoed around the room, shaking the walls with its fury. The glass then smashed, shards came crashing down over the bed. The boy gargled and coughed with the glass in his mouth and over his eyes. Still crying and in pain, he scrambled to grab his inhaler that rested down at the bottom of the bed. He crawled along it, his hands bleeding, his tears streaming red down his cheeks. The wind was howling throughout the room, furniture was toppling over and the shadows from the curtains done a devilish dance around him. He reached out for his inhaler on the giant sized bed in utter desperation. At that moment the monster revealed itself, perched on the edge of the broken window with an inhumane smile on its face. It leaped down onto the gigantic bed and began clawing at the boys arm. The boy recoiled and screamed in pain; blood trickled down his arms to his shoulder. Rolling in pain on the bed the monster loomed over him. The skies thundered in the background and the wind still ferociously swept the room. The monster gurgled out an other-worldly cackle as the boy scrambled up the bed towards his drawer chest that sat next to it. As he crawled to the drawers, the monster now giant in size, slowly followed his every move with a playful curiosity. His fear amused the monster. The boy’s chest caved in, he could feel his ribcage snapping from pressure. His throat was sealed shut and he gasped for air. But the boy couldn’t give in, he had to get the drawers and get his make shift stake. The boy stretched his arm out desperate to get it, his other one immobile from the scratches that burned it with pain. Blood now stained the giant sheets which seemed to puddle under the monsters feet. The monster grabbed his leg and tried to drag him away but the boy fought with all his strength, muster up all his power that he could still grasp and withheld the pull of the monster. The boy grabbed on to the drawer chest. As the monster tried to pull him away the top drawer flew with him. The stake emptied from the drawer and fell next to the boy as he was dragged towards the gaping hole where his window used to be. The boy fumbled and grabbed the stake, still choking near to death he closed his eyes and threw the stake towards the monsters chest.

DAY

“Hey you little –“the bully tried to say. It was the morning, instead of slipping quietly amongst the crowd, the boy walked straight up to the bully with his goons. The boy held up his hand to the bully, his face was filled with an eerie confidence, a look of content. He didn’t shake; he didn’t look to the ground. He stared the bully in the face without twitching at all. The bully was startled, blown away by the sudden resistance. The boy stared him down and clenched his fist. The bully’s goons faced dropped as their leader looked afraid.

“Doesn’t matter” the bully remarked. He walked away with the goons as the boy stared him down. The boy scratched his arm.

When the boy arrived home, plodding along the street, crunching the autumn leaves he saw his mother await him by the door. She stood smiling, with an un-light cigarette discarded on the ground. A smile formed across his face as he leapt into the welcoming warmth of his mother’s arms. The mother shed a tear and smiled while she grabbed him up and took him inside. The boy never smiled so hard.

NIGHT

The boy looked out the back garden, the curtains were drawn way back and the dark sky was clear. He looked down and saw the monster. It was perched at the end of his roof, with its back turned. It was tiny. It didn’t move nor make a sound. It just sat there looking out to the dark horizon completely removed from its surroundings. The boy smirked and shut the curtains over. He climbed into his bed, puffed his chest with his inhaler and went to sleep.