1st Prize Short Story Winner of the Margret Cech Memorial Writing Competition
‘The Mystery of the Singing Beast’
I stepped out into the hallway, it was ‘singing’ now, whatever it was… I had been waking up at three o’clock for the last three mornings hearing noises like a bird, or another animal trying to sound like a bird. I thought I was imagining it the first time, but now I realize it was repetitive. It happened every morning, same time, same sound, and I was determined to find out what it was, determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. I crept stealthily along the hallway, not wanting to wake-up my parents, and I was turning the doorknob slowly when…
“David, what are you doing?” A calm but stern voice said to me. I jumped, startled to hear a voice other than my own this early in the morning, and turned around to see my father with cup of water in his hand.
“Uh… um… nothing” I stuttered. Dad peered at me over the top of his glasses, looking at me suspiciously he place his cup on the table, and came over to me. He patted my back. “I never knew you to be a sleepwalker son!” he laughed. Smiling we walked back to my room. “Go to bed now, even though it’s the holidays you need your sleep.”
“Sure thing Dad,” I replied, snuggling down under the covers, It was no use going outside now. I heard his footsteps walking back towards his bedroom. I sighed with relief as I heard the door to my parent’s bedroom close. I was disappointed that I hadn’t succeeded, but I knew it would take more effort to achieve my goal… I promised myself I would find out what it was, tomorrow.
“David,” Mum called, “Don’t forget your friend Andrew is coming for a sleepover tonight!” “Yes Mum,” I called. Sighing inwardly, I considered all my plans as busted, Andrew would be here. That evening the doorbell rang, ‘Andrew’s here!’ I thought.
“Hey! Davy-Boy! Missed you man!” Andrew exclaimed drawing me in to do our special hand shake. “How you been?” he asked, picking his bag up off the floor.
“Been well mate, you?” I said in reply.
“Same as always, let’s take this baggage into your room.” He said swinging his bulky bag over his small shoulders and bashing the door into the wall, “Oops, sorry I always do that,” he muttered shamefully.
“That’s true it’s a tradition!” I said grinning, taking the heavy bag off his shoulder and wincing under the weight. “How much stuff did you bring, your whole wardrobe?” I asked as we walked down the hall.
“You know my Mum. Fussed over everything,” he rolled his eyes. “You know more than I do!” I replied…
3:00am the next day…..
“David! David! Wake up!” I did wake up, staring into Andrews’ pale face. “David what is that noise!” He whispered, looking genuinely frightened.
“That is exactly what I want to find out,” I replied pulling off my covers and stepping gingerly on to the floor.
“Where are you going?”
“To find out what that noise is and who is making it!” I whispered in reply. I felt quite heroic really, going out into the dangerous forest at dawn to find the evil thing awakening me from my deep slumber. Not that we had a forest and it wasn’t dawn yet, and I don’t sleep deeply either, but that’s not the point.
“Well I’m coming too!” Andrew whispered, bringing me back to earth with a bump.
“I’m coming with you,” He answered, “You don’t really expect me to stay here, while you go crawling around under branches in the dark at 3:00 in the morning, do you?”
“Fine, let’s go.” I whispered, “But you have to be really quiet ok?” He scrambled up off the floor. He still looked a little pale as we slipped out of my bedroom and tiptoed down the hall, repeating what I had done alone last night. We reached the laundry successfully without being caught, I opened the door and we stepped out into the cold air. The sound was still going, and for ages it was ‘singing’ while we looked. Then I saw it as I was looking into a bush. Resting at the base of the bush, obscured by a rock, was the creature.
“Andrew come over here, I found it, and it’s in real bad condition.” He rushed over and with one look he reached out and gently lifted the animal from under the bush. ‘The poor thing must be starved, hiding under that bush for four days’ I thought. I led the way back to the house. I grabbed a handful of tea towels from the kitchen and lay them out on the kitchen bench. Andrew placed the fragile animal on top of the tea towels. I poured some warm water into a bowl and started to clean him. Under the layer of dirt and scratches, he turned out to be a rusty colour with patches of white and was very cute. Mum and Dad came into the room just as Andrew and I finished cleaning him – we decided to call him Rupert. “Why is there a puppy on my kitchen bench?” asked Mum, surprisingly calm.
“Andrew and I found him under a bush covered in dirt and mud, I think he was abused!” I blurted out. “He’s cleaned up real well Mum can we keep him? Please!”
“ You may keep him until we find something else to do with him. But let’s go back to bed,” Dad answered.
“Thank you!” I called as they went back to bed. I carried Rupert back to my room with Andrew patting Rupert’s ears as we walked. We were both soon asleep with Rupert between us and I was woken the next morning by wet slobbery kisses instead of an eerie song.
“I guess you’re his owner now!” Dad said from the doorway….
This story was written by Phoenix Dark-Scales all rights reserved. It cannot be edited, copied, or rewritten without the authors permission.