The Cry – A Short Story
I stumbled upon two short stories I wrote in high school almost ten years ago. I decided to polish them up and publish them here for fun. It is always fun to reflect on my writings from different stages in my life. I will publish the second story in another post. So, first, The Cry.
Once again I heard it… The sound that made my spine shiver with nerves. Fear of the dark unknown is why I don’t like walking by myself at night. Then again I hear it, that long plaintive cry.
My eyes searched toward the direction from where the sound came. They landed on some cardboard boxes and a crate. I wasn’t sure which the noise came from, and I had no intention of investigating further.
At once I was regretting taking the short cut through the alley from the bar to the car park; I had always felt uncomfortable using it after nightfall. The small alley passage poorly lit with just one single dim flickering bulb was just wide enough for someone to walk through. Anyone could be hiding in the dark alley or car park, out of sight from the high street, hardly visible in the shadows. My fear escalated.
There was that cry again! Hearing the terrible sound had made my senses more alert than ever. Audible above the noise of AC units coming from the different shops. It was a mournful sound of loneliness, pain, and hunger that brought me back to memories past.
Memories that I had hoped to forget, those of childhood punishments; when my mother locked me in my room without any supper. I could hear her booming voice even now after all this time.
She completely fell into a depression when he left, the man who called himself my father. She had always blamed me for him leaving. My thoughts kept pondering if I should do something, call the police maybe. Leave it probably, a voice said in my head, let someone else sort it out; it wasn’t my problem.
Nobody had helped me when I was locked in my room or hiding under the stairs. Me, shivering in my wet pajamas, my cries drowned out by my mothers cursing, yelling, and the loud rumble of the washing machine.
Arh! My thoughts were torn with what to do as the cry went on long and pathetic, rising and falling in sound. It was probably just some kittens. Presumably, the abandoned and unwanted kittens from a family pet discarded by the owner. No… better leave them for someone else, not my problem. I had enough troubles of my own.
I walked farther away from the cardboard boxes and crate, and as I did the thing shrieked more loudly than ever. This time it echoed around the alley, into the car park, and in my head. There was something about it that sounded nearly human. Perhaps it was a baby! A helpless baby shut in a crate. I couldn’t leave a baby shut inside a box, alone in the dark. I knew how you couldn’t breathe, how you began to sweat, and how you could feel waves of panic wash hot and cold through your body. I knew that if there was any chance that it could be a baby… I had no choice but to look inside the crate.
As I started to walk back to the crate, my heart started beating faster, my breathing quickened. Something was pulling me closer; my muscles would not have stopped moving me toward the crate if I had wanted them to. I was within a foot of it when suddenly there was a slight movement from inside, and the crying stopped. It was as if the thing inside knew I was there to help. I slid my finger under the top to open it. I hesitated, then pulled the lid off in the shadowy darkness trying to make sense of the shape inside. It didn’t look like a baby, in fact, the more I looked I could see more than one pair of eyes gleaming back at me. Kittens, I was right the first time, I thought as I reached both hands in to pick one up.
Sharp claws grabbed both wrists, sudden and vice-like. Intense pain shot up my arms. I yelled and tried to pull away. The razor sharp claws pulled back hard, digging into my flesh and forcing me off balance. As I fell into the crate head first, I felt more clawing paws tugging at me, pulling at my hair and ears. I felt sharp talons enter my nostrils, cutting into my neck and shoulders. I could feel and smell warm blood spreading over my body and clothes. Then as the claws pulled the rest of my body down into the darkness, waves of panic engulfed me. I struggled to breathe, the blood roaring in my ears, my shouts of terror began to collapse, turning first into a whine, then into a long plaintive cry.