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Short Story from an English Teacher

Popularity 6Viewed 2538 times 2016-4-30 11:25 |System category:News| teacher, English, readers, minimum, school

Dear readers,

I teach the South Australia Certificate of Education (SACE) to grade 12 students in the International College of my school. As the Senior English teacher at my school, students in SACE must write a piece of descriptive prose/short story (minimum 500 words). For this year's class, students are to write in the genre of suspense with the introductory line of "it was a dark and stormy night..."
(cliche, but apt for this assignment.)

Anyways, here is my story. I though I would share it with China Daily's Forum for all the English Language Learners and fans of Creative Writing in general. Hope you like it!

Archibald Chapman’s Lament

It was a dark and stormy night and Sir Archibald Chapman was sitting slumped at his big oak desk in his old estate home in the Lake District of Northern England. Archibald, or “Archie”, as his schoolboy mates called him in his younger years, was old and gray now; a thick beard and mustache covered his upper lip and his eyes were cold and chiseled like blue ice. As the large grandfather clock struck 11 o’clock, he tried not to remember the thoughts that were dancing like tiny devils in his mangled mind; thoughts from the fire that happened in this very house that took the life of his granddaughter, Alice, 5 years prior. While most of the damage from the fire had been repaired, the discomfort and tension he felt with his son for leaving the stove on all night after drinking his late night brandy was still with him in perfect memory. Archie was now 73, and widowed. His wife had died of breast cancer in her fifties, and his estranged son was really the only family he had left. He hadn’t spoken to his son since Alice’s funeral, and was no longer invited to Christmas dinners or any family occasions.

As he sat at his desk, he looked at the piece of paper which was to be used as a letter for his son in plea of reacquainting himself with his family. Archie knew that he wouldn’t live much longer; his lungs blackened from years of hard pipe-smoking and a fatty liver that was soaked in whiskey and brandy from nights of trying to forget that fateful fire from 5 years ago. “Unnggghhh…” Archie lamented, as he looked out the big French windows that were being pitter-pattered from the heavy rain outside. He knew that the Lake would most likely be flooded tomorrow morning and the waters would rise enough to drown out the backyard garden. He put his pen down and closed his eyes, hoping that the loud booms and crashes of thunder and lightning would help him evade his memories.

Archie then picked up his old lacquer pipe and took a long draw of his cherry tobacco. He exhaled the fumes in a soft sigh and coughed raspily; his eyes glazed over the only way eyes could from a heartbroken, 73-year old man. He poured himself a glass of Brandy and sipped it slowly.

Suddenly, he saw the strange shadow of lights flickering on the wall beside the window. He glanced back slowly with one crooked eye and noticed the bathroom door half open. The bathroom light flickered on and off one more time and finally stayed on. “That’s peculiar,” he thought. No one else was in the house, nor had been for months. Archie slowly got up from his chair and quietly crept towards the bathroom. He peaked in through the door and looked around. There was nothing. Archie’s mind began to wander and think of any plausible explanation as to how the light got flicked on. “Nonsense,” he grumbled, flicking the light back off and closing the door.

Archie walked slowly back to his big, comfy chair in front of the window. Just as he was about to sit down, the bathroom light began flickering again wildly, faster than before. Archie’s glazed eyes widened when a loud crackling sound came from the bathroom…he turned around and quickly ran back as fast as a 73-year old man could. “Goddamnit! Who’s there!” he exclaimed. He swung the bathroom door open with the lights still flickering on and off…the switch moving uncontrollably by itself. He looked to his left to see the bathroom mirror cracked into pieces. He tip-toed over to the mirror trembling and looked in it gasping out of breathe. As he peered in the cracked mirror, he did not see his own reflection. Looking back at him through the mirror was the face and small figure of Alice. Pale and white… ”Grandfather…let’s play hide and seek...” she whispered to Archie…

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (6 comments)

Reply Report HailChina! 2016-4-30 19:57
I remember having to do a creative writing section in my year 10 English exams that was basically the same thing. I wrote about an old lady that was waiting on a phone call from family that were travelling in the storm  to let her know they got home safe. They were late calling and she keeps worrying about what might have happened to them. It was before everyone had mobile phones. My teacher thought it was good.

I like your story. I thought that maybe the son had gone Jason Vorhees or something maybe because he felt that he was treated unfairly. Accidents do happen after all. Child ghosts are freaky hey.
Reply Report voice_cd 2016-5-1 10:01
Thank you very much!!! we have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report SharkMinnow 2016-5-1 12:51
voice_cd: Thank you very much!!! we have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report SharkMinnow 2016-5-1 13:01
HailChina!: I remember having to do a creative writing section in my year 10 English exams that was basically the same thing. I wrote about an old lady that was w ...
Ha! alternate ending with the it!
Reply Report AndrewCraven 2016-5-1 22:46
I like the most part except the last two sentences. For me, it is really scary.
Reply Report teamkrejados 2016-5-2 09:04
OOHHH!!! Creepy, chilly GOOD!!!

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