Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Just came across this while researching a magazine...

The story's called 'The Trickster's Bones' by Kenneth Kao and it kept me hooked from the very beginning. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.

Here's an extract to make you go "Oooh!":

“Nothing,” Dad called back.  “Charlie just wants to talk.”  He closed their door.  “What’s going on, Tiny?”

“Would you come with me to the playground?”

Dad sighed.  “It’s two a.m.  Can’t it wait ’til tomorrow?”

“He died two years ago tonight, and I’d really like to go back.  Please?”  I hadn’t told them that I’d seen Darwin alive the year before.

“You’re going to have to let him go,” Dad said.  “I know it’s hard, but death is a part of life.  We all go through grief, but it’s how we move on that matters.”  He took my hand and held it between his fingers.  “Two years ago was the most frightening day of both our lives.”

“But I didn’t die,” I said.  “And…and Darwin did.”

Dad nodded.  “I know, and I celebrate every day that I didn’t lose you.”

“I just want to visit him, one last time–to help me get over him,” I added.

I noticed that my vision was blurry, and I was crying.  I didn’t want to lose my chance again.  Dad blinked and ran his fingers through his hair.  Then he hugged me.  He pecked me on the cheek.  “O.K., Tiny, let’s go.”

This time, I brought rope and extra flashlights and shovels.

“What’s with all that?” Dad asked.

“Just in case,” I said.

He looked at me curiously but didn’t argue as we walked back to the abandoned playground.  I kept moving so fast ahead that I had to wait for Dad to catch up several times.  Unlike last year, it was dark and cloudy, and the moonlight didn’t show much.  But right as we got there, I spotted Darwin with my flashlight.  I whooped and yelled.  “There’s Darwin!”  I ran toward Darwin, but Dad grabbed my arm just as I was about to pass the invisible border.

“Be careful,” Dad said.  “That’s not Darwin.”

“Yes it is!  I saw him last year just like this.  We played together all night.  That’s why I brought the rope, to bring him home, because last time I wasn’t big enough to drag him home, and then he disappeared the next day.  I think he’s got something wrong with his brain.”

Dad wasn’t listening.  He had a really big frown on his face and was staring hard.  “It looks like…can’t be…”  He twisted his flashlight to see better.

“It’s him!” I yelled.  I tore from Dad’s grip, running inside the playground.  Just like before, Darwin saw me, and his tail went wild as he ran for me.

Dad dashed in front.  “Get back!” he yelled.  He kicked Darwin across the head.

I cried out as Darwin yelped, his neck bending sideways.  Darwin shook his big head and snarled.  His hair bristled. His ears dropped flat.

“It’s not Darwin,” Dad said.  “It’s the biggest hyena I’ve ever seen.”

“He looks nothing like a hyena!  Hyenas don’t even exist here.”

“I don’t know what you’re seeing, Charlie, but get back NOW.”

Darwin lunged at Dad, and Dad swung his flashlight at my dog.  It struck and flashed and went out.  I whipped my own flashlight toward them.  Darwin had grabbed Dad’s hand like he did when he was playing.  Except that Dad was yelling in pain.

“Darwin!  Let go!” I screamed.

Dad kicked at Darwin over and over, and then he tripped.  Darwin dragged Dad across the earth.  My dog was big, but I never imagined he could pull someone like Dad.  I ran forward, but as soon as I came near, Darwin snapped at me.

Dad rolled and almost got his feet underneath him, but Darwin bit an ankle, yanking Dad across the playground.  I threw the rope at Dad.  Darwin somehow intercepted; he caught it between his teeth, and I was thrown to the ground.  By the time I got back up, Darwin had dragged Dad to the playground’s boundary.  Dad screamed at me to run, his fingers clawing at the dirt.  They crossed the border, and like mist, both disappeared.

I still heard Dad’s screams, though, and a hyena’s maniacal laughter.

I ran forward, tracking the ground with my flashlight.  Paw prints evaporated past the invisible line.

The screams abruptly stopped and with it, the laughter.

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