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Teen Read Week Short Story: “Monica Chey’s End”

Alina Khamphavong, Reporter

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The beam of Monica’s lantern radiated onto a few misplaced books. From the looks of it, some disrespectful swine had thrown them far from the bookshelves. Grumbling, Monica picked them up one by one. She could’ve sworn she heard the soft crunch of summer leaves against her ear. She thought nothing of it, as it was a cold and windy night after all. She was sure it was just the usual shivering trees shooting gulps of leaves at the windows. Examining the books, Monica spotted one out of place. It was abnormally large and ancient-looking.

She shuffled about, struggling to find a comfortable position to sit in. She set the lantern close by, and unfolded the large book. Monica blew at it, causing a myriad of dust to spray into the air, as if finally unconfined. She let out a harsh cough as she inhaled bits of them, and adjusted her glasses. The pages weren’t in the most mint conditions. As she flipped through, it was as if the papers’ tawny and brindle appearances got worse each turn. She scanned the pages with her index finger and stopped, squinting. This specific page had some sort of wet substance. Monica raised her hand in disgust, wiping it on her thigh. The only print that lied on the page was odd writing. A poem, maybe?

Are you, are you coming to the tree?
Where dead man called out
for his love to flee.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
if we met at midnight
In the hanging tree.

Those few words left shivers down her spines. Freaky. But before she could close the book, spirals of leaves and vines swathed her face! Her arms flailed as she scrambled about, sending her lantern flying and crashing into the bookshelves. Struggling and thrashing was no use, as the trailing plant laced around her entire body! “Help! Someone!” Monica’s muffled screams could not be heard. Not a trace of human life was in the library except her. This had to be a dream, it just has to. Is this really it? Her life flashed before her eyes, vestiges of blood dripping down her nose.

“Is it murder, Officer Harper? Oh, I should’ve never let her do night shift,” Mrs. Chey hysterically cried.

“Please, Calm down Mrs. Chey. We’re trying our best,” Officer Harper assured and suddenly was pulled aside. “What is it John?” he asked.

Officer John’s face was perplexed.

“This case is strange, Harper. It couldn’t have been murder, because her neck is not stained with any finger prints. All that lies here are these vines. Maybe it was suicide?” Officer Harper glanced down at the blood stained book beside her.

Are you, are you coming to the tree?

“Weird book,” he thought.

He had warned her.

Officer Harper jolted. “Did you hear that?”

Officer John shook his head, “Nope. Nothin’. Why?”

Now it’s too late.

Officer Harper rubbed his head. “Ugh… what’s wrong with me?”

Officer John patted his shoulders. “You alright, man?” Suddenly, Officer Harper fell to the ground.

“Officer? Officer!” Mrs. Chey shouted, shaking him.

“Quick, check his pulse!” The two sat beside his paling body. She laid her head on the man’s chest and listened carefully. She gasped. “He’s . . . dead!”

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Teen Read Week Short Story: “Monica Chey’s End”