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The Birthday Present

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The Unvirginiser
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#1

Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:14 AM

It was only a few hours until Tommy’s seventh birthday party. The invitations had been sent out, the decorations were up and the magician was booked. Grandma had spent all morning preparing the buffet while Granddad had driven in to town to pick up the cake.
“Tommy, I’m going to go and rest for an hour, but I’ll be up before your friends get here.” Instead of bouncing around the house in excitement, Tommy was sat perfectly still, with the mischievous look in his eyes that children get when they’re about to do something they shouldn’t. She gave him a final glance which clearly said ‘Be good!’, before slowly climbing the stairs. As soon as the bedroom door closed Tommy was up. He shot in to the dining room and lifted a chair. Being careful not to drag it across the floorboards he carefully carried it in to the living room. Above the cabinet, he’d caught Granddad looking inside a black box. This was it, this was the birthday present. Tommy knew it was only a few hours until he would open it, but the excitement was just too much.
“Tommy, that’s Granddad’s box, do-not-ever go in it, do you understand?”
“Yes.”
“It’s where I keep my giant spider.”
“Really?”
“Of course, I couldn’t have it wandering around the house could I?” Tommy hated spiders - the legs, the way they moved, they were terrifying. Tommy was too bright to fall for Granddad’s explanations, in that box was the present, and he was about to open it. Carefully he stood on his tip toes and peered over the dusty shelf. It was there - a little larger than a shoe box - images raced through Tommy’s head of what it could possibly be. His small hands could just about reach the edges, slowly he tried to drag it towards him. He was on the very tip of his toes, digging his fingers in to the sides and pulling. After a few tense moments he managed to pull it close enough to grab. He lifted it carefully and took off the lid, every muscle in his body was tensed - just in case a giant spider really did jump out and eat him.

Tommy was motionless, he was petrified. His mind was frantically searching for an answer, but he couldn’t understand why Granddad would want to get him that for a birthday present. They’re was also some old black and white photographs. He recognised his Granddad’s smile straight away, he was sat on a tropical beach, surrounded by friends who were all wearing their army uniforms and grinning. But one man on the picture wasn’t. He was small Asian man that Granddad had his arm around. He looked like he was in pain, he looked like he was screaming. Tommy knew that the dark patches on his shirt were blood stains, he knew that the people piled behind them weren’t dummies or mannequins.

Granddad was wearing a large necklace - even though he hated jewellery - at first Tommy thought it could be a Hawaiian flower garment, but then he realised what it was. Granddad had a necklace with ears sewn in to it, he counted eight, which was more than any of his friends had on theirs.
Tommy didn’t want his present, it was the most frightening thing he’d ever seen. He picked up the dusty old skull and looked closely at the teeth - some of them were cracked and splintered. For a few moments he just stared, silently. The world where he had a loving, caring Granddad was crumbling around him, and the knot in his stomach made him wish that it really was a giant spider.

Suddenly, he could hear Granddad’s car. He was home, and getting closer and closer. Desperately Tommy tried to shove it back in to the box. He was nervous, he was frightened, he was panicking and before he know what had happened the skull had slipped from his fingertips. Almost in slow motion it shattered, sending white dust all over the floorboards. Tommy’s heart sunk, he just stayed stood on the chair, not knowing what to do. The front door opened and Granddad came in with the cake.

Mokrie Dela
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#2

Posted 04 April 2012 - 02:44 PM

At first i was imagining myself moving the chair to look in the box, expecting to see something cool, and I'm also terrified of spiders so that filled me with trepidation.

After realising that there was no man eating spider, I must admit i was confused - in a good way, curious - about what was in the box.

The photo with the ear necklass? The skull - I want to see the story behind that, and what's going to happen when grandad finds out.

It managed to hold me through out and i'm actually eager to see more smile.gif

The Unvirginiser
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#3

Posted 04 April 2012 - 03:53 PM

That was it, bro.

Ziggy455
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#4

Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:11 PM

I read this in anticipation of the child finding such a present he expected. It proper changed me up inside when I imagined the ear necklace, somehow you managed to flip my emotion from curious to horrified, and I take my hat off to you sir for that, this is how stories are supposed to affect you. tounge2.gif

It was written really well, all I can fault you for is ending it where you did! I want more! lol.gif

Mokrie Dela
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#5

Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:19 PM

QUOTE (The Unvirginiser @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 15:53)
That was it, bro.

Oh man, you dirty little tease!

Seriously though I'd love to see more but even if you don't, well done for Writing something that makes us want more smile.gif

Often my mind would fill in the rest but not here - it wouldn't live up to it smile.gif

Lochie
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#6

Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:04 AM

Wow that twist was insane, definitely wouldn't want to find that in my grandparents house. I did find the beginning stagnant but the pacing caught up towards the end.

Eminence
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#7

Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:15 PM

I enjoyed this - really liked how it captures this simple moment of terror from the perspective of a seven year old. It builds up well, and his initial reaction is brilliant, that mixture of ignorance and naivety, the way it's infused with the dramatic irony of us fully understanding the grandad's dark history, while the protagonist is left in the dark. And then that slow realisation; I imagine it's impossible for someone so young to fully comprehend the implications.

I love the idea of taking something so familiar and adding this dark, fresh - yet completely believable - twist to it. It's something you might not often think about - whether your grandparents have engaged in such dark activities. But all the way through, I could totally picture this happening, and probably changing the kid's view of him forever.

Really nice short, Will.




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