Saturday, July 15, 2017

Short Story - Little Amy and the Baboon

Little Amy, aged 10, walked up to the grocery store. It was another Saturday morning when her mother as usual had forgotten to go for grocery shopping. She reached the grocery store and pulled out a list. Tomatoes, Celery, Broccoli, Capsicum and Corn, the usual. She pulled out a wad of bills and paid. As she was walking back home, she felt something tugging at the celery. She pulled the celery, thinking it was one of the audacious kids down the street. She heard a screech. She whirled around to find a baboon tugging hard at the celery. This was astounding. She had never seen a baboon trotting down Wellington lane, New Jersey. She started tugging back, refusing to let go. All of a sudden she saw the baboon’s appearance change. The baboon was looking at her. His appearance had changed. His grey fur was falling off, revealing patches of skin that were strangely red. His eyes were bloodshot, and his teeth were looking sharper than before. A red liquid was smudged near his lips. He seemed to have grown long, sharp talons that were piercing into the celery. The baboon scratched her using his talons. She let out a piercing shriek. She let go of the celery and ran.

She reached home, and somehow managed to babble a garbled version of the story to her confused mother. She was about to point out the claw marks on her arm, but when she looked down, there were no marks! Her mother took her to be disturbed by something and started taking her to the psychiatrist. Her psychiatrist tried to talk the idea out of her head of a creature. After two weeks, she felt better and was back to being carefree. She still had nightmares about it, but they too slowly faded. A month later, her school was taking them to Camp Greenwood, a camp near her school. Her mother allowed her, and she was off to camp. She enjoyed her first day, savoring every moment she spent there with her friends. The day passed and it was now nighttime. Everyone at camp was asleep, and she had decided to get herself a snack, as she had only eaten one slice of the woodfire pizza they had cooked. As she was slowly making her way to the kitchen, she heard a familiar screech. The same high pitched unearthly screech that had struck terror in her heart.

She steeled herself and slowly crept towards the kitchen. She saw the same baboon sitting in the kitchen grabbing celery from the Vegetable stack. This puzzled her. Monkeys usually ate any vegetable given. She had never seen a monkey as a picky eater. The monkey had apparently not noticed Amy, so it continued searching for celery. After he was done, he crept towards the kitchen’s back door. This time Amy followed. She couldn’t believe she was doing it, but her curiosity got the better of her. The monkey walked towards the woods. Shivering with fear and excitement, she stalked the baboon. It continued along a long road. It stopped at a burrow, and jumped in. Amy jumped in too. The burrow was narrow, so she felt cramped up sliding through it. At the end of the burrow stood a fearsome sight. There was a humungous castle that sprawled across the landscape, that looked like it was coated in... tomato juice? The monkey headed towards the palace and entered it. At the entrance was a sign that said ‘Beware! Don’t enter Little Johnny’s property’.

She remembered a folktale she had heard. Her mother used it to threaten Amy to sleep. Little Johnny was a mythical baboon that was said to harm little kids, and loved tomato juice. Celery was its diet. She opened the door with shaking hands. The palace was magnificent from the inside. It was lavishly furnished. She ran across the hall not wanting to lose Little Johnny. Little Johnny stopped at a room and went in. Amy crept inside unnoticed to find the room filled with celery. She accidently stepped on a celery stick, tripping over it. Little Johnny froze, and turned around menacingly. She gulped. She was in big, big trouble.

Little Johnny looked livid with fury, making Amy wonder whether he could get so worked up that his eyes popped out of his head. Little Johnny advanced upon her, ready to strike a fatal blow. Amy’s mind started working like clockwork. She had barely a few seconds before the crazy baboon ripped her to shreds. She desperately started thinking about something that might end this creature once and for all, and save her neck. “Everyone has a weakness. I just need to find it.” She thought. It suddenly struck her. Her mother had told her, “No one knows what Little Johnny fears, but a riddle is there that tells us about his weakness. It says, ‘An element it is, which bows before water and is stroked by the air.’” When she was small, she was puzzled with the riddle. Now it seemed too obvious. It was fire. She spotted two pieces of coal sitting in a corner. She had an idea, and she hoped it would work.
“Hey! Little Johnny! Come and get me!” She shouted. Little Johnny stopped. Clearly, no one had challenged him. He looked confused for a few seconds, and that was all she needed. She dashed to the pieces of coal, and started to strike them. At the first try, nothing happened. When she tried it a second time, the coals sparked and a merry fire started burning. She threw the burning coals at Little Johnny, before they burnt her hand. They fell on Little Johnny, and he screeched. He gave Amy a last look and melted like wax. Amy laughed with joy. She ran out of the castle, all the way to camp. She narrated this story to her friends and her teacher. They took it lightly, not believing a word. Amy secretly smiled. She had vanquished the creature preventing it from disturbing anyone else. Even if no one believed her, she had a good story to narrate to her sister.

© 2017, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved

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