Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Comedy of Errors (not about the play) (08/18/11)
TITLE: A Foggy Turnabout
By Sara Harricharan
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It was freezing and it was far too windy for her original idea. She drew the strings of her white hoodie tightly beneath her chin. Inching along the intended pathway, Mena made her way to the fenced off rectangle at the side of the hill.
The angle of the hill provided some shelter from the rushing wind. “Papa, Mami.” She murmured, setting down the lunch hamper and dropping to her feet in a rather unladylike slump. “I really hope you appreciate this.”
“I don’t like this, Jim.” Sharon grabbed her boyfriend’s arm for support. “It’s really creepy in here.”
“It’s just a graveyard.” The tanned fellow smiled. “There’s no such things as ghosts. We’re just here to look for Timothy’s-”
“I know, I know. Why don’t they build them with GPS?”
“They do, but it’s not working. He thinks something’s blocking the signal, but it’s a tablet—if the dew caught it, this is pointless.”
“Why can’t he get it himself?”
“Because he’s looking elsewhere.” Jim tugged her close, wrapping an arm around her shivering shoulders. “Besides, this was the smallest area to search.”
“It’s the creepiest.” Sharon pouted. “Why didn’t we bring flashlights?”
“Lights along the pathway.” Jim reminded her, the soft glow of white LED torches added a somber touch to the eerie atmosphere. “You can see far enough, let’s check around this hill okay?”
Sharon gulped. “Right. Hurry up, okay?”
“It’s freezing, Papa.” Mena grumbled, rummaging through the hamper to produce a compact, metal tripod. Her teeth chattered as she went about setting it up. A few careful spikes in the dirt helped to anchor the item as she scowled into the wind.
“Really is cold. Huh.” Mena drew out the camera and set it carefully atop its designated position. She fiddled with the controls and blew on her shaking fingers.
“Did you hear something?”
“I didn’t hear anything, babe.”
“I heard someone.”
“There’s no one here but us. Keep looking, if it’s here, then we can go home and-”
“I could’ve sworn I heard someone say Papa…”
“Oh fine, it’s not here!”
Mena fiddled with the controls, relieved when the camera whirred to life. She set up her little gadgets, preparing for the Skype call about to be placed.
A squint at the still blank sky drew a frown, but she continued. The fog usually wasn’t a problem. Her flashlight tumbled out from the mess of knickknacks and Meena snatched it up from the ground.
“Jim!” Sharon yelped. “I saw a face.”
“A face?” Jim ambled over. “Sharon, we own this cemetery—the land, anyway. No one enters without our permission, there wasn’t one scheduled for today—and we don’t have regular visiting hours. There’s no one here but us, how many times do I have to tell you that?”
“Jim?” Sharon’s white face paled to the shade of the grey fog.
Mena tapped the flashlight, relieved when the flickering gave way to a steady beam. She clicked it off and turned her attention back to the camera.
She rubbed her aching ears—a reminder to work faster. Drawing out her smartphone, she began the tedious connection process, placing the call to her parents.
“Mami? Papa!” She cheered. “I made it to Granda’s grave today, just like I promised you, see?” She swiveled the camera, waving at the faces smiling back. “Is everyone ready? I’m going to start the music in a moment.”
“That was a face.” Jim breathed.
Sharon squeezed his arm tight.“If there’s no one here-” she chattered.
“There’s no such thing as ghosts.”
“Are those—drums?” Jim gulped. “You know, maybe-”
“Yeah.” Sharon began to pull him away. “I think we’d better.”
Music exploded in the silent graveyard.
Jim turned and bolted with Sharon right after him.
Mena closed her eyes, listening to the familiar song. A haunting quality touched it, for it was only played at funerals. This moment remembrance was priceless. She wiped icy tears from her face, bidding her parents farewell.
Dismantling the complicated apparatus, she rubbed her hands together to warm them. A few sounds caught her ears, but looking up, she could hardly see much of anything.
Fog had thickened.
With a shrug, she repacked her hamper.
“Happy birthday, Granda.”
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