Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunday Story - The Playground by Darren Grey

For this week's Sunday Story we revisit January's short fiction contest and the winning story for that month called 'The Playground' by Darren Grey.

The Playground by Darren Grey

“I think it’s a statue of a Viking god,” said Roger, who always liked to get his opinion in first.

The children stood round the tall, wooden statue. The new addition to the park had attracted their attention immediately upon their arrival. Its carven features stared down at them sadly, sombre eyes set above a ruddy face and a long beard.

“Do you think it’s magic?” asked Billy.

“No, it’s probably some god that’s dead by now,” replied Roger, gaining more authority in his voice. “Maybe from Iceland or Scandavianland. Somewhere like that. They have old gods there but no one prays to them anymore.”

The children crowded closer round the statue, trying to detect some ancient divine energy from the dark wood. When no evidence of miracles presented itself their minds began to wander again.

“My dad says it’s out of a movie, one with dragons and things in it,” said Jessika, twisting a pigtail around her finger. The rest of the group ignored her. They’d learned long ago that any statement beginning with “My dad says” means it was made up on the spot.

“It’s probably just one of a thousand statues made in a factory somewhere. There’s nothing special about it.” Victoria’s dismissive attitude broke the spell around the group, and the statue became just a normal object, devoid of mystery.

Victoria walked up to the statue and knocked on its chest. “See? It’s hollow. Probably isn’t even real wood. Just made in some big factory out of plastic stuff and empty inside.”

“It’s not empty,” said Celia in a low voice. The children all turned to her – it wasn’t like Celia to say something without being prompted first.

“There’s a man in there,” she continued, staring down at the statue’s feet as she talked. “He tried to hurt me, here in the park, so I trapped him in wood. He can’t get out now.”

A brief moment of silence settled over the children as they exchanged glances.

“Let’s go play on the swings,” said Roger, pushing Celia’s comments out of his mind. The children all ran off, leaving just her behind.

The young girl walked up to the statue and placed her hand against its chest.

“I can hear you screaming still,” she said. “No one else can, but I hear, and I know. I’ll come visit you every day just to hear you scream.”

She turned and ran off to join the others. The statue stared on sadly, its sombre eyes unable to look away.

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