‘Bad news…’ Daddy hung his jacket in the hall and turned to Mummy. ‘The Turner girl's missing now...’
Mummy's normally rosy cheeks turned pale.
It knew what they were thinking. I would be next.
Last March I had my twelfth birthday party with a few very special friends. All my friends, save Christabel, have gone, disappeared.
Mummy’s concerned, but she was never close to me as she was to my elder sister, golden-haired Melanie. Her green eyes were forever sparkling, her rosy cheeks just like Mummy's. She broke her back when she fell from the attic ladder. I was the last to see her alive. I cried, upset at losing my best play-friend.
Later, Mummy and I seemed to get closer. But I still felt she wanted to love Melanie, not me. They’d been so close.
We live in this old windmill. The tower has a kind of rotating cap for carrying the sails, which are now still. The gigantic gearwheel on the top floor has been removed, though the spur wheel, stone nuts and grindstones are still in the cobweb-filled lower portion, which I call the mill-room.
I think the hiding-place I found beneath the mill-room's trapdoor was used to conceal contraband from the Preventive men.
My surprise for Mummy is nearly finished. It demands more of my time and my absences are certainly becoming of concern. I keep most of my projects in the meal and grain bins in the mill-room. I fear Mummy is beginning to smell something...
Tonight, I'll finish my project, won't I, Christabel? Your gorgeous green eyes perfectly match Sally Turner's beautiful golden hair and Angela's lovely rosy cheeks and my very best friend Maud's heart...
Just like Melanie.
Mummy will be pleased!
My entry, when I was writing as Platen Syder in those days, received a ‘mention’, which reads: ‘As Agatha Christie realized in one of her books, children can make the most sinister of villains. The child, the epitome of innocence, when endowed with evil, is transformed to an unnatural and terrifying being. Platen Syder’s Jane was one such character, a cold, methodical girl, and a clever creation. Mr Syder was the only entrant to realize the full potential of this approach.’
As a longer short story, ‘Oh, what a wonderful surprise!’ it was published in Flickers ‘n’ Frames in 1990.
BLOOD OF THE DRAGON TREES and SPANISH EYE available from Crooked Cat Publishing, Amazon et al...