Short Story: The Standing

Hana and her father were eating sushi in the car - hiding from the rain - when they found out that Grandpa had died. 

2 weeks later, to the day, she was stepping out the same car and looking up at what used to be her Grandpa’s house. She hadn’t been here for about a year. Her driving lessons were going slowly and her father wouldn’t bring her. She didn’t know why. 

There was a stench of smoke and ammonia emanating from the house. Hana was already crying as she crossed the threshold. Her father gazed her up and down and said “We’re just going to have a look around and see what we can find. Let me know if there is anything you want to keep.” 

They spent time downstairs together. They reminisced about Grandpa. She learnt how he was in the Navy; how he was an avid painter and gardener. The day was warm and sweaty so they had the doors open and the calming breeze brought Hana and her father closer together. 

“How did he die Dad?”



“Yeah, he was found in the attic. On his back with water in his lungs.”

“How does that happen?” 

“I’m not sure. I think he might have passed out and a leak in the roof poured in…y’know it’s not worth thinking about.” 

Her father went upstairs to look for more items. Hana was sat with her knees crossed with photo albums and photos all around her. A scarf landed on her head. Her father had thrown it from upstairs. It was her Grandpas. She hugged and held the scarf. She wore it and fell asleep on the warm sunlit floor surrounded by memories. 

She awoke to the chill of the night-time air. The moon gleamed off the photos which were blown all across the floor. The front door still wide open. 


No reply. 

She ran over and looked out the front door. The car was still there. She shut the door and slid across the floor. Every room on the ground floor was the same as it was before she fell asleep. She shot upstairs and stood still as she saw the attic ladder was down. 


No reply. 

She looked up and there was a faint light. She crawled up the ladder step by step not wanting to poke her head up incase something grabbed her. Mental images of two extremely long clawing hands reaching from the darkness and pulling her head clean off as if it was a football. She finally peered over and saw a lamp at the far side of what looked like a storage room. She turned and saw on the other side of a bookcase some legs standing upright. They were shaking slightly - strained. Hana clambered and edged her way over. Trying to see who those legs were attached to.


“guurghh.” An extremely quiet gargle.

She finally made it round the bookcase and saw her father stood planted; his eyes aghast staring forward past her. Hana grabbed him by the sides and tried to move him but he was standing firm. He was steady and unmoving. Her father was trying to speak but he sounded as if he had a mouth full of water. She tried to pry his mouth open but to no avail. His eyes were darting from her to something behind her and back to her - frantic. She slowly turned and saw a painting. It was a painting of a shadowy figure stood looking out art the waves. It reminded her of that famous painting: Wanderer above the Sea of Fog. She could hear her father gurgling but didn’t want to look back at him. She was sure she could see the man in the painting begin to move. And he did.

The figure turned slowly, it’s arms began to elongate and sharpen. A hollow space where a face would be looked back at her. The face knew her and she had somehow always known it. She couldn’t feel her body anymore. The figure walked towards her in the painting and then with it’s long arms pulled itself out of the frame. She could see it was wearing a black cloak but it was still just a shadowy hollow creature. As the creature stood upright at around 7 feet tall it sighed from its open maw. It’s cloak dripping. 

The shock of the situation hit her and she wriggled and writhed but her body would not move. She tried to scream but her mouth stayed shut - the sound muffled. The shadowy figure caressed her on the face as it walked past her to her father. She could not turn her head but could hear him gargling more and more. Then he fell silent and his body fell forward into her peripherals. 

She could feel her heart beating for she knew it was in the room with her but she could not see it. Just the dripping of the water from it’s cloak. Then she felt a drip on her forehead. She tried to look up but couldn’t. staring forward the long shadowy fingers began to surround her vision. As if the hand was grabbing her from behind the head. Another hand reached round and pried open her mouth. Her mind was clawing for an escape - a belief that this was all a dream or some prank. The hollow face slowly peered round from her peripheral. She could feel it looking at her even though it had no eyes. The hand that pried her mouth open was now cupped and full of water and it began pouring it down her throat. There was a sense of relief now; she was resigned to her fate. 

Hana was left standing - with her father at her feet - when she knew that she was going to die. 

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