Suspense Kids

  Charcoal City was a city like no other. What made it different from others was the sky. Every night, instead of the usual dark blue sky others would have, the sky in Charcoal City would be black. Not just any black, pitch black. Light was an important source for the city.

  Joey and his little sister Ellie lived in a normal house with their parents and their grandmother. Ellie was much loved by everyone as she was a sweet, kind little girl.

  One day, Joey’s parents needed to attend a conference meeting at the office and wouldn’t be back ‘till dinner. Joey’s family had always eaten dinner late. An hour before bed they would sit at the dinner table for microwaved spaghetti or a hastily-made vegetable soup with baked beans.

  Joey had to take care of Ellie while his parents were out. Even his grandmother was out. She had gone to a knitting contest with a group of other old ladies. 

“I’m hungry,” said Joey while rubbing his tummy. 

“But you’ve just had breakfast,” said Ellie looking up from her book.

“I know,” said Joey longingly. “But I’m still hungry. Half a piece of bacon is not enough for me,” said Joey.

“Wait a minute,” said Ellie.

  She disappeared into the kitchen. Oh well, thought Joey. She’s just trying to get away from me. 

  Half an hour later, Joey smelt something burning. He was just about the check on Ellie when she emerged looking triumphant. She was holding two plates of weird, brown, misshapen things. She handed one to Joey who smelt it gingerly. It had a strong, burnt smell.

“Look Ellie, I know you mean well,” started Joey.

His stomach was rumbling but he didn’t dare eat the ‘pancakes’. After all, what could be in it? It might not even be edible. Without warning, Ellie stuffed a pancake into his mouth. 

  He had a weird sensation in his mouth. When Joey bit into it, his whole mouth filled with chocolate. There must have been melted chocolate in the middle. Mmm, I didn’t know Ellie could cook, thought Joey placing another pancake into his mouth. He wanted to tell Ellie that the pancakes were good but he couldn’t talk properly as his mouth was full. He tried to say, ‘your pancakes are good’ but instead it came out as ‘o pancakes are poop’

  Ellie giggled and the pancake she was munching fell onto the floor with a ‘plop’. The sight made Joey laugh and he found his food tumbling out of his mouth as well. After having a real breakfast, Joey and Ellie set to work on cleaning the mess they had created.

  Joey and Ellie were playing board games. They had played checkers, monopoly and ludo. Now, they were on the fifth round of chess. Joey had won the first two rounds and Ellie had won the second two. Whoever won this round had to buy the other a pack of gummy bears.

“Checkmate!” cried Ellie. 

  Joey looked at the board. Ellie was right. His King was cornered and he had nowhere to go.

“Fine, you win.” 

A flicker of annoyance could be seen on Joey’s smiling face.

“What’s the time?” asked Ellie.

Joey glanced at his watch. “Two o’clock,”

“Are you hungry?” asked Ellie.

“Nope,” replied.

“Wanna have lunch?” asked Ellie.

“No,” said Joey defiantly.

“Let’s go outside,” suggested Ellie.

“We’re not supposed to…” said Joey.

“Oh come on,”


  Joey picked the lock on the back door with Ellie’s hairpin. It opened and they hurried out. Joey closed the door and they walked for a few minutes and saw a small field full of flowers. They played hide and seek and tag.

  Ellie sat down on the soft grass and picked a flower from a bush. She held it out to Joey.

“Eat it!”

“Why?” asked Joey.

“I dare you to,” challenged Ellie.

“Nope, thanks,”

Ellie put the flower in her mouth and chewed.

“Mmm,” she mumbled and made a face.

“Serves you right,” joked Joey.

“Meanie,” joked Ellie back.

Joey was about to tell her that they should go home when Ellie said, “What’s that?”

“What?” asked Joey distracted.

Ellie pointed to an electrical box.

“Oh, that’s an electrical thing. You wouldn’t understand it,”

“I wanna see what’s inside it,”

“It’s too dangerous,” warned Joey.

“Please open it,” pleaded Ellie.

“No,” said Joey.

“Oh well I’ll do it,” said Ellie walking to the box.

“No! Fine, I’ll do it.”

Joey walked to the box and fumbled with the latch. He swung the door of the box wide open to show Ellie its contents.

“Ooh! There are so many wires!” said Ellie. “I don’t think these are supposed to be connected.”

  She came forward and unattached two red wires.

“Ellie, no!” shouted Joey. He tried to attach the wires together but he didn’t know which two wires to be connected because almost all of them were red.

“Ellie! Joey! Where are you?”

    Joey recognised the voice as his grandmother’s. That must mean she was back from the knitting contest. He connected two random red wires and assumed that they were the right ones. Pulling Ellie behind him, he ran back to the back door of the house and slipped in when his grandmother wasn’t looking.

“Where are you, Joey?” said their grandmother opening their bedroom door and looking in.

    When their grandmother looked into the bathroom, Joey and Ellie appeared to be reading fairy tales.

  “Goodness!” said their grandmother. “What are you doing in the bathroom?”

“We were reading in here because there were rats outside and we were scared of them,” said Joey.

“Oh, poor kids. The rats are gone now. Out you come,” said their grandmother, ushering them into the living room. “Go watch television.”

  Then their grandmother went to the kitchen to make tea.

“We shouldn’t have opened the electrical box,” said Joey glaring at Ellie.

“Oh,” said Ellie quietly.

  Joey flicked through the channels and picked a channel that was showing their favourite cartoon.

“Sponge Bob Square Pants!” sang the show on the television.

  Suddenly, the lights flickered and Joey could hear his grandmother yelling. Ellie clutched Joey in fright. They saw the Sponge’s face before the screen eerily turned blank.

  Joey ran outside. Ellie at his heels. Their grandmother followed them. All the electricity in Charcoal City was gone. The whole city turned into pitch darkness.

  It was a moonless night. Joey could hear people gasping and screaming but he couldn’t see anything at all. A sudden breeze picked up. But then it became stronger and stronger. People couldn’t light up candles then. Torches wouldn’t work as well. The batteries had expired.

  Not knowing why Joey thought of the things he and Ellie had done the whole day. Ate the burnt pancakes with chocolate. Had a laughing fit and dropped their food from their mouths. Cleaned up together. Played board games. Sneaked out of the house and played hide and seek and tag. Messed with the electrical box and lied to their grandmother.

  Then he thought about all the things Ellie had done. Made him breakfast. Played checkers, monopoly and ludo with him. Became the champion of chess. Persuaded him to sneak out of the house. Played tag and hide and seek with him. Dared to eat a flower. Messed with the electrical box. A sudden thought struck Joey. Oh yeah, I forgot I owed her a pack of gummy bears.

  Suddenly, there was light in the city again. Someone had made their way to the electrical box and connected the right wires together. Thank god! Thought Joey. His parents were also there. Joey turned around to look at his sister.

Ellie was gone.

May 07, 2021 12:49

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