Mr White sat and waited. A *candle burned in the corner of the room. Mrs White looked out the window. But nothing happened. ‘The wish didn’t come true,’ thought Mr White, and he felt glad. Then the candle spluttered and went out. In the darkness, Mr White slowly walked over to his bed and got in. After some time, his wife came and sat on the bed. They didn’t speak. Both heard the ticking of the clock downstairs. It was a windy night, and the house made other noises too: the stairs *squeaked and the gate *banged outside. After some time, Mr White got out of bed. His wife sat silently. She stared into the dark. Mr White found some *matches. He lit one and went back downstairs for a candle.
The wind still howled outside. At the bottom of the stairs, the match went out. Mr White tried to light another. Then he heard it. At first, he thought it was the wind. But it was a knock, a soft knock: the sound of *knuckles against wood. *Terror flooded through Mr White’s body. He dropped the matches on the floor. He stared at the door. The knock came again. This time, he turned and ran up the stairs to his room. He closed the bedroom door, but there was another knock from downstairs.
‘What is that?’ Mrs White cried.
‘Nothing,’ said the old man.
Another knock. This time, it was loud and heavy.
`It’s Herbert,’ said Mrs White. ‘It’s him!’ She ran to the bedroom door, but Mr White stood in front of her. He took her by the arm and held her. ‘What are you going to do?’ he shouted.
‘It’s my boy. It’s Herbert,’ she cried. `I forgot the cemetery was two miles away. Why are you holding me? Let me go, I must open the door.’
`No please,’ *begged Mr White, ‘don’t let it in!’
‘Are you afraid of your own son?’ screamed Mrs White. ‘Let me go. I’m coming Herbert… I’m coming.’
There was another knock, and then another and another. The old woman broke free of her husband and ran down the stairs. He called after her, but she didn’t stop. He followed her and heard the first *bolt on the door start to open. ‘Come quick,’ his wife cried, `I cannot free the second bolt. It is too high.’
But Mr White did not come to help her. He wanted to find the monkey’s paw. He wanted to find it before the thing outside got in. More knocks at the door: long, slow and loud. Mr White looked up and saw his wife put a chair against the door and stand on it. His wife began to pull at the second bolt; but at the same moment, Mr White found the monkey’s paw, and he made his last wish.
Suddenly, the knocking stopped. Mr White heard the bolt slide, the chair go back and the front door open. Then the cold wind howled, and so did his wife. He ran to the door.
Outside, there was nothing but a quiet, empty street.
Adaptation by EFLshorts.com
*candle – a long stick of wax
*squeaked – a high-pitched sound
*banged – hit together nosily
*matches – thin pieces of wood for lighting fires
*knuckles – the bony part of the fist
*terror – great fear
*begged – pleaded
*bolt – a large, metal pin that is used to stop a door from opening