The Red Pendant
“The Red Pendant” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Rasya Aulia Nathania Nisa, Nobles International School, PRC, Saudi Arabia.
The Red Pendant
It was Irene’s aunt who told her that Joy, Irene’s best friend, didn’t survive the car accident. She couldn’t believe it; the one and only person whom she trusted with all heart had disappeared from the world. Her aunt had tried to hug her, but Irene pushed her away and ran up to her room. She locked herself in her room as tears fell endlessly from her eyes. That moment, Irene needed her mother’s loving embrace and her father’s gentle voice telling her that everything will be all right; but they were too busy signing papers in their offices. She had never felt such loneliness before; all of it was too overwhelming for the delicate fourteen-year-old.
A week has passed since then, today Irene decided to visit Joy’s favorite place, the riverside. She watched the trees dancing in the wind, and the sound of the flowing river made her feel at ease. In her left hand was a pendant that Joy gave her just a few days before the accident. The pendant was slightly heart – shaped and red in color. Irene remembered Joy’s cheerful voice that day, “Happy early Valentine’s Day! I found it in the park, and I thought it looked pretty just like you.” Irene smiled at the memory. All of a sudden, the pendant started to glow. Her eyes widened at the sight, then she heard footsteps walking towards her. She looked around to see who – or what – it was, yet she didn’t find anybody or anything. The footsteps were nearing closer, and her heart was beating faster and faster with every step.
Irene was about to run when a boy suddenly appeared in front of her. He stood three feet away from her; he was taller, yet he didn’t look much older than her. He looked like he belongs in a castle: fancy clothing, fair skin, and a pair of golden round glasses sat on his nose. The boy was also holding a glowing pendant; it was him who spoke first. “The Red Pendant! You found it! Please, give it to me. I-I really need it.” He sounded like his life depended on the red pendant, but it was one of the most precious item to Irene; she wouldn’t let anyone take it away from her. “N-no! Who are you? Why do you want my pendant?” Irene replied, her voice shaking.
“I need it to go back home! To my world! Or else I’ll be stuck here forever. Please, you won’t understand. I really need the red pendant,” The boy explained. My world? Stuck here? That surely was a strange thing to say. But the pendants were still glowing, which was also strange.
Irene was about to speak, but she was cut off when she heard her aunt calling her. “Irene! Oh there you are. I’ve been searching for you everywhere!” She said, sounding so relieved to have finally found her niece. Irene’s aunt marched towards her, then bent down on one knee to give Irene a hug. “Don’t ever go anywhere without telling me,” Irene’s aunt sounded worried this time.
Irene noticed that the boy was gone and the pendant had stopped glowing. Before Irene had the chance to look for the boy, her aunt had already taken her hand and they started to walk home together. That night, Irene lay wondering on her bed. What does he mean by ‘my world’? Could there be another world out there? Irene wondered. I have to find him again tomorrow.
The next day, Irene couldn’t wait for school to end. Earlier in the morning, she told her aunt that she was going to be coming home later than usual; she didn’t want her aunt to be worried again. In each class, she sat impatiently taking glances at the clock every now and then. When the bell finally rang, Irene was the first to leave. She had her red pendant in her hand, and instead of walking home, she walked straight to the riverside. The pendant glowed brighter and brighter as she got closer and closer to the river, and this could only mean the boy was already there.
There he was, leaning under a tree with his back to Irene. It was as if he knew Irene would come back. She slowly walked towards him, the boy then turned to face her after hearing the sound of her footsteps. “I knew you’d come back. Now, the pendant?” He said, while holding out his hand.
“Why should I give this to you? A stranger,” retorted Irene.
The boy sighed, then walked closer to Irene. “You won’t believe me if I explain it to you. Now, please. The pendant is mine. I need it.”
“No! My best friend gave it to me. Yesterday, you said you needed it to go back home or else you’ll be stuck here forever. Explain that to me then maybe I’ll give it to you,” Irene suggested.
“Fine then,” the boy agreed. “Sit down, I’ll tell you my story.”
The pendants now, had stopped glowing. Curiosity got the best of her, so Irene sat down next to him and listened.
“First of all, my name is Andrew, and I came from this world called Erionne. I…er… am the crown prince, and let’s just say being a prince is more stressful than I thought. My brother doesn’t like me very much either. He is jealous of me because my parents seem to favor me more than him…” Andrew paused, then sadness clouded his features. Then, he continued, “One day, while we were out camping, I said something…terrible to him. He lost his temper and pushed me off the cliff then I fell into the sea. I ended up here, in this world because of the pendants that my grandparents gave me. We knew the pendants are the key for a portal and we also knew how to activate it too, we just didn’t know where the portal was located. I need both of the pendants in order for the portal to open. When I lost the Red pendant, I thought I was never going back home.” He looked up at Irene and smiled at her, “And I guess I thought wrong. So, will you give me the pendant now?”
The story sounded odd and strange to Irene, but she remembered that Joy had found the Red Pendant in the park, which convinced her that Andrew wasn’t lying. After all, the universe is truly enormous, there can’t only be one world that exists. Irene thought. ‘Save someone’s life’ was one of the things Irene wrote in her bucket list, now this was her chance. So, she said, “All right, but only if you’d let me help you.” Hearing this, Andrew grinned.
“Of course! I heard the sea isn’t so far away from here, can you take me there?” He asked. Irene handed him the pendant and nodded, “Meet me at the bus station number four tomorrow morning, do you know where that is?”
“Yes, I do,” replied Andrew.
“Great! I’ll see you tomorrow then. I have to go now, goodbye,” Irene said as she waved good-bye to Andrew. Just then, Andrew stopped her, “Wait! You never told me your name.” He stated. Then, Irene’s reply was short, “It’s Irene. Nice to meet you.” She smiled warmly to him then started walking home.
Irene grinned from ear to ear on the way home. She had been having a hard time dealing with her best friend’s death for the past few days, but today was a great day for her. She discovered the existence of another world, and she met a prince! Although, Irene felt disappointed that the prince was leaving too soon, she was happy that she could help him. She was glad that tomorrow was Sunday, she couldn’t wait for tomorrow to come.
When morning came, Irene hurriedly ate her breakfast, she then took her wallet and went out to the bus station. She didn’t forget to leave a memo for her aunt or else her aunt would scold her again. She arrived at the bus station and Andrew was there; he was wearing the pendants around his neck. They greeted each other, then they wait patiently for the bus to come. Andrew and Irene excitedly climbed on to the bus, like little kids. Irene couldn’t believe she was about to witness magic! Suddenly, Andrew looked at Irene with concern. “Hey, Irene. What if people saw me going through the portal?” asked Andrew. “Don’t worry, nobody goes to the sea this early in the morning.” Irene responded with reassurance. Andrew was relieved after hearing her response. Throughout the whole ride, they exchanged stories with each other, telling each other about the world that they live in.
They finally arrived at their destination, the sea. The cold breeze was the first thing that greeted them as they got off the bus. Irene was right; not a single person was seen. The sea was bright blue in color, and the waves were crawling gently to the shore. Andrew looked around then, he was grinning from ear to ear when he found what he was looking for. “Let’s go to the cliff!” He shouted excitedly. He was thrilled to go back home. Irene, on the other hand, didn’t have a good feeling but she followed him nevertheless. The pendants began to glow again; Andrew’s grin grew wider at this sight. The breeze was much colder on the cliff, Irene wished she had brought her jacket.
Andrew and Irene were now at the top of the cliff, Andrew was walking closer and closer to the cliff side. Irene felt concerned, so she tapped Andrew on the shoulder, then she said, “Don’t tell me you’re going to jump off the cliff…. again.” Andrew turned around, and held Irene’s hand in reassurance.
“That’s how you activate the portal, jump into the great blue from the highest level, the glowing pendant will take you to another world,” Andrew sounded as if he was reciting a quote from a book. He continued, “Don’t worry, Irene. I’ll be back in Erionne before you know it! Thank you so much for helping me. I’ll never forget you.” Then, Andrew offered her a warm smile.
Irene didn’t return his smile, instead she asked, “Will I ever see you again?”
“Let’s hope so,” Andrew replied shortly. He smiled at Irene one last time, before running forward and then, he jumped. Irene just stood there watching him, after a few moments, she heard a loud splash. That’s when she knew her new friend had gone back to where he belongs.
Irene would never forget the day she met a prince from another world. That was three years ago, and Irene missed him everyday. She knew the chances of meeting him again were slim, and she was saddened by the thought.
One day, some years later, when Irene was a high school student, she decided to visit the convenient store on her way home. She went to the snack aisle and grabbed a pack of gummy. Irene was too busy reading the ingredients that she bumped into a boy. “Oh sorry,” apologized Irene and the boy at the same time. Irene’s head snapped at the familiar voice, the boy had worn the same golden glasses when they first met. They both smiled unison; they had thought they would never see each other again.