Highly Commended Story - The Voice That Killed
“The Voice That Killed” by Snigdha Priya V, Jyothy Kendriya Vidyalaya, India, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Snigdha lives in Bangalore, India and she has been interested in writing since a very young age. She has written some newsletter-like articles and poems, some of which were published in RobinAge Wall of Fame, and she is currently writing her own horror thriller. Her other major interest is reading. Snigdha’s hobbies include singing, sketching and painting. Her ambition is to become a singer and also an author.
The Voice That Killed
The voice boomed over the city…..none the less, the world. It was deep and harsh, and there was a curiously soft, coaxing, dangerous tinge to it. It was devilish and frightening. 3- year old Raksha was scared of it. Everybody was glued to one or the other news-stand. “Give up. Hand the book over and all will be given back to you.” It said. Her aunt was the queen and she was dying. Her mother was the next of kin. Still, even in her deathbed, she thought of the kingdom. “You are young, Raksha. But remember this forever and ever; the book is burned and the charms must be recovered before doom. Your mother only stands in for you. Meanwhile, save the world……” were her last words.
Raksha never understood those words until she was 15. After reading up a bit of history she and her little sister were to set out on a mission for the city. The world. They were to find the two charms, the Beryl locket, which gave the power of control over aquatic creatures, and the Moonstone Seal, which gave the power to control the thoughts of creatures. So Raksha and her little sister now packed for this unforgettable journey of hers that would unknowingly place her in a precarious position.
“………and the charms still remain buried who-knows-where!” ended Katha. She looked at her tall, willowy elder sister, Raksha, who was doubled up with silent laughter. “I did think I narrated it well.” Katha said. “Oh, yes, you did. It isn’t your narration I laugh at, it is the content! Hehheheee! I’ll tell you the real story. This Wizard- Ormond the Great, to be precise, he stole the charms from queen Zara and all the other guardians and then buried them. Now he is dead, and the charms are lost forever. But if they fall into the wrong hands it means the end of all sanity.” She ended ominously. “But that is what I too said.” Katha moaned. “Oh, no, my girl, you brought pixies and fairies and all kinds of preposterous things into the picture. Anyway, have you found that blessed book? Dear me! Then let it go. We need to find those charms before they fall into the wrong hands!” she flipped her hazel hair back as she spoke. We do not really have any chance of finding those charms- those 2 charms that give the power of control over minds and sea creatures respectively. After all we are only girls of 13 and 15! She thought and a flicker of fear passed over her hazel eyes. She put up a hand to shield herself from a wave of water.
They were Haols, sea creatures that existed long ago, long before the earliest civilizations were formed, before the continental drift. They could shape shift from porpoises to human- like creatures. Magic was prevalent with a swish of a wand and a spell. She got up now, feeling her pocket for her protected dagger. Yes. She took a deep breath and looked back at her city. ‘You are doing this. For Hassaa.’ She whispered to herself and then said loudly, “let us go!
“Do you hear that?” Katha asked. Her sister nodded. She did not make a sound. It repeated itself. “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellppp!” “It’s coming from the brass trapdoor” the two swam over. Soon the door was open. The sisters were very strong. A slightly plump, malicious-looking Haol stepped out. “Hallo!” said Katha. The Haol put a fair finger to her lip. “Not here.” she said. “He may come any moment!”
Later, Raksha sat down on some cooled-down pillow lava. The Haol began her story. “I am Zavala, the guardian of the Beryl Locket, the charm that grants control over sea creatures. The wizard’s Finned Guards are after me for it. They did not know where I kept it so they tortured and threatened me every day. Thanks for saving me, anyway!’ “But now, we still have to find the other charm.” said Katha grimly. “Oh, so you are Charm hunters, too!’’ Zavala said softly smiling maliciously, which frightened Raksha.
They had travelled north quite a long time, when their efforts had any result. Katha saw some sharks flying around ‘Waterfall’, actually Waterfall was a place where sand fell in a way as to give an illusion of a waterfall deep in the sea. “Hmm… something is fishy.’’ said Katha “It is illegal to use sharks as guards. No, do not be surprised. Even from here I can see the spears marked with red. So, it must be something either of great importance or of great illegality. I believe the answer to our quest lies behind that seething cauldron of sand and water and goop.”
A rumbling laugh sounded in the dark cavern. Raksha knew that voice anywhere. It was the voice that had scared the life out of her some 13 odd years ago.
She unsheathed her dagger and drew her wand. Broken! Bother!
Now she had only dagger. She drew it from her pocket. The voice had come from a crevice next to them. She looked to her left. Zavala was gone. “So…….crooned the voice. Lost Zavala? Well, see! She is my informer, and she has got you within my clutches, nosy fools!” Silence. Ominous silence.
“Why do you want us? If you have the charms already, then of what use is our captivity to you?’’ Katha asked. “Ah, thereby hangs an interesting tale. My uncle was Ormond the great. The old fool, instead of using the charms which he stole to advantage, even if he didn’t get the book with the spell to use them he could have saved them for the future. Instead, he destroyed them when he failed to get the book. So, out of certainty that you young girls would be my answer to getting at least the book, so I kidnapped you. Now, down to business.” He smiled. “WHERE- IS -THE – BOOK?”
Raksha stood up. “The book is burned. You can have the ashes, though……..your ashes!” she cried, making a wild swipe at him with her dagger. People like Ormond killed you when they were angered. The guy lifted his wand and shot something at Katha. Time stood still a few seconds as the electric zap headed right at Katha. Then, as if in a dream, a dull, sickening thud sounded. Raksha dropped to her knees. No tears came to her, although she was full of misery. She suddenly lashed at him, knocking the wand out. She then mumbled a charm “mort certainé” she screamed. The spell hit him and fell like something solid. The villain fell. Raksha looked up for Zavala. Gone! Impressed with a sudden sense of danger, she turned, dropped the wand and headed to the lands. To safety.
A week later…….
Zavala picked up the wand lying next to the dead wizard. She spat out an oath. “Revenge!” She said fiercely through her teeth.
Meanwhile, Raksha climbed out of the water, exhausted. Her life was in danger, wherever she went. That she knew. This was her retreat till Zavala came. But when she did, she would be ready for her……….