Senior 2nd Prize Winning Story
“Terrifying Truths” by Tanisha Suresh Khandelwal, Ram Ratna International School, India, is the Second Prize winning story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Being an introvert never boded well for me…for no one like me, maybe because we were meant to be bold and open, fearless.
Though, my life was pretty tangled back then, I, being the stupid me, accepted to go on a date with the most popular and voguish guy on the campus, Nate. Wow, talk about being an introvert! I couldn’t help but say yes to his chiselled face, with curtains of blond hair covering his scarred forehead and warm, sparkling sea- green eyes that charmed me. I was in awe with him.
And then came the date night…
Though the ‘Saltwater’ café stood right in front of my house, I had never visited it, for it gave me sad vibes, reminding me about all that I could not have, including the normal life with a lot of friends that I always wished for; nevertheless I was always intrigued by the adventures of my life, more or less like a roller coaster. That day, for some reason, the Marie Lue street stood strangely empty, dark and erratically hush, the canopying trees swayed as billows of wind cut through my face, tangling my blonde, thick hair. As I pushed the handles on the French doors of the café, it started pouring, cats and dogs, making the night pitch dark, and there it was, bolts of lighting struck. Great, I thought as I looked up in the sky, is that some kind of blessing, dad?
I walked in, with grace and confidence, saying myself “This is probably your last date and the last time you talk to the love of your life, before the world ends, make the most out of it,” and there it is. Yes, I did love him, ever since I was 13, and probably he’d like me to, if I didn’t mess up which I always did. There he was, sitting on the table right besides the big glass window, his abyss sea-green eyes glistening in the light of a candle lit on the table. I had dressed pretty subtly, jeans and top with a delicate piece of shrug gifted to me by my- my paternal relatives, a shrug crafted to narrate the ancient Greek stories. I wore simple trainers for footwears, as heels was not an option, given the current circumstances. Something stuck to the back of my jeans, oh, my dagger…which I knew was not visible to normal people, still I had hidden it behind my shrug.
I felt radiant, though I was not sure why!
I walked up to Nate, and took my seat.
To my left, on the dance floor, couples danced on the tune of an old long they surely didn’t know the lyrics of, yet the men didn’t give up and tried their best to match their lip-sync.
After a few seconds, Nate broke the awkward silence “Thanks for coming and not dumping me!”
“Why? Have a lot of girls done that to you?”- and that’s how I destroy my dates. Though he chuckled, I knew I shouldn’t have asked that question; to add to my misery, I made it even worse when I became so busy staring into his intensely bewitching eyes that I ignored his question.
“I have ordered coffee for both of us, do you want something else…uh…Caitlyn? Hey!” I snapped out of it, my dreamland.
“No thanks, coffee would do.”
I had messed up my date already, plus cold, apprehensive feelings crept into me, and then struck another bolt of thunder and lightning across the sky, and that was me, getting nervous and losing control over my abnormal powers.
In my nervousness, I totally overlooked the fact that Nate had been talking about something, something I was too busy to hear. “And that was me!” He started laughing and I threw a smile and giggled a little to keep his heart “…now your turn Caitlyn, tell me something about yourself, mysterious mistress,” Nate forced, albeit he knew, that I wouldn’t, still he insisted. Sparks of lightning flew out of my fingertips; I immediately hid my hands under the table.
“Uh, um…Nate don’t you think we should dance?” I couldn’t manage to stop quivering, how would I dance, and then to add to my already miserable and maniacal day, I found my horse, in his Greek armour, looking smart as ever, outside the window, as raindrops bounced of his armour.
That is why I love the lives of normal people, dancing to the beats of an unknown song, oblivious of the fact that in few hours or days, starting from now, the world might fall as a consequence of a war between the Greek and Roman demigods. I had tried my best to explain the praetor of the Romans, and also to the Greeks whom I called my family, that we can’t wipe half the world, including the innocent mortals as a war casualty just for our puny revenge, but it hadn’t worked.
And now it was war time. I prayed silently to my father, Zeus, to stop this war, but he was of no help, as always.
I wanted to hide there, forever, with Nate, and never go for the war. But I couldn’t afford to- I had to fight for peace. Suddenly a lightning bolt struck, I had to go. To my shock, outside the window stood another horse, a flying horse, a Pegasus, in Roman armour. “oh no no no!” I started chanting.
“I am sorry I have to go,” both of us said, together. And there it was, the truth. In no time, tears started welling up in our eyes, as we realized the terrifying truth. Now, I had to stop the war at any cost, by summoning a storm or striking lightning bolts… (don’t ask if I can actually do that, because I can.)
In the moonlight, the scar on his forehead was somehow highlighted. “We have to stop the war, Caitlyn, I love you and I can’t fight you!”