Junior 1st Prize Winning Story
“The Bus Ride” by Syna Abhishek Morone, Rustomjee Cambridge International School, India, is the First Prize winning story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
The Bus Ride
Clouded eyes bore into the back of an unwavering soul. Righteous eyes turned back to gaze at the smaller figure who had a piercing look. It was a little girl with inexpressive eyes and an insouciant demeanour. The young girl glanced back, not at the young adult, but at her drizzling oxygen stand.
The little girl was called Daphne. She had light ash blonde hair with perfect curls, to compliment her eyes that were as grey as the evening shadow. Frilly laces had been worn around her neck, and a poofy dress to adorn her aura. Her ornaments signified her high status. Her polished black boots gleamed against the sun light. Her face placid as ever, her uncaring gaze pierced through the veil draped carelessly upon her head, it being attached to a classy bow. She seemed like she was eight or nine physically, however her entire being seeped with her maturity.
Daphne moved a few seats ahead to get a closer look at the young adult that managed to spark a bit of curiosity in Daphne’s ice-cold get-up. Though, it was only triggered due to the look of simplicity that this young adult gave. Her wavy auburn strands were pulled back into a ponytail. Big sapphire eyes were looking excitedly through the bus window. Freckles were lightly dusted across her face, and transparent tubes were firmly fixed under her nose. Her small lips were curled into a genuine smile. She was wearing a GAP hoodie and some denim jeans on her fatigued body. She would have moved from the awkward slouching position she was put in, if it didn’t stimulate that much pain.
Daphne was somewhat baffled when this young woman shifted her gaze to meet Daphne’s. “She probably wishes she was me,” thought Daphne, not meaning any bad intentions, but only by judging the longing yet determined look in the other’s eyes. This woman clearly did not know who she yearned to be.
Daphne was the heiress of the Rosewood’s household. Her enormous family always expected gigantic things from her. She learned to play the violin at the mere age of four, and she was currently studying for her SATs, even though she was only nine. Not that it was difficult for her, she breezed through it.
However, due to her success on every task she was assigned to, her family slowly started building expectations. In the end, that’s what haunted Daphne’s nights. Daphne was afraid, so very afraid that she ended up drowning leisurely in those expectations. She knew she could do whatever they asked her to, but there was always a voice in the back of her head making her doubt herself, making her doubt that she was even human. Of course, she induced herself in many activities, but what she liked and hated was a huge question mark.
“Hello Miss, what’s your name?” the young adult inquired, driving Daphne’s thoughts away from her. They chatted vividly and Daphne learnt that the young adult’s name was Caitlin. Caitlin was rather lively, contradicting Caitlin’s gloomy and stern aura. Caitlin’s eyes lit up as she spoke about how she had always wanted to go to Paris, and now that she was finally going. They both instantly bonded over the fact that they’re both going to Paris. Daphne enjoyed being around her, it was the first time Daphne had felt genuine fondness.
Daphne was headed to Paris for a very different reason, and that was to be acquainted with Rosewood’s new cooperates. It was her first initiative as the heir.
Daphne was too invested in her thoughts to notice Caitlin’s face scrunch up quickly and then return to neutral. Caitlin knew the consequences of her “flaw.” It hurt to know that she may not live long, but honestly, she was elated because she still lived longer than most of her kind.
Caitlin waved her hand in front of Daphne’s now distant eyes. This kid seriously intrigued her. Daphne snapped back to reality and they both started giggling at the action. Both of them were battling different types of wars, experiencing different types of pain, one that mentally held someone captive and restrained, and the other that physically smashed the inner clock.
Flowers are peculiar things, they go as fast as they come, but they thrive with delicacy and grace during their time on Earth. Daphne and Caitlin were two very different types of flowers, who did their justice to this world. However, this was just a bus ride, and that’s all it would ever be, right?