Story Contest 2020 #2 Highly Commended »

Highly Commended Story - The Quest

“The Quest” by Aaditya Gandhi, The Winchester School, UAE, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2020.

Aaditya is a grade 10 student at the Winchester School in Dubai. An avid reader, his love for books has inspired him to set up a free community library at his home and mobile libraries in his school's buses. Aaditya is greatly influenced by the literary works of Rick Riordan, Philip Pullman and J.K Rowling and has received numerous accolades for his creative writing. He is a radio presenter, the Environment Coordinator of his school, and regularly writes on social issues for various newspapers and magazines. A recipient of the Diana Award, Aaditya strives to make a difference through volunteering and fundraising for humanitarian campaigns.

The Quest

Siblings Jake and Amy Carrason were ecstatic as they reached the newly built camping site where they would be spending their vacations.

Jumping from the car, the kids raced off to explore the place that would be their home for a whole week. The mischievous duo wandered off into the deep, dense forest. Almost instantly, heavy rains soaked the two children from head to toe, and they dashed into what was the only reachable source of shelter: a crooked, dingy house made out of stale wood. When they entered, they could smell a putrid stench and as they looked up, they were startled to find a weird looking picture of a brain that seemed to be moving! As they got closer and closer, making sure to keep firm eye on it, they felt a strong tug, and with a ‘whoosh’, they were sucked in! Tumbling down, they could see the brain transforming into a living, breathing alive creature! With a raspy, booming, thunderous voice, he said, “You two have a quest, stay in forever if you fail the test!”

And with that, Jake and Amy fell unconscious. When they regained consciousness, they were astonished to see that they were in another realm of the galactic world! Suddenly, they recalled the evil brains’ spell, and wondered what their quest could be! They were actually in the Lost City, faded under the thick fog which engulfed it. Wandering around, they marvelled at the ombre effect of the pastel blue and pale purple shades in the sky, with one luminous, pearly silver moon, and another pitch black one.

While strolling Jake suddenly tripped over a rock. As he bent over to examine it, he observed some scratches made from a knife, engraved onto the rusty rock. It read – ‘Whoever finds our saviour, the Mad Scientist, shall be granted a wish.’

As the kids pondered and asked themselves, if this was their quest, they noticed a silhouette of a mysterious being. As they peered curiously, they saw a seaweed coloured alien sort of a creature, whose skin looked frail and extremely delicate. The siblings thought they were dreaming. The alien’s name was Bumblecheesybee and she approached the siblings with a big, beaming smile; greeting them in fluent English! Flabbergasted, Amy gave a loud squeal! The alien comforted them and after a few moments, the children related the whole incident to her asking for her assistance. Wanting to help the desperate kids, the alien told them of the whereabouts of the Mad Scientist and led them to a tall tower in the midst of a rocky cliff where he was being held captive.

Before they entered the tower, Bumblecheesybee informed Jake and Amy about the evil spirit Boggart, who could change its appearance to whatever one feared the most. The vicious spirit who resided there was now ruling the Lost City and had captured the poor Scientist for almost a decade. Bumblecheesybee wished them luck and hoped they would accomplish their quest.

Petrified to the core, the siblings entered the colossal tower and as they tiptoed through the corridors, they felt uncontrollable wafts of air pass through them. Searching through the labyrinth, they finally came to a room which carried the signage ‘CAPTIVE’. Jake and Amy entered it instantaneously, completely oblivious to the fact that a shadow had followed them there.

Upon entering the room, the children were astonished to see an old man with a ragged white beard sitting on a rocking chair. They guessed that he was the Mad Scientist and approached him to tell him about their situation. He revealed that the Boggart was actually his own creation, and that the only way to destroy it was to face one’s fears. He said, “When you face him, you must think of your happiest thoughts, fighting off your nightmares. Intensely focus all your energy on destroying your fear. I believe in you both.”

Just then, the Boggart emerged from its hiding place, and took the shape of the brain that was on the picture. Ever since they had been trapped and had fallen into the clutches of the wicked character, both Jake and Amy had feared it and its very thought tormented them. But they knew that they had to stay strong and face their fears. With all their might, they focused on the happiest memory that they could think of, which was with their mother and father. Voila! The brain started fading slowly. With all the strength they could muster, they closed their eyes and focused on reuniting with their parents. Finally, with much struggle, they managed to make Bogart, disguised as the brain, disappear completely with a loud pop!

The kids rushed towards the Mad Scientist excitedly and Amy asked him an intriguing question that the two kids had been wondering for a long time. Why had no one ever rescued the scientist in a decade? The scientist’s reply was simple. Jake and Amy were two courageous ‘humans’.

The trio was busy chatting away, when suddenly the brain was back! By now the kids had gotten over their fear and were ready to strike. They were stopped by the scientist who revealed that the brain, who was also his creation, had actually been a saviour as he had been instrumental in bringing Jake and Amy to the Lost City.

The very next moment, both the kids started floated up and as they drifted up through the tower, they thanked the scientist and waved him goodbye. The fog had cleared and the kids saw one final glimpse of the Lost City which was now beautifully covered in most spectacular, sparkling flowers.

In a flash, Jake and Amy were back at the campsite. Frantically searching for their parents, the kids found them sitting in the tent waiting for them. Filled to the brim with happiness, the siblings hugged their parents and excitedly related their experience. They would never ever forget the thrilling quest that they had finally accomplished!

Was this article useful? What should we do to improve your experience? Share your valued feedback and suggestions! Help us to serve you better. Donate Now!

« Back to Highly Commended Stories List