Highly Commended Story - The Ruby Painting
“The Ruby Painting” by Nandika Hiran, Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir, Bangalore East, India, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2020.
Nandika is in grade 5, a student of Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir, Bangalore. She is a person of multiple talents and enjoys learning new skills. Nandika is passionate in drawing and painting. She likes listening to music and is a rookie guitarist. An avid reader of the Harry Potter series, now developing the art of writing her own stories. Kids World Fun Contest is a catalyst in accelerating her story writing talent.
The Ruby Painting
Once there lived three best friends, Cleo, Rachel and Jaaz. Cleo was a talented artist, Rachel was a beautiful singer, while Jaaz was a guitarist. Cleo sells her painting in the yearly carnival and earns money. Rachel and Jaaz also exhibit their talent in the carnival.
One day Cleo sold one of her most beautiful painting to Mrs. Lilly, who was well known to Cleo’s family. Mrs. Lilly was stuck in a seriously tricky situation. She was being followed by a group of thieves! She was a very rich woman and so she had many precious stones and a lot of money. For this reason, she had to keep moving from house to house.
Mrs. Lilly had one last bag of precious rubies. She didn’t know where to hide it. She took the painting that Cleo had given her, stitched open the frame, put the rubies inside and stuck it back. She then wrapped the painting and put it in an old suitcase. Mrs. Lilly had to vacate her house that day, but unfortunately, she forgot to take the suitcase!
After a few years when Cleo, Rachel and Jaaz were walking down the street to the carnival, they heard a cry for help. They went towards the sound source where they saw Mrs. Lilly lying on the ground unable to get up! She was pointing her hand to the direction of the woods. Rachel and Jaaz started to run in that direction and saw a man running with Mrs. Lilly’s bag. They realized that he must have been the thief who stole Mrs. Lilly’s items. Cleo helped Mrs. Lilly get to her feet and took her to the hospital.
Cleo began to panic when Jaaz and Rachel did not return. She informed the police who then sent in a search party. Cleo also joined them. They found Jaaz and Rachel lying on the ground in front of a cave, unable to get up and speak properly. Cleo noticed that Jaaz and Rachel wanted to say something important. However, they couldn’t talk properly because of shock. Cleo took a paper and a pen and told her friends to write whatever they had to say on the paper. Rachel wrote
“The thug escaped into the cave!!! Go and catch him quickly. His name is Leo, we found it.”
While the search party was searching Leo, Cleo went to check on Mrs. Lilly. She was awake and looked like she was expecting Cleo. “Thank you so much Cleo, you saved my life!”, said Mrs. Lilly. “Don’t mention it”, said Cleo. “However, Jaaz and Rachel not able to talk properly is sad”, said Cleo sadly. “Oh no, they are suffering just because of me”, said Mrs. Lilly. “It’s ok they will be fine.” “I have an idea to catch the thief who stole your things. Do you have any other precious stones, and if yes, where are they?” “I don’t remember, let me think….” After few moments Mrs. Lilly spoke again, she said “I once had a bag of rubies, which I hid in the painting you gave me. It is inside an old suitcase, in my vacated house,”. “That was helpful Mrs. Lilly, you will be no longer be followed by anyone”, said Cleo.
Cleo told her plan to Jaaz and Rachel, they both were all in favor for it. Cleo also told the police the plan. Her plan was to find Leo, but not arrest him instead to make sure he knows that she has a bag of rubies, and as a bait it would become easier to catch him.
Soon the search party was tasked to track down Leo, while Cleo went to find the painting. At midnight, when Mrs. Lilly was waiting for her medicine to be given, Leo disguised himself as a nurse and added poison to her medicine. Mrs. Lilly fell unconscious very soon.
By this time, Jaaz and Rachel had recovered. Cleo wanted to tell Mrs. Lilly, that she had found the painting. She went to the hospital. “Ahhhh!!”, she shouted and dropped the painting. Everyone came in to see what had happened. Cleo was almost in tears at the sight of the unconscious Mrs. Lilly. The doctor immediately started giving orders to help Mrs. Lilly. Cleo was still frozen in shock, while Jaaz and Rachel tried to comfort her.
At last Rachel and Jaaz found a way to convey the message. They thought that they could create a song where Rachel would sing (conveying the message), and Jaaz would play the guitar. Cleo favored this idea. She went and asked the search party to help her find the location.
Jaaz, Cleo and Rachel had a plan which was that since Cleo would not be able to call the police, with Leo in her room, she would have to text Jaaz and Rachel, to call the police. The next day, Jaaz and Rachel went near the cave which was their trusted location. Cleo hid the painting in her closet. Leo recorded the song performance that Jaaz and Rachel did and listened to it many times. He realized where the painting was and waited for the time to abide.
At midnight, as expected, Leo came to Cleo’s room and began searching for the rubies. Cleo, who sensed this, pretended to be asleep and texted Jaaz and Rachel to call the police.
“What a clever and wise way to catch the thief!”, said the inspector. “We will soon make him spit out the truth and will catch the whole gang”. he said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart girls. I am impressed with what you all have done for this society. You deserve a huge treat!”, he said.