|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|OBJECT||Any Jewellery – Necklace, Ring…|
|THEME||A Strange Day/Night|
We were having a good time at the beach. That is, until a strong gust of wind brought us all down on our hands and sprayed us with sea water. Was there a storm coming? I hoped not because Lara and I had been looking forward to this beach trip for a long time.
Just then Lara splashed out of the rough ocean, her surfboard tucked under her arm.
‘Something weird is happening, Alex!’ she yelled over the roar of the sea.
The sea-shore got dark and thunder rumbled from storm clouds that had gathered above. No way could this be an ordinary storm.
The situation got even stranger when the pale green pendant I had around my neck on a thin silver chain started glowing dimly. Even though it was not a suitable time, a feeling of satisfaction passed through me. I had known there was something strange about the pendant from the day I got it from my Grandpa Jon. I had been living with him since my parents died in an air plane crash when I was two. He would keep telling me that it was just an ordinary pendant, but from the way he constantly told me,
‘Always keep the pendant close. Never lose it. Protect it with your life, Alex’,
I knew it was important- very important, though Grandpa would never admit it.
Lara stared fearfully at the glowing pendant and said, ‘Alex, What is happening? I am scared. ’
I replied helplessly, ‘I don’t know, Lara. I really don’t.’
The darkness spread around us and the temperature must have fallen a few degrees because our breaths started coming out as mist. Lara shivered from the sudden cold.
That was when all hell broke loose. We heard the sound of choppers and looked up to see an enormous spaceship- that didn’t look a bit like anything I’d ever seen before. What with all the metal armour and silver body paint and everything. But it was hovering over the sea and totally looked like it didn’t belong in this universe. And man it was huge!
I looked around to see many tourists, who had come to enjoy a nice day of sunshine and waves, backing away to the parking lot. And I got this gut feeling that I probably should be one of them. But curiosity held me back. I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn’t witness what was going to happen. As I gazed at the blazing trail the spaceship left behind I knew there was something else holding me back from fleeing like the others.
I always knew I didn’t belong here. Grandpa had always tried to act normal but I had soon noticed that the ways of this world and the people here was as strange to him as it felt to me. And I guess I’ve always known that the green pendant around my neck was a connection with my real life. And now that spaceship that held me rooted to the spot- I could tell it didn’t belong here. It seemed unbelievable. But I was sure of it and the fact that my life was going to change forever when I glanced at the pendant around my neck that was glowing brighter.
The spaceship reached the shore. The sandstorm it was creating was so strong that I was momentarily blinded and had to cover my eyes. When the sand had almost settled down, I looked up at the spaceship and gasped in wonder. When I turned towards Lara I think I spotted fear in her eyes.
Pale faced somber looking people dressed in black got out of the space ship. It would have looked like some funeral procession except for the fact that they all had evil grins of satisfaction on their faces- as if they had finally found some long-lost thing. Everything was strange about them. The way they moved, the way they looked around as if all this was new to them, the way they fixed their glances on us- it all seemed so unnatural. There was this guy in the front wearing a long black cape who seemed like their leader. He had this aura of dark power that made the rest of his mob keep some distance. The worst thing was that he was quickly making his way towards us and the rest were following him.
I didn’t understand. Why were they coming towards us? Lara had a puzzled look on her face.
I admit it. I was scared.
When the leader came and stood in front of us, Lara looked at me. Our eyes met we and I made a decision- I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her. The leader observed us. When his eyes fell on my face a chill went up my spine. Our eyes met and I could easily see the evil in him. All the curiosity I felt disappeared. I only wanted to get out of here. His eyes moved from my face to my chest and then stayed on the pendant, half-visible from underneath my gray T-shirt.
He smiled wickedly and said, “Finally. The Laurax. We, Gardors, have been searching for you and that amulet for quite a long time.”
I didn’t understand.
“Commander?” one of the Gardors asked. The commander nodded.
Suddenly the goons behind him rushed forward and started binding us. I resisted as hard as I could. But the odds were impossible- two of us teenage kids against about fifty of them. When they tried to tie my legs, I kicked one of them hard in the chest and that sent him flying backwards. Suddenly one guy struck me hard with something on the back of my head. I collapsed on the sand. Everything around me started going out of focus. My eyes closed. I was in a lot of pain and I couldn’t resist when they tied me up.
When I woke up, I could hear the sea nearby. My head was throbbing with pain. I felt like going to sleep again but I forced my eyes open. I was at a sea-shore but definitely not the one we were having fun at earlier. This beach was deserted and dark. The sun wasn’t anywhere in the horizon. I guessed it was evening.
I tried to get into a sitting position and immediately felt dizzy. My hands were tied together tightly. I tried breaking the bonds but soon gave up. I looked around for Lara but did not see her anywhere. “Lara?” I called.
There was movement somewhere behind me. A Gardor came out of nowhere, grabbed me and pulled me to my feet. He pushed me from behind and urged me to move forward. My head was pounding from pain but I started walking.
“Where are you taking me?” I managed to ask.
“To The Commander ,” he grunted.
“Where is Lara?” I asked.
“Enough questions. Move,” he said and gave me a rough shove. We walked for some time and entered a cave that seemed to go on for a long distance underground.
The Gardor opened a padlocked cell and pushed me inside. I fell on my face and couldn’t move because I felt so dizzy. I heard the Gardor locking the door. A pair of hands helped me sit up. It was an old man with a long white beard and long hair. He untied my bound hands.
“Thank you?” I muttered.
“Call me Jerriah and of course you are welcome, Alex Ryder,” he replied.
“How do you know my name?” I asked.
“You will soon come to understand that you are pretty well-known among my people because of that pendant you wear,” Jerriah said.
That was when I remembered about the pendant glowing earlier. I quickly fumbled around my neck for the pendant and sighed in relief when I found it. Jerriah smiled at me and said “You need not worry about losing the Laurax. No one can take it away until you give it to them willingly.”
What was he talking about? The Laurax? What the hell was that? “I don’t understand. Why do the Gardor want my pendant? Why do you keep calling it the Laurax?” I asked.
“Jon didn’t tell you anything? I should have guessed. He would have wanted you to lead a normal life,” he said.
“You know Grandpa Jon? How do you know so much about me?” I asked.
“I believe the time has come to tell you everything.
You, Alex Ryder, are a member of the Elite clan. And not an ordinary member but the most important of your generation just like your father was of his. You wear the Laurax. That makes you the Keeper.”
“ An honour of course, but an equally great danger. The Elite clan has been protecting the Laurax ever since the dawn of time. Have you ever wondered about the Bermuda Triangle? Well until about 13 years ago, the Elite clan had been living together in an Island in the Bermuda Triangle. The power of the Laurax kept inquisitive people away from our island. The Laurax, the symbol of power of the Elites, balances good and evil. All the power that might harm the world is stored in the Laurax. We never use it unless there is grave danger.
For many years the Gardors have been trying to steal the Laurax. The last time they tried, it led to the destruction of our island in The Triangle. A lot of people lost their lives including your parents, Alex.”
I tried to digest that. I’d always thought they died in an accident.
“The Elites had to split up for their own safety and for the safety of the Laurax. Jon tried to hide you from the Gardors. They have been searching. Now they have found you. You should understand, Alex, that if the Laurax falls into their hands they are going to use its power badly- so badly. Its going to destroy everything the way we know it. And they can’t take it from you unless you give it up willingly,” Jerriah said.
This was a lot for me to take in and I looked down at the ground. I didn’t say anything.
Then the door opened and two Gardors came in and pulled me up.
“Remember, Alex. Your parents died to keep the Laurax safe,” Jerriah said as they dragged me out of the room and through the passage until we emerged out of the cave into sunlight. They dropped me on the sand. I was at the sea-shore again and standing in front of me was the Commander. He radiated dark power in all directions and I felt like collapsing and passing out which wasn’t going to be hard because my head was burning like crazy.
Just then the Commander spoke, “Alex Ryder. The Keeper. Just give me the Laurax and I will let you and your wretched friend go.”
Let us go? That was all I wanted now. I was seriously tempted to accept his offer. But then the thought of my parents and how they had sacrificed their lives to protect the Laurax came to my mind. I couldn’t just give it up after all they’d done to keep it safe.
“No! You are not going to take the Laurax,” I yelled.
“Oh, really? I’ve got ways you know,” he said and nodded to a Gardor. A few minutes later three Gardors came out of the cave with Lara.
“Lara!” I called.
“Alex! Thank goodness you’re alright. I thought…. when I saw them hitting you…” Lara said.
“Lara, I’m fine.We’ll get out of here. I promise,” I tried to console her.
“Hate to break up the friendly reunion,” said the Commander, “but it’s time for you to make a decision Alex. I need you alive but I can do whatever I want to your friend here.”
As if to prove his point the commander went up to Lara and held a knife to her throat. “It would be a pity to ruin this pretty face. You can save her, Alex. Just give me the pendant. That’s all I want.”
I could see Lara crying but she mumbled, “No, Alex. Don’t do it.”
I couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t care if they just killed me but why did they have to hurt Lara?
The commander pressed the knife a little deeper into Lara’s throat and her eyes widened with pain. I couldn’t bear it anymore. I tore off the chain from my neck and was about to throw it to the Commander when Lara kicked the Gardor holding her in his stomach. The Gardor was taken by surprise and faltered for a moment.
I knew this was my only chance. I had to save Lara.
All of a sudden, the Laurax started glowing much brighter and I could feel strength coursing through me. The Laurax in my hand transformed and became a perfectly balanced sword. It emitted a green light and I felt powerful. I charged at the Commander who let Lara go and drew a sword and turned toward me.
I yelled at Lara to go get Jerriah from the cave and then get a boat ready for us to escape. I don’t know where the boats were kept but I hoped Lara could find one. Fast.
I ran towards the Commander. But before I reached him about fifteen Gardors intercepted and tried to kill me with razor sharp swords and pointed spears. But it was as if my mind had shut down. I was not thinking before acting. Sword fighting came naturally. I sliced at them, stabbed, side-stepped, rolled underneath their legs- I didn’t know what I was doing. But it was working. When my sword touched the Gardors it glowed brighter as if the monsters’ life source was being sucked into it and they collapsed. I made quick progress. Soon I was face to face with the Commander.
He looked dangerous, sword in hand and a wicked smile on his face.
I felt confident. I knew I could defeat him and get out of here.
I took a deep breath and stared him in the eyes.
He lunged. Though I had never used a sword ever until that day, I knew what to do. I side stepped and hit him in the chest with the hilt of my sword. He staggered but he quickly sliced at my right leg. My leg bursted with pain. But as he came at me with another strike, I parried and made a quick jab at his chest. He moved a few feet back. Don’t ask me how I knew it but I knew what I had to do.
I took my sword-the Laurax- and pointed it at the Commander and concentrated. The Laurax glowed brighter and it sort of absorbed power out of him. He collapsed. I took a deep breath and smiled in relief. My sword shrunk back into its pendant form and I put it round my head.
I looked around. Nobody was around. Where was Lara? The rest of the Gardors were inside the cave. We had to get out of here before they found out what had happened.
I sighed in relief as I saw Lara directing a boat along the coast with Jerriah also in it. I tried to move towards them but my right leg buckled under neath me and I fell down. I felt weak and tired. The sudden power surge had left me.
Lara docked the boat and ran over to me.
“Oh my God, Alex! You’re hurt. We need to get out here,” she said. She helped me walk to the boat. Jerriah thanked us for rescuing him from that hell hole. Lara started the boat. As we moved away from the island, I had a sudden idea.
“Lara, stop the boat,” I said. She looked at me puzzled. I didn’t know if it was going to work. I already felt so weak. But I had to try. I clutched the Laurax tightly and closed my eyes and tried to concentrate. My head was bursting with pain but I tried to feel the water around me. I opened my eyes and willed the water to rise. It did. Soon the island of the Gardors disappeared underwater.
I sighed. Lara hugged me tightly and I winced with pain.
“Oh, sorry!” she muttered. “You’re hurt, Alex. Lay down for some time. We’ll be at the mainland soon.”
I woke up on my own bed. My wounded leg was bandaged. I still felt tired and my head hurt. Lara was sitting next to me. Grandpa Jon and Jerriah were sitting a little way away deep in conversation.
When she saw me awake Lara said, “Thank God! You’re all right. I was worried sick.”
“Hey, I am fine,” I told her.
“Don’t kid me, Alex. You don’t look fine at all. I still can’t believe all that happened. I mean, It’s just so strange. And you were so brave. Fighting all those monsters single-handed? Where did you learn to fight like that?” she asked.
“It is in his blood,” said Grandpa Jon. “You should have seen his father fighting.”
“Grandpa? Why didn’t you tell me about all this?” I asked.
“I am sorry, Alex. I did not want to lose you like I lost your father and mother. I wanted you to be safe,”he said.
“So are we safe now? The Gardors are dead?” I asked.
It was Jerriah who replied. He said,“Far from it. They will gain strength and come for you again. They won’t give up.”
I sighed. Everything I thought I knew had changed. It was a lot to take in but I had to. I had to be ready.
Grandpa said, “Your parents would have been proud of you, Alex. I am proud of you.”
That was all I needed for now.