MS Readathon Ultimate Story Competition
This week I would like to share with you my contribution for the MS Readathon’s Ultimate Story Competition. This challenge is where three chapters are written by different authors and the entrant writes the fourth. Chapter 1 was written by the 2013 winner Maja Vasic, I wrote Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 has been done by Deb Abela. Participants must be registered in the MS Readathon and have raised at least 20 dollars. Good luck! To read the other chapters and for details on how to enter CLICK HERE. Writing this chapter took a lot of hard work. I would love to hear your feedback.
The Heart of Ebony - Chapter 2
Allegra felt a warm rush come to her cheeks as she gazed into the familiar, stormy grey eyes. Hairs stood on her back and goose bumps rose all over her body. She felt like she was suspended in mid-air, looking down at the person who had been her companion for years. “Uncle?” She asked uncertainly, but hopefully, and sprinted towards him.
“Oh, my dear Allegra!” He exclaimed. “I thought I’d never see you again”.
“I-I thought y-you were – we all thought you had –”
“Sweetheart, no-one knows what happened to me. I escaped from a POW camp. Has the war ended yet?”
“Yes, Uncle.” Tears streamed down Allegra’s face as she clung on to him, never wanting to let go. He winced, and Allegra stood back to take a look at her beloved Uncle Alastair. Instead of being active as he once was, he was hunched over and held a crooked branch for a walking stick.
“Uncle, you’ve changed!”
“I know, dear.” He said wearily. “The war affected me. I was captured with my troop and imprisoned. It was terrible there. We were mistreated and only given bread to eat. The drinking water was filthy. Every captive was eager to escape, so together we thought up a genius plan, distracting the guards and breaking out under the dark of night. We escaped. I swam rivers, climbed rugged mountains and looked everywhere, but I couldn’t find home. I ended up in this forest, lost, bedraggled and confused.”
“Have you forgotten about me?” Complained the girl across the room.
Uncle Alastair laughed hoarsely. “Let me introduce you to Maple. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here. She nursed me back to health.”
“Maple? That’s a nice name.” Allegra offered.
“This is getting too cute.” Maple said and then disappeared in a puff of smoke. Allegra watched with wide eyes.
It was only then that Allegra noticed that despite the elegant furnishings, the room was dark and musty. That was when she realised that she was actually INSIDE A TREE.
“Forest nymphs.” Uncle Alastair muttered. “Never know how to take a compliment.”
“Sh-she’s a forest nymph?” Allegra stammered, still amazed.
“Forest nymphs are protectors of the wilderness. If something disrupts the wild - disrupts the system - they try to put things back to normal. And they have quite a big ego, mind you.”
“I heard that!” Came a voice from the next room. Maple walked in, smirking. Suddenly, a powerful bang shook the entire tree. All three fell to the floor and had barely pulled themselves up when it happened again.
“The Heartless Horror!” gasped Maple, her face ashen with fear.
“Whatever you do, don’t go outside,” Uncle Alastair yelled over the repeated crashing.
“The Heartless Horror?” Allegra asked.
“It’s after me, it wants to take me to its master, Sir Peril,” Maple sobbed.
The biggest thud that had sounded yet hurled everyone out the window. Allegra rose, rubbing her bruised rump. She noticed a massive monster head-butting the tree trunk. It stopped and roared to the sky. Allegra’s heart skipped a beat as it slowly turned to face her. A snarl escaped its beak. The Heartless Horror was a beast beyond her imagination, with an orange horn and a set of yellow spikes that set down its ragged back. It stood higher than two elephants stacked together and had razor-sharp teeth. Slimy, green scales covered its body and it smelled like spoiled milk. Most terrifying of all were its red eyes with black pupils staring hard at her as if they could bore through her mind.
Allegra looked around for her companions. Maple was on the ground, unconscious from the fall and Uncle Alastair was nowhere to be seen. The Heartless Horror charged at her. At the very last moment a sword appeared in Allegra’s hand. Her sword. She was overjoyed, but then it came back to her that she had to take down a terrible beast and that the chance of living was tiny.
Allegra clashed her sword with The Heartless Horror’s horn and jabbed at its stomach, missing. It roared so loudly that Allegra was thrown from her feet, her sword flung into the bush. It charged again. Allegra sprung up and moved sideways. She grabbed it by the neck, swung onto its head and held tightly to its loose skin as it screamed with fury. The creature snapped at her, an awful green odour spilling from the side of its mouth. Allegra could not breathe.
“Allegra! Catch!” Her uncle shouted as he stepped out from the bush and tossed her the sword.
Allegra raised her arm, braced herself then did away with The Heartless Horror. The victorious heroine felt sick and relieved all at once.
“Allegra! What a performance!” Uncle Alastair laughed.
“What happened?” Asked Maple groggily, waking up.
“My niece just put up a courageous fight and won.”
“Really? Maybe Allegra does have the heart after all to save Ebony Forest from Sir Peril before he takes control.”
Allegra stared at Maple, uncertain of her future…