At Beyond the Box, we are constantly thinking of ideas to give something unique, refreshing as well as challenging to our community of writers. Two to Tango is one such endeavour to encourage the participants to work along with another writer as a team and bring about a creative synergy. 40+ teams participated in Season 3 of this one-of-its-kind contest and the winners were chosen by prolific author Kanchana Banerjee. Below prompt was given to the writers and they were asked to narrate the same story from two different points of view.
Prompt – Write a fictional story in which a book reveals a secret. Feel free to creatively interpret the prompt in any genre of your choice.
The 1st Runners-Up in the kids’ category were Prisha Ambi & Paulomi Babre (Team 9). Enjoy their story!
Title: I NEVER GOT TO BID YOU FAREWELL
Point of View #1 – Phoebe Rodriguez
By Prisha Ambi
I miss her. Why can’t she be here with me? I’m sitting on her bed right now. And I’m out of tears. Her jasmine redolence, with her favourite compact powder, strangles me till I can’t breathe. When I try to walk away, my footing is unsteady, like I am drunk. The thought of that vicious man I called …dad… once, hits me like a whip.
I miss her hugs. I miss her paddling. I miss her study sessions. I miss her scolding, loving whispers, and stories. I don’t understand why Phoenix is so secretive when talking about Mom. She always tries to avoid that topic for some reason. Even though I am sobbing, screaming my head off, and telling her how much I miss Mom, she quietly sits. She tries to comfort me. And then she again retreats into her room, and for some reason, she keeps re-reading a bounded turquoise-coloured book.
At school also, things are no better. Everything is just… normal for them. Don’t they miss eating Mrs. Rodriguez’s famous Belgian waffles? Don’t they feel strange not to have her sing hymns at the church every Sunday? Walking home from school every day without her seems weird. Today, she would’ve asked me: ‘So, how are things between that class topper and you?’ OR ‘Where is that girl… Sarah, isn’t it?’
Nowadays, we barely visit Da–the person in jail, fortunately, for eight more years. Mummy was a strong person–the word ‘was’ seems new and disconcerting to me–how could that vile man do that to my sweet mother?
I was in shock when I first heard the news. So shocked I didn’t believe it. I thought it was just some cruel prank Phoenix was pulling at me until the police came and told me. Within seconds my nose was getting red, and my eyes started twitching. I started screaming and running into the house only to see her clothed body being picked up. I didn’t talk for a week.
Now I suddenly fall on the wooden floor. But it doesn’t hurt. The ground seems shallow. I kneel and pry the plank open, heaving. Inside is a book named, “Untold Secrets!” by P. Rodriguez. I leaf through the first few pages and am astounded! It’s…it’s… about PHOENIX and ME. And mom was… I look up to find Phoenix standing with a pang of guilt on her face.
Title: WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME?
Point of View #2 – Phoenix Rodriguez
By Paulomi Babre
Oh gosh!! Phoebe found the book! She was never supposed to find out about the hard and painful truth of our mother’s death. As she is looking at me with accusing eyes filled with hurt, I will have to tell her everything. “Phoebe, I didn’t tell you the truth because it would hurt you a lot. I had to relieve Mum from her suffering. That cold-blooded man was torturing her till she couldn’t bear it anymore. That’s why we had to stage a murder when it was a suicide.” I opened the book to read out the forbidden contents.
Mrs. Rodriguez couldn’t take it anymore. Her patience had reached its limit. She was mentally and physically exhausted and depressed. She didn’t have any will to live anymore. Her elder daughter, Phoenix was her only confidant. Phoenix understood her problem and, with a heart filled with utmost sadness, helped execute the plan. Mrs. Rodriguez wanted to die but with the satisfaction that Mr. Rodriguez would be doomed forever.
She knew that both her daughters were old enough to live independently. On 31st March she took her daughter out for lunch for the last time as by the evening of April 1st she wouldn’t be there to hold their hands. On April the 1st, Phoebe had gone for a tea party with the thought that Phoenix was doing group studies with Jennifer when she was hiding in the attic!” Tears poured down my cheeks, at the thought of my beautiful mother’s face scrunched up in pain. A grief-stricken Phoebe urged me to continue. “As Mr. Rodriguez went to take a shower, Mrs. Rodriguez took out a gleaming, sharp dagger and after kissing her daughter goodbye s-she s-s-stabbed he-herself,” and I couldn’t take it anymore and broke down.
Phoebe knows the rest of the story as she had returned home to find her mother lifeless and only her dad in the house with a bloody dagger lying on the floor. “You don’t know how much I resent myself every day for doing such a thing but I couldn’t see her suffer anymore,” I say. Phoebe wipes her tears and consoles me. I light some of her favourite jasmine incense to calm my jumpy nerves. We sit down on her bed and let her memories and floral scent float around the room as we hold hands and let her love engulf us…