Two to Tango by Mishti & Srishti

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 2nd Runners-Up in the kids’ category were Mishti Ahuja & Srishti Chawla (Team 7). Enjoy their story!


Point of View #1

By Mishti Ahuja

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a disappointment for my parents. Well, it’s mainly because I am different. All they wanted was a regal child, a sophisticated daughter who smiles pretty and nods politely. Sadly, this isn’t me.

Long story short, hi I’m Laurel. Not your typical royal child. 

I’ve never told this to anyone before, but I think my parents are criminals. What else do you think explains the fact that pop-pop (or should I say father dear) doesn’t allow anybody in his library?

The other day when I was in my room, wasting time like I always do, I spotted ‘THE ROYAL TIMES’ in front of me, and I saw that a new teacher is in town, and he is said to take the position of the royal scriptures’ teacher. I didn’t think much of it at first until I suddenly remembered something from a while ago. Last week, I had sneaked into my father’s library and the one thing that caught my eye was the dusty old thick book stacked in the corner. I opened it but seeing the long texts I shut it immediately. I tried asking the preachers at the royal valley about it, but they just suggested I leave it alone. This teacher could help me. I made sure that from the very first day I should gain her trust and become her favorite child.

One day, I gained the courage and brought those papers from the book and asked her about them. Jeremiah, the heir of the flame realm (our arch nemesis) snatched the papers from my hand and said to me “What will the fragile princess do with the knowledge? At the end of the day, all you have to do is smile pretty for the camera and be a good wife, isn’t it?” he asked his friends, and everybody suddenly started laughing. Adrenaline pumped, and I punched him straight in the nose. 

I went to Ms. Spirangello and showed her the symbols. A dark expression crept over her face. 

‘Laurel,” she says sympathetically. “This is about you. It says you don’t belong to the tide realm. Neither do you belong to the fire realm. You are a hybrid. Also, it has been said that once every 100 years a hybrid takes birth and there is to be a war between the two realms otherwise the curse of the moon will befall upon them.”

Isn’t it strange that my father was willing to be cursed rather than start the war? Well, now that my mind is made up, there will be a war. Really soon. And I’ll be leading it as the first female hybrid. I feel the destruction of the future weighing down my heart…

Point of View #2

By Srishti Chawla

The door slams with a much sheer force than I had intended. Three nights with no sleep and abundant coffee make a person lose control. The Ministry’s been breathing down my neck and trying to coerce me into establishing some sort of a peace treaty between the realms of Flame and Tide but its an impossible assignment. Sometimes I really do wonder if I was the perfect fit for the Minister of Relations or to even be a royal seeing the mess I got myself into. 

‘Laurel, honey, are you up?’ I call out to my daughter. 

Hearing nothing I make my way to her room and gently open the door and I see her tucked in her bed. My sweet girl. I tuck a strand of hair behind her ears and kiss her forehead. She stirs and I take it as a cue to leave. 

Ever since my wife died last year, I never had the courage to open that book she left me. While she was on her deathbed she whimpered helplessly, “The thickest brown book on the fourth shelf in the first cupboard of the library. Th-that book it will…it will change our lives.” 

And its suddenly as though my feet have a mind of their own and before I know it there I am standing in front of the library door that I haven’t entered through since ages. I swing it open and find a huge cloud of dust envelope my face. 

I make my way to the first cupboard and find the book. I have no clue why I am doing this today of all days but here I am. I take it out and blow the dust off it. I gloss over the pages hoping to find the one thing that would be apparently responsible for changing the course of my life but its all long texts. That is until I find a page with ancient runes and symbols. What message did my wife want to convey? 

I spend hours translating the runes. Yet another sleepless night. The only thing I could make out was that it had something to do with Laurel. It took me seven hours but I finally interpreted the symbols. But when I put them all together, it seemed as if the ground beneath my feet had shattered. 

“Laurel is not a Tide. Nor is she a Flame and my wife knew it. I knew she was different but her being the centre of a war is something I can’t wrap my head around,” I say to myself. 

“I knew it dad. I always knew it.” said Laurel as she appears at the doorway. I fixate my gaze at her. 

They say fire and water end each other as they end themselves. Is that what fate has in store for us? 

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