Part 30

Five Grade 10 students from Hobart’s Mount  Carmel College took on the task of writing the emotionally charged part 30 of the never-ending story…

BETRAYAL raged through Rourke as he stared into those golden eyes, searching for his beloved wife within the evil stranger before him.
“It’s good to see you again, Rourke,” her laughter was drowned out as the screeching chorus of crows formed an arc around her.
Rourke said nothing. He stood rigid as Alice’s hand slipped into his, only for it to be jerked away again as two dark shapes swooped past, gripping Alice in their sharp talons and throwing her at the alpha’s feet.
Virginia’s head snapped up, eyes scanning the surroundings. “It’s here… I can feel it!” she breathed.
Like a true bird of prey, her sharp eyes darted along the line of ragged survivors until at last they rested on Rourke.
“My dearest Rourke, you have something that belongs to me. Do not deny it. Do not even attempt to deny what I can feel so definitely.”
Her eyes neither blinked nor wavered from her husband as she spoke these words that
rang with chilling accusation. She held his gaze for what seemed like an eternity, until finally Rourke managed to choke out the words.
“That day, when the plane went down, I thought I’d lost you forever, and with you,
almost everything that was dear to me. How, Virginia, could I have anything
left that belongs to you?”
They were the words of a broken man. It was heartbreaking to watch Rourke, such a strong, capable man, crumble before their very eyes.
Virginia, however, looked upon him with cold, unsympathetic calculation. “Love, Rourke, is a weakness. You have grown weak in my absence. No matter. You will tell me. You will tell me where the bone is hidden.”
Her words echoed through the tangible silence. No one moved but Eliza, who shifted
and moaned in pain. “We’ll do this the hard way then,” she said, ominously.
The crows thrust Harry into Virginia’s eager grasp. Gripping his collar, she leaned in and whispered, “Tell. Me. Where. The. Bone. Is.”
Harry shivered as her talons began to slowly pierce his skin. “No.” Rage clouded Virginia’s features as she let out a vicious snarl.
Reaching across, her talons gouged deep across the boy’s pale throat. His screams of agony matched the violent cawing of the crows as they flew at his dying, convulsing
body, smothering it in moments.
Virginia locked her eyes on Rourke as she reached behind her, searching for Alice.
She dragged her in close and let her talons dance across her rosy cheeks. “Shall I… raise the stakes?” Rourke jerked forward out of his shocked silence, “NO! Please! I don’t have the bone. But I …. I can find it.”
Virginia let out an evil laugh. “I thought so. Love always was your weakness.
“We will return in the dark of night, when the sky holds no moon, and when the stars retreat in fear of our wake.
“Fail to bring me what is mine, and I will take what is yours. I will kill your darling
Alice.”
With a vicious smile Virginia’s body contorted back into that of a crow and she swept to the skies with the writhing Alice in her claws; her murder shadowed her flight.
Eliza gasped in agony and Rourke collapsed on the ground, as the crows became mere blemishes against the stark whiteness of the clouds.
Johnny averted his eyes from Harry’s mutilated remains. Finally he uttered, “Why would she want a bone?”
Rourke found his voice. “The only thing that can kill a crow is a crow. The last remaining bone of the first  alpha crow is the key to their immortality, and this is what she wants.
“It can secure their survival and determine their fate. If that bone is used to kill
the alpha, then she and her murder will either perish or take back their original human form.
“She wants the bone only so that she can destroy it. So long as the bone is out of the picture, they live.” Rourke’s voice had regained a hint of his old ferocity.
Slowly, Johnny reached into his pocket, remembering what he had picked up off the beach on his first day on the island.
Beneath his fingers, he felt the pointed edge of a bone – the wing bone of the first alpha crow.

To be continued

First published in the Mercury newspaper, Tasmania, on November 6, 2012

PASSIONATE English students Olivia Fleming,  Chelsea Alderton, Sarah McCarthy, Phoebe McCormack and Jessica Dobbie are the writers of Part 30 of the Mercury’s never-ending story Lovesong of the Crow. All five are Grade 10 student leaders at Mount Carmel College in Hobart. The girls are all enthusiastic writers with their own individual writing style and creative flair. The writing was done in their own time, with a final writing session after school as the deadline approached.
“The opportunity to write a chapter of the story was met with a great sense of anticipation and an awareness of the many possibilities presented by the plot and characterisation thus far,” principal Laurie Wolfe said. Although the
thought of working in a big group seemed difficult, there was no trouble putting
all the ideas together.
The girls worked collaboratively and enjoyed bouncing ideas off each other. “Already great friends, this was another chance for us to further develop our negotiation, communication and leadership skills,” the girls said. “Over all it was a great experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it, although there were times when we wished we had put our names forward to write one of the earlier chapters before the plot became so complicated,” they said.

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