Part 32

A favourite character dies in part 32 of the never-ending story, written by St Aloysius Catholic College students Isabel Scanlon and Megwyn Mosenthal…

ELIZA’S heart plummeted. How could the ravens be evil? Rourke stood staring into the distance. Was there any way he could rescue Alice now?
Musta began to talk again. “There is one way we can kill the crows and ravens and escape.”
“What is it? WHAT IS IT?” Eliza demanded of the bird. “I can kill Virginia
… I can become the alpha crow … I can destroy them and take you home.”
“Isn’t that a suicide mission?” asked Rourke. “If you kill the crows and ravens when you are the alpha, won’t you die as well?” “Yes,” replied Musta. “I will die. But I would rather die than live with those evil birds.” Musta was interrupted by a horrendous sound.
“We’re the evil ones now are we?” said Virginia wickedly. She had appeared behind them, holding Alice in her grip. At the sight of Virginia, Musta retreated. He would not give his life to the crows, but he would give anything to the humans – even his heart.
Virginia flew over to Rourke and dropped Alice at his feet. She stared
at Rourke and commanded: “Now it’s your turn… GIVE ME THE BONE!” Rourke slowly shook his head. “You can’t have the bone. You are a cold-hearted, damaged woman who I used to love… but now you will die!” He pulled the bone out of his pocket and plunged it into her heart. A direful screech left her body. She fell to the ground before exploding into a sea of feathers that transformed into a murder of crows. The crows tried to snatch Alice, but she fought them off. They retreated, threatening: “We will get her in the end.”
Eliza turned to see a crow standing over the lifeless human form of Rourke. Having killed Virginia, he was the new alpha crow. Eliza cradled his empty human body and turned it over to find the bone he had used to kill Virginia still in his hand.
A blood chilling scream pierced the air and Eliza instantly recognised who it came from. “Alice!” she called. She ran in the direction of the screams, pushing away the trees that seemed to lock her in their branches, preventing her from reaching her distressed friend.
She called Alice’s name over and again, but the only response was a baneful scream and the caw of a crow. She emerged in a cove where she found Alice menacingly encircled by crows and ravens.
As Eliza shooed the crows away she saw Alice, impaled on a large branch, white as a ghost and covered in blood. Eliza crouched next to Alice and through distorted sobs asked what had happened.
In the moments after Rourke killed Virginia and transformed into a crow, Alice had seen his image walk out of his body and into the scrub.
She was curious and followed him to the cliff high above, where he transformed into a murder of crows and chased her off the edge.
It had been the shapeshifters. They had tricked Alice into believing that Rourke was still alive in human form as well as crow, and then they pushed her over the cliff.
Eliza started reassuring Alice that she would be ok, but they both knew there was nothing they could do. Alice lay there gasping for air, reaching for the last few minutes of her life, grasping Eliza’s hand and staring into her face with big dark eyes.
Eliza’s father had always said that the eyes are a window into one’s
soul, and as Eliza stared into Alice’s soul she saw an innocent girl who had lived a life of heartbreak, loss, and pain. Eliza started to cry.
A crow swooped down from the cliff above and settled next to Alice’s dying body. Eliza lashed out, screaming “keep away from her!” until she noticed a patch of grey feathers on the crow’s head. It was Rourke. He had come to say goodbye to Alice. Alice reached out and gently ran her hands along his feathered back, whispering: “It’s OK, I believe in you.” With her last breath Alice said to Eliza: “You can kill the crows… you can get back home… do it for me.”
With that, her eyes slowly dropped, her gasping stopped and she lay there lifeless. Eliza collapsed to her knees, head in her hands. She heard the crunch of paper, and pulled out the diary she had found a few days earlier and opened it to the last page where a pocket had been stuck.
She opened the pocket to fi nd two bird bones, and a scroll of paper. It was a list with a title: “Requirements for island escape”. The list read: three alpha-crow bones, blood of a dying soul and the heart of a raven.
Eliza stood up and screamed into the sky: “I will kill the crows… for Alice!”

To be continued

First published in the Mercury newspaper, Tasmania, on November 20, 2012

St-Aloysius---Megwyn-webSt-Aloysius-Isabel-webSTUDENTS from St Aloysius Catholic College at Huntingfield, near Kingston, have provided five of the last 10 chapters of the Lovesong of the Crow. This tremendous level of support has been co-ordinated by English teacher Sally Broadribb who identified a number of talented writers in the school and offered them the opportunity to take part. “It’s been great to have a number of our students recognised for their literary accomplishments,” Mrs Broadribb said.
This week’s student authors are Megwyn Mosenthal and Isabel Scanlon. The Grade 7 girls both enjoy reading and writing as well as
outdoor recreation. Isabel, 13, is interested in horse-riding and equestrian competitions as well as music and technology. Megwyn, 13, likes bushwalking and netball, going to the beach and playing the piano.
The Lovesong of the Crow has been a special project for the National Year of Reading. The story is nearing its conclusion, with New Town High School students now working on the final instalment.

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