The Oculus is a secret mystical society with members of power, but only the greatest power resides as the Heir of the Oculus.
The story asks a question that has been in the words of everyone over the centuries: is power greater than family?
[ f i c t i o n ]
The strong smell of the sea woke him up. Luke could almost taste salt on his lips, his eyes blinded by the shine of the Sun that sat right above his head.
All that his body rested on were a few pieces of small and broken wood held together by twigs and withered ropes. Luke rolled over onto his stomach, clutched a log so hard that his knuckles went white, and threw up last night’s food into the sea.
Last night, he tried to remember, his vision adjusting to the vast stretch of blueness – the horizon almost nonexistent. He was at the Convention last night, he recalled and suddenly, almost instinctively, his hand went towards his left chest, where previously had been his blazer pocket.
“What?” a muffled voice wheezed out of his throat in disbelief. He bent down on his knees, dabbing his pants in distress. “Where is the sapphire?” He shoved his hands into each of the pockets to cross-check, only to find a napkin, a token of entrance, and a pen with the Oculus logo.
The sapphire was a tiny one, but not an ordinary one. So when it finally dawned on him that the jacket that hid the sapphire was no longer with him and that he was stranded in the middle of an ocean, Luke tossed the pen and the token into the water, and started to unfold the napkin. Maybe Luna had left a message for him.
As he did so, he noticed that it was stained in red. Blood, he concluded.
The art of recognizing blood was something that came as a part and parcel with the membership to the Oculus. Luke’s entire bloodline sported it in their genes – the red hair. He flipped the tissue and then back again, holding it against the sunlight and under his shadow, blowing air onto it and sprinkling a few drops of water, until finally, he hurled it into the water when he could not catch any sign of a message.
“Shit,” he cursed under his breath, sinking his head into his knees and throwing up once again. After a few bouts of throwing up, pulling out his hair in frustration, and screaming aloud at the risk of his lungs bursting out into a silent void, he sat back, bobbing up and down in his small ferry moving towards a directionless course.
The sun was almost down, the horizon forming into a hue of ochre and black.
“Luna must be here,” he whispered to himself. “L-Luna must be here soon,” he repeated, shaking and sweltering, hoping for his sister to come and rescue him.
As the events of last night came back to him in bits and pieces and rather slowly, he attempted a last try to put the scrambled pieces together.
He had arrived at the Convention with Luna and their father. An important vote on the Oculus’ new Heir was to be pledged that night. They collected their entrance token – a silver coin with an owl’s eye engraved on it, and a pen – a souvenir of the gathering. Luke remembered walking into a palatial room with a massive chandelier hanging from a ceiling so high that its design patterns were blurry to his eyes. He remembered gripping his clutch tighter on the sapphire and pushing it inside his left jacket pocket, he remembered Luna pulling him from the crowd to congratulate him on being the next Heir, and he remembered seeing his father in a discussion with Scott, their butler.
And then, he remembered nothing; one moment, he had stood grinning, a glass of wine in his hand; and the next moment, he was throwing up something he didn’t even remember eating.
The sapphire was the entire purpose of the Convention, to make the members of the Oculus believe that he was the Heir – the Chosen One – that he possessed the key to the Oculus vault – that he indeed, was the forty-fifth heir after their father, and not Luna.
Loneliness imposes a strange trance on people. Uncannily, they seem to gather the ability to think what they otherwise would never.
Did , Luke’s mind echoed a voice that he didn’t recognize as his own, Luna have anything to do with this?
No , the same voice answered.
What if she wanted the sapphire all along and only pretended that she never wanted to be the Heir?
Luke’s brain had been such a severe tangle of thoughts and accusations that he didn’t notice when a streamer advanced in his direction and hit his raft, knocking him off as he splashed headfirst into the water.
“Finn, bring him out!” Luke heard an immediate and familiar voice barking the order, followed by another splash. Weakened to his stomach, Luke could not push himself up, he let himself go deeper into the water. But then, someone grabbed him by his torso and he popped up to the surface like a cork.
He spit out the salt-water and looked up at the lights from the streamer. A familiar shade of red hair developed in his vision.
“Hello, little brother.” The figure smirked.
“You filthy person.” Luke did not wait to get on the streamer and began cursing half-way on the ladder. “A corrupted sister! You don’t deserve to be the Heir!” He spat, reaching face-to-face with his sister, a growl of disgust apparent on his face.
“First, you should be thanking –”
“Oh, stop your nonsense. You were always jealous, and –”
Meanwhile Scott poured some more wine into his master’s glass. “Why didn’t you just take the sapphire? Why place it inside Luke’s pen and let him have it so close to him?”
“Knowing my son,” the voice behind the High-Chair said, “it’d be deep inside the ocean now, unrecoverable and forgotten. I don’t want to lose my children, Scott. I just wanted to replace myself as the Heir.” He took a short swig of his wine and continued, feeling the cushion of the Chair once again. “With the sapphire gone, both my children are unfit for the Oculus, and I,” he said, pausing a little and raising his glass in a toast, “get to be the Heir. Again. I’ll let the kids handle their aggression their way.”
this is a fiction piece i wrote after months of blank papers and months of not picking up the pen to write. so unavoidably, it will lack a certain tone of narration. your feedback is appreciated.
also, it should be noted that this was written for Sweek’s #UnbelievabeTales and it had a RESTRICTION to sum up the story in no more than 1000 words. which i invariably find difficult to adhere to.