Today's Profile: Visala Alagappan
Whether it's a short story or a writing exercise, what Visala writes is poetry. Please celebrate her 2008 National Silver Key award from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards by reading her winning prose:
By Visala Alagappan
It was a frigid day. Nonetheless, the winter sun beat down on the earth, and shone into the girl’s room. The girl stood by the window, staring directly at the icicle hanging from the canopy outside her window. Her grandfather lay in the adjacent room, dying. She kept staring.
Her grandfather cried sharply, as a drop of water from the icicle hit the window ledge, like a hammer striking a nail. Her eyes relocated to a wooden chest in the corner of the room. A royal, navy blue cloth draped over it, covered with a magical print. Her eyes caught sight of a unicorn. It was white, with a lukewarm blue horn. The reins were golden, and the saddle was embroidered with a mosaic pattern of flowers.
Her grandfather rode it, leaping and galloping in the air. His hands sweat as he held the reigns securely in his right hand. In his left hand he gripped a book. It was the fantasy book he always used to read to her. A blue bird flew out of the book. It had an orange beak and sang a sweet song about freedom, hope, and happiness. So elated from escaping, the bird flew at such a speed, that in a matter of seconds it disappeared into the azure skies looming above.
At the same time, the unicorn gradually faded away. The horn vanished first, and then the body. The girl refocused her eyes on the icicle.
Her grandfather moaned, as a drop from the icicle hit the ledge, like glass hits a marble floor. Her eyes shifted to the chest in the corner of the room. She caught sight of a deep, red, and majestic dragon.
The dragon, wounded, lay beneath a substantial tree. Her grandfather stood beside the dragon. He generously gave the dragon medicine and herbs, hoping to heal its wings and sorrow. The dragon, determined, tried to fly over the succulent green grass. Unsuccessful, it hurried away, with the weight of her grandfather upon its back.
Her grandfather’s shrill voice echoed throughout the house again, while drops of water from the icicle dripped faster, like a waterfall cascading into the pool below. Her eyes moved to the chest in the corner of the room. She spotted a shooting star, as it streaked the rich, blue cloth.
Her grandfather dashed through the night sky, sitting on the luminous shooting star. He poured buckets of paint behind him, smudging the sky with pure colors. The radiant hues formed a rainbow behind him, lightening up the dark, night sky. Glittering sparks flew from his brush, showering the coal, black heavens.
Once again, the girl stared at the icicle.
Her grandfather screamed, as a drop of water from the icicle hit the ledge, like a tree falling down in a storm. The girl looked at the timber chest again. This time, her eyes caught sight of fishing net.
A variety of fish were caught in the net: Tunas, Catfish, Cods, Sea trout, and many more. However, the girl herself was also ensnared in the net. She cried for help, but no one could hear her. The net was hurled onto a ship, and the girl’s voice was lost in the commotion. The ship sailed across the turquoise ocean, towards the horizon, and disappeared.
The grandfather took his last breath. The girl’s eyes shifted to the corner of the room, where the chest still remained. However, the magical print seemed to vanish with the grandfather. She looked towards the canopy. All that remained of the icicle was a small puddle of water beneath where it used to be.