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  • Writer's pictureHenery X (long)

"Something Has To Give": A short story collaboration by 25 extraordinary writers of Instagram:

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

(1) In the land of Abundance there was once peace, love and unity, that is, until the selfish act of one man... changed everything. Said man desired the love of a woman, who was already happily married. So, he kidnapped said woman and this act... left the people of the land divided. Those who loved the love sick thief, and those who loved the man, who loved his wife... unconditionally. @writepath247

(2) Under the regime of His Holy “Copia – The Restorer," there was simply one law, all must follow, “Don’t take what’s not yours.” Tarquin, the wealthiest man in the history of the regime wasn’t going to give up merely because of a law. He earned the right to own what he set his eyes on. @twinksfly

(3) In the meantime, on the outskirts of the city, in a modest log cabin, sits the  husband of Aurora, Orgarious, who was consumed by an array of emotions. Anger, because he felt violated. Grief, because he missed his beloved. And impotence, because he felt he lacked the resources and power to go against the wealth of his wife's kidnapper. Orgarious sent for his brother, Horatio, and together they sat in efforts to come up with a rescue plan. They gathered their supporters, saddled up their horses and when the sun went down, started making their way across the villages to the castle where Aurora was being held captive. @itouchyoursoul_

(4) On there way through the villages, Orgarious thought more about what he set out to do. Although he was utterly upset and emotional, he thought about the people of the land. He thought about the families and children who looked up to him, despite the fact he didn’t have money or a vast amount of resources. He also thought about how the people were divided and how his next act, could in fact make or break the community. He thought about the abundance of land and the peace that previously captured the hearts and souls of all. Since the land was known for it’s Unity, Peace and Love; Orgarious decided that there could possibly be a better way to go about getting his wife back. He halted the crowd and asked them, as well as his brother Horatio, to kneel with him and pray about their next steps. As they held hands and quietly prayed, something happened.....@author_kendrahathaway (5) Unbeknownst to Orgarious, deep within the recesses of Tarquin's lair, Aurora, filled with despair, had decided to end her own life. As Orgarious and his company knelt in prayer, his ancestors received their words and sent a message to Aurora, in the form of her maidservant. "Ma'am you mustn't," she implored, "Forgive me, but you have experienced the truest love, a love so deep that you would end your life without it. I have no doubt that your husband feels the same, he will almost certainly risk his life to come and rescue you. I can not begin to imagine his feelings if he were to find only your corpse awaiting him." Aurora was surprised, how could she have been so selfish? She put down the knife and joined by her maidservant, she too knelt to give thanks to her ancestors. Orgarious felt a surge of power coursing through his veins, he knew what he had to do. During this time, Tarquin hadn't been idle... @natethelyricist

(6) Tarquin was busy making all kinds of plans. He was planning a counter attack, for the attack he strongly felt was forthcoming from Orgarious and his faithful supporters,  who most of which he once  had a great rapport with, prior to his selfish act. He was also planning a wedding for himself and Aurora, who he deemed his peace, as well as the only form of unity...he longed to unite with.  He didn’t want to kidnap her, but he couldn’t help it, he often daydreamed of Aurora giving birth to their child. So, he wanted her close to him, to make sure Orgariou’s hands weren’t touching the woman...he felt was rightfully his. @de_girl17 (7) Suddenly, Orgarious received a sealed letter from a friend of a friend of the maidservant, "Sir,  this is for you,"  the woman handed Orgarious the letter. He opened it, read it and afterwards...was in a state of shocked. It was a letter from his beloved wife Aurora, who was informing him that she was going to marry Tarquin. Filled with anger, as well as confusion, Orgarious balled up the letter and threw it to the ground. His mind was desperately trying to find a logical explanation as to why his reason for living... would agree to marry another. @author_belz.alark10

(8) Aurora prayed that somehow she would be rescued from Tarquin, the man she would never love. What could she do in the meantime she thought, was there a way of escaping this? The thought of living the rest of her life with Tarquin, with no way of escaping, crossed her mind and it was the saddest she'd ever been in her life. She was forced by Tarquin to write the letter about getting married to him, and it truly broke her soul. She was made to believe that her beloved Orgarious would be killed if she didn't write the letter, she was made to believe that everyone with him...wasn't really with him. Like there was nothing he wouldn't do for her, there was nothing she wouldn't do for him, including marring the horrible man...who was holding her against her will.@iamderrycox

(9) Admiring the sunset in the horizon, Tarquin was in his garden, sure that Orgarious had read Aurora's letter by now. Suddenly, Aurora came out into the garden with her maidservant. A warm thrill filled Tarquin's heart, he picked a rose from the bush and approached her. But Aurora barely felt his presence, for her mind was bearing the misfortune which was tearing up her soul. She heard him say,"I'm sorry Aurora, but I had to. You were supposed to be mine..." Tarquin held out the rose for her, while waiting for her response. However, she ignored his offering; her reddened eyes burned a hole in his heart."Such selfishness and pride. How could you do this to us? To him especially? What happened to the friendship you both had?" At her words, the memories of him and Orgarious filled his mind. All the broken promises, the regrets, the nostalgia. They were supposed to thrive together for the sake of their people, but ambition can be such a traitor. "He stole you from me, and I'm just getting back what belongs to me." "Is that what I am to you? Something you thought you owned? Don't you forget that I have a mind of my own, and that I chose Orgarious over you. You might have my body, but never my heart and soul!" The tears were now flooding Aurora's cheeks as she continued, "Know that, in spite of my note, my brave husband won't give up. His honor and love for me, are as deep as his love for this land and its people." "You don't know anything about honor. I've raised this land and collected all this fortune for you! Be my queen, and you'll rule by my side." "Oh Tarquin," Aurora scoffed, "do you really believe that love can be bought with gold and jewels? You've just lost the biggest treasure of a human heart!" With this, Aurora turned her back to walk away, leaving Tarquin with a hollow feeling. Something like guilt and dishonor, that told him he could lose the war.@onedream_manylives

(10) [With this presentiment gnawing at him, and Orgarious's rage nearing, Tarquin paid a visit to an elderly man by the name of Magnar. Magnar's advice had been the fuel for Tarquin's rise to wealth and power, and in return, he was gifted a beautiful house, which Tarquin now entered] Tarquin: "My old friend, we must skip the pleasantries- the matter I've come here to discuss leaves us very little time to spare." Magnar: [To himself, but loud enough so his visitor could hear] "The fool comes after kidnapping the most beloved girl in our land." [Addressing Tarquin] "Well,  that foolishness is what makes me vital. No need to inform me, common gossip of the land has done that well enough. To  be quick: you are in the wrong Tarquin. Though taking another man's belongings is not new for you, but never over something as asinine as a woman. The difference between you and men like Orgarious is, you are not a good man. Men's ego like yours, feeds off greed and cynicism- while Orgarious might forgive, your pride he will never forget..." @the_passionate_individual

(11) While in Auora's chambers, her and the maidservant began to speak. The maidservant stated, "How romantic to have two men confess their love for you." Aurora looked strangely at her maidservant. Auora asked, "However do you mean?" The maidservant replied, "I  wish I could find one that would love me, the way Orgarious and Tarquin love you." Aurora was angry, "But Tarquin kidnapped me!!"  The maidservant answered, "I  know, but he broke the sacred law just to have you." Aurora saw tears coming from the maidservant eyes. Aurora grabbed her hands and asked, "Do you have a love?"  The maidservant looked at her and said, "Yes, but he loves another." "Who?" Aurora inquired. "You, Tarquin loves you!!" "We both know Tarquin pressured me into writing that letter, by saying he had people close to Orgarious, ready to murder him if I didn't." "Yes, I know," the maidservant said somberly. "So, let me speak to Tarquin on your behalf. Maybe I can convince him to change his mind about me, by putting the thought of how you feel about him...on it." @poeticc_serenityy_ (12) But the maidservant replied, "Don't waste your precious oxygen trying to convince a man who's drunk with love; he's madly in love with you and the very thought of you trying to change his mind to love me, might cost me my very life. Aurora pondered for a brief moment, then said, "There must be something I can do, this is too much to bear." The maidservant looked at her nonchalantly and said, "I only want to see him happy, and if it's your love that's required, I pray that you'll grow to love him, as much as it will hurt me." The maidservant then turned her back to Aurora and wept bitterly.@audsthepoet

(13) "So, life has come to this my brother Horatio. Do you know why father kept us around him and the gray hairs as children?" ''For a time such as this." ''Yes, my brother, you are correct. Many seasons of summers and winters they experienced. Trails and tribulations they all faced and lived to tell about it. And now, my brother...fate has called me. Tarquin...he's unaware about life." ''Orgarious, my brother..what will you have me to do? Father always told us from the dust we came..and the dust we will go. Tarquin not only kidnapped Aurora, but he also took a part of me...Zalatia,'' Horatio whispered, as he stepped into Orgarious's face. Zalatia was Horatio's daughter, she was with Aurora when Tarquin sent men to kidnap her, she was a victim of circumstance. ''I know of your pain oh to well my brother, but we must also not forget why father taught us as he did. The lessons of war were so we'd be ready to act accordingly, not to initiate the act itself. He and his faithful followers sacrificed a lot to bring about a peaceful environment in this land." "I know brother but..." "No buts Horatio, we must exhaust all remedies that stand against war, remember...we have the lives of a multitude to consider. If all else fails, we'll be forced to give Tarquin...what he truly doesn't want." Horatio sighed, "Of course you are right my beloved brother. I'm just so upset that a man that was once regarded as a brother...would do something so unforgivable." @authorl.triplett

(14)  “Mwongozo (Swahili for "Guide" )!” Tarquin roared.,“I’ve tried counting the sheep, drunk concoctions of chamomile and leaves, lavender baths. Nothing is working. I am ready to try your witchcraft. Take me on this mind journey from your Tanzania.” “The pumbaza akili (Swahili for "form of hypnotism" ) is not witchcraft. It will bring the answers you seek, while relaxing your mind and body,” Mwongozo stood tall and proud staring Tarquin directly in his eyes. “Focusing only on the sound of my voice. I‘m going to count from ten to zero, at zero your physical mind and body will relax. You will communicate with akili ya ufahamu (Swahili for "subconscious mind" ), your inner guide. Once you've received your answers, I will count you back up from zero to ten....Zero.” Tarquin found himself at the mouth of a large dark cave. A deep voice vibrated the ground as it said, “What do you seek Tarquin?” “I seek rest and the heart of the one I love.” “You love no one. You’re traveling down a dark road of obsession, doing things that you wouldn’t do; becoming a person you will not recognize. What are you really searching for?  How can you get what you truly desire, in another way? Clarity will open your eyes to what you’ve been ignoring. Your choice is between tragedy and joy.” A shadow was thrown over the entrance to the cave, as the head of a large dragon appeared. “Hold out your hands,” the dragon commanded. “This gift I shall give you, is the key to the answers you seek.” Trembling, Tarquin held out his hands. The dragon breathed a flame of fire that engulfed, but didn't burn him. A crystal heart broken in two pieces, appeared in his outstretched hands. “Ten,” came a whisper across the wind, “Eyes open, and wide awake.” @h1nybadger

(15) Instantly, Tarquin gazed upon the broken crystal heart, one half rested upon his left hand, the other on his right. "What could this mean?" he quietly said. He felt urged to look deeply into the right crystal piece. The more he stared, the clearer his face appeared. A strong energy from the right crystal piece surged up his arms, and shot straight into his heart. Tarquin began to feel a vibration along the right side of his body. Confusingly and feebly he spoke the words, "I have another half?" Suddenly, he looked intensely into the left crystal heart piece. His heart began to beat rapidly, as the image of the maid-servant clearly emerged. @tasharose_22

(16) A festive string of unblinkered observations from deep in his subconscious, were strung up to see in the internal gallery of sudden realisation: A pattern emerged of quickly subdued smiles, of furtive glances and a perpetual fidget that Tarquin had dismissed as the symptoms of a mere 'highly strung' temperament. Tarquin realized that he was dumbstruck. Closing his mouth that gaped dryly, he attempted to swallow, unable to wet his throat, until his tongue operated in order for one, solitary word to escape his lips... "Matilda!" An image of the shy maidservant was indelible from his mind's eye, as his knees trembled at the unpredicted revelation of 'Real Love' being quietly cast in his direction.. @poetryislifeispoetry

(17) The images emerging so quickly left Tarquin in disbelief, “Is this so?" Tarquin gasping for breath as he egresses from his transit state, "Could my true love be another and not Aurora? Answer me Mwongozo!” Tarquin screeched. Mwongozo replied “You have been granted the answers you seek, only a jester of such arrogants would deny what is clearly before him. Now go forth, for you have barren enough of my time." @keybsassy

(18) Orgarious knew that Tarquin would expect an angry mob showing up to protest the kidnapping of Aurora and Zalatia, so with his brother Horatio, he devised another plan. Horatio gathered up the faithful followers of Orgarious for a secret meeting where they divulged their new strategy. @edwardracey

(19) For a land once united, now divided by something as simple, yet as powerful as love, there was a heavy stand still. One side stubbornly set in place by foolish wants, greed and lust, which Tarquin would wage war over. As for Orgarious, he was seeking a peaceful resolution by conversing with close friends and advisers. His efforts were done to hopefully bring about an end to the rising friction this unfairly broken law set in motion. He decided, after the wise advice of others, to go into seclusion for meditation and fasting. He was determined to do everything within his power to avoid going to war with a man, who despite what he had done, he still regarded as a brother. @vertigo_world

(20) Sitting in seclusion, Orgarious was pondering what to do, through his fasting and prayer. Doing his best to hear God's direction, he had a vision. A vision of himself and Aurora holding a baby between them in bed. Laughing, and looking at the precious miracle they had created together. He looks straight into Aurora's eyes, and says thank you. Thank you for giving me this beautiful son, and thank you for your love. Aurora was so overcome with emotion that tears trickled down her cheeks. She was so happy. Orgarious could feel the love and emotion pouring from his beloved, as well as from their son. It’s then he came back into himself. He knew that he had a very rare vision of the future. And he knew exactly what he needed to do. @purgetraumapoet

(21) “Your choice is between tragedy and joy,” — the Mwngozo’s words were still reverberating in Tarquin’s mind. He pulled heavy curtains back to observe his beautiful rose garden in the hope to heal his despondency. There he saw Matilda rushing up the stairs. For the first time, he noticed her beauty. And then a thought struck him, he never truly heard the sound of her voice. He could only remember the rustle of her clothes and a bowed head. Something in his heart cracked, and he felt the familiar tremor along the right side of his body. After turning from the view of the rose garden, he spotted a healer entering Aurora’s chambers after Matilda. “Healer? Is Aurora unwell today?” @kseniasein

(22) Matilda silently entered Aurora's chambers. Her eyes deeply saddened, as she watched this beautiful woman fade away, like the out bloomed roses in the garden her Master refused to remove. A woman in total despair, like her position in the castle. Gently smiling in sorrow, she suddenly knows what to do. Disappear from her duties. Releasing herself from his daily desires. Without a bow. Without the gift of her exquisite voice. Like a blooming rose removed from his garden. @yasmine_mp86

(23) Matilda was lost in her thoughts when she saw Tarquin conversing with the healer, who had been to Aurora's chambers. She couldn't help but listen in; she needed to at least hear his voice one last time before she left. Commanding, his voice addressed the poor healer, "I won't ask you again, is Aurora unwell?" " Liege... " "Then what? Why are you running around like a headless chicken? Stand still and answer me!" "My Liege...the Mistress....she's... pregnant." "What?! Explain yourself." "With...a child, My Liege...," she countered feebly. She did not want to face the wrath of a man, who would go to the end of the earth to have what he wanted. This news especially, she didn't want to deliver in all her life. "I SAID, EXPLAIN YOURSELF!" "My Liege...she's pregnant. She has been...for three months now." Tarquin shoved the healer aside and rushed to Aurora's chambers, only to find her smirking at him in mockery. "Orgarious has won over you, in a way you shall only dream of Tarquin. Accept defeat." @_kairosclere_

(24) Tarquin couldn’t tell what he felt, was he angry or was he heartbroken? He didn't understand, all he knew is that he needed to be alone because in that moment, he felt that his head was blocked with darkness. He rushed back to his chambers, where he fell apart. Meanwhile, Orgarious was in deep meditation. He felt such an enormous energy approaching him and in that moment, he knew that he was on the winning side. He looked at his brother Horatio and smiled. Orgarious murmured, “This is the beginning of the end.” Orgarious saw a vision of his wife back in his arms, although the background was dark, he knew he had to make sacrifices to get his beloved wife back. @azih_bpostive

(25) A tall heavy bearded guard entered Tarquin's chambers.“Is it done?” Tarquin asks, as he continues to stare into the rose garden from the balcony.“Yes My Liege….Everyone has been summoned. With permission, My Liege. I implore you to let me know of your plan, so I may better prepare the men…" “You will hear of it, when everyone arrives. Prepare Aurora and Zalatia, and carry forth everything as I have instructed." The guard bowed before exiting the room. How did we get here, Tarquin thought. There was once a time where the three were so close. Being a only child, Tarquin often regarded Orgarious and Horatio as the closest to brothers he had ever experienced. Tarquin’s mother passed during childbirth and his father, spent most of his childhood away building his business and traveling far and abroad. Their maidservant, Tulia took on the responsibility of caring for Tarquin. Tulia was everything he dreamed his mother to be. Loving, caring, generous and with so much affection. Tulia had two sons, Orgarious and Horatio. During the weekends, Tulia would bring her two sons, and it was during this time that Tarquin  escaped the loneliness of the castle and enjoyed being a child; running and playing swords, and other games with Orgarious and Horatio. The three were very close. As the boys got older, Tarquin's love for his two beloved friends grew only stronger, but he also silently desired what money could not afford - a Mother of his own. Although Tulia showered Tarquin with love, it still wasn’t the same kind of love he desired, the kind of love he saw in her eyes for her real sons. Orgarious and Horatio couldn’t quite understand where and how the three had parted ways, but Tarquin knew of the reason far too well. It was a windy day in November, Tarquin and Orgarious were 17 and Horatio was 15.  Horatio and Tarquin were engrossed in one of their favorite past times, sword fighting, when Orgarious floated into the room.“I’m getting married,” Orgarious exclaimed. The two stopped what they were doing and almost in synchronization, looked over at Orgarious.  Horatio moved towards his brother, “Married? But why? To whom? Who would have said yes to you?" he teased his older brother.“I know, I’ve held this secret from the both of you, but forgive me, I wanted to tell you, but she insisted that we kept the courtship under wraps. It’s Aurora. The lovely, sweet, angelic Aurora." Orgarious started dancing circles around the two shocked young men, as his smile spread across his face. Tarquin dropped his sword, the sound of the metal hitting the marble floor, made a loud clanging noise. Unbeknownst to anyone, Tarquin had loved Aurora since he first laid eyes on her, 10 years prior. Being quieter and more reserved than Orgarious and Horatio, he never had the confidence to approach her, but always imagined the two of them being married. This sudden news of the engagement, was like a sword puncture through his stomach. Tarquin announced the day after finding out about the engagement that he was going to join his father on the road, to help manage the family businesses abroad. He promised to write the two brothers, but never did, which hurt and confused Orgarious and Horatio deeply. When Tarquin's father passed away, two days before his 25th birthday, it was then that he decided there was nothing left for him to do but to reclaim what he felt he was rightfully his...Aurora. He was tired of having things taken from him: his mother, Aurora, his father. He reasoned with his conscious, since Aurora was in his heart first, it wasn’t stealing, rather reclaiming what was rightfully his. Another knock on the door jilted Tarquin from his thoughts. “Enter,” Tarquin summons. The Guard reentered the room, “My Liege, they are here..." “All of them?” responded Tarquin. “Yes, My Liege. All of the citizens of the land, along with your adversaries... Orgarious and Horatio.” Tarquin turned away from the balcony, and proceeded to walk in the direction of his dressing chamber. “Good. Prepare the food and wine, I'll join you all shortly.” “Yes My Liege,” the guard said before exiting the room and closing the doors behind him. The crowd that gathered was very anxious and divided. It was all the citizens of the land, there was loud chatter amongst the group. When Tarquin entered spacious room, the guards sounded the pipes. Tarquin looked around and gestured for the guards to let in Orgarious and Horatio. Both men entered with their hands bound behind their backs, and with blind folds over their eyes. Tarquin was displeased when he saw the state in which they were in, “Untie them, and remove their blindfolds...” he summoned. “But My Liege—” said the commanding guard. “At once!” Tarquin firmly stated. The guards quickly removed the cloths that were draped over their eyes and removed the ropes, which held their hands bound. Tarquin addressed the crowd.... “There are things that I must say before you all… Tarquin clears his throat before continuing,“After much counsel, thoughts and prayers, there is only one thing I can and must do.” Tarquin moved closer to Orgarious and Horatio. The towns people clenched one another in fret. Tarquin goes before the two brothers and kneels down in front of them. With his head bowed he continues; “I have taken from both of you, I have gone against the law, with envy and pride leading before my heart and conscious. I bow before you Orgarious and Horatio, and before everyone who stands here, and pledge my sincerest apologies." Tarquin looks over towards the guards and nods his head. The doors open and Aurora and Zalatia are escorted in. Aurora's eyes search for her husband, at the first sight of him, she leaps from the guard’s hands holding her arms, past the crowd and embraced Orgarious. Zalatia followed her and runs over to her father, who awaited her arrival with opened arms. After a few moments of embrace, they all turn to look at Tarquin in surprise. Tarquin raised from the floor,“I won’t bother you any further, I swear to you this, before everyone gathered here today. I want our nation to be united as it once was. Now, let us eat and drink.” Haratio stepped forward,“Do you think your mere words mend what you have done?" he began to slowly move towards Tarquin.“We are not pawns in a game that you can move at will, you are not allowed to disrupt lives on a whim, and because it suits your forecast.” As Horatio feels the words that have been festering, he quickly grabbed the sword from a guards waistband and lunges at Tarquin with it. Years of tedious training,  prepared him for swift and precise movement. The crowd gasp in astonishment. “No!" screamed Orgarious,“Brother, look at what you have done!” Orgarious rushed to remove the sword from his brother's hand, but the act was already done. Horatio pierced Tarquin with a fatal blow to the right of his chest. The guards begin to come from all sides of the room to apprehend Horatio, while Tarquin laid on the floor, struggling to breathe. He raised his right hand. “Leave him,…" he exclaimed holding the puncture wound with his left hand,  “For not a man amongst you would have acted differently to a thief." Tarquin gasps for another breathe, “You are to accept these men as the Lords of this castle, and my fortune...shall be divided amongst them. You serve them…as you have served me” ..he began to cough. Tarquin motions for one of the guards to draw near. The guard rushed over to Tarquin's side and kneeled down to hear his request, “Yes My Liege?" Tarquin whispered, “Get Matilda.” The Guard stood up and searched the room. “Matilda, there you, come at once!” Matilda, who stood in shock over the last 30 seconds, had her hands over her mouth, and tears streaming down her face. She ran over and kneeled by Tarquin, cradling his head in her hands.“Yes My Liege, “she whimpered.“Ma...tilda…I was a... fool. It’s too late for me now, but I won’t die being a coward twice. It was you, the vision of my only true love was not Aurora…it was you….all long.” Hands trembling, Matilda lifted her left hand to put over Tarquins mouth,“My Liege, save your strength….Healer!” she looked up searching the crowd…” Please, a healer come quick.” No one moved, as everyone understood not much could be done. Horatio and Orgarious were expert swordsmen, it was a fatal blow and it was only a few more minutes, if not seconds, before his lungs would collapse and he would be dead. “No …it’s too late…it’s okay....Something had to give, this was a result of my choices,” whispered Tarquin. Matilda took a deep breath, “Lest you not take your last breathe before you hear this…you were, and are a good man Tarquin. There is not one that walks without error, one can only dream to love someone the way I have loved you, and for you to return that love, even in your last moments of life, I am eternally grateful." Tarquin, with strength and might, took a look at Matilde and smiled Taking in one final deep breathe, he closed his eyes for the last time. Matilda leaned over and ever so gently placed a soft kiss on his forehead. She closed her eyes and said one final prayer for her beloved, as tears roll gently down her face. @herpoetictruth_1

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Dec 04, 2019

I'm in awe of how each writer gave expression and life to this story. Everyone's contribution, from the opening, allowed a magnificent closing!

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