Chapter 10

Written by: Suraya Dewing

Sime gasped and his heart began thunderously beating. He was alone, in a hut in the middle of Half End Fawn Circle. It seemed peaceful enough and when his heart settled down he began to believe that he had nothing to fear. He even began to believe that because he had asked Kali for forgiveness, she had sent him the dream that told him how to get home.

But he could not leave his long-time friend Jay. His father had always taught him to be loyal to friends who stood by him.

Great sadness welled up inside him. He wanted to go home with an ache that made his entire body shudder.

“Jay?” he whispered croakily, not wanting to draw attention to himself.

He caught a shadow shifting from the corner of his eyes. He looked to where he thought he saw it and it seemed to dart away to another part of the hut. Fear formed a bubble in his stomach and holding the wall on either side of him he crept along it until he reached the door.

When he tried to flee a bubble of clear film stretched out around him. It bounced him back and he fell flat onto his back. As he lay there a shadow came over him. He looked up into the gentle figure of Queen Kali.

“You are forgiven, Sime,” she said, “but Jay must learn to be kind also and you alone can teach him that. Unless he is truly repentant he will remain…”

Her eyes fixed on an ugly beetle, all six legs in the air, twisting. Sime gasped.

“Is that Jay?” he whispered.

“Yes.” She tossed her head and the sun caught the glittering jewels in her crown.

Sime’s face twisted with terrible anguish. He just wanted to go home. As if she read his mind, Kali said, “This is the one last act you must perform. Then I will know that you truly do have a seam of goodness running through you.”

Sime hunkered down and rested his elbows on the floor. Sure enough he could see Jay’s face in the squirming beetle.

“Jay,” Sime cried miserably. “What did you do?”

Jay’s tiny voice seemed larger than his size would allow. “I tried to stamp Queen Kali with my feet…like a beetle,” he added miserably.

Kali gave a nod of her golden head. The beetle wriggled its spikey legs.

Sime said, “Jay will you be good for me? Because if you will I think Queen Kali might set you free.”

“I will, I promise,” Jay squeaked.

Chanting, Kali spun around with her arms out wide. As she did, Jay slowly began shedding his scales and he grew.

 “Sime, I give you the important task of watching Jay. If he is naughty you will both be turned into ugly beetles.”

The two boys scuttled away. But as they ran Jay looked back, mischief in his eyes, and poked his tongue out at Kali. Laughing, he disappeared over the hill.