2016 Honorable Mention: THE KATCHETHORDAN DIAMOND by Karen Wang

23:57, December 24th

So there I was, standing on the roof, begging for death. The dark night enveloped me, making me invisible. The icy wind slapped my face, scolding me for what I had done. I placed a hand over the bulge on my coat, feeling the rough edges. Good, it’s still there. Taking the bulge out, I unwrapped the protective black velvet cloth. The crystal light seemed to glow in the dark. Rainbows started bouncing off the clear surface. I saw my reflection, a 16 year old girl with frantic, wide, pacific-blue eyes and shoulder-length wispy, chocolate-brown hair. Rolling the diamond around in my gloves, I closed my eyes and whispered

“This is for you Mica.”

I looked up and saw a black helicopter coming slowly towards me, like a cat stalking a mouse, waiting to pounce, deadly silent; then I heard the sirens.

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15:18, December 12th

My name is Veronica Varth. This is the day that caused me to steal the Katchethordan Diamond.

I paced around the lobby of Educating the English. With my fingers crossed behind my back, I prayed that I would get the job. Mica depended on me. Michael Varth, my little brother, was sick with Pharatopiloas Pharmasopia, a disease that infects the lungs and kidneys. I imagined him lying in his stark white hospital bed, with tubes sticking out of his body. I remembered the nurse handing me the medical bill for nearly 2 million dollars. Sighing, I plopped down in the plush sofa, my head buried in my hands, staring at the polished marble floor through the gaps between my fingers. Thinking about Mica playing with his red trucks and our parents staring happily at us, before they died a year ago from a car accident, I hadn’t heard the clicking, clacking dress shoes of a man dressed in black.

He cleared his throat. I felt tears at the back of my eyes. Why did it have to be you Mica, why not me? The man cleared his throat again, this time more dramatically. I snapped my head up, opening my mouth to snap at him, but he beat me to it.

“Come to the docks at 23:00 sharp. I have a job offer,” he told me in a raspy growl.

“Why?” I asked, scrunching up my eyebrows.

He said no more, but turned around and left. The way he talked spooked me. Who, in their right mind, would meet a total stranger at night? I wondered miserably, yet another part of me burned with curiosity.

“Will Miss Veronica Varth please come to the information desk?”

I leaped off the couch, as if someone stuck a thumb tack on it and dashed to the information center. Sitting there was a stern looking woman.

“I am Miss Veronica Varth.”

The woman glanced up at me through blood red, cat-eye glasses, her scowl deepening a bit, almost dripping off her face. Then, she pushed a paper forward. I grabbed it with shaking hands and quickly scanned it.

“Something’s wrong,” I muttered.

I read it again, then again. Realization dawned to me.

I didn’t make it in.

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23:00, December 12th

I dug my hands deeper into my winter coat. The old fuzzy fur tickled my hands, like my parents used to do when I was little. Squinting my eyes, I looked for the black figure. Abruptly, I heard the clicking and clacking of dress shoes. Whipping around, I saw the man, staring right at me with brown eyes that looked gold, dripping with venom. They seemed to be searching for the truth, obtaining it at all costs.

“You came,” he remarked, in a rough, raspy voice.

Nodding a yes, I stuck out my hand. He stared at it as if it were a piece of stray dirt on his shiny black shoes.

“Nice to meet you sir. I’m Veronica Varth and you are?”

He narrowed his eyes.

“Never ask that again. Close your eyes and count to ten out loud.”

I frowned. No way am I closing my eyes on a suspicious stranger who’s addicted to the color black! I closed my eyelids, seeing only a little sliver of the pitch black night.


He’s getting out a black cloth, a black cloth!


He’s getting out a bottle labeled… wine?


He’s pouring it onto the rag!


Is that coming closer to my face?


It definitely is!


The world suddenly turned midnight black, darker than the sky.

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15:18, December 14th

I woke up, my skull throbbing. I sat up and rubbed my temples, trying to clear my head. The table next to me held a plate of ribeye steak and Doritos. My favorite. A glass of water was next to it. Grabbing a fistful of Doritos, I shoved them into my mouth, savoring the cheesy flavor. What time is it? I thought. Looking around for my alarm clock, dread filled me. Why were there Doritos on a table? Why is there ribeye steak? As if someone opened a door for me, the past events flooded back into my head. I spat out the Doritos, using my hand to dry off my tongue, I could hear my stomach growling, like a grizzly bear meeting an intruder. My parched throat begged for me to drink the water. I flat out refused. Be quiet I told it, QUIET! The room was filled with the oh so familiar clicking and clacking of dress shoes coming my way. Wait till I get my hands on him!

The sound of footsteps approached closer and closer, I grabbed the plate of ribeye and Doritos, holding it like a baseball bat. I saw the gold handle turn slowly. I felt my heart race. Then, the door swiftly swung opened. I blindly swung the plate of food forward, feeling it make contact with something, I swung again, I felt strong hands grab my shirt and fling me forward, into the hall.

I found myself face to face with a pair of leather shoes. I felt hands grab my arm and drag me to a door at the end of the hall, adorned with portraits. He flung me inside. I slide across the polished floor, crashing into a bookshelf in process. I stood up, feeling pain in every part of my body, like the Tin Man before Dorothy came to help him.

“Sit,” a voice commanded.

I reluctantly sat in the chair, rubbing the back of my neck. The man in black sat in a polished mahogany desk.

“Why do you want me here?” I demanded, eyes blazing.

“You have the skills required for this mission.”

“What mission? Who says that I’m going to help you?”

He took out a briefcase and pressed his thumb to it. Then, he held it an inch away from his eye, letting the red laser scan it. The briefcase popped open. There were Franklin’s packed to the top.

“Two million.” He told me in a flat, non raspy voice.

I leaned back, crossing my arms.

“What’s the condition?”

I saw something that was the closest to a smile that it seemed he could muster.

He pushed a pristine white paper forward, with a pen.


I read it slowly:

You can not tell a single soul, dead, dying, or alive about this. You have to follow my every command, no matter how severe it is. You are going to steal the Katchethordan Diamond. The penalty for breaking this promise is death. If you leave, you die.

I wrinkled my nose. Death? I didn’t like the sound of this, but when I looked at the briefcase of Franklin’s staring at me, I knew that I had to do it. Mica,
this is for you. Grabbing the pen, I signed, staining the paper forever black.

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23:30, December 24th

I skimmed up the museum wall, one of the many tricks the man in black has taught me. I felt my fingered gloves tighten around the rough handle of the gun, another trick he has taught me. Slowly, I walked across the roof, praying that the American police will not see me through a window. I flipped open the control box and took out the wire cutters from my drawstring backpack. Snipping the red and blue wire, I saw the red button fade, leaving its trace. Then, I put the wire cutters away, taking out a pair of lasers and a rope. Cutting the glass, I attached the rope to the chimney and tied it around my waist. As the last deadly laser sliced through the glass, I looked down and saw the Katchethordan Diamond shining eerily in the dark.

It was now or never.

I was going to make the worst mistake in my life.

Closing my eyes, I prepared to jump. I love you Mica, I love you.

Slowly, I lowered myself into the dark abyss of my destruction.