It’s February, and another edition of the school newspaper has been posted! My two friends and I were working on this as a theme–Zodiac signs. Since the signs of February are Aquarius and Pisces, we have decided to Aquarius the narrator of the story. Enjoy!
The Call of the Zodiac (Part 1)
by Krystal, Anisha, and Jessica
Authors’ Note: The Zodiac signs of February are Aquarius (January 21 – February 19) and Pisces (February 20 – March 20), therefore they are the main characters of this short story 😀
Aquarius: male adult who keeps a decorated ceramic water jug with him at all times
Pisces: small male human outside of water, but in water, a fish
Aquarius was completely alone on the little island in the middle of the ocean, save for Pisces, a fellow Zodiac, some grass, and lots of misshapen rocks. And, thanks to the dark storm that raged above, he was getting more and more wet and miserable by the second.
The Water Bearer scanned the dark skies and ocean for any sign of the people they were expecting.
He sighed shakily.
Suddenly, a pair of hard, sharp hooves rammed into Aquarius’s chest, and he was knocked backwards, banging his head on the rocks behind him and losing literally all of his breath in the process.
“HEY THERE, AQUA! HI PISCES! HOW YA DOING? SORRY WE TOOK SO LONG, THE STORM DELAYED US A BIT – ” The loud, excited voice blasted into Aquarius’s ears as he lay there, dazed.
Oh. My. Stars.
“So how was it, waiting on this dreadful island for so long?” Sagittarius asked, his voice now at a somewhat normal speaking level. His hooves were now off of Aquarius and pawed at the ground. “I’ll bet it was terrible!”
“Sagittarius, quit fooling around,” an indignant voice commanded. “We’re on a mission.”
Sagittarius looked over at the speaker. “Aww,” he whined. “I just wanted to talk to Aqua, Virgo. You know, friendship?” He nudged Aquarius with his hoof playfully and grinned. Aquarius frowned at him in return.
Virgo rolled her eyes. “Right. There’s a serious war going on, and you want to bond with your friends. Riiiiigggghhhtt.”
Sag stuck his tongue out at her, then trotted cheerfully over to Pisces, where he promptly laid down with his four long legs folded under him, horse style, and started to try and play patty cake with his friend. Virgo sighed exasperatedly.
Meanwhile, Aquarius had kept his eyes on the shoreline of the tiny island, still awaiting the arrival of the others. He didn’t blink when eight large, galloping figures emerged from the depths and climbed up onto the sand, shaking water off of their various forms. Aries, of course, was in the lead, with Libra, Leo, Gemini, Taurus, Capricorn, Scorpio, and Cancer following close behind. Aries bleated angrily as he approached Aquarius and Pisces, who were still lounging where they sat. “When are we going to do anything about this war?! It’s been 5032 million years since we first began, and since then we’ve done nothing but sit around discussing battle plans and tactics that you will never put into action!” He stared at them all reproachfully. Some of the others grumbled in agreement while Leo enthusiastically joined Sagittarius’s game of patty cake, the two Geminis exchanged bored glances, and Taurus pawed at the ground hopefully for food.
Virgo stepped up to the ram. “I can assure you, Aries, that our forces will act soon. We just have to wait for the right moment.”
“The right moment?! All these years, and we’ve been waiting for the right moment? The little humans on this little planet are in danger, including our very existence, given that those creatures are so obsessed with us and keeping us alive with their belief in us. We must act now!” Aries stomped his hooves on the muddy ground, spraying those around him with mud.
The island was suddenly silent, save for the noisy downpour of the rain on the multitude of rocks that lay here and there. Even Sagittarius and Leo had stopped playing patty cake, and instead stared with wide eyes at the angry Zodiac in the center.
Aries bleated again and stared furiously at all those around him. “There’s no way I’m going to wait around for things that ‘take time’ and that must happen at the ‘right moment’. I’m taking action now, and you are not going to stop me. Who’s with me?”
More silence awaited. Still, no one moved. The only sounds on that island were the wind blowing and Aries breathing heavily. When he realized that no one was going to say anything, he stormed off into the sky in a huff, not waiting for Aquarius or Pisces to dismiss him.
“I hate to say this,” Capricorn slowly began, “but Aries is right in some way. We have to do something, even if it’s not charging into battle like Aries wants. The fate of that tiny little world down their–our subjects–as well as our fates rest with us and what we’re willing to do about the monster that’s threatening them.” He spread his hands in a gesture for anyone to speak out against it, but to Aquarius’s surprise, the others were nodding in agreement at what Capricorn had said.
Aquarius frowned; he wasn’t quite sure he liked the idea. “Sure, we could go down and do something–that idea is right and fine. There’s only one flaw, however: WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?”
Leo stood up. “I have an idea,” he said quietly, then cleared his throat and repeated it a little louder. Aquarius, noticing his struggle to be heard over the clamor of murmurs that the others were beginning to make, held up his hands and bellowed, “SILENCE!!!”
Immediately, everyone stopped talking and looked up at him. “Leo has an idea,” Aquarius explained. “Leo, would you like to share it?”
Judging from the look on Leo’s face, he knew it wasn’t a request.
He began to stammer. “Uh, I thought, maybe, we could, uh, find the monster’s lair and, uh, destroy it together…?” He ended in a question, as if unsure the others would accept it.
Aquarius considered it. “It’s not bad,” he acknowledged, then turned to the crowd. “Does anyone oppose or have a better idea?”
Virgo stepped forward. “Wouldn’t it be better to spy on it and find weaknesses, secret entrances, anything to help us in defeating it?”
Scorpio sighed. “I’m afraid we don’t have that kind of time, my friend,” he said sadly. “The monster, in eating our subjects, has already begun to drain our powers. If we wait any longer, we will soon be nothing but shadows in the universe, mere memories that will fade away once there is no one left down there to remember those memories, and we will be gone because there is no one left to believe in us. We must act fast.”
Cancer lifted a finger in protest. “Wait,” he called out. “Why don’t we compromise?”
Aquarius thought about the two plans. On the one hand, it would be a great advantage to discover anything useful to aid them in defeating the monster, but on the other hand, it was pretty clear that they were running out of time.
Aquarius held up his hands once more. “I have reached a decision,” he boomed, loud enough for everyone to hear. “We will find the monster’s lair and spy on it for three days, identifying as much as we can. From there, we will all move to attack it together and drain it of its magic, therefore preserving our lives and the population of the believers down on the planet.”
Sagittarius spoke up. “When do we leave?”
Pisces shook his head as Aquarius opened his mouth to speak. “We need all of us, and that includes the one who left, Aqua.”
Aquarius grimaced. “Do we have to? He’s such a pain, and he’ll be even angrier when he finds out we decided without him.”
“Yes, he must be here. Anyways, we didn’t force him to leave, he did it of his own accord. He has no right to be mad at us.”
Aquarius sighed. “Fine.” He addressed the other Zodiacs. “Someone go find Aries, please, and inform him about our plan. The rest of you are dismissed. Meet back here in three days’ time for battle planning and we can destroy this monster once and for all.”
Sagittarius cheered. “Death to the monster! Death to the monster!”
He jumped with delight as the others joined in, and cheered even louder, until it was all Aquarius could hear even after the Zodiacs began to dive into the water one by one and swim away.
“Death to the monster!” he murmured silently under his breath, and rode away on the strong ocean currents.
Three days later, the Zodiacs were back on the island, this time in slightly sunnier weather.
“Here’s what we discovered.” Virgo stepped forward once more before Aquarius, presenting her evidence. “The monster lives with no one, but it can lift as much as a herd of elephants with the weakest claw on its oddly shaped body. It can spit poisonous venom that melts everything, and it could destroy this entire island with its deadly breath if it were ever to come here. It can swim incredibly fast, almost too fast for us to see, and especially too fast for the believers to be able to do anything about it. Even with our combined powers, we are still weak and it has become even stronger while it sapped our strength–and still continues to do so; as a result, I doubt we will be able to defeat this thing on our own.”
Aries bleated angrily. “You want us to sit around and do nothing like we have for the past 5032 million years? Let’s fight!”
“Aries is right,” Aquarius agreed. “However difficult it would be, we have to do something, and we need the element of surprise. Any secret entrances to the lair?”
“Surely you don’t still intend to try to kill it?” Virgo said, amazed, but she sighed when Aquarius nodded. “Very well. The lair is in a hidden cave on the side of a cliff somewhere in what the believers down on the planet call the Pacific Ocean, up north somewhere. It opens the cave through a series of complicated patterns and some kind of retinal scan–although how it does that, I don’t know. Either way, it’s made sure no one else can get in, much less twelve zodiacs. Thirteen if you count both Gemini twins.”
“What about secret passageways?” Aquarius prompted.
“We believe that a hole in the top of the cliff leads down into the roof of the cave, but we have yet to see if it is true. However, we can all fit down it, and catch the monster by surprise–but only if needed.”
“Very well.” Aquarius hefted his spear and strode towards the shoreline. “Let’s go, everyone!” Without waiting for them to follow, he dove into the water and swam towards the horizon, knowing that this might be the very last battle he ever fought.
But then again, he thought that before every battle.
To be continued…