Cage The Storm


The sirens wailing in the distance felt faraway to Vanica. She stayed rooted to the spot, eyes widened with fear. A lifeless body lay within the mountain of snow. The pure white stained heavily with crimson red. The victim had been badly injured. Bruises were left all over their body. No. No. It must be some sort of sick fake prank, there was no way that the body identified was her

Noelle was missing, this body couldn’t be hers, it was too coincidental. Dante probably ran off to who knows where again. 

A small crowd had already gathered at the entrance of Dawnery Park. They were impatient, wanting to see what was going on. Clover City was peaceful and the crime rate was low. The yellow tapes that barricaded the crime scene weren’t enough. People demanded to be let through, squeezing and shuffling to get a glimpse of the scene. 

Amongst the chaos, squeezing through the crowd to run towards Vanica was the leader of the forensics team. “Inspector Zogratis! Our team has identified the uncovered body to be Noelle Silva!” Vanica’s throat tightened, face scrunching into an ugly grimace.

Time stood still. For a while, she forgets about her heavy responsibilities as Chief Inspector and stares up at the dots of white falling. Tears slid down Vanica’s face. Loneliness felt more as solitude, finding ways to cope. 


“Vani! Where were you?” Noelle playfully asked. Vanica merely smiled bitterly, and collapsed face down onto the vast patches of green grass. The sunlight was almost blinding.

Noelle tried to read her book, but gave up on trying to focus and flopped onto the ground.

She then whispered, “If I die, stay happy for me, okay? There may be storms up ahead but cage them up and know that the sun will prevail!”

“What’s that supposed to mean? Caging the storm? Dying?!” Vanica proclaimed. “If you think you’re funny, no you’re not.” She huffed in spite.

Noelle giggled at Vanica’s exaggerated reaction, but kept mum. The blue sky was dotted with fluffy white clouds. 

“C’mon, let’s take a picture together!” She cheerfully suggested. She looked beautiful underneath the morning sun. Her smile brightened, silver hair flowing and enchanting pink irises.




Vanica woke up in cold sweat, bleary eyes scanning around. She felt her tear stained face. Right. She was back at her office in the Police Department. She couldn’t recall anything at all. “Vanica Zogratis, you’re turning 25 and you’re having stupid dreams, grow up already…” She muttered to herself.

“You’re finally awake,” Vanica turned around to find Dante, who had been waiting for her to wake up. “I tried to shake you awake but you refused to.” 

“I should be okay, just a nightmare, it was intense.”

The clock on the desk read 2:37 am in the morning. “I’m… Going to take Noelle’s case…let’s go home.” Vanica said wearily. 

Dante trembled and shouted, “NO!”

Vanica glimpsed back at him in shock. Dante never raised his voice.

Dante cleared his throat and spoke slowly, “What I mean is that Noelle, her death, all these… incidents are too big for you alone to handle. Wouldn’t it be better if you left it to the others? You haven’t gotten over it yet.”

Vanica’s knuckles turned white at those words. “My best friend’s life was lost, because of some filthy killer that’s on the loose. Let me do this Dante. I need to solve this on my own. I’m the best inspector in this precinct. If I can’t solve it, who can?” 

He looked at his sister in pity.

“I’m sorry, let’s go.”


The apprehensive atmosphere in the office didn’t help Vanica with her investigation. The soft glow of the sun peeked through the window. Another day had passed. 

She glanced around at the evidence she gathered and sighed. This was getting nowhere. 

The reported case of a missing person, Noelle Silva, was concluded as a murder when her body was found at Dawnery Park, buried underneath the snow at 8:25 am. Nobody witnessed the body of a 23-year old being buried. 

Reports from the mortuary have stated that the injuries found all over her body were fresh, most likely from the night before. Since Asta, her boyfriend, spent the most time with Noelle, he was the main suspect. The worst case scenario of an abusive relationship momentarily appeared in Vanica’s mind.

Noelle always kept to herself. The few people that she trusted were Vanica, Asta and Dante. Dante. He was strongly against her working with Noelle’s case, but why? He should’ve understood her the most. It’s impossible. There was no evidence to support her theory. He was her brother and fellow crime partner. She would rather die than ever admit that her own brother was the murderer of her best friend.

Thoughts overran her mind. “Why was Noelle killed? We still had so much to-”


The sudden sound of guns being loaded stunned Vanica, but she put her arms up immediately to show that she had no intention of retaliation. She stood her own ground ever so calmly even while being held at gunpoint. An inspector like her had probably seen this scene played countless times. Being involved in one wouldn’t really matter now. 

Dante rushed in, panic evident on his face. “I’m sorry Vanica, they forced themselves in!”

One of the policemen grabbed Vanica. “Vanica Zogratis, you are now under the suspicion of the murder of Noelle Silva. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court, You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

Hands cuffed behind her back, she was forced into her cell harshly. The metal door of the jail cell closed with a loud clang behind Vanica. Everything had happened too fast. Her raven black short hair fell neatly on her shoulders, eyes cold and rigid. They only had 48 hours to find evidence of her crimes before they had to let her go. 

Her lips tightened. Time was running out. She had to figure out the culprit soon, and fast. It was not the time to be in a jail cell, especially when she was just about to narrow down her suspects and finally figure out who killed Noelle. 

She clutched onto the metal bars of the cell with a savage grip. Escaping this cell was Vanica’s only option now. Just as she was about to execute her escape plan, Dante opened the door to the cell, ignoring Vanica. She glanced at him in disbelief. Her own brother acting like she didn’t just get wrongfully arrested for her best friend’s murder.

Dante avoided Vanica’s gaze and said, “We’ve come so far, haven’t we, Vanica? Well, you’re the one that has come so far. I was never on the same page as you from the beginning.”

Vanica could only stare at Dante’s pained expression on his face. Her fingers twitched. “What do you mean? You’re my little brother…” 

Dante scoffed angrily. “Of course you wouldn’t understand. You’ve spent too much time in the limelight.” An aloof silence settled between them. Vanica’s posture tensed. “You were the ‘Perfect Child’ to everyone. The centre of attention in school and even the valedictorian when you graduated, became Clover City’s best inspector with only a year of experience, but what about me? Your so-called ‘Little Brother’?”

He shouted louder as he continued to speak. “You were always overshadowing me. When we both decided that we wanted to be inspectors, everyone else supported you. They gave you presents and gifts to encourage you. What did I get? Mocking laughter. Saying that I’ll never be better than you.”

All of a sudden, he burst out into an almost maniacal laughter. “Heads are going to turn when they find out that it was I, Dante Zogratis, who sent my own sister, Vanica Zogratis to jail!” Cold sweat beaded on Vanica’s forehead. 

“W-wait, what do you mean by that?” She questioned Dante with a small and shaky voice. 

“To eliminate you, I found the perfect crime to frame you with, what could be better than the murder of your best friend? You walked right into my trap. To see your pitiful self in jail like this was worth all the months of planning. 

Months? Months? They had been planning this for months? How outrageous could they be? To exact revenge on her, he sacrificed a life and felt not even one ounce of remorse? Vanica clenched her jaw so tight, she swore she heard it crack. 

“That’s enough we’ve heard from you, Mr Zogratis.” 

The voice came from outside the doorway. Superintendent William glared intently at Dante. A few other police officers entered the cell, and arrested Dante.

“Dante Zogratis, you’re now under arrest for the crime of assisting in the plan of murdering Noelle Silva. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court, You have the right…”

The words of the officer trailed away in Vanica’s mind. She had a murderer and a vicious hypocrite for a brother, who would’ve known? That ‘filthy killer’ she had previously mentioned was her own brother, someone that did everything with her. She felt like she was going to throw up right there. She attempted to stagger her way out of the jail cell, but was stopped by the Superintendent. 

“Inspector Vanica, I need to-”

Face pale, she shook her head vigorously and immediately ran out of the building. 

She didn’t even notice that she’d been holding her breath until she looked away and panted. Vanica was in the way of crowds of people. But she didn’t have the heart to care. And so she ran.

Before she knew it, she had already reached the cemetery. Yards of tombstones lay. The smell of freshly mowed grass and flowers were intoxicating.

Vanica simply stood at Noelle’s grave. “A loving girlfriend, friend and classmate.” She felt a flicker of irritation in herself. It should’ve been her in the grave, not Noelle. A tear was forming but she wouldn’t let it fall. 

Instead, she plucked an iris from the ground and gently placed it on Noelle’s grave. Vanica’s black jacket did little to protect herself from the cold, strong winds blowing. She plopped onto the soft grass and managed to muster an apologetic smile.

“So hey Noelle? Haven’t seen you in a while, hope life’s good up there.” She vocalised aloud. “You shouldn’t have been the one to suffer from such a selfish act.”

“Dante… He…” Vanica choked. “He hates me. For how I was always better than him in everything. But I wonder if he understands how much I sacrificed to get to where I am today. Was I a bad sister? For neglecting Dante?”

“If you were still here you’d laugh the whole thing off and tell Dante that he should be getting something else to be mad at.” Vanica laughed awkwardly. “You… told me to be happy. That the sun would always prevail in the end.”

“Now that you’re gone, there’s not really any sun left, is there? Because you’re my sun. Without you, I only see stormy days ahead.”

She was now lying down. Facing the sky, watching the dark clouds overtake the vast infinite blue.

“If fate allows it, I’ll be the sun that protects you in our next lives, just like how you were…” Her eyelids drooped and her words slurred. Tiredness overtook her body. 

Now in a peaceful slumber, no matter what the new day brought, whether it may be the realisation that she was alone in this cruel world, or the fact that she may lose her job, it didn’t matter. Because Vanica and Noelle had each other, and that’s all they ever needed. The storm for now had finally been caged.

Pandora, Pang Zi Qi Cayenne (Class of 2026) refuses to write anything not realistic. She likes to input references from her current interests in many of her works as well as her personal life experiences obtained from her progressing adolescence.