Just Our Secret

Chapter One

Three minutes before I died, I was eating a hamburger. It was quite good, if you were wondering. Lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and onions. No pickles, obviously. Who do you think I am? I had a side of fries. Did you know fries are actually really good if they’re dipped in a mixture of ketchup and mayo?

Don’t look at me like that! It’s good!

My mom taught me that combination. We were on vacation in Guadalupe. It’s a little French territory in the Caribbean. Just the two of us. And we had gone out to eat at this “authentic” takeout place. I had been mooching off my mom’s weird shrimp dish, as my chicken salad was pretty terrible. She reached down into the bottom of the plastic bag we had gotten our takeout in, and she pulled out a styrofoam container full of fries.

She opened the plastic lid with a crack and, to my horror, there was a packet of mayonnaise in there. But I tried it out, and it was pretty good. Mom said it was more of a European thing to do. Ever since then, whenever I asked for mayonnaise with my fries, people looked at me like I had just shot a man. But I could handle it.

I could handle a lot of things. Like bullies.

I mean, I never was bullied that much. Let’s be real, Bruce Nightcon picked on everyone. Being 5’8” helped him out in that regard too. No one dared challenge the tall kid. That was just something you did not do. Ever. Kids who did that ended up with bloody noses if Bruce was in a good mood.

The only person Bruce never picked on was his sister, Amelie Nightcon, and his “friend,” Nick Whaner. Nick just didn’t want to get beat up, so he pretended to like Bruce.

Neither of them were very smart. It didn’t help their reputation that every time they got a math question wrong, someone got a bloody nose. He beat up the school counselor once.

What am I even saying? I should introduce myself. My name is Tempest Jyrs. And I am dead.

Pretty dramatic, huh? It took me a while to think that up. Y’know, just start with some useless information, then hit them with a boom! Guess what, baby?! You’re talking to a dead man!

I guess I shouldn’t be so happy to share this about me, but it’s like opening up. Like I relieved a great weight, a boulder, nesting on my shoulder blades. (Hear that metaphor? I should do this writing thing more often.)

Anyway, maybe you should learn a bit about me. My name is Tempest Jyrs, as you know, and I would’ve been starting 10th grade next year had I not, of course, died. I was born in a town in Illinois, called Bloomington, but I moved to Oklahoma City in 1st grade. I was young enough not to care at the time, since you don’t make real friends until 3rd grade.

My mom and dad divorced just after I was born, and my dad got all the rights to me, so I never really knew my mom. I only know my cousins, aunt, uncle, and grandparents on my dad’s side. I’m also an only child, but I’m kind of glad about that part. My friend, Rodney, has three other siblings, and he hates all of them.

“Imagine a pet, except they’re not cute, can speak English, and can never be fully house trained. Then, you’ll have half an idea of what it’s like to have a little sibling,” he had said once.

I had laughed, thinking he was kidding. Then I slept over at his house, and I realized I so wrong.

I was always a pretty good student, too. I mean, I always got A’s and B’s. I did well in Phys-Ed. I was on a soccer team, too. Not because I was good, but because I was fast. I played right striker ‘cause of it. And when I say “fast,” I mean fast. Really fast. Like, “how-is-he-all-the-way-over-there-he-was-just-right-here” fast. I also enjoyed hockey. I played goalie, ‘cause I wasn’t good enough to play anything else. I could hardly stand on two blades. The only reason I played was because my dad had played in college and loved the sport since he was a child.

And because I enjoyed playing. That, too. There was nothing quite like the thrill of making a save to me. Your team patting you on the back, the crowd cheering.

And I had a girlfriend. I mean, Genesis and I liked each other. We kissed a couple of times, but it was still a new relationship. We could have probably stayed together if I hadn’t, of course, died.

Now that I think about it, you’re probably dying to know how I died. I mean, if I truly am dead, then how am I writing this? Do they maybe have computers in Heaven? Is my spirit writing this? Or am I still alive? So many questions that I don’t want to answer. Don’t know how to answer. But I’ll try to explain this the best I can.

First of all, yes, I am really dead. This is not a hoax. This is not a prank. Secondly, no, I am not writing this from Heaven. At least, I assume Heaven wouldn’t have such a loud ceiling fan. Really distracting. I’m writing from… well, I’m not quite sure. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough, though. I mean, someone’s coming out of the office door and into the lobby. He’s coming towards me and smiling at me right now.

“Hi there,” he said cheerily, extending a hand.

His nails were perfectly manicured. I took it hesitantly.

“I’m Murphy,” he continued, “but you can call M-Dawg, Murph, or Dr. M.”

“Okay, Murphy,” I said, making sure I didn’t use any of his nicknames. “I’m Tempest.”

Murphy let out a hearty laugh. “Oh, I know,” he said, his black eyes twinkling. “So, how’s Genesis?” he inquired.

That right there stopped me dead.

“Excuse me?” I said, turning to him slowly.

“Genesis?” the man said, confused. “Oh, did you not meet her yet?”

“Yes, I’ve met her,” I spat. “She’s my girlfriend. But how do you know her?”

“Listen, buddy. I know things about you that you don’t even know about you,” he said, his dead eyes sparkling. “I know who you’ll marry, when you’ll die, how you’ll die. Call me your guardian angel, if you will. Now, come with me,” he said abruptly, beckoning over his shoulder.

By now, I was utterly confused to say the least. I wasn’t sure if I was alive or not, and I just found my “guardian angel,” I guess. He seemed a bit too intense to be an angel, though. I always assumed they would be so calm and peaceful, and floating around in togas.

As if reading my thoughts, which at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if Murphy could, he let out a long sigh.

“Not what you expected, right?” he said.

“What?” I responded, shaken out of my thoughts.

“Me! Whenever you think ‘guardian angel,’ you think two things. Cinderella, and a fat baby playing the harp and wearing a toga.”

“What? No! That’s not what I imagined at all!” I said, though that happened to be exactly what I had imagined.

He turned around as we stopped our march in a short, white-walled hallway in front of a small, white door. In faded brass, the number 441 was stamped across the front.

“This will be your room,” Murphy said as he fitted a small, plastic card into a slot by the handle. Testing the knob, the door glided inwards on soundless hinges.

As I peeked my head into the room, it was rather bland. Let’s just say I was disappointed but not surprised. Directly to the right of me was a small, carpeted bathroom, and to the left was a cramped walk-in closet. As I walked farther into the apartment, the hallway abruptly spread out into a larger room. In the far right corner was a neatly made bed that looked decently comfortable. Spread across the left wall was a mini-kitchen, containing a cutting board, shelves stacked to the ceiling, a fridge, a sink, an oven, multiple pots and pans, and what looked like a small dish of spices. Finally, in the closest left corner was a small desk with a lamp, computer, and a few stacks of pen and paper. There was plush, white, stain-free, wall-to-wall carpeting about an inch thick covering every corner of the room.

“Well,” said Murphy, his wide smile unfading, “I’ll leave you to it.”

And there I was. Confused, lost, and utterly speechless.

My first order of business was the computer I had noticed when I entered. I searched all around the internet, searching for answers to my endless questions. I was even looking at posts such as “What To Do If You’re Kidnapped,” or “Do Aliens Exist.” Even, “Are You A Victim Of Amnesia?” Which, at this point, I wouldn’t be too quick to deny.

What had happened? Was I stabbed after eating that burger? Oh, that reminds me of something! You don’t actually know how I died, do you? Well, I’m going to be honest. I don’t quite know. I was just reaching for a napkin after finishing my burger. Then suddenly, there was a lot of noise behind me. I was about to spin around, and then everything went blank. And by blank, I don’t mean all I saw was dark, or my vision went white, I mean I fell asleep there, and I woke up here. There is simply is no memory in between. Nothing. And then I decided to fill you guys in.

Well, I think I’ll go catch some sleep now. This has been a long day.


Chapter Two

So I just woke up and, judging by the clock hanging up on the wall above my bed, I got at least eleven hours of sleep, so that’s good. I don’t really know what to do now. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to leave my room, or if I even can (I haven’t tried yet.) I heard voices outside my door earlier, so that might mean something. I’m just really confused.

I found eggs and bacon in the fridge, so I put an omelet on the pan and waited. While it was cooking, I continued my endless goose chase to try and find out where I was. That’s when an epiphany hit me. Two words, friends: Google Maps! With desperate fingers, I quickly searched it up, begging for answers. But I was greeted only with a blank, white screen. So I waited for it to load. And I waited. I waited so long, my omelet started to burn. I waited so long that soon, thin black smoke was pouring off the pan and into the windowless room that was my apartment. Only then did I shut off the oven, my eyes never leaving the white screen.

I would’ve sat there all day and all night if I weren’t interrupted by three sharp knocks on my door. With heartbreaking clarity, I realized that Google Maps would never load. I could have sat there for a million lifetimes to no avail. So I pulled myself out of the wooden desk chair, turned off the computer, and walked to the door. It had been unlocked, as a matter of fact, or at least it now opened easily to reveal a smiling Murphy.

“Go on and get dressed. Today’s the big day,” he said cheerily.

“These are the only clothes I got,” I barked, unusually grouchy.

“Oh, there’s a suit in the closet for you. I’ll wait outside.”

I slammed the door on his smiling face and dragged myself over to the closet. In it was a perfectly tailored suit, which I was sure hadn’t been there yesterday. I pulled it on. It was more comfortable then I’d like to admit.

“I’m ready,” I said as I opened the door once again, now fashioned in a clean, white suit.

“Come right this way, then,” Murphy said, waving as I followed glumly.

“Where are we even going?” I inquired.

“To your hearing,” he responded.

I already did not like this. “Hearing” made it sound like I was about to be placed in front of a judge and jury. I voiced this to him, though maybe a little less politely than I did to you.

“Oh, everyone has those concerns. And rightly so,” he said. “But what it really is, is we review your near-death experience, then decide whether you deserve to die.”

He said all this like he was discussing what to have for lunch or how the weather was. I, on the other hand, stared at him in horror.

“So you decide whether or not I will die? I spat, enunciating every word clearly.

“That’s right,” he said, grinning.

I was still recovering from that truth bomb when we walked into the courtroom. It looked exactly like a courtroom should. Or, at least, what I assumed a courtroom should look like. I had never been in one before, but it looked just like those ones in Law and Order.

Murphy gently tapped me once to get my attention, and pointed towards a large, uncomfortable-looking chair next to the black-robed judge. There was already a whole jury full of other Murphy-looking men and women, all wearing a collection of black, white, and grey suits. I walked towards the chair hesitantly. I could feel every eye in the room on me.

Once I was seated, the black-robed judge nodded once ominously. A large screen then lowered down from the ceiling, and it flickered once, before revealing a frozen image of, well, me. I was casually hunched over a burger.

“We will now review Tempest Swartinhien Jyrs’ near-death experience,” the judge said, his loud voice echoing scarily in the dead silent room.

Suddenly, the frozen picture jumped to life. I wished that I had paid more attention to my table manners that day, as my chewing and munching sounds were amplified awkwardly throughout the room. I coughed once into my elbow. Then, I wiped my hands, thankfully, on a napkin. I reached for a fry and ate it slowly. I remembered this bit now. I had been imagining what it would be like to breathe under water. I smiled a little. Then, I reached over and took another bite of my burger.

Just looking at the burger now made my mouth water, as I remembered that I hadn’t eaten breakfast.

The scene seemed so innocent now. No one would’ve expected I might die in the same three minutes.

Then, the shouting started. As I heard it on tape, it seemed much clearer than in person. I heard the shouts.


“Oh my God!”

Then, I had gotten up and spun around. I knew all this, but I needed to see how I died.

I had spun around and…

The video freeze-framed right as the bullet entered my skull. The area around my head was an explosion of red.

“He was shot,” a voice said, dragging my eyes away from the projector and back to the real world.

That voice turned out to be Murphy. “Never did anything wrong in his life, and he was shot. Wrong place, wrong time. A tragedy that we can change. There is no reason in any universe for this man, this child, to die.”

As much as I despised being called “child,” it was heartwarming to see Murphy doing this for me.

“Furthermore,” Murphy continued, “If we did vote to kill this man, then we would be breaking the hearts of even more people who never did a thing to deserve that. A father, a girlfriend. A dog, for God’s sake!”

There was scattered clapping from the jury.

“Never has there been less of a reason for his man to die.”

There were more claps and murmurs of agreement.

“I,” said a new voice, “disagree.”

I turned to the man who apparently thought that I should die. He was wearing a deep black suit and a blood-red tie.

“Don’t we all deserve to die?” he said. “I mean, really. This child is a waste of air. A polluter, a mistake, and a useless human. I would say the same thing for his guardian, too!”

There were shouts of shock, and the jury seemed flabbergasted. Murphy, on the other hand, looked like he didn’t care about the insult.

“Give me one example why this child deserves to die,” Murphy said calmly, inspecting his nails, confidence and cockiness plain in his voice.

The opponent looked a little confused, before he shook himself and said, “Well, when he was thirteen, he littered.”

There was utter silence. Not one person was swayed by his extremely convincing argument.

“Not guilty!” the judge roared abruptly.

There was quite a lot of clapping now, and Murphy took a single bow. I had never been more relieved in my nearly-ended life.

I stood up slowly, not sure if I was even allowed to. But Murphy smiled at me from across the room and beckoned me over. I walked to him.

“Thank you!” I gasped. “Oh my God, thank you so, so, so much.”

Ach, as soon as I get them to like me, they have to forget me,” he said playfully.

“Um, what?” I said.

“Oh, you see. Before you leave, you’ll have to do a quick memory wipe. This ensures that we don’t have a bunch of our visitors rambling about us,” he responded.

“So I won’t remember any of this?” I asked.

“That’s right,” Murphy said, his smile back on his face.

“When will the wipe happen?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

I nodded slowly. We walked in silence for a little while walking back towards my room.

“Is it a needle?” I asked abruptly. Murphy laughed.

“No, it’s just a little drink. Tastes like strawberries.”

“How do you know? Have you tried it?”

“Oh no. It just says that on the label,” he laughed.

So did I. It was a nice moment. I was going to be sad to not remember this place. Then, it struck me. This story. I tried not to let Murphy notice my realization.

Instead, I quickly asked, “Is it like one of those things like amnesia, where if you see something, it might trigger a memory?”

“Well,” Murphy pondered, “it would be possible. But for that to happen, you would basically have to hear a full recount of what happened here. And even that might not be enough.”

I tried to suppress my smile.

When we got back to my apartment, I smiled and tried my best to act casual. I imagined myself as a calm and collected guy, leaning against the doorframe waiting for Murphy to leave, thanking him for walking me back to my room, and still managing to seem a little sad to forget this place. And I would’ve been sad, that is, if I was actually planning on forgetting it.

As quickly and accurately as I could, I wrote all of this down on my computer and finally headed off to bed.

The next morning, I was woken by the sound of three harsh knocks on my door. I quickly got dressed, looked longingly at the small, nearly unused kitchen, and opened the door. Murphy waited outside in a crisp, black suit, which brought out the color of his completely dead eyes.

Without a word, he turned and started walking, clearly expecting me to follow him. I sighed and trudged along after him.

“Did we have to do this so early?” I groaned to Murphy.

“We were lucky to have gotten a wipe the day after the trial. The DBMMR has a very busy schedule,” Murphy said.

I felt oddly scolded.

“DBMMR?” I questioned.

“You’ll see,” Murphy smiled.

I was starting to regret saying that I liked him. We walked all the way down another, slightly more colorful, blue-walled corridor. Murphy rapped on the last door on the left’s white paint three times.




Just like he had done for me. I wondered quite randomly if everyone here had their own specific knock so people would know who they were opening the door to. But that would be stupid. This place couldn’t be that organized. Nowhere could be that organized. Could it?

When the door swung open on soundless hinges, I was completely unsurprised that there was no one who was close enough to have opened it themselves.

Murphy gestured forward.

“Patients first!” he said, without a hint of sarcasm.

I stepped into the room hesitantly. When no one said I couldn’t be there, I walked farther into the completely barren room. The only thing in there was a man, his back turned from us. He was hunched over a clipboard. I coughed once to get his attention. He spun around, startled.

“Oh, it’s just you. Well come in!” he said. “I’m Prescoff, Director of the Board of Mandatory Memory Removals here.”

I quickly worked out in my head that this guys must be the DBMMR.

“So your dosage today is 39 mL of strawberry flavored wipe. Am I correct on that?” he asked.

Before I had a chance to answer, Murphy cut in, “Yes, that is correct.”

“Okay, that is just fine,” Prescoff responded, nodding and muttering to himself.

He waddled over to a small keypad by the door that I hadn’t noticed before. He gingerly pressed a button with a small microphone on it. “39 mL, strawberry,” he said.

A few seconds passed. Then, there was a small chime. A previously invisible wall slot opened up, and a small tupperware container was offered forward. In it was a light pink goo that didn’t look too bad.

Prescoff picked it up, nodding to himself as he went.

“So,” he started, “bottoms up!”

I took it from his hand cautiously, as if it might explode any second. It looked normal enough. I opened up the lid with a satisfying crack. I sniffed it once. I’ll be honest, it smelled damn good.

Murphy smiled encouragingly while Prescoff seemed to have lost interest already. I took a deep breath and drained it all in one mouthful. It tasted just as good as it smelled. So good it made me feel weak. My limbs felt heavy. And what the goo wanted me to do was fall asleep.

No, that wasn’t the goo. That was Murphy.

Wait, who’s Murphy? I like his name though. Murr-fee. Murr-feee. Haha!

I’m gonna sleep now.

And just like that, my whole world went blank.


Chapter Three

I woke up in the hospital bed sore, groggy, and with no clue of where I was. Even though I was conscious, I kept my eyes closed. I had no idea how long I’d slept, but I felt like I could sleep another week at least. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fall asleep again, so I grudgingly opened my eyes.

I immediately wished I hadn’t. There were people surrounding me, and the moment I opened my eyes, they all started making noise. So much noise. I immediately shut my eyes again, hoping it would make the noise stop. But it didn’t. When the noise subsided into a tense silence, I once again peeked through squinted eyes. This time, I had more time to take in what I was seeing.

I was in a hospital bed, I was sure of that. I was also surrounded by people. I recognized my father, my cousins, my uncle and aunt, Genesis, my grandpa and grandma, and my dog sitting patiently off to the side. In the very corner I saw someone who I didn’t recognize. She had her hood up, and there was a clear separation between her and everyone else. It wasn’t until I saw that her and my dad where in the positions as possibly far away from each other, that I realized she must be my mom.

I opened my eyes again fully, and there was absolute silence. You could’ve heard a pin drop. Then, all of the sudden, everyone burst out talking. My father was crying in a corner. My grandpa and grandma lunged towards me and held onto me so tight, I was sure I was going to nearly die again. I didn’t know how I knew, but I knew I was shot. Maybe that’s just something you know after you nearly die. Like a sixth sense.

My dog was freaking out and nearly snapping his leash trying to get to me. When my grandparents finally cleared away, my German shepard, Mochi, was already on my lap, licking my face. The whole time, I couldn’t tear the smile of my face.

I stayed at the hospital for only a couple more days after that. The doctors said I was recovering “remarkably fast.” I hoped a little that Murphy had something to do with it. Yes, I still got headaches, and light and sound wasn’t easy on me, but I was alright.

I only found this document again a few days after leaving the hospital, when I was looking for something to do, since I couldn’t go outside and was barely allowed to move. That’s when it all came rushing back to me.

And now you know. You know everything. Not quite as much as I do, but a lot. I wonder if Murphy is watching me right now, cursing himself that they never thought about that. I assume they’ll be removing the computers from the rooms after this.

But it’ll be fine. Just our little secret, you and me. I know even if I told the whole world, no one would believe me.  People would just assume that I had some brain trauma. I don’t really blame them.

Only a month ago, if someone told me this, I’d assume they were insane. But maybe you’ll believe. Maybe. You don’t have to. If you do believe me, though, maybe don’t spread the word. We don’t want the whole world thinking you’re crazy, too. Or maybe the whole world will believe us. That would be pretty nice. But it’s just fantasy to hope that.

So this is our little secret. Just between the two of us. No one else.

Oh, and by the way.

My name is Tempest Jyrs. And I am not dead. Not yet.


The Purple Thing

Chapter One

“If magic exists, I’ll eat my underwear,” Ash scoffed at me as he shoved me away.

He spit out the gum he had in his mouth and started on a new stick of gum as he and his cronies walked away.

“I know what I saw. That guy just disappeared into that portal thingy!” I told Reggie, my best friend.

Reggie shrugged. “Ash is just a jerk. I mean, I don’t exactly believe you either, but I don’t not, if that makes any sense.”

“It makes no sense. But, I don’t blame you,” I replied.

“I just don’t understand what the heck you even thought you saw.”

“I was walking to school, and I see this guy. He looks around to see if anyone is there. Then he does some weird thing with his hands and says some word I couldn’t understand. Then this big, swirly, purple thing opens in front of him. He steps through it, and then he’s gone. The purple thing goes away after that too.”

“No, I understood that. I just don’t understand that.”

I shook my head at him and walked to art. All I could think of during art was what in the world it could have been. So while the teacher was talking about whatever we were supposed to be drawing, I just kept sketching drafts of the purple thing, and the guy walking through it. From what I could remember he was bald and short, wearing a sweatshirt rolled up to his elbows. He was wearing jeans and cheap sneakers.

“Let’s see what some of you have drawn,” said Mrs. Relcke. “Aiden?” She walked up to me.

I turned around my sketchpad to show the class the sketch of the man walking into the purple thing.

“Very good, Aiden. But we were supposed to be drawing sugar skulls.”

She slapped the sketch pad out of my hand and stomped on it. She pointed to my seat.


I went to math next and got stuck on problem eight, and when I asked the teacher for help, he told me to shut up and sit down.

The rest of the day went the same, with the teachers being jerks. Even the lunch lady gave me less slop than usual.

“I feel like all the teachers are being jerks to me today,” I told Reggie.

“C’mon, Aiden. Maybe they all are having cruddy days?”

Mr. Costin walked into the lunchroom.

“Let’s see if it’s just all the teachers having a bad day,” I said.

Mr. Costin is the nicest teacher in school. If he’s having a cruddy day, he’ll just try harder to make sure no one else does.

“Mr. Costin! Hi,” I said as I walked up to him.

“Shut up and eat your lunch,” he snapped at me.

“Yeah, no, something’s going on,” Reggie said.

I nodded in agreement. By the end of the day, I made a list of all the teachers that I talked too, and because of that, all the teachers that had been jerks. I put Ash on the list too, but only after a few other kids. Nancy and Julia were mean too, but they’re usually nice, so you can see why I put them on the list as well.

“Okay, so now the nicest kids in school are being jerks… you don’t think it could have something to do with the purple thing you saw?” Reggie asked.

“I don’t really think that, but maybe — wait!” I grinned. “You acknowledged it! You believe me!”

“That’s not important right now. Back to the topic on hand. I don’t know what it could’ve done, but I don’t know, maybe you weren’t supposed to see it, and it, like, cursed you?”

“Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true. Sherlock Holmes.”

“So, some messed up magic thing cursed you. What do we do to fix it?”

“I don’t know,” I sighed.


As the day ended, I went home, and after about an hour or so, Reggie came over.

We started a couple rounds of Splatoon 2, when Reggie put down his control and yelled, “I’ve got it!”

“Might as well yell ‘Eureka,’” I laughed.

“If you do whatever that guy did to allow him to see the portal without being cursed, maybe you can reverse your curse!”

My older sister, Hannah, poked her head out of the kitchen. “What are you talking about?” she asked us.

“Nothing,” Reggie and I said in unison.

She shrugged and walked back into the kitchen.

“Okay… that’s a good plan. If we can find that guy again, at least. We could follow him and see if he goes to some magic place or something.”

“But first, let’s finish this round. Our team is losing,” Reggie said as he picked his controller back up.


Later, I sketched the man and showed it to Reggie. “He looks almost like Joe from the Wooden Dime, maybe?”

“I don’t go in there much. Grab your bike.”

The Wooden Dime is the sandwich place in town.

Reggie and I put our bikes into the nearest bike lock to the Wooden Dime, which was down the street at the train station.

“Joe’s the owner, right?”

“Yeah. He’s pretty nice, but maybe you should stay outside because, well, you know.”

Someone threw a candy wrapper at my head. I sat down on a bench and waited for Reggie. I don’t exactly know what happened inside, but he came out and told me that once he held the drawing up to Joe, he noticed how thin Joe was compared to the plump, little guy I had drawn.

“But, he did say that guy came in one time, and when Joe asked for his name, he said it was Herbert,” Reggie noted.

“Okay, so now we know that he’s been to the Wooden Dime, and that his name is Herbert. Whether or not we know where he is, we still know more than we did before,” I added.

“And I know that you two are nerds,” Ash said from behind me.
Ash punched me in the back hard enough to send me stumbling, and then I tripped on a rock and fell on my face. Reggie helped me up, before Ash punched me in the face again and gave me a bloody nose. I wiped the blood away and tried to grab a napkin from Reggie’s pocket. Did I mention he bought a sandwich while he was in there? I stuck it up my nose (the napkin, not the sandwich) to stop the bleeding, and I started running towards my bike. Some invisible force stopped me from running up the street; it was almost like I was on a treadmill. Then, everything around me was encased in a big, purple bubble. Around the edges, gravity seemed to go away. A trash can floated up and released a volley of trash onto Ash.

“Karma!” Reggie yelled.

Then suddenly, in the middle of all of it, a purple vortex like the one Herbert stepped into appeared.

Herbert stepped out. “Oh crud,” he muttered.

“Ash, time to eat your underwear,” I said.

Herbert stepped back through it as he said, “Pitet elling lor eps,” and just like that, every thing fell back to the ground, and the portal collapsed.

Ash sighed. “I’m a man of my word.”

He walked into the Wooden Dime, and came back out a second later with a pair of boxer shorts sticking out of his mouth.

“Okay, but what in the world was that?” (I’ve taken the liberty of translating the noises he made because he could not speak with a pair of underwear in his mouth.)

“Magic,” said Reggie.

One of Ash’s cronies walked out of the Wooden Dime. He looked at Ash, then said, “Now that I think about it, I can’t remember any reason why I ever thought you were cool.”

He shoved Ash, and took a bite of a BLT.

“He was my best minion, why is he trying to trash talk me?”

“Because you saw that,” I told him.

“Yeah, we think it curses whoever sees it with bad luck,” Reggie chimed in.

“Well then, I don’t think my luck could get any worse.”

A girl with black hair, wearing a ratty old sweatshirt walked out of the alleyway.

“Who are you?” Ash asked.

“The name’s Violet.”

There was one thing I had noticed that was bothering me about the whole situation. No one outside the bubble seemed to have noticed the bubble. Everyone continued walking down the street or sitting on a bench.

“So we all saw that, but no one else did… I wonder, is my luck better?” I walked up to someone sitting at a bench. “Hello.”

The person frowned, before smiling, and saying, “Hello. You seem nice. Buy yourself something.” They handed me a folded five-dollar bill.

I walked back towards Reggie. “My luck’s better. Now what?”

Reggie turned to Violet and Ash. “Whether or not we like each other, we should probably stick together and try to work out a way to break our curses. After all, four heads are better than one.”

Ash scoffed, “Hang out with you dweebs? No way.” He started walking away, but the crossing guard stopped him.

“I’m not letting you pass.” He looked at me, and smiled. He looked back at Ash, and shoved him away.

Ash sighed. “I guess I am sticking with you dweebs.”


Chapter Two

“Where are your cronies, loser?” Damon shoved Ash.

“Leave him alone,” I told him.

“Okay.” He smiled and walked back to his table. He did an “I’m watching you” gesture to Ash and went back to his burrito.

“I guess we should keep tracking down Herbert,” Reggie said.

“Who?” Violet asked as she sat down.

“The guy who stepped out of the portal,” Reggie told her.

“Okay, what do we have so far?” she asked.

“Well, we know his name is Herbert, and he was at the Wooden Dime once.”

“That’s all you guys have? You really don’t know how to track someone down,” Violet sighed.

“What are we even gonna do when we find him?” Ash asked. “Blackmail?” he asked hopefully.

“No,” said Reggie. “We’ll just ask him.”

“You mean I’ll ask him. If you guys ask, he’ll probably just punch you or something,” I said.

“He has a point,” Violet said through a mouthful of pizza.

“I wish I didn’t have to have that point…” I stared down at my taco.

After lunch, I had gym with Ash and Reggie. There was a point where I had to actually tell the teacher to bug off when he was threatening Ash with a frisbee to the head.

“You know, at this point, I wouldn’t really call it bad luck, just, like, a jerk magnet.” I paused. “Your luck hasn’t changed, only the amount of people being jerks to you,” I said as I threw the dive ball into the other team’s goal.

“You’re right,” panted Reggie as he ran across the field.

A quick reminder, dive ball is a simple game: each team has four goals, the smallest being the most points, the largest the least, and they are allowed to spread them out on the field. Everyone is required to wear gloves because the ball is very rough, so it will stick to the rim of the goals, and sometimes your gloves. After seven minutes and eighteen seconds, whoever has more points wins.

“Thirty seconds!” yelled Coach Hafinburg.

Ash smacked the ball out of Damon’s hands and sprinted to the other end of the field. He passed it to Reggie, who passed it to me. I threw it back to Ash who scored us four points at the last second, winning us the game.

Ash sighed as he took a sip from his water bottle. “I may hate you, but you played well,” he told me and Reggie.

“And I may have just gotten us a lead,” Violet walked towards us on the bench. “I saw Herbert drop this.”

She held up a small bit of some odd material.

“It fell out of his pocket. I tricked Lionel into analysing the material, and it is thinking putty.”

“And the only place in town that sells thinking putty must have sold it to him!” Reggie grabbed his baseball cap off the bench.

“Exactly,” said Violet.

“Well, I have tryouts for the town dive ball team after school, so I can’t do it, and if any of you do it, well you know,” I told them.

“I don’t think it matters anyway. POP is closed on Wednesdays.”

“I didn’t think you had it in you to score one goal, nonetheless four.”

Damon slapped Ash with his glove.

“And I don’t like losing.”

He slapped him again, harder this time, and Ash hit him in the stomach, crouching him over on his knees. Ash slapped him across the face, grabbed his bag, and left.

“I’m gonna get you back, Musro!” he yelled to Ash.

“What was that? All I heard was FAILURE,” Ash scoffed and went back into the building.

Every year at tryouts, they split us up into three-person teams, and have a Dive Ball tournament, the top four teams make the team.

I was going up against Jake, Andrew, and Declan, three kids that I knew, but barely. I was with Reggie and Blake, and it was our third match. If we won, we went on to go up against Drake, Charlie, and Phil, and the winner of that was the winner of the tournament. So, at the moment, we had a spot confirmed, but we all wanted to be team captain, so we wanted to win.

Jake’s team was up three, and there was one minute left on the clock. It was our ball, and Blake was running down the field. He threw it to Reggie, who dodged a grab from Andrew. Declan stole the ball, but I got it from him quick enough. I start running down the field, and I looked into the stands. I saw Herbert, and I dropped the ball in surprise. Jake swept the ball up, and scored on our large goal from mid field.

With ten seconds left, Jake was playing keep away, and just stalling until the end, when they won.

“What happened?” Reggie and Blake asked.

“He did,” I pointed to Herbert.

“Who’s he?” Blake asked.

“Not important,” I said as Reggie began jogging towards him. I stopped him. “No, the curse, remember?”

Reggie sighed. “I guess it’s all you man.”

I gathered my courage and walked to the stands. It was like Herbert disappeared. When I turned around, I came face to face with him. “You are dealing with powerful forces you cannot attempt to comprehend. I’ll cure your friend’s curse, but after that, you forget about me.”
“I have three friends that are cursed.”

“Choose which you like most and give him this.”

He handed me a small bracelet.

“And you could have gotten the ball from number 14 when he was playing. Keep away by simply getting the guy on your team with the cap to get it.”

He dissolved into the air.

“Get Violet and Ash,” I told Reggie as I walked down to the field. “Put this on.”

I tossed him the bracelet. I looked to Blake. “If anything interesting happens, tell us tomorrow.”

I walked to the edge of the field, and unlocked my bike.

I rode home and pulled a half-whiteboard, half-bulletin board from the garage and hung it up in my room. I put down everything I knew about Herbert on it.

When Reggie, Ash, and Violet walked into my room, they all said, “Whoa!” When they spotted the board.

In the center of the bulletin board was the best sketch I had of him.  

“This is everything we know,” I paused. “And this is what he told me.”

I repeated what he had told me, although I didn’t tell them about the bracelet. Well, I told them that I didn’t know that it would dissolve when it touched Reggie, and I thought they could all use it.

“It’s not all we know,” Violet stuck a ziploc bag with the chunk of putty inside of it to the bulletin board.

“And a few minutes ago, I realized he was there at the seventy-fifth-year celebration of our school with the alumni,” Reggie added as he jotted it down on a sticky note and stuck it up there.

“And he’s my uncle who went missing twenty years ago.”

We all stared at Ash.

“It’s true. When I saw him, I thought maybe. When I heard his name was Herbert, I knew it.”

“Well then, we just need to find him again, and he’ll probably un-curse you because you’re his family,” Reggie said.

“Yeah, and you can ask him to un-curse me,” Violet noted.

“That’s the problem. There’s a reason he went missing. He hates my entire family.” Ash paused. “If anything, it’d be a reason that he’d curse us more. My crazy, old grandma always said he’d dabbled in the dark arts, but we all just thought she was weird.”

“Okay… that changes a lot,” I said.

“First of all, we actually know who he is,” Reggie noted.

“Aiden, I think I know where he is…” Violet looked at the board again. “Follow me, there’s no time to lose.”

She walked out of the room, with all of us following.


Violet stopped at a old warehouse down by the junkyard. “Ash, I think it might be best if you stay out here, and maybe even hide.”

Ash nodded.

We entered the warehouse. At the center of the first room was a half-destroyed reception desk, and chairs were all over the room, on their sides, even a few split in half.

We entered the second room slowly, and it was almost completely empty. In the corner was a bunch of soda cans, and some plastic take-out food shells. And, off to the side a bit, the thinking putty.

Stuck to the top of one of the take-out containers was a note that read: I warned you. Turn back now if you want a chance.

Then suddenly, we heard Herbert. “Heed my warning in three, two, on-”

Reggie shoved him aside as we sprinted out.



Chapter Three

At the end of the hallway was a raging, purple fire, creeping towards us. At the other end was an insane man.

My mind was racing, thinking of any way we could get out alive.

“Pitet elling lor eps!” I yelled as the fire reached us.

We dropped a few feet into the front of the warehouse.

“Where’d you guys come from?” Ash asked.

“I don’t know how you did that kid, but you’re going down!” Herbert sprinted out of the building, holding a crowbar as a weapon.

I braced myself for impact. Just before the crowbar hit me, Herbert dropped to the ground, and I saw Ash standing where he had been.

“We need to get out of here,” he said as he ran to his bike.


“Well, we’re screwed.”

Ash looked at the crossing guard that had stopped him the other day.

“No we’re not… look! He’s beckoning us!” Reggie exclaimed.

“Our curses our gone!” Violet smiled ear to ear.

“But Herbet isn’t, and there’s no jail that could hold him if he knows those magic teleporting words, so either we have to find a way to hold him, or we live the rest of our lives scared out of our minds that he’ll come and kill us,” Ash paused. “Unless we kill him?”

“No,” I told him. “We’re not killing him. But I think I know what we can do.”

Ever since I said those magic words, I’d felt a sort of energy flowing through me. And at that moment, I understood what it was. I could use magic! To an extent…

“The teleporting words were gibberish, so I’d bet ones to take powers away from somebody would be gibberish too, so we can’t find it that way. What else could we do?” Violet asked.

“I’d say try gibberish, but we’d probably just end up casting some other spell,” I said.

“Well, how’d he get the gibberish to teleport then?” asked Ash.

“What if we just write it down, and scramble the letters? I mean I know it won’t work, but it’s the best idea we’ve got,” Reggie shrugged.

I wrote down: ‘Power Removing Spell.’ The letters rearranged themselves into: ‘Wemp elrol ros piving.’

“I guess it worked,” said Violet as she peered over my shoulder.

“Wemp elrol ro-” I began as I felt a hand over my mouth.

“Do you really want to wipe out electricity on this whole block?” I heard Ash say as he pulled his hand away.

“He has a point,” Reggie said as he picked up a video camera.

We all looked at him.

“What? A magic battle will be awesome on YouTube.”

“Oh, you reminded me. I should probably make some sort of temporary paralysis spell in case this one doesn’t work for some reason,” I said.

Once I had a small arsenal of spells that could slow him down if need be, we hopped on our bikes to head to the warehouse.

Our plan was to have Reggie distract him, while I snuck up and cast the power removing spell. Ash and Violet would be backup in case of an emergency.

All of that, of course, was thinking he’d be conscious again. He wasn’t. He was still lying in the yard of the warehouse, with the crowbar lying next to him. I approached cautiously.

“Wemp elrol ros piving,” I read out.

A flash of light struck Herbert, and he disappeared. An arm wrapped around my neck, choking me. I fought and kicked whoever was holding me, until I hit them in the stomach, and they dropped me just as I was beginning to gasp for air.

I whirled around and saw Herbert.


He screamed as I dodged a bolt of white lightning.

“Death spell!” Reggie yelled at me. “He’s casting a death spell!”

“Ash!” I screamed as I grabbed a garbage can top as a shield.

I deflected another bolt into the ground.

I saw Ash round the corner.

“Haedtlelps!” Herbert yelled as Ash started running towards me.

“Get down!” I yelled as I fumbled around with the paper. “Wemp elrol ros piving!”

A bolt flashed towards Herbert, but narrowly missed. I tried again and again, all missing.

Ash snuck around to the crowbar. He hefted it up, and ran towards Herbert.

“Ash! Move!” I yelled as he swung at Herbert.

Herbert bent over, dodging the blow, and Ash took off like a track runner once Herbert saw him. He ran around the yard and hid behind a dumpster, still hefting the crowbar.

“Wemp elrol ros piving!”

The bolt struck Herbert down, crumpling him onto his knees. The magical powers flew out of him, a purple bolt flying into the sky.

“Where am I?” he asked me. “You. Where am I?” he pointed to me. “Who am I?”

“You’re my uncle. Let me take you home. You hit your head.” Ash dropped the crowbar and helped Herbert up. “Your name is Herbert.”

I walked out from behind my garbage can. I glared at Herbert. “Get out.” I growled as I pointed to the exit.

Violet ran out from behind her dumpster. “He doesn’t have any memory. Be nice to him. He has no grudge against you.”

I thought for a second and simply walked away towards Reggie.

Violet grabbed me. “Be nice to him. He might end up liking you.”

“I don’t want that monster to like me! He nearly killed me!” I snapped.

Herbert stood and walked to me. “I… I did what?”

He stared down at his feet.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say.” He paused. “I’m sorry,” he repeated.

“I accept your apology… I guess.”



Could This Get Any Worse?

Ring ring. I slowly open my eyes at the sound of the alarm clock going off. I check the time: 8:30. Oh no, I’m going to be late! I must have set my alarm clock to 8:30 instead of 7:30! I  jump out of bed as quick as possible, grab a random dress, and pull it on. I get to the coffee shop in about five minutes. My boss is giving me a dirty look.

“I can explain-”

“No, just get in the back and start on the orders.”

I take a deep breath and rush to the back. I instantly see a small post-it on the counter. A sunny-side up with a side of bacon. Yes! I’m the best at this one! I quickly pull my gloves over my pale skin, carefully push my dirty blonde hair into the hair net, and put on my white apron. I’m ready to go. I crack the egg onto the pan. I wait two minutes until I flip the egg over. At the same time I’m making the bacon, ding, I ring the “food is ready” bell. About five seconds later, Tommy, the waiter for the table I am cooking for, rushes over,  grabs the food, and rushes back to the table. I get two more orders.

How much worse can this get?! I think. My boss, Tonio, (If you don’t know him, he has a light beard, dark skin, and is half Italian. Now you know what he looks like, try to avoid him.) speed walks angrily over to me.

“Gina, you have been working here for two years… ” Oh no, I think I know what is coming. “… and I have really noticed you as a co-worker… ”

Here it comes…  I quickly shut my eyes tight and hope that it will end soon.

“Gina, will you be my girlfriend?”


“Okay, okay, I know that it’s a lot to handle, but I think that we would be happy together!” Tonio says.  

I’m guessing he saw my surprised face.

“But I have a boyfriend!”  

We both stop and stare at the floor awkwardly.

“Oh… ” He starts walking away.


Maybe because he’s my boss, I can get a raise!

“I might break up with my boyfriend soon,” I say.

He smiles. As we awkwardly walked away from each other, I trip over a customer’s foot.

“Hey! Watch where you’re going! Loser… ” the customer says.

Well that was rude! First, I get asked out on a date by my boss, then get mad at by a customer! Can this day get any worse? Oh yeah… I have to tell my boyfriend that I am going to break up with him. Oh god… I have to get out of here! I run so fast, I almost burn myself to death. I think that I might have actually started a small fire on my pale back. Well, I just spent about ten minutes thinking about that and realize that I just went the opposite way that I’m supposed to go. And I end up at the pier where (just my luck) my boyfriend is, or soon to be my ex-boyfriend who I still love.


It’s Not You, It’s Me

Oh great, now I am going to go over there, break up with him, and be like, “It’s not you it’s me,” and all that garbage like all the other relationships did to me… Okay, okay. TMI (too much information.)

“Hey!” says Carman.

Oh thank God. Carman is my best friend and is also an excuse for not talking to Cameron, my “ex” boyfriend. I just realized that almost all of the people in my life are boys… why is that?

Anyway, “So what are you doing later? I was wondering if you wanted to go out for dinner later. I feel like we haven’t seen each other in such a long time.”

That’s cause we haven’t! I think.

“So are we hanging out tonight?”

“What?!” I quickly lift my head from looking at my feet.  

Carman starts laughing. “I said, are we hanging out tonight?”

“Oh… uh, sure!” I say, wondering what he meant because I didn’t hear a word he said…

“Well, okay. I will see you later.”

As he walks away, I think of how I will walk down the pier’s gray, cobblestone floors to my boyfriend. Oh my God!! He’s coming over! He’s COMING OVER!!! I guess I don’t have to go over to him anymore! What am I going to do? Okay, Gina, think fast!

“Hey, Gina,” he says.

Not fast enough, Gina, I think.

“I’m breaking up with you,” I say as I quickly run away.

I really have to start running faster because soon enough, Cameron catches up with me.

“WHAT?” he screams.

“Okay, okay, it’s not you, it’s me.”

As I say this, his pale skin turns red. I start to run away again. But this time, he did not follow. By the time that I get home, I’m terrified. I feel like he’s going to do something to me… But what? I think as I slowly put on my blue and white pajamas and get into bed. Wait! What if he kidnaps me? Hahahahahaaa!!! He would never! But even though I know that he would never kidnap me, I keep thinking about it in my dreams and when I wake up in the morning. As I get ready for work, I think about Tonio and what’s going to happen when he sees me.  Maybe he’ll gives me flowers, or completely ignore me. Maybe he’ll ask me if I can go out with him (hopefully not this one!)

As I walk into the cafe that I work in, Tonio comes and asks me if I can go out with him. (Oh, come on!) So I nervously say yes. His pale face lights up with joy!  

“Yes! I mean good to know…” he says as I laugh.

Of course he blushes… “ Well, I will let you get back to work now.”

He starts walking away as I get back to work.


Wait! What If He Kidnaps Me!!!

Even as I am working, I think about how Cameron’s face went from white to red in a snap of a finger. I accidentally knock into a waiter as I think about Cameron.

“Second time you bumped into someone while you were thinking about boys?” Jessica says.

“H-How did you know?!” I stutter.

“When you think, you also say it out loud… ” says Jessica.

Jessica is a fellow waiter that works with me, but I don’t know why she is talking to me. We haven’t spoken to each other since… well, ever.

“Well, now I’m talking to you…” I lift my head when she says this.

“Oh yeah, that thinking out loud thing,” I say.

We both laugh. We shake hands and start talking to each other. Hey! I think I just made a friend that’s a girl! (I make sure that I don’t say that out loud. That would be embarrassing… ) After work, I am walking with my new friend, and I trip on someone’s foot again. What is my problem with tripping on people’s feet? But this foot is not just a random person’s foot. It is Cameron’s foot! I freeze when I see his face. I feel like I am about to regurgitate my lunch. I try to run away. But he blocks me. I smack into his chest as he steps in front of me. Of course he is, like, three feet taller than me… Ow! I think as he grabs my pale wrist. He pulls me off into the darkness of the alley. Jessica follows behind us. I try to tell her not to come, that he will kill her, but she doesn’t understand why I am shaking my head. She just keeps walking. I slowly start to close my eyes. I am guessing that it is because Cameron is holding my arm too tight.


When I Die

I never see the light again. All I see is Cameron letting go of me and walking over to Jessica with a rusty, old knife. I can hear her scream, a scream that not even a devil can make. A scream that can shatter a bullet-proof window. The scream suddenly stops. I know what happened. Cameron killed her, a innocent woman, a friend. A person is killed because of me… By the second she dies, I know what’s going to happen. I’m next.  


The Awesome Story of Tommy

“Seriously? The Awesome Story of Tommy? That is the worst title ever.”

Leave it to my cat to criticize me six seconds into writing this.

“I like it!” I protest.

“Really, Tommy. No one would want to read a story called The Awesome Story of Tommy. Try this.”

My cat, Ariana, hops up on the table and picks up the pencil. She writes next to the title, in slightly wobbly handwriting, and Ariana.

“Of course this story has to involve you in the title,” I say.

In fact, The Awesome Story of Tommy and Ariana actually sounds a lot better, but I decide not to mention that.

“You tried to give the impression you dislike it,” Ariana meows. “But your expression suggests otherwise.”

Oh well.

“We can go with that for now, but we should see where the story goes before we decide on the official title,” I say.

“Sure,” Ariana agrees.

If you’re asking why I have a talking cat, Ariana was a lab experiment. They were attempting to make her live longer. Instead, she ended up as the only cat in the world with the ability to talk. She escaped from the lab, and we adopted her. Ariana has brown and white fur, and green eyes. She looks pretty cute, but don’t be fooled. She’s almost certainly the sassiest person I know, if cats count as people.

“Okay. So now what do I write?” I ask Ariana.

“You said you started this because you wanted to write an adventure featuring yourself. And me,” Ariana quickly adds. “So write it. Someone is trying to sleep here.”

She then plops down on the table and begins fake snoring.

“Thanks for the help,” I say, and start thinking of something to write for the story.

About half an hour later, I still have no idea what to write. You’d think writing an adventure story about yourself (and, possibly, your cat) would be easier.

I’ve always wanted to have an adventure like something out of a book: journeying across mountain ranges, finding out I have powers, defeating an evil supervillain, etc. Problem: Mom would never let anything like that happen. It’s not that she’s overprotective. She’s just a normal mom, and a normal mom would probably never, ever let her kid quest across another dimension. So I’ve settled for writing a story about something of the sort.

But I have no ideas for a story.

I start banging my head into the table. A few seconds later, I hear Ariana meow.

“Hey! Hey! Whatcha doin’? Tommy! Stop that!”

I look up and see her sitting on my piece of paper.

“No ideas yet?” she asks.

I shake my head.

“After at least a half hour of sitting here thinking of an idea for a story?”


Ariana’s eyes flick over to the wall.

“There is a fly on the wall. Stand back, Tommy! I will protect you.”

She then launches herself off the table at the wall, misses, and falls onto the rug. Paper goes flying everywhere. I sigh. Cats don’t exactly make the best writing assistants.


By the time dinner is ready, I’ve officially given up for the day. I have no ideas at all. And besides, I could think of something to write tomorrow.

Dinner is pizza. Mom ordered the generic tomato and cheese. The pizza dude drops it off, and Mom brings it into the kitchen. I love pizza.

“I don’t understand why you humans like this strange, gooey substance so much,” Ariana comments. She usually sits on the table when I eat. Don’t ask me why. “It smells horrendous.”

“Ariana, it’s pizza. Everyone likes it,” I tell her.

“Actually, I know a bunch of people in town that hate it. I was walking down the road past Mina’s house and heard her saying, ‘Pizza? That stuff is disgusting,’” Ariana counters.

Well, that’s… controversial.

“You should try it,” I suggest. “You’d like it.”

I take off a small piece of the pizza. Ariana puts it in her mouth and chews on it. Then, she kind of choke-coughs, the kind of sound people make when they really hate the taste of something. Ariana leaps onto the counter and spits out the pizza into the trash.

“That was so gross!” Ariana sticks out her tongue. “It tasted like squished ladybugs mixed with slime!”

She then jumps back onto the table. “What other repulsive things do you humans eat?”



Mornings. When you picture mornings, what do you see? The alarm beeping, you slamming your hand down on it, all that? Those are pretty much what my mornings are like. Except I have a cat instead of an alarm clock. You wake up to the alarm. I wake up to Ariana meowing her head off from my nightstand.

“Tommy! Get up! I don’t have all day, you know! Hello? Hellooo? Anybody home?”

“Yes, Ariana, I get it. You can stop meowing now.”

Ariana starts licking one paw. The morning from there is pretty normal. Breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth. Done. Now, I have the whole day to myself.

Little did I know what would happen in the next hour or so.


Ooh, suspense!

So, in the next hour or so, I go outside to see if I can think of anything to write about. Sometimes, I do that when I write short stories. I’ll be sitting on the porch when I see a lady walking her dog, and I’ll think, Hey, that dog could be evil and break off its leash and terrorize the neighborhood. Then the Super Cats can step in. And yes, I am writing a short story series called “The Super Cats.” There. I’ve said it. Sue me.

Getting back to the story, I walk to the door. Ariana pads along with me, sticking close to my left foot. I sit down and put on my sneakers. While I do that, Ariana sniffs one of my Nikes.

“Why on earth do you humans put these odd shells on your paws? They just slow you down!”

“We use them so we don’t get, say, thorns stuck in our paws-er, feet,” I respond.

Pfft. Everyone gets thorns stuck in their paws every once in awhile. It’s part of life. Get used to it.”

I keep trying to convince Ariana that things like clothes are necessary, or pizza tastes good. But each time, I end up feeling less convinced. I am slowly turning into a cat.

When I open the door, the first thing I see is my front yard. The second thing I see is that the sky was rapidly darkening.

“What the-” I start, but I am interrupted by a thunderclap, plus a lightning bolt thrown in for good measure.

Ariana comes out and leaps onto the railing. “What in the name of Fancy Feast is- Oh my god.”

I look up and see that the lightning is turning-

Green lightning?! That’s not normal, right?” I yell.

“Well, if it were, I think I’d know!” Ariana yowls above the wind.

Soon, the wind is so loud, I can’t tell what Ariana is yowling to me.

Just as I figure out that she’s saying, an enormous, green lightning bolt strikes right in the middle of the front yard. For a fraction of a second, everything is green.

Then we both die. The end.


Just kidding.

About one eighth of a second later, I am sitting in a random tree. Why am I sitting in a random tree?

That’s when I hear Ariana frantically meowing from somewhere off to my right. “Tommy? Where are you? Are you alive?”

“I’m alive! And as for where I am… I have no idea.”

Ariana’s head pops out of the leaves of a neighboring tree.

“So, you lived through the kamikaze green-lightning strike.”

“Don’t sound so surprised!” I say. “Do you have any idea where we are?”

“How am I supposed to know?” Ariana meows in an irritated tone. “We’re in a different **%^$#@ dimension!”

I look around. Hmm, let’s see… blue sky, clouds, sun, green grass, normal looking trees…

“Is it just me, or does this look a lot like Central Park?”

“Well, it’s not Central Park,” Ariana furrows her brow, if cats have brows. “Why would a freak green lightning bolt magically teleport us to Central Park?”

“Good point,” I say as I  jump off the tree.

Ariana leaps off her branch and onto my head.

“Okay, first of all,” I tell her, “Don’t do that. Second of all, let’s find out where we are and hope we get back home in time for lunch.”


We aren’t in Kansas anymore, that’s for sure.

I have been walking for awhile, and I’m now in an evergreen forest. I don’t know what else to say.

It is getting dark now, the kind of dark with no moon or stars. As a bonus, I hear weird noises. Yay!

Then, I bump into someone in the dark.

Yipe!” I leap backwards.

Was it a monster or something? I look around for the nearest weapon and settle for a stick.

A female voice says, “Hi, random person. Before you threaten me with your terrifying stick, here’s a flashlight.”

Out of reflex, I catch the flashlight and shine it at whoever is talking to me. Standing in front of me is a girl. She looks to be about thirteen. I am eleven, so she is a good several inches taller. The girl has black hair, and her eyes are a shade of blue that scream: Try me and you die.

I glance down at her feet and see three cats. One is black, with three purple stripes on her back, and has green eyes. Another is gray and has blue eyes. The third one is white with eyes the color of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!

“Uh… hi, I’m Tommy. I’m from a different dimension. Oh, and my cat can talk.”

The girl grins, “I’m Shaye. These are my cats, who can also talk. The black-and-purple one is Chara, the gray one is Debbie, and the white one is Allie.”

“You’re serious about the talking?” I ask. “Because I am.”

“I am completely serious about the talking. I am also completely serious about that.”

Shaye gestures to Chara, who immediately whips out two slender, wickedly sharp, black blades.

“Your cats have katanas?!” I exclaim.

“Well, I do.” Chara replies. “Debbie has nunchucks, and Allie has throwing stars.”

Debbie and Allie show off their weapons, which flash even in the pitch-black woods.

“Your cats can talk, and they are ninjas,” I say. “Anything else?”


Ten minutes later, Ariana and I are following Shaye and her trio of ninja cats.

“Where, exactly, are we going?” I ask.

“Uh, duh? To my treehouse?” Shaye says.


“I am walking through a dark, evergreen forest in the middle of the night with a kid and a talking cat from a different dimension. Where else would I be going?”

Ariana rolls her eyes, “Tommy, you are clueless.” She then adds, to Shaye, “There are rare moments in life when Tommy says or does something sensible. But mostly, they happen at home.”

“Ariana,” I say.

“What? It’s true!” meows Ariana.

I sigh.

The rest of the walk to Shaye’s treehouse is mostly Ariana chatting with Chara, Debbie, and Allie. Shaye occasionally interjects a comment. I don’t say anything at all. Judging from the fact that her cats are laughing, Ariana is probably telling them more embarrassing stuff about me. Like the elevator incident.

No. I am not telling you what happened. I refuse. And anyway, it wasn’t my fault when the hotel elevator stopped. I was panicking and screaming for help the entire hour we were stuck in there. I was nine!

Wait. I just told you. Darn it.

Soon, we’ve arrived. I look up. In the highest branches is the dark shape of a treehouse.

“You live there?!”

“Yup,” Shaye nods.

“Just one question.”


“How am I supposed to get up there? There’s no ladder.”

“Did it not occur to you to climb the tree?” Shaye asks.

We’re climbing up the tree, and her head is a good couple inches higher than mine. The cats have gone ahead and are already in the treehouse.

Frankly, it didn’t occur to me to climb up the tree. But then again, it’s at least thirty feet tall and, therefore, towers above the rest of the forest. I decide not to tell her that, but instead ask her how she’d built the treehouse.

“I didn’t build it. Someone lived here before me. I was walking through here, I saw it, and I decided to live in it,” Shaye explains.

That explanation needs an explanation,” I say.

Without clarifying, Shaye pulls herself up the final branch and disappears onto the balcony of her treehouse. Or should I say porch? Do treehouses have porches? I pull myself up onto the balcony. It’s just wooden boards, and I am wondering if this is safe when Shaye opens the door of her treehouse and waves me in.

I walk in and look around. It looks pretty normal. A bed, a desk with a journal and pencil, and a cat bed in the corner. In the other corner, there are basic survival gear: a flashlight, a knife, a bottle of water, three pairs of identical camouflage shirts, and tan shorts, because apparently Shaye does not approve of shopping at the mall. Outside the window, which is really just a square hole in the side wall, I can see more of the same outfit hanging on a line.

Shaye removes her shoes and put them in the corner.

“Well, you can hang here until we find a way to get you back to your dimension.”

“Okay, then.”

I walk over to the corner, where Ariana is presently napping.

“Night, person. Wait, what was your name again?”

“Tommy, okay?”


I’ve never been a morning person. But when I wake up to Debbie banging a gong right next to my ear and yelling “Get up, you lazy human!” at four thirty in the morning… well, yeah.

I have to drag myself out of the treehouse, but I forget where I am and end up falling thirty feet out of the air. Ariana has to catch me. It is extremely embarrassing, especially since all the cats are watching. But Shaye isn’t, so I guess I’m lucky.

The first thing we do is get some food. While Shaye goes out to hunt and sends her cats and Ariana in a hunting group, I am supposed to gather berries and stuff. Why couldn’t I hunt?

Ariana says I’m not allowed to hunt the first day because I can be a bit of a mouse. That’s apparently cat slang for a baby. But she adds that I’m not nearly as bad as some people, so that’s a real relief.

I may not be an expert hunter, but I do know a little about plants. I pick some plants like blueberries (who knew blueberries grow in forests?) and leave the rest alone.

I know this is completely unrelated, but what’s in Caesar salad?

Ariana is shouting, “Beware the Ides of March!”

Yes, Ariana, I know. Can you please stick a sock in it?

And then I come across some kind of plant I’d never seen before. It looks like poison ivy. In that case, I’d better not step in it.

Then I think, It might come in handy later on. So I start looking around for a good stick. I find one right by my foot and carefully pick up the poison ivy or whatever it is.

Just as I do that, I see Allie bursting through the trees. Shaye said earlier that she’d send a cat to find me when she wanted me to return to the treehouse. I start after Allie through the woods.

We arrive back at the treehouse before Shaye and the other cats. I manage to get a little ways up the tree before they get here. Shaye walks over and is somehow right next to me before I can even move up another branch. How does she do it?!

I pull myself up another branch. Shaye climbs up another two. It turns into a sort of weird competition to see who can reach the treehouse first. Of course, Shaye wins.

When I finally get onto the porch, Shaye is sitting there with a couple of dead rabbits and a squirrel. When she sees my expression, she shrugs.

“I would’ve gotten a deer,” she says, “except I only hunt those when I’m really hungry. It’s difficult to climb a tree with a dead deer.”

I am too shocked, amazed, and impressed right now to reply. Is there a word for that?

“So, what’d you get?” she asks.

I take out the blueberries and drop them on the porch. They roll around like small, blue marbles. And then, hesitantly, I take out the poison ivy or whatever it is, with a stick, of course.

“Mint?” Shaye raises her eyebrows.

“Oh, this is mint? I thought it was poison ivy, and I figured it might be useful if I ever needed to get away from something, so…”

Shaye looks interested, and (could it be?) a tiny bit impressed.

“That’s actually a decent idea. And mint is edible. You’ve never seen mint before?”

“Well, I’ve only ever seen them on the fronts of hygiene products, and even then, they look kinda different.”

“Well,” Shaye responds, “It is edible, and that is all that matters. Now grab the blueberries, and let’s go in.”

“Does the five-second rule apply in this case?” I ask.

“What is this ‘five-second rule’ that you speak of?”

“Never mind.”


Inside, Shaye grabs a piece of wood, a little table thing, and a stick that looks like a match. She then runs outside. I run out after her, and watch as she climbs down and then jumps the remaining few feet. I just climb down.

Shaye comes over with a lot of dried leaves and strikes the match stick on the wood. Both immediately set on fire. She drops both into the pile of leaves and puts the table thing over it. I watch as Shaye puts the rabbits on it and hacks the squirrel into fourths with her knife, then tosses them over to where the cats are.

While we sit and wait for breakfast to be ready, I try to make small talk.

“So… uh… do you have any idea what to talk about?”

“No,” Shaye glances over at the cats, who are busy eating their little squirrel bites, then back at me.

The rabbits are ready then. Shaye takes them off and hands one to me. I cautiously take a small bite.

This is so good!

I then take a huge bite. Oh, this is delicious. Who knew that I, the kid who tried to convince his cat to eat pizza, am now eating a roasted rabbit as quickly as humanly possible?

I finish. Shaye is staring at me and cracks a grin.

And then I hiccup. Loudly. So loudly that the cats, who are now finished with their squirrel, run yowling into the forest with fat tails. So loudly that Shaye gives a start.

Oh no. I cover my mouth with one hand. This is so embarrassing. Ariana will tease me about it for the next decade of my life. And what will Shaye do? I don’t know, but…

Shaye bursts out laughing. I realize this is the first time I’ve ever heard her laugh. But it’s a good laugh. I start laughing too. And I notice, out of the corner of my eye, that the cats are back, and trying to steal Shaye’s rabbit.


After lots of laughing, chatting, and reprimanding the cats about trying to steal the rabbit, it’s about 8:30 at night. If I were back in my house, I’d be in bed by now. This did not go over well with Shaye.

“8:30? That’s so early! Who would be insane enough to go to bed that early? I stay up until 10:30 at the earliest.”

My jaw drops. 10:30 at the earliest?! I’d be willing to bet she almost never actually goes to bed that early.

I start considering staying up for another half hour or so. And yes, it’s a little bit because of the pressure thing. But for most of my life, I’ve followed the rules. This is my chance to finally break some. And I’ll gladly take it.

I end up staying up till approximately 9:35. Shaye is hunting to stock up for winter because as she said, “You can never stock up too early.” I eventually get into the corner and try to ignore the fact that Ariana is busy chatting with the other cats several branches down.

To help, I start thinking about how we first got Ariana. I was walking down the road when I saw a little cat crossing the street. She was bordering on underweight by then, but she wasn’t so bad. I went over as quietly as possible so as not to scare her, but when I tried to pick her up, she gave a start.

“Sweet mother of Garfield! Don’t do that! Jeez.”

My eyebrows shot up so high they almost went off my face. “What the heck?”

“Oh, yeah, I can talk. Believe it, buddy,” Ariana swished her tail across the ground.

“Why are you a talking cat?”

“Well, I was an ordinary stray cat before these scientist people picked me up and put me in this cage in their building thing. Then they came in with a needle and gave me some kind of shot. Then I could talk in their language and called them some very unflattering names. They started talking about not working and living longer and stuff. I was stuck in there for a couple weeks until they came in with another needle and opened the cage door.”

“For dramatic effect,” she continued, “I’ll go into detail. I was like, ‘Here comes the needle…’ and then I jumped out of the cage and started running for the door like, ‘Go, go, go, go, go!!!’ And yeah, I got out of there, and now here I am.”

I nodded, “Oookay. Any chance I could adopt you?”


When I brought her home, I admit to having been like, “Can we keep her?” Mom said yes, and I named her Ariana because why not? It’s a good name.


At 4:30 the next morning, Debbie wakes me up with the gong again. I’m beginning to wonder how Shaye functions on six hours of sleep at the most.

This time, I don’t fall out of the tree. Instead, I climb down really carefully for the first twenty feet, then I go down a lot faster. Today, Shaye meets up with me down there and gives me her spare dagger, which is smaller but lighter.

“You can find some plants, but if you see any small animals, go after them,” she says.

I take it, and we split up. I head for the spot where I collected the blueberries yesterday. Sure enough, there’s more there. I pick them so as not to accidentally burst one, although I do burst some a couple times and my hand gets covered in berry juice.

And then, I see a flash of brown out of the corner of my eye. A squirrel! I’m after it immediately. This will make the cats happy, and you’ll want three talking ninja cats on your side in an unfamiliar dimension.

The squirrel is headed right for a tree. If it reaches the tree, there’s no way I’ll get it. I pull the dagger out of my pocket and throw it as hard as I can.

Luckily, I have a fairly good aim.

I walk over to the dead squirrel and hesitate for a minute. I’m not sure about picking this thing up. So I first remove the dagger, then pick it up by the tail and hold it out at arm’s length while I go back to retrieve the blueberries.

I realize there’s a couple fewer than I had picked. Some animal must have eaten them while I was chasing the squirrel. With a sigh, I pick them up and put them in my pocket just as Allie runs up to me.

“Shaye wants you back at the — oh, wow,” she says.

I know she’s seen the squirrel.

I shake my head and smile, “Let’s get back, then.”


When I get back, Shaye’s waiting for me with the fire going.

“A squirrel? Nice. Just know, Chara really likes squirrels, so be careful of-”

Chara zooms right up to me and starts meowing excitedly. “Squirrel!”

Shaye snorts, “Okay, Chara. Yes, you’ll get it soon. Wait five minutes.”

Shaye takes the squirrel and the several crows she’s gotten this morning and puts them on the fire.

Then she says, “The dagger?”

I hand it to her. Shaye takes it over to a stream behind the treehouse I’ve never even noticed.

“I clean them back here,” she explains. “Otherwise, they get all sticky and don’t do as good of a job.”

I nod. Why do I find this so easy to understand?

While the cats enjoy their breakfast of a small mammal, we eat a couple crows. They’re not rabbits, but they’re still pretty good.

“You know, I should try this at home,” I say.

“I’d highly suggest you do. But do it for five minutes for the best results,” Shaye replies.

Then, I have a thought.

“Remember how you said you ‘came here”? Why did you say that?”

Shaye doesn’t say anything for a minute.

“I can’t lie on that one,” she finally says. “Not that I’d have any reason to. I really don’t know how I was born or anything, but I do know that when I was… six, maybe? I discovered the treehouse, and there was already all that stuff in there. Someone lived here before me. And now I live here with my cats.”

To be honest, this doesn’t surprise me. In books, people like Shaye always have a very shady backstory. The more strange they are, the more shady the backstory. And Shaye isn’t really that odd.

When I point this out, Shaye seems to think this over for a minute.

“I guess that makes sense. Maybe — oh my god.”

I turn to look and see the same thing happening from a couple days ago. The sky is darkening really fast, and the lightning is turning green. Ariana runs over. I stand up as quickly as possible.

“Get in the treehouse! Fast!” I yell to Shaye.

She gives a nod and climbs up the tree as quickly as possible with the cats behind her. Then, she looks down at me.

“I’ll see you around!” she yells, and runs inside the treehouse just as the lightning strikes right in front of us and everything is suddenly green.



When I finally find the way home, I really did not plan on falling three feet and face planting on the front deck. I stand up and notice Ariana on the railing.

“Well, that was awesome,” she says.

“Yeah,” I say. “And I just had an idea.”

I run inside and see my paper on the table. I sit down and grab the pencil, erasing the title. I then write at the top of the page in big letters: Untitled Adventure.

I begin to write a several page story about me and Ariana and our adventures in another dimension. Ariana takes a pencil and doodles funny pictures in the margins, like right next to the lightning strike that takes us to Shaye’s dimension, where she draws us as X-rays. It really adds something.

And just as I’m almost done, Ariana runs to the window.

“Look!” she exclaims.

I look out the window and see a girl and three cats in the backyard. The girl has black hair, and her eyes are a shade of blue that scream: ‘Try me and you die.’ One is black with three purple stripes on her back and has green eyes. Another is gray and has blue eyes. The third one is white with eyes the color of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!

Shaye waves and yells, “Hi, Tommy!”

Before I go to the back door, I write on the paper just under the last sentence: The End.


Peculiar Foods

I ran like the wind. It was Sunday afternoon, and my sister’s flock of parrots, rabbits, turtles, guinea pigs, lizards, and goats had somehow escaped from their cage that had ten tight locks on it. I was boiling mad at Daria because she knew that her animals were always attacking me whenever I didn’t give them a potato, ham, egg, and yarn sandwich. I locked myself inside my animal-proof room and plopped onto the bed. Daria’s animals could not stand garlic, so I just sprinkled a bunch of garlic pepper.

It was a pretty good idea because I liked the smell of garlic pepper. I looked out the window and watched as the animals chased each other around in a circle. Suddenly, Adeline, one of the lizards, vanished into thin air! I yanked the door open and ran down the stairs.

Daria was calling “Adeline!” over and over, but there was no response.

I knew that Adeline was Daria’s favorite lizard, so I put my arm around her and said, “She’ll come back.”

I assured her even though I wasn’t so sure. I screamed. Daria had just vanished out of thin air, just like Adeline.

“Daria! Where are you?” I cried as loud as I could.

I was really nervous because if my parents found out, they’d think she was kidnapped and that would make everything worse.

“I’m still here, you fool,” came a voice behind me.
I spun around, but there was nobody there. Did she turn into a ghost or something? I wondered.

“I’m just invisible,” the voice (I assumed it was Daria) said.

“How?” I asked curiously.

“Do you see invisible stuff?” I asked, curiouser.

“Is it fun being invisible?” I asked, now very curious.

I began to shower her with questions.

“Eleanore, stop asking so much questions. First, I am holding Adeline. Second, it’s really boring to be invisible.”

Daria’s answers were so boring. I thought they would be really cool like those mystery books I was reading. I decided to get some snacks because I hadn’t eaten lunch yet. I ate the cookies my mom made yesterday. She had said that she put a “very special” recipe in it. After I finished, I looked at my pants to see if there were any crumbs on them. I gasped as my pants turned invisible, and I saw Daria and Adeline reading Charlotte’s Web near the window.

“Why didn’t you tell me those cookies turned you invisible?” I asked her.

“Mom wanted you to appreciate her cooking more, so she baked the cookies and hoped you would eat them and not complain about her whipped cream lasagna,” she answered casually.

“It’s disgusting!” I protested.

“I agree,” she said.

“You didn’t tell me how to get back to normal yet,” I reminded her.

“Well, you are not going to like it. Eat a potato, ham, egg, and yarn sandwich,” she grinned.

I forgot to think about how disgusting it was until I took a bite of it. I immediately threw up and chugged down some water.

“I kept telling you that I had a bottle of potato, ham, egg, and yarn sandwich smoothie.” Daria said.

I wanted to throw up again, so I drank some more water.

“That is so gross!” I commented.

Our mom came downstairs and saw the empty cookie plate.

“Did you like the cookies?” she smiled slyly.

“Let’s just say no. Actually, it is kind of cool because we could stop criminals from robbing stores and banks! And we could scare people on Halloween!” I cheered.

“Don’t get your hopes too high. Those cookies take a long time to make because it’s hard to get the ingredients. And if you are going to ask how I made them, I’ll tell you when it’s time.”

“Awww, why?” I asked while my shoulders slumped.

“Because if I tell you, then you will make it every day, and I’ll have to spend about three hours looking for you!” she replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Well, I guess I would,” I admitted, giggling a bit.

“Just go outside and do your daily exercise,” she sighed.

I leaped out the door and got out my jump rope. I hopped like a kangaroo for about two minutes. I checked the jump rope’s handle. It read 149. I hopped some more, but this time I wasn’t thinking about how many jumps left until I got to 250.

I was thinking about how to make the cookies. Why can’t Mom tell me how to make them? I wondered. Doesn’t she want me to be successful and famous for being clever? Suddenly, an idea popped into my head. I stumbled over the jump rope and fell on my face (by accident.) I rushed into the house and began to get out my ingredients for my idea.

“What are you doing?” Daria asked, coming over to me, stroking Mittens (her kitten.)

I just smiled slyly and returned to planning out my idea.

“Oh no! You can’t be!” she cried, realizing what I was doing.

She rubbed her head and strutted away feeling confused.

“What are you doing?” my mom asked curiously.

“I’m baking a cake,” I lied.

“Oh,” she said, feeling disappointed, “I thought you were making dinner,” she replied.

I stared into the pot as purple smoke came steaming out. This is going to be fun, I thought.


The Truly True Story of Legentious

Introduction to the Full Story of Legentious

People say that once (in a time and place not even the smartest of beings could recall) there was a time, a time when there was no such thing as war, not even conflict. That would have been an amazing time to live in. After that period of time, which people called the “Golden Age,” there was a time when only war and hate existed. There was no peace. The Golden Age came crashing down when three brothers were born. Their parents were disgusted by their looks, and they gave them up. There were no fingers on their hands. What I mean is that they had paws. Their bodies were made up of a combination of fur and skin, quite unlike anything anyone had ever seen before.

Why did they look like that? you may ask. It was only a reflection of how they looked on the inside. You see, in that world, people were on the outside as they were on the inside. If a person was nasty on the inside, they would look nasty on the outside in return. Anyways, nobody wanted such an ugly baby, so these three were left on the streets with nobody to look after them. An old widow found them weeping on the streets and took them in. She did not know that these three looked like that for a reason. They were the first evil to ever be born. Being abandoned only helped them to show their true colors. Once they had grown up, they banded an army together and battled the royal family. This age was called the Years of Despair. The war ended when good prevailed over evil, like it always did, and people settled into another period of time, the Modern Era.

You live in a world, quite different from mine. Your world is riddled with all types of terrible things. Famine, disease, war, Donald Trump. Whoops, didn’t mean to say that last one out loud, or did I? Anyways, my world is a place where none of that exists. It’s a kind of dream-like world. Or at least it used to be that way. Now there is peace in some parts of the land and conflict in others. Things are better than they are in your world, but not nearly as incredible as they used to be in the Golden Age. Enough about that, back to why we’re even here in the first place: to tell the story of how we got to this time. One of normality, one in which it is not strangely peaceful, and not one in which there is nonstop war and hate. Or at least that is what is believed of that time.

There is, however, one thing, one part of the Golden Age that people do not talk about. That is because this was an extremely terrible time, something dreadful that someone whose heart was full of hate did. But forget about that for know. Just close your eyes and imagine a place where everything is perfect. There’s plenty of food, plenty of water, everyone is absolutely beautiful, and no one has ever even known the meaning of war. The story you’re about to hear is the story of the inventor’s race, the hidden race that very few know about, and their experience in the Golden Age… which brings us to our story.


The Inventor’s Headquarters

The green grass is an indication to the people of any land that winter is melting away into spring and bringing warmth to the land once more. I may tell you now where the kingdom in which the story takes place. It goes by an odd name, Legentious.

“People of Legentious, listen up. The prince has decided to host a ball for all to attend. Whether thou is man or animal, all are invited. We hope to see you all at the ball on Tuesday night. Happy spring!!!” boomed the hefty king, Theodore.

He was a kindhearted man with a son as strong as steel, who was, in fact, quite handsome. So when the ladies of the town heard he was throwing a ball, the dress shops were filled with eager women looking for the perfect dress to woo the prince with. There was, however, one maiden who was not interested in the prince. Her family encouraged her to go to the ball, for she was the fairest, most kind maiden in the entire realm. The prince would surely fall in love with her immediately, but she was stubborn and thought of the prince as a royal pain, in her mind, a snob only concerned with only his looks. She did not know that in this world, outer beauty was reflected by inner beauty. The prince was actually a very thoughtful and kind man, with a heart as good as gold, who didn’t care at all about looks and just wanted an honest, kind, caring woman. In the end, her parents won the fight, and she ended up going to the ball. This next piece will be from the prince’s perspective, just so you can understand a little better what he was thinking.


I knew right from the moment I saw her that she was the one. She looked as though she didn’t want to be here, and I could tell she thought I was only a self-obsessed maniac, which I’m totally not. I had a sudden urge to greet her and make her realize that I’m a very kind, caring human being. I wanted to know her like I know the back of my hand. I wanted to know everything about her, everything there was to know. My feet reluctantly carried my body right over to her.

“I’m Prince Alexander. What’s your name?”

She was obviously not interested, and very reluctantly she began to respond.

“My name is Delilah. I want you to know that I’m not like the other girls here. I don’t want to marry you like all the other girls. I can see just how truly self-obsessed you really are. You don’t even want a girl who is actually smart and caring. You only care about looks. You wouldn’t care if she didn’t even know how to spell orange.”

I was shocked. She had honestly just described the very opposite of who I was.

“I’m not any of the things you just described me as. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. I came over to you, not because you were beautiful, which of course you are, but because I could sense by the way you walked in that you were only as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. If you feel that way about me so strongly, you may walk away, but I’d like to get to know you.”


Before things get any further, I’m going to take over. Delilah realized that the prince was nothing of the sort that she thought he was. He was a very genuinely kind person. She had never realized that a prince could appreciate a person not for their looks, but because of a feeling that they were destined to meet. After relaxing a little bit, the two began to talk. They started bonding over pretty much everything, their favorite foods, their favorite hobbies. Everything!!! They both loved astronomy, pasta (which was still new back then), and shockingly enough, they both loved to invent. Normally in the Golden Age, not many people wanted anything new. No one wanted to discover. They thought they had everything, but really, they were missing out on so many amazing things, like water bottles or plastic. They only had paper and quills, not even a typewriter, no technology. That was good back then. They didn’t need anything fancy. They needed only what they already had. Inventors silently worked. Hidden from the rest of humanity, they worked alone on inventions. It was so uncommon to meet an inventor, let alone a prince and a fair maiden who wanted to invent and be different from the regular person. They were truly special. Before the prince, no one in the royal family had ever even considered the fact that inventing might improve people’s lives. Do you remember me saying how in this world, outer beauty is reflected by inner beauty? Well, I forgot to say, the people in that world have no idea about that rule. They are exactly like your world. They have no idea of the rules of their world. The only people that know the rules are the people of my planet, the all-seeing ones, the ones who know about everything. No one but us knows about this kind of stuff. Let’s just get back into the story.

Eventually, Alexander and Delilah fell madly in love and decided to get married. They invited practically everyone in the land. The wedding was spectacular. Gifts scattered around the crowded palace ballroom. The whole palace was filled with almost the entire kingdom. Every nook and cranny was filled with more than ten people. Prince Alexander and Princess Delilah were completely overwhelmed with guests so excited to meet them. They were dying to escape the crowd and finally begin their honeymoon in the outreaches of Legentious. One moment of quiet was almost impossible, so how were they going to get one week alone? They had no idea that they were about to get their wish granted…


Washed Away


Together, we ran, her strawberry blonde hair whipping behind her as her laughter echoed. Together, we ran to the rushing river. Together, we arrived, her freckled face covered in sweat. Then, together we laughed. We stepped into the icy water, the place where we first met. The place where we first found where we belonged. Then we swam. I heard her screams before I saw her. I looked around.

“Becca!” I screamed.

Then I saw her being swept away. The current was sweeping her into rapids. Her head went under, and the water took her away. Suddenly, I remembered the cliff. I swam faster than I ever had. I needed to find Rebecca before it was too late, before the wolf cliff had its second taste of blood. I was too slow, and it was my fault my best friend died. I hauled her up onto the shore. Her hair was soaked with blood. The moon was now high up in the sky. She would never smile her beautiful smile again. Never laugh her sing-song laugh. Never be there by my side. There I sat on the top of wolf cliff, crying over the death of my everything as the moon sparkled in the sky.

“Goodbye, Rebecca Amelia Jones,” I whispered as I stroked her hair. “I will never forget you.”

Then, I carried her home. Home, such an odd thing that some people think of it as a roof above their heads. To me, it was where you felt welcomed, wanted, loved. My home was Rebecca. Where I lived was just temporary. That night, her parents cried tears, but they were not broken, at least not as broken as me. As I lay in bed, I thought of her. Suddenly, all the memories came rushing back.


I was sitting on a rock at the side of the river, reading a good book, when she came out behind me. She had tears streaming down her face. She looked me dead in the eye and then sat down. She just sat there, looking at the river, crying.

“Aren’t you going to introduce yourself?” I asked.

She turned around to face me. “Why should I?”

“Because it’s normal.”

“I’m not.”



“You’re not what?”


Then, I laughed. She laughed too. There we sat, laughing by the side of the river.

For many days, we met by the riverside, but it wasn’t till the eighth day that we became true friends. It started like any other day. We talked and laughed. Then, out of the blue, Rebecca jumped into the rushing water fully clothed. Of course. I followed. When the water engulfed me, I was scared, but when I looked over and saw Rebecca swimming, I felt fearless. She reached over and held my hand. That was the day I became we.


I woke up with a jolt, reminding myself that I was here and she was gone. I looked around. Amy was asleep, and so was Aubrey, who was 12 and came here last year after her brother died and her mom went bankrupt. Ember, who was 16, had been here forever, and there was Clover, a small eight-year-old. I walked over to the dusty vanity and looked at myself. I was the girl whose parents didn’t care enough to keep her. I was the girl who picked fights with the biggest kid and lost. I was the girl who faded into the background. I was the girl with chestnut skin, raven hair, and star-speckled eyes. I was Rory. I was me.

Clover woke with a start, her screams drowning out my thoughts. I rushed to her side. Her nightmares had been getting worse ever since they found her a home.

“Rory, I’m scared. What if they don’t like me?” she whispered.

“They will.”




She drifted off to sleep. Then at 9:00 a.m., her new family took her home.



It was late on Sunday when she arrived. Her long, brown hair was swaying in the wind. There was a grim look on her face. A lady in a tattered dress pushed her forward. Then, she turned around and left her. The girl collapsed and tears streamed down her perfect face. Ms. Morton scooped her up and brought her to the washrooms. Meanwhile, up in the attic bedroom, the girls talked.  

“She will probably take Clover’s spot.”


“Did you see her just collapse?”


“But, like, her hair…”

She came in with some hand-me-down sweatpants and a large t-shirt. She just fell onto the bed and fell asleep in Clover’s spot. I drifted off to sleep again, going back to a world where she still existed.  


June 18th, we were on our way to the river, walking hand in hand, but when we got there, the police department was standing on the shore. Our shore. A woman stood there, tears in her eyes. In her arms was a boy eight years of age, just like us. He was covered in blood. His name was Jason.

Later, we found out what had happened. He had run away. Later that day, the police found him, washed up on the shore, dead. He had hit the cliff, Wolf Cliff. Little did I know, four years later, my friend would befall the same fate.

I woke up covered in sweat, drowning in my sheets. I needed to get out. I walked over to the window and hopped up to the roof. There she sat. Alone in the dark. I went up to her and sat down by her side.

“Was she nice?” I asked.


“The woman who dropped you off.”

“Oh… yes.”

“Tell me about her.”

“Well, she made the best cookies. The type that bring a smile to your face even when you think that you can never smile again. Her hugs… they fill you with warmth even in the coldest part of the night.”

“She sounds wonderful.”

“She was… but…”

“But what?”

“Her sweet voice turned icy and cold, and she disappeared for hours.”

“Still, you miss her.”

“Still, I miss her.”

“My name is Rory.”


“Good night.”


I got up to leave, looking over my shoulder before going back inside. Still, she stayed. I got back into bed. Then, before I fell asleep, a dreadful thought came over me. Tomorrow, I had to go to school.


I got dressed in ripped jeans and a t-shirt. On my way out the door, I grabbed a piece of toast. Then, the bus came. As I walked to the back, I heard the other kids’ conversations.






I sat down. Phoenix joined me.  

“Perfect, such a horrible word. They all say ‘Oh, she’s so perfect. Oh, she must think she is better than us.’ Well I’m not, and I don’t,” she muttered.  

“Only someone perfect would say that.”

“If I were perfect… things would be different.”

“Look in the damn mirror.”

“I thought you were different.”

“Look at your hair.”

“I will.”

Then, she walked to a different seat with her head held high, her perfect hair swaying behind her.

All throughout school, I thought of her. The way she walked perfect. The way she talked perfect. Her hair. PERFECT.

Then, finally, school was over. I told Amy to tell Ms. Morton I was going for a hike. Then, I started on the path to the river. Slowly, the buildings turned into trees, and the cars melted away. After five minutes of walking, I reached the shore. Our shore. I slipped off my sneakers and felt the sand beneath my toes. The water was warmer than it was on the day she departed. It is calmer too. Almost welcoming. I collapsed onto the sand. Tears streaked my cheeks. I picked a marsh marigold flower on my way out. With each step I took, I threw down a petal.

When I finally arrived back “home,” all the girls were in the kitchen. All but Phoenix. I went upstairs to look for her. The light was on in the washroom. When I walked in, there was a pair of scissors on the sink.  

“Phoenix?” I called.

She came out of a stall. Her hair was in a pixie cut.

“Do you like it?” she asked.




“I need your help.”

She took out a tube of bright pink hair dye and bleach. By the time dinner was ready, she was fully transformed. Together we walked down to dinner. All the girls gasped when they saw Phoenix’s new look. We ate chicken and mashed potatoes. There was a smile on my face for the first time in a long while.



Once again, my dreams were haunted by my memories.

On the day of my 12th birthday, we raced out to the river. She handed me a cupcake and a present. We ate and sung, then I opened up the present. It was a necklace with a moon charm. She had one too, but hers had a star. Then we ran into the water.

Phoenix shook me awake. We got ready for school. When we walked onto the bus, the only seats left were right in front of Amanda and her group. Three minutes after we sat down, she tapped my back. I ignored her. She kept on tapping. I finally turned around.

“What the hell do you want?” I asked.

She giggled her girly giggle. Words couldn’t describe how much I hated this girl.

“I want to give you and your little friend a warning.”

Phoenix turned around too. “It’s you who should be warned,” she muttered.

“Stay out of my way, Pinky, or you will wish you were dead like Rory’s other friend.”

Then, she went back to talking with her friends. My hands curled into fists but I turned around. I would have to wait to punch her in her makeup covered face.

“About my other friend,” I started to explain to Phoenix.

“I know.”


“They told me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“About what?”

“I should’ve told you.”

“We all have our secrets.”

The bus stopped. We walked into school. I decided whatever happened in Phoenix’s past didn’t matter. We took our seats. Math blurred into history. Then we had science. Phoenix and I were lab partners. We were studying oceanography. The day moved slowly, but eventually school ended, and the weekend began. The weekends were supposed to be fun, but not for me, at least not any more. I guess being abandoned at age seven and losing your best and only friend at 12 affected your view towards life. Well, anyway, this weekend was really bad because it was my birthday. I would be 13. She would stay 12 forever and never age. I walked home alone. On Fridays, I usually walked home. Music was drifting through my headphones. I told Pheonix I would meet her back in our room. I saw the orphanage. It loomed over me. Some might say it looked beautiful, welcoming. Not me. That house was like a chain holding me to my past. I opened the gate and walked towards the building. I took out my headphones and walked through the door.  Everyone was arguing over what movie to watch. I joined the crowd.

“I have something to tell you,” Phoenix whispered.

She grabbed my hand and led me to the roof. I looked out at the moon. Whatever she wanted to tell me was not good.

“I got adopted,” she said.

“That’s great.”   

“No, it’s not.”  

“Come on.”

I get up and led her out the door. I led her through the streets, then through the thorny path ways. I stopped. Did I really want to go back? I pushed past the final branches, revealing the shore. Phoenix gasped.

“It’s beautiful,” she said.     

I looked back at the water. It was like my eyes had been covered the whole time.

“It is.”

And she smiled. And then tears started to streak down her face.

“I’ll miss you,” she said.

“Me too.”

We sat there crying by the side of the river.  At least I got to say goodbye.


The Truth

I woke up at 7:00. When I looked next to me, Phoenix was gone. In her place was a letter. I start to read.


My name is Phoenix Rose.

I was born on the total solar eclipse, at the exact moment the moon blocked the sun. I am not normal. When I was two, my parents put me in foster care. By the time I was eight, I had been in 24 different homes. My 25th home was with the same people who were coming to pick me up today. They were nice at first, welcoming even. That lady who dropped me off was a stranger. I described that family. The only thing is, I don’t miss them. I can’t even spend a hour in the same room with them. When I was nine, I ran away. I have kept running ever since. I am thirteen. I will not let them take me now. If you want to find me, look near the river. Sorry I didn’t tell you before. I just couldn’t say the words.



Of course. Phoenix ran away. I was once again left with nothing. No one. Ember woke up. She saw me reading the note and crying. I tried to cover my face. I won’t be weak. She moved towards me slowly. I closed my eyes… She wrapped her arms around me. As each of the girls woke up, they joined the hug. I was not alone. I had never been. I had a family. One that would never leave me behind. We didn’t let go. Each of us took some of the others’ pain. We all got to the river. We found her…

She sighed. “I didn’t want you to find me,” she said.


“That would mean I would really have to say goodbye.”

She reached out and held my hands.

“Goodbye,” she whispered.


She hugged me. Then she ran away. Into the forest. She left me. I crumpled to the ground, memories of her playing in my head. We walked home filled with sorrow.

I fell asleep close to Ember. This time I dreamed of my parents. I was five. It was Christmas. My father danced around the room holding me in his arms. My mother sung loud, laughing. She joined the dance. We spun, and we laughed until we fell. Still laughing, my parents carried me to bed. That morning, I woke up to the smell of cinnamon. My parents sat with smiles on their faces. Snow floated down outside. Presents lined the bottom of the tree. That morning was a big blur of smiles and laughs. I remember one gift: a golden locket. Inside of it were two pictures. One was of all of us smiling and holding each other tight. The other of just the two of them. Mom was pregnant, and they both looked like they had won the lottery.

When I woke up, the dream was clear in my mind. I wondered where the locket was.  A horrifying thought popped into my head. I didn’t know where my parents were. I didn’t know why they left me here. That thought was still in my mind as I got on the bus. Once again, the only seat was in front of Amanda. She tapped my back.

“Where’s Pinky?”

I didn’t respond.

“Did she finally realize how weird you are?”

I smirked.  “You think I’m weird?” I said.

She glared at me.

“You’re the one making fun of someone because they remind you of yourself.”

She looked me dead in the eyes. “Pick your battles,” she said.

I turned around. Beneath all that makeup she was just as scared of the world as me. Just a small child screaming for help. I shook my head.

Today was the last day of school. The bell rang for the last time. I was not sad to be leaving this dump. I would be going to the Oakwood public high school next year. It seemed as though I would never leave this town. As kids ran through the hallways, I realized all the painful memories this town held.

I went to the records room under the library. I used to come here every day. I searched for Rory Lupus like I had done many times. I found it next to Brook Lupus and Matt Kingsley. I picked up all three files. I looked at my dad’s first. There was a picture of him smiling. A big dopey smile. His black hair covered most of his forehead. His dark brown skin reflected the light above him. He was beautiful. I wondered why he left me.

Next was mom. In her picture she was smiling too. Her brown hair was below her shoulders. Her pale skin showed every shadow. She, too, was beautiful. Why? Why? Why? What did I do?

Finally, me. The picture was from this year. My smile was forced. My hair was pulled back into a ponytail. My chestnut skin only reflected my pain.

Tears streaked my face. Why? I dried my eyes and walked upstairs. Then I walked out the door. I kept walking until I was at the orphanage. I went up to my room. I wiped the tears from my eyes. I walked over to the vanity. It was chipped and dusty, the soft blue paint peeling away to reveal wood. I looked at myself in the dusty mirror. Tears of anger swelled in my eyes. I gripped the sides hard. Why? Why would they leave me? Was I like this vanity, broken and old? Did they want something shiny and new? Did they just leave me here to collect dust and be forgotten? Then I let go. Paint fell, fluttering like snow flakes. I went downstairs, forcing up a smile.


Fast forward four years…


To The Moon

March 20th, one week before graduation. I got my letters.


I got a scholarship to Columbia University.  The girls came rushing down, or at least what was left of them. With Ember gone, it was just me, Amy, and Aubrey. There were no new orphans in this town.  

“I knew you would get in,” Amy said with a smile on her face.

Ms. Morton smiled and rubbed my back. That night, we ate steak and mashed potatoes, my favorite. That night, we all smiled. I looked at the vanity. Suddenly, it looked less broken. I fell asleep with a thought shredding up my mind… What will I say at graduation?  

A week later, I was ready. A speech was drilled into my mind. It passed by so fast. I couldn’t believe it was over. When it ended, I went home and got ready for the party Amanda was throwing. Even I was invited. I wore a royal blue skirt that went up to my knees, a matching crop top, and simple black heels. I bought it with my own money. It was a major change from my usual jeans and a t shirt. I wasn’t sure I liked it. I walked to Amanda’s house. She was at the door wearing a pale pink skirt, a little shorter than mine, a crop top, a little shorter, and much more expensive shoes. Instead of pouting, we laughed. It seemed like such a childish problem. I walked to the snack table. There was so much music and dancing. I had never been invited to a party like this, but I’d never been invited to a party before. Amanda appeared next to me.

“Sorry I was such a jerk,” she said.

“It’s fine.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is… it was nothing I couldn’t handle.”

“Come on, let’s dance.”

We danced to the top songs of the 2000’s, belting out the lyrics. Too bad Amanda’s going to UCLA. We could’ve been friends (I don’t do letters.) That night, as I walked home, I hummed the tune of “Who let the dogs out.” When I arrived home, I got into bed. I decided a skirt once in awhile wasn’t the worst. Once in awhile! I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

When I woke up, my hair was a mess. I went to the mirror and started to brush. Then I went downstairs. Ms. Morton was waiting for me at the table. She smiled. A shoe box was in front of her. I sat down.

“What is that?” I asked.

“This is yours,” she replied, a sad smile on her face.

She slid it across the table to me. I opened it. Inside were three things: two letters and a golden locket.

“Where did you get this?”   

“It arrived with you.”

One letter just contained a few things.


This is Rory Lupus. Her father died, and I am barely able to write this. I beg you to look after her. I wish I could look after her, but I can’t. Please surround her with love.

-Brook Lupus


They did love me. They did want me. My dad was dead. I didn’t know where my mom was. I didn’t want to read the other note, but I did.



I love you. So did your father. He loved you very much. He lost his life in a car crash. I want you to know he would never abandon you. Neither would I. I am in the hospital with lung cancer. I know I don’t have much time left. Just know I love you to the moon and back. I love you.



Tears streaked down my face as I looked at the locket. Why had my life turned out like this? Who kept making things worse each time they got better?

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked

“It would’ve been too hard on you.”

I leaned on her shoulder and cried. I cried and cried. I wouldn’t give up. I would go to college. I would get my degree.  I would make a difference.


A Fresh Start

I walked into my dorm room. My roommate was standing there with a nervous look on her face. She looked like she was made by a beach. Her wavy, blond hair looked like sand, and her blue eyes looked like the sea.

“Hi, I’m Irvetta.”

“Hi, my name is Rory.”

“Do you know where the other roommate is?”

Right as she said that, the door opened. A girl walked in carrying a suitcase. Her hair faded from black to blue, and she was wearing a beanie.

“Hi, I’m Irvetta,” she started again.

“My name is Rory,” I said.

“My name is Brea.”

She carried her suitcase over to a bed and unpacked. We did the same. All I had were some clothes, sheets, a blanket, a pillow, and a pillow case. As I was walking through the halls, I realized I could be anything. No one here knew my past.


My favorite classes were photography and science. One day, when I got back to the dorm room, Irvetta was going through my bag.

“We need to go shopping,” she said.

I rolled my eyes. “I don’t have enough money.”

“I do.”

Irvetta, Brea, and I went shopping. I came back with four new t-shirts and three new pairs of pants. I had been working as a waitress at a coffee shop nearby. I finally got enough money to buy my own camera. I took a picture of Brea standing with her arms spread out as the snow was falling. The other picture was of Irvetta holding the first flower of spring. They both didn’t know I was taking them. I showed the two pictures to them. They loved it. Then I submitted them to a contest with an amazing camera for the prize. I waited for a month to find out if I won. I did! I went and got the camera. I submitted more pictures into more contests. Some I won, some I didn’t. I found myself through photos. Irvetta and Brea were super supportive.  



I sat outside in the waiting room. Nervous thoughts filled my mind. I held my portfolio close.  

“Rory Lupus,”  a woman called.


“Rachel is ready for you.”

I stood up and followed her.  She led me to an office. I opened the door. Rachel was sitting at her desk. I sat across from her.
“Let’s have a look,” she said as I passed my portfolio to her.

She flipped through my photos. Sometimes, she nodded. Then, she handed it back to me.

“You know National Geographic photography is no joke,” she said.

My face turned white.

“Your first assignment will be next week. You will be with Cole Anderson, photographing the deep blue sea. Marcy, the girl out front, will give you your wetsuit and your camera.”  

I smiled. “Thank you,” I said as I walked out the door.

Two weeks later, I was in the water. Suddenly, I saw something move beneath me. I swam deeper. A beautiful sea turtle swam beneath me. I followed it, taking pictures as I swam.

A year later, I was walking up the aisle, well kind of. I was on a beach. Irvette, Brea, and my husband-to-be’s family sat on the sand. Cole Anderson stood in front of the waves. I looked into his eyes.

“You may kiss the bride.”

We kissed. Then, we jumped into the water. I swear I saw Phoenix smile from wherever she was.

One of my assignments landed me right back in Oakwood. I was taking pictures when I saw it, old and cracked, the vanity sat on the side of the road. A sign said, “Take what you want.” Someone had moved into my old home. I picked it up and brought it home. I wouldn’t leave an old friend behind.



My name is Rebecca Phoenix Lupus. I am the daughter of Rory and Cole Lupus. My mom is 83 and in the nursing home. My father passed in his sleep two years ago. I walk into my mom’s room.  She grabs my hand.

“Take me to the river,” she whispers.

I put her in the wheelchair and take her to where she asked. I stop on the shore. It is so beautiful. My mom gets up and walks to the water. She plunges in and never resurfaces. Tears streak my face.

“Good bye,” I whisper.


The Case of the Mysterious Singing Voice

It was a long, October weekday. I was coming back from a long, tiring day of school. I was the smartest kid in school, so the work wasn’t very hard for me, but I was still excited to go home after the long day. I was walking home from school on a crisp, peaceful, fall day, when I stopped in my tracks to listen to a beautiful singing voice.

It sang, ”Come to me, come to me.”

I felt hypnotized for a second, before I looked behind me to find the mysterious voice, but there was no one there. I was completely bewildered about what I heard and continued to walk home.

I walked through my front door and quickly acknowledged my family, still hypnotized and confused about my walk home. I went upstairs to my room to relax, watch TV, and forget about the singing and the long, hard day at school.

However, the TV seemed to be saying, “Come to me, come to me,” just like on the walk home. Instead of just sitting there hypnotized, I couldn’t control any part of my body. I uncontrollably stood up and started walking to the window. Luckily, I snapped out of this weird trance and jumped onto my bed.

At first, this didn’t seem like a big problem. Now, it was a terrible problem, and it was about to get even worse. When I turned around, there was a green, wrinkly ghost-lady right next to my ear. She was a ghost just floating around my ear, staring at me blankly. I jumped up in terror.

That was the person who was singing.

But it was too late now because she started singing again. I fell under the spell, but this time, the spell was inescapable.

I could see and feel my skin turning wrinkly and green like hers through the mirror on my dressing table. I also lost control of my body, just like before, and I knew that the creepy lady spirit was controlling it.

Then, she started singing the song, ”Come to me, come to me. You’re my spirit apprentice, so come to me.”

I felt my body start floating. I was her apprentice now. I bet she needed me because I was so smart and knew so much about the way people acted. She was not very smart with people’s behavior because she was a ghost. However, with a little help from me, she could rule the world. That was always what evil people did in movies after they took over someone, and that someone was me.

Meanwhile, she had all control of me. In my body, I could feel a slight tingle in my brain. Was she planning to take over my brain too?! I would not be able to think or function or do anything! This was a disaster! And this was truly the end!!!


Lessons from Harry Potter


Harry Potter is one of the most inspiring series in recent history, written by J.K. Rowling, and first published in 1997. This series is significant because it has a lot of life lessons. The life lessons I chose influenced me and the world. This series teaches everyone to not judge a book by its cover, and to never be afraid.


Lesson One

My first lesson is to not judge a book by its cover. I learned this lesson when Snape, the dark, bitter, potions professor, turns out to be protecting Harry Potter. When Harry looks into Snape’s memories, he sees that Snape loved Harry’s mother, Lily, and would do anything to regain Lily’s trust. This shows that Harry shouldn’t have judged Snape by who he appears to be. This lesson is important to me because I have a friend in my class. The first time I saw her, she was shy and quiet. But as I got to know her, I learned that she gets into fights with her parents and siblings. Not only does this lesson affect me, but it also affects the world.  This lesson influenced the world because, in American history, everyone thought that Aaron Burr (the third U.S. Vice President) was great and all. However, he got into a fight with Alexander Hamilton, and unfortunately killed him. Instead of being honest and telling the current President, he fled to a different colony. This shows that even though someone appears to be kind and helpful, they could still do the wrong thing.


Lesson Two

My second lesson is to never be afraid. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, Harry Potter finds courage to face Voldemort and die for his friends. This lesson influences me because, in fourth grade, I was really shy at school. I never spoke or answered questions, but when I started to read the Harry Potter series, I started to realize that if you don’t have courage, you won’t be able to accomplish things. Also, in real life, if you don’t speak up, you won’t get your thoughts through. However, this doesn’t just affect me. It also affects the world. If Martin Luther King Jr. was afraid to protest and make a speech about human rights, the United States would still have black and white segregation today. This shows that you can only make a change if you speak up and say your opinion about things like Martin Luther King Jr. and other powerful leaders did.



To sum up, I think the Harry Potter series is an influence to me and the world in different ways, and it helped me become more mature. The Harry Potter series is great for kids and teens who are into fantasy and adventure. In fact, this series is for everyone. In July 21 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, one month before my birthday.


Buckingham Puck and the Light Figure

There was a performing circus cat whose name was Buckingham Puck and had a swollen foot but could not tell a joke, and he really wanted to learn how to tell a joke. Buckingham Puck had grey hair with orange stripes, and he was the fattest of all the cats because he ate his favorite food, buffalo wings, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. His eyes were pink, but every other circus cat’s eyes were brown. All the other circus cats could tell jokes, and he couldn’t because he had pink eyes. The other circus cats told him he should learn to tell a joke so he could become part of the joke show.

Buckingham Puck wanted to be part of the show because whichever cat told the funniest joke would win a ticket to the midnight fairy cruise in Alaska, where they could fish for fresh salmon all night long. He made his way to the Dark Figure’s house so that the Dark Figure would put a spell on him so he could tell jokes. But when Buckingham Puck went inside of the home, the Dark Figure was not there. Buckingham Puck knew the the Dark Figure liked parties because last time, when a little girl had a party, the Dark Figure wasn’t even invited, but he still showed up.

Buckingham Puck invited everyone he knew, including the Dark Figure, to his party. When the Dark Figure heard the news that there was a party, he started to go to the party. When he showed up at the party, Buckingham Puck hopped over to where the Dark Figure was standing and asked him to put a spell to tell jokes. The Dark Figure was angry that Buckingham Puck would host a party just so the Dark Figure could cast a spell on him. Instead of casting a spell that Buckingham Puck could tell jokes, he cast a spell that Buckingham Puck would have purple eyes, which made him tell horrible jokes.

After the party, he left and went to the Light Figure, so she could make him have brown eyes, which would make him tell really funny jokes just like the other cats. He made his way down to the Light figure’s cave. When he walked into the cave, the Light Figure was sitting there, sipping her coffee. He asked her to give him brown eyes so that he could say really funny jokes. Just when she was about to cast the spell, the Dark Figure walked in. Both were very surprised to see each other. The Dark Figure was at the Light Figure’s home because he was warning her not to cast a spell on Buckingham Puck. This was because he was still angry that Buckingham Puck invited him to a party just because he wanted to tell very funny jokes.

When Buckingham Puck saw the Dark Figure, he started to apologize and say that he didn’t mean it. He just wanted to tell jokes and be part of the joke show. The Dark Figure did not forgive him. Buckingham Puck really wanted to be a part of the joke show so he kept giving more reasons for the Dark Figure to forgive him.

“You could come to every party of mine if you let me tell jokes. And also, I would like to treat you to buffalo wings tonight.”

The Dark Figure really loved buffalo wings and agreed to forgive him. The Light Figure was listening to all this and asked to also come to the buffalo wings dinner. Buckingham Puck said that she could absolutely come to the buffalo wings dinner. So Buckingham Puck took the Dark Figure and the Light Figure to his dinner room and asked them to sit down while he grilled the buffalo wings. When the wings were ready, he put them on the table, and everyone started to eat it.

Buckingham Puck and the Light Figure loved it, but the Dark Figure did not. Since he didn’t like the food, he just cast a spell that would give Buckingham Puck dark purple eyes, which made him tell even more horrible jokes. After he cast the spell, he left to go to his own house to eat his dinner.

After the Dark Figure shut the door, the Light Figure felt bad for Buckingham Puck. She wanted to give him brown eyes, but since the Dark Figure’s magic was more powerful than hers, she could not undo the spell. So the Light Figure went home and stayed up all night, thinking of a plan.

The next day, the Light Figure rose bright and early to get to Buckingham Puck’s house. She put her shoes on to walk to his house. When she got there, Buckingham Puck was waiting on his porch for her. The buffalo dinner from the night before was so big that he had some leftovers. He had wrapped the wings up and gave it to her as a gift.

The Light Figure started to tell Buckingham Puck all about her plan. Her plan was that they would work together as a team to reach the magical mountain. On that magical mountain was a magical cave, which contained a magic stone that could give her much more power than the Dark Figure.

They began to pack their stuff for the long and dangerous journey up the mountain. First, they packed the leftover buffalo wings. Then, they packed some rope and a stick in case they need to climb something like a hill. Next, they packed some lollipops in case they met some crocodiles. If the crocodiles smelled the Light Figure and Buckingham Puck, they would throw the lollipops so that the crocodiles wouldn’t want to eat them. They packed some blankets so that they could sleep on the way. The rope was also used to tie the blankets onto trees with high branches. This is because after the crocodiles ate all the lollipops, they might still be hungry, so they would try to eat Buckingham Puck later. They also brought band-aids in case they got scraped by thorns. They also kept a few for themselves. Last of all, they packed toothbrushes and toothpaste.

After that, Buckingham Puck put hiking shoes on all four of his feet to protect his paws. They grabbed a map to go to the magic mountain. The map said that they had to go on Sockwood street. After they walked onto Sockwood street, the map said that there was a tiny, little bunny hole that they had to squeeze into. They looked behind some bushes and found the secret bunny hole. Buckingham Puck had to shimmy himself in because he was so fat. Since the Light Figure was human-sized, Buckingham Puck had to pull her down.

After they finally got down the small, tight hole, they crawled through the dirt. After crawling for about three hours, they found worms, maggots, and ants, but not a single bunny, The Light Figure always carried a bottle of bug spray. She sprayed it all around her. After that, she kept on spraying, but there were no more bugs that they found. They crawled for two more hours, but after that, sunlight came through the hole.

They climbed out of the hole and looked all around them. Suddenly, a whole pack of wolves sprang out of nowhere. The wolves did not like lollipops, so Buckingham Puck reached into their knapsack and took out half of the buffalo wings. He threw it where the wolves were. The moment he threw it, all of the wolves lunged at the wings. When the wolves started to rip off pieces of the wings, Buckingham Puck and the Light Figure started running. The wolves saw them running, but they just kept eating the wings.

After the leader of the wolves ate the last wing, Buckingham Puck and the Light Figure climbed up a tree. They stayed in a tree for an hour, sucking lollipops and eating a bit of the buffalo wings. The wolves were waiting at the bottom of the tree with their jaws wide open and their necks leaning back. Buckingham Puck and the Light Figure could see the drool dripping from the wolves’ jaws. The wolves were getting bored waiting for Buckingham Puck and the Light Figure. One of the wolves ran home and brought back a basket filled with a few Monopoly boards, a game of chess, and a few packets of UNO cards. The wolves played and played until the leader of the wolf pack had ordered for them to bring back a nice, juicy deer from the hill.

The wolves knew that the Light Figure and Buckingham Puck would not come down for a while, so they ran to catch a deer. Buckingham Puck and the Light Figure knew that the wolves would come back for them as soon as they caught a deer, so they ran away. When they got tired, the Light Figure used some of her magic to bring them thirty miles closer to the mountain. Buckingham Puck and the Light Figure could not find a tree to sleep in, so the Light Figure had to use some of her magic to grow a tree. They got out their ropes and blankets to tie the blankets to the tree.

The next morning, they woke up and got out their toothbrushes.  They jumped out the tree and went to the lake. They squeezed a little toothpaste on their toothbrushes and started brushing because they hadn’t brushed for two nights. After they brushed their teeth, they smelled something disgusting. They realized that it was their toothbrushes which had been in their really smelly mouths. Luckily, they had brought an extra pair.  Since it was the morning, and they were hungry, they looked into the bag and saw only lollipops and buffalo wings. The buffalo wings were not for the morning and lollipops were not really filling.  So, they had to look for some apples and oranges in the forest. Since Light Figure used magic to grow the tree they slept in, she had to use a little bit of her magic to make some apples and oranges. After their stomachs were full, they started their dangerous mission.

As they were walking, Buckingham Puck said, “Do you want me to tell you about my favorite moment?”

The Light Figure nodded and said, “I would love to.”

Buckingham Puck said, “On Halloween, two boys dressed up as buffalo wings, and I ate them. And that is why I’m so fat. Those two boys tasted very disgusting. Their hairs were like leaves. Their costumes were leather. And their costumes tasted the worst. Even though it tasted so bad, I was so hungry so I ate it.”  

The Light Figure looked surprised and said, “That explains it.”

They walked along for thirty more minutes when it turned dark in one second, right before their eyes. It was only 8:30 a.m., but it turned to 10:30 p.m. When the darkness cleared, they saw the Dark Figure.  

He turned to Buckingham Puck and said, “I will give you brown eyes, but you need to give me eight of your lives.”

“I can’t give you eight lives because when I jumped off a high pole, my foot got swollen and that was one of my lives. So, I only have seven lives to give you.”

The Dark Figure was furious that he could only have seven lives. So he said, “Now I will never give you brown eyes, and I will give you a rough trip to the magic mountain. I will order my ghouls and monsters to stop you from getting closer to the magic mountain.”

After the Dark Figure said this, he took out his magical wand and started to chant very lowly. He chanted so lowly that Buckingham Puck and the Light Figure could not hear him. Even though the Light Figure had magic, the Dark Figure had magic too, so he could whisper so lowly that even she could not hear. Then, he waved his wand in the air and zapped it. Tiny ghouls and goblins came shooting out of it and went in every direction that Buckingham Puck and Light figure would travel. They grew bigger and bigger until it was the size of Buckingham Puck’s favorite story-book giant, the BFG.

“No!” the Light Figure shouted. “Oh no!”

“Ha! Too bad, I win! You lose!” screamed the Dark Figure.

Buckingham Puck was furious with rage and started throwing sticks with his tail. One of the sticks hit the Dark Figure on his head, and then the stick cracked in two.

The Dark Figure gave out a yelp and said, “Owie.”

“That’s it. You asked for it, Mr. Buckingham Puck.”

“No. You asked for it, Mr. Dark Figure,” said the Light Figure who had made herself invisible.

The Light Figure had already told Buckingham Puck that she would go invisible so that he would not be surprised. The Dark Figure was startled and didn’t realize that the Light Figure was strong enough to go invisible, so he said, “Who said that?”

“I said that, knucklehead.”

“Whoever said that, I am not a knucklehead,” said the Dark Figure, looking around nervously.

The Light Figure made herself visible again and gave him a hard, little tap on the head.

“Light Figure? I thought you were on my side. You have betrayed me. You do not want to help Buckingham Puck. He is evil.”

She said, “He is not evil. You are. He is my best friend, and you are not.”

After the Light Figure said this, she waved her wand wildly, and she jumped up to the heavens, taking Buckingham Puck with her.  

“Where in the world are you two going?” the Dark Figure said, jumping up as well. He tried to jump up and follow them, but the heavens pushed him down and said, “YOU ARE BAD! GO AWAY!”

Safe up in the heavens, the Light Figure was greeted by all other goddesses, but when they saw Buckingham Puck, all of their enthusiasm flowed right out of them.

“Is this a mortal cat? Or an immortal cat?” one of the goddesses said.

“I am immortal. I have been alive since the beginning of time, and I will be here till the end,” said Buckingham Puck.

“Come here, you little softy,” a voice said. It was one of the goddesses’ children. Just then, she skipped towards him and said, “My name is Pinky Winky Pickle. You can call me Pinky.”

She tried to put her arms under him, but he was so fat that she could not pick them up.

“You are a fat bunny,” said Pinky. “You need to go on a diet, Bunny.”

“First of all, I am the skinniest cat in the world.  And second of all, I am a cat,” Buckingham Puck said.

Pinky said, “If you are a cat, you can give me a horseback ride.”  

And with those words, she hopped on Buckingham Puck’s back. Buckingham Puck let out a yelp and tried to buck her off, but everytime he tried to buck her off, she would slap him and say, “Go faster.”

“Pinky Winky Pickle, get off that filthy cat at once,” Pinky’s parents said.

The Light Figure came to Buckingham Puck’s rescue and said, “He’s a very clean cat. I just gave him a bath.”

When Buckingham Puck heard the word “bath,” he fainted. Buckingham Puck hated baths. There had once been an incident when he was young, when someone had tried to give him a bath. When he came out, his fur was all curly, and he hated curly fur. All the girls thought he was cute and tried to kiss him, but he didn’t like the kissing. Ever since that day, he swore to himself that he would never take a bath.

Buckingham Puck looked around for a clock. When he finally found a clock, the clock said that it was 11:53 p.m. That meant they had wasted their whole day up in the heavens. Buckingham Puck knew that he had to leave but without Pinky, so he thought about how to get rid of Pinky. He had an idea. The Light Figure would sprinkle some powder on his head, and they would hold hands and run off the clouds. Then they would float in the air. And when the magic died down, and they started to drift down, the Light Figure would wave her wand for a plane, and they would start flying. He didn’t think that Pinky could fly too. He whispered this to the Light Figure when no one was watching.  Pinky had great hearing since she was the youngest one in the room. When the Light Figure had sprinkled some powder on Buckingham Puck, they ran up the cloud and jumped. Pinky saw what was going on. She also dashed off the clouds and flung herself onto Buckingham Puck’s plump back. Since he had a lot of fat stored in his back, it was as soft as a pillow. His back felt so soft that Pinky immediately fell asleep. When she woke up, she started to tickle Buckingham Puck’s back. She kept on tickling harder and harder. After a while, Buckingham Puck said his back was itchy, so he asked the Light Figure to scratch it. The Light Figure swam in the air over to Buckingham Puck’s back.  When she got over his back, she saw Pinky right there trying tickle Buckingham Puck.  The Light Figure was Pinky’s older sister, so she was allowed to get cross with Pinky.

“Pinky Winky Pickle, why did you follow us? You will get into a lot of mischief.  When we get back to the heavens, I can see a little girl who needs a good spanking on her heiny.” The Light Figure didn’t stop there. She said, “What do you think you’re doing, miss?”

Pinky was a brave little girl and said, “I think I’m resting on the back of the fattest cat in the world and having a really good time, and you?”

“Me, what?” the Light Figure said, kind of confused.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Pinky said, laughing.  
Pinky was now rolling on Buckingham Puck’s back. She was getting too close to the edge of his back. If she rolled a little bit more, she would fall straight down. They were flying right on top of Lake Only For Fat People, Skinny People Will Be Sent To The Police At Once. This lake had the longest name in the world, and it was also the biggest lake in the world. Pinky did not know how to swim. She only knew how to fly and jump.

The Light Figure did not notice that Buckingham Puck could not see that Pinky was even on his back. Pinky rolled just a little bit more and started to fall.

“Pinky!” the Light Figure yelled.  

She quickly made a collar and a leash. She clipped them together and fastened it on Buckingham Puck’s neck. Since she was a fairy, she could undo what happened five seconds ago. She took hold of the leash, which was one hundred sizes too small for Buckingham Puck because he was fat.

Pinky was getting way too close to the lake, but the Light Figure had gathered all of her strength and grabbed Pinky right before Pinky fell into the lake. After one more hour of floating, Buckingham Puck spotted the magical island. As they floated closer, the Light Figure spotted the magical cave.

“Hey! There it is!”

The Light figure used her magic to bring them to where the magical cave was.  When they landed, Pinky ran off and climbed the tree that was closest to them. The Light Figure climbed up after Pinky, grabbed her hand, and jumped down to where Buckingham Puck was standing.  As all three of them entered the cave, the cave entrance closed. There was no turning back now.

“Who turned out the lights?” Buckingham Puck yelled.  “I demand to know.”  

There was a silence and then a deep low voice spoke.

“You are a prisoner inside my cave now, Buckingham Puck. Prisoners cannot make demands.”

“Whoever said that, show yourself right now or else I will eat you,” said Buckingham Puck.

“If you eat me, you will become too fat, and you will blow up.”  

This is what startled Buckingham Puck. He began to tremble, and then he fainted. The moment that he fainted, the Dark Figure showed himself. He burst into a horrible peal of laughter.

“You should not be laughing, you little, bad meanie head,” the Light Figure said.  “Now leave us in peace so we can get our magical stone.”

The Dark Figure was not used to being spoken to like this. Thousands of years ago, before Buckingham Puck was born, and before anyone in the world had been living, the Dark Figure was the only person on Earth. Once the human civilization came to Earth, he wanted the world back to himself. So he put a curse on everyone. The curse would only be broken if someone could get the magical stone and become more powerful than him. Then he would turn to dust. The Light Figure knew that because she knew what he had done in the past. Buckingham Puck did not know it, and Pinky was too young to know it. The Light Figure knew that she had to turn him into dust. She quickly made cold, icy water with ice cubes in it and threw it on Buckingham Puck.  Buckingham Puck sat up, dripping. The Dark Figure was now scared, but he did not show it. It was about time that he turned to dust.  A small, purple light glowed in the darkness. It was the magical stone. There were thousands of magical stones, but the purple one was the most powerful of all. The least powerful stone was the one that was grey. It only gave a little bit of magic. The purple one gave tons and tons of magic.

The Dark Figure had been eager to get it for ten million years.  He was still desperate to get it, but so was Buckingham Puck, Light Figure, and Pinky. The Light Figure couldn’t wait any longer. She simply jumped up and ran. She knew where she was going because the purple light kept on shining. But when she finally got there, the hallway that was supposed to lead to the stone had fallen into a dark hole underneath it.  She could still see the stone, but only a tiny piece of the hallway. There were big torches that she could hold onto while she put half of her foot on the edge of the hallway that was still there. She used her hands to hold onto the bottom part of the torches and used her feet to grip onto the piece of the hallway that was still there. Buckingham Puck watched as she grabbed onto the first torch and swung herself from left to right like a monkey.

The Dark Figure wasn’t born bad. When he was young, he had been a good person. But one day, when he wanted a cat, he could not get one because his parents were allergic. Ever since that day, he became mean and bad. So he decided that he would take Buckingham Puck instead. He quickly created a big, fat cat tractor which he could drive, and this tractor would pick up Buckingham Puck. He quickly tiptoed into the tractor and turned on the on button. The tractor rumbled to life.  

“What in the world is that sound?” Buckingham Puck said curiously.  

The tractor had hid itself behind some stones. The tractor had let out a smell of buffalo wings, so it lured Buckingham Puck. As he got closer, that tractor picked him up, put him in the back seat, and sprayed some baby powder, which made him go to sleep so he would not cause a ruckus that would alert the Light Figure. Pinky was paying attention to everything. She secretly crept into the backseat with Buckingham Puck. The Dark Figure had forgotten to put in the gas for the tractor. He kept pushing the on button, but there was no gas. The Dark Figure kept on getting more frustrated and began to fade.

“NO!” the Dark Figure screamed. “NO!”

The Light Figure had just finished getting the magical stone.

“YES!” Buckingham Puck yelled. “Light Figure, can we get married?”

“Yes,” the Light Figure said modestly. “Yes.”


Before the Apocalypse

Rebecca, 26, NYC; BGA Science Center

I look off the roof of the building, staring down at humanity going insane. Something like this has never happened before. And there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

I have three minutes before the world ends.


I hear the screams from the Earth below. They’re running away from the virus that is ruining their days. The thought that someone’s birthday is ruined today makes me feel uneasy. I look to see some people jumping off tall buildings as green figures follow them. I feel like I might faint.

I look down at the green goop on the floor of the scientist’s lab. There’s nothing I can do but stare at the shattered vial, and its insides spread around me like quicksand pulling me into the ground. There’s nothing I can do but cry.

I just let out the zombie apocalypse.

The world around me is tossing and turning. I feel dizzy, and nothing is in focus. Everything is blurry and muffled. I feel like I’m slipping out of consciousness. Is this what it feels like to go insane?

The best scientist in the world, Dr. Martin Corazin, trusted me with this vial of the virus, the very first time he’s trusted me with anything, and I’ve betrayed him.

I hear his voice echoing in my head, one of the very few words he’s ever said to me. The world is resting on you. If you can carry this vial up to the top of the building and wait for the drone to take it to NASA headquarters, you will save everyone’s life. If you drop it or open it just the tiniest bit, it will affect the air in nanoseconds, turning everyone who breathes enough of it into a zombie with an uncontrollable addiction to infecting. If you do drop it, we’ll have three minutes before the air gets completely infected.

I fall to the floor and sob until I can’t sob anymore. I look at my electronic watch. Just before it powers off, I see the time. It’s been nearly two minutes.

Suddenly, fear rushes through my body. I realize that I’ve been outside for too long, and I panic, twitching on the floor like I truly am insane. I need to go to a safe zone. I remember the emergency airlock on the fifth floor, fifteen floors down from where I am right now. I run to the door, skipping the elevator and going by stairs, because in the elevator, there’s no way to escape.

I run as fast as I’ve ever ran in my life. I can hear screaming, sobbing, everything you wouldn’t want to hear when you’re causing their pain. I feel a wave of guilt fall over me, but I keep going, trying to breathe only little snippets of air. I run until my feet are sore, until I see that marvelous number painted on the door by Dr. Corazin himself. I push it open, running to the airlock at the end of the hall. Written in large red letters I see Emergency Airlock. I look down at the keyboard. What’s the password? I realize that I’ve never heard the password. I panic, and trying not to breathe in too much air, I knock restlessly on the door. No reply. I know there are people inside, but why would they open the door during a zombie apocalypse? I start to put in random numbers and letters. I know that it’s only seven characters long, but what are they? My crying fit comes again, but I try not to tear up this time because I always gasp in air when I do. I hit my fist on the keyboard repeatedly until I hear a ding. The screen turns green, and the door unlocks. I sigh with relief, wiping my eyes and turning the knob of the door. I hear whimpers and screams as I open the door, and I realize that they all think I’m a zombie. Then I hear a rush of ease sweeping through the cramped room of people, and I try to find an empty spot where I can have just a little bit of space.

I hear someone ask when we can leave, and someone else replies with, “In a couple of minutes, the air isn’t contaminated anymore, and all of the zombies will die. But only less than one percent of humanity will stay alive.”

“That’s us,” I say.

I finally realize that we are the lucky ones — we are one of the few that survived. I feel strong now, knowing that I can and will survive the zombie apocalypse. I look down at my hands in power. I notice a very faint green undertone in my skin, and I finally grasp that I did not survive.

I am a zombie.

And everyone around me will have to be, too.


I’m Not a Murderer!

“I’m not a murderer!” my friend Reda yells a bit too loudly in front of our school, Lincoln High School.

We get weird looks, and I shush her suspiciously. “You can’t just yell stupid things at the top of your lungs at school!”

“Yeah, but it just proves my point even further. If I’m willing to yell it in a public area, then I’m right.”

I scowl. I hate Reda’s stubbornness. But, even if I leave her, what friend will I have? We’re both alone in high school, and it would just make us miserable if we left each other. I stop feeling bad for her and toughen up again.

“I had two twin baby brothers. Now I have one. And I have reason to believe it was you who killed Zach!”

“No you don’t! For the last time, how do you know if it was my hair?” she asks, skeptically touching her hair.

I know that it’s gotten shorter because she told me that a chunk of her hair fell off before I could question her. But it just makes me question her more. I walk away and don’t look back. Even when the tears sting my eyes. Though I didn’t get too attached to Zach or Henry in the five months since they’ve been born, because I’ve been so busy with school and popularity statuses, I’m still so sad that one of them is dead. It puts me in danger, and it puts my trust in the world in danger — not to mention my best friend!


My house looks like a crime scene on one of those felony shows. Blood stains the crib that Zach used to sleep in. There’s police everywhere. My parents are heard crying in the kitchen, and it hurts me. I know that a kid shouldn’t have to hear their parents cry, and it hurts me that I do. I don’t dare go near the kitchen door. I just go upstairs to my room.

I’m so lucky that Henry was sleeping with mom and dad in their bed because he had a bit of a fever. I’m so lucky to at least have one brother left. My parents don’t have anybody to send me or Henry to for safety because Mom’s an orphan and Dad’s family lives in Arizona. So Henry’s sleeping in my bed for the night.

Since I got home late from the therapist my parents send me to, who I hate, I get right into my pajamas and skip dinner. Downstairs, with the police, is Henry. There’s one police officer that’s holding him as he talks to Mom about putting him up for adoption. Naturally, she refuses and wipes her eyes with her shirt sleeve. She turns away and looks at me. This is the first time I’ve seen her in days.

Bags heaving down below her eye.

Red eyes above those bags.

Wrinkles as far as the eye can see.

It kills me to say this, but she looks like a disappointment of a mother. Before we both burst into tears, I take Henry from the police officer without a word. I take Henry upstairs, even though it’s way before either of our bedtimes.


It’s the middle of the night, and my stomach is rumbling vigorously. I regret skipping dinner and hop out of bed before remembering what the police officers told me.

Don’t let him out of your sight.

So I bring him with me.

As I’m walking down the hall, I realize that Mom and Dad’s room is empty. They’re probably at the police station working out what to do with Henry and me. It makes me tear up a little bit, but I stay strong.

I keep going down, slowly and carefully, and think about how much my parents trust me enough to leave me alone at home. I am sixteen, and there are multiple police cars outside, but still.

I make it to the kitchen, and I carefully put Henry down on the counter. I make myself a glass of milk and help myself to the treats from the many gift baskets that we got. I make my way to the living room, first bringing Henry and making sure that he’s okay in his baby seat, and then bring my treats.

I sit down and just stare at the ceiling. Once I’m done with my milk and cookies, I go back upstairs to my room, only to find someone there already.

That is the moment I stop believing my friend.



Miraculous is a unique show. It is an animated show. The show is exciting because it shows a normal girl’s life and a normal boy’s life as normal middle school students, but at the same time, they are superheroes protecting all of Paris. The main characters, Ladybug and Cat Noir, each have powers. Ladybug can create things, and Cat Noir can destroy things. Both superheroes help people even if they don’t like that person. Miraculous is both entertaining and can teach you to help others.

A character that Ladybug really hates is named Chloe. She was attacked by one of the supervillains, and even though Ladybug didn’t like her, she still was there to protect Chloe. This shows that it doesn’t matter if you like someone or not, you still have to help others. No matter what happens, there may be someone who can’t do what you can and needs help to do it. Helping others is the right thing to do. Chloe acts like a bully and makes fun of Ladybug when she is just a normal girl in middle school. Chloe says mean things and is always annoying Ladybug, but Ladybug just ignores her and still helps her.

When I was at my friend’s Halloween party, we were having a pillow fight, and my friend broke a lamp. I didn’t want to help him by covering for him or coming up with a way to hide the broken lamp. When he covered the broken lightbulb, I saw sparks flying out. I realized, then, that it was too dangerous for him to fix by himself, so I helped him. I made sure that he didn’t do anything unsafe, like touch the glass or accidently burn down the whole house until I got his parents, and then they figured out what to do. I helped my friend when I didn’t want to, but I still did it because he needed help. I felt good because more unsafe things could have happened. Ladybug didn’t want to help Chloe because Chloe was always mean to her. I had a different reason why, but it’s similar because at the end, we still helped and everything ended up right.

The two superheroes help people correct their bad choices. The superheroes have to destroy the source that made a character the villain. Normally, characters become supervillains after being really angry at someone. For example, Ladybug’s best friend, Alya, became a villain when she took a photo of Chloe’s locker. Chloe’s dad is the mayor, and so she convinced the principal to expel Alya. Alya got mad, and she was turned into a supervillain named Lady Wifi. In order for Alya to become good again, Ladybug and Cat Noir had to break Alya’s phone because that was the source that made Alya the villain.

Ladybug and Cat Noir show us that you have to help others no matter what, even if we don’t like the person who needs help.


Mr. Macaroonvoh and the Dog

Once upon a time there lived Mr. MacaroonVoh. He used to walk in lots of snow.

One Year Later…

Mr. MacaroonVoh was back with his family, and he always used to see his family talking about a dog. He and his cousin, Virey Moon, and his friend, Lighty Light, wondered why they were talking about a dog. One day, he and his cousin and friend listened so carefully, and guess what they heard? That they were getting a dog! One week later, Mr. MacaroonVoh’s family went to the ASPCA and adopted a dog. The dog was a seven-month-old French Mastiff who they named Simba. He was so adorable! He was a brown dog with a cutie, cutie face. His legs were very chubby. Mr. MacaroonVoh, Lighty Light, Virey Moon, and Mr. MaracroonVoh’s mom and dad went to Trader Joe’s to buy Simba food and treats.

The next day, Simba bit Mr. MacaroonVoh. He was so angry that he didn’t talk to Simba all day. The next morning, he woke up, and Simba was kissing him and jumping on him. Mr. MacaroonVoh was so happy that he said sorry to Simba. Simba trusted him. That night, Mr. MacaroonVoh slept with Simba, but Lighty Light was getting very itchy because all of the dog hair was on her. Virey Moon was sneezing all night because Simba was sneezing on her! The next morning, Mr. MacaroonVoh fed Simba and walked him. Simba was being a good boy. Whenever Mr. MacaroonVoh said stop jumping, Simba would stop and never do it again.

But one day, when Mr. MacaroonVoh was walking Simba, the leash got untied, and Simba ran away. When he reached the crossing light, Mr. MacaroonVoh threw treats up in the air, and Simba came back.

One day, the entire family wanted to take Simba out for a walk at dinner time. After, they let him drink a lot of water, but then they put him back in his crate. He peed in the crate. Then, the family realized they weren’t supposed to give him water after dinner time.

Simba was a very good puppy. When the family got him, he was trained, and he is still trained. One day, his family put on music, and Simba started dancing and doing gymnastics. Simba’s parents forgot what food to give him. They accidently gave him cat food. Simba liked the cat food. Then, Mr. MacaroonVoh realized that wasn’t Simba’s food. Then, Mr. MacaroonVoh gave Simba fruits because he was allowed to have those.  Simba started talking because he had a different type of food.

Mr. MacaroonVoh started to talking to Lighty Light and told her, “Hey, do you know something? How is Simba talking?”

Lighty Light said, “It’s because we gave him the wrong food!”

Simba became a good dancer and a gymnast. Simba started going to competitions and won a lot of trophies, beating other good gymnasts. In the first competition, he got second place, but he got first place in another competition.

One day, Mr. MacaroonVoh got a phone call from the Olympics.

Mr. MacaroonVoh asked, “What is your name?”

“My name is Lilly. What is yours?”

“My name is Mr. MacaroonVoh.”

Lilly asked, “Can Simba be in the Olympics?”

Mr. MacaroonVoh said, “Say that full sentence again?”

“Can Simba be in the Olympics?”

“Where is this Olympics taking place?” asked Mr. MacaroonVoh.

“It is in Mondon.”

“What event would Simba do?”

“Simba would do gymnastics.”

“Yes! I would let Simba be in the Olympics.”

Mr. MacaroonVoh hung up.


Mr. MacaroonVoh was surprised and curious to see if Simba could beat Simone Biles and many others from the United States. Simba was going to be with the Zwimbadolians from Zwimbadola. Mr. MacaroonVoh made a station where Simba could practice gymnastics. Simba went there five times a day. Mr. MacaroonVoh realized he needed to get Olympics dog’s clothes. He would wear a headband saying “Olympics.” He would have wristbands saying “Go dog!” He would wear a shirt saying “Go zwimbadola” and shorts that say “Proud Zwimbadolians.” Simba was going to be the first dog in the Olympics!

Mr. MacaroonVoh asked his friends if they could come to the competition. Tulip, Romina, Charlit, Rarity, Lina, Charlie, Rosie, Rasly, Laurie, and Jordan, LightyLight, and Virey Moon said, “Yes!”

Simba used to practice day and night, and in no time, the day came! All of Mr. MacaroonVoh’s friend’s were there. Simba was very excited. His clothes were a little itchy for him. His turn came up. He did the best he could, and at the end, the judges said who did the best.

First place — Simba!

Second place — Simone Biles.

Third — Aly Raisman.

Mr. Macaroon Voh was so happy! Simba was so proud! Simba got so many presents. He got so many treats, balls, and toys!



Will You Take The Chance?

Hi, I’m Savannah, and I’m twelve years old. Right now, I am at my friend’s house eating salad while my friends eat brownies. Why do I let them eat brownies while I eat salad, you may ask? Because I’m going on a diet. Everyone says I don’t need it. They say I’m too skinny. And don’t get me wrong, brownies are my favorite desserts, but when I look at my belly, well, it kind of blows up. I know that my friends still have one for me, but since I’m on a diet, I think I’ll pass.


As I turned the corner on my block, going to my house, I realized that looks don’t matter. I WANT THAT BROWNIE! So I turned around and ran back towards my friend’s house as fast I could. I wasn’t paying attention to the street lights, so I was dodging cars. At the last crosswalk, I went full speed ahead, not looking where I was going, and screech! I turned around and…


(That was me screaming.)

Everything started going in slow motion. It was a blurry, blue car coming at me. I was about to die. As I started to run, I realized there’s no way to escape this. So, I closed my eyes, and I counted down from 10. Surprisingly I didn’t feel anything.

When I opened my eyes, I was in a small, teal colored room with a wooden table that had a single brownie on it.  

What? I thought as I looked at a mirror that was on the wall in front of me. I looked faded, like looking through a glass window. I thought I was dead. Maybe I was a ghost. Well, I’m dead. I’m in a room with no doors, no windows, a mirror, a singular light above my head, and a brownie on the table. What do I have to lose? I thought as I reached my hand out to grab the brownie.   

I am a ghost, I can’t eat this brownie!! I realized as my hand went through the brownie.

I started to cry. I’m really hungry, I’m probably going to starve to death. Oh, but I am dead. I closed my eyes, hoping something would happen. And I think God heard my prayers or something, because I heard someone from up above saying, “Savannah! Savannah!”

I could barely make out the words.

“Savannah, wake up!”  

That, I could hear clearly. I opened my eyes, and all my friends were looking at me weirdly. I had fallen asleep.

Phew. I let out a sigh of relief. I wasn’t dead, I thought as I grabbed for the last brownie. This time I had it in my hand. I took an enormous bite and swallowed. It was sooo good. My friends kept staring at me weirdly, but eventually they shrugged and looked away.

I’m not dead, I said to myself again. I never took a chance like that again.





I’d been wondering when my best friend, Lila, would come back from her vacation. It’d been a month and three weeks. She said it would be two weeks. Five weeks had passed since her cruise to Oceania was supposed to end. I tried to text her, email her, and nothing happened. She said that she would keep in touch with me. Did she? No.

My mom said that she would tell me if Lila’s mother told her anything, but she didn’t. Now I was getting worried.

“She’ll be back,” my mom kept telling me. I know it’s a bit weird to think about this that deeply in thought, but I care about Lila and her family.

This problem about Lila mysteriously disappearing was getting in my way, so I decided to let it slide. Although, I really couldn’t. It was three and a half days until it started to bother me again. Where is Lila? Why wasn’t she writing me back? When will she be back? All these questions flowed through my head. I was thinking about this during Period Three, math class. All of a sudden, I felt nauseous.

“May I go to the bathroom?” I asked the teacher.


I could feel my heart beating. Why did I feel like I was going to throw up after thinking about Lila? That’s a question I can’t answer.

I got to the bathroom on time before I threw up. I splashed my face with cold water, took deep breaths. Then and there, I threw up in the sink. Why? I wondered. Why did I throw up?

I thought about mine and Lila’s back story: met when we were two, neighbors, went to the the same elementary school and middle school, in the same class mostly every time. I decided to go to the nurse.

“Hi. How can I help you?” the nurse asked me.

“Um, I just threw up.”

“Why do you think you threw up?”
“Um, I guess nausea and maybe-” I got interrupted.

“Nausea, really?”

I decided to leave the nurse’s office. If she didn’t believe me, there was nothing I could do. On my way out, I got yelled at.

“WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?” she said rudely. “Come sit down. You can call your mom.”

After yelling at me, the sentence she said after that was like she was begging for my forgiveness. Wow.


I picked up the phone, I dialed my mom’s number, and I started to talk to her.

“May you please pick me up? I just threw up,” I asked.

“Sure. I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

I hung up the phone. Twenty minutes passed, and just as my mom said she would be here, she was. As we were in the car, my mom asked me a question I didn’t want to answer.

“Why did you throw up?”

I was hoping that if I didn’t answer, she would forget. But no.

“I asked you a question.”

“Because I felt nauseous.”

I hoped that would satisfy her.

“Tell me why you felt nauseous.”

“Fine,” I said stubbornly. “Because I was thinking of Lila.” (I mumbled that.)

“What did you say?”

My mom was getting on my last nerve.


“Excuse me.”

“I’m sorry, Mom.”

We didn’t talk the rest of the car ride. When we got home, my mom told me that Lila’s mom had contacted her.

“What did she say?!” I was so excited to hear the news.

My mom’s eyes started tearing up. I wondered if it was good news or bad news.

That’s when I realized my best friend was dead.


Animals Talk

One hot day… a little girl wanted to play outside near the woods. But she was locked in, so she made a rope ladder and climbed down. When Violet went in the forest, she saw an old apple tree. Between two other trees, and under it, was a dog. Just then, an apple fell on the dog’s head.

Then, the dog said, “Ow!”

Violet could not believe her eyes and ears! A dog that could speak. Amazing! Violet ran home to her cottage. And then she heard something behind her saying, “Oops, I didn’t say anything!”

Violet ran back to the apple tree. The dog was still there, bouncing on the apple tree. Just then… the dog turned to face Violet and gave all his attention to her. Violet felt a lump go down her throat!

When she was about to run, a silence fell over both of them and the dog said, “Please! Do not tell anyone I can talk.”

Violet promised she wouldn’t. The next day, Violet got out of her mom’s car, and she saw a cat! The cat was striped and really cute! And then the cat went behind a shrub, and Violet followed because it felt like a message to her.

Suddenly, the cat said, “I can see you have met my friend, Tom.”

Shaking with surprise, Violet said, “Yes.”

“Okay then,” said the cat, whose name was Cindy. Cindy said, “Don’t be afraid, but meet me in the woods tomorrow.”

So Violet did. The next day, Violet dressed early to not to miss school and then went into the woods. She went to the old apple tree, and there she met Cindy and Tom.

Cindy and Tom said, “I see we have a believer!”

“What?” said Violet with confusion.

She was hoping it meant something good! And it kind of did because… what Tom and Cindy were trying to explain was… that she was one of the only people who could understand Tom and Cindy. After that, Cindy and Tom explained to Violet that they needed her help to get other people to understand them, so Violet promised to help.

Inside Violet’s head, Cindy the cat seemed to be very loyal, and Tom the dog was very lazy, so all Violet did about it was take a breath, “haahaa,” and slowly trudge to her cottage and go to sleep.

Buzz, buzz went her alarm clock. Buzz. It took three buzzes to wake Violet up and then… she was awake. And then she got up and skipped to school. Remembering Cindy and Tom made her so happy. I wonder if I’ll meet Tom and Cindy again, thought Violet.

At school, Violet’s friend said, “Sorry, but I’m playing with someone else.”

Too bad, thought Violet, but it wasn’t any good. Violet felt like a falling bird. After school, Violet went into the woods to meet Cindy and Tom. When Violet got to the apple tree, she saw … a different cat! She said her name was Lillian. Violet explained to Lillian her whole adventure. Then, when Tom and Cindy came, they decided to all be friends.

And that’s the end of this story. For now!


The Visitors

On the news, a lot of people had been saying that there were strange, flying shapes in the sky. I was very scared that maybe it was aliens, and that they would come down and wipe out the entire human race. My mom said that it was just plain lies and that the photos were photoshopped.

Five years later, people started forgetting that there had been UFOs seen in the sky, but then one normal day, something completely unexpected happened.

I was playing video games at seven p.m. and I suddenly noticed strange lights, from out of the window, that got lower and lower until I couldn’t see the lights any more. Then I remembered, five years ago, people had been seeing UFOs in the sky, and I thought it might be the aliens coming down to invade!

I went outside and got my flashlight. There was a cold breeze in the air. I tried to remember where I saw the lights land, so I walked and walked until I finally saw a large object covered in branches. I shined my flashlight at the large object, and it was the alien spacecraft!

I wonder if the aliens might see me. If they do find me, they’ll probably kill me!

I crawled, as slowly and as carefully as I could, to the spacecraft. I heard some strange sound, and the closer I got to the spacecraft, the louder the sound got.

What are those aliens doing?

But then out of the blue, the door of the spacecraft opened, and there it was. A strange humanoid creature stepped out into the open. The alien was as white as paper. Its eyes were as black as the night sky. Another humanoid came out of the spacecraft. The aliens looked kind of puzzled, as if they had heard something.

Oh my god! Did they just hear me?!

The humanoids said something to each other. It sounded like complete gibberish. I looked at my watch. It read 9:53. It was getting late. Soon my mom would be worried. I didn’t know what to do, so I did the most random thing I could ever think of.

I ran as fast as I could, right past the alien and right to my house. I rushed in the door. My mom saw me rush in.

“Wow. What’s going on, Jim?” my mom asked.                                                                                                                 

“Mom, I know this sounds crazy, but I literally saw freaking aliens!” I said in a loud voice.

My mom looked at me as if I were the craziest person she had ever met. We just stared at each other for a moment.

“Jim, are you sure you saw aliens somewhere in town? You do look pretty scared though.”

My mom was right. My heart was pounding so much, it felt like it was about to explode right out of my chest.

“I did see aliens, Mom. I swear to God, they were so, uh… ” I paused for a second, “weird!

“Whatever you say, Jim,” said my mom, quite awkwardly.

I ran up the stairs, got my GoPro, and decided to prove that I saw real life aliens! I ran out of the house. I ran in the direction the alien went, but then I realized I had a drivers licence. I was seventeen, so I went to my mom’s Toyota Corolla, which was parked in front of my house. I opened the door and got in. Then, I twisted the key and the car came to life. I drove off, and in five minutes, I saw the alien walking along the street. Luckily, it didn’t see me, even though I drove past him at forty miles per hour. I braked, turned off the car, and got out. I got my GoPro out and started recording. I got out my flashlight and turned it on. I heard noises. I didn’t know what they sounded like. I walked in the direction of the sound. Then, it suddenly stopped. I saw it! The humanoid creature. I flashed my flashlight at it and got a good image of it on my GoPro. Bad idea. The alien turned around and saw me! Then it started chasing me.

I ran as fast as I possibly could. This alien was really fast. I finally reached the end of the woods and quickly got into my mom’s car. The humanoid started banging on the window. I quickly started the car and drove off. I felt relieved. I looked behind me. Oh my gosh. The alien was running super fast and was still chasing me! Soon I was going sixty miles per hour. The alien was still chasing me at about fifty-five miles per hour. These aliens were unbelievable. They could run so fast! Soon, I was going eighty miles per hour! I was almost at my house. I slammed the brakes. I saw the alien in the distance still running at me. I got out of the car and quickly ran into the house. I slammed the door shut. I ran into the kitchen.

“Mom, you need to see this. I recorded aliens. I have proof okay, and now that I have this, you will not think I’m crazy!”

“Okay, then show me it, Jim,” said my mom.

I uploaded the video to my mom’s MacBook and clicked play. The video showed me getting out of the car and walking into the woods, then that strange sound was heard. Then, in the video, it showed the alien running up to me, and soon it was just a blur of me running to the car. You could hear me breathing quickly. Then, the video ended.

“No, you really saw that? This is insane!” said my mom.

“I’m going to bring this footage to the cops okay?” I said.

“Yeah, you really should because if nobody knows about this except for us, it’s not going to end well,” said my mom.

Suddenly, something smashed through the window.

“Oh my god, what is that!” said my mom.

Then out of the blue, there was a giant explosion. All I saw was white. My eyes adjusted from the brightness. There was fire everywhere. The house was destroyed.

“Are you okay, Jim?” said my mom.

“Yeah I’m fine. But, Mom, I think the aliens are here!”

“Okay, let’s go!”  

We ran into the backyard to get away from the fire.

“Let’s climb over the fence,” I said.

“Are you sure?” asked my mom.

“It’s the only way to get away from the aliens without being seen,” I answered.

“Okay,” said my mom, sighing.

So I lifted myself above the fence and landed in somebody’s random back yard. My mom climbed over after me.

“Let’s go away farther,” I said.

So we climbed over more fences until we were on the other side of the block. I was panting a lot. My mom was even more tired because she never did workouts like this.

“Do you have your phone?” I asked.

“Jim, you know I always carry my phone with me, okay?” my mom answered. “What do you want me to do with it?”

“Obviously call 911!” I said.

“Okay, okay,” my mom said.

She pulled out her phone from her pocket and tapped emergency.

“Hello, what is your emergency?” came a voice from the phone.

“Our house has been destroyed by aliens,” my mom said.

“What are you talking about ma’am?” asked the voice.

“No, I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true! This is urgent!”

“I think I’m going to call an ambulance,” said the voice.

“Oh my gosh! How rude of you to think I have mental issues!” said my mom angrily.

“Okay, sorry. I believe you,” said the voice awkwardly.

“Get the police and a fire truck. This is serious!” said my mom.

“Okay, I’ll get them right away,” said the voice.

She hung up. My mom and I waited and waited. Suddenly, we heard very loud sirens and also heard the engines of cars rushing to the scene. Then a police car, followed with fifteen other police cars braked right in front of us. Then, a police officer got out of his car and slammed the door closed.

“Hello, I am Officer Mike. I believe you said that there were some ‘aliens’ attacking your neighborhood,” said the police officer.

“No, it is true, okay? Aliens are really standing this very moment on the other side of this block!” I said.

I pointed to the flames and smoke in the distance.

“They exploded our house,” said my mom.

“Good thing the firemen are here on time,” said Officer Mike.

He was right. A big fire truck came rushing down the corner, almost hitting parked cars on the side of the road, and came to a big stop.

Fifteen men came out of the fire truck. They saw our house and started getting the hose ready. Then they started spraying water one hundred feet away. It took ten minutes of watching the firemen spraying a hose.

“So where are those aliens you called about?” said Officer Mike

“They’re on the other side of the block, near where our house was destroyed,” said my mom.

“Okay,” said Officer Mike, “I’ll send in all of our officers to go deal with the problem.”

So then Officer Mike and about fifty other officers went with him.

I heard banging and gunfire and loud shouts. More and more gunfire was heard from the other side of the block. I looked at my mom. She looked back at me.

“Do you think they got them?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” answered my mom.

“Can we go check it out?” I  asked.

“No!” said my mom. “It’s too dangerous, okay?”

“Sorry, Mom, but I’m very worried,” I said.

And with that, I ran around the block and came to see madness. There were some dead police lying several places around the road. I saw a puddle of blood that came from a dead officer’s head.

Then I quickly remembered about the aliens, and right at that moment, an alien fired at me. I quickly ducked and decided to run away and regret this for the rest of my life.

“Save yourself!” shouted an officer, who then just got hit in the head.

“Thanks, I was just thinking that,” I said.

So I ran back around the block to see my mom standing there with her face as red as a tomato.

“What were you doing?” said my mom.

“Sorry, but I was just seeing what was happening because it sounded chaotic, and I just wanted to know if we were winning. But, Mom, it turns out that all of them are dead!” I said.

“Really? Okay, Jim, we should really go, now!” said my mom.

Just as we were going to run, a large tank and about two thousand army soldiers approached the street.

A man jumped out of the tank and walked toward us, making a very serious face. He was wearing completely green clothes and a metal helmet. It looked like he was carrying a million pounds with his big backpack on.

“Ma’am, we’re sending in an a thousand foot cargo plane for everybody in this town and state to get into and evacuate,” said the soldier.

“Why do we have to evacuate? The army is here,” said my mom.

“No, we have to evacuate because we are going to drop a nuclear bomb on this area to wipe out the humanoids,” answered the soldier.

“Do we have to go to the state airport to get onto the plane?” asked my mom.

“Yes, it’s the only place where we can land it,” answered the soldier.

“Yes sir,” said my mom.

She turned to me.

“Okay, let’s get into the car and get to the airport, okay?”

“Yes,” I said.

So my mom and I ran to her Toyota. We both quickly got in and buckled our seatbelts. My mom started the car and drove off.

Halfway through the drive, we got caught in a massive traffic jam all headed to the airport. It must’ve been people going to evacuate. Half an hour later, we got to the parking lot at the airport. We found a parking spot and quickly got out and ran to the runway where everybody was getting onto the plane.

Soon, we were in the line. The plane was huge! It was completely black, and the wings were as long as ten olympic-sized swimming pools.

After about two hours of waiting, we were inside, and so was everybody else. There were about ten floors, and on each floor was about two thousand seats. Actually, no, there was about ten thousand seats on each floor, which meant that this plane was carrying one hundred thousand people!

My mom and I was on the third floor. The seats were very comfortable. We buckled our seatbelts and waited about forty minutes for the plane to take off.

When the plane was rushing down the runway, it wasn’t shaking at all because of how big it was. I looked out of my window to witness this: a huge flash of light that was so bright that I had to shield my eyes, and after twenty minutes, there was a giant mushroom cloud with a ring around the top.

That must’ve been the nuke. It was incredible. The radiation clouds spread about ten thousand miles. At least this plane was faster than the radiation.

The flight was ten hours. We landed in England. We got off the flight and went through the airport.

“What are we going to do now, Mom?” I asked.

“I don’t know, but at least we survived this mess,” answered my mom.

We booked a hotel that night.

The next day, my mom and I were walking around London to eat lunch, when we saw a man giving out newspapers. My mom bought one. She looked at it for about five minutes. She made a grim face.

“What happened, Mom?” I asked.

She looked up from her newspaper.

“It says that the UN has been getting strange signals from an unknown planet far from Earth. It might mean another bigger invasion,” she answered.

“Oh no,” I said.


The Chicken Savior

Book One: Weird Happenings and Weird People                                         

Once upon a time, there was a little chick that was super cute and so adorbs. His name was Billy Bob Joe (BBJ for short). As he grew older, he grew really cool. But he also (I’m trying to put this as nicely as possible) wasn’t so cute any more. This was because he saw some weird happenings in the other coops. These happenngs had turned BBJ into a creepy skeptic. He had three suspects of the happenings: mice with rabies, other chickens, and aliens. He really wanted to know what it was. So he decided to find out.

But, he thought, how do I get out of this cage I’m in?

Suddenly, it came to him that he was able to transform into anything. He never knew why! Then, he fell asleep.


Once he awoke, he transformed into a tiny fly, flew out of his cage, and transformed back to a chicken. When he looked into the other cages, all the chickens were gone! Then, he decided to go outside to look for them. When he stepped outside, he looked around and saw all the chickens. There were also a bunch of houses down a street. He noticed, though, that they weren’t in the usual, grassy area around the hen house. They were on a planet very far away from Earth! He started to panic because he thought the aliens were going to kill them all for food like the farmer did back on Earth! And he was right. The aliens went running after the chickens with what looked like the average butchering axe, just with electricity running through the metal part. After one of the aliens got a helpless chick called Albert, he screamed “Zoloop!!!” This kept on going until BBJ was the only chicken left there. All the aliens went straight after him. BBJ jumped, spun, and ran.

As BBJ ran further and further from the hen house, he also ran deeper and deeper into the alien village. He heard the aliens call out words like “Goodlac” and “Gozork,” which probably meant “Get him” or “Come on, join the run.” BBJ didn’t stop until he reached a long alleyway, which was blocked off except a small hole that BBJ could just barely slip through, even when he turned himself into a ladybug!

Once BBJ turned back into a chicken, he turned right back into a ladybug because an alien in a golden robe had nearly grabbed BBJ! He had many men around him and BBJ thought, This alien is a very important alien. He also thought that this alien was a very good chickener, like how a cat can be a very good mouser.

Once BBJ got into the castle, where he thought the alien emperor lived, he turned into a pillar and rolled to the top of the castle. He did this because he thought that it wouldn’t have been weird on an alien planet.

Once BBJ got up the stairs (which took a long time due to the unusual shape of the pillar), he ended up in a hallway with many doors that were encased in gold. He did see a door at the end of the hallway, which looked like it was made out of pure diamond. The door was enchanted to have a moving painting of people decapitating chickens! But then, under that, there was a sign that said in big italics: Viewer discrimination advised. And boy, was that sign correct.

After BBJ turned into an alien and opened the door, he saw a very weird sight. The person who was sitting in the throne at the front of the room was not an alien at all!


To be continued…


The Ghost Boy

A strange sound was coming from my basement…

My heart gripped with fear. I slowly opened the door, holding a broom handle in my hand so tightly that my knuckles were white. I pulled the chain, and a dim light bulb flickered to life.

I slowly, oh so slowly, tiptoed down the steep stairs. I fumbled for the flashlight on the only piece of furniture down there, a wooden side table. I turned the flashlight on and shone it in the basement to find…

A boy was standing there, facing the wall, apparently staring at… nothing.

“Uh… what are you doing in my house?” I asked.

Slowly, the boy turned around, and all at once, I realized I could see the wall behind him. Not just behind him. Through him.

“G-g-g-g-ghost!” I shouted and turned toward the stairs that led out of the basement. The door at the top slammed closed, then everything went black…


“What just happened?” I asked as my surroundings slowly blinked into sight.

“You passed out,” a doctor told me, peering over my hospital bed…

Wait, the hospital?

“When?” I asked.

“We’re not sure. You were found on the steps to the basement.”

I gasped as everything came flooding back to me.

“T-t-there was a ghost in the basement!” I cried.

“Oh, honey,” the doctor said in a sugar-coated voice, “I think you’re suffering from shock. Don’t worry. It’ll be okay.”

I knew what I had seen, and I knew it wasn’t shock. There was a ghost in the basement.  


My Butt is on Fire

There was a butt walking around, going to an audition. He opened the door, and there were 5,000 cherries and butts waiting. (Spoiler alert! The butt can resist fire!) He was last. But then, ten butts came behind him. Then, five cherries. Then, no more cherries and butts came. He was 16th to last. Finally, he got a turn.

His line was, “My butt is on fire!”

He got the role of the butt who catches on fire and sings “My butt is on fire!” while doing it. He was the only butt among the 5,015 cherries and butts to get the role. He had the biggest party at home, and they all did their booty shakes.

The next day, he had his first practice. He walked onto the practice stage. He did the best job out of all of the crew! He did the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth practice.

It was the big night. All the butts and cherries sat down on the butts’ and cherries’ seats. The cherries sang “La la la!” Then, he came on.

They threw fire on him and then he sang, “My butt is on fire!! La la la!!!” He had done the best job in his first ever show!

He did the second, third, fourth, fifth shows, and then he was all over the news. He was a professional. He had entered the sixth show, and he was already a professional. But he wanted to do the biggest show in Butt and Cherry Land. He walked in. There were ten contestants. He was the eleventh.

He sang, “Lalalala-eee!

He left the place.

He said, “I totally messed that up. I totally messed that up. I totally messed that up!”

The next day, he got the callback. Dun dun dun. He did not get the part. He was crying with his face on top of his buttcrack, too sad to look up, too sad to make a smile. He felt like he was nothing. He went home and plopped on his bed. Even though it was the middle of the day, he took his blankie and went to bed.

He snored. It sounded like pigs snorting and then “pupupupu.

The next day, he tried to get into the same show, but someone had already gotten his part. There were no parts left. Poor him! He was a very sad butt, cooking with his cherry best friend. He never looked happy again. But one day, he was the first person to hear that the person who got his old part singing, “My butt is on fire!” had been fired. For real.

He had gotten the job for once in a long time.


Detective James Slute and the Murder on L Street


There was a man walking on L Street. It was a dark night, and as cold as regular winter. It was a pretty quiet night, and he thought he was alone until he saw two men in clown masks, holding knives and looking at him. The man was holding a suitcase. It was full of money.

The man started to turn away, but then one of the men in the clown mask ran behind him and stabbed the man in the neck. Then, all two men in clown masks ran away.


A kid woke up. His name was James. His alarm ringed, and he read the newspaper. He saw there was a murder. He ran to the police station. James was a detective. He solved many mysteries. His dad worked at the police station, and his mom was a doctor.

James got to the police station and asked his dad, “Where should I start working on the case?”

His dad said, “The murder was on L Street. The body is still on L Street. I need you to work on it to see if there are any fingerprints.”

James said, “Okay.”

James drove to L Street and got off. He saw the body. He was working on the body. He didn’t see any dust. No fingerprints. He didn’t have a clue. He didn’t have any suspects. He was clueless at the moment. He was thinking, who would want to kill an innocent man? He drove back to the police station, and told his dad he didn’t have anything.

James was still thinking. What suspects would kill a man? What could he have done to someone?


James was taking the case still. He thought it could’ve been someone who robbed a bank recently, or someone who had done a lot of crimes, but no one had escaped jail yet. It was weird. Maybe it could’ve been someone else. Maybe it could’ve been no one, maybe it could have been an accident, maybe he tripped and died.

I am stumped. I don’t know who would do this crime.

James got out of the police station and went to his house.

Hi, I am Hendrix. I am going to tell you the murder–

–Then a bullet shot right in the ground, right near James. James ran, and ran, and ran, and forgot that he had a baton, but the person who shot him was almost gone. James suspected that it could have been the person who killed the man on L Street. But then, James saw a man with a gun, wearing a ski mask. He chased him, but then the man took a fast car and drove off. James couldn’t see where the masked man drove, because he took a lot of turns and lost James. James was on his tail, but it didn’t last long. James ran back into the police station and told his dad he saw the murderer’s mask.

“He had a ski mask and a gun. I chased him, but then he drove away.”

His dad said, “Did you see the car’s plate number?”
“I only saw a six. It was so fast, but I know it was a Tesla.”

Then his dad said, “Take my car, and see if he comes again. Get him and catch him. Then call me, and I’ll come. We have a trap for him.”

James said, “But how do you know where he’ll strike next?”

His dad said, “There’ll be chaos in a spot, and then you’ll just have to drive there.”

James said, “Good point. I guess I’ll just get in a car. Wait,” he asked his dad, “What car do I get?”

“A police car.”

James was walking toward the police car and saw a six on a license plate on a Tesla. He almost saw the man’s face, but he was wearing a ski mask again, and shot James in the ankle. James fell down and passed out.


He woke up five hours later. He was in the hospital.

James woke up and said, “Where am I? Ow, ow, ow. What is that?”

The doctor said, “You got shot in the ankle. Don’t you remember?”

“I kinda do remember. I saw the man’s second number on his car plate. It started with six-two. That’s all I saw. I still know it’s a Tesla, it’s gotta be. That’s all I remember… and getting shot. Well, I guess I’m not gonna stop chasing him.”

“We haven’t even fixed you up. It’s not good. Not yet,” said the doctor.

They stopped and brought him to the doctor’s room.


James woke up in two boring, deadly boring, hurtful hours. He got up, but he couldn’t walk. He had to use crutches. He was using them for four months. It was getting really, really boring. His leg got fixed fully. He still had his police car nice and good. That was the good news. The bad news was he got shot. He got up, got in the police car, and drove. He saw the car again, but this time, he kept a gun in his hand. He took the man out of the car and arrested him. He took him to the police station and took off the mask. It was a dummy with a bomb on it. James threw it on the street, and it exploded.

James said, “I almost got him, but I got his car.”

He took the car now, but the bad news was that the guy was going to be looking for cars.

“We have to track every place that sells cars in this city.”

All the police cars took off, and James took the Tesla and took off. James went to five Tesla places. The robber wasn’t there. Well, he didn’t know how his face looked, but then he saw a Tesla store. The robber was in there. He had a ski mask. The man with the ski mask was holding a gun in front of someone’s face. He shot him. There was a big hole through his head. It was like a river of blood. There was blood everywhere.

James jumped out of the car, crashed through the glass, and went in. He forgot he didn’t have his gun. He took a baton, and almost knocked out the robber, but then the robber almost shot James. But then James took his car and hit the robber. The robber was wearing body armor. He got up, ran away, and took a Tesla. James got in his Tesla and chased him, and shot him in the car about seven times. He couldn’t get a good aim, he was going too fast, and then James hit a random  pole. Stupid car, shit!

His car flipped over on the wrong side. James got out and didn’t call 911. He was okay-ish… not really. He kept on shooting the robber, shooting him in the head. The robber let go of the gas and fell down. James was really, really angry. He took the guy’s head. It was another dummy. James was so angry, he shot the dummy in the head. But then he took off the mask. It was a real person. An innocent man.

James went back to the police station. He checked the cameras to see if he had any suspects, but he didn’t have any yet. But then he searched. He had cameras on L Street. He searched all the cameras. He saw four people, right near the man who died. He had some suspects now. He knew where the first suspect was. He lived in Brooklyn. James got out of the police station, into his car, and drove to Brooklyn.    

He went to Brooklyn and found the house. There were flower pots right near the door. The top was made out of gold. I think he probably did it. He robbed the man and killed him, but why?

James rang the doorbell. A man opened the door.

James said, “Hi, I am James.”

The man said, “Who the hell are you?”

“I am a detective. I have been on a case. There has been a murder, a man got shot.”

The man said, “Why did you come to me?”

James said, “What’s your name?”

The man said, “My name is Tragic Tragic.”

James said, “That’s a very bad name.”

The man said, “I take that offensively.”

James said, “I don’t care. I’m a detective, it’s my job. Okay, I’m done here. You’re on my suspect list for killing a man who had a suitcase with $585,000.”

James left and went to Greenwich. James saw a house. It was the house of a different suspect. James rang the doorbell again, and again, and again. Then, finally, the doorknob opened. It was a person. He was just like the other guy, except his house was made out of gold. The man looked at James.

James said, “Hi, I’m James. Who are you?”

“My name is Tech Gold.”

James said, “Okay, I’ve been on a very important case. I see you are a part of the case, because you are a suspect of mine.”

The man said, “What do you think I did?”

“I think you shot a man, in the head, who had $585,000.”

Tech said, “That’s mega crazy. I would never do anything like this! I already have a gold house, and I’m rich already. So, it doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t know about this.”

“How do you not know about this? It’s on every newspaper in the world.”

The man said, “I don’t read newspapers.”

“Oh, sure, you don’t read newspapers. Then why is the newspaper on your stairs?”

“Oh, I didn’t even see that.”

“But you said you don’t read any newspapers.”

“I lied.”


“Get out of my house!”

The man slammed the door right on James’s foot. He could not close the door, James’s foot was stuck. Then James pulled out a gun and pointed it at him.

James said, “Open the door right now.”

The man opened the door and put his hands up. James got his handcuffs and put them around Tech’s hands, because James thought he probably did it. But he still had to check one more suspect. First, James headed to the police station and dropped him off.

James said, “He’s a very, very close suspect of the crime. It makes sense why his house is made of gold. He needed the $585,000. But I still can’t accuse him. I have to see my last suspect.”

James drove to Stanford. He rang on the person’s doorbell.

The person opened the door and said, “Hi, my name is Shadow Tragic.”

James was surprised. “Are you by any chance related to Tragic Tragic?”

”Man, I really wanna kill that guy.”

James said, “Why?”

“Because he ripped me off. He took all my money.”

“That is a crime.”

James went with Shadow to Tragic Tragic’s house. James got out of the car and rang the doorbell 58 times. He still didn’t answer. James took a big metal thing out of his car and hit the door again and again, and then it fell off and broke. James put the thing back in there. He took his flashlight, turned it on, and got his gun. Tragic was right there, and he was sitting. James punched him. Tragic got up.

James yelled, “You stole Shadow’s money! Why did you take his money? He needed that money to buy a house!”

“‘Cause I was broke!” cried Tragic. “I just like stealing ‘cause it’s my hobby.”

Tragic took a gun, put it right near his head, and shot himself. There was blood everywhere.

“He kinda deserved to do that to himself,” said James.  “Okay, I guess the mystery is solved. I guess we’re done.”


James searched the house, breaking everything in search of the money. But James found nothing. He was stunned. Tragic killed himself, so he must have done it. But the money was nowhere to be found. Then a thing-a-ma-jiggy flew out of his pocket. It looked like a mini helicopter. It was a drone that could scan for any hidden objects.

James said to the drone, “Search for money.”

It scanned no money. James saw a car. Someone threw a note. It said this: Your case is not over.

James got into his car and chased the man who threw the note. James hit him. He took off the mask. It was not a dummy. It was a police officer.

James said, “That is really weird. I’m twisted. So is the book that you’re reading. Stop reading this! You’re the worst readers ever. It’s not funny! What’s your problem, Hendrix? What is your problem?”

You’re a book character, it doesn’t matter.

James said, “Anyway, I really hate that kid. I wish I could murder him. Well, that’s still a crime, so let’s get back to the book.”

James got into his car, drove to the police station, went to his dad, and told him the information that Tragic killed himself, and that he ran over a police officer who tried to kill him. James got out of the police station, went home, ate dinner, and slept.


He woke up with his timer ringing. He shot it and got out of his bed. He ate breakfast, got in his car, and drove to the police station. But then, at that moment, James hit a car. His car flipped over.

James said, “That damn car! Damn. The car got messed up. That really hurt.”

James got out of his car. He went to the guy’s car who crashed into him and said, “Did you do that on purpose?”

“I’m not telling.”

James took him in the police station and put him in a chair. The chief of police sat and took out a lie detector.

He did something and said, “Did you do it on purpose?”

He still didn’t tell. The chief left. James was right behind the criminal. He took his head and slammed it on the table. James took the man’s hand, and hit his elbow on it. The man’s hand broke.

The criminal said, “Ah! What the hell is your problem?”


“It wasn’t really a question,” the criminal said.

“Well, I took it as a question. Tell me, did you do it on purpose?”

He still wouldn’t tell. James hit the man’s back on the chair. His back broke. James took him and threw him on the ground, and he kept on punching him.

And, again, James said, “Did you do it on purpose?”

He said, “I’m not telling.”

James took a knife and put it in his mouth. James sliced his mouth. He died.

James said, “I didn’t really care about that guy,” to the chief, “but I think he did it on purpose. His car is pretty good, so I’ll take it since he messed up mine.”

James went on the rooftop of the police headquarters, put a thing-a-ma-jiggy on his back, and jumped off. He fell and gilded. He fell on a car, alive because he had a glider thing-a-ma-jiggy. James got off, took that criminal guy’s car, and hot-wired it. Oh wait, but then he saw the keys.

He drove to the ramen place to eat. James ate. He went to his car and drove to his home. James slept, and then he woke up. He ate breakfast. He drove to the police station.

James said to his dad, “I’m going to see for more clues because I still think there is a mystery. When Tragic killed himself, there was a note saying, ‘Your case is not over.’”

“That is really weird,” said James’ dad.

James went outside, got in his car, and went to L street.

James said, “This is really weird. There has to be more than one person responsible for this. Probably Tragic and someone else did it.”

James thought that it was probably someone he knew. And then the entire story paused. And then, someone else was talking. His name is Hendrix. And this is what the writer said:

This is a very hard mystery, but here is a clue. He was running out of money.

And then the story unpaused.

James said, “Hendrix just gave me a clue.”


15 hours later…

James was still thinking, I am stunned.

“Wait, I’ll first go to my house to see if anyone is running out of money.”

James went home and asked all of his neighbors if they were running out of money. None of them were. James went to his home and ate lunch. James went to sleep and woke up.

James ate breakfast and drove to the police station.

The story paused and someone else was talking. His name is Hendrix, the writer. I think you saw that about twelve sentences ago.

So, I’m Hendrix. By the way, James’s dad’s name is Vortex. James checked the cameras on L Street again and saw three more people he didn’t know about.

One lived in Long Island, another lived in Brooklyn, and one lived in Jamaica, Queens. James went to Long Island first. He drove there with his car, it only took about an hour, or two, or three, or four. Anyway, back to the story!

James got there. He rang the doorbell, and the door opened.

The man who opened the door said, “Who the heck are you? What do you want? Get away.”

James said, “I’m a detective.”

“Okay, yeah, what do you have to say, weirdo?”

“That’s actually pretty mean.”

James took a gun from his pocket and aimed it at his head.

The guy said, “Okay, I’ll tell you everything you need to know.”

First James said, “What’s your name?”


“And your last name?”

V said, “V.”

“I’m guessing your middle name is V?”

“You’re psychic!” the man said.

“I’m a detective, it’s what I do. Obviously. Second, were you on L street recently?”

V said, “Yes.”

“Okay, let’s get more information. Do you know anything about the man who died on L street?”

“It’s on every single newspaper, you weir-”

The story paused again, and someone else is talking. Hendrix, again, the writer.

Oh, by the way, it is 1895.

Anyways, going back to the story.

“-do. Oh, huh? What happened?” V said.

“The entire story paused. Hendrix is writing us. It sucks when he does that.”

“Yeah, it kinda does.”

James took his gun, put it in his pocket, got in the car, and drove to Jamaica, Queens. James got there and rang the doorbell. The door did not open. James checked if anyone was there, and someone was, but then he came and opened the door.

The man stepped out and said, “Who are you? What do you want? Get away.”

“Man, a lot of people say that,” said James.

James took a gun, pointed it at the guy’s head, and said, “Okay, I’m a detective. Question number one: what’s your name?”

The man said, “I am Vengeance.”

“That sounds pretty mean.”

“It is,” Vengeance said.

“Question number two: were you on L street recently?”

“Yeah, a few days ago,” said Vengeance.

“Okay,” James said, “that’s enough information, I think. Wait. What were you doing on L Street?”

The man said, “There was a restaurant on L Street, and I was meeting my friend there.”

James took his gun and put it in his pocket, got in the car, and went to Brooklyn. James rang the doorbell, and the door opened.

The guy said, “Get the heck out of my house. Get away, weirdo.”

“Man, I am psychic,” James said.

James took his gun and pointed it at the guy’s head.

The guy said, “Okay I’ll tell you all of the information you need. Who are you?”

“I’m a detective, my name is James. What’s your name?”


“Were you recently on L Street?”

Victor said, “Yes.”

James said, “Why?”

The guy said, “Um, my friend Vengeance was going to dinner, and I went.”

“Vengeance?” James said, “I just checked him from my suspect list. Hm, okay, that’s all the information I need.”

James got in his car and drove to the police station. It took five hours to get there.

James went to his dad and said, “I know the first letter of the killer’s name. It is V.”

James got handcuffs and put them on his dad.

“You are under arrest,” said James.

Why did he do it? He wanted to be rich.


The Odd Rock


Scene 1

A house in a farmland. It is the year of 2017. MOM is in a big farmhouse kitchen. She

pours smoothies from a blender into a glass on the kitchen table.


MOM yells towards the stairs.



Kelly, come on down. You’re going to miss the bus.


KELLY’S voice comes from upstairs






I made you a smoothie.






Mom, have you seen my backpack?



I brought it down here so I could pack it.





MOM walks upstairs.



Kelly, get out of bed!


DAD walks in.



Kelly, what are you doing? The bus is honking outside!!!



Ughh, again?



Kelly, I can’t drive you to school every day because you miss the bus.



Please, just one more time.



No, I have a meeting today, and I can’t be late.



Mom, can you drive me please?



This is the last time. Tomorrow, you have to get up on time.





Scene 2

They’re outside. It is 8:00 in the morning, and they’re walking to car.



Get in.



What time will we be there?



8:30. Why?



Shoot, my teacher said that if I was late one more time, I would get detention.



But you have been taking the bus for a while.



Yes, but you give me breakfast, and I am not allowed to eat in the bus, so I hide in the bathroom and eat for an hour.



Why would you do that?



I don’t want to choke.  



Well, we are here, and you have ate your breakfast. Go straight to your class and give her this note.



What does it say?



You will see. Now go.



Kay, bye.



Bye, sweety.



Mom, you’re embarrassing me. All you have to say is bye.








MOM drives away. KELLY walks over to her best friend, ALLY.



Kelly, you are so lucky. There was a fire drill, and class is starting late today.



Yes, but I bought a donut, so I need to hide and eat it.



Can you ever not bring food?!






Kelly, Kelly, Kelly.



Ally, Ally, Ally.






Do you want to ride my horses after school?





All the kids go to class, and KELLY goes to the bathroom.



Ally, do you know where Kelly went?



Umm, she is using the bathroom.



Really using the bathroom?



Not really.



Then what is she doing?



She is eating a donut.



Thank you for telling the truth, Ally.



You are welcome.



I am going to go get her. Everyone stay put.


TEACHER leaves.



Let’s PARTY!!!


TEACHER walks into bathroom.



Go to the principal.


KELLY tries to talk with a donut in her mouth.





TEACHER points, and KELLY runs out.


After school in the barn.



Let’s go to my house.


They walk out of the barn, and there are two very shiny rocks in front of the door. They

pick them up, and they are zapped to a backwards place.



Where are we?


GUY walks up to them.



Ereh evil uoy od?



What in the name of horses did you just say?


Ereh evil uoy od?



I think he is talking backwards.   



Good thing I have these.


KELLY holds up a thing that goes in your ear so you can tell what GUY is saying. The

gadget translates backwards talk into regular talk. It also translates what KELLY and

ALLY say to the backwards man.



Where on Earth did you get those?



In the teacher’s lounge?



Don’t even ask.


They put them in.



I said do you live here?



No, but can you help us go back to the real world?



Come to dinner with me.  


They go to a restaurant, and the waitress ask them what they want backwards. KELLY

holds a menu. It’s backwards. They start with dessert.



What on Earth does this say?



Just order something you like.


They can’t read the menu.



Can I get you something?



Can I have a grill cheese?



(Through the translation device)

Ugh, we don’t serve grilled cheese. We serve roasted worm, slug, elephant tusks, raw fish heads, and lions’ heads with mane.



I think I’ll just have a water then.



We don’t serve water. We have elephant blood, lion’s blood, and worm juice.



Well, then, I’m okay. I’ll just sit here.


GUY raises his hand.



I’ll have all the items and drinks, please.



Coming right up!






What is so gross?



You eat this stuff.



Yes, this is what everyone eats.



Well I think we have to go home now. Right, Kelly?



But where are we going to sleep?



You can stay at my house.






Come on. Let’s go to my house. I am finished.



Really? You ate all that in two minutes?






Well, come on. Eating makes me sleepy.



Where is your house?



Right there.



Which one?



That big mansion right there.



Wow, that is a really big house.



Yes, you guys will sleep on the 10th floor. Good night.



Good night.



Good night. Sleep tight.



See you in the morning.  


The next morning.



Good morning, Kelly. Where’s Ally?



Right behind her. Are you blind or something?


Actually, yes.



Wait, really?



No, of course not. If I was blind, I would not know where the man you need to see to get to your old world is.



Really? Where is he?



Right in front of you.


To be continued…


Grandma’s Garden


The Garden of Willows was a verdant, abundant garden. Colorful, glistening fruits grew from the swaying trees. Willow trees shedded their mint-green leaves, speckling the grassy ground. You could smell the scent of lavender, rosemary, and marigold, all leaving their sweet traces in the spring air. You could hear robins chirping, bees buzzing, lily pads creating ripples in the crystal clear waters of the tiny pond.

You could taste the humid air melting onto your tongue like a ray of golden sunshine. When you touched the plants, you would feel a tingle in your fingertips, almost like you were floating on thin air. The luscious, yellow honey that dripped from the beehives gave you a certain hunger as if you had to taste it at that very moment. If you pricked your finger against the thorns of a rose, a sudden pain would be inflicted on your body like a nail digging into your flesh. The sun bestowed warmth upon everything below it, warming your body like wildfire as it spread across your heart in the Garden of Willows.


Chapter One

Grace, flimsily, timidly ensconced herself on the colossal, charcoal gray stone, glaring towards the hazy, tangerine-orange horizon as she waited for her grandma.

The Garden of Willows lurched in the honeyed spring breeze, frolicking as if to whisper peaceful words into Grace’s ears. The ferns glimmered with a juniper green sheen.

Grace’s grandma was the finest gardener in all of Everspring. Everyday, villagers would line the timeworn picket fence, woven baskets clasped in their clammy palms, anticipating to clog their baskets ample with the ripest fruits, freshest leaves, tangiest stalks of wheat, most sugared jams, jellies, preserves, and honeys.

Grandma produced medicines, too. She could cure any cough with the blossom of a cucumber plant, fix any rash with a sprinkle of marigold. Her garden, the Garden of Willows, was an enchanted garden. Everything gleamed in the daylight, but midnight bore something much more miraculous — faeries.

The garden faeries crept out of their petals at nighttime when they were sure that no humans were around to frighten them. The garden faeries would sprinkle pixie dust on every crop, and soon all of the wilting plants would rejuvenate. Grace liked to watch the faeries in the happening, from her bedroom window, secretly wishing that she could be like them, with their glimmering wings and ability to flutter across the luminous breeze.

Grandma welcomed Grace to her cottage after Grace’s parents died. Life almost seemed better living with Grandma. Fresh breakfast every morning; homemade orange juice with marmalade and stacks of buttery toast.

Grace couldn’t help but wonder if Grandma knew about the garden faeries. Perhaps not. After all, Grandma went to bed quite early every evening due to her hard work during the daytime.

When Grandma finally hobbled over to Grace on the commodious stone, she beamed and settled beside her but didn’t utter a single word.

“How are you feeling this morning, Grandma?” Grace inquired compassionately, collapsing her delicate hand onto the merlot red hem of her Grandma’s frock.

“As tired as the wings of a bird,” Grandma wheezed drowsily, slumping her head down low. “Grace, you know, there will come a time when I am no longer around. You will have to tend to my garden on your own, my dear.”

“Grandma, I’m afraid that I just don’t know how.” Grace gazed up at her grandmother with weary, caramel-brown eyes. “I’m not roughly as skilled as you are with your garden.”

Grandma chuckled, affectionately lifting up her granddaughter’s chin. “Nobody lives forever, sweetheart. You’ll always be in my heart on heaven and earth. But you don’t worry about that now.”

Grace pondered her grandmother’s words for a moment. She was now certain that Grandma was unaware of the garden faeries. If Grace took over the garden, she would only have to let the faeries do the gardening. But she couldn’t help but worry about her grandmother.

“What about your remedies, Grandma? Can’t you use them to heal yourself?” Grace pleaded apprehensively.

“I wish I could,” Grandma croaked in a melancholy voice, almost as faint and sorrowful as the sound of the wind. “But I don’t have the answers to everything.”

Grandma let out a cough, her voice raspy and tired.

“Grandma, you’ll only get worse staying out here in the cold. Go to bed, okay? I’ll bring up some warm broth and tea,” Grace calmed, tenderly placing her hand on her grandmother’s back to help her rise to her feet.

“Thank you, Grace.” Grandma smiled at her granddaughter with loving eyes. “I know that you’ll make a lovely gardener one day if you care about the plants as much as you care about me.”

Grace observed as her grandmother stumbled inside and couldn’t help but let out a couple of sobs in utter fear. She couldn’t let her grandmother down.

On the opposite side of the garden, Grace traipsed towards the marketplace where several villagers were lined up for their goods.

“I don’t have all day,” one woman was grumbling, miffed, to another man and shaking her head. “I wonder if that old woman is too elderly to garden anymore.”

Grace grinded her teeth, fingers trembling, resisting her sudden urge to scream. Grandma wasn’t too old to garden. She was the best gardener in Everspring.

“How can I help you?” Grace greeted the woman using a synthetically pleasant voice.

The woman sat her basket on the booth table, reciting the goods.

“Certainly,” replied Grace in the same voice. “Grandma is always so delighted when people purchase her strawberry jam,” she continued, tallying up the goods.

“How heartbreaking,” the woman whispered, turning to the man behind her again. “Ethel is hardly nimble enough to sell her own goods anymore. Her poor granddaughter has to do it all.”

Grace pretended not to hear the woman’s hurtful words. It wasn’t Grandma’s fault that she was sick. Couldn’t the woman realize that this transition, from a spirited Grandma to an ill and weary one, was even harder for Grace?

Grace strolled to the storeroom, peeling the door ajar. She clasped a stalk of the earliest harvested celery and planted a bundle of lengthy carrots into her arms. Gazing towards the usually ample crate of eggplants, she scooped up a couple and tossed them into her pile.

The strawberry jams, preserves, jellies, and marmalades were positioned on the second shelf, last row. Grace slid three jams into her skirt, using the fabric as a carrier. Following this action, Grace grasped a bottle of cough elixir, making sure to differentiate it from the rash remedy. She had made that mistake countless times.

“Here you are,” chirped Grace, emptying the woman’s goods into her basket. “Will that be all for today?”


The woman grudgingly and reluctantly placed three silver coins on the counter, locking her basket’s handle beneath her arm, then strutted away.

“Have a nice afternoon,” Grace offered, but didn’t receive an answer in return.

She placed each coin into Grandma’s jar, which sat alone on the verge of the booth. The man standing behind the previous customer had fled home due to the long wait, so Grace miserably headed to the garden to begin her chores.

Grandma’s hickory brown shovel was perched sluggishly against the fence of the beautiful garden. Grace clasped it and dug it into a dry patch of the ground.

Grace hoisted her arms upwards to clasp the branches of the eldest willow tree and then swung down to her feet, unaware of the struggles yet to come.


Chapter Two

Grace peeped through a miniature crevice in Grandma’s decrepit limestone bookcase, extending her arms to slither some trivial books away. The scent of cinders wafted through her nose as the hearth blazed little ways farther. With torrents of care, Grace hoisted the misplaced book over her shoulder, holding her breath.

The rain was trickling relentlessly outside, promptly speckling each window with a balanced amount of raindrops. Grace remembered the days when she and Grandma would spurt outside in their galoshes when it rained, splashing in puddles like volcanoes beginning to erupt.

How the two of them would splash until their galoshes were ample with muddy water, and then they would strip off their galoshes and splash in their lukewarm socks instead. And when their socks grew wet, they would peel them off and splash with their bare feet. Then, the two of them would gather their belongings and ramble inside for fresh cookies and sweet milk.

How Grace missed those jubilant days. Lost in her thoughts, she delicately planted the book on the old birch table, prodding open the cover.

“Ethel Camelia,” the spine of the book read in inky pen that bled through the unwrinkled fabric. Grace’s grandmother’s name. Grace liked the way it sounded on her tongue.

As Grace flitted through the never-ending pages, she detected a subtitle that caught her eye. “Garden Faeries,” read the page. “Spirits of the deceased. Prone to congregate in gardens and rural areas. Carry magical dust used to revive old plants/dry areas.”

Grace scrutinized the illustration of the garden faeries, enthrallingly analyzing their every detail.

Eyes as fern-green as the meadows encircling mountains. Barefoot, but gentle feet, padding onto petals speckled with dew. Their frocks consisted of silky, pale flower blossoms. Flawless skin was dotted with freckles and fresh morning dewdrops. Transparent wings as graceful as a thousand clouds beckoned you to caress them.

Grace advanced in reading the passage, hunting for a cure for Grandma.

“Immortal. Seasonal appearances, seemingly kind and gentle,” the passage continued on. “Can create healings, remedies, and such. Unable to breathe underwater. If a child becomes a garden faerie, the effect will be temporary and the child will become a human again within a day.”

Grace thought for a moment, gnawing on her tongue. But then it came to her. What if Grace became a garden faerie? She would find a cure for Grandma if she asked the other faeries. She was a child and would become a human again after a day or so, she thought. But if garden faeries were the spirits of the deceased, wouldn’t death be the only way to become a garden faerie?

Grace continued to read until her eyes broadened. “It is possible for creatures in a garden to take on new forms and even to transform into other creatures. If a human wishes to become a garden faerie, these magical abilities may be activated through this chant, ‘to be a faerie is what I desire, so gardening abilities I may acquire. I say these words to be set free, and serve the garden, I shall not flee.’ Once these words have been uttered a single time, the human shall be transformed.”

Grace exhaled, placing her hand on her heart. It was indeed a risk that must be cautiously taken. But she had to save her grandmother, her sun when it rained. The pencil to her paper. Her nutrient and blanket of hope. Grandma was sick and slowly dying.

“To be a faerie is what I desire,” began Grace, stifling sobs. She began to choke up, but wiped her eyes before Grandma heard her. “So gardening abilities I may acquire…”

Grace read the remainder of the chant, murmuring, “I say these words to be set free, and serve the garden, I shall not flee.”


Grace’s perception was comprehensively black — obsidian. She could sense sunlight bleaching her complexion, sprinkling her face with rays of happiness. Adapting to the temperature, Grace languidly sprang up, kneading her cedar brown eyes.

Everything was colossal, substantial. The shovel that Grace used for her duties was now hundreds of times larger than she was.  Grace thrusted her arm into the breeze, aware of its puny size. Grace couldn’t help but gasp in bewilderment. So this was what it was like to be small.

“Flora!” cried a voice, evolving into a blaring, shrill sound as the garden faerie grew closer to Grace. “Flora!”

Grace found herself unanticipatedly face-to-face with an alluring, aesthetic garden faerie that bore a gingerbread-tan complexion, with coiled cider tresses and a radiant beam, parallel to her wispy, orange wings and gleaming pearls.

“My name is not Flora,” Grace informed the garden faerie of her name. “My name is Grace.”

The opposing garden faerie giggled breezily, her chuckles like windchimes. “Of course your name is Flora. That’s your name now.”

Before Grace could bafflingly oppose, the vivacious, lively garden faerie clasped her by the palm of her puny hand.

“My name is Maple,” the garden faerie yawped enthusiastically to Grace, dragging her through the leafy, mossy canopy. “Lord Wren commanded me to welcome you to the Garden of Willows.”

“Actually, I’ve lived here all of my life,” Grace replied, a sort of sadness in her voice. “My grandmother owns the Garden of Willows. And she is very, very sick. I transformed into a garden faerie so that you could help me.”

Maple swayed her arm around Grace. “Flora, us garden faeries have remedies for a multitude of illnesses. I’m not sure that we can cure your grandmother, but we can try our best.”

Grace beamed at her new cohort, traipsing behind Maple.

Maple fluttered in advancement towards the overhanging trail of intertwined vines. She angled her knees as she drifted through the woodland.

Garden faeries, male and female, flittered around vigorously, lilting from elongated vines, garnering twigs and such that they identified strewn on the terrain. There had to be thousands.

“Maple,” began Grace graciously, acknowledging her friend, “Would you teach me to fly?”

Before Maple could react, a male garden faerie with lustrous eyes fluttered by Maple, whispering words into her ears.

“What did he say?” Grace inquired, unable to flutter like Maple.

“That was Foxtail,” Maple familiarized the faerie. “He’s very concerned. Your grandmother has not watered the garden for days. The water is the way that we grow. We aren’t very lively these days.”

“This is all my fault.” Grace hung her head remorsefully. “I’ve been so centered on Grandma that I have neglected the garden.”

“Now, now,” soothed Maple, jerking her head blissfully to twist herself downwards. “It isn’t your fault. Why don’t we go train you to use those pretty wings of yours?”


Chapter Three

This was the moment when Grace considered her appearance. Boysenberry violet frock with a paisley pattern. A mulberry flower tiara encircling her honey gold locks. Her wings had a glossy, mauve sheen.

“I’d love to,” Grace crooned, following at Maple’s heels.


“Maple, are you certain? This seems to be quite an elevated hill.”

What had used to be an anthole now seemed like the rim of a bluff.

“Of course. This is where every faerie determines the use of their wings. Now, I will be right here in case of any crisis, Flora.”

Grace dipped her head in approval, taking a deep breath in apprehension. “I’m ready.”

“Alright. Now, straighten your posture, but bend your knees to an angle perpendicular to that vine,” Maple gestured towards a vine nearby, “and feel free.”

Grace tried her very best to do what she was told. She smiled when Maple told her that she was doing the action well.

“Now, we’ll try a flutter,” Maple tranquilly advised, circling around Grace watchfully. “Would you be able to shift your wings?”

“Perhaps,” Grace returned, attempting to maneuver her wings, orbiting the meager vine.

Unhurriedly, her dainty sandals began to hover above the rich, lukewarm soil.

“You’re doing it!” cried Maple, lingering on her minuscule feet. “You’re fluttering.”

Maple’s tangerine irises twinkled in elation. Grace had never felt so unwithdrawn to the nature surrounding her. She could journey anywhere. Oh, how she wished that Grandma could see her at the very moment, applauding her with jubilation and optimism. This gave her strong reminiscence of what she was supposed to be doing — discovering a cure for Grandma.

“Maple, I’m afraid we must cut this lesson short. I didn’t realize the time. We must find a cure for my grandmother.”

Maple sighed in sorrow, mumbling, “I’m sorry. It was all my fault; I got distracted. Let’s go and find that cure.”

Maple twisted around, thrashing her wings against each other to flutter over a small pond. As the two friends tore through the faerie centre, Maple hesitated when she reached a small cottage.

The classic roof consisted of a fawn-brown acorn, smooth and gentle, atop a lovely door adorned with unfamiliar carvings. Maple leaves dotted the dewed, emerald grass.

“This is my cottage,” Maple whispered sheepishly, shrugging her arms. “It isn’t much, but my task in our land is to find remedies for illnesses. I have many cures.”

“It’s perfect, Maple.” Grace felt a parade of warmth cheering towards her as she ambled inside. “Where shall we begin?”

“Hmm. Is your grandmother ill from weather? Labor?”

Grace pondered this for a moment. “Everyday, she has to garden outside to please the people of the village. It is so tiring for her, I can tell. Through rain, storm, snow, and drought, she has to tend to her garden. Lately, though, I believe that these conditions have been taking negative effect on her.”

Maple nodded, ensconcing herself on a hassock that was placed behind her cluttered desk. “Would you pass me the fern leaves?”

Grace examined the chaotic desk until she found a flask of fern leaves, presenting it to Maple. “Here you go.”

Maple, engrossed in her task, snatched the flask and sprinkled some blossoms into a wooden vial. “Tree sap, please.”

Grace clasped a bottle of syrupy tree sap, placing it beside Maple on her desk. Maple poured a quarter of the bottle into the mixture, stirring it with a twig. This time, she reached for a wisp of squirrel fur herself, plunking it in with the rest of the ingredients.

“Tomato seeds.”

Grace tossed a cluster of tomato seeds into Maple’s palm. “Is that all?”

“Final ingredient,” gritted Maple, feeling everything cluttering her desk to search for pixie dust. She used tweezers to gather one particle.

“One particle?” Grace cried in wonder. “You only need one?”

“Pixie dust is quite valuable in our land, as it is very limited. Some years, we receive three bundles of pixie dust, and on others, we receive none. The amount is spontaneous.”

Grace bowed her head in understanding and awareness. “So that is all? If I give the vial to my grandmother to drink, she will be cured?”

“No,” Maple warned her. “You have to sneak it into her tea or coffee. Otherwise, she will know that you’ve obtained the cure from supernaturals like us; the garden faeries will be revealed.”

“Why are the faeries so secretive? Why are you so frightened of us humans?”

Before Maple could reply, she keeled over, plunging to the wooden floors, letting out a groan in agony and irritation.

“Maple!” Grace wailed, rushing to the floor to haul her friend upwards. “What happened? What’s wrong?”

Fear and angst spread over her body like wildfire.

“Water,” gasped Maple, her voice dry, her mind almost unconscious. “I need water. . .”

Petrified, Grace lugged Maple outdoors, wondering how she hadn’t noticed before. All of the faeries seemed sluggish, due to the lack of water. How could Grace be so careless?

“Faeries!” Grace shrieked in agony. “Maple has collapsed. We have to find water. For her and for the rest of you!”

Faeries began to whisper to one another, voices abuzz in the outdoors. Lord Wren stepped up to a large rock, seeming almost like a podium. “Of my days in the garden, I have seen a human gardening outside. I’ve seen the human curving a faucet from the side of her house. Water cascaded from the faucet, and she used it to fill her watering can. If all of us work together to curve the faucet, we can fill up a container and absorb the water.”

“Good idea!” a faerie named Lilac exclaimed, whispering the plan to her fellow friends.

Grace’s hazel brown eyes hardened with determination. Maple had helped her to save her grandmother. Now Grace had to save Maple.

“Quickly, quickly!” Foxtail screeched, flailing his arms to guide the faeries towards the faucet. “Humans could come out any time now. Come on!”

Grace, still cradling Maple in her arms, zipped towards the faucet, following the other garden faeries.

She grasped hold of the metal faucet, the hotness irritating her fingertips. She now had to hold Maple on her back. Maple’s arms laced around the nape of her neck.

Lord Wren urged the garden faeries, “Pull harder!”

Grace, feeling strangled from the pressure of Maple’s arms around her neck, took a deep breath and pulled harder, hands slightly trembling. As the faucet began to turn to the right, Grace had to try harder not to fall into the grass. Her wings fluttered more laborious than ever before.

All of the garden faeries gasped as a trickle of water poured from the spout. Lord Wren commanded, “Keep going, my faeries. The task is soon to be done!”

More water trickled from the spout. Soon, torrents of water filled the container than Foxtail, Sunlight, and Moonbeam had placed beneath.

“Hooray!” chorused the garden faeries, loosening their cling on the faucet to keel into the water.

Radiant beams of what seemed like happiness glowed from all of the faeries. Grace instantly but calmly placed Maple into the water, allowing her to absorb the freshness.

Maple’s eyes slowly opened, a smile painting itself on her bright face. “Thank you, Grace.”

Grace smiled, suddenly thinking about her grandmother. “Maple, thank you for everything. I’ve never had a best friend before, and,” Grace began to sob, “you’ve been amazing to me. I wouldn’t be able to save Grandma if it weren’t for you.”

Grace unclipped the violet flower from her hair, releasing her tresses to her shoulders. She placed it in Maple’s hand. “To remember me.”

Maple smiled. She pulled a bundle a pixie dust from her pocket. “I grabbed this before I fell. It’s for you. To remember me and your ability to fly.”

“Thank you,” Grace mouthed to her friend, throwing her arms around her for a quick embrace. “I will miss you so much.”

Then, Grace wiped away her tears and began to fly away.


Chapter Four

Grace had flown through the wind to the spot where Maple had found her, to the very place where she had left her book.

Flipping through the pages, she once again found the page about garden faeries. Although she knew that her time as a faerie would only last a day, she also knew that she wouldn’t be able to wait so incredibly long.

“Garden Faerie Reverting Spell,” the page read. “To become human once again, one must chant these very words, ‘To be a garden faerie I no longer desire, for I was before in moments prior. Now I wish to be rid of my wings and to see what being human again will bring.”

Grace opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, she heard a voice that sounded quite familiar to her.

“What are you doing, dear?”

Grace whipped around, spotting a faerie that she vaguely recognized. She looked a lot like Grandma, but so much younger. This is crazy, Grace thought to herself. Was she imagining things?

“I’m becoming a human once again,” Grace replied, squinting her eyes to look deeply at the woman. Could it be?

“Grandma, is that you?” Grace asked, placing her hand on the female faerie’s face.

“I’ll be whatever you want me to be,” the garden faerie said soothingly.

Could Grandma have died and become a garden faerie while Grace was away?

“Grandma, please. Is that you?” Grace smiled at the garden faerie, recognizing her.

Grace clasped the garden faerie’s lukewarm hand, their touch seeming to revive every wilting plant in Grandma’s garden.


Nina: An Awesome Trip to Auckland


Dear diary,

My name is Nina, and I’m eight years old. I was so excited to get you! Tonight is the second night of Chanukah. I can’t wait until sundown for us to celebrate.

My house is in Madison, Wisconsin. It has two floors, counting the basement. My room is small, and it has a little desk, a big dolly bin, and a small bunk bed. My dog, Tissues, who is a King Charles Spaniel, sleeps on the bottom, and I sleep on the top, but sometimes my parents move Tissues to the top. I also sometimes sleep in the guest room, where the walls are painted green.

I want a lot of things, but what I want most is a little sister. But my mom says one child is enough.

Tissues just came in. My mom is calling me for Chanukah. For Chanukah, my present is to go to Auckland for vacation.

I woke up early today, and ran to my tree house. I don’t have my new red pen because today I have school. Ugh, because I’m in a rush, I had time to write in you. My mom is calling me for breakfast.


On the Plane

Finally, we got on the plane. At school, I feel lonely because I have no friends, and right now, I feel lonely because I do not have anyone to talk to. Now we are on the runway.

“Whaaa,” cried a baby, because we were going fast now that we took off.

“Why did the duck cross the road?” I asked.

“Why?” asked my mom.

“To see what the chicken was doing,” I answered.

My mom laughed.  

“What kind of pants do clouds wear?” I asked.

“What kind?” my mom asked.

“Thunderpants,” I answered.

My mom cracked up. I did too. I told a bunch more jokes, and then I looked down at the clouds, and fell asleep for an hour.


My Dream

I dreamed that chipmunks were talking to me. I said, “Can you stop stealing food from my family?”

“Yes,” the chipmunks said.

“Thanks,” I said. “I never thought I’d talk to a chipmunk.”

“Well, we never thought we’d talk to a human.”

And we all were friends.



Auckland is beautiful. When we got to our hotel and took out Tissues, he ran around like crazy, so we brought him outside. Tissues pulled me along. Suddenly, I tripped over a tree root, and he started chasing a squirrel and running farther from me. I could just run toward the hotel… I felt scared, and wondered if I should run up to get my mom and dad, or if I should start running after Tissues. I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted to get Tissues so badly. He had stood up for me when I was made fun of, calmed me down when I was sad, and played with me on rainy days when no one else wanted to play. I was dying to chase him, but I didn’t want to get lost, because then my parents would have to find me and Tissues. I just didn’t want to make the wrong move. But, maybe my parents could find him if I told them. But what if I got in trouble? Tissues had been my responsibility. And, my parents had always said to never run into the street.

I decided to run up to the hotel room to tell my mom and dad. I decided to not run after Tissues, because I might get lost.

“Mom… Dad… um… I sort of… um… lost… um… Tissues,” I said, nervously wringing my hands. “I’m r-really sorry,” I added.

“I know, sweetie, but it’s okay, we’ll find him.”

I saw tears in her eyes.

“But what if we don’t?” I asked.

“We’ll talk about that if we get to that point,” said my dad.

Twelve minutes later, after arguing with the hotel manager about printing posters from his computer and using the hotel printer, we flew down the stairs to find Tissues. We brought posters and pictures to hang up on trees. There was a $100 reward if someone found Tissues.

I envisioned myself carelessly tossing my clothes into my suitcase as we packed to leave. But something was different. I wasn’t tossing crumpled up clothes for Tissues to chase. I was just tossing them into a suitcase. I would do anything to have that day never happen. I started to cry. My dad said maybe I should stay behind with her, Miriam. Miriam is my mom’s name.

I said, “No, I want to help find him and help you hang up the posters.”

“Alright, but are you sure?” my dad said.

“I’m sure,” I sobbed.

“Alright,” Dad said again. “But we can always bring you back.”

“I know,” I said.

We saw a tree and hung one of the posters of Tissues on it. I was starting to get hungry. I was worried about Tissues. In my mind, I pictured Tissues getting petnapped.

“Can you take me back for a snack?” I asked my dad.

“Sure,” he said. “A lot of people will probably find Tissues in Auckland.”

“But some people might not bring Tissues back to us. Instead, they might petnap him,” I said.

“Most people won’t want to petnap him, so a person who will bring him back will probably find him first,” my dad said comfortingly.

“But what if a petnapper surprisingly finds him first?” I asked, while sobbing.

“Then we will call the police,” my dad said.

“But we might not figure out that he got petnapped,” I said.


My Dream

I decided to change to my red pen, because I was tired of plain old black.

“It will be fine. Now, what do you want for snack?” my dad said.

I had cheddar bunnies. When I finished, I took a nap. Soon, I was in dreamland. But it wasn’t all good.

Someone in all black and grey was walking and found Tissues next to a poster we had hung up. He picked Tissues up and brought him to a little hut that was filled with animals in cages. He put Tissues in a cage with a rattlesnake.

I screamed, “Tissues!!!” in my dream, and out loud. My mom ran into my room. I was sleeping, and she rubbed my back. I opened my eyes and started crying.

“What’s wrong?” my mom said.

“I had a nightmare,” I said, and then told her my dream.

“I think we need to do something to get you to forget about Tissues for a little while.”


Exploring Auckland

“Okay, what should we do?” I said.

“I don’t know. Maybe we should look in the magazine of fun things to do in Auckland that you and Daddy got,” my mom said.

“Great idea,” I said.

We walked to the living room and got the magazine.

“Do you want to go on a sailboat?” my mom asked.

“Sure,” I said.               

“Alright, let me try to reserve a sailboat,” my mom said.

After a little while, my mom said that we needed to reserve a sailboat the day before, so we were going to do it tomorrow and go fishing.

“Can we just go for a walk?” I asked.

“Of course, honey,” my mom said.

“Do you wanna come with us, Paul?” my mom said.

Paul is my dad’s name.  

“Yes, but before we go, I want to get the map,” my dad said.

“Alright,” my mom said, and my dad left to get the map.

We walked around silently and looked at flowers. They were beautiful. I even forgot that Tissues was lost, but then I started to daydream, and I daydreamed the same dream as before.  Then, I started to cry, for the millionth time in the day.  I opened my eyes and noticed that I had fell onto a bench.

“What’s wrong?” my mom asked.

“I had the same dream,” I sobbed.

Just then a lady in a striped dress and jeans, with blue eyes, asked me if I was hurt.

I blushed. “No, but I lost my dog,” I said.

“Oh, poor you.”

I blushed again.

“Wait a second, is your dog the one who has a picture of him eating tissues on a poster?”

“Yes, did you find him?” I asked her hopefully.

“No, but I saw the poster. Anyway, I have to go.”

I was  disappointed that she hadn’t found Tissues, but I would be surprised if someone already found him.

“We should go to the hotel to order room service.”

“Alright,” I said, starting to cry for the millionth and first time today.

But then I ran out of tears, and my throat started to hurt.

“My throat hurts, and I’m tired,” I said.

“You probably are tired because we had a long day, and your throat hurts from crying. I’ll give you Advil when we get back to the hotel.”

When we got to the hotel, I had my yucky Advil and ordered pasta and butter.


The First Night

My mom and dad cuddled with me like always. But instead of cuddling with me for one minute, like what we do at home, they snuggled with me for ten whole minutes, which was nice of them. Their reason was that we were far away from home and that Tissues got lost. That night, I hardly slept at all, because I had the same nightmare and a bunch of other nightmares. I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t want to wake them up. I told them when it was breakfast.

They said, “I’m sorry, but I think that’s how it’s going to be for a little while.”

I had cereal for breakfast. The cereal was from a grocery store my mom went to on the way back from looking for Tissues. I was happy it wasn’t from the hotel, because it probably would have been bad cereal.


The First Day   

We had relaxing time. I started to write. It was called “Hair Tease.” The main character had two moms. One mom he called “Mom One,” and the other mom “Mom Two.” He was born by one, and the other one was just a mom. It was about a boy who had long hair. There was a bully in his school named Ollie. He teased him about his hair. He tried going to get a haircut but the barbershop was closed. He asked Mom Two to bring him to the barbershop the next day, but she said, “I like your hair. Plus, I am too busy.”

On the way to school, he learned to be himself and to ignore Ollie and his friends. Next, I looked in my secret code book and found the code I had been looking for. It was one I had been stuck on for a while. The word looked like this: yllp. Finally I guessed it was book because y = b, o = l. The next “o” is still l, and p = k.

“Nina, come here,” my dad said.

“What?” I said.

“Your great grandma’s on FaceTime.”

“Hi,” she said.  

I said hi back, and then we talked about Tissues for a while. Then we hung up. We left. We left to go hiking.

“It’s a beautiful day to go hiking,” my mom said.

“Sure is,” my dad and I said, almost at the same time.

When we got there, we saw the person we saw before, when I had my daydream. She was with her son. I could tell he was Hispanic, and now that I thought of it, his mom was too. He had short black hair and blue eyes like his mom. He looked excited to hike.

“Hi,” she said.

“Hi,” my mom and dad and I said.

Then we started to hike. We were together the whole time. During the hike, my mom and dad talked to the person who saw me when I had the daydream. She said her name was April. I talked to her son a little bit. We said our names. His was Nicholas. He also said he was from Auckland, but his family was going to move to Madison, Wisconsin, the same town as mine. He didn’t know what school he was going to.

When we got to the top, we saw a hotel. It was a great view. Then we walked down silently, probably because it was a hard hike and we were tired. Then we went to the grocery store to have lunch there. April and Nicholas went to eat at their house.

“Is Nicholas nice?” my mom said.

“Yes, and he is going to move to our town,” I said.

“That’s what April said,” my mom said.

Lunch was fine. I had a cheeseburger. Then we went fishing. It was great. I caught a salmon and two trout. My mom caught two trout, and my dad caught three minnows. Then we went home for dinner. We ate the some of the salmon. Then, suddenly, I thought about Tissues and instantly started crying. It’s weird that I didn’t start crying while we FaceTimed with my great grandma.

“What’s wrong, kiddo?” my dad asked.                                                                                        

“I just thought about Tissues,” I sobbed.                                                                                                   

“Oh, honey, I’ll get a visualization for when you go to bed,” my mom said.

“Thanks, Mom,” I said, still sobbing.



I got into my pajamas and brushed my teeth. Then I asked my mom for the visualization. I picked one called “The Magical Playground,” but I still had nightmares. I still did not want to wake up my parents. In the morning, I told my parents I still had nightmares.

“Did you have less?” my dad asked.

I nodded.

“Well, that’s good,” my dad said.

Right after breakfast, we had to leave to go sailboating. It was great weather for sailboating. The weather app on my mom and dad’s phone said it was going to be seventy-seven. I suddenly thought about Tissues and started crying like last night. Just then, a boy about my age came by. He stuck out his tongue and screamed, “Town crybaby!” really loudly. His mom, dad, and friends roared with laughter.

“Ignore them,” my mom said, putting her hand on my shoulder.

“I tried to,” I remember saying. “But their laughing was too loud.”

“But why are you crying?” asked my dad, comfortingly resting his hand on my back.

I thought about Tissues again, and more tears came out.

“I know it is hard to ignore people that yell, but at least try,” my dad said.

Suddenly, I heard a loud laugh. I glanced back and saw the boy, his family, and his friends behind us.

“Dad, I think the boy who called me crybaby is following us, and I did try to ignore him,” I said, still sobbing.

“This is a busy street, and I’m glad you tried to ignore him.” my dad said.

I still thought he might be following us, but I was less sure because it did look like a busy street.

“It is weird that the boy followed us here and whe –”

“The crybaby is running away on a rented sailboat,” the boy interrupted and screamed.

Luckily no one heard because it was loud, and we were too far away. If they heard us, we would most likely get in trouble. After a while, we left and went to a restaurant for lunch. On the way there, I heard the mean boy say, “Come on, let’s go follow them.”

Then I heard his dad say, “No, Herb, let’s tease that boy who is scared to go on a boat because he thinks he’ll drown.”

“Oh, yeah,” Herb said.

I didn’t know what to do because it would be weird if some random person stood up for you, but it would be a nice thing to do, and I might even make friends with him. But before I could do anything, we changed streets. I felt so bad for him. Lunch was great. I had a caesar salad.


Relaxing Time

We went home to relax for the rest of the day, because our plan for tomorrow is to have breakfast, go sightseeing, have lunch, and then go to a museum. I don’t know what to do right now, so I’ll just write in you. I’m going to check how much pages you have left. You have about one and a half pages left. Now I don‘t know what to do. Wait a second, my dad looks bored. He and I like Scrabble, and I had seen Scrabble in the closet that was in my hotel bedroom. I asked him if he wanted to play.

“Yes,” he said.

I won and got a bingo. The word was ‘powerful,’ and it was right over a triple word score, so the total score of that one word was forty-two. It felt like a long game, because we took a lot of water and snack breaks. Then it was time for dinner. I ate leftover caesar salad. Then I got ready for bed. I slept worse than the first or second night because it was our last day in Auckland, and if I didn’t find Tissues, I think we would go home without him.


After Breakfast

After breakfast, we left right away to go sightseeing. On our way there, I wished Tissues was walking right beside me. I envisioned it very clearly. I couldn’t stand thinking about it, so I bursted into tears.

“What’s wrong?” my mom said.

“I thought about Tissues,” I said.

“Oh,” my mom said.



We went to the the aquarium. It was great. Then we went to the Auckland botanical gardens, which was better until I got to a flowerbed that reminded me of one that was in our backyard. When Tissues would be tired in our backyard, he would lay down there and fall asleep. I told my mom and dad that, but before I finished, I started sobbing. I was tired of crying almost all of the trip, but I couldn’t help it.

Then it was time for lunch. I still was sobbing. When our waitress came, I recognized her. I ordered a cheese sandwich. While I ordered it, she said “crybaby” really loudly. I ignored her. She roared with laughter. I recognized the laughter. It sounded like Herb’s mom. The cheese sandwich was terrible. My mom and dad said their food was terrible.

“Do you think that our waiter is Herb’s mom?” I said.

“Yes,” my mom and dad said at the same time.

“I think I even saw his dad,” my mom said.

“Really?” my dad and I gasped.

“Really,” my mom said.

“Where?” I asked.

“Well, I think I saw him coming out of the kitchen?” my mom said.

“Oh,” I said.


After a busy day…

After spending the day around Auckland, suddenly my dad’s phone rang. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. The thing I heard was “great” then my dad hung up.

“Guess what?” he said. “Nicholas found Tissues!!!”

“Really?” I said, jumping up into the air.

“Really. April said for us to meet on 231 Centeraph road, which is the road we’re turning on,” he said.

“I can’t wait to see Tissues,” my mom said.

When we turned onto it, I saw Tissues and started running. Tissues saw me too, and started running towards me.

“Tissues!” I said, pretty loudly.

He started galloping towards me, barking like crazy.

“Thank you!” I said, while hugging Tissues tightly, but not too tightly.

“You’re welcome. I always wanted to save a dog that is by themself, because I love dogs,” Nicholas said.

“Yeah, dogs are awesome,” I agreed.


A Good Time

We talked to each other for about five minutes. Nicholas was really nice.

Then, April said that they had to eat dinner.

“We need to eat dinner too,” my dad said.

“You can eat dinner with us,” April said.

“Are you sure you’re okay with that?” my mom said.

“Of course,” April said.

So we went inside to Nicholas’s house. I was surprised how big it was. We had pasta with butter. Their pasta was much better than the room service. Tissues curled up next to my chair. I petted him. When I was done, since my parents weren’t done yet, I sat down on the couch and petted Tissues, and he fell asleep. Nicholas sat down on the couch on the other side of Tissues and petted him. Nicholas and I talked. Then we had to go.

“I feel like I could be friends with Nicholas,” I said to my mom and dad.

“That’s great!” they said.

I wish I could become friends with Nicholas before I got back to Madison, Wisconsin. I dreamed of Nicholas and I being friends. We were running around playing, and we even had a sleepover, and Tissues slept in the middle of us as we slept on the ground.

The next morning, at breakfast my dad said, “Your mom found two tickets with no name on them. April said that they were all ready to move, but they didn’t have tickets yet. They still had to buy them. So we’ve decided to use them for April and Nicholas.”

“Great!” I said.

After breakfast, my mom called April.

April said, “It would be great to be on the same plane.”

“Maybe you and Nicholas can become friends,” my mom said.


On the Plane

On the plane, Nicholas and I talked.

“Do you like jokes?” I asked Nicholas.

“Yes,” he said, and smiled.

“I love them,” I said. “Why did the duck cross the road?”

“Why?” Nicholas asked.

“To see what the chicken was doing!” I said, and Nicholas laughed.

Then he told me a joke. “Knock. Knock,” he said.

“Who’s there?” I asked.

“Noah,” he said.

“Noah who?”

“Noah good place to eat?” he said.

I laughed. I hadn’t heard that one before.

“Knock. Knock,” he said again.

“Who’s there?” I answered.

“Canoe,” he said.  

“Canoe who?” I asked.

“Canoe help me with my homework?” he said.

Nicholas and I cracked up on that.

“Where did the sheep get a haircut?” I asked.

“Where?” Nicholas said.

“At the baa-ba shop,” I replied.

Nicholas cracked up. Just then, the plane took off.


“What?” he asked, smiling.

“Would you call us friends?”
“Yes,” he said.

“Then you’re the only friend I have,” I said.

“You are too,” he said, smiling big.

“I have a question. Do you have a dad?” I asked.

“Uhhh…” Nicholas’s smile leaked off of his face. “No…” he took a deep breath. “He died when I was five.”

“I-I’m so sorry, I didn’t know. I’m sorry I ask–” I said, but Nicholas cut me off.

“It’s okay,” he wiped a tear off his face. “I just haven’t talked about it in a while. My mom doesn’t like talking about it.”

“I understand,” I said quietly.


Our First Playdate

As April unpacked, Nicholas and I had playdates and sleepovers. On the first playdate, Nicholas and I decided to play outside with Tissues.

“You got a new friend?” someone behind me said. “Because you won’t have him for long.”

I turned around and saw Walter, a bully at my school.

“Oh, really?” I said.

“Nicholas is strong. But not as strong as me,” he declared, and he dived at Nicholas.

Tissues threatened to bite Walter. Walter jumped up at Tissues then, but Tissues was too fast, so he fell down on the snow. Then he got up.

“I don’t wanna get in trouble for being late, but I’ll get you another time,” he said, smiling.

I was kind of worried that Tissues wouldn’t be there.

“Tissues was the hero,” I said.

“Yeah,” agreed Nicholas, “Let’s write a story called Tissues to the Rescue.”

“Great idea,” I said. “But I’m kind of worried that Walter will bully us when we are not with Tissues.”

“Who’s Walter?” Nicholas asked.

“The person who was mean to us,” I responded.

“Oh, I agree,” Nicholas said.

Then we went inside and wrote the story. Nicholas mostly drew, and I mostly wrote it. After, we made a copy for my dad, mom, and Nicholas’s mom. Then, my mom made the best hot chocolate ever. When we finished, Nicholas’s mom came to pick him up. The next day, after a lot of begging, Nicholas and I had a sleepover.



First we decided to write another story about Tissues, but this time it would be fake, not something that actually happened.

“So, what should it be about?” I asked.

“I don’t know, but maybe in the end he will get a big award.”

“Good idea,” I said, while jotting it down. “Now, what are some of the things that he will save?”

“Maybe people, and stuff that people really like, but they lost.”

“Sounds good,” I said, jotting that down too. “We might not be able to do this, but do you know any problems that could happen in the story?”

“How about Tissues gets lost like he did before?” Nicholas said.

“Wow, great idea,” I said.

Here is how it went:


One time, there was a dog named Tissues, and he saved and scared away people who were being mean. Everyone loved him. He even stood up for people who were usually mean to him. One day, he heard a loud yell. He galloped towards it. He kept on galloping towards it, but he never got there. Then, he fell asleep. And then a bad person put thorns on him, and took him away in a big truck. Tissues knew he was lost, but he knew the best thing to do was to get out, so he climbed on a wall and jumped at the door. He sailed to the door, and it crashed open. As he jumped out, he heard someone chuckle and say,

“You will never get out.”

Tissues ran onto the sidewalk, and saw someone getting bullied. He ran over to him and growled, and threatened to bite the bully, and the bully ran away.

“Thanks,” the girl who got bullied said.

Tissues ran towards the town he lived in. He ran for a while, but suddenly it started snowing, and Tissues’s feet were getting cold.


“Nicholas, Nina, it’s time for dinner,” my mom called.

After we ate and got ready for bed, and we were in bed, Nicholas and I had talking time. We talked about how Tissues would find a home, and we decided Tissues had no owner. Then, it was time for bed.

I don’t remember what I dreamed. After breakfast, we went outside with Tissues, and we saw Walter again.

He said, “Do you have a boyfriend? Eww, go kiss.”

Tissues ran over to Walter, and almost bit him. He jumped away and screamed. After awhile, we went inside and worked on our story.

Here’s the rest of the story:


Tissues heard loud footsteps and saw the girl he stood up for.

“Do you have a home?” she asked.

Tissues shook his head.

“Well, my family has always wanted a dog. So you are mine.”

Tissues rescued people in the new town. The end.


Then Nicholas had to leave.



When I got to school, and was walking to my classroom, I saw someone that looked like Nicholas. I speed walked over to whoever looked like Nicholas to see if it was him. I looked, and sure enough, it was him.

“Nicholas,” I remember calling.

“What? Oh, hi! This is a total coincidence,” he said.

“Yeah,” I said.

When I got to class, Nicholas wasn’t there. For the first time, I wanted to go to recess. At recess, Nicholas and I acted out the fake Tissues to the rescue story. A girl named Izzy pretended to be the audience. She was really nice.  


Our Second Playdate

A few days later, Nicholas and I had another playdate, but it was at Nicholas’s house. Nicholas’s house wasn’t much different from mine, but it had one more floor and had a smaller backyard. In total they had three floors, counting the basement. And, like I said, we only have two floors, counting the basement.

Nicholas and I practicit practiced the play of Tissues to the rescue.

“Let’s throw confetti at the end.”

“No, let’s not. It might get too messy, and it doesn’t make sense for our play.”

“But my mom wouldn’t mind, and we can pretend it was winter, and use white confetti as snow.”

“Oh, fine,’’ I said.

“Yay!” Nicholas said.

I was happy it made him happy, so I made a little smile.

“Why are you smiling? I thought you didn’t want to do confetti.”

“I’m smiling because I’m happy you’re happy,” I said.

“Thank you,” I remember Nicholas saying.

Then, we started practicing Tissues to the Rescue. Three hours later, my mom and dad came, and we acted it out. It went how we had planned. Then we went home.


Goodbye Diary

You’re running out of pages for me to write in. I’m sorry. I hope you liked the story I wrote. In this story, I told you about the best times in my life: finding Tissues and making friends with Nicholas, and kind of with Izzy, and the saddest time in my life when Tissues got lost.




Susan Roger


“I got a text from Susy!” said Brooke, who started jumping around the cabin, her black hair bouncing around her and her leather skirt flying up to reveal her leather shorts.

By “a text,” she meant that Susy had sent a pigeon over with a message taped around it. This was the 13th century.

Susy was taking a voyage to Europe to bring back gold, beads, and other things that they could trade with. Back then, they didn’t have money. Brooke and Susy lived in the western part of South America where Ecuador is right now. Ecuador wasn’t a thing back then. Everyone lived in cabins made of prickly, pointy wood. If you dragged your finger on a wall, you would get hundreds of splinters.

Susy’s real name was Susan. Since Brooke was her best friend, though, she got to call her Susy. You know how the capital of Ecuador is Quito? Well, now, let me tell you a story.


Two days later…

“That was a long trip,” Susan said to Brooke as she went to get the foot massager to massage her feet. “I brought back tons of gold, though.”

“Did you write in your diary?” asked Brooke.

“Yeah. You could barely read the handwriting.”

Susan and Brooke started massaging their feet, and soon they fell asleep on their wool beds.


Chapter One: iPhone L

(Eight centuries later. 2073. New York, NYC)

Avery Mulligan and Tracy Winsnap were in line to get the new iPhone L (50). Yup, it had been that long. The iPhone L (50) is the size of a mini TV. You could personalize your own Siri to match your voice. It is completely waterproof, so the next time you drop your phone in a pool, you don’t have to get it fixed. They come in every color you could imagine.

I would go on, but neither you nor I have that kind of time. So, what does this have to do with Susan Roger? Well, this is the story of how Roger became the new name of the capital of Ecuador in 2073.


Chapter Two: The New Kind Of Texting

(Through text)

Avery: It’s so easy to text on this thing!

Tracy: LOL Ikr!

Avery: I used $7,000 from my dad’s credit card. Whoops!

Tracy: Gr8. When your dad finds out, he’s gonna flip. Literally.

Avery: LOL my dad is not that flexible. Especially as the mayor, all he does is sit in a chair and make phone calls and sign contracts so he can receive a paycheck.

Tracy: True. You know I am in the mood for something rainbow. You know, because that’s my favorite color.

Avery: Haha! Do you know when you will see your parents again?

Tracy: God knows where they are in the world. Probably a year from now. I dunno.

Avery: Are u taking care of your pets right now?

Tracy: You mean my three dogs, two cats, and one hamster?

Avery: Yup.

Tracy: Yes. I am in real need for some energy, so lucky water has caffeine in it. What would life be without it?

Avery: Ikr! I have to teleport home but tell me how things go at your Girl Scouts. T2UL8ER

Tracy: I will.


Chapter Three: A Very Serious Argument

“We need to change Quito’s name by March 3rd!” said the president of Ecuador.  

“Okay, calm down,” said Avery’s dad, who was named Smith. He is the mayor of New York.

“I’m sorry. It’s just that since the war with Israel, we haven’t been able to think of a new name. We are still recovering from dead and injured people. That’s all people are talking about.”

Jack, who is the president of Ecuador, leaned back in his chair. He rubbed his forehead and sighed. “I have been getting a lot of suggestions for names, but they’re all stupid. Some guy named Richard Thompson wanted to name the capital Sweetbaby. He is 23 years old, and I am not psychic, but he does not have being a president or a mayor in his future.”

“Not even a prime minister?” Avery’s dad joked.

“Of course not,” Jack said in a cracked voice.


“Okay, girls, so today we will be looking for lost or stolen items that are in these woods. The boundaries are the beach that goes to the river. Don’t cross that. Good luck!”

Tracy was at Girl Scouts, and now she had to find some lost or stolen things. Tracy looked under rocks and branches, in between bushes and twigs. She found nothing. She was about to sit on a hollow log when she saw something white inside of a crack. She stood up and looked inside of the log. There was a dirty, wrinkled piece of paper bunched up in there. Tracy pulled her chocolate brown hair into a ponytail and crawled inside. She snatched the piece of paper and crawled out.


Chapter Four: What The Heck?!

Tracy smoothed out the piece of paper. It had a lot of writing on it. She could only make out some of the words. It said something like this:


Dear …..’s Diary, 

I live in a colony. The colony is named after my grandfather, who died. It is a tradition that the colony’s name changes every year when a person, 13 or over, throws an origami over the ocean. That person’s last name becomes the new name. Hopefully I will have my last name named after something.  

Just three more days left in Europe!


    Susan Roger


“Who is Susan Roger?” Tracy asked herself.

She decided to keep it since she didn’t have anything else. Tracy skipped back to her Girl Scouts leader and showed her the paper.

“This was written eight centuries ago!” said Tracy’s Girl Scouts leader, who was named Drew.

Tracy wanted to be a Girl Scouts leader when she grows up.

“By someone named Susan Roger,” said Tracy. “I like that name.”

“This was written in Europe, but this girl lived where Ecuador is now!” Drew said with an amazed voice. “This really is a shocker. You earn today’s badge for finding the most interesting, historical, and significant item. Congratulations!”

“Can I keep the paper?” asked Tracy.

“Uh,” Drew said, kind of uncertain. “Normally, I keep the item and put it on the Girl Scouts Hall Of Fame Wall, but if you really want to keep it, I could pull a few strings.”

“Thank you, Drew, thank you! My history teacher is gonna love this!!”

History teachers, or any teachers for that matter, are now robots who are programmed to work with kids at a certain grade and age. There is no such thing as a “boring teacher.”


Chapter Five: The Paper That Changed Everything

The next day, Tracy walked to Avery’s house and showed the paper to Avery.

“This is so strange,” said Avery.

“I know,” said Tracy, who was busy ordering a mocha at the Starbucks in Avery’s private food court.

“I really like the name Roger,” said Avery.

“Same!!” said Tracy.

Hmm, Avery thought. I know my dad is helping the president of Ecuador find a name for its capital, and Roger is a good name for it, but I want to find out more about this Susan Roger first. Imma look her up.

“What are you looking up?” asked Tracy.

“I want to find out more about this Susan Roger,” said Avery as she typed furiously on her iPad, which was twice the size of her face.

Finally, Avery found a somewhat reliable article and started reading.

“It seems as if Susan was thirteen when she went to Europe. She had orange-red hair and was the oldest kid in her colony. She always wrote in her diary. This must have been one of her diary entries! We’re like detectives!” Avery was squinting at her iPad, because the words were so tiny on something so huge. “She loved making origami, which her mom taught her. One day, when she was bored, she turned a diary entry into an origami bird, and threw it far across the ocean in our direction. This must have been the diary entry! It says no one has been able to find the diary entry. You could be famous, Tracy!!”

“Oh. My. God! You’re right, because in the diary entry, it said something about throwing origami and wanting something to be named after her,” said Tracy.

“You know what else is good? Since we both like the name Roger, we could suggest it to my dad, and then he could tell the president of Ecuador. If the president of Ecuador likes it, it could become the new name of the capital! We could be famous! We could be excellent role models! This Susan girl will also get her dream of being named after, even though she is dead!” Avery said, out of breath.

“You really like the idea of being famous all of the sudden,” laughed Tracy.

Chapter Six: This is Getting Good

“Should we suggest the name to my dad?” asked Avery.

“Why not?” said Tracy.

Later that day, Tracy and Avery walked into the mayor’s office. They knocked on the door and walked in. Smith was on his computer, typing furiously.   

“What do you want, girls? I am very busy.”

“We have a suggestion for a name of the capital of Ecuador,” said Avery confidently.

“I’m sorry, Avery, but the law says that anyone under the age of 18 can’t name capitals.”

“Just hear me out, Dad,” said Avery. “Tracy and I like the name Roger.”

Smith started stroking his beard.

“Roger, Ecuador…” Smith said to himself. “I like it. How did you get the name Roger, girls?” he asked.

Tracy explained the whole story of Susan Roger.

“I’ll talk with the president of Ecuador, but I think we have a name, girls! Congratulations!”


Chapter Seven: The Typical Happy Ending

(Quito, Ecuador, 2073)

“I think we’ve found a name, Jack,” said Smith. J

ack was the president of Ecuador.

“Hit me,” said Jack.

“Roger, Ecuador,” said Smith. “My daughter and her friend came up with it.”

“It has a good ring to it,” said Jack. “I think we found a name!”

One week later…

“I hereby announce that the new name for Quito, Ecuador is Roger, Ecuador! This name was made up by two girls named Avery Mulligan and Tracy Winsnap,” announced Jack in front of a crowd of people.

Everyone cheered and clapped. Later that evening, Jack signed a contract to make it official and leaned back in his chair.

“The pressure is off,” he said.



Tracy and Avery became internet sensations and reality sensations. Their story on how they came up with the name was told on almost every news station (except for Fox News, which didn’t believe that those girls came up with the name.) It was like walking down the red carpet for them.

“You were right, Avery,” said Tracy.

“About what?” asked Avery, as they hopped in a limo to go home.

Normally they would have teleported, but they wanted to keep the fame while it lasted.

“We are famous, but also we are now role models for other girls,” said Tracy.

“You are most definitely right, bestie,” said Avery.

The two of them rode off with a feeling of accomplishment in their veins.

“I wonder when they’re going to change their name again,” said Avery.

The two of them just laughed and laughed and laughed.

The End!


The Totally Normal Average Family


“Yeah right, Dad. Of course there were teleporter machines in 2017,” I said to my dad.

“No, seriously,” my dad told me.

“Did I tell you about the first Mars mission?” Dad asked.

“Yes Dad, you’ve told me a million times.” I told him. “Why do you have to be so old school, Dad? It embarrasses me in front of my friends. It’s 2039, not 2000.”

Just then, Mom and Taylor walked into the living room and asked, “Guys, what are you doing? Jack, you’re going to miss the school bus. John-”

“Natasha, you know I don’t get to spend enough time with my son.”

“But when you decided you were going to follow this career path, you said you knew you weren’t going to get to spend as much time with the kids as you used to be able to.”

Great. Welcome to my world. My parents are always arguing. I’ve heard them talking about divorce when they think I’m not listening. I really don’t care as long as I get to keep my Playstation 4 VR.



I hate my ten-year-old brother. He’s so annoying. He makes so many stupid jokes. It’s like he doesn’t care that Mom and Dad might get divorced. All he does is play stupid games on his VL thing or whatever. I don’t want Mom and Dad to get divorced! I’m twelve. If they wanted to get divorced, they should have done it earlier. On the other hand, I might get to live with my grandma and my mom. The only reason I don’t get everything I want is because of Dad. My grandma was the one that got me an iPhone last year. My dad would never allow it. Thankfully, he was on a business trip. My dad goes on a lot of business trips. He has this job that Mom always gives hints about, but she’s never actually told me and my BFUSSB(Big Fat Ugly Stupid Smelly Brother) what the job is. Dad used to be a professor, but he quit. Don’t ask me why.



I am a spy for the KGB. The Russian spy agency. They were brought back in 2030. I used to be a professor of mechanics at the University of Illinois. It was convenient because we live right next to it. But then I missed a very important deadline, and I got fired. I knew I should have accepted tenure. I concealed it from my wife and kids, by saying I just resigned because I found a better job opportunity. Right then, the KGB asked me to be a professional assassin. I’ve had many important missions. Just last week, we used a transmitting device inside of a heel to track down a businessman, and then, I shot him with a poison dart-shooting umbrella. Successful mission.  



Why the $#@! did my @#$%^& husband resign? He had a great job. He was makin’ 150 grand a year! He was a master electrician at the University of Illinois. It’s a great college. And after he resigned, he started getting all violent like a murderer or something. The only reason I haven’t told the kids about it is because I don’t even know what the “amazing job opportunity” actually is!

I couldn’t be around my family anymore. I started going insane. One day, I was cooking, and I pulled out a knife and wielded it at my kids. That was when I realized I needed serious psychological help. But nothing worked. I started having flashbacks of when my father was fighting in WW III. It was the worst war in the history of the world. Of course, it was started by that stupid imbecile Donald Trump. I dropped off the kids in an orphanage and drove off. Then, I started swerving. I didn’t mean to, but I felt like I just didn’t have control of the car. I hit a red Lamborghini and crashed. Then, a rock fell and smashed me, and I almost died.



I can’t believe Mom would just drop us off at the orphanage like that! I thought she loved us! When she dropped us off at the orphanage, my whole life changed. I didn’t have any parents anymore. I was a… a… an… orphan!



I know what we should do! We should totally escape. Like in movies. We could go to grandma’s house and seek refuge. Whatever that means.



I guess we’ll just wait for a new family to come and adopt us.



To: Marjorie Smith

From: Taylor Smith

Sub: Locked UP!

Grams, u gotta come and bust us out of this dump! Mom dropped us off here when she went insane. Maybe we could go live undercover at your place. Quick, before some weirdo adopts us.



To: Mom

From: Jack


Mom, why? Why would you leave us at the orphanage? Please come and take us back!



My iPhone buzzed. I looked on it and saw an email from Jack. That was when I realized that I had made a big mistake.



“Yes! I knew you were going to come back,” I told my mom.

“Yep,” she said.



Well, I guess I spoke too soon. But don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that Mom is back.

I think we all are.



Wow, did you guys actually think I was dead? I was just at a sleepover with my bud, and my wife went insane. I’m at the orphanage with a SWAT team. We’re tracking down Natasha and the kids.



What the… why is there a swat team trailing us? Is that John?!! We turn around. I really think it’s John. It is! Um… what is going on here?! They pull up to us.

“Hey Natasha,” he said. “I know you want to know everything. And I’ll tell you. When we get home.”

“We’ve had a lot of adventures too,” I told him.

And we all walk off into the sunset together.



And that is our totally normal average family. Everybody explained everything, and our family lived exactly like that for a long, long time.


Sapphire Lake

Chapter One

In the beginning, all I remember was revenge.

Well, I remember the fight with King Hail. I was only one. I remember the purple cloth I was wrapped in to be carried by my mother. I remember how the people decided on getting back at King Hail for having innocent children work by the hour for him. People whose children were servants. My mother supported her sister and helped attempt to poison the King. And ever since they were caught, everyone who was part of the poisoning, even babies like I was, were pushed in Sapphire Lake and were forced to tread. King Hails guards would watch you 24/7. Some people have been treading for as long as I have. I have been treading for nine years, since the attempted poisoning. They would throw sardines and disgusting food at us out of buckets as if we were seals. When we ask to drink water, well we have water everywhere. Due to education laws, they would sometimes make us tread in a different section to teach us kids basic skills. The only good thing is that once a year, a whistle would be blown. A whistle of freedom. A name would be drawn from a bottle that washed up. If your name was drawn, you could swim to the ladder and get out… forever. Ultimate freedom. But once your name is drawn, you have to get out. No options. But again, I have only known one person who has not reached for the ladder. My mother was let out seven years ago. She didn’t want to leave her daughter. The guards forced her out. If my name is picked tomorrow, my first job is to find her.


Chapter Two

TWEET!!! “Listen up!” One of the guards blew the whistle.

His name was Carter. I knew it because he would always sprinkle glitter on his jacket. And on his shoulder pads were some emerald green sparkles.

“You know the rules. We pick the name out of the bottle as usual, and then if you hear your name, you get out of the water. You will be supplied with a meal at the King’s house, and you will get further directions from there. Also, this is our ninth year doing this. Nobody who is not called has permission to come out,” Carter continued on. “If you are let out and run away… let’s just say the consequences are severe.” The sly smile on his face told me that he was not kidding. “Alright, please remain calm and most importantly, don’t get me wet!”

The other guard handed him a bottle. I looked around at the people whose lives were in danger. I looked at my pruny hands. Carter cleared his voice as he read the tiny script name on the slip of paper.  

“Felicity Downhall.”

My heart sunk as all eyes turned on the spot Felicity had been in for the past eight years. Nothing was there that you could see except for a bobbing head. She was sleeping on the job. If you sleep during the name picking, even if you get chosen, you can’t leave.

“Well, guess we have to pick again.” He drew another name from the bottle and squinted at the paper.

“Hey, Aberjay,” Aunt Docia whispered to me. She was my mom’s sister so my family is extremely close to hers. “If this is your lucky day, find your mother for me. Don’t work for the King. Promise me.”

I almost laughed. “The chances of that happening are as rare as if we were all let out,” I whispered back.

Carter told me to be quiet.

“The lucky fellow of the year 5036 is… just Aberjay?”


Chapter Three

“That’s me!” I yelled. “I don’t know or have a last name, but I promise I am real! My mother, Coco, was let out seven years ago. I promise, I promise, I’m Aberjay!”

The guards eyed each other. “We remember her, little girl. Just be quiet and get out.”

He pointed at the ladder. As I lunged for the ladder, I saw Aunt Docia’s eyes tear up. I swam back to her.

“Promise me,” she said, giving me her necklace that had been passed down.

“No, you don’t have to give this to me. It was passed down from all of the women in the family. I’ll wait for my turn,” I said, tearing up as well.

“It wasn’t, Aberjay. It wasn’t,” she said, tears streaming down her face.

“Let’s move, Eberjane!” The other, non-glitterified guard looked at me.

“It’s Aberjay,” I said stiffly.

“Aberjay,” said Aunt Docia. “It was stolen,” she whispered. “From the King’s daughter. When we snuck in to poison him, Zero gave this to me and said, ‘Mama I got this for you!’” Zero was Aunt Docia’s two-year-old son who was one of the King’s servants. “I took it, not knowing what to do. They wanted Zero punished. He ran away at two. He is thirteen now. If you find him, tell him your name. He will remember you. Show him the necklace but nobody that works for Hail. Go… use this for the greater good.” She gave me a hug.

“Are you coming or not?” the guards said, not amused.

They rolled their eyes. I doggy paddled to the ladder. As I climbed out, I felt the breeze in my soaking tee-shirt and shorts, and I put on the necklace. The main guard walked me down the pier to where a trolley car waited for me. I looked at Aunt Docia who was smiling at me through her, hopefully, happy tears.

“Hello, Miss Aberjay,” the coachmen said as we started to move away from Sapphire Lake and towards the woods.

The man was about in his mid-60’s and had salt-and-pepper colored hair. It looked like a wig.

“So it’s my job to explain how your life is going to be once you are in the King’s palace. This is my ninth time doing this, so you can trust me.”

I wasn’t sure I could trust anybody working for Hail, but I listened anyway. I wrung out my shirt out the window, which the coachmen did not appreciate very much.

“First off, you will be greeted by servants and important rulers. Then, a feast will be set up with the King, and you will be provided with hospitality for a week. Don’t get used to it, kid, ‘cause most that do… don’t end up so well. After that, girl, you’re on your own. The woods have plenty to give, and if you meet someone from, ya know, someone you knew, don’t interact. We don’t want alliances or whatnot so it’s more of an every man… or woman for themselves.” He started whistling as we made a right turn down a paved road, the only one you could see.

Pshh, I could care less about what this coachmen said. I looked at the necklace. It was a penny-sized, circular pendant made of gold. And a normal chain. I bet thousands of people had that necklace. I kept looking, wondering what made it so special, but then I saw it on the back. It said Duchess. (For Duchess Ice). But I guessed I was going to have to hide it. It could be my little secret.

“We are here, miss.”

The coachmen opened the door. The palace was stunning. The whole palace was white and engravings of griffins were on the door. The windows were red, and ivory colored curtains were visible too. I was led over the moat by the coachmen, and the water from it was the only thing that made me feel at home.

“Hello,” bowed one of the servants.

“How do you do,”  a cook said.

I couldn’t make it through the door because everyone was rushing to meet me. A guard dressed in the same uniform as the one guarding the lake led me up a massive spiral staircase. On the top step were three people, the first being King Hail. I knew by the white hair, grey eyes, white lips, pale skin, and white suit. I had heard the legends. To his right stood a woman to not be mistaken as the First Lady, Cristina. She had curly, white hair that sat on top of her head. A white dress and white shoes matched the First Lady’s white hair. And next to her stood a ten-year-old Duchess. She had her mother’s metallic blonde hair that also sat on her head. She had her dad’s gray eyes and a white outfit.

“Criminal!” spat Duchess Ice, pointing at me like a baby.


Chapter Four

“Ice,” the King’s voice said sternly.  “This girl was one when the ‘incident’ happened.  Though she did not take part in the ‘incident,’ her mother was part of it.”  

How did the King know so much about my past? I took mental notes about how I could get out information about my mother as Ice stared at me.  

“Mother, does she talk?”

“I do,” I said, shocked at how raspy my voice was compared to the silk-like voice of the  Duchess’s.

We were both ten, yet I seemed so much more mature.

“How about you show Aberjay her room and then take her to her closet,” the First Lady said, looking back and forth between Ice and me.

“Alright, Eberjane,” Ice said, once we walked in the room.  “Here is where you will be staying.”

“It’s Aberjay, actually.”

“Whatever, I don’t really care,” she said, rolling her snowy eyes.

I examined the room. The walls were all white, and the floor and ceiling and everything else in the room was white except for the red bed and a vase of roses on the cabinet.  

“Whoa,” I looked around.

“Yeah, it’s one of my favorite rooms in the castle.”

She opened the curtains and I gasped. The view was amazing. Beyond the rolling hills, I saw Lake Sapphire, not the area where people were treading, but I saw… boats, motor boats, sailboats docked, canoes and ones I couldn’t name. Even though Sapphire Lake was an important part of my life, it was a cruel area, a painful period of time.

“Do you know how to sail?” Duchess Ice asked me, breaking the silence.

“What do you think?” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Sorry, I forgot,” she squeezed her two hands together.

I hate when people ask stupid questions.

“I hate when spoiled children forget!” I yelled. “You are just some brat who doesn’t know what it’s like. I swam when I was one! I was one! I was pushed into a lake and was forced to literally sink or swim, Ice. I love how you spend your days sailing around, while people who were innocent like me are pushed against their own survival, and you ask me if I can sail?”

A tear rolled down both of our faces as I realized what I did. Oops! I had to push out the last words I could be executed for saying.  

“And when I first came in here, you called me a criminal!”

“I am sorry for that… I am,” she quivered.

Here I go.  “But just remember, Duchess Ice, that while here you might be royalty, you and your perfect family are loathed by those 256 people down there threading for their lives right now.”

She was sobbing at this point, and not a bit of me felt any sympathy.


Chapter Five

“Where’s my bathroom?” I said, feeling dominant.  

She sniffled, crumpled on the ground as she limply pointed her hand towards the back of the room.

“Thank you,” I said.

I took a towel and walked to the bathroom, slamming the door, leaving the sobbing Duchess to herself. I was afraid to shower because I wasn’t used to warm water. I think my skin is sensitive because even lukewarm water made my back turn red. So I did what I was hoping not to do. Take a cold shower.

After I left the bathroom, I was shocked to see my hair dry. Exiting the bathroom and entering back into the bedroom, I saw an all red ballgown on my bed with a red bow.  All of a sudden, two women wearing white maid gowns and white jewelry ran to me — one was short and one was tall, both squealing.  

“Oh darling, we are going to make you look gorgeous,” the short one said.

“Sit down, deary, won’t you?” The tall one pushed me onto the stool she had put down moments before.

She took out what they called a “curling iron” and wrapped my hair around it.  Half of my hair was up, held by the red bow — the rest of my hair were big ringlet curls falling down to my shoulders. I finally looked at myself, and I laughed. My black hair was half the length, and my fingernails were red. Great.

“Is this permanent?” I asked, pointing at my nails.

“Yep,” the short one said laughing.

“If you try to break into the city, people need to know who you are,” the tall one said.

“What does everyone else get?” I ask.  

“White,” they both said in unison, showing me their white.

I was frustrated. I was never going to have a fresh start. I didn’t even commit a crime.

“Why do I not get a fresh start?” I asked the maids.

“It’s not that, deary. You just carry a piece of your past with you,” the tall maid said, stroking my new hair.

A moment of silence passed, two moments… three…

“My, oh my! How time flies when you’re having fun! Aberjay, cupcake, go downstairs and join the King and First Lady and Duchess for their feast!” the small one said.

“Okay. Bye and thank you!” I said running down the spiral staircase.

I ran through the tons of hallways and down thousands of stairs, my map being the scent of food. Finally, getting to the dining hall, my mouth dropped open. Roasted chickens with currants and curry filled every plate. In the center table was garlic butter-filled rolls, caviar and crème fresh, snails – eww – and some artichoke dish.  

“Welcome Aberjay. So glad you could make it,” the First Lady said, motioning for me to sit.

The feast began. The food was delicious! As I was eating the curried chicken, a question popped in my head and came out too quickly.  

“Please don’t take this offensively, but why is everything in the castle white or red?” I asked.  

The King jumped to respond, “Aberjay, white is to represent the angels like citizens of the city, Halo. And the red is to represent the devilish people of Sapphire Lake, and that is how our country was named Lophire.”

Ouch! I felt like I was being framed.  

“Is that why my bed is red, my nails are red, my dress is red, and my bow is red?! Am I the devil?” I said, a tear rolling down my cheek. I made eye contact with Ice.

She was next to me and rubbed my back. That is when I made the connection. Her life was unfair too. Nobody, not even me, had any right to dislike her. Well, almost no right to dislike her. Just like me, she was one when the incident happened. She didn’t throw anyone into the lake, or ask to use children and turn them into servants. She was as innocent as I was. She rested her hand on mine. And that’s when I saw it. Her Nails. Not just white, but red too.


Dan and Dan’s Friends: Adventures of Friendship


Act One


DAN is in the restaurant talking to MANAGER. DAN is really angry at him.



What do you mean I’m fired?



You made tacos with poison inside!



Well, I don’t care.



Oh, you shut up.



It’s no fair!



Well, you always make awful stuff!








One day later, DAN comes back to try to persuade MANAGER to give him his job back.



I’m back.















Well, I forgot to tell you we hired a new chef. He is Chef Curry.



Is he the best three point shooter ever?



I don’t know, and I don’t care.



Okay, but is he?



Just shut up and leave!





DAN sadly walks home.



Ummm, everyone, I got fired from my-



Did you get fired from your job?!






I hate you. Get back and ask them again. Plus, where have you been? I haven’t seen you in one day.



Well, I tried earlier today, and it failed again. I stayed over at somebody’s house last night because I knew you would kill me.



Well, I won’t kill you, but I will help you try again.






Let’s go.



Hold up. can we eat dinner first, and what is it?



Maybe… sushi.





Act Two



Okay, let’s get going.



But it is so early in the morning!



Do you want your job back?





DAN and his friend walk to the restaurant to ask MANAGER one more time.



Where is the location again?



I always look at my phone for directions, and, as you guess, they took the link off.



Well, why don’t we look at Google Maps?



Oh yeah. You are a genius.



I know.


Five minutes later they reach the restaurant and try again to ask MANAGER to get his job back.



Okay, I’ll talk to the manager.



No you’re not.






Because you failed twice.








Hey, what on Earth do you want from me?






Well, shut up and leave.



Hey, don’t say “shut up” to me, and I need to get my friend’s job back!



Ohh, wait a minute. Do you want that dumb wimp’s job back? What a jerk.



I will hurt you!



Say that all you want.


MANAGER gets kicked in the butt and is moaning in pain.






It’s your fault!



Fine, let him back, but arrest this dummy!



Ahh!!! HELP ME!!!



Get her!



Oh no you won’t!


Boing! DAN crashes into MANAGER, and they both get hurt.




Act Three


DAN’S FRIEND is talking to the restaurant workers about not getting arrested.



Stop it now, guys. He was taunting me! Plus, Dan put poison in somebody’s food!



Well, you kicked the manager, and now we know that you’re a mean person.






No buts. Now let’s take you away.



NOOO. Please don’t arrest m-



Oh stop, just shut up and let’s go to jail!



You dummy! When you get arrested, you don’t always go to jail!



Well, in this case, you will!


DAN’S FRIEND’S face turns red and is so, so, so, so mad.






Let’s take him to jail.



Can you guys forgive me?



We will arrest Dan for you.



Wait a minute, what did you say?



Umm, I mean you might get arrested because you put did poison in somebody’s food.



Wait, did he actually do that? Because, Dan, you are now busted. I tried hard to get your job back, and you never told me about this.



Nooo!! You’re my best friend!



Well, now you’re not!


Act Four



Dan, I need to talk to you!!!






Because you put poison in somebody’s food and didn’t tell me about it! We are not friends. Now I will leave, okay? I want an apology. I was trying to get your job back and almost got arrested!



I’m sorr-



No, I want a nice letter from you, and until then, bye!



Are you saying I have to mail a letter to you?



Yes, and I want you to sit down and write for two hours straight.



Since when are you the boss of me?



Since, I don’t care about this, just write me a letter.






Wait, so you’re saying you don’t want to be friends with me? Byeee.






I said bye.

Act Five



Dang it. She ditched me, and now I’m lonely. This is horrible! I basically killed somebody! This is awful, and my friend is gone. I suck, and now she hates me. I do hate the manager, and it’s a good thing she helped me, but I never told her why I did it and what I did. All I said was I lost my job, and she still got mad! This is horribly horrible. I won’t send an apology, and I won’t ever, ever, ever talk to her again!


Act Six


DAN’S FRIEND is hanging out with her friends at lunch.



Hey, we heard you broke up with your friend.



What do you mean?



Your friend told me. He said you were really mean to him, and he doesn’t want to talk to you. We never knew you were mean. Guys, let’s move to a new table!




Act Seven



Nooo!!! He got rid of my friend, but now I want to actually be his friend! I have no friends, and he has no job! I’m really sad. I bet you a million bucks that he is also sitting on his bed, sad, thinking about me like I’m thinking about him. Tomorrow I will go to him, and eat dinner with him, and talk about being friends with him.


Act Eight


DAN’S FRIEND walks over to DAN’S house to eat dinner unexpectedly.


Knock, knock!



Who is it?






Just tell me!



Fine, it’s your old best friend.



What do you want from me?



Can I be your best friend again?



Come in.


DAN’S FRIEND walks into the house.



Hey, I’m sorry.



I’m sorry, too.



Okay, now we have that over with, so we can eat dinner. I’m sorry that you lost your job, and I owe you for this. I will pay for dinner.



It’s okay, and thanks for paying for dinner.



No problemo.


They walk to the restaurant and talk, and when they get there, they have a great dinner.


The End


Ten Roads

Today, my mom picked me up from school. We were going to my grandma’s house. Before we went, our teacher, Mr. Miller, gave us some homework to do on summer vacation. Our whole class was so frustrated. After we got our homework, I stomped out of class. Mom was there to pick me up from school.

“Katie, your grandmother actually decided to come to our house with your cousin.”

I just nodded, and we went in the car. When we got home, Grandma and Peter were waiting outside.

“Katie, Grandma says we can go on a little adventure before dinner. We can go in the forest,” Peter said.

So, Peter and I went to a little secret passageway that Peter found already.

“Peter, are you sure this is the right way?” I asked.

Peter said he was sure, so I believed him. We were passing strange houses and gardens. I think Peter didn’t even notice.

“Didn’t you notice those strange houses?” I asked.

“I noticed,” he said.

I felt better.


8:00 p.m.

It was getting late, and I was getting tired. I think Peter was also getting tired.

“Katie, we’re almost there.”

By now, it was really dark. I was getting worried that Mom and Grandma would worry that we (Peter and I) weren’t coming back home before dinner.


One hour later…

Now, I was really getting worried. I do not think Peter was that worried. We soon found a road. Next to the road was a sign that said,


Beware, witch ahead! Whoever kills witch can get $100!  


Peter and I just walked away like nothing happened, because we didn’t want to meet the witch. Soon, we came to another one of those signs. This time it said nothing. So, Peter and I went to the little road that didn’t say anything.

“Peter, what if we end up on a place with weird, scary stuff?” I asked.

When I was walking home, back in February, a fortune teller told me to be careful, and she told me about a bottle with an invisibility potion and a secret room inside a creepy place. Maybe this was the weird, scary stuff?

Peter said not to worry, so I didn’t. But, deep inside, I worried. Peter was only four years older than me.


15 minutes later…

Fifteen minutes later came the weirdest smell I ever smelled before. It was a throw-up and dog poop smell. I’m sure Peter smelled it.


Chapter Two: A Good Plan

“See, I told you, Peter! It’s no good going to this place!” I said.

It looked like a graveyard without the tombstones, and there was a big, creepy palace next to it.

“But pl-”

Just then, a creepy sound came. It was the creepiest sound I ever heard. When I was about to say, “Let’s go,” a weird shadow appeared in the graveyard. Peter and I screamed. All I wanted to do was go home, but I knew Peter wanted to stay, so I let him take the lead even if I was younger.

“So, I see two little children came to see me… that’ll be a nice, little dinner,” said the shadow.

At school, they say that goblins only come out on July 5th. The scary thing is, today’s July 5th. I never really believed that, but now I do.



Meanwhile, at Katie’s house…

“Where are Katie and Peter?”

“Mom, don’t worry. I’m sure they’ll come back home soon. It’s ten p.m. I know my daughter well. Each time she gets lost, she always comes back.”


Back at the goblin’s palace…

Two minutes later, Peter was running back and forth like a crazy person. I wondered why he was doing that, but that thought only lasted a minute, or maybe a second. Sooner or later, I was also running like a crazy person. Why were we running like that?

The shadow started turning more solid, a little bit at a time. It was a little taller than a man. It had a blue, bird body and an old woman’s face. It had yellow around its eyes, and purple surrounding the yellow. It had long, black hair, and really sharp claws. The goblin was turning into more and more goblins. Each time there was an entrance to go out, a goblin appeared out of nowhere.

“Katie, what should we do?” asked Peter.

“Peter, I think we should let them capture us.”

“Are you crazy?!” asked Peter.

I said I was sure. I told him my plan. He said it was risky but good. This was the plan: Let the goblin take us, get inside the palace and find the secret room, find a bottle that says: drink & become invisible for 30 minutes.

“Peter, we should stand still so they can take us.”

“Okay, I’m ready.”


One minute later…

The goblins took us. Now I knew where the horrible smell was coming from. It was the old, stinky goblin. Peter and I could die in this horrible smell! To our luck, we didn’t die.

“Katie! I think that goblin on the left side is the boss. He has white hair, and all the other ones have black hair!”

“Peter, be quiet!” I didn’t want the goblins to hear us.


One minute later…

By now, we were in the palace. The palace was actually very small, but clean. The goblin who was holding us went into a room that was very far away from the secret room. (I knew about the secret place because that fortune teller in the town told me. I don’t know why, but when old people tell me things, I believe it.) The room that we were in was hot and steamy. Peter and I couldn’t stand it. While the goblin was doing his or her stuff, Peter and I quietly went outside.  


Chapter Three:  The Secret Room

“I’m so glad I, or we, have fresh air,” I said.

“I was not bothered in there that much,” said Peter.

“I’m surprised that no goblins heard us walking down the smelly, red hallway,” I said.

“I agree, Katie.”

We were almost at the end of the hallway.

“The room’s at the end of the hallway,” I told Peter.

I was right. The room was at the end of the hallway. To our luck, the door was open. First, I was a bit nervous, but after, Peter went inside to check. When he came back out, he said it was fine.

“I couldn’t see anything else, though. I wanted to come out,” said Peter.

“Do you think it will be pretty in there?” I asked.

“How should I know? As I told you, I didn’t look around!”

“Okay, Peter, you don’t have to shout at me.”  


“Anyway, let’s get inside the room,” I said.

So Peter and I went inside.

“Peter, this room is so beautiful!”  

“A little bit smelly, though.”   

“That’s okay. I think this room is cool.”  

It was a bad thing that there were a lot of bottles. It was hard to choose the right one we needed.


27 minutes later…

“Katie! Found it!”  

“Oh, good!”  

“Now we can go past the goblin soldiers!”

Just before I was going to drink the potion, a sign appeared. It said: Go to all ten roads and find one potion in each adventure.

“Peter, what do you think that sign means?”

“I think it means we have to go on ten adventures, and then find one potion on each trip.”   


Peter and I drank the potion in the bottle. We were dizzy.

“We should be careful,” he said nervously.

We knew we were invisible because we looked in a mirror that was in the secret room.


Meanwhile, at Katie’s house…

“Mom, don’t cry.”

“Why don’t you worry?!”

“Well, I’ll go outside and look for them, and you can just stay inside the house and wait. I’ll be back at twelve a.m.”


Back at the goblin’s palace…

Peter and I were almost at the end of the hallway. The guards were watching if any strangers were passing by, and I felt excited and nervous.

“It’s lucky we drank the invisible potion, because the guards would have noticed us passing by,” said Peter.

One of the fat guards puffed out his bird chest and yelled, “Who’s talking?”  

His voice boomed in the hallway. Peter and I were really scared.

Another one of the guards shouted to the other fat guard, “Find out who was talking, and bring the prisoner back to me! When the prisoner comes back, put him in the underground dungeon!”

“Yes, sir!” said another one of those fat guards.


30 minutes later…

“Sir, I have not found the prisoner, but I have noticed our invisibility potions are gone!”


Peter and I heard all of this because they were all so loud. I thought they sounded like bad kids when they don’t get their way, or maybe my math teacher yelling at us when we didn’t listen.

“Katie, don’t bother with them. Let’s get out of this place.”  

“No, Peter, wait, I think they’re saying something important.”

“Yeah right, as if you’re right about that.”

I really hate when Peter does that. Peter can be really annoying sometimes. I get tears when he yells at me. Peter and I decided to set up camp in the forest.


Chapter Four: The Farmer

When Peter and I woke up, we smelled bacon and pancakes.

“Peter! Wake up!” I said, sitting straight up.

I could hear the pancakes sizzling on the pan. It smelled really good.

“Where are we?” Peter just woke up.

“I don’t exactly know, but I think we’re in a farm.”

The farmer was whistling a jolly melody. He was a small, old man. He looked really dirty, and in his hair there was lots of knots.

“Slept well?” asked the farmer.

The farmer had one goat in his house, two dogs, two horses, and three chickens. The goat’s name was Patty. One of the dog’s names was Wolf, and the other dog’s name was Biscuit. The farmer didn’t name the horses or the chickens.


Nine minutes later…

While eating breakfast, I told the farmer what happened.

“… And that’s what happened!”

“Would you like me, my goat, two dogs, and one chicken to help y’all?” asked the farmer.

“Sure, why not? It would be better with more helping hands!” I said, with good feeling.

“I guess so… it would be better…”  said Peter’s not-sure voice.  

Peter can be a little bit shy sometimes, so I told the farmer he was sure.

“Oh, I forgot to introduce myself! My name is Henry.”

“My name is Katie, and this is Peter, my cousin,” I said.

“Back to the story!” said the farmer. “I can bring my wagon if y’all would like.”

“That would be so nice! We can all leave at one o’clock,” I said.



“Is everything ready, Henry and Peter?”

“Yes, ma’am!” said Henry and Peter.

“We have six loaves of bread, three tin cups, sweet potato seeds, as well as sweet potatoes, five pieces of steak, one butter stick, two big carrots, three blankets, one gun, one axe, and one knife,” I said.

“Then let’s go!”

And off we went… off we went to the deep forest.


Chapter Five: Crossing The River

The farmer and I were in the front. Peter was in the back, watching if something was chasing us. Now we were out of New York City. It was really quiet and peaceful. I was still worrying about Mom and Grandma. What if they were looking for us in the secret road? While I was talking to myself, Henry stopped the horses. I wondered why, but when I looked, I saw a huge, stormy river blocking our way. My long, brown hair blew in the summer wind.

“What should we do? The river is too strong for the horses, and no human can get across that river!” I told Henry.

“Well, if y’all want to get across that mad, stormy river, I can’t do nothing,” said Henry.

“If you can’t think of anything, let’s all get out and think. If anyone finds an idea, please tell me.”

“Get a good idea, I’m your boss!” I told Henry and Peter.

When they heard that, they scrambled out of their seats and went right under a willow tree to think.

“Henry, why are your eyebrows moving up and down?”

“That’s the way I think.”

I know for sure Peter claps his hands when he thinks hard and serious.

For now, I was the boss. I hope Peter does not become the boss. I want Henry or me to be the boss.       


15 minutes later…

“Henry, you can go first.”

“Thank you. My thought was that we could make a raft and then push the wagon on top of it. We could also go on the raft.”


A Soccer Dream

One early morning, during breakfast, Olivia and her family were talking about signing up for soccer.  Olivia had always wanted to play soccer ever since she moved from Chicago.  

When she lived in Chicago, the school kids would never let Olivia play soccer or almost anything with them.

The girl’s soccer team was very expensive. Olivia’s parents didn’t think it was worth it to pay a lot of money just for soccer. Her parents were still thinking about taking her to soccer.  

One day, after school, she got good news from her dad about soccer.

He said, “Olivia, I’ve got great news for you. I talked to your coach right after I left work, and I told him that you really wanted to sign up.  I said that the amount of money was a problem, so he said he would gladly give you a free session.”  

Olivia got very very excited. On the weekend, her parents took her to the sports store called “Sporting Goods.” The day she’d been waiting for was finally here! When Olivia got to the soccer field, her dad told her to meet her coach because he said it was polite. So she met her coach.

“Olivia, welcome to the team!” Olivia’s coach said, greeting her.

Suddenly, she heard her coach shout, “Practice is starting.”  

Her dad kissed her cheek and said goodbye. Olivia grabbed her ball and joined the group.   

Her coach said, “We’re going to start with 50 laps across the field.”

“50 laps?” Olivia asked, puzzled.

A girl asked, “Don’t you know what 50 laps are?”  

Olivia said, “I’m new, remember?”

But the girl just ignored her.


The next day at school, she found out that the girl that went to her soccer practice went to her school! Her name was Maddie. But Maddie was not doing anything very nice.  

She was looking straight at her and talking and talking. Olivia totally knew, but Maddie didn’t realize Olivia was overhearing her gossip.  

Olivia was very hurt. She rushed to the bathroom in tears. When she went on the bus, she noticed everybody starting to laugh at her.

In her head, she was asking, Why are the kids laughing at me? Then she remembered Maddie talking about her. Olivia immediately went to a seat and didn’t notice that another person was sitting there. She was in tears. Olivia felt very bad for that girl.

She asked, “Do you mind if I sit here?”

The girl sniffed. “No,” she said, upset. Then, she said, “Why would you even bother sitting next to me anyways? I’m just a big baby. Like what they call me.”

Olivia answered, ”Because I’ve been in the same situation as you a few minutes ago.”

Then, it came to Olivia’s stop.

Olivia said goodbye and asked, ”What is your name?”

The girl said, ”My name is Zoe.”

Then, Olivia left. When she got home, she told her mom she met a new friend named Zoe.

“Wonderful. Would you like to invite her over sometime?” her mom asked.  

“Really? You’d let me do that?” Olivia asked with excitement.  

Her mom nodded her head.


The next morning, Olivia sprang out of her bed to get breakfast. When she got to the table, she noticed the food was set up neatly for her to enjoy.

“Good morning, sweetie. Today, I have to leave early because of an appointment at 8:00 am, so you are going to have to take the bus,” her mom said in a hurry.

She boarded the bus and saw Zoe waving at her to sit with her. When Olivia sat down, she asked Zoe for her number so they could spend time together. So Zoe gave her the number.  The girls didn’t notice Maddie and her friends overhearing their personal things to each other! Maddie immediately told her friends what she was saying. They kept giggling until Olivia found out that they were laughing at them.

She stood up to Maddie and said, “What are you laughing about?”

“Uh… I’m…” Maddie said, trembling.  

Her friends were too shy to stand up for Maddie. So Maddie had to face Olivia and Zoe herself. But she got silent and moved to the front when the bus stopped. For the first time, Olivia saw a smile cross Zoe’s face. Olivia was glad to see that smile.

That was the story of a true friend and a nice teammate.


The War That Saved My Life

On a cool breeze in the fall of 6784, on 1204 Winston Churchill Street, America, Steve asked his mom, “Mom, do you wonder how you would feel if you were locked up in a cage like an animal in the zoo?”

Steve’s mother replied, “I would not feel whole hearted because your father was like that in World War One.”

Suddenly a big kaboom came up. Then the police were at the door, pounding with fear. Steve’s baby brother came in and started to wail.


Knock, knock went the door. Steve went to the door and opened it. The police were there holding a sheet of paper.

“Have you seen this man?”

It was a wanted sheet of paper.

“This man has bombed this place,” said the police.

“The bombs were carefully aimed at the stores. All the the stores have been demolished, so you can enter a race to win a truckload of food, a frog, a bone, and back scratcher. So good luck.”

Soon after the police left, Steve told his mother, “Mother, I believe it is a great idea!”

“Certainly not, I can not let you race in the race.”

“Fine,” said Steve.


12 years later…

They gave out plenty of food, but the country was under attack. Steve grew into a strong, healthy 15-year-old teenager.

Steve asked his mother, “May I join the Air Force?

His mother said, “You can, but be safe.”

Steve wanted to join the Air Force because he wanted revenge on the Russians that captured his father.


At the Air Force

“Sir, can I join the Air Force?” said Steve, to the president of the Air Force.

“Yes, you can, but you need to learn how to fly a plane,” replied the president of the Air Force.

Suddenly a fighter plane came out of the ground, and there was a person in the copilot seat.


In the air…

Steve was practicing how to fly a plane when the copilot said, “Steve, fire some bombs… Now!”

Steve pounded the fire button. Then, the bombs went soaring into the sunset.

The copilot said,“Steve, let’s get back to base and get some rest.”

After landing, the president came in with two bags over his shoulder.

“Thank you for joining, and here is $10,000,000 each. You can put it in your bank account,” said the president.

“I’ll put it in my bank,” said Steve.

After, when the sun came down, they were in their bunkers, sound asleep. Suddenly the walls went shaking, and the people went up as fast as a zebra chasing a zebra. The president came in and was pushing a cart full of all sorts of war things.

“Let’s go! We are under attack!”

Steve went running up and grabbed a combat rifle and a combat vest. His copilot, Frank, grabbed the same things.

“Go grab shovels and dig trenches!” yelled the president.

They all grabbed the shovels and headed outside. They started digging. After only two minutes, the trench was finished. They all hopped in and saw the people who were attacking, Russians. There were 1,000,000 Russians in total holding large combat rifles.  

“Fire!” yelled Steve.

In the split second Steve said that, the whole Air Force, quicker than a blink of an eye, fired.

“I’ve been hit!” yelled Frank.

In the split second Frank yelled that, booming was heard from 100 miles away.

“Frank! Can you hear me? Please tell me!” said Steve.

“Go on, you can move on without me!” Frank said weakly.

After 20 seconds, Frank passed away. Steve was determined to get revenge on the Russians, so he took out his sword and his gun. Then, he ran out of the trench and started to slice randomly. Steve was lucky to survive the Russians. Steve was now in the woods, all alone, with no food and no water. Steve was helpless. Steve started to run north with all his energy.


After 20 minutes of running…

Steve was exhausted and wanted water. Suddenly he found a large crowd of people that were running from the Russians that were 100 meters away.

“Please help me!” said Steve, but nobody helped him.

So he went against the tide (the crowd), and it took him several days.


After three days of walking…

Steve was somehow back home, at his old home, 1204 Winston Churchill Street. He knocked on the door, and a 12-year-old kid open the door.

“Brother?” said Steve.

“Mom!” said the 12-year-old kid.

Steve’s mom came and suddenly said, “Steve!”

“This is your brother, Frank,” said Steve’s mom again.

Tears went into Steve’s eyes like if onions were in your eyes.

“Mom, I had a friend named Frank. He died from an attack,” said Steve.

“The great, big battle of trenches?” said his mom.

“Whatever you called it,” said Steve.

“Anyway, all the stores have been destroyed again from the same man. The race has been called once again, so I will allow you to go in the race,” said Steve’s mother.

Steve burst into happiness. He ran out the door and ran to the bank.


At the bank…

“Oh, kind sir, may I take $10,000,000 from my bank?” said Steve.

“Um, sir, you have no money in your bank,” said the banker.

“What? For real?! Can I see my account?” yelled Steve.

Steve went down the hall, and the banker opened a large vault. All that was in there were cobwebs and spiders. Suddenly the alarm went off.

“What was that?” said Steve.

“That is the alarm for people who steal money,” said the banker.

“Arg,” said Steve and went running towards the entrance.

He saw a robber carrying a big, droopy bag.

“Drop the bag!” yelled Steve.

Hearing that, the robber dropped the bag and ran off. Steve went and looked in the bag. It had thousands of dollars!

Steve yelled, “Can you check this bag to see if it’s mine?”

Once he said that, the banker ran over with some device and scanned the bag.

The banker finally said, “It’s yours.”

Steve gave out a sigh.


At home…

Steve bought a LFWSSHFLSM (Land, fly, water, space, snow, hover, fighting light speed machine) and waited for 20 hours.


20 hours later…

The LWSSHFLSM got to Steve, and once he got it, he turned it to fly mode. The LWSSHFLSM turned into a robot griffin as fast as a blink of the eye and roared with proudness. Steve hopped on, and the robot griffin flew away. The controls were so easy that a fourth grader could fly it! He remembered that the race was on Mount Everest, so he went flying to Mount Everest. On Steve’s way, he met some other competitors, but they were in a large plane lagging behind because he was going too fast. After the trip, he went diving and landed perfectly and saw the hard obstacles in the way. They were land, water, snow, and the sign said: 2,000,000 miles in total. Steve saw the starting position and turned the LWSSHFLSM to land mode, and the LWSSHFLSM turned into a large unicorn! Steve hopped on the unicorn and went walking to the start line.

“Welcome to the race!” said a robot next to him.

“Now, know that you can fight while racing, so be prepared,” said the robot.

“Thanks,” said Steve.

Once he said that, 11 planes arrived and each were the same ones that Steve saw. All of them came out with strange machines.

“Know that you can fight while racing, so everyone be prepared,” said the robot.

All of the others were saying, “yes!” and cheering.

“Take your marks…”

While the robot was saying that, Steve turned it into light speed mode. It didn’t change anything, but on the screen, it said, “Beware: super fast.”

“Go!” said the robot, and all blasted away.

Steve looked behind and saw all of the racers firing at the LWSSHFLSM. Steve pounded the fighting mode button, and then two rapid fire cannons came out of the unicorn’s belly! Once the cannons came out, the cannons started to fire. All of the other racers stopped firing, but Steve didn’t look ahead.

There was the giant sea. When Steve saw that, his fist went on the water mode button and the machine turned into a big, fat orca! The orca was so fast that he finished the water obstacle in 10 seconds. At the time the LWSSHFLSM was at the snow area, Steve pounded the snow mode, and the LWSSHFSLM turned into a white deer! But this mode was slow, so the other racers caught up and started firing and yelling, “Get him!”

All started firing, but the cannons started to fire and once again the firing stopped. Steve turned to icy mode for two hours. After the snow obstacle, he saw the finish line about 100 miles away. He also saw a small boy with an old dog. The dog was pulling the boy on a sled swiftly in the snow. Steve halted to a stop, and the young boy saw him and simply said in a gentle voice, “Hi.”

The split second he said that, one of the racer’s robots ran over the old dog, and the robot halted to a stop.

“Searchlight!” sighed the boy, and had tears on his eyes.

Filled with sadness, Steve grabbed a sword and made a straight line through the snow. When he was doing that, the other racers came and stopped.

Steve gently said, “If you cross this line…”

“What will happen?” asked one of the racers.

“You do not want to know,” said Steve.

Steve said to the young boy, “Go cross the finish line and go back home with all the food, and ride on this.”

Steve pulled out a pen and pushed the button, and the pen turned into a robot dog!

“Keep it,” said Steve.

And the young boy crossed the line with tears in his eyes.

Steve thought, Love is your strength, not fighting. Fighting is your weakness.


Krispy Kreme

One day, Tristan was eating his morning donut. He went to Krispy Kreme. There was someone who worked at Krispy Kreme named Joe, who was his friend. Joe was not fully trained, so he made the donut wrong. Then he put it in the toilet. He wasn’t fully trained, so he didn’t know where the trash can was (it was right behind him.) He put it in the toilet, and the donut came alive.

The donut ate a customer. When he did, he became big. Tristan had to kill Joe, because he thought his friend did it. He saw a beautiful woman. He fell in love with her, so he asked her out. They ate at his house, but Tristan had a donut in his house because he did not eat it for breakfast.

All of the donuts at his house came alive. Then he got a broom to smack the donuts in the oven so they could die. When they died, he ran for his life because there was the biggest donut in world. It smacked his house, so he had to go in the store to get food. Then, the donut splashed chocolate on him. He got sick, so he passed out, but then there was a big war with a army of donuts versus the S.W.A.T. team and army. The war was for the donuts to die.


One of the soldiers jumped because the donut almost shot him.

The donuts combined to make a big, giant beast. When the donut beast came, the beast smacked an army man in the sky. Then, the army man fell in the beast’s mouth. Someone shot the beast, so it came and chopped the army man’s head off! Then, a soldier came and jumped onto the beast, and the beast took the soldier and threw him through ten thousand buildings, which broke his back.

Someone else came to the soldier to pick him up and take him to the hospital. But then, the beast broke the hospital. There were no other hospitals near them, unless they wanted to go to the hospital and die.

The soldiers then threw the biggest bomb in the world at the beast, but they accidently threw it to the whole battlefield. The two soldiers became the only survivors left on the planet.

There were still more donuts. Only one soldier could shoot the donuts because the other guy broke his back. And then, the donuts made another beast. Then, the beast broke down the soldiers’ truck, and then the beast grabbed the truck and added it to its face armor.

The soldiers forgot that there were people in outer space that were in the army. There were 567 people in space. And then, there were the donuts that found a spaceship and went into space. The army men shot the donuts, and the donuts blew up like a big explosion, except for the five-donut beast. Then, the soldiers made five robots that transformed. They had a weapon.


It was a battle of robots versus the donut beast. Tristan was on a vacation. Then, he came back because he heard it on the news. Tristan and the robots had to fight the donut beast, and the donut beast smacked the robot in the face. Another robot punched the beast donut out of the world.

After the war was done, the soldier that broke his back went to Florida to go to the hospital.


The Land of Atlasai, Book One: Catnapped! (Part Two)

Chapter Ten: Calicon Territory

Pierre tried to put his fur down, but it was no use. There was no trying to deny it. To pass into “Calicon” territory, he bribed the guards with his traveling money. (Tuber told him to carry money.) Almost 2,000,000 cafasas! That was the average six-month salary!

“Calicon” territory (Pierre refused to accept that they had taken it over) looked slightly different now. Before, it had been a lush, green neighborhood, filled with big human-speeders and tall oak trees. The area had smelled of happiness — and money.

Now, the area was less cheerful. The humans seemed the same, but whenever Pierre saw a cat, they had the same haunted eyes, as if they had fought in a terrible war. They were the same eyes that Pierre had had when he returned from service, the horrors of Denvava still shrouded over him.

The area was also crawling with guards, each one with a gun and hawkish eyes. They robotically screened the area, looking for even the slightest bit of resistance.

Pierre ducked behind a wall. This pace would never get him to Salem. He sprinted, taking a shortcut.


Some people might have thought it was a game. Pierre thought it was torture.

Finding an area where Salem would logically be kept was impossible! It seemed like there was that infuriating ward leader saying ‘Better find me! Oh, by the way, I can turn invisible.’

Just as he was about to sprint from the old, run-down wall to some other hiding place, he saw it. Eight dogs entered a little, nearly invisible sod hut. They were carrying guns.

Pierre slunk his way to the entrance. He would have to be creative to get into this one. It had one well guarded entrance, with eight trained and armed dogs, and Salem was under lock and key.

Plus, some deafening noise seemed to get closer and closer. It sounds like an army. But why would an army be here?

Although there had been border clashes and fighting, there was no way an army could get this far.

The time was running out. One of the sentries was soon to see him. Pierre struggled. One idea. He needed one idea.

A guard saw him! On top of a rooftop, the guard was about to shout out.

Pierre’s brain raced, looking, looking for anything. The guard was still in shock. Pierre was still in shock. His eyes… They looked like a defector!



Guards surged out of the area! The supposed defector had no chance. And Pierre… had one!


Chapter Eleven: Victory Or Death

The tunnel didn’t seem to end. Harrowing and steep, it curled around, lighted by the dreadful torches. Pierre tumbled through, finally reaching a large room.

Salem’s prison.

“There you are,” Pierre breathed.

Salem was still in his cage, with no cat for a guard.

“I’m going to break you out.”

His brain churned with determination. No matter how hard this thing was, no matter how challenging, Salem would go free. He began working on the lock.

Salem’s reply was thin, weak.

“Go fast. I need to be out soon.”

Blood was pounding. The thing that Salem had been dreaming of might just come true. Pierre might get him out, leaping the final hurdle of an impossible journey.

The lock fought, straining the feline’s muscles. An effort from Pierre and the frail Salem made no progress. Then Salem spoke.

“If I survive this, I have something big to tell you.”

But something was happening. The cage was moving, defying laws of physics. Pierre followed it. Its pace picked up. Pierre started to run. His face was showing. He was frightened. Pierre hopped on and began to flip out. He was sweating. The cell accelerated. They were coming to the end of the tunnel.

The cart flew! Careening out of the damp underground, Pierre witnessed a different scene.  A line of soldiers, armed with guns, locked and loaded.

And a ward leader.


Chapter Twelve: Final Breaths

Pleasantly surprised, the evil genius strode over to him.

“You see, I told you!” he exclaimed to the crowd. “Poor Pierre! The dimwitted fool had to come after his poor, troubled brother. But now, both can be executed!” He continued on, “Of course I knew the loving idiot would try and rescue him. Why not? But, now we have both of you for execution!”

The rumbling noise grew louder still. Pierre stood calmly. He knew what to do. He started whispering to Salem.

“When the firing squad opens fire, I’ll jump in front of you. But you have to act like you’re already hit so they think you’re dead.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll probably die.”

Pierre turned his attention back to the ward leader, who was still bragging.

“…And now, let it begin! Five… four… what?”

The air was punctured by shouts now. A few cats, far off in the distance, were visible.


Stunned, the leader of the Calicons turned to one of his deputies.

I thought you said we held the invaders off!

The she-cat shifted her paws.

“Well, not exactly. They swarmed our right flank, and-”

The time was now! Pierre scattered to the ever-enclosing Cantercats, Salem on his heels. A cheer went up! Pierre and Salem were back!

The execution squad and guards formed an army, well-trained and vicious. But the Cantercats had spirit.

The ward leader was ready to kill.


Pierre took the head. The command on the other side went up.

“Ready… aim…”

Salem was hyperventilating. Why?

“Don’t do this, Pierre. They aren’t all bad-”


Shots rang out, and the battle began.


To be continued…


The Land of Atlasai, Book One: Catnapped!


The small black cat padded down the alley. His coal black fur was indistinguishable from the charcoal sky. This cat held his head high as he walked, showing slight bits of snobbiness. This cat obviously was higher class.

But something was worrying him. He turned his head around a corner. Not a soul in sight.

That was worrisome. Even late at night, some cat should’ve been in this narrow alley of teetering, brick buildings and looming trees. He padded down the street. The next corner was why he was here. To see if the rumors were true.

The cat walked faster. Might as well get this over with, he thought.

He was there now. A rally seemed to be held around the next corner. The noises of shouting were faint, but there. If it was there, it was around that corner. Another twisting corner.

His black-furred head shone with fear. He looked around the corner and gasped with wild panic. The cats were rallying, doing the distinctive Rivercat salute. The bent paw in the air. The dark night muffled it, but there were definitely brown gloves on their paws. The symbol of hate. And finally, the claws going through them… that was new, but more terrifying.    

The snobbiness was gone now. This was pure terror.

He bolted away, leaving dust trails in his wake. He saw something he had been terrified of for seven awful years. He saw a gathering of cats who riled up hate, who tried to destroy and spread rumors. They were shouting and yelling curses, sending all cats running. Something was there. Even though Salem didn’t know it at the time, but the new Rivercats… the Calicons… had risen.


Chapter One: Pierre

Pierre yawned and stretched. The rabbit-fur mat twisted with his weight.

Pierre was a dark brown cat with black and gray fur. He also happened to be the mayor. His assistant, Tuber, a tom, walked across the log and stick floor. The work had started for the day. For this term, the Cantercats were in power.

“Good morning, Pierre.”

“Whatever, Tuber. Get on with the search for the foxes.”

Pierre was not in a good mood. The troublemaking Ultra-plant wannabe farmers were protesting again. They wanted Ultra-plants to be legal for spraying on their crops as fertilizer as if Ultra-plants were not being sold and farmed illegally by some of the biggest street gangs in the city-state! As if they weren’t a danger to public health! As if they would actually get their stupid Ultra-plants by kidnapping dangerous foxes and setting them loose!

Ultra-plants caused respiratory problems, possibly even causing lung destruction (cancer to us humans) and there was no way to stop it. The reasons for having Ultra-plants was that they made crops grow like crazy. And the foxes. They were kidnapped, brutally and inhumanly, (violating to the point of destroying the 1956 Fox Sympathy Act, Pierre thought bitterly), and released on the street, leaving cats in critical condition or dead. In Pierre’s and many other cat’s opinions, the farmers that wanted Ultra-plants were terrorists with no moral standards. In the farmer’s opinion, it was a freedom struggle.

However, if one crossed over, he would hear him or her out. Pierre might be an angry fireball, but he wasn’t biased.

Tuber stepped out of the way and let Pierre mentally vent. Pierre headed to the next room and pulled aside Tanters, the head security she-cat.

“Salem has security… right?”

The “right” in that was not a question. It was a snarl. It would be just like Ultra-plant farmers to do something to Salem.

“Your brother is all right.” Tanters looked him calmly in the eye. “He will be fine.”

“Good. I really hope that’s true.” Pierre clearly needed some catnip.

Salem was a black cat and a diplomat. He was traveling into “Ultra-plant farmer” territory to make a speech against Ultra-plants in three days. And that used to be Rivercat territory…

The Rivercats were evil cats who absolutely hated solid gray cats. They loved attacking and killing them. They had ruled just seven years ago.

He pushed that away. He kept walking. He downed a Stick Nut (restricted) and heavily sugared catnip. Breakfast really was the most important meal of the day.

But he couldn’t push one thing away. He had a feeling something would happen, and his gut was never wrong.


Chapter Two: What Is This?

Three days later…

Pierre spit his catnip out as he walked into the room of public relations. There was chaos! Cats were running everywhere, some even using the new fangled “telephone.” Things were crashing, and stick pads were flying. Some cats were relaying information to others, and others were frantically running and shouting in and out of the room, seemingly to get new information. Pierre’s eyes widened. What could have happened to cause this?

An official spotted Pierre. “I know what you’re thinking: What is going on? Well, guess what? Some type of… some type of… some type of Ultra-plant rights terrorist group marched in what the humans call ‘the mall.’ Cats are terrified. This hasn’t happened since… (he gulped) the Rivercats were around!”

Pierre forgot about his spilled catnip. He rushed and raced, getting the details as the news cats came in. Tools flew, and cats stumbled. The story slowly pieced together. Somebody had collected known criminals and Ultra-plant wannabes and marched together. But it wasn’t the remaining fragments of the Rivercats. It was something… new. But similar. This group wanted to destroy… democracy? Pierre stared at the news cats. Who would willingly impose dictatorship besides the dictator(s)? Pierre found the answer. They would kill anybody who resisted. Tom, she-cat, or child. They were ruthless.

“Calm down!” Pierre yelled. The room quieted down almost immediately. “Security, I need four of you!”

Four cats scurried into the room. One, the leader, came with a gun. Pierre looked at them thankfully.

“I’m going to the mall.”

Pierre wanted that to be a dramatic line. It didn’t work. When the entire room plunged into chaos again, he left the room.

The bright light stunned Pierre. He was pleasantly surprised by the falling leaves. He turned to one of his guards and said, “Nice leaves, huh? I didn’t know they fell in August.”

“It’s September.”

Pierre continued on, making sure to put his back to the offending guard. The trail was winding and slippery and dotted with human homes. Of course, Pierre could walk through the streets. There had long been a treaty for that with the humans.

Pierre reached the mall. Square and expansive, there was a reason it was called the “heart of Atlasai.” Tall metal buildings soared into the sky, some as old as 2027.

But the buildings didn’t matter. Pierre saw a… ward leader? (Atlasai was split into different sections, called wards.) He was saying something to a crowd. The five cats listened in.


The cats listening started walking away. The ward leader scowled and started to dismount from his podium. A few other ward leaders appeared and started to stalk away with the first.

“Hold on,” Pierre told his protectors. “I’m going to follow them. Alone.”

The guards tried to protest, but Pierre silenced them.

What was this?


He needed to hurry up or he’d miss this odd meeting of the ward leaders. What were they doing?

Were they trying to help the extremists? How dare they. Or were the mysterious “Calicons” a new political party… one they belonged to? Pierre clawed an imaginary ward leader. He’d literally ran on the platform. I won’t lie to you or exploit your fear.

Pierre found the place where they were going. Tall oak trees dominated the sky, as if they were humongous brown towers. Stone walls surrounded the area. No one can hear us here, he thought. That’s not a good sign.

The ward leaders came into view, all of them old and most of them marmalade orange.

“Hello,” the first one said. His smile was not friendly.

“Let’s get to the point. What is this about?” Pierre replied. His fur began to itch.

“Through some research, we found out that this group that marched into the mall are called the Calicons. They are powerful cats that are extremely ruthless. We (he gestured to his cronies) believe that we should tell the public about them.”

Was this a set up?

“Look, I caught you advocating for the Calicons. You want me to threaten the public! You know how I feel about manipulation.” Pierre was now talking in a low and gravelly tone. He was threatening now.

The leader was undeterred. “So you want to play it the hard way. Fine, we can do that. I, as the leader of the Calicons, demand that you recognize them as a separate state and cede us some territory.”

Pierre practically shot out his last words. “I will never do it, even if my life is at stake!”

At the same time, Tuber broke into the gathering. He was practically sweating his fur off.

“Something’s wrong. We’ve lost contact with Salem.”

“What!” Pierre spun around, shocked. “But how could anything have gone wrong?”

The leader just smiled, rolling in his genius of timing. “You idiots are so easy to manipulate. Of course you would have to go to the mall! Of course you would have to follow me! This was all planned, foxian. Anyway, you have ten days to hand over Atlasai. After that, I invade.” He smirked. “If your life doesn’t concern you, perhaps your brother’s does?”

He pranced away, leaving Pierre stunned in his wake.


Chapter Three: Salem

Salem pushed through the crowd. He couldn’t sleep ever since he saw the gathering, and the speech was today.

Another cat ran up to him. “Get away, you little demonizing arsonist!” she snarled.

“Have you seen yourself lately?” Salem swatted the she-cat with his paw.

Who knows how much trouble that would get him in.

Salem kept his head down. I am the brother of the mayor, he repeated over and over. I am the brother of the mayor.

He cleared his throat and walked to the podium. He looked at his bodyguard, with one last check on security.

“Is everything okay?” he projected evidently.

“Don’t worry, sir,” she said. “Everything is alright.”

Salem took a sigh of relief and walked forward to finally begin the speech.

“The idea of using Ultra-plants as conductive fertilizer is preposterous,” he began, “the issues with public safety are terrifying. Statistics from municipalities that do allow this monstrous plant to grow show there is a 9% increase in deaths and severe injuries that have been appropriately linked back to the respiratory problems Ultra-plants cause, not even mentioning unrecorded… what the?”

Who knows how many more ten-dollar words Salem would have thrown around if it weren’t for the whooshing noise made by something rushing past his throat. That something, Salem realized in horror, was an attack on him. Not meant to kill him, but kidnap him. He jumped off the podium and ran, an oddly organized mob chasing him. This is the start of a war, he realized a few minutes before his brother did.

Salem looked back. His heart pulsed. The monster was chasing him, its teeth of human “rifles” firing, pulling ahead.

He kept running. The gap was closing. The monster behind him was closing in, drooling and slobbering and shooting its “rifles” after him. Salem tried to pull out of its reach. He succeeded. He ran free and the monster gave up its chase.

Salem kept going. He bolted, and after an eternity, a familiar wire fence, twisted, barbed and ugly, came into sight. He sighed and rounded the corner.

The monster popped out again. Salem gasped, his fur flying straight up. The animal, albeit smaller, was definitely there. He rounded the corner, a dart sizzling through his fur.

He gasped, another drooling beast in front of him. He was trapped. How could this be? He was the brother of the mayor. He was upper class. How could Salem get out? He pawed at the ground. Asphalt. The droolers advanced, waving nets. No windowsill on the brick wall. He tried a jump. Nothing. This was panic. Terror. A dart sizzled through a muscle. He felt his will drain. A net trapped him. This was it.

His captors were ruthless. He was gone.


Chapter Four: Whatever It Takes

Pierre swiveled back to his secretary. “The backstabbing little traitor! The little foxian! Pardon my language.”

The ward leader (Pierre never could remember his name) had never been on chummy-buddy terms with Pierre before (in fact, Pierre mistrusted him slightly) but he had never been an active traitor. He was another addition to the enemy list now, though, not someone you slightly dislike.

Something sank in. This was brother. This cat… he loved him. This was the cat he romped and played with when he was little. This cat was the one who brought him back from the brink when he was broken down, determined he was worthless. When others pushed him, ran him off, denounced him as a foxian… when he was nothing more than a shadow, the lone fighter against the Rivercats… he tried to stop it, but it wasn’t possible… tears spilled out. Everything he was, he owed to Salem, the one who filled the shadow, the one who took his side. He ignored Tuber, choked out everything that he’d worked half his life to confine to the depths of unknown, a secret kept to the grave.

No chance of that now. Pierre kept going. His heart melted, then cooled into hate.

Hate. He felt something surge through him, white, hot, and powerful. It lifted him up, striking a foe. Hate. Hate that pumped through him, causing everything to die or strengthen.

And then he changed again. The hate still lingered, but something new had arrived, just as he thought the hate would never end. Determination. He would do anything. Not a single rock would go unturned.

Pierre faced the sky. The heavens glared down at him, watching with a hawk’s eye. Pierre defied them.

“I’ll do whatever it takes,” he vowed. Whatever it takes.


Chapter Five: A Friend Is Precious

The prison was a miserable place. Spiders scurried around the earthen walls, and light was provided from intimidating torches. The sod dripped water, and no one seemed to care. A single, crude cell was in the very center of the room, with maybe enough room to keep a rabbit in. Salem was not going to have a nice stay at Hotel Calicon.

His captor prodded him. “Go on, now,” he said.

Salem obliged. He entered the cage, head spinning. Was this a dream?

A lot had happened in the past few hours. As Salem was knocked out, his captors dragged him through the neighborhood, which Salem would have noticed was now Calicon territory. Nobody even gave them a second glance.

Two other cats entered the room. One of them, obviously a follower of some sort, glanced at Salem.

“Do I have to guard him?” he whined. It was almost comical.

The other snorted. “Of course not, sweetie,” he mimicked. “Of course you do, you dolt! What are you going to whine about next, humans not stopping and stroking you?”

The first cat rose modestly. “Actually, I was planning on guarding him myself. I don’t want the prisoner dying of annoyance because our friend here is complaining about whatever the heck enters his head. That okay?”

The leader-cat snorted. “If you actually want to be here, I’ll let ya do that, but none of your little games, mister. Don’t get drunk and let him out.”

Salem perked his ears. If his guard had drinking issues, then he wanted to know.

“Yes, yes, I know, I know. And I’ve promised my loyalty to the Calicons, I’ll be careful.”

The leader finally relaxed. “Good,” he mumbled, then walked out, the other cat following him.

The other cat actually seemed to stiffen. “Bunch a worrywarts,” he grumbled. He laid back and stretched. “I think I’ll go to sleep.”

“Hold on,” Salem said, his fur returning to its normal position. “Um, why am I here?”

The other cat did something odd. He perked his ears up and looked around, scanning for danger. Nothing in the gloom. He kept his eyes on Salem, the faint torchlight glowing. He took a deep breath.

“We kidnapped you because you are the mayor’s brother,” he began, “and by holding you prisoner will force Pierre to give us control of the city. But there’s one more thing. We want to kill all of the gray cats. They are inferior and deserve to be wiped out. Call us the Rivercat’s successor, call us evil. We will take your city,” he shrugged. “That’s basically what all the big leaders say. Also, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that, so don’t tell anyone!”

Salem gulped. This was what the Rivercats dreamed of.

“But I’m not one of them. I’m part of their other side. The side that wants Ultra-plants for everyone. There is another side, you know.”

He turned around, ready to retire for the night.

“One last thing,” Salem called.

He turned around. “What?”

“What’s your name?”

“Branson. Just Branson. Now go to sleep, will you?”

And with that, he emitted a large yawn and fart that Salem would have preferred not happen.


Chapter Six: A Quest Begins

Pierre faced Tuber. “Now what?” It wasn’t a question.

Tuber shook slightly. “Well, we probably should make this known to the press. And the town criers.”

Pierre shook his head. “They probably already know. They know everything from those damn town criers.”

Tuber shook ever so slightly. “Sir, why don’t you send out an official search party? That could help.”

The mayor considered this. “Yes. Please do that. But I will never forgive myself if I don’t go look. Alone.”

Tuber didn’t waver this time. “Pierre, that is an awful idea. I will not let you go.”

Pierre seemed to consider this. Then he looked off in the distance, thinking about something.

“Tuber, have you ever had someone you like, or love, die?” Pierre said quietly.


“Well, I have. In Denvava, they would drop like flies, and there was nothing you could do to save them. And I swore to myself after that I would never let a cat die if there was something I could do about it. And I would break that promise if I didn’t go.”

Pierre was lost in the awful memories of unnecessary deaths and cruelty now.

“Now will you let me?”

Tuber said it unhesitatingly. “Yes, and I can do more than that. I know a fox. His name is Ivor, or Ivor Jr. He knows everything about everything, so he might have some dirt on Salem. He’ll, at the very least, give you good information about something.  

Tuber told Pierre the directions, and after a quick thank you, Pierre bounded off.


Pierre shivered. It was cold in this part of town. It was also a bit bleak, with soaring metal towers and parked human-transport machines all over the place. Humans scurried and raced all over the place, some talking to floating metal devices. Pierre looked around, but he couldn’t see a single bit of grass. Definitely bleak.

Pierre turned right at the alley Tuber told him to go to. At least there was green in this alley, Pierre thought. It was everything the big street was, just with a trickle of greenish liquid running through the middle of it.

Gingerly stepping on the asphalt, Pierre made his way to the end of the alley, where Ivor, the fox, lived. But here, there was an abundance of trees and grass. The uncharted forest. And right in the middle was a large, log and stick house.

Pierre went right up to it and bravely asked, “Is Ivor home?”

“Did someone call me?” Ivor poked his head out. “Who are you?” He looked quizzically at Pierre. “Are you a peddler or something?”

Pierre got a good look at Ivor. He had darker red fur, almost brown. He had a more masculine face, with a pointed snout and brown eyes. His fur was neatly cleaned, but not immaculate. His eyes showed slight annoyance at being interrupted, but he didn’t look like a cat-hater. Pierre wouldn’t have cared. He’d get it out of him, anyway.

But he also looked like an idiot and a coward. Good, Pierre thought. They normally have the best information because they stick their paws where they don’t belong.

Ivor glanced at him, his eyebrows furrowing. “I think I know you… maybe from the Truce meeting?” (All of the leaders of the animals gathered once every 2 months under a truce to discuss problems of Atlasai.)

Pierre cut him off and got straight to the point. “I don’t know if you know or care, but the Calicons, these ridiculous Rivercat loving dictator-wannabes have staged a coup on almost half of Atlasai, and it succeeded. And my brother has been kidnapped. I have nine days to get him back by giving the Calicons control over Atlasai, which I’ll do when hell freezes over. Please, my friend, Tuber, said you could help. Please!”

Pierre… was begging! Ivor drew back.

“Are you Pierre? Pierre? As in the cat’s mayor of Atlasai?”

His face contorted into puzzlement and awe, then changed into suspicion. “Prove it. I don’t want this falling into the wrong paws.”

He acted like he was being all honorable, but Pierre knew the truth. His eyes said it. He doesn’t want to lose his gossip monopoly, and he knows that politicians have better things to do.

Pierre drew a deep breath. Not everyone knew him on sight, he reminded himself.

“Look at this photo,” he said, shouldering past Ivor to get a random newspaper.

He showed him a photo with the caption: Mayor Pierre appears at opening of completed “telephone” wire.

“Does it look like me?”

Ivor frowned slightly. “I don’t need sarcasm. You need to come inside. I don’t want anyone else to hear.”

“Thank you! A grateful Atlasai gives its thanks to you.”

Ivor peered around the door before ushering the mayor inside. “First of all, I’m sorry to say I don’t know much. Who I do know is someone who has the dirt on anything humans know. He can read and speak man-talk. I’d sooner think dogs would be friendly to cats than him having anything. And you know how we foxes, and now that I think of it, you cats, think of dogs. Anyway, he’s a chicken, and his name is Gold-”

“I wouldn’t bad-mouth dogs if I were you,” said a gravelly voice outside the door.

Ivor jerked his head up and ran for a weapon, but it was hopeless. Ten dogs bursted into the room with guns and their paws on the trigger.

“In fact, I wouldn’t even say anything at all.”


Chapter Seven: Captured!

“What?” Ivor sputtered. “What is this?’

The leader grinned. “Lookie here, Ronan. His greatness majesty, Pierre or whatever, and a high ranking fox. The Calicons will like this. Ten thousand bucks for us!”

Then the leader frowned. “Separate them,” he ordered.

Instantly, four dogs surrounded Pierre and escorted him to a cart. Pierre tried to think of a plan. Was this what happened to Salem? He grew desperate as the distant cart grew nearer. Closer. Closer. What would happen if he got there? He decided to run. He prepared. The guards watched him with the eyes of a hawk. Now, Pierre thought. But something hit him in the leg. It was a paper flying machine.

Ivor was barely visible now, but it was obvious that he was saying, read this. Pierre looked down. What he saw lifted his spirits.

Dear Pierre, it said. Make sure you remember this.

The chicken’s name is Goldy. He looks like any other chicken, but you’ll be able to tell it’s him, for sure. Anyway, he is bound to be on the route the dogs are traveling. And yes, I know what you’re thinking. He is the fabled Golden Chicken, the one that lays priceless golden eggs.

He doesn’t know this, however. So this is what you should do. When you see him, run away from the dogs and shout, “I know why they call you the Golden Chicken!” He’ll almost certainly follow you. Good luck!

P.S. He strongly dislikes cats, so you have to be as non-threatening and friendly as possible. Also, DESTROY THIS NOTE!

Best regards, Ivor


Pierre sighed. Finally, a way out. Salem would be found and rescued.

But would it work?


Chapter Eight: Goldy or Bust

The cart went a long way. As it traveled, the hit dogs talked and laughed. Pierre did neither. He was thinking.

What would happen if this long shot paid off? Would he even get to Goldy?

Pierre suddenly realized how far-fetched this plan was. Goldy might not be there! One of the dogs might shoot him! Goldy might not follow him! But, as Pierre reminded himself bitterly, this was the only plan he had now.

The scenery started to change as the cart traveled into the city. A sunset appeared. This is the eighth day left, Pierre told himself glumly.

The cart slowed. One of the dogs called back, “You’re in our territory now. And in a few feet, you’ll be in our prison.”

Pierre looked at the note from Ivor again. Anyway, he is bound to be on the route the dogs are traveling. So where was he?

Pierre’s eyes scanned the area. Searching. Searching. Soon, a chicken came into view, chatting with a dog. Goldy, he realized. But why was he with a dog? That wasn’t in the plan.

The cart stopped. The dogs ordered him off. Now or never.

Pierre tensed up, feeling his heart rattle like a drum. He had worked this hard, he wasn’t going to get stopped now. He breathed. Salem.

One of the dogs realized something was wrong. “Guys…”

Sucker! Pierre bounded off, feeling the wind in his fur. He veered towards Goldy when a command came out. “Shoot him!”

Pierre had been shot at before. But nothing like this.

Bullets soared through the air. Goldy and the other dog leaped for cover.


Pierre leaped for joy! He had a chance.


Goldy turned to him. He could see his ideas in his eyes. He liked this dog, he mistrusted Pierre… and something else. A… master that betrayed him?

Then something changed. Goldy somehow saw it. He saw the intention.

His eyes softened. But were still kind of… hawkish.

“I’ll go with you… if you do something for me.”

Pierre rejoiced! The world faded away as he connected with Goldy, officially with him now. Dogs screamed and bullets whistled, but he and Goldy were together.

Pierre dusted himself off. He rose up, eyeing Goldy. “What are we waiting for? Let’s do this.”


Chapter Nine: Secrets

Pierre shivered. The place that Goldy picked, high in the Rocky Mountains, was cold.

And although he would never admit it, his fur was also crawling with bugs for another reason: Goldy’s demands. His “requests” (yeah, right, Pierre snorted) made him want to curl up and die. He shifted for the millionth time.

Goldy, on the other hand, looked quite comfortable. “Tell me this first. Why am I called the ‘Golden Chicken’?”

He looked so smug, demanding the truth, that Pierre silently cussed. Cheating little foxian, power hungry fool, who calls himself the impossibly infuriating cutesy name Goldy!

He took it back. What on Earth was he thinking, insulting the chicken who was going to get his brother back?

“Well, there’s no real good way to say this. You are the…”

Pierre choked up. He felt as if memories, ancient memories, were drowning him. Goldy began to blur. A cat came to mind.



He awoke to Goldy leaning over him, his face one of concern. His eyes were haunted.

“You were just trying to use me,” Pierre realized. “You were just trying to get what you wanted.”

Goldy didn’t even try to deny it.

“I was determined to get your information,” he said. “I was told that you were evil. I tried to use you.”

Tears bubbled up.

“I was told you were wrong. I was told you were immoral. I was told that you were corrupt. But when you passed out, I saw how helpless you are. Alone in this world, with nobody but Salem.”

Then something remarkable happened. Pierre began to speak.

“I just was determined to get Salem back. No matter the cost, no matter how many lives were trashed or taken.”

“You’re the Golden Chicken.”

“Salem’s at Massachusetts Avenue. Watch out.”

Pierre began to go off, but turned around.

“Thank you, Goldy.”

A couple magical words.


Read Part Two here!


Princess Sadie and the Time Machine

One day, Princess Sadie the dog was walking through her garden with her servant. Sadie had a bow and a pearl necklace, and her fur streamed down her cheeks. She stopped to smell something in the ground.

“I smell something weird!” she said.

She started to pull it out of the ground. It was very heavy.

“May I help you?” asked the servant.

So, the servant pulled it out. It was big and made of metal. It was shaped like a round door with glowing, purple goo inside with diamond patterns! It had a spinning panel on the side that had random numbers.

“It’s a time machine!” said Sadie.

What?!” yelled the servant.

“That’s right!” said Sadie happily.  

When she went into the castle, the servant stayed outside.

“I want to be king, not Sadie’s servant!” he whispered to himself.

“You coming?” asked Sadie.

“In a moment, Your Highness!” yelled the servant from the garden.

They both went inside. Sadie went to take a nap while the servant went to his room.

“I, Charles Edward Farbio the Fifth, will be king if I use the time machine, and Sadie will  be my servant! Muahaha!” yelled the servant excitedly.

The next morning, at 3 am, the servant snuck out to where the time machine was. Creek! The servant had stepped on a wiggly floor board.

What was that?!” yelled Sadie.

She went downstairs. She stopped at the servant’s room, but he was not there. But, what Sadie did see was the servant’s plan to be king!

“What the… oh no!” Sadie realized what the servant was planning.

She ran downstairs to the garden. The servant stepped inside the time machine when, unexpectedly, Sadie jumped in a second later!!

Sadie?!” screamed the servant.

“I saw your plans, and you are not getting away with it!” said Sadie.

They arrived at the day Sadie’s mom was born. She was in the old hospital. The castle looked new and shiny. The bed was covered in blankets with roses on them. There was a doctor, nineteen servants, and a chef standing around the bed. Sadie’s grandma was beautiful. She had a crown, a nice dress, and jewelry. Her belly was big because she had lots of brothers and sisters.

Charles was around the corner with a bag, waiting for the right moment to spring out and snatch Sadie’s mom. Sadie put her paws on the servant’s shoulders.

“You were going to kidnap my mother to stop her from being queen?!” shouted Sadie angrily.

“Well yes… no… fine. Yes,” said the servant.

“Oh! That’s why you were happy when we pulled the time machine out!” Sadie shouted.

She wanted to go back home. She thought, I need that servant to get us back home! Then, Sadie had a sneaky idea.

“Well, I guess I will get new servants,” said Sadie.

That got the servant’s attention.

“N-new servants?” asked the servant.

“That’s right! New servants!” said Sadie.   

“Why would you do that?” asked the servant.

“Because you’re hard working, and you never get a rest!” said Sadie.

“What can I do to make you hire new servants?” said Charles.

“Well…” said Sadie.

And they were back in the present in the castle with new servants.



Newton the newt was a strange newt. For instance, he lived in a hole by a roadside lake next to a farm, and his best friend was a cow named Jim.

Newton also got the leftovers of Jim’s grass. It was delicious. One morning, he was drinking his coffee, and a bit of his dirt ceiling fell in it.

“Bad luck,” Newton muttered.

Five minutes later, Newton romped over the road to visit Jim.

“Jim! Dude! Where are you?”

Usually Jim answered with a friendly moo. Maybe he was still asleep? No, he never slept over six. It was kind of crazy, really. Still, maybe he was scared the farmer would let the other cows start grazing without him.

Newton looked everywhere. Jim was not there. When he was about to give up, he found one of the other cows.

“Hey, Jacob!”


“Have you seen Jim?”

“Moo. Moooo, moo moo moo.”

“Alright, thanks.”

This was troubling. Newton searched all over the area but did not find Jim. He was crying in his hole when a wise old gila monster clomped over to him.

The gila monster said, “What is your sadness?”

Newton replied, “I cannot find my only friend, Jim the cow.”

The gila monster said, “Ah, yes, I see him. Brown, is he not?

Newton nodded.

“I see him in the depths of the concrete jungle, eating through the goliath red fruit.”

Then, the gila monster disappeared in a poof of smoke. Newton stopped crying. He was puzzled by the words of the gila monster. To try to learn more about what the concrete jungle and the goliath red fruit were, he started reading human magazines.

After around a month, he finally found an ad that said, “Come see the big apple! Train tickets to see the concrete jungle on sale!” It was displaying a picture of New York City.

A day later, Newton stole some money from the farmer’s house and then took a ride on the train. Since he didn’t want the conductor to see him, he just put the money in his pocket. He slept his way into Grand Central Terminal. Then he scurried his way outside.

Before we go on, you should know that Newton was born with a strange phobia of loud or echoing places.

Now, when Newton entered Grand Central, he immediately and completely freaked out. He screamed so loud, and said some things that should not be said in Newtish, and made enough noise for even a human to spot a three inch long, camouflaged amphibian. These people did when Newton was rushing between people’s legs to get out of the train station.

As soon as he got out, Newton almost fainted in relief. He tried to thumb a taxi, which did not go very well, so he sat on the side of the sidewalk, trying to think of a place Jim would go.

Just then, a truck labeled “BOB’S GRASS AND OTHER GREENERIES” passed. Newton thought, grass! Jim loves grass! and then did a daredevil leap to the top of the truck, where he proceeded to take a nap.

The truck had stopped in Bob’s parking lot. Newton woke up, jumped off, and then stalked up to the garden. He had arrived just in time to see animal control drive off with Jim! Newton rushed to jump on the back of the truck, where he used his own head as a keyhole, opened the door, and rescued Jim. They ran off together and when they had gotten far enough, Newton asked, “Jim, how’d you get here?!”

Jim replied, “Oh, I don’t know, just took the 2:56 and went from there.”

Newton sighed. Jim never had an explanation for anything. They walked one more block until Jim moaned, “Oh, no.”

Newton looked to the other side of the block. There sat a loud diner, where a bunch of drunk men were staring at Jim. Suddenly, Newton understood.

The red-faced chef hunkered over to Jim, inspected him, and walked back to the diner. He came back out shortly with a bloody cleaver and a strange look on his face.

Jim was horrified and bolted down the block with Newton on his back, both of them screaming at the top of their lungs. The chef chased them until he had to stop for another sip of whisky. Jim and Newton finally lost the chef by using the time he was wasting.

Jim panted, “Where are we?”

Newton replied, “Atlantic, and it’s 11:00.”

It was great at night when no one was around, until the pair remembered that they had to somehow sneak onto a train in Grand Central. Just then, they heard a rustle. Jim looked down. Newton looked up.

“Put your hands up!”

“Where did you come from?”

“Wait… Jim?”

It was George, the long lost cow that had escaped from the farm years ago! He seemed to be leading an animal sewer gang.

George said to his friends, “Lower the harpoons.”

Newton asked, “Where did you get harpoon guns? Why are you here?”

He replied, “We, uh, found them. Also, Farmer Bob wasn’t giving me enough pasture time.”

“According to street pirate rules, you are our hostages. I guess, do you want to be taken to our lair, or do you want to be brutally killed?”

Newton said, “I think we would prefer option A.”

When they had arrived, they almost puked from the uncleanliness.

George said royally, “Welcome to my kingdom!”

Newton said, “Hey, George? We should probably leave. You know, back to the farm.”

George grinned wickedly. “Oh, no. The fun has just begun! Begun!”

Jim said, “Uh, you just said begun two times.”

“Yes! That is because I am calling the name of my giant, poisonous snake pet to eat you!”

Jim and Newton raced to the exit. Begun chased them through the sewer drain, out of the pothole, to the bus, after the bus, into an office building, out of the office building, back on the bus, and all over town.

The next morning, Jim and Newton had lost the snake, hiding in a garbage bin in front of a store with a newspaper in the window. The newspaper headline said, “GIANT SNAKE WREAKS HAVOC DOWNTOWN.”

After checking both ways, the pair sprinted all the way to Grand Central, where they caught the 12:36 train. It was a fairly uneventful trip, except for the time when a man reached under the seat, inches away from Jim’s face.

They arrived at the station, walked by the side of the road, took a grass break, and safely arrived in the barn.

Jim said,“Goodnight, Mooton.”

This was Jim’s nickname for Newton.

Newton replied, “Goodnight, Jim.”


An Animal War in Heaven: Master’s Secret


“Come boy.”

Master shook some bread crumbs in front of me. I followed the trail of bread into the chicken coop.

“Good boy,” Master said as he closed the door shut. “My golden chicken,” he said.

I smiled at Master. He always says this.  

“My golden chicken.”

I didn’t get why he always does. Every time Master said it, I would look at my feathers. I looked just like the others: a brown and red body, and a yellow beak and legs.

Yes, my legs and beak were yellowish, but all the other chickens had yellow legs. That night, I thought about what he said.

“My golden chicken.”

Little did I know what I would encounter…


Chapter One: Extra

Night came, and Master came to us and gave all the chickens a pile of bread crumbs. He looked at me and smiled.

“You need to get big,” he said.

He took two handfuls of breadcrumbs and placed them in front of me. What was weird is that he’d always give me an extra pile of breadcrumbs and say, “You have to get bigger,” even though I was as big as all the other chickens.

“Stupid chicken,” Bobby Chicken said to me.

“You don’t even lay any eggs, why does Master give you more food?” Joey Chicken was glaring at me.

“He is special to the master,” Mickey Chicken said. “He is the golden chicken, you owe him your allegiance.”

“Stupid,” said Bobby Chicken under his breath.

I stared at my food, and after a ton of seconds, I kicked one of the piles in front of Mickey Chicken.

“You take it,” I said.

“No,” Mickey said. “These crumbs are for you.”

I stared at him.

He looked at me and said, “You’re the special chicken!”

I ate my food and felt bad for the other chickens.

Why am I getting this, I thought, I don’t even lay eggs. Bobby Chicken is right. I am a stupid chicken.


Chapter Two: The Landlord

Bang bang bang. Gunfire rang around as village houses got blown to bits by single bullets. Two kid chicks took a look at their parents, hugged them, and ran. They went past the forest, crossing over miles of plains, hills, and mountains. Chased by the man…

One of the kid chicks was small and was crying on the back of his much older brother. At the town, that was nearing destruction, all the adult chickens gathered together with their hunting bows. The kids’ parents were there too. The bows only caused wounds to the man. The chickens were all killed.

Meanwhile, the two chicks found a big cottage. They hid in it.

Thump. Thump. There was a man at the door…

“Good Morning!” Master yelled. “Time to get up!”

I woke up, relieved. I didn’t want to know what was going to happen next in that nightmare. As usual, Master handed me an extra pile of chicken food.

At noon, I watched as Master put his briefcase into the tractor and walked back into the house.

How weird, I thought. It’s not harvesting time yet.

“Let’s go follow him,” said Bobby Chicken.

“Bad idea, what happens when we get caught?!” yelled Mickey Chicken.

But Bobby Chicken was already gone. I stared at Bobby Chicken, then at Mickey Chicken. I took one last look at Bobby Chicken and couldn’t stand it. I ran into the tractor and hid under the hay. Master returned, whistling. He got in the tractor and drove off.


“Where do you think he’s going?” Bobby whispered.

“Don’t know,” I hissed back.

An hour passed, and we were driven into town. Master parked the tractor and walked into a door that had a sign that said “The Landlord of Lakon.”

Master saw another man. They started to talk to each other. Bobby could not understand the man talk. But I could.

“Mr. Canato,” the other man said. “Why have you not turned in your money?!”

“My crops got destroyed in a storm, sir,” Master said.

“That is no excuse, the other farmers have turned in their money!” the other man yelled.

“Just give me three months, and you’ll have your money,” said Master.

“But if you don’t, you will give me the gold.”

“Yes, sir,” said Master.

“I am not so easily convinced!” said the other man.

“I promise. I have to go sir, so I thank you for your kindness. Goodbye,” said Master, and he walked back to the tractor.


Master’s expression did not look good. He took off his hat and then started walking back to the house. He stopped and twitched as Bobby Chicken and I hid quickly under the hay.

“I think we can go now,” said Bobby Chicken.

“I don’t think it’s safe,” I said.

“We got into this tractor, we can get out of it too,” Bobby Chicken replied.

Without thinking, Bobby Chicken ran out. The hay fell back on my head, and there was darkness again.
Listen to Mickey Chicken, I thought. He’s the smartest. But Bobby didn’t do what he was supposed to, and he still got into this tractor. No, listen to Mickey, he’s the one to trust. Don’t be a guilty one. Well, how am I supposed to get to the chicken coop without sneaking there?

That was it, I was going.

I prepared myself to jump. You got this, I thought. The sooner, the bet-

“Goldy Chicken!” Master yelled, picking me up. “What mischief have you and Bobby been doing in my tractor?”

He put me in the coop and didn’t give me any food. All the other chickens got two piles, even Bobby Chicken. Master had never been this angry.

Once I came into the house and broke a bunch of plates. Master picked me up and scolded me. But you could obviously see that he wasn’t that angry.  Why would he get angry about this when he didn’t get angry about the dishes?

Maybe it was because I now know about the money? It couldn’t be… why would he care about me doing these things? Does he even know I can understand man talk? How come Bobby is not in trouble? The questions swirl in my mind, and I hid my head as Bobby and Joey teased me continuously. Was it the gold?


Chapter Three: The Secret Diary

Master came in with his basket to get the eggs. Of course, some random scientist found a way to make male chickens lay eggs. Bobby had eggs, Joey had eggs, so did Mickey, and I just sat here, stumped.

Weeks slowly passed. For some reason, Master got more and more depressed. I was tired of being this special chicken. It was probably my brother. Yeah, that’s all he cares about, it ain’t me. If it weren’t for him, I bet Master would have me eaten in no time. What happened to my brother? He died of old age, but now I am 10 years older than my brother was when he died. Am I wrong? Is there actually something special about me?

Night came, and I was determined to find out why I was special compared to the other chickens. Master went to sleep in no time. I was ready. I waited for seven hours, and then I went to the house.

Creak! The door slowly opened, and I walked inside. I jumped on the table, and looked at the bookshelf, and walked back and forth, looking for it.

The Fellowship of the Ring

Killer Angels

Little Women

Pride and Prejudice

Harry Potter

To Kill a MockingBird

Then I saw it. The little notebook stuck out from the shelf just a tiny bit. I looked at it. It said “Charles’s Diary.”

I peered into it. There were tons of Master’s writing. The first date was 11/12/2023.

That makes no sense, I thought. It’s the year 2155. Even so, I continued reading. It said:


 It’s my 10th birthday! This is my first time writing in this diary that aunt Rebecca just gave me. I’m so glad to have this. Today I got cake and ice cream. It was very fun. All my friends came over, and we played tons of fun games.


I got it. This was all of his entries about his life since his tenth birthday. Quickly, I scrolled through the pages and saw an entry that I stopped at.


This is my 15th birthday. Mom has given me my first pet: a chicken. I named him Goldy Chicken because he’s very cute. Mom says so, and he is my favorite chicken. We found Goldy and his brother in the barn. They were very afraid of us. When they looked at us, Goldy was crying. Mom said to name him Goldy. When I asked her why, she just said, “It’s Magic.”


Magic? I thought, I’m not magic at all! Is it magic that makes me the weak chicken? Is it magic that makes me lay no eggs! IS IT!-

Ring. Ring. Master’s alarm clock buzzed as I heard him yawn very loudly. I hopped off of the desk.

Whump! I quickly ran out of the house and back into the coop. The chickens were still sleeping in the coop when I quickly hopped in and pretended to snooze.

In no time, Master came out and started feeding us.


Chapter Four: Tears

It had been three months since I saw Master’s diary. Today Master got into his car and zoomed off. There was no time to get into the car.

“Where do you think Master is going?” said Bobby.

“Dunno,” I said.

When Master came back, he jumped off the car.

“F@#$,” he yelled. “That stupid landlord.”

He kicked the dust and walked into the house.

“What did he say?” asked Bobby.

“Blofer, that stupid landlord,” I said.

“Why would you say that?!” says Bobby.

Night came, and Master came to feed us very late.

Everybody got their pile of food, but Master took me out to the woods and put the sack of chicken food in front of me.

“Whenever you see a man,” Master said, “RUN!”

Tears rolled down Master’s eyes as he started to walk away.

“I always will love you. You’re my golden chicken,” he said as he walked away.

My head started to swirl with thoughts. Tears started to roll down my eyes. Everything in sight turned into an unending blur.

I didn’t eat this night, all I did was sit and think. The trees rustled in the wind. Animals walked through the forest.

My fear was cats. The cats were large predators for us. They would always want birds as their meat. How do I know?

I witnessed it myself. When I was a little kid,  my grandpa was my greatest pal, after, of course, my brother and dad. He took care of my brother and me for a whole year! He did it while my parents were gone. I didn’t know where they went actually. Anyways, one day, a cat came to our village. Grandpa told everyone to hide in the woods. He was the chief. Some legends said that he laid a golden egg once, giving every kid he fathered the ability to lay them too. But, of course, that was all fake. The cat attacked him and killed him before he could negotiate peace.

We attacked. Other chickens got killed. Five chickens were killed before the cat got tired and walked off.

Then I thought, Why did Master free me?


Chapter Five: Trapped in Terror

I satt in the forest for two days, not eating a single piece of chicken food. Finally, I felt like it was time. I was going back to Master. It was very hard to decide to, but I knew that there was some predator that wanted to eat me out there.

Late night came, and I was going to walk into the chicken coop and sleep when nobody else saw me. I started walking, imagining the lovely time I spent on the farm. But then I saw a little red glow in the side of the farm.

Fwoom! All of a sudden, the barn was set on fire, burning in a big, red glow. The crops were set on fire as soldiers walked into the house and looted everything. I stared at the terrifying sight, and my beak dropped open.

I heard screaming in the house. I felt the terror fall over me. I couldn’t bear it, and bit my wing, hoping it was just a dream..

It wasn’t. I closed my eyes until the sight was over. By that time, I was asleep.


Morning came, and rain came down on the still burning farm. Soldiers stood guard, playing cards. I knew soon I would need to run. The soldiers would soon find me and kill me.

Noon came, and the soldiers walked off. I had to see Master. I had to see if he was alive. I went into the house, hoping Master was still alive. The ashes were still very hot, burning my feet.

I went into the almost gone house, nothing was left. Tears slowly dripped down my face. I navigated myself to the almost gone chicken coop. It was the worst sight I had ever seen.

“Blofer!” I yeledl.

The hot ashes of the other chickens burned my eyes. I walked back into the house.

“I know there is a good man in this world besides Master,” I said. “Show them to me, brother. Show them to me!”

Thump! Thump! Thump! I heard the soldiers as they came back, carrying long sticks that threw iron projectiles.

Should I run? I thought, No, it’s too risky. But how am I ever supposed to get out of here before they search the place and find me?

The men were just turning into the house before I ran upstairs and into the dining room. It was empty too…


Chapter Six: Captured

Nights passed, and the soldiers still kept guard, chatting day after day. One night, something I heard made my ear twitch…

“Say, Luke, have you found that gold Sarge wanted?” one soldier said.

“Nope, we’re never going to find that,” another said.

“Sarge said we would get $100,000 if we found that gold,” a third one cut in. “He says each missing day, it’s $10,000 off! We got two days before he gonna start counting. We better find that dumb gold.”

“Your stupid little money isn’t my problem!” the second one said.

The three soldiers started fist fighting, knocking each other with their long, iron projectile throwing sticks. Now was my chance to escape.

I ran down the stairs and climbed up the table, spotted a broken window, and jumped out. I snuck to the edge of the house and looked to see if the way was clear. I ran off, back towards the woods. Suddenly the soldiers stopped fist fighting.

“Hey, look,” one said, “it’s one of the farm animals that we didn’t capture.”

“Yeah, like you ‘accidentally’ burned down all the other chickens,” the third one said.

“Well, we might as well take one of the chickens captive,” the second one said. “Let’s get it!”

Soon the soldiers started chasing after me. I started sprinting so fast, I thought that my legs would fall off. They were almost on top of me. I didn’t think I could run any faster. I ran even faster, but I didn’t think I could for much longer.

Just before my legs fell off, one of the soldiers picked me up. They put me in a jeep and we drove off.  

You’re going to be killed, I thought. It might be worse. You could be tortured till they are done with you and kill you.

Then I stopped. Why think about any of this? There is no use to think about how they’re going to kill you. You might as well spend a good time in the last few hours of your life in the world.

A newspaper was sitting in the Jeep. I was very bored, so I started reading it. The front page was missing from the paper. I looked at the sports section, which was boring. I read an animal page:


There has been a cat, named Salem, that has gone missing. It is the brother of Pierre, the mayor of Atlasai. What we do know is that his brother is being held by the Calicons. However, we have not informed Pierre of any of this. The President does not allow it. We will not let you tell. Salem was making a speech on “Ultra Plant territory” when he was shot by a poison dart. He is being held in a underground room in the Rocky Mountains near the Lemhi Pass. The Calicons have paid us $1,000,000 so we don’t tell any cat about the case. Punishment if caught is death without trial.

President: Military Secret Service


This sounded good. It looks like a cat’s life is at risk. Then I thought about how the soldiers were probably going to torture me again. I then thought about how they had killed Master, and all the animals.

I tried to get the flash of the barn setting on fire and the soldiers out of my head, but I couldn’t. It just played over and over again. I felt like I was going berserk when the jeep came to a stop.

I looked out. It was the same place that Master had gone. The town of Lakon. I watched the sign that I recognized, it said, “Landlord of Lakon.” I glared at the sight of the same person that met with Master.

He lied to Master, I thought. Reca Milatoo. (A Chicken Boy word… you don’t want to know what it means.)

The soldiers picked me up and brought me into the building, and the landlord stood there, hitting his fingers on a board that had letters drawn on it.

“Mr. Smith,” one of the soldiers said,“we took one of the chickens.”

“Very well, here is your $5,000 bucks,” said the landlord. “Go put him with the others.”


Chapter Seven: Langston

The soldiers took me into a room. There were cages and murder machines. I saw a pig missing his tail and one of his legs. The soldiers threw me in a cage.

Days passed, and I felt terror as more and more animals got tortured. I always thought of when I was going to get tortured, but there was a dog that cheered me up. His first name was Langston, but he never told me his last name. He was very smart and kind. The first thing he ever said to me was, “I’ve been looking for you.”

After three days I remembered that there was a rivalry between dogs and cats. So I decided to ask him something I would have never asked…

“Do you know about Pierre?” I asked. “The Mayor of Atlasai?”

Langston looked at me with a frown. “That cat from Atlasai?”

I nodded.

“Yes,” he said. “That was back in the 1900’s. My great-great-great grandfather was there.”

I was puzzled but kept listening.

“We were at war with the cats. They were and still are outlaws. The war once came to his village, and they murdered him when he had his paws up.”

I stared in awe.

On the sixth day, my name was up on the board. So was Langston’s…

Chicken #3: Legs cut off, beak slit, right wing cut off.

Dog #5: Tail cut off, front legs cut off.

I looked at the machines of torture, so did Langston.

“What should we do?” I asked Langston.

“We’re gonna run…” he said.


The clock ticked towards 11:00. One hour till my punishment. Now was the time.

Langston and another dog had dug a tunnel from under his cell to mine. The cells connected to the sewer. As the clock hit 11:30, we started. Another dog named Nick was also in the plot. When the guy came in to feed everyone, Nick started to bark as loud as possible. This caused a distraction for the guard. As the guard walked over to Nick, Langston and I made for the tunnels. But then the guard turned around and saw us.

“HEY YOU!!! GET BACK HERE!” he yelled.

He came to Langston’s cage, which had the biggest tunnel. Nick dove into his tunnel and climbed down.

“Over by cell for dog number five,” I heard the guard saying into his walkie talkie.

Langston scratched at the guard and continued down the tunnel. Suddenly more guards came in, carrying the iron throwing sticks. They shot at the cages and rushed down Nick’s and Langston’s tunnel, shooting as they went.  

I ran down my tunnel, iron projectiles whizzing around me. I splashed into the water as the tunnel entered the sewer that was flowing with water. I saw Langston as I peered into the sewer line and followed him to the right.

“Where’s Nick?!” I asked.

“He’s probably way in front of us,” Langston said as we trudged through the water.

Splash! Splosh! Water sprayed all over my face as bullets hit the water and clattered on the iron surface.

“This way!” yelled Langston, and we trudged into a different tunnel.

A ladder stood at the dead end of the sewer. We started to climb. I heard yelling behind us. The guards were on our tail. I got up the ladder and opened the sewage latch. Nothing was in sight of any danger.

“Coast clear,” I whispered. “Go! Go!”

Langston and I jumped out of the sewer system and went into the alley.

“We got to get out of Lakon,” I said, panting.

“I know,” said Langston. “But first, we got to find Nick!”

We took to the streets, chased by the guards. We found ourselves going the wrong direction, towards the center of town. Another sewage system was there. Langston thought that Nick came from that system. We opened the hatch, hoping to see Nick. There was no sign of him. But there was a patch of foot prints that led off from to the sewer.

“Follow them!” yelled Langston, and we followed the footprints, chased by the guards…


Chapter Eight: Nick

We got into an open alley, which was completely empty. We reached the end of the alley and turned right. There Nick stood, hiding behind a garbage can.

“The guards are not far behind us,” said Langston. “We’ll all be way past dead if we don’t leave now! You go with Goldy to the left, Nick. I will lead them the other way.”

“You can’t do that! You’ll get killed!” said Nick.

“Well if we stay together, we all ought to die!” yelled Langston.

Whiz! Crack! A bullet flew at the trash.

The guards were back on us. This time they had a huge car with a huge iron projectile throwing stick on it.

Before I could even say, “Run!” I was sprinting off with Nick.

“Down!” yelled Nick.

My feathers blew as a huge, giant iron projectile flew overhead and exploded behind us.

Before us sat a trash can with a button to push, causing all the wheels to move automatically.

“Get in the can!” yelled Nick, and I ran for the can.

Not a second later, Nick dove in, and we started driving off. The bullets only dented the can. The can smelled disgusting, but it provided great cover, and I had only a right to laugh at the guards. Soon we reached the rendezvous point outside of town, west of the Lapondenakomaka Mountains.

“They stopped following us,” Nick said, as we ran into the woods. “Take some rest. We got to wait for Langston.”

Then we stopped. Where was Langston?


Nightfall came, and Langston still hadn’t appeared. We gave him directions to the woods at the exact rendezvous point, which had a clearing. Worry spread between Nick and me. He had taken the shorter route and was a faster runner than Nick.

“We need to find him!” said Nick.

“I would not do such a thing,” I said. “If we get caught, we will have an even more severe punishment.”

“I can’t bear this, he could have been captured, and then I don’t know what the guards are going to do to him,” said Nick.

“Nor can I,” I said. “But I know he will make it out. He’s a smart and fast dog.”

Then at that moment, Langston came out. It was not a very good sight to see him. An iron projectile had entered his back.

“Langston, what happened to you?” I asked.

“No time for questions,” said Langston. “We have to get to the City of Snow to meet the chief of Dogs.”

“Where’s that?” I asked.

“Near the Lemhi Pass where the men, Lewis and Clark, passed by,” said Nick.

“That’s a very high elevation. The trip could take months, especially with your wound,” I said. “Let’s get that bandaged up.”

Nick grabbed some pliers out of the trash can and ripped the bullet out. I grabbed a trash bag and tied it to the hole. Then we would continued on our journey through the cold, high mountains…


Chapter Nine: The Mountain

Langston and I traveled in the now emptied trash can, while Nick walked on the side to speed up the trip. The mountains were not just any mountains. We were going to a place where the elevation was over 12,000 feet high. We vomited a lot on the trip. The little air that we could breathe was freezing. The mountains were windy and tiring. We had no food.  All we had was each other. Many times we would tell stories to each other. Other times we stayed silent, always on our toes. Sometimes stories made me feel worse about the trip.

“Why me?” I asked on the end of the second day of traveling. “You have shared the little bit of meat you have killed, helped me escape, even though I am slower, and put your lives more at risk.”

“That’s what friends are for,” said Langston, who was cured and back on his feet.

I looked at him, confused. He was only a prison companion, and I am only a chicken.


The journey continued for over three days. I heard stories about the Cantercats (a organization that fights against the dogs and the few good cats) and humans, growing my hatred for them.

“Farmers use drugs that make you lay more eggs. But they make you have a shorter life,” said Nick. “You haven’t heard of them?”

I shook my head, looking down, now assuming drugs were why my friends laid so many eggs, and why I did not.

It was the fifth day when I asked them something that I would have never asked before.

“You tell me about the Ultra-Plants. How come I can’t lay eggs?” I asked.

Nick and Langston’s smile turned to a straight, serious face.

“We must bring you to the Great Alpha Dog of the Dog Calicons.” said Langston.

So it was true: The Calicons were real. The brave dog kingdom that fought the Cantercats. They were the Calicons.


As the seventh day came to a close, I saw a shiny castle in sight. It was in hot red and glowing through the snow. It looked like it stood as tall as the mountain. Langston, Nick, and I walked to the gate. I was very amazed, but for some reason, Nick and Langston were not. We went up to the gate, and there stood many guards carrying the iron throwing projectiles that Langston called “guns.”

“Name and rank!” one guard said.

I looked at Langston. He took a card out of his pocket that he quickly showed to the guard and shoved it back into his pocket.

“What makes you think that you can break into these walls without your boss?!” yelled the guard.

“I have a guest here. He is of utmost importance to the Alpha Dog,” I overheard Langston whisper to the guard.

Something seemed very wrong. Is there something that makes me special? I thought,  Does nobody like me? They just want me for some reason that I am special? But that was not of much concern to me.

“They are going to take you to your room,” Langston whispered into my ear.

“Where are you going to sleep?” I asked.

“I have my own matters to attend to,” Langston said.

The guards led me to one room as Nick and Langston went the other. I said goodbye while staring at the Tower in the Rockies…


Chapter Ten: The Calicons

I looked at the room that I was given. It stood in many colored designs. It had pictures painted all over, a private bathroom, books, and a king sized bed. I stayed for ten days. I had to see Langston again.

“He has his own business to attend to,” the guard said when I asked.

This wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I had heard that one million times already. I wanted to see him. Three months passed, and I was very bored.

“I am tired of this place,” I said. “Nothing has been going on,” I complained to the keeper.

“What do you seek?” he asked. “Your friend, I cannot give to you. But you can get an  adventure.”

“What adventure do you mean?” I asked.

He smiled. “You have much to learn,” he said.


The fourth month came. I had been training in the Calicon Brute Force. Being in the Calicon Brute Force was no mere adventure, it was torture. I would have to run 10 miles starting at 3 am on a hilly course with 50 pound equipment. Others had 200 pound packs. There were many other things that were impossible. We had to swim two miles and army crawl through the mud, under barbed wire, with gunfire over us.  

But it was better than sitting in my bed. I knew that one day I might be a hero, slaughtering cats one day. But still, why did the Calicons take me in. Why am I called “Goldy?”

One day, after a long day of work, I was asked to go back into the tower without any arms. I was led into the tower by the Calicon infantry. I expected nothing of any importance. They led me up the stairs. Soon I was higher up than ever. I twitched, something was up my nerve. I had to keep moving.

I went and turned into a large hall. There were many beautiful paintings on the wall: battles fought by the Calicons since the Middle Ages. The very ground I walked on was pure gold.

The soldiers took me to General Murkla, leader of the Calicon infantry.

“We have him,” said one of the soldiers.

I looked at the soldiers, confused.

“Your work is done here,” said General Murkla. “I will take it from here.”

The soldiers walked away. I looked at the general. I was ready for whatever was to come.


The general took me to a great hall. There I saw what I would have never seen. The Great Alpha dog leader of the Calicons. I bowed to him and stood up.

“Welcome, Goldy!” said the Alpha Dog. “I am very happy to see you.”

“Your majesty,” I said. “For what reason do you call me to you?”

“Many questions must wait to be answered,” said the Alpha Dog. “Come.”

“Do you know who you are?” he asked.

I stared at him, puzzled. I simply answered him.

“I am Goldy, a chicken. I am now in the Calicon Brute Force and will fight to the death for the Calicons,” I said.

“You still have much to learn,” he said.

“Why did you request for me to be in your kingdom?” I asked.

“You shall figure over time,” he said. “Do you have parents?”

“No,” I said.

“What happened to them?” he asked.

The flashback came to me. A dream that had been haunting me since I had it. The horrible memories played over and over: The Man.

“I don’t know!” I yelled.

“Then who named you!” he said.

“I don’t know,” I said.

Then it came back. The memories of my parents.

“My parents died,” I said. “But I do not know why. I was last with my master on the farm. He got killed. I was captured by the Humans, and Langston and Nick helped me escape here!”

He looked at me and smiled. “If you stay here, you will learn all there is to know, and all the secrets.”

Secrets, I thought. What about Master’s secret? What about My Golden Chicken?


The Ultimate Handbook of Greek Gods

Chapter One: Zeus

Okay, so, hi! This is Zeus here. But you’re probably wondering why Zeus is being so nice to you. Yeah, because Zeus is usually a big jerk… (Psst.. That’s because this is not Zeus speaking!!) Because his voice is usually —

Hey! Narrator! Stop this craziness!!! I am not a jerk!!!”

Okay, so, to make this chapter a little bit more interesting, let’s play a game of correcting Zeus’s mistakes in his sentences for him.

“Hi! I’m Zeus and I am very nice!” (Fibber.) “I am a very nice person…” (Actually, it’s the other way around: Gimme a J, an E, a R, and a K! What does that spell? JERK!)


Chapter Two: Hera

Yeah… I can’t say much different about Zeus’s wife… Hera… She is also a huge jerk. I mean, like, she doesn’t like demigods, and, yeah. Oh. Scroll down.

Blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, what I’m saying about Hera is that the only reason Zeus and Hera are married… is because they are both total jerks. So, here’s this story about how they met. It is probably dependable? (Notice the question mark there.)

“Hi! I’m Hera!”

“Hi! I’m Zeus!”

“Are you a jerk? Like, do you hate demigods?”


“Okay then! I’ve got a perfect wedding gift for you! Chopped up hamburger with demigod bite-sized pieces in them! Yum!” (Oh. Didn’t know that Hera was also a cannibal?!)


Chapter Three: Poseidon

Well! Finally! At least we’ve gotten to a good god. Well, actually, not really… Literally, he never communicates with his demigod son. What a jerk. Poseidon is like, “Hi! I’m Poseidon!”

“Hi Poseidon, I’m your son.”

“Oh, okay then… since you’re my son, but I don’t really care about demigods… call me a hundred years later…”

Wait… I think at this rate, the story should be called the Ultimate Handbook Criticizing The Greek Gods… and Poseidon is fuming at me writing this, which is happening right now… Wait! No!!! Poseidon!!! I’m not done reporting how you guys are jerks!!!  –static


Chapter Four: Hades

Personally, I don’t really like Hades, because Hades is the god of the underworld. He’s just like, “Hi! I am Hades! I am a god, but I don’t care about being one of the big three!” (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades.) “I only talk to the dead that come to the Underworld, and I like to torture them!”

But, again, I’m going to say that he is a total jerk. Like, I mean… how does he not care for his demigod sons?!


Chapter Five: Ares

So… Ares is actually a total jerk. (Now I’m finding it hard to say “jerk” so many times. Like, I mean, my tongue is stuck on that word!)

Ares is like, “I am Ares, and I love to fight! Wanna fight? I love fights! Wah! That was not fair! Rematch! I wanna fight again!”

“You’re just a sore loser,” says the demigod who won. Wooo! Go demigod! Boo Ares!

“Nuh-uh! I just… blah, blah, blah, blah…”

But seriously… –staticstatic– my connection is not good with you… probably because Ares’s glowing, fire eyes are burning my wifi box down… I think the story now should be the Ultimate Handbook of Stories That End With –static-static– because… I don’t know… –static-static-

Oh! Wait! I know why the stories end with static! It’s because of Ares’s fire spreading all over my house, and it is destroying the connection with you!

AHHH!!! FIRE! Fire! Somebody call the Ares extermination service!

Okay, I’ll meet you later after I go to Best Buy to get a new wifi box.


Chapter Six: Apollo

Apollo? Okay… seriously, I can’t think of anything bad to do with Apollo. Well, actually,  he’s just like, “Hi Artemis! I don’t care about you! All I care about is being cool-looking in my chariot, and driving around all day, and complaining.”

Seriously, that is how he talks.

“Waiter? Can I get a lemonade with a lime slice on the side of the cup, with extra sugar, and bubbles, and some coke added into it, and extra ice, and iced tea in it, to make it an Arnold Palmer?”

Sigh. Apollo, Apollo, Apollo.


Chapter Seven: Hermes

Hermes? Yeah… being the god of thieves and all those… messages… he’s probably like, to the thieves, “Yeah! Now go steal the planet Mars! Perfect! Wooo!!! Now, go hijack one of the NASA spaceships!”

“You are not helping, Hermes,” says a NASA security officer.

And Ares is like, “FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!!!”

Aphrodite’s going, “Ares, my love, did you forget to wear your red makeup to make it look like your face is about to explode?”

Zeus is firing thunderbolts everywhere, and Hades is riding in his black chariot and killing people.

Seriously, now this book is just so out of order. Like, yes, Ares, I’m talking to Y-O-U. (And some other people.) Like, Ares (and some other people) are butting in while it’s Herme’s turn under the spotlight. Really, Ares, (and some other people) I’m telling you, Hermes doesn’t even get any positive feedback anyway! Just like you! Hurray! (Sarcasm.)

Ares: Wahhh!

Me: You deserved it.      


Chapter Eight: Artemis

Artemis? More of a, “Ah! Boys have cooties!” kind of person than a goddess. Seriously?

Besides, when I first read Artemis’s name, I thought she was the god of art. You know why? Because her name starts with A-R-T. Wow. Depressing. Her parents must have not known that loophole there. Artemis should really be the goddess of art. Seriously, this is just downright DEPRESSING.


Chapter Nine: Athena

Athena? Okay, honestly, I have nothing against her but, a god that is against demigods is just, yeah. The exact same, like a clone. But, again, Athena is the goddess of wisdom. Yeah, Athena, I’m telling you to quit doing your I-HATE-DEMIGODS rally, and listen to me for once. Yeah, I’m expecting you to start saying random wisdom words like, “Hi! I’m Einstein! E=MC2 !”

(Yep, and don’t tell me you invented that, cause you didn’t! Einstein did.)


Chapter Ten: Aphrodite

Aphrodite, okay?

“Hi! I love romance and a lot of love!!!” Like that. And, “I love beauty!”

Okay, seriously, Aphrodite, quit doing your makeup and get under the spotlight! I think you know that you’re being interviewed right now, right?

“Ohhh! Don’t I look beautiful? Add some more makeup on my ears!” says Aphrodite.

What?! Has Aphrodite gone crazy! Makeup on ears?!

“Mm-hmm!” says Aphrodite. “Oh, was I supposed to do something other than just put my makeup on?”

Duh. Or, maybe not. If she was in her world, it would be LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, and more LOVE, LOVE, LOVE… okay, you get it.

But, seriously: let’s face the truth, did Aphrodite not know that she was being interviewed?!


Chapter Eleven: Demeter

Demeter? Fine. Hello? Demeter? I would like to interview you today. What would you like to say?

“Harvest is going terrible! That titan, stupid Cronos, is ruining my harvest by getting the big, fat, giant Hyperion to stomp on my beautiful crops!!! And, I’m going cray cray, as usual!”

(Yes, we know, Demeter.)


Chapter twelve: Hypnos

So… honestly, my sister will love this chapter because she loves sleep!!! So, again, I’m going to interview him. Hypnos. Hypnos? What do you have to say about the world?

“Rrr… snore, snore, snore. The world -snore- needs –snore- more –snore- sleep –snore. By –snore- the end –snore- of this –snore- story.”

Oh, well. I guess Hypnos isn’t in a good mood right now.

Hello! ARE YOU AWAAAAKE???” Ares yells.

“Hey, hey, hey! ” says Zeus, and pushes Ares out of the spotlight.

“Ares! Do you need your death hammer to smash him to death?” Aphrodite says.


Chapter Thirteen: Dionysus

Oh! I’m the wine god!

Splash. He spilled it on my camera. Great. That’s a thousand dollars down the drain. Okay, I’m going to ask a seriously tempting question.

“Which wine do you like?”

Dionysus finally looks at me.

“Ohh! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick-”

“LET ME GET A McPICK TWO!!!!” Hermes yells.

Seriously! Hermes, not your turn under the spotlight! Stop stealing McPick Twos! Leave McDonald’s alone!

“Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!”


Chapter Fourteen: Hephaestus

No offense, but I had to spell that name a thousand times before I got it right. Okay. Hello. I would like to interview you. What would you like to say?

“Oh my God! I am totally going to smash Cronos on his fat butt!”

Okay. I’ll move out of hammer range for that. Smash! Oh, ow. That felt like a nuclear bomb.

“Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!”

Stop, Dionysus! Seriously! Smash!

Okay, there goes the wine god! Thanks, Hephaestus!

“Pick me! Pick me! Pick-” Kaboom, smash. Oh, ouch.


The Diary of a Cat with a Crazy Owner

Dear Diary,

Today, Ernie only gave me tuna. I hate tuna. And he made me play with a pink feather. I hate pink. Yeah, you guessed. Today was horrible! Why is Ernie the president? Oh, yeah, you can’t talk. You’re a mere diary. Sorry. Wait, can you talk? I really hope you can! But that’s going off subject. Anyways, Ernie also spilled chocolate on the floor. I thought he would pick me up and put me in his room (chocolate is poisonous) but he didn’t!

At least Cookie picked me up. I like Cookie. She’s really nice, and she plays with me. A lot. I really think Elmo should have given me to Cookie as a birthday present, not Ernie! Ernie is crazy. Period. He already was in five fights with Congress about him getting impeached, and he was elected last friday! Oops, gotta go. He’s calling me for dinner! I hope it’s salmon! Wait, it smells like socks. That can’t be good.



Dear Diary,

Sorry I haven’t written in the last seventy-two hours. Ernie locked me in the bathroom after I went to use the litter box. At least I had a book called “Lego Friends,” and, of course, tap water to drink. But, it was really weird that in three days, he only used the servant bathroom, which is basically a tiny airplane bathroom, and that’s the only free bathroom. (I know what an airplane bathroom looks like because I went to Florida once.) All the dogs were hogging the other bathrooms. Thirty-three dogs, thirty-five bathrooms. For three days!

Ernie really is crazy, and all I could eat was face cream. Does Ernie really use that? It doesn’t seem to help. And, it was his bathroom, not his sister’s or anything. Anyways, enough about lotion. I’ve discovered that Ernie’s child, Cookie, rides in a stinky, yellow box on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I’ve heard Cookie complain to Ernie about the sanitation system at… what was it? Skool. Of course, Ernie assured her that if anyone had “the bug” at skool then he would sue the skool.

Then Cookie said, “But, Daddy, there is a nasty bug going around, and the teachers say everyone has it except for me. They say that I shouldn’t hug my friends, and do you know why? Because we wouldn’t want President Ernie getting sick! Ha! Is this we-”

Then Ernie interrupted and said that she had to go to skool, and, of course, Cookie complied. And then Ernie gave me green beans and rice for dinner, and he gave Cookie my canned chicken. He always mixed up dinner. That happened four thousand, two hundred and eighty-three times in my entire life, and I’m only five years old. Annoying, actually. Even though Cookie said that the skool’s sanitation system was horrible, I’d do anything to get out of this dump! And Cookie said the skool was co-ed, so, cats are welcome, I suppose! I always trust Cookie. Anyways, it’s time for breakfast. I actually want Ernie to mix up the food again. I love scrambled eggs.



Dear Diary,

I finally found a way to go to school! I’m going to slip into Cookie’s backpack, and then stay there until the actual school day! I can’t wait for Cookie to get home, so I can show her the plan I wrote on her computer. I made two copies, and I attached one here…



I want to go to school with you! Can you call the principal and tell him or her that I want to apply? Thank you!



I actually found out that there is this cool thing called “AutoCorrect.” It tells you if you spelled something wrong. I finally found out that skool is spelled school! Cool, right? Although it seems like it’s pronounced “shool,” so I don’t know what to think. Anyways, I hope Cookie lets me go to school!



Dear Diary,

Cookie was shocked to get the note, but she said I couldn’t go to school because cats don’t go to school. But I’m going anyway! I’m going to slip into her bag tonight, and the next day, she’ll take me to school! I have to go in the backpack, so, goodnight!



Dear Diary,

Today was my first day of school! I love it. Everyone was surprised, but the janitor loves cats, so I posed as his cat! Awesome, huh? Anyways, my favorite subjects are humanities and math. I think science is okay, but it’s sorta scary. I’m afraid that a beaker will fall on me. Spanish is fun as well, but you have to speak. I’m excited for my next day!



Dear Diary,

Today was my second day of school. I found out that there was something called homework. Super cool, right? Homework is basically when the teachers give you an assignment for you to do at home. Miss Clarks, our teacher, always puts the assignment on the desks. Today a student was at the bathroom at homework time so I stole his homework from the desk. Miss Clarks checked another time so she put homework on that kid’s desk! Ha! Sorry, gotta go. I want to finish my assignment before its due date. Can’t wait for tomorrow!  



Dear Diary,

Why am I writing so early? Well, Cookie’s best friend, Ellie, found out that I was going to school, because she had every class with me. Then she told Cookie, and Cookie told me that I couldn’t go. After seeing how upset I was, Cookie told me that she would bring homework and teach me what she learned. The only bad thing is that Cookie is a very bad teacher. When I was reading, Cookie was teaching Ernie about butterflies. And then Ernie said he didn’t understand why butterflies had wings. Then Cookie threw the TV at Ernie. He had to go to the hospital. Cookie was grounded.

Anyways, I hope there’s nothing about actually talking in my Spanish homework, because I can only meow.



Dear Diary,

Today, Ernie prepared dinner. He gave a burger to me, and raw shrimp to Cookie. I quickly munched up the burger while Cookie poked at her shrimp. Then, she asked me if she could have the burger. I jumped on the table and threw up on her plate. She excused herself and probably went to throw up herself.



Dear Diary,

This is my last page, so I’m going to use it wisely. This is how I’m going to use it: My math homework!


Name: Sunshine                                                                                                                                             Date: 03/06/17

Addition Reflection         

Sammy had 35 cookies and 67 cupcakes. He gave Anna equal amounts of each sweet. Anna used to have 123  cookies and cupcakes. Now she has 147. How many cookies and cupcakes did Sammy give her?

Sammy gave Anna 12 cupcakes and 12 cookies.

34 + 89 = 123

97 + 23 = 120

45 + 56 = 101

37 + 68 = 105

71 + 89 =160

46 + 35 = 81

Make your own problem!

Cookie had one cat and 33 dogs. Cookie gave away ALL her dogs. How many pets does she have left?

P.S. If you’re stumped, the answer is one cat.


The 1919 World Series: the Chicago White Sox vs. the Cincinnati Reds

The 1919 World Series: the Chicago White Sox vs. the Cincinnati Reds. This is a very interesting topic I know a lot about. People should know more about this event and how it impacted the world. This changed the world when the player Shoeless Joe Jackson was banned from baseball because he was in on the World Series fix when he could have been in the Hall of Fame. This mostly had a big impact on him and all the other players who were banned and could have been Hall of Famers. A few players were to be paid a total of $100,000 dollars for throwing the game. Jackson made a really bad decision for himself because he bet his career on money. This changed every team’s opinions today about cheating. Soon after, they thought they could get past the MLB with cheating. This event had an impact on the 1919 World Series and baseball in general.

In the first game of the series, the White Sox were mixing up mistakes with good plays  to kick off the Series. They made it seem like they were still playing, but just not very well, like they were sick. They lost game one, 9 – 1, and everyone was shocked. Also, it was like they were actors. They lost the game two,  4 – 2. In the third game, the White Sox won 3 – 0 because Dickey Kerr threw a three-hit shutout that stopped the Reds from winning. In the fourth game, the Reds didn’t have a hit until the fifth inning. They went on to win 2 – 0 and took a 3 – 1 series lead.The Reds won the next game and took a 4-1 lead. Then, the Sox won the next two games, and then the Reds won the whole thing with game eight.

The game has changed since the Series. In 2017, they noticed that the Red Sox cheated by using Apple Watches and telling the batter or runner what the Yankees’ pitches were by their signs. In training season and during the play offs, they check the players for steroids. In the middle of a game, if they see the pitcher hitting the target too accurately, they might check him for an illegal substance. Back then, they didn’t check for drugs or illegal substances. That tells me how much the rules and guidelines have changed over the years. Also, they probably wouldn’t get to gamble because they have security cameras and special investigators. That’s how much the game has changed.  

One thing that the White Sox should have done is think before they accepted the gamblers’ offer and money to blow the series because if you don’t think first, you’ll have very bad consequences. The White Sox did something first, and then they thought about what they had done after it was over. Like I said earlier, they could have been Hall of Famers, but they didn’t think before they did it. That’s why they didn’t become future Hall of Famers. If they had thought what about they were doing before they did it, they probably would have been Hall of Famers. If only they had maybe thought hard on the gamble, but instead they just went right into the fix.

Shoeless Joe was mad at himself for taking the money to kick the Series. If I were Joe, I would have not been in the fix and played better than I’ve ever played before to try and win the Series single-handedly. Even before the Series, they were the favorite to win. If they would have actually tried, they probably would have won. I think it’s bad to cheat if it’s in the World Series. If it’s on a test in school, it’s different. In school, you can learn from your mistakes and not have heavy consequences. In the World Series, it’s different because you have bigger consequences like getting thrown out of baseball forever. You can’t go back unless you have a time machine. Also, if you cheat in life, you can’t go back. Once you cheat, you can’t undo it. You’ll be out of a job, or your life as you know it, for good. What would I do if someone tried to bribe me to kick a game? I would probably say “no” and try my best to not cheat in life.