Blue’s Story : A Novel By Mae Benne

Chapter 1

Blue noisily walked down the creaking stairs and into the kitchen. Her short brown hair was a mess, but her hazel eyes were glistening in the morning sunshine. Her body was covered in an oversized soft t-shirt and grey shorts. She had been drawn downstairs by the familiar scent of pancakes that had wafted up to her room. She walked right into the scene of her father dressed in a t-shirt he had received from his college and a pair of Nike basketball shorts. He was dancing to the country music on the black radio, sitting on the shelf and setting the wooden oak table that Blue and her dad had just bought. Blue chuckled to herself as her father, Phil, had started to sing along to the song. Phil turned around to see his daughter laughing at the spectacle of him jamming out to the country. 

“You should see yourself when you’re dancing to music.” Phil said, grinning with his soft hazel eyes at his daughter. “So, I was thinking,” said Blue’s father, “We could head over to the park to shoot some hoops after breakfast. How does that sound?”

“Wonderful!” replied Blue, yawning sleepily as she sat down at the table and placed her napkin on her lap and put her elbows on the table. 

“When do you expect the pancakes to be ready?” asked Blue.

“Pretty soon,” said Phil.

“Will there be enough time for me to change before the food is ready?” asked Blue.

“I think so, if you hurry,” replied Blue’s father. 

Blue raced up the stairs into her bedroom. She looked around and peered at the paintings on her wall. She had made a special trip to the local art store, although it had taken her a little while to find it, as she was new in town, just to find decoration for her previously bare, beige walls. Blue walked up to her black dresser and pulled out her drawer to see the faded photograph of her mother in her teen years, and a tattered photo album. She picked the photograph up and studied it and thought of the little memories she had of her mother. She thought about her soft angelic features and long wavy brown hair that she always kept in a tight, beautiful braid. She recalled the sound of her mother’s carefree laugh. Then she would remember the night she left, as she always did when she thought of her mother. She remembered being bunched up in a ball covering her ears, under her forget-me-not blue covers, hearing her father plead with her mother to stay. She remembered hearing her mother say how boring the town was and how miserable she was, and how she felt limited and held back by the lack of resources in the area. Blue remembered hearing the front door slam and running down the stairs in an attempt to get her mother to stay and she remembered her father wrapping his robust arms around her. She remembered trying to break free from her father’s comforting grip, through tears and sobs and finally getting out of his arms to chase after her mother. But by the time she had run out the door her mother had disappeared into the grey, dreary night. 

“Are we going to talk about it?” thought Blue, as she snapped back to reality. That day was the 7 year anniversary of her mother slamming the front door and leaving for good. Blue wiped away a small tear that had fallen on her cheek and gently placed the photograph of her mother back into the drawer. She had found the photograph the day they moved in, as she was rummaging through the brown, cardboard boxes of things she had stumbled on a photo album that contained an old photograph of her mother. She had pulled it out and hid it in her dresser. Blue took a deep breath and picked out a flowy summer dress with flowers embroidered on it from her closet and put it on. She slipped her opal ring on her finger and put on her favorite earrings and necklaces. She picked up her hair brush and combed out the knots that she had developed in her hair as she slept. Blue then walked to her door and down the stairs to the kitchen.

 Chapter 2

Blue dribbled the ball twice, took a deep breath and shot a free throw. She always did the exact same routine before she shot a free throw, during spring break she had made this routine with her coach. He had said this routine would help her with muscle memory and that when she did her routine with pressure weighing on her shoulders in a game it would calm her nerves and let her focus on the goal of making the basket. She shot and watched as the ball swished through the orange net.

Phil cheered her on then said, “But you need to work on keeping your elbow in, form really does matter. If you stand in front of the mirror and pretend you’re shooting a free throw and see what your form looks like and try to improve it just ten times a day, you can make a huge difference in your form.”

“You say that every time I practice.” Blue said, rolling her eyes.

“Ok, ten right hand lay-ups. I will pass you the ball once you get to the basket.” said Phil.

Later that day Blue called her father into the living room. 

“Dad, come here.” Blue yelled across the house to her father.

“Be right there.” called Phil. He then proceeded to walk in. He was wearing a pair of baby blue denim jeans and a grey button up shirt. He had just taken a shower and his hair was dripping wet.

“I found a great summer writing program. Wanna see?” said Blue. Turning her computer in his direction. 

“Sure, honey.” said Phil, as he sat down next to Blue on their leather couch. 

“So, this writing program is in Soho. It focuses on all the genres I love, and Grace is going to the camp as well. Grace and I want to spend as much time with each other as possible since she is moving to Japan. I was also thinking, since it starts at 10, we can grab breakfast before I start.” Explained Blue.

“Sounds like a plan.” said Phil. “Maybe Grace could come with us to breakfast.”

“I would love that. I will go to text her right now.” Blue said while getting up from the black, leather couch and grabbing her rose-gold phone.

Chapter 3

The gravel crunched under Blue and Phil’s feet as they walked on the driveway to the car. Phil climbed into the front seat and buckles his seatbelt and placed his hands on the wheel. Blue opened the backseat door and climbed on to the grey, plush seat and set her bag on the floor. It contained her laptop, notebook, lunch, and her phone. She buckled her seatbelt and yawned.  

Phil turned his head toward Blue and said, “All set?” 

“Yea, love you.” Replied Blue, smiling sweetly at her father. 

“Love you too.” said Phil. “Are you nervous about getting started at this writing camp?”

“A bit, but I am really excited.” Replied Blue.

Phil then drove out into the cobble hill street, and across the 

Brooklyn bridge into Soho.

Chapter 4

Phil drove through a green light. He turned the radio up and hummed to the melody of the music. Then he turned right onto Spring Street. They drove past Becky’s bakery and An Artist’s Heaven art store on the way up to the location where the writing program was occurring. 

“We are almost there.” Said Phil turning on to the right lane and putting his right turn signal on. 

“Ok.” Replied Blue.

A rusty, pale blue car came speeding in with Evan Monatela at the wheel. Phil attempted to swerve out of it’s path but it was too late and the car crashed into Blue and Phil’s car. The car flipped over and bursts into flames. 

A few moments later

“The Dad is D.o.a, but I think there is hope for the girl. Have we ID’d the body, yet?” said an E.R worker that had arrived when the call about a car accident had come in. 

“No, we haven’t yet.” said the E.R worker’s coworker, helping the E.R worker with placing Blue in the ambulance. 

“The girl definitely has a concussion and possibly some internal bleeding. Although she is in critical condition,  it looks like she will make it.” the E.R worker explained. “I feel bad for her she is going to have to wake up with her world turned upside down. One minute she is enjoying a car ride with her father and next moment she’s in a hospital and her father is dead. I hope her mother is around to support her.” 

“Yea, I can’t even imagine that happening to me.” said the coworker peering at the girl lying unconscious in the ambulance.

Blue was flown in a helicopter to the hospital in Philadelphia. She arrived and her doctors performed surgery on her injured head, and the shattered bone in her leg. Blue remained in a coma for three days.

Chapter 5

Blue woke up and groaned from the pain of her pounding headache and a broken leg. A nurse walked in, with a blue hospital uniform on. Her raven black hair was pulled up in a tight bun. On her feet were small black slip on shoes, that made small tapping sounds as she walked around the room. She was carrying a clipboard and she flipped through it and wrote something down with a blue pen that had the Hospital of Connecticut written on it in silver lettering. The nurse looked down at Blue, realized she was awake and said,

“Good to see you awake, Blue.” 

“What happened?” asked Blue, her voice meek and dry. She was croaking like a frog.         

The nurse sighed and looked at Muracke with poignant eyes and said, “There was an awful accident. A drunk man named Evan Monatela crashed into your car. That man killed your poor father and nearly killed you. You are lucky to be alive, Blue. Evan is currently being prosecuted for his crimes.  I hear he will be charged with vehicular manslaughter and drinking while driving and other things.” 

“You’re lying. It’s not true, go away!” screamed Blue through tears.  

The nurse walked over to the side of the bed and peered at the small fragile girl. She wrapped her long, delicate arms around Blue and held her in her arms, as she wept. The nurse explains what had happened and what injuries Blue had. 

“Your father was sprung from the car and was dead on arrival, someone called 911 and paramedics rushed to the accident and saved you. You were flown over here in a helicopter and you had surgery for your injuries. Your leg was shattered and your head was pretty banged up, but other than that you’re doing well. This is a lot to handle and I know it was a very traumatic experience, so we have a psychiatrist on hand that you can talk to whenever necessary,” said the nurse.

Finally the nurse had to leave and attend to other patients in the recovery ward. Blue was left broken by the news that the nurse had just delivered to her. She wept and wept herself into a restless slumber. She dreamt of wonderful days spent with her father, curled up in his welcoming lap. She dreamt of reading books like Owl Moon and The Lonely Book in bed, snuggled next to her father. Then her dream turned into a nightmare and flashes of her father drenched in blood, dying at the scene of the accident appeared in her mind. She tossed and turned during the night until dawn broke across the grey sky, that was mimicking the feeling Blue had felt inside ever since she found out about the death of her late father. All she felt was emptiness and pure anger at the man who had killed her loving, innocent father. The only person she felt really knew her and loved her. She had friends like Grace, her best friend but after Grace would leave for Japan their friendship would fade away and they would never see each other again. She felt alone in the world without him. Evan Monatela, the man who killed her father, when that name crossed her mind she imagined strangling him. Wrapping her arms around his throat and squeezing as hard as she could but then reminded herself that it would be a terrible thing to do. It would be almost as bad as what he did to her father. 

Chapter 6

The nurse who had told Blue what happened to her parents walked into the room with a tray of food. It consisted of packaged pancakes, hashbrowns and 1% milk. The nurse placed the tray on the hospital’s glossy, wooden side table and hugged Blue tightly and whispered into her ear, 

“It will be ok.”

The nurse pulled up a small tray table in front of Blue and placed the tray on the table. She propped a pillow up behind Blue’s back and helped her sit up. She then said to Blue,

”Eat up”

Blue looked up at the nurse with tears in her glossy green eyes and said, 

“What am I supposed to do? I’m completely alone. My mother left me and my father when I was only five years old and now my Dad is dead. I don’t know what to do. I have Aunts and Uncles but I don’t know, they probably don’t even want me.” It was the first thing Blue had said in a few days.

The nurse’s face softened and showed empathy for Blue, she sat down at the end of the bed and said, “When I was about your age, my parents died in a terrible plane crash. I felt exactly the same as you feel now. I felt alone and even abandoned by my parents, but I pulled through. I pursued my dream of becoming a nurse. You are strong, and you will persevere. I know you will, Blue whitener.”

“I don’t know if I can.” whispered Blue through sobs and incessant tears. Her previously warm, olive complexion was now pale and almost grey. Her long, brown, baby hair now seemed to be faded and aged. Her blanket and cast covered her bony figure. 

“There’s someone here to see you. Her name is Bridgit Tate, she is going to be your foster mother. She’s also a nurse at this hospital, she will take great care of you.” said the nurse as a middle aged woman with sharp, icy blue eyes walked in the door and smiled sweetly at Blue.

Chapter 7

“Hello Blue,” said Bridget.

“Hi.” replied Blue, wiping her tears.

“How are you?” asked Bridget. 

“Okay, I guess. I mean I got in a car accident.” replied Blue, weakly.

“Yea, you did. The doctors say you will be up and running in about a week. Then you can come to my house, I’m sure you will love it there. I would love to paint your room hot pink,” said Bridget. She then walked over to the side of Blue’s bed and turned her head towards the nurse, “How much do I get for taking care of her?”

“500 dollars a month, but that shouldn’t matter should it? Blue is an admirable, magnificent human being, and I would be honored to have her in my home even without paychecks every month.” said the nurse, who was quite skeptical of this woman who was supposed to take care of Blue. 

“Yes, I completely agree, but I was just wondering what the amount of money I will get to support Blue is. I would like to know what I should set my budget for her room so that I can get started right away,” said Bridget. Bridget then said, “Well it looks like you are eating breakfast so I will leave you to it. It was very nice to meet you. I am very excited to have you in my home and hope that overtime it will become your home as well. Goodbye, Blue.” Bridget said as she left the room. 

Blue could hear the clicking of Bridget’s heels as she walked down the brightly lit hallway. Then Blue said to the nurse,

”Did you really mean the things you said?” 

“Every single word.” said the nurse, as she flashed a quick smile to Blue. 

“When you go and live with this Bridget woman, keep me posted on how she treats you.” the nurse said. 

“Ok, why?” asked Blue, frowning.

“This woman just doesn’t seem trustworthy. I have learned to trust my gut when it tells me something. I think she should be focused on you rather than the money she gets for taking care of you,” replied the nurse. 

“Ok,” said Blue. She had liked Bridget but thought there was something a little off about her. But she was still not ready for this woman to replace her deceased father, she was barely even ready for her to become Blue Tate.

Chapter 8

The nurse walked into Blue’s hospital room, lit by fluorescent lighting, and brought with her a tray of food. 

“Today is your final day here at the hospital. I am really going to miss you, Blue. It has been phenomenal to get to know you.” said the nurse.

“I’m going to miss you too,” said Blue.

Briget walked in with a purple polka dotted dress, a black shawl and cream colored high heels. She smiled at Blue and the nurse. 

“Nice to see you guys again. Are you almost ready to head home?” asked Bridget, with a smile. 

“I will be ready once I finish with my breakfast. I also have to wait for them to give me my crutches, and I will have to practice walking with my cast and crutches a bit in the waiting room, if that’s ok with you of course,” replied Blue.

“That’s totally fine. I will be in the waiting room if you need me, and let me know when you are ready to leave so I can help you practice and we can go to my car. I parked it right up front so that you would not have to walk far.” said Bridget.                                                                                                                                                     

“Alright.” said Blue as she ate her breakfast of cereal, milk and orange juice. She was dressed in a white hospital gown and on her wrist was a shiny, plastic bracelet that had the hospital’s name written on it. 

Briget left the room and sat down in the waiting room. The nurse then said to Blue,

“Are you sure you are ready to go. I’m sure I can get you permission to stay a bit longer.”

“Yes, I’m sure. Even though Bridget is not that motherly and will never, ever, ever replace my Dad, I think we will be able to form a strong bond. I know you are a bit skeptical of her. I’m sure she is great.” said Blue, hopefully. 

“Alright. If you say so.” said the nurse, sighing. 

Chapter 9

Blue walked with her crutches up to Bridget. They continued practicing and Blue slowly started to get comfortable with her crutches.

“I think I am getting the hang of this,” said Blue.

“Yea, I think you are.” replied Bridget. 

“Ready to go. I really think I am going to love it there.” Bridget said, her eyes bright with excitement.

“Yes, I’m sure I will.” said Blue.

They walked to the elevator and down into the parking lot. Bridget pressed the button on her car keys and a small, white toyota camry beeped nearby.

“There it is.” said Bridget.

Blue and Bridget walked up to the car and got in. Bridget buckled her seatbelt and turned the key and the engine started to hum, she looked back at Blue and saw her struggling.

“Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. I entirely forgot you need help getting in the car. Here, I’m going to go over there.” said Bridget while she unbuckled her seat belt and opened the car door to get out. Bridget assisted Blue into the car and placed her crutches in the trunk. Bridget got into the car and said, “Prepare for the two and a half hour drive to connecticut.” chuckling.

Chapter 10

Finally, Blue and Bridget pulled up to a small brownstone house in the center of a block on Kane Street. 

“This is it. Your new home.” said Bridget, happily as she climbed out of the car.

“It looks wonderful.” said Blue, getting out of the car with Bridget’s comforting help.  Bridget locked the car and opened the house door and led Blue into the house. Blue’s crutches made noises across the wooden floor. Bridget turned on the light to show a brown leather couch and a wooden coffee table with five beer bottles and two wine bottles, thrown on their sides, on it.

“Oh god I am so sorry about that, I did not get to clean up after last night, just please don’t tell anyone about this. I was really nervous about you coming and I should not have had so much alcohol. It won’t happen again.” said Bridget, her face tinted red from embarrassment.

“That was all just from last night.” thought Blue, frowning. 

“Here I will show you your new room.” said Bridget walking towards the back of the house. She opened the door to a small room, which was empty except for a small cot with brown flannel sheets and a small grey dresser, with an alarm clock on it. 

“It’s not much, but it’s something and we will decorate it soon. I wanted you to have complete say in everything, so I only got a small amount of things. You need a bed of course.” said Bridget.

“Thank you so much.” said Blue, as she walked into the room and sat down on the bed. 

Chapter 11

Blue woke up and walked out of bed and out the door. She walked into the kitchen and found Bridget cooking asparagus and BLTs. She was humming and spreading the mayo onto the pieces of brown, toasted bread. She looked up at Blue and said,

“You’re up. That’s wonderful, I’m just making lunch; roasted asparagus and BLTs. I hope you like them.” 

“Thank you so much. I really appreciate what you are doing for me. I honestly don’t know where I would be without you, foster care probably. Just, thank you.” said Blue. 

“Your welcome, I was just so lonely in this house. I don’t have many friends and no significant other and I wanted to help someone so I decided to adopt and sure enough you came along.” replied Bridget. 

They both sat down at the table and ate the BLTs and asparagus. Blue picked up her fork and cut her asparagus and placed it in her mouth. 

“Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy, sports or other things?” asked Bridget.

“I really enjoy playing basketball all actually, I was on my school’s basketball team, along with my best friend Grace. I was even a point guard.” said Blue. “I guess I can’t go to the Blue school. Are there any schools around here with basketball teams?” 

“I am not sure but we can look although I have a niece who went to school around here who loves basketball. We can ask her where she went and if there was a basketball team at her school.” added Bridget. “How is your food?”

“It is delicious. Thank you for making it.” replied Blue. 

Blue put her last bite of food into her mouth and placed her fork and knife on the plate. She wiped her mouth and said, “May I be excused?”

“Of course, Blue.” replied Bridget. 

Blue picked up her plate, rinsed it out in the sink and placed it in the dishwasher. With the napkin in her hand she looked around, looking for a trash can. 

“Where is the trash can?” asked Blue.

“Right behind you actually.” directed Bridget.

Blue turned around and threw her napkin away. Then she walked back into her new room. 

Chapter 12

Bridget walked into Blue’s room and asked, “What would you like to do today?” 

“We could get some clothes.”

“Ok. Before I went to pick you up at the hospital I went to the store and chose some clothes for you. I hope that they will fit you.” Bridget said while she handed Blue a Marshalls shopping bag with three outfits stuffed inside.

“Thank you so much.” Blue said while taking the clothes out of the bag and laying them on the bed. 

“Sorry I did not know what your style was. I tried to pick out something you would like.” said Blue. Blue and Bridget drove to her house.

Chapter 13

Blue climbed into bed and yawned as she drifted off into a deep sleep. She woke up in the middle of the night and looked around at her new room. The walls were cream colored and on the ceiling was a small chandelier, off to the side of the room was a built-in closet with two bronze handles. It was dark and the curtains were drawn but a small amount of moon light was coming. Blue pulled off her covers and walked over to the window and opened the curtains to see a bright full moon in the sky. She remembered her father telling her marvelous stories about the moon. She remembered him pointing up at the moon and his soft, familiar voice seemed to fill her head. Tears fell from her eyes and she wiped them away, but her shirt was now wet and tear stained. She could see a light coming from behind her closed door and could hear the faint sound of the TV in the living room. 

She decided to get up and get a glass of water from the new kitchen. She tiptoed out of the room and peered out the door to see Bridget watching the television and swigging some beer. Blue just walked up to the fridge and opened it to see an abundance of alcohol strewn about the fridge. 

Blue grabbed a glass from the cabinet and filled it with tap water from the sink. She had started walking back to her room when she heard the jumbled words,

“What are you doing?”  

“Just getting a glass of water,” said Blue. 

“Whatever. You know your pathetic. That’s why your mother left you and Dad crashed that car on purpose just get away from you.” said Bridget, walking up to Blue and hitting her. The side of Blue’s was red and stung where Bridget had hit her. “Not one of your aunts and uncles even wanted you.”

“Ok.” Blue said, confused as she looked up at Bridget, scared.

Chapter 14

Blue woke up the next day tired and still scared of Bridget. She got out of bed and squinted at the bright morning sun that was shining in her face. She walked up to the drawer to find it filled with clothing all from the gap. In through the partially closed door came an orange cat that was meowing. She knelt down on her knees and let the cat lick her hand. She sat down with her legs crossed and played with the cat, she even smiled a small smile, for the first time in a while. Finally when the cat lost interest and went to venture off into the rest of the house, Blue went back into the drawer and picked out a yellow romper. She stepped out of the room and endured misery and abuse from Bridget.


Blue laid awake in bed devising a plan to escape her misery. She made a checklist of things she would need in her mind. Food, a water bottle, backpack and some clothes, and Bridget’s macbook air. 

“Where will I go? Should I try and find my mother?” thought Blue. “I am going to find my mother.” she finally decided. 

The next day Blue looked up her mother’s name. Immediately, she found a phone number and address. She packed a bag full of the things she needed.

While Bridget was going to the bathroom Blue snuck out of the house and took a train three hours away and then took a bus into her mother’s neighborhood, and then walked until she found her mother’s house. A yellow brick house with blossoming cherry trees in the front yard. She walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. Her mother answered the door with a little baby in her arms.

Blue’s mother stared in shock at Blue and said,

“Hello Blue.” 

“Hello.” said Blue.

Scoot and the Big Bear Mystery Book 1

Scoot is a red panda. The first thing he did when he left the Prospect Park Zoo was to go on a scooter. He has a secret identity. And the secret identity’s name is Ninajet. He wants to defeat Big Bear. Big Bear is the red pandas’ biggest enemy. 

Finally Big Bear said, “I want to see how strong you are, if you want to defeat me. But you’re not going to beat me. You’re like an old time little loser.” 

“Well, you’re the one older than me,” Scoot said. “It’s almost your death day. So you might just need… good luck.” 

“I don’t need good luck, you do.” Big Bear growled. 

Quickly, Scoot grabs his secret magical white sword and starts fighting. 

Big Bear was like, “What? How did you get that sword?” His mouth was open and stretched and you could see all the teeth going together and his mouth was open in a big circle/oval. And finally the sword hit the middle of his neck and bum bum bum… blue glitter came out of his neck. And his soul said, “You killed me now get ready for your DEATH!” 

They battle and of course, Scoot wins. He has his magical sword, which is the strongest weapon of all. The soul died just like its body. “Cool!” Scoot said. The big bear was easy to kill. No one ever tried to chase it because Big Bear started posting links acting like he was “strong.” But really, he was real weak and mad weak. Even his soul is weak. Souls are supposed to be as strong as light. 

Just then, a yellow plane flew over his head. It came down with a transforming thump! It transformed and came down feet first. It came down into the forest in China. The plane’s name was Donny, Scoot’s personal best friend plane. 

“You won over Big Bear,” said Donny. 

Sylvia and the Wishing Tree

Wishing Day

It was Wishing Day again. Every year, thousands of people gathered at the Wishing Creek. Due to the storm, the creek was flooding, so most of the people gathered at the pond or stream. Not me and my family.

The Wishus and Their Ways

My parents were very religious to the ways of the Wishus. Me and my five siblings (including baby Hazel) loved to eat the delicious Wishu food, and my parents didn’t even mind making it 7 days a week! 

Father Gives Me Some Advice

That fateful day, we gathered at the creek, which was now waist-deep if we went to the original candle floating spot. Which we did. My Papa always said, “Now, Sylvia Lorali Hollyblade, the Natives didn’t leave because there were storms, did they?” So we finished lighting and sending away our wishing candles.


Since it was the year 2357, we had a maid-robot (maid bot) to help with the chores. Her name was Maria, because that had been the name of my robo-cat before it short-circuited and wandered into the acid stove.

Maria Scolds Me About (Yawn) Weather

We had just gotten the new type (Clovebot 3000) and at the moment, she was telling us the weather. “More rain to come and you should expect thunder, with a hurricane chance of 0.0356, Sylvia. Really, with Hurricane Lila and Leo on the loose, you should pay more attention,” Maria scolded me, due to the fact that I was rolling my eyes. I groaned. I never should have suggested to Mother that we install the personality chip.

The Wave of Ultimate Doom

As I turned to grab my warm towel, a sense of foreboding rushed through me. I remembered my Papa’s words: “Never turn your back to the water.” I turned around quickly, but not quick enough. A wave roughly the size of a large horse swelled up and came crashing down on us, knocking me off my feet and causing me to cut my hand on the edge of a sharp rock.

Fingers and Babies 

My eyes watering in pain, I could hear Hazel crying. Grabbing her hand, another hand slipped into my fingers. Metal, I thought dimly. Then I was pulled out of the water. 


Feeling the fresh air in my lungs, I knew I was secure. I reached for Mama’s hand to know everything was alright, only to find nothing. I sat up cautiously, knowing that my surroundings may not be safe. But when I looked around, everything seemed perfectly fine, except for the fact that I was on the other side of the creek. No one was with me, no one to grab me, say that everything would be alright. My only choice was to climb the huge, sharp cliffs that screamed: I’m dangerous! But I had to go there. It was the only way. Elders had told of a tree that could grant you wishes, even bring back the dead, only for a small fee of 1 ancient penny. I had a penny that people had used back in the 2100s, a copper coin with markings of ancient rulers like Abraham Lincoln. My social studies class had each received one, and then we had played a weird game called “chess.” Ancient people were weird. I had a plan to climb up there and demand the gem return my family.

Mountains, Rivers, and… Maria?

Fog rolled in from the jagged rocks, and from that fog there would be more rain. Everyone knew that if the river flooded, your only option would be to climb to higher ground. I looked around for Hazel or anyone else, hoping everyone had made it safely. I found Maria caring for the baby, and we began climbing up the mountain in hopes that we could reach the top in at least two days.

Why Climbing a Mountain is Actually Very Boring

 Every few minutes, a wave would come crashing up, and we would have to hide in a crevice and wait for about 10 minutes so that the ground wouldn’t be too slippery. One time, the wave was so big, we had to wait an hour. Soon the sun was starting to set, and me and Maria began to build a small tent on one of the large crevices we had found while Hazel slept on my back.

Cleaning Cuts and OH, IT’S DINNERTIME!!

 Thinking back, I realized that my mission was probably impossible. Finally, I finished building the hut and Maria started cooking dinner. Looking into my purse, I searched for a first aid kit to heal some of the cuts we had. I managed to pull out a dusty bottle filled with purple liquid. I applied some to me and Hazel before going to dinner. 

Lavender-Raspberry-Lettuce Salad With a Side of My Siblings

On the ground were two napkins with food on them. I fed the gooey food to Hazel and took a bite of the lavender-raspberry-lettuce salad that Maria had made. I had never tasted it myself, usually eating my mother’s salad, but as I bit into it, I realized why my two older brothers, Noah and Lucas, had loved it. My older sister Lilah liked it too, but like me, she enjoyed Mother’s salad more. 

Eating Yummy Food

The salad was sweet, then sour, until settling into something more that relaxed my very bones. I was about to shovel it into my mouth when Maria cleared her throat and eyed the honey-colored liquid on my right. I took a tiny sip and basically exploded. The liquid started as a warm, sweet juice, but quickly turned boiling hot, then freezing cold, before melting into a sour lemonade, and finally turning into a sweet goo that disappeared, leaving behind a marshmallow taste.

More Food and… Chickens?

Finally, slightly worried, I bit into the last one, tiny round balls that bounced around in my mouth before plopping into my throat and leaving behind the taste of something meaty. Of course, the only meat I had ever had was beef, but this meat tasted of the chickens the elders described, fatter birds than the eagles that flew above our village, but tasty. They were extinct now, of course, but apparently delicious. 

Phones are Addictive

As soon as I finished dinner, I got out my phone. My home screen was a tiger, the extinct “striped fury,” and today I wasted no time deciding if I should change it to a robot. Instead, I texted my friend Olivia.

Hi Olivia guess where i am?




On the other side of the river in the mountains!


OMG no way! Want a rescue search?


Nah, we’re pretty safe up here. Where are you right now?


The hills on the far end of the village. The storm reached pretty far


Wow! Well, I gotta go. You know how Maria doesn’t like phones.


Yeah, she calls them DoomDevices. Bye! 





I logged off, feeling sleepy. I stepped outside of our makeshift hut to find twinkling white specks falling from the sky, bright and cold, like a soft blanket. The only thing that had ever fallen from the sky was rain. The photos of the hail that fell on the northern hemisphere could never be like the real thing. The world was warming up, and people weren’t exactly helping. This snow was the real thing. 

It sure is pretty, isn’t it? Someone behind me asked.

I Meet a Really Creepy Kid

I spun around to see a young boy (14ish) in pale grey pants (sooo last year) and a brown jacket over a shimmering opal shirt, faded because of the thin layer of dust that covered it. His bleached whitish blond hair was swept to one side, with his dark bangs almost covering his eyes, like he had dyed them. His eyes were a super pale blue, like ice on a cold winter night, making my green eyes seem dull in comparison. 

“Who are you?” I asked, but I wasn’t afraid. The police were seconds away, able to fly at 240 mph with their new wingsuit.

The Wolves

 My name is Devin. I am a Wolf. His voice spoke in my mind, a hidden whisper that only I could hear. I shivered, thinking of the stories others had told, of sneaky men and women who hid in the mountains, without any form of modern technology. Apparently, they could communicate with their minds, as Devin was doing right now. But this kid didn’t seem like much, just a boy who needed to rethink his clothing style. He stared hungrily at my phone, which hung at my side, its galaxy phone case glimmering in the shine of the setting sun. 

I can help you reach the top of the mountain and get back to your family, but I will do it only for a price. His voice sounded like the mist on a cold night, creeping around, yet silent to everyone’s ears. 

I shivered. “Take me there,” I whispered, the cold mountain air stinging my cheeks. 

We Pack Our Stuff

“Come on, we’re leaving,” I told Maria as I ducked into the hut. The warm air smelled like cinnamon, and it was toasty and dry. Robots truly were magic. We packed our things, and began to close the tent. As I grabbed my mirror/iPod, I gasped.

 I Fix My Hair

My hair was a mess. My long auburn hair was a straggly mess, and the sparkly ribbons that had held it in place had fallen off. My lacy, emerald green dress was wrinkled in places, and the navy slip-ons I had decided to wear had a small tear on the tip. My white socks were even showing through! I quickly combed my hair into a glamorous braid and straightened my dress. I put on new athletic indigo sneakers and tied green and purple ribbons to my new double waterfall braided hair. My new ‘Scarlet Kiss’ lip gloss worked perfectly with my green dress, and I added a smoky black touch with hints of gold to my eyes, so that I could really bring out my soft green eyes. I even added a soft coral to my cheeks so that I could get that natural beauty look. As I closed my mirror and started to close my suitcase, I was sure I looked amazing. 

I Climb the Mountain

“Are you ready?” asked Maria, her black wiry hair blowing in the wind. She always seemed so… unreal, with her humanoid, heart-shaped face and pale features. Her peach-colored cheeks and pale pink lips seemed pretty yet distant, like she hadn’t fully mastered the art of looking human. Her cornflower-blue eyes seemed to pierce your soul, always searching for something they would never find. 

“Yes,” I agreed, smiling even though I could feel my lips cracking. We began to climb, with Maria carrying Hazel and Devin in the lead. I thought about how good it would be to hug my mom and tease my younger brother Adrian again. I was filled with guilt that I hadn’t thought of them in the past few hours.

We Discuss Payment

 We are almost there, called Devin. Let us discuss my payment for leading you here. I twitched slightly because I had forgotten about payment. Of course he would want payment, I was foolish to think that he had been willing to do it for free. I tugged off my silver ring with an opal set in the middle, which was probably worth a lot, but Devin shook his head. We find lots of that here in the mountains. Plus, it might be a fake. I want tech-nology. He said the word “technology” carefully, like this was the first time he had said the word. As I scrambled over a rock, I pulled out my spare holograph glove. 

I Give Devin My Holographic Glove

I raced to catch up with Devin and showed him how to use it. “You just stretch your hand, and you have a variety of choices! You can order food via drones, watch your favorite TV show, or research anything! And, if you want to shop/order food while remaining anonymous, as long as you register for the Buy One, Get A Million Free coupon, which I did, then it appears right next to you out of the FSV! (Free Shipping Void) Also, if you want to turn it off, just curl your hand into a fist!” As I said these things, Devin stared at the glove in wonder. As I finished explaining, he nodded. I will have it. He whispered. I handed it to him, not telling him that this model was from 8 years ago, so I didn’t really care about it. 

We Reach The Top! Yay!

We reached the top and saw a weeping willow tree with an old face carved into the trunk. Purple blossoms with twinkling white centers blossomed on wavy, elegant, and smooth branches and the dusty ground was littered with the petals. The leaves…well, they were beautiful. Pearly pink, light magenta, deep indigo, dark mauve, and glimmering jade leaves, all in a feathery shape. Iridescent, turquoise, heart-shaped leaves were nestled in between the petals of the soothing flowers.

A Tree Talks To Us

 The twisted bark swirled together to form the face, which spoke to us in a melodious, deep voice. “Hello! Would you like to have your deepest wish come true, only for a small price?” It asked. “Yes!” I replied. “I would like to have my family back!” I tossed it the penny, and one of the branches grabbed it swiftly, curling the leaves around the copper coin. 

“Hmmm… a true copper coin…haven’t seen one of these in a long time. Unfortunately, you still have to go through the cave. But thanks for the coin!” It said, and one of the branches seemed to point towards a dark cave that I hadn’t noticed before. Shadows curled around the edges of the gray cavern and stalactites dripped from the ceiling. I shivered just looking at it. 

“I have to go through that?” I blurted out, cold terror coursing through my veins. The cave radiated fear, and I wanted to run far, far, away from it, till I could never see it again. At the same time, a part of me just wanted to get it over with. 

“It’s the only way to see your family,” The tree told me gently, like silk in the breeze. I decided to get it over with, so I ran towards the cave, one leg after the other, my feet climbing the rest of the hill, my mind racing with the million possibilities that this could go wrong. My feet slowed down, into a steady jog, then a speedy walk, until finally, my steps brought me to the entrance of the cave.

I Walk Inside A Creepy Cave

I stroked the outer wall of the cave, and the freezing fear that I felt made me shiver. The cave glimmered with a thousand jewels, yet they all seemed muted, black. I realized that the cave was actually made of onyx and grey moonstone. I stepped inside, my feet lingering in the air as the shadows enveloped me. I broke into a fearful sprint, running away, yet also towards, my fear. I soon discovered the cavern was a maze, and the center emitted a faint purple glow. I realized this cave fed off my fears, so I closed my eyes and willed the cave to obey me. I imagined the thousands of hands that must have worked to build this cave, and I imagined them working for me. I imagined them carving a new path, straight to my family, and I ran, completely trusting those hands. And as I crashed into someone, a human, I realized it was my mom and my family. As we laughed and I wove a path towards the tree, I realized, I knew, we could fix this, we could be fine. And as Maria’s face lit up as she saw us, baby Hazel started to smile, and Devin grinned at me, I knew I was keeping this family, no matter what. I would risk my life to help these people who were so important in my life get down this mountain. 

How To Get Down A Mountain Without Getting Killed

The whole ‘getting down the cave’ part turned out to be surprisingly easy. Apparently the tree (it told us to call him Joeblossom) could “lend us a branch,”  as he put it. So we spent the most terrifying 5 minutes of my life hanging on to a floating branch and trying not to throw up. Fun! As we stumbled to the ground I hugged my family, high-fived Maria, and awkwardly did a handshake with Devin.

2 Years Later…

“So, Devin,” My mom asks, her blond hair draped over her shoulders, “How are you liking Lakebrown High School?” 

I keep on eating my noodles, trying to control the burning sensation in my cheeks. 

“Good, Mrs. Hollyblade,” says Devin quietly. He has finally learned to speak, but he is still very shy. 

“And are you meeting…anyone interesting?” She asks, side-eying me. 

“MOM!” I yell, now supremely embarrassed. I am sure my cheeks are tomato red. 

Devin looks embarrassed, too, and he quietly mutters, “I have to get back to my adoptive family’s house.” He leaves, and I rush to my room, softly smiling. I remembered the first time I’d seen Devin, his pale blue eyes sparkling. I decide to write about my experiences on that mountain in my diary. I get out my laptop, and begin to type,

It was Wishing Day again.

The Zombie who Eats Tacos Everyday

Chapter 1 Taco Man 

A guy eats a tomato taco. A guy eats a lettuce taco. A guy eats an egg taco. A guy eats a beef taco. A guy eats a bison beef taco. A guy eats just a taco bread taco. A guy eats a rice and beef taco. A guy eats an ugly hard boiled egg taco. 

This guy’s name is Taco. He lives with wife, Ms. Taco, and his little baby taco Jr. Taco goes into outer space so he can shoot tacos at people who want to eat them. He throws tacos at people. His salary is $1,123 per second because it’s really hard to aim tacos at people’s head. Right now he wants a better life because his salary is only $1,123 per second and he wants a salary of $2,908 per split second. Ms. Taco is old and has alzheimer. 

Mr. Taco goes on the computer to try to get a new job. 7hr5847n nhcv. His computer turns into a hologram. The computer becomes evil, hacks a government computer, and releases an atomic bomb on Mr. Taco. At the time, he is searching for a new job called Sauce eating to see how much sauce he eats. If he eats five truck loads of sauce, he gets a trillion dollars every hour and every hour after that. Every time he does that, after that, he gets one less minute so he gets money easier. But then, he gets hit with the atomic bomb so he dies.

Ms. Taco also dies, sadly. Taco Jr. didn’t get hit because the stroller protected him. Taco Jr. lost half of his whole body. He lost his right arm, right leg, and half of his right face. He gets a mechanical replacement for that part, which is basically computer-infused with lasers. But then, an evil computer hacks it and the computer wants to destroy Taco guy who right now has somehow came back to life as a ghost who is found by taco Jr {aka hologram hacked taco Jr} blasts Mr Taco with a Laser Gun labeled Ingenita Terra BE Mr Taco saw it was an alien gun “what the hell are you doing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Taco Man got blasted back and started to fade away then an unknown knight armored being blasted a red blue beam of light at taco Jr then the knight said in a familiar voice “I am here to warn you about how to kill that half robot half human.”                               

Chapter 2 Lottery

Soon Taco Man saw a glimpse at something on the back of taco Jr’s robotic half it said 2405 7hr5847n nhcv “weird the year is 2393” he said. Then they teleported to a graffiti filled alleyway he asked the knight “what is going on” “I won’t tell you at least not yyyeeetttt”screamed the knight after a flash of red light.

Chapter 3 How You Die

Taco Jr. shot the knight with a laser gun which killed him supposedly. Then the ghost of Taco Man shot taco Jr. with an ice laser. Taco Jr. stumbled backwards and fell into a black portal. The ghost of taco Man also went into the black hole. Taco Man blasted taco Jr. with another ice laser, but this time taco Jr. activated a gadget and reflected it. But taco Jr. lost his balance and fell into a deep dark hole. But they were still in the black hole, but Taco Man doesn’t know that he’s the one who is making everything happen. Whatever he’s thinking about is what happens. He made the deep dark hole when he was thinking about trapping taco Jr. Then taco Jr shoots a bunch of knives while he was still trapped in the hole. Taco Man didn’t know that was going to happen, so when he got hit by the knives, even though he was a ghost he still got stabbed by the knives since they were coated with poison. Then the ghost saw he was turning into a human again. Then he started coming down because he was still floating and his black hole started to disappear. Then before they knew it, they were both people teleported into a coffin. They were pushed against the walls. There wasn’t enough space for both of them. They teleported above an ocean next to the sun next to a meteor shower into the Sahara. Then they stopped in the sky. That’s the last time they teleported. Then they fell. They were screaming. 

Chapter 4 The Truth 

Taco Man and the Mysterious Knight teleported to an unknown city. Taco Man figured out that it was the future. He found Mrs. Taco. Then, they instantly teleported back to their time. And then they realized it was actually the past. Then they saw a Brontosaurus. And then they teleported back into the Sahara. Then, Taco Man realized that other places they teleported were places that Ms. Taco went to. And then Ms. Taco surprised him from behind and said, “So you figured it out.”    

Chapter 5 Revive

Mrs. Taco says, “I was the one who hacked the computer in order to live longer”

“Why”said Taco Man. 

“I was born in 98718,” said Ms. Taco. 

“What?” said Taco man.

“I teleported backwards,” said Ms. Taco. 

Chapter 6 Finish Line 

“Well, goodbye…

“Nooo,” said the Knight.

Chapter 7 Into the Void 

 Then, they disappeared. They saw so many colors. They were in the Void of Time.   




“Gwen. It’ll be ok.”




“No. No is no. Now⁠—”

The lady gets cut off. She’s the secretary. 


“FINE! I don’t care anyway,”

I storm off.

Dad calls after me.

I leave to my room.


Let me explain. I was just calling the military phone and my dad and I just got word that my mom, now the MIA soldier, had gone MIA and⁠—sorry. I can’t stop crying.

My dad told me, when I was around 6, when mom left, he told me that he loves me but if mom goes MIA, I have to go live with Great Aunt Mia, which is ironic. I have never seen her, and I don’t wanna. I just DON’T. I mean, I get that dad can’t manage, but why can’t I go to a freaking foster home?! That has to be better than a relative, that, in dad’s words, is a ‘Gloomy Crabface.’ I know I haven’t met her, but I hate her for an odd reason. Mostly because she is taking me away tomorrow. I don’t get how she’s related to dad, but… I don’t know. It’s just that I’m so sad not only for myself, but for my mom. Questions lingered in my mind, like Where is she? Is she hurt? Is she DEAD?! If she’s alive, is she thinking about me and Dad??? How did she disappear?

I don’t know the answers, but I assume the worst. Mom’s probably dead, lost somewhere. 

All I know is, I just really want her to come home.


A gray Cadilliac pulls up. A woman with about 3 MILLION wrinkles comes out. Jeez, I think, She is OLD! Her bleach-blonde hair is like a shining star compared to her clothing and face. Her eyes are literally gray. Not light blue, gray. She is wearing a white collared shirt and gray leggings. Why though?! It’s summer! This lady already sucks. 

Dad doesn’t cry. He holds it in, but I feel tears in my eyes like they’re burning. Dad pulls me in and hugs me for what seems like forever. When he lets go, I grab my 2 duffel bags, one for clothes, and the other for my things. I walk quickly down the steps thinking that if I get out fast enough, the sadness and pain will stop. From the car window I wave, just long enough for Mia to drive off. 

“So,” She begins. Her voice is like gravel, and it’s eerie how judgmental she seems. 

“What? Just drive. I don’t wanna talk,” I say, frustrated.

“Well, it’s not what you want. It’s what you have to do,” she says, tensing.

“I don’t have to talk!” I say, my own words cutting me. 

I see her eyebrows furrow, thinking. She has tiny pencil eyebrows. “Well, Gwen, you have to live with me,” she says thoughtfully.

“I don’t need you to take care of me. I don’t even need mom!”

“Ah, Kristina. She’s a good woman, strong-hearted. What a shame that she got lost.” 

I go silent. The mention of her makes me full of love and sadness. 

“I’m sorry if that offended you,” she says, faking it. I can tell.

“I’m fine, okay?! Just leave me alone,” I say gloomily.

She stops.

So do I.


We pull up to a, wait for it, green house in a block of yellow ones. It’s like mold. It’s huge, over ten rooms, I think. Whatever. It’s just stuff, not people. I trudge inside. There is a pretty girl with a perfect bun sitting down, watching TV. She looks my age, 12. She stands up when I come through the door.

“Hi, I’m Juniper,” she says cheerfully. 

“I’m⁠—” I start.

“Gwendoline Ruby Jones. I know,” she says creepily.


“Grammy told me what happened. I’m sorry,” she says, for the first time, not cheerfully.

“Where are your mom and dad?” Mia interjects. I still hate Mia.

“Work,” Juniper responds.


“Well, um, nice to meet you, Juniper?” I say awkwardly. It feels strange to talk since she’s done all the talking.

She lets out a giggle.

“Nice to meet you, too! BTdubbs, call me Juni.”

“Cool,” I say, and for the first time, a bit happy.

“Glad to cheer you up! I can tell you’re a bit happy,”


“Mom taught me how.”

I stand there, baffled.

She giggles again.

“Well, I better lead you to our room!”

“Our?” I ask.

“No, Gwen, me and the lion’s. Of course ours!” she laughs.

“Um, ok,” I say, smiling a bit.

She leads me up two spiral staircases.

She goes into the room.


It has yellow wallpaper with black polka dots, like a bee. One bed is dark purple and has see-through drapes. Then there is a blue bed, next to the purple one with identical features.

There is a closet with all the clothes moved to the side and room for way more. Her closet is the size of my old room that I shared with dad, which isn’t big. There are two bins of toys, both full. If the room wasn’t crazy enough, it has its own bathroom and shower. I stand there in awe. This one room is the size of my condo. I stand there, mouth wide open. Juni collapses into giggles and I realize what I’m doing and I giggle too. As much as I like this, I miss home. There is no place like home, where we could get messy and laugh. Mom used to help me and dad bake. We always screwed up, no matter what. My mom has/had a free spirit and didn’t care about messes. Her long brown curls always fell in the bowl. And sometimes, her brown eyes would get so wide with laughter. I was only with her for 6 years, half my life. God, I miss her. 

I stop laughing and so does Juni. My laughter turns into tears while I fall on the bed. Everything is blurry. I hear footsteps of Juni walking over as I curl up in a ball and just fall apart. Juni keeps whispering stuff, but I can’t hear over my own thoughts. Eventually, I stop. Everything stops. I sit up straight like nothing happened. 

“I’m hungry,” I say.

Juni looks at me like I’m crazy.

“Um, ok?” she says. 

We walk down to the kitchen. 


One thing I notice about Juni is that she is super happy, unlike me. 

It’s really annoying.


About 3 weeks later, the day before school appears. Juni is currently telling me who to avoid and who to like:

“Ok, so not Josh, most DEFINITELY not Trista, hang with Ella, she’s awesome. Avoid Fatima. She is so fricking annoying!” She talks on and on. 

This seems like I have about 5 people I can be friends with. She drones on and on forever while I stare at our backpacks. Juni’s is white with little flowers on it. Mine? Juni wanted to pick mine, but I said no. I took a black one with a galaxy on it. I’m really geeky, if I didn’t tell you, and I loved it. It showed me how a person can go on in the galaxy. Juni wanted me to pick a black one with white polka dots, but… I just didn’t like it. So while hers is super happy and fun, mine, to her, was nerdy. When she said that, I said thanks. She made a face at that.


We are sitting at the counter while Mia makes breakfast. She insists on waffles. I don’t feel like food today. Clatter! Juni’s plate drops down, almost broken. She doesn’t care and eats it all. I push mine away.

“Gwen, you need to eat,” Mia says, tensely.

“No. Ok?” I snap. 

She goes quiet and picks up my plate. I walk upstairs to get ready. Juni eats quickly and follows. We walk in our room. I go to the bathroom while Juni stares at her closet. Yeesh. Fancy much, Juni? I brush my hair and pick it up in a ponytail while Juni is STILL at our closet.

Now it’s getting out of hand. Staring at clothes? Who does that? I just grab my overalls and a shirt. I tie my jacket around my waist. It’s black and red plaid. When I walk out, Juni raises an eyebrow and asks, “Are you sure you want to wear that?” 

“Yeah. I don’t care how I look,” I respond flatly.

“Um, ok.” She giggles. We only have 10 minutes ‘til eight, when we have to leave. Juni spends about 2 minutes in there and comes out with her super long hair in a perfect ponytail dressed in leggings and a black and white tee shirt with the word Believe. 

God. She’s really pretty. There is no feature out of shape. Her tiny nose, perfect brown eyes…

Middle school is gonna suck. FIGHT ME IF YOU DISAGREE! COME AT ME BRO! 


We walk into a school with pearly white outer walls and rows and rows of silver lockers. REALLY nice school. My old school was sucky compared to this. My old school was brick and had rows and rows of dusty lockers. At least I had friends back there. 

“You coming?” Juni asks.

“Nah. Gotta get everything from the principal.” I respond.

Juni walks away to a group of girls. There is this one girl in the middle, talking, and everybody is staring at her like she’s a god. I mean, the girl in the middle has locks of gold hair and freckles dotting her skin. She is… shallow from what it looks like. The principal hands me a paper and walks away without a sound.


I find my locker, locker number 8. WOWWWW. Juni’s is locker 6 and Shallow Girl’s is 7. My favorite number. 7. Seven was also my mom’s favorite number, too. 


I walk over to Juni during recess. She waves and introduces me. “Girls, this is my cousin Gwen. She just moved here,” she says. 

I did not move here, I think. I give a half a second smile then go back to a stare. 

“Cool! I’m Ivy,” says the girl with her dark hair down and her blue eyes gleaming. I like her.

“Hey, I’m Ana.” This girl has red hair and baby blue eyes, like Ivy’s, just lighter.

“Um, hi. I’m Ella,” Shallow Girl says. This one has golden locks and freckles dotting her nose and face. She has her hair up, like Ariana Grande up, but it still reaches down her back. They start talking.

“Omygosh, did you see what Fatima was wearing?! It’s like, a white shirt and overalls. So cringe!” Ella says. Ana agrees while Ivy stares off and gives a slight nod. 

“I know, right?!” Ana says with a smile. My eyebrows crease and my eyes are wild. 

“Dude, that isn’t ok. People can wear what they want! So don’t judge or you will be judged, by everybody you looked down to,” I spit out. Ana stares with a mouth open while Ella gives me a disgusted look. But the worst is Juni. She furiously stares at me and then looks at me like I’m a different person. The expression I like the most is Ivy’s half smile.

“Well, then go run off with your BFF, Fatima. Go along, Gwenny!” Ella says mockingly.

“OMG! The weirdos are BFFS!” Ana laughs.

Juni looks at me and takes a breath.

“Yeah. They’re perfect.” Juni says, laughing with the others.

“What about you, Ivy? Cat’s got your tongue?” Ella giggles. Ivy opens her mouth and mumbles something like I gotta go to the bathroom. The other girls laugh. Jerks, all of them. I think.

“You should be ashamed, all of you, for treating other people like they don’t have feelings,” I say angrily and I rush to the bathroom. I think about how horrible they are, how mean they are. Even Juni. 

I hear Juni say, “I can’t believe that we are related.”

 I run faster when a teacher chases me. I run in and a stall is closed, and muffled cries come out.

“Ivy, open up. It’s me, Gwen,” I say. The door opens with a creak. I look at her. There is red around her eyes and she says, “Gwen, how do I get them to stop?”

“Say stop. And firmly. Like you mean business. Or even try to make your voice say, Do it or I will actually hurt you.

She giggles. I help her up and we walk out together. When we are near the door, she stops and goes out the other door. “Sorry. Too complicated,” she says. I get it. She walks back to the group while I stay by the cold stone steps. I sit. It’s the most serene I’ve been in ages. I stand up and walk over to a tree. I touch a leaf and it reminds me of Mom. She loved leaves and always went outside. The smoothness of the leaf feels like the touch of Mom’s fingers against mine.


A few weeks later, I’m on my bed and see my stuffed penguin.

“I can’t believe you’re leaving, Mommy!” I yelled.

“It’s for the best, honey. Why don’t we go to the store and get you a present to remember me by?” she asked sadly.

“Ok, Mommy, but I’ll always remember you!” I grumbled. I didn’t want some stupid present. I wanted Mom. We loaded into her black car. Dad was doing something at home in the attic. I didn’t know what it was. We went to Bullseye Shop. Mom held my hand while we walked. I was only six, just remember that. Mom led me to the toy aisle and she let go of my hand. I grabbed back on for dear life and she sighed and picked me up. I liked playing with her curls. I looked around while she held me and all I saw were princess dolls or army figures or even glittery toys. (EW! Who’d want THAT? Not comfy at ALL!) The army figures upset me. Mom pointed to a teddy bear with a pink lace bow.

“What about that one, sweetie?” she asked.

“It’s gross, Mommy!” I said, complaining.

Then she saw the army figures.

She rushed me past those and found what was soon to be my most prized possession.

I know this may sound weird, but I will tell you this to explain: I LOVE penguins. I don’t know why. I just like that they are cool birds. Even though they can’t fly, they fly in some way.

It was a giant stuffed penguin with soft blue eyes and a pastel yellow beak. It wasn’t rainbow, or glittery, just… .a penguin, I guess. I smiled and Mom picked it up.

“Oh, this is so cute! Why didn’t I see that, smart girl?” I laughed while she gave it to me. I held onto two things: My mother and my penguin. I didn’t want to let go of the penguin or my mom, so the cashier had to scan it in my arms. 

Once we got home, Dad came out with two presents. The big one was for me and the small one was for Mom. I unwrapped mine quickly and saw one of those kiddie computers. In Mom’s was a sculpture of our family. We all hugged tightly and we all cried a bit. We spent the rest of our day sad-happy. Then it turned out to be the worst day of my life. 

Later, Mom got called to leave. When we heard that, we all got sad and we all cried really, REALLY hard. Mom gave me and dad a kiss and when she hugged me, she whispered, “I’ll never leave you guys.”

I didn’t understand then, but I do now. When she left, I crawled to Dad and reached over for my penguin. 

Back in my room, I’m close to tears. I decide to reach over to my phone, the old little iPhone 6 while Juni has iPhone 11 Pro. Jeez. Great Aunt Mia probably shops at Yucci. RICH. I pull up my texts and find 321. I turned off my alerts on all texts so I missed a lot. All Dad’s texts were like I’m sorry, I just can’t take care of you, I love you, Missing you, Give me a call. I decided to take up the offer on that last one. 

I dial: 555-907-8070. His number. I hold my breath for a second when Dad’s voice comes on. 

“Gwen? Oh my gosh, I have big news! Wait, is this even you?” He sounds like he’s aged in like 4 weeks.

“Yeah, Dad. What’s the news?”

“Well, I know I’m a bit upset but mostly happy. You know that day I gave your mother the sculpture of us?” 

I get excited. “Yeah?!”

“Well, they found it shattered on a trail which sounds bad, but if you think about it, Mom could be alive!!” He excitedly says.

“Oh. OH!! Dad! This is great!! Also, can you visit me soon? I miss you. I’m holding The Penguin right now. I got sad,” I say.

He goes silent.

“Honey, I don’t think I’m ready. Only calls for now, right? Is that ok?” he asks.

“Oh- o-of course Dad, take your time.” I fake happiness in my voice.

“Glad you understand. Gotta run, love you!” he says. He hangs up when I hear footsteps. I shove The Penguin in my bag under my bed. Then I hear giggles.

Oh Lord. 

I think I only hear one when I hear 3. 

Oh Lord double.

I see Juni, Ana, and Ella, and in the back is Ivy. She shoots me a half smile. 

“OK, Gwen. Juni, very dorkily, convinced me that you’re ok. You aren’t weird,” Ella says, not even saying hi, no trace of sarcasm. Ana giggles and nods. Juni goes red while Ivy looks down.

“Well, what if I wanna be weird? Who said being weird was bad, Ella? Aren’t we all weird in our own way, Miss I-like-making-people-feel-bad?” I say, frustrated. 

“Well, I said that being weird is bad,” said Ella, bratty, know it all. Ana giggles and agrees. Ugh. 

“Get out. This is Juni’s room, and we’re using it,” Ana says matter of factly.

“Sorry, the room says that it doesn’t want two, not Juni and Ivy, mean girls infecting its area. The room says nope, ” I say with a grin.

Ivy gives me a tiny smile and Juni’s mouth twists in a weird way. Ella and Ana both give me a mad glare, the stare burning in my scalp. “Let’s go, girls,” Ella says. 

Ali and Juni follow while Ivy calls, “Be right there! I dropped my ponytail holder that was on my arm!” A lie. It makes me feel good that somebody would lie just to talk to me, in a strange way. 

“If you don’t want to be friends with them, you should tell them,” I say as Ivy is done calling. She is still facing the door. She stands quietly and then turns around to talk.

“Gwen, what if I want to be friends with them?” she asks. Now, that makes me quiet. She spent all this time complaining to me about how horrible they are. Now she wants to be friends with them? “They are nice when you are friends with them. Sure, they talk about other people and make jokes, but they don’t try to be rude,” Ivy says.

I sense something is off about the words rolling out of her mouth and into my face. “Who told you that?” I ask, like stone. 

“Ana,” she says quietly.

“Well then you sho⁠—” I start. We hear Ella call for Ivy. Ivy speed walks away to them. I am left, sitting in my room. I feel stupid. 

Of course! I figured it out. Ella and Ana are an unstoppable team of bullies. And it’s not just Ivy they bully. And they means Juni, Ella, and Ana. Girls like Fatima, and Trista, and many others. They don’t say it to their faces, but everybody knows they talk about people. Everybody just knows. Ivy stands quietly, but they are labeled popular, even though everybody doesn’t really like them. So if nobody actually likes them but still wants to be friends with them, what’s the point?


The next day, Juni says matter-of-factly that she’s going to walk to school with Ella and Ana. She doesn’t mention Ivy, which I find weird. 

“What about Ivy?” I ask. 

Juni tilts her head. “Ok, can you keep a secret and like, not tell Ivy? TBH, we’re thinking of cutting her from the group. She seems to like you better than us, anyway. Ella and Ana are sad. Ivy was cool before you came. She fit in.” 

And with that, Juni walks out the door to find Ana and Ella waiting. 

I never really thought of it like that, me stealing Ivy. I guess I did. Maybe I should leave them alone. I grab my backpack, heavy with homework, and head out. Instead of seeing Ana, Ella, and Juni walking, I find Ivy laughing nervously when Ella says that we are best friends. 

“What is that supposed to mean, Ivy?” I ask coldly.

“Gwen! I didn’t mean it. I try so hard to fit in and I⁠—” Ivy pleads.

“That’s enough. I’m done,” I say, and I speed off toward school. My head hurts and I want to cry but I don’t allow myself. They would get satisfaction from my tears. I reach up to the school steps and run up. I speed through the hallway and push down three people. I don’t really care. I mean, my mom is gone, my cousin is horrible, my only friend left, and now my dad doesn’t even want to see me. How much can one twelve-year-old girl take? I know people have much more horrid lives, but right now it’s the worst. Something in me tells me that I have to do something big. Something so people will know my sadness and pain. I know it’s bad, but everybody has to know the feeling inside your gut that makes you want to puke or cry or run away. I decide to hatch a plan. One that will not fail. One that will make them understand. One that will stay with them forever and ever. 


After I get out of school, I race “home” and don’t do my homework like Mia says and I don’t do my chores, because Mia has to give the kid with no mom chores. I run up the stairs when I hear Juni, Ivy, Ana, and Ella. I slam the door and whip out my notebook. Here’s what I write:

  1. Take something important from them and hide it. Let them know how bad losing something important is.
  2. Adjust the words on the huge board, the one with plastic letters on the school and call Juni and her friends out. 
  3. ….. No idea……
  4. OOH! Got it!

I don’t write my plan out because Juni might flip through my notebook. But it’s great. It’s dangerous. It’s perfect.


I pack my bag with food, water, and clothes because they might kick me out. I remember The Penguin and pack it too. I decide to strike at twelve a.m. Nobody will know I’m gone. I’m so determined that I’ve forgotten to be scared. This is probably the most important thing I will ever do. After I’m done, I go downstairs for water. Then I see Ivy’s shoulders shaking. She must feel bad, I think. But then I hear her.

“G-Gwen hit me and⁠—and then she said I’m a stupid brat. I thought she was my friend…” she wails. I didn’t do that. I didn’t. I should just walk away. But I don’t even wonder why she’s lying, I just wonder what I should do. Because I’m this close to hitting her for real.

“I did not, Ivy. Now stop the act before I hit you for real, not in the magical fairyland in which I hit you,” I yell. Ivy stops and the other girls just stare back and forth between us. That is when I decide I’m doing this now. But first I hiss, “I will teach you, very, very soon.”


I take the seven cans of spray paint I bought and head to the school. I took seven because I know that with that number, I will be lucky. I stop at their lockers and I think that I should do them each with their own message. In bright pink, I write: I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIEND on Ivy’s locker, and on Ella’s and Ana’s I write, STOP MAKING PEOPLE FEEL BAD. 

And on Juni’s… I write I THOUGHT YOU WERE ON MY SIDE. That’s when the lights come on.



I sit in my cell. I’m sentenced to a month and 3 days here. In juvie. Thing is, they made me apologize, but I’m not sorry. The only thing I am sorry about is that I couldn’t see their faces. But Juni visited me. That was one of the worst. We talked a bit like this: 

“I can’t believe you. How could you?” Juni says angrily. 

“How could you? You were the one who called me weird. You were the one who took Ella’s side and you know she was wrong,” I say sternly.

“Well, Ella was just trying to help you fit in,” she says defensively.

“What about Ivy? Why did she lie, huh? You know I didn’t⁠—” 

I get cut off.

“I know you didn’t. I know now. But I can’t just abandon Ivy like that. She was jealous that you were stronger than her. Braver,” Juni whispers that last part. “Truth? So was Ana and Ella. And me. You just yelled what you thought, while none of us could do that. We have to fit in,” she says. Most she’s said in one sitting.

“Thanks, but I’m not forgiving anybody,” I say.

“Neither am I,” she says. And with that, she strides out. 

What was really painful was when Dad visited. 

I didn’t know what to expect. He might yell or scream. But he didn’t. He was so mad but, also, happy, like he was hiding something. I hate it when Dad hides stuff. He’s still here. Good thing is that I’m sent to live with Dad after all this. Then he walks over to me. The prison guard lets me out to see dad.

“Why?” he asks.

“They betrayed me. I couldn’t sit around and let them,” I say.

“Oh,” he says calmly. “I’m so sorry. I should have stayed with you. You got so angry. I feel like it’s reflecting off of me leaving,” 

“It’s not your fault. I just⁠—I guess all the anger of Mom leaving and my friends leaving just came out of me,” I say, almost in tears.

“Oh, and I have something else I need to tell you,” he says.

“What is it?” I ask.

“Gwen, your mom is coming home after this month, when you are out of here,” he says, his voice breaking.

I don’t say anything. I just cry. My heart fills up and I feel like a bomb ready to explode with happiness. I already know that the next month will take a long time.


This is the day I go home. Nothing is resolved with Juni and Co. I told Dad what happened. Then a car pulls up and Mom runs out with bruises and cuts and love. I hear some pain in Mom’s voice, like she had been so terribly hurt that she couldn’t talk. 

“Hi, my little penguin,” she says in tears.

“Hi, Mom,” I say cracking up. Dad just stays quiet.

“Hi, Rob,” she says to Dad. Before, I talked to mom over the phone and told her what happened. She was sorta mad but not too much. By the way, I asked mom what had happened to her, but she won’t say. I guess it’s too painful.

Then me, Mom, and Dad sort of clump on the couch and stay there. Me and mom are hugging The Penguin, too. 

For some reason, I think that I left Juni and Friends in a good way, a way where they probably are sorry right this minute. A way where they know what they did, and now they know why I was hurt. I don’t care that I didn’t make up with them, I just care that I’m home. 

With the only people I need.


Chapter 1

Dwayne And Greg

The bell rang, sending feelings of scariness through the playground. They pierced through my thin, green skin. I tried to stretch out of my spot in the ground. I had to move before the kids came trampling to the playground, running right towards me and all of my best friends. 

“How about we work together to stretch each other out?” Dwayne screamed. 

It was a big risk because if we pulled ourselves out of the ground then we would have to find water and more nutrients, but we all agreed and started by stretching my blade so that I could be free first.

Thump, thump, thump. The stampede of kids came closer. I jumped up and down in my spot a couple of times. 

They finally got me out. “Yay, I’m free!” I screamed. It felt so weird and confusing to be out of the ground. But I felt happy too!

Now we could work on getting Greg out. 

“Come on,” yelled all of my friends around me. “We have to do this faster!” And then the wind came, which helped get us closer to rescuing Greg from the hard ground. 

“There is a kid running right towards us!” Dwayne said. The kid was not just running at them. But at me! There it was, the foot about to step on me!!  What should I do! I tried even harder to stretch my friend out from his hole. 

Finally, we got him and the rest of us out. I was about to start dancing, but we had to get away before the kids came and stepped on us. 

As I jumped awkwardly across the field, I saw the kids in the other direction. I just kept on running. Greg was in front of me, jumping really fast and everybody else was behind us. 

We all hid under the mulch to have a rest. I felt like I never wanted to go back home. Being out of the ground was the most amazing thing! After a while, we started running again. This time I was in the front. And I made sure I was in the front, the whole time. After I hopped for what felt like a thousand hours, we finally got to the chapel. It was even better than I had imagined it would be up close. The steps leading up to the chapel were huge. My friends and I started looking around inside for the perfect spot to live. The ceilings were so high. They felt 10,000 feet tall. We could hop around here for days and never see the end of it. 

I jumped over to Greg. “Do you want to live in my spot with me?”

“Where is your spot that you will live in?”

I walked him over to a chair in the back corner and showed him around, but there was one problem. “This tiny spot right here is a—Oh no!” I screamed. “What just happened!”

The lights had turned off. I did not know what to say to my friends. So I just shouted out. “Hey everybody, don’t worry! It will be okay, we can find a way out of this,” I yelled.

When I looked back at Greg, he was not there! Oh no! What should I do? This was really starting to feel scary. Greg announced, “Hey guys! I can fix this!” Just then, the lights turned back on! 

“Yay! Yay!” everybody screamed. Greg saved the day. Everybody was circling around him with pride. I was so proud of him too. I gave him a huge high-blade and then moved on to the little place that I would live, maybe with Greg. Greg is my best friend now. 

When I got to my new tiny spot, I noticed that it needed a little bit of a clean up. I picked up a feather and started cleaning up, asking Greg to help me.

“All I need help with is this little spot right here.” I pointed to a candy bar wrapper and some dust. 

“Yes, but I am not going to do all of the work,” Greg said.


As I worked, I thought about all of the adventures that we had gone through to get here and how hard it was. I missed home a little and wished I could be back there, but I couldn’t go yet. We had just gotten to the chapel and we needed time to rest. 

“Dwayne!” Someone screamed in my ear. It was from Greg. I had been daydreaming and stopped cleaning up. He was just reminding me that I had to do some of the work too. 

“Ok,” I said. After a little while, I was worn out. I figured we would need some water and soil, so I told the group I would be right back. 

I was out for way longer than I thought I would be and it was dark way faster than I imagined. It was quickly dark and scary. Bats were squeaking and looking at me with bright yellow eyes. I was freaked out, so I turned around and headed back to the chapel with the soil and water for my friends. After a while, I was so lost, but the next thing I knew I had bumped into Greg. He was trying to find me. We headed back to the chapel!  

Once inside, I gathered my friends around me. I wanted to tell them what I had been thinking about.

“I think we should go back home to our original spots. Think about how hard it will be for us to get water and soil every day.” 

They all agreed. We immediately headed out of the chapel and back to the playground area that we called home. I felt brave and happy to be going back, but also lucky to have had a chance to move, jump around, and go on an adventure. 

December 19th

We were sitting in the classroom talking about how we wanted to do the athletic ability class, but my mom said no. We wanted to do it because Grace isn’t that good at running, and I enjoy it. It would be a win win! After that, we just talked about our weekend plans.

 I then started to smell smoke. I glared over at my best friend Grace. She has been my best friend for over 10 years. Grace stared back with her eyes WIDE. 

She said to me, “Chloe, the smell is getting really really strong. Should we say something?” 

The smell was getting really strong. I said back to her, “No, let’s wait here until further notice.” Little did I know that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.

 Just then the fire alarm rang. Everyone in the school rushed out of the building just like we practiced in our fire drills, except this time it was much more chaotic, like our lives depended on it, because they did. I heard a scream and automatically recognized that the scream was Grace’s. 

I ran back into the building, even though my life could have ended right there. I saw Grace surrounded by fire as she let out her final screech. 

I yelled to her, “Never forget that I love you!” 

I ran out of the building screaming for help. Once I was outside, I watched the school burn from a distance. Many were crying. The teacher called attendance to make sure everyone was here and safe. She called:















“Grace? Grace! GRACE!!! WHERE IS GRACE?”

I knew. Tears were in my eyes. The firefighters came with an announcement. I could hear my heartbeat echoing through the pure pressure of myself understanding what was about to happen. They stated that they found a dead body inside of the treacherous fire. They described the body and asked if anyone knew the person they described so they could call her parents. I told them what I saw and the firefighters tried to calm me down as I sobbed. Grace’s parents arrived at the school bawling. 

“If only I just agreed to leave with Grace earlier.” I said to myself, trying to hold back tears.

Every day felt so empty without her by my side. All the hours were unexciting and lonely. All the minutes were filled with grief. I could never replace her. EVER. The world needed her. I needed her.


  My life was surrounded by that day. The day of the fire. December 19th.  Every time someone said Grace’s name, my heart skipped a beat. Today is Grace’s second yahrzeit. I’ve gone to therapy every other week preparing for this day, so I wouldn’t have breakdowns or asthma attacks. Therapy was working fine although it was hard not to cry on December 19th. This year, I prepared a list of inside jokes, handshakes, ideas, art projects, dreams, and most importantly, our talks. I passed around the list for everyone at the gathering to see. Only me, my parents, Grace’s parents, and Grace’s siblings were at the gathering.

I made it out of the gathering without any asthma attacks or breakdowns. I was really proud of myself for being strong. I teared up, although not too badly.

When I got home, I heard some strange sounds. I peeked out of my bedroom door and noticed my mom talking on the phone. She was talking discreetly. She had no idea I could see her. She then said the words into the phone that changed my life. “I did it ok! I did it! I set the fire!”

I yelled at my mom so hard while wailing! She immediately got off the phone. She explained everything to me. She told me that Grace was always doing better than me in school. 

“SO YOU KILLED HER!?!?” I screamed. I was confused, how did my mom know she would die?

The words spiraled around in my brain. My mom told me, “When I first had the idea two years ago, I immediately started planning. I know that Grace is a slow runner. So I didn’t support your athletic ability classes. If I did, Grace would become faster and would have survived the fire. You recognized the huge scream of Grace and ran for her.”

 It all made sense now. I called the police and they took my mom away while I cried. I have no one. No one.

  In school the next month, I was completely productive. I was trying to be more available and open since I noticed I really hadn’t been. I realized that I am grieving however, that can’t take over my entire life. I still need to live it and fulfill the dreams both Grace and I forever wished would come true.

 And they did.

THE END.         

The Spotlight

Chapter One

The Play

The firefighter clowns poured water on each other instead of the fire. An old lady wearing a huge wig of grey hair ran away from the fire, yelling. 

“Help me!”

 Meanwhile, a little, wrinkly elephant started flapping his ears while a chubby boy ran up and hooked a cable onto the fake elephant. The cable rose and the elephant started to fly! The audience cheered with “OOhs and Ahhs.”

I couldn’t understand what the actors were saying next, but suddenly I felt a tickle up my wires, a feeling that always excited me because I don’t usually get my chance to shine. Sometimes I get sad about how much the other colored spotlights get to shine.  

I felt it coming, and I shined like a spotlight should shine right on Dumbo! But then, it happened again. The other spotlights were shining way more than me. I felt another tickle and I shut off immediately. That’s what happens when I get super sad. The whole crowd gasped. No one could see Dumbo. Now no one would say it was a great play, only that it was just OK. 

Chapter Two


After the play, I stretched and I pulled so hard that my wires unstuck. Walking through the school campus and across the road always helped me feel less sad. Plus there was something I wanted to check on at the Dollar Tree. I climbed to the curtain and slid down to the stage. I sat there for a while because I was so tired. 

After a while, I got up and walked behind the curtain. I  grabbed the invisible spray that the grown-up actors sometimes used to sneak around during the play. I sprayed it on myself. It felt like the spray paint they put on me when they were making me. Poof! I was invisible to all things except myself. 

I went out from the back of the stage and headed towards the road to get to the Dollar Tree. I sometimes sneak the mini lamps out of the store to compare their brightness with mine. I keep getting dimmer and dimmer and I wanted to see how long I have left. This was the only thing that felt bad about walking around after plays, but I have to do it to see how much longer I have in my life. 

I used my back-up battery, turned on my light and shined my light at a rusty, old stop sign. Then I turned on the mini lamp, which also had a battery, to see which one was shining more. Mine was obviously dimmer. I turned off the mini lamp and chucked it at a tree. It bounced back to me. I put it in a hollowed-out tree where I put all the mini lamps that I’ve ever gotten, which was a lot. It was getting late so I headed to Berry Hall, where the stage was. I climbed up to where I pulled my wires out, stuck myself back in and fell asleep. 

Chapter 3

A New Life

I was jolted awake with a big flash, then a huge charge of electricity. This time there were grown-ups rehearsing. They were also doing Dumbo, just like the kids were. Their costumes looked a bit better than the kids and the scene where Dumbo flies was perfect. 

Once again it was my turn to shine. I felt so strong and ready to go that I turned on my light a half a second early. The man who controls the spotlights tilted his head and made a funny face. Oops! I thought. But then I noticed that he didn’t really care so I felt relieved.

One of the actors used the invisible spray and hooked up Dumbo, who started to fly. My light got brighter. All of the other colored spotlights looked back at me as if to say, “Just because you’re shining brightly doesn’t mean you are cool!” 

I started flickering. I’ve gotten dimmer, but I’ve never actually flickered before. I couldn’t stop the horrifying seizure of light. Everybody looked down and covered their eyes. Even Dumbo, who was in the middle of flying, covered himself with his big cardboard ears.  

Suddenly, the man shut me off and the stage went dark. Because the windows were open and the sun was shining, you could still see a few people on the stage. Everybody was astonished when the director yelled, “Cut cut cut!” He was the one who always stopped them from rehearsing if something went wrong. 

I barely get to shine and, for one moment, I was really shining. Now I am pretty sure that they are not going to use me ever again. 

“We will repair that spotlight on Friday before the play,” said the maintenance guy. 

Wait, I thought. Does that mean that they’re not going to throw me out? I was so relieved I couldn’t describe it. It was like getting a Visa gift card at the Dollar Tree with infinity dollars on it!    

Chapter 4

Green Eggs and Ham

I missed the Dumbo play because I was busy being repaired. In the meantime, they replaced me with a new white light. I didn’t feel very good having to miss the adult Dumbo play, but I was still very, very happy that I was going to be brand new when I came back. 

I was out for about two days. I was a little worried that the new white light would replace me permanently. 

But then I thought, “Why would I ever be permanently replaced by the white light if they are repairing me?” Right after that thought swept out of my brain as if someone had a broom, I heard the maintenance man say, “We’re going to put our new white light in the spot where this light was.”

I felt so angry to hear this. I wanted to turn on my light and flicker and give them another seizure!

“We need a blue spotlight for our next play,” he said. “Green Eggs and Ham.”

The other maintenance man looked at him as though he had a good plan. “Since I put a new battery in this one,” he said, “I will go ahead and add a blue sheet in front of its bulb so we have a blue spotlight.”

Huh?? I thought. I was amazed. I was going to be up where the colored spotlights were. Then I had a terrible thought. What if they still make fun of me? What if they say things like, “You just became a colored light because you are terrible at being a white light! At least that another white light is decent.”

The next morning, I was no longer lying on the big table with all my insides pulled out of me. I was hanging from my wires next to all of the colored lights. They didn’t seem to be warmed up enough to wake up yet, but soon they would probably be up. Bad thoughts and good thoughts crashed into my head, fighting and jumping on each other. But, like I when I got fixed, the good thoughts repaired everything that had been broken. 

“What? Huh? Why are you here who are you? Why is there a blue light here?” 

I looked over and all the other spotlights looked amazed that there was a new color. They were peering so hard at me to see who it was. After a while, they realized it was me. It was like they couldn’t speak at all. They all looked at me right in the humongous blue eye.

At that moment, bad thoughts weren’t just destroying things in my head…they were also destroying all the good thoughts. It was like a war going on, but the good thoughts were easily losing. Because they were good thoughts, they couldn’t actually hurt the bad thoughts, even if they wanted to. Only fix them. But there was only one good thought left in my head, which wasn’t even that good. Maybe they will leave me alone. Then I will not be teased, but ignored instead

Then I heard the pink spotlight — the one on the other side of the row — say “Congratulations!”

The little thought that they would leave me alone became a huge giant. It started fixing bad thoughts into “Phew!” thoughts.

The play started. The two characters argued over the green eggs and ham. One of them pushed the other into trying the green eggs and ham, but he was disgusted by them. After a while, when they had gone in the rain, on the train, under the tunnel, also with a goat and a fox and a mouse and everything else…while they swam in the water…I shined as hard as I could to make the water sparkle and light up as much as possible. Everyone in the audience was dazzled by how brilliant the water looked. 

The green light purposely shined right on the eggs to make them look green. Then, the character who said he would never eat green eggs and ham ate them. The curtain closed with loud applause. 

I felt perfect, with feelings of pride and courage and strength jolting through me.

On the Inside

I see the flowers I see the rock 

The flowers are as beautiful as the rock

The flowers were wilted and the color was fade

The rocks were painted with beautiful colors

And when broken apart have a beautiful mosaic

It’s shiny and white

Then I put them across from each other

In comparison, the rocks are beautiful and the flowers aren’t

I looked happy because some things are more beautiful on the inside


Hi I’m sally. I am 8 years old. One afternoon, I was walking home from camp like I do every day and I passed by a forest I had never seen before. I started walking in the forest. Then I stopped. I saw a big unicorn, so I hid behind a bush. 

The unicorn started coming closer to me. Then I realized that the bush had food on it. I tried to run away but she had already swallowed me whole. Inside the unicorn’s stomach, I was sitting in a swarm of rainbow wet stuff. It smelled like cotton candy. 

So I had been in there for a few hours. I got hungry so I tried the rainbow stuff… it tasted amazing! My cell phone rang. It was my mom. I picked it up. My mom said, “Sally where are you!!???” 

“I’m stuck inside a unicorn!” I said.

My mom laughed. “There is no such thing. GET HOME!!!

I said, “I’m in a forest. Come and get me!!!”


Mom walked in the forest and stood there. The unicorn came close to mom. She just stood there and she got eaten by the unicorn. Splash. Mom fell in the unicorn’s rainbow stuff.

I told Mom to try it. Mom hated it. She said it tasted like barf… Mom’s phone rang, it was dad.

He said “Where are you??? I made dinner!!!” 

“We’re in a unicorn!” said mom. “Come and help us!”

Dad said, “Where are you?” 

But mom already hung up. So dad just used his tracking device. So he got to the forest and looked around. Mom and I climbed up the unicorn’s mouth. We saw Dad so we pulled him in. We fell and splash! 

Dad said, “Why did you pull me in you could have got out!!” 

“Well it is too late now.” 

Dad said, “I can’t believe I had made dinner!! It’s probably cold now!!! 

“Well it’s your fault you made dinner for the first time!”

“I’m hungry,” said Dad.

I said, “Have some rainbow stuff.”

“I love it!!” said Dad. Dad called his brother Uncle. 

Dad and Uncle never had a great relationship. They are always bickering. Uncle picked up his phone. He said, “WHAT DO YOU WANT???”

Dad said, “Sally, Mom, and I are stuck in a unicorn.”

“I don’t believe that,” said Uncle. 

Dad said, “Do you want me to send you pictures?”

“A swirl that is rainbow and the unicorn is cute,” Uncle said. “Ok I believe you. I’m coming to get you.” 

He went into the forest and saw the unicorn. The unicorn saw him and walked away. Uncle was mad. So he climbed on the unicorn and the unicorn yawned so he went in its mouth. Uncle was in the rainbow stuff.

Dad said, “Did the unicorn eat you?” 

“No,” said Uncle.

 I went in its mouth. “Seriously. You could have got us OUT!!!!” 

“Ok,” said Mom. “Don’t be rude.”

“I’m hungry. My wife didn’t make dinner.” 

Sally said, “Have some rainbow stuff.” 

Uncle had some. He absolutely hated it, but not bad. Aunt likes old fashion things. She didn’t have an iPhone. She was 50 years old and I thought that was very old. So Uncle called her. 

“.futreukiutrce5ujy6usa6wedtfc64esdfbtrycbetrtgh itduiykdv6tj??” said aunt.

“Go put your dentures on,” said Uncle.

Aunt kinda ran to get them. She screamed she realized that a tooth was missing. For some reason, she got tired and just sat on the couch and watched the news. The people in the unicorn got fat because they ate too much rainbow.


The Adventures of Julia and Lucia

Chapter !

Julia and Lucia are sisters. They live on a couch. They have one maid to bring them food, clothes, and a potty. 

Julia said, “Bring me some chips!”

Then the maid said nicely, “I’d rather not because I brought you food 20 minutes ago.”

Lucia needed a pencil so she yelled at the maid, “BRING ME A PENCIL!!!” 

Then the maid said, “You need some exercise, so your mom and dad are going on a business trip and I am going to ask if I can get off haha. They are going to be gone for 8 months, and I will be off 8 months.” 

Julia said, “I will make a stove on the couch.”

The maid yelled, “Who is going to get the stove?”

 Then Julia said, “Oooooooooooo!!!!”

 So their parents got on the plane and the maid went to Paris, so they lived for 3 months so far, then they got really hungry!!! So Lucia gave up. She had to get up because she was starving and thirsty.

Julia would not get up. She said, “I will stay here until I die.”

Lucia said, “But I do not want you to die. Remember we are immortal.”

“WHAT! We are immortal?” 

Lucia yelled, “Ooooopppppppppssssssss! I was not supposed to tell you that.”

Julia got so so so so upset that they were immortal. They were immortal, but they still aged. It was a little weird. They still got taller and got fat. 

The maid did not know that they were immortal, so when the maid was back from her vacation she did not believe that Julia stayed on the couch for so so so so so so so so so so LONG. So the maid was like thinking in her head if she actually stayed on the couch for that long, and plus she didn’t switch positions. She thought and thought, but she could not figure it out, but she longed to know what was going on. Julia was still shocked about the immortal thing. 

But then Julia screamed out, “I do not want to be immortal!”

Then the maid heard everything.

Lucia said, “Noooooooo! The maid heard!”

That day they wondered where their parents were, then they saw the news on tv that there was a plane crash, but they did not survive. The girls were devastated because their parents died and they had to live with a rude maid for their lives.

The maid said, “I quit.”

“YES!” said the girls. They were really happy. 

While Lucia was jumping up and down on her bed, Julia was still sitting on the couch. The maid was going to leave the next morning because the maid was like their mom. The maid rushed to the airport, then Lucia ran outside and screamed, “Do not go!”

Then she broke into a random car [the keys were in the car]. She had good driving skills and she got the maid in time. The maid agreed to stay. They went back to Lucia. They lived a nice life then dun dun dun.

Lucia mentioned that their parents were immortal, so they did not die. Julia thought that they were on a fancy island. The sisters did not care as much now because they know that their parents are safe, and that is the story of the couch girls [Julia is still sitting on a couch]. 

Chapter !!

Remember us? The sisters Lucia and Julia. We used to live on a couch, but we quit it. So we are going on a quest to find our parents, with our maid obviously.

“We gotta find them!” Julia thought that they were at a secret island. “We are going to search the world just for them. We are leaving tomorrow. The maid told us that she used to be a flight attendant.” 

The pilot sold the plane to her for very cheap, like 1000 bucks. Then the maid took a flight lesson, then she was a pilot. She thought it was too much, so she went on the Internet, found a job that said maid, and that is the story of most of her life.

The sisters got packed and ready to fly. They were a bit scared because she had not controlled a plane in 10 years. She was nervous too, but nothing could stop them from finding their parents, so they set off on their 10-hour trip. They got on the plane. They kept asking each other how much longer, but at least there were movies on the back of the seat.

“Ahh!” they screamed. 

“There is a bit of turbulence!” the captain/maid said. 

Then crash! The plane fell in the water, but thank god they were close to an island. They swam until they reached the island. Finally, they reached it. 

They were so happy they were immortal, however the maid was not, so she drowned. 

The girls did not like that they were on their own. The island was like a big forest. There were berries that they could eat and the salt water they could drink. They did not really want to drink the salt water, but then they remembered that they were IMMORTAL!!! YAY!!! 

So they still starved, but did not die. There was a coconut tree on the island. They cracked it open and water came spilling out. The sisters saw two people on the island across from them. They headed over there, but they were two bandits so they took a run for it then they ended up on a different island. 

Then they saw their mom but no dad. They hugged each other. 

They asked, “Where is dad?” 

Mom said, “He passed on the plane crash.” 

“I thought dad was immortal?” 

“No. He was not.” She asked Julia, “How did you know that we are immortal?”

“Ummmmm.” Then she pointed to Lucia. 

Lucia put her hands up. Mom was not disappointed because she had to find a way to tell Julia because she always wanted to live but not be immortal. Then they started crying. They really missed Dad. They thought he was immortal, but he was not, so it was very devastating.

They got on a pirate boat and got to the house. There was a lot of seasickness that I do not want to explain. It took a week to get home, but they made it.

They walked through the door and Dad was a ZOMBIE!!!!!!!

 Chapter !!!

Julia and Lucia were terrified!! Their father died! Ok, they got over that eventually, but they would never get over that their father was a ZOMBIE!!!!!

Zombies usually look like they have been beaten up, but he was dressed in a nicely tailored  suit. Mom shouted how much money. Dad was not normal. He was see-through and he had mental issues now sadly. We are lucky to even have him here right now.

“Dad!!!” Julia said, sitting on the couch but not forever anymore.

Dad was going to the park and killing the kids there. He has super strength now, so he suffocates the kids with his hands. Then parents started calling the police.

“Ooooh nooo.” Julia called Mom and Lucia. They came as fast as they could, but they did not make it in time. 

He was already handcuffed and in the police car.

They went to the police station the next day and tried to explain that Dad has issues and he is a robot. They lied about the robot because they wanted to take him out of jail, but it did not work, but it was reasonable.

Then the officer said, “If he is a robot, why do you need him?”


The officer said, “You lied. You said he is a robot and that is illegal.” 

Yay they were in the same jail cell as Dad. 

So they were trying to escape out of the window with Dad’s super strength. They were secretly going out, but then lunch came early. 

Then they had no lunch and no food for the rest of their lives, but they were immortal so they will live. Then they tried a different way to escape. Then Dad unlocked the lock on the door, but there was someone at the front desk, so that did not work .

The third time, they went on a trip outside for fresh air. But the police was guarding them, but he was dumb and he was on his phone, then he started sleeping. Yay! That policeman took their wallet and used all their money, then revenge! 

They took his wallet then went to the most fancy restaurant ever. After that, they went on a luxury vacation. They flew first class each 8,000 dollars. So all in all, it was 32,000 dollars. The vacation was to the Carribean. They were sitting for 5 hours when they got the food from the stewardess. It was pasta with tomato sauce on it with a side of cheese. The dessert was lemon pudding with chocolate sprinkles. Lucia and Julia went around the plane asking for second lemon puddings, then the flight attendant said to sit down if there is turbulence. The first time they ignored her, but then the plane was shaking, then they were scared. They went to their parents, but they took Dramamine to make them fall asleep. Then a flight attendant walked by.

It was the maid.

They started yelling, “Maid maid!” 

The maid fainted. The girls were shocked about the maid. They thought she was dead. Then she woke up and she passed them. The pilot on the plane fell asleep, and the plane rushed down to the ground.

The pilot woke up when it fell on the ground. It was a long way from the airport, and it was a lot of nausea. The sisters threw up a few times.

And that is the end of my story. They learned that they should always listen to the maid. 

Monkey Spy

When your day gets completely turned upside down, finding out you have a spy in your household is not that big of a surprise. Having a second spy, ok that is a little kooky, but having a third spy, that is a monkey????? Now it is going way too far. First Violet, then mom, now Leland. Ok, well let me start from the beginning. It all starts in Florida…

4 Weeks Previously 

Mom was cooking dinner in the kitchen of our small condo- apartment. It was spaghetti and meatballs, but it didn’t smell like that at all. Me and my sister Violet were playing spit on the dining room table, and the twins (Luca and calvin) who were both one and a half were fighting over a bubblegum wrapper. Suddenly, the phone started ringing.

“Hey mom?” I called “The phone is ringing!” I didn’t pay that much attention to it. The phone rang a lot. I stroked our pet monkey named Leland and watched her slowly walk over to the phone, her face pale. This was very unusual of her. She never did things like that. Now that I noticed, Mom had actually been acting like this our entire vacation. Panicked, stressed, and nervous. I looked away from Mom. Violet seemed to have noticed it too, because she had dropped her cards on the table, very unusual of HER. Even the twins had stopped screaming, and were staring at Mom open mouthed with spit dripping down their chins. What was happening? I saw Violet stand up and walk over to mom. She picked up the phone before mom could. 

  “Hello?” She said. It only took 1 second for her usual smile or grin to turn into a look of complete seriousness. She nodded at mom, then hung up. 

 “Experiment 124679830” She called, looking directly at Leland. He turned his head to face mom. 

“Take action.” As soon as the last word came out of her lips, Leland started scampering around the house, as though he had been programmed to. My jaw dropped. The twins managed a simple

“Ohhhhbegubidaga” Before mom scooped them up and put them in the stroller. Violet was running around packing, like Leland seemed to be doing, and so was mom.

“MOM!” I shouted so she could hear me over the noise of the packing “WHAT IS HAPPENING??” I could make out a quick “I will tell you on the way! We have to hurry! Violet knows what to do! Follow her!” Wait, so Violet knew about this too? My mind was filled with a jillion questions, but I only had one thought.

Follow Violet.

I ran with my bags across the street, barely keeping up with V and my mom with the twins in the stroller and Leland, who I think is a spy robot monkey now.

“Where, are, we, going?” I gasped

“To the train!” My mom shouted. “I will have to leave you guys there! Again, Violet will explain everything!” We had reached the train. Mom gave us each quick but tearful goodbye hugs. I blinked back tears. I had never left my mom before. Not even for a sleepover. I was honest to goodness very very scared. Mom gave Violet the stroller, and Leland jumped out of my arms and onto Violet’s shoulder. We entered the train station just as the train pulled up. It was all going so quickly, and none of it seemed very real. It was all like a blurry dream. The doors opened. Violet pushed the stroller into the train. I quickly looked back to see if Mom was waving goodbye, but she had disappeared. The train doors were starting to close, and Violet had to grab me and pull me in. It was much nicer than I had expected. The seats were leather and there was an old woman with a frilly dress with a cart filled with food parading up and down the train. Violet sat down and motioned for me to sit too. I was hesitant at first but then I gave in. She took the twins out of the stroller and put them on her lap, bouncing them gently. She was nine years older than me and I was only 7. She turned to face me. 

“Okay,” she said. “Now I have to tell you the entire history of our family. It all started when I was 10 and you were just 4. Mom knew that this day would come someday.”

“But what do you mean ‘this day’?” I interrupted. She glared at me and I shut my mouth. 

“The day when the spy attackers would come, or as Mom would call them: SNAKE. I don’t know what it stands for but it sure does sound awfully important.” She paused and stared out the window dramatically.

“She told me this, and I am going to tell you. First off, Mom works for a spy institute where they look into the future and this little monkey,” she motioned to Leland, “is a spy too. And not just any spy, a world class detective.” 

My mouth dropped open. But after all that happened today, this wasn’t that surprising. 

“So she is sending us off with a monkey spy, we don’t know where he is taking us, and we don’t know when we will see mom again?” I asked her, my arms crossed over my chest. Violet nodded. I sighed in frustration. I grabbed Leland off of Violet’s shoulder and put him in my lap. He squirmed to get away, but I held him tight. I started to feel drowsy, and shortly after I had fallen asleep. 

Chapter 2

 I blinked my eyes open. Why were we on a train? Then I remembered it all. My cheek had prints from Violet’s coat on it, and I had a little crusty drool on the corner of my mouth. I wiped it off with my sleeve. 

 “Are we there yet?” I asked Violet drowsily. She shook her head.

“Leland said there are 12 more stops.”

“Wait, Leland can talk now?” I asked. Everything was so confusing now. I just wanted to go back home.

“Monkey Translator. Duh.” Violet looked at me like I was the crazy one. I tried to roll my eyes, but I could really only go halfway. I was glad I had brought my book. 12 more stops seemed like an eternity to a 7 year old. I unzipped my bag that I had been hugging to my chest and pulled out my favorite book of all time: SPACE CATS Into The Spacevolution. I also pulled out my worn out, beat up, patched stuffed animal. Flufster McFlufferson went straight into my lap. I leaned onto Violet again, and curled up with my book.

10 Stops Later

Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Nothing to do. I read my book 4 times, I lost at cat’s cradle 16 times (and won once) and I braided Leland’s hair until he screamed and bit me. Violet said it was my fault, but I think that Leland has cabin fever too. I could tell the twins wanted to go home. They were fighting over the last Annie’s Bunny Gummy. I had the urge to scream at them. 

“Violettttttttttt” I whined. “How many more stopsssss?”

“FOR THE LAST FREAKIN’ TIME, THERE ARE TWO STOPS LEFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. Everyone on the train went quiet and stared at her. She turned beet red and giggled nervously.

“Umm, heehee sorry Ruth,” She said in almost a whisper. 

“I like the color of your face,” I said as I poked her on the cheek. The train pulled to a stop and the doors opened with a swishing sound. I sighed in relief. Only one stop left. So did everyone else including Leland who kind of smiles because his mouth turned up in the corners a little bit. 

Ten people started taking their bags and getting off the train. There were only twenty people including us, so it was a lot less crowded and claustrophobic. Leland said in his monkey translator which is basically a speaker on his chest “Our stop is in ten minutes. Start gathering your things.” His voice was metallic and scratchy and didn’t sound at all like I imagined a monkey’s would sound like. I literally jumped up on the seat and started doing my happy Snoopy dance. Violet shot me a glare and pulled me down. I looked around at the seat and noticed all my things were scattered everywhere so I had to take two trips to my backpack which weirdly enough was ten feet away. I shoved everything in there and zipped it. I didn’t do a very good job zipping it so I dragged it back to my seat–or attempted to– but everything completely fell out again. I groaned. Violet was putting her stuff back in her bag and trying to comfort the twins at the same time. I put everything back in hastily and zipped it up correctly. I continued to drag it to the seat before Violet saw me and rolled her eyes. She walked over and picked it up with one hand, ONE HAND, and walked over to our seat where she rolled her eyes a second time.  I watched as she pulled her phone out of her pocket. She groaned in anger. 

“Stupid Battery” She mumbled under her breath. I shook my head. She was becoming a teenager more and more each day.

Chapter 3

I walked back over to the seat and sat down, only to spring up 2 seconds later. The doors opened, and the intercom crackled with life.

“This is NYJ airport. I repeat, this is NYJ airport. Please clear a path for the closing doors.” I grabbed my bag and ran out of the doors. I looked around. So this was an airport. I wanted to go home, where I didn’t have to wonder if things were fake.

 I marveled at the sight of everything. So clean, so shiny, so new. Then I remembered that I was supposed to stay with Violet and the twins. Oh, and Leland. I swiveled to look behind me for them, only to collide with a tall man with a black suit and tie, and tan skin. I was so short I could only see the bottom of his chin at the highest, and with that only by craning my neck so far I heard a snap. I heard the sound of the stroller on the tiled floor. The man looked behind me. I closed my mouth, just noticing that my mouth was a big O. 

“Are you Violet, Ruth, Luca, and Calvin Perolline?” A gravelly voice said. It was the man. I stepped back and huddled closer to Violet. How did he know our names? Violet narrowed her eyes.

 “Who’s asking?” She said, her teeth gritting. I decided that if Violet was mad, I was mad too. I put my hands on my hips and tried to look as angry as possible. Leland seemed to be very suspicious of this man. He was baring his teeth, and the hair on the back of his neck stood up. 

  The man cleared his throat.

“I am Sir Cleve-” He screamed a manly scream. I didn’t know why until I saw Leland attached to Sir Cleve’s face. He pinched as hard as a little monkey spy could, and at that point I knew. We could trust no-one. This man was disguised as our friend, yet Leland thought he was an enemy. Nothing was simple now. No black or white. Life was a million shades of gray. Before I had finished my totally deep thoughts, Violet had my arm firmly clenched in her hand. She started running and so did I. We ran and ran until I didn’t know if I could run any more. My legs were the wind, and my heart was my spirit. Carrying me on. (This was probably in a famous book or something) Violet stopped suddenly, and I crashed into her butt. Ouch. I looked for Leland, then realized he was on my shoulder. I was scared. Very scared. I was gasping for breath and wheezing for air. I needed my inhaler. I pulled it from my jeans pocket. I put it in my mouth and sucked up ten breaths of air. I stopped weezing. Then I looked up. We were stopped in front of a mangy-looking motel with the red and black sign hanging off of its hinges and the small double door caked with mud. I stared at Violet with my eyebrows raised as if to say, “This is where we are staying the night?”

Violet shrugged and said, “It’s the least costly.” I opened the door and Violet pushed the stroller in the door. Inside, there was a small desk, with a young teenager with earbuds in and her phone out. That was all. No couch, no TV. Nothing. 

“Um, excuse me?” Violet said. The girl didn’t look up. “Excuse me,” Violet said, her voice a little bit louder. The lady looked up and pulled out an earbud. 

“We would like to stay for one night.”

The lady took out both of her earbuds and hung them around her neck. “How many beds do you need?”

“Um, two please,” Violet said, doubtfully. 

The teenager widened her eyes in disbelief. “Two?! That’ll be fifty dollars per person.” 

Now it was Violet’s turn to widen her eyes in disbelief. “For this tiny little shabby motel?” 

The teenager looked offended and shoved her earbuds back in. We stormed out. 

Chapter 4

I woke up the next morning STARVING. Where were we anyway? And why did I have something wet on my face? I slowly blinked away sleep from my eyes and saw that I was on a couch, with Luca and Calvin  sleeping on top of me. I identified the wet thing as Calvin’s tongue. Gross.  

I slowly pulled the twins off of me and onto the couch itself, not my shoulder and getting off it when something hit me. Where was Violet? And Leland? I looked around the room. It was really fancy. It had I bed, but it was small, and the velvet couch we were sleeping on. Violet was snoring softly in the bed, with Leland curled up in her arms. I saw a big window on the side of the hotel room. It was covered by velvet curtains, the same ones the couch was made of. I walked over there, but discovered that the floorboards were SUPER creaky, and started tip toeing. I peeked through the curtains, and saw that it was still dark out. The sun was beginning to rise, but still dark out. I pulled it back and creeped over to Violet’s bed. I shook her. 

“Violet. VIOLET. WAKE UP!!!!!” I whisper shouted. She sat up in bed quickly and then, seeing that it was only me fell back in bed and groaned.

“It’s too earlyyyyyyy” She whined. I pulled the blankets off her. She moaned into her pillow.

 “Get up!” I said. She sleep walked off the bed. And fell. A muffled groan came from her, but you could barely hear it because her face was mashed into the velvet carpet and her butt was sticking in the air. I rolled my eyes. I quickly undressed out of my clothes from yesterday and into a fresh green t-shirt and blue jeans. I tried to braid my hair like Katniss in the Hunger Games but it turned into a giant knot of hair so I gave up. All the while, Violet was slowly getting ready and dressed. We opened the blinds so light poured into the room, waking up the twins. They started crying.

“We should probably go on a walk. Get some fresh air.” Violet said while putting the twins in the stroller. I didn’t have a better idea, so I nodded and started to put on my velcro hello kitty sandals. About 10 minutes later, we were walking along the block. The weather was perfect. It wasn’t too cold, or warm but it was crisp. It was a perfect day for a walk, but sadly, everyone was ruining it. The twins were screaming. Violet was on her phone, and I was trudging along, ten feet behind. Violet apparently had enough of it and put her ear buds in, listening to music as she walked through the park.

 Then her patience broke. She put her fingers in her mouth and whistled as loud as she could. Now this is a thing you would only know if you were Violet’s sister. She whistles loud. And I don’t mean PE Teacher loud, but loud loud. Loud enough for the president of the United States to hear if he listened. Although I doubt he would be. Loud enough that if WWIII was happening they would pause to listen. 

So, imagine how loud that would be if you were standing right next to her. All of a sudden, we heard a pounding on the ground. Getting  louder. And louder. What was it? And Violet didn’t know either judging from her expression. Then it was ear splitting we had to look up. 

Bad Idea.

  Chapter 5

When I looked up, I had to run to avoid getting trampled by the thousands of feet that were galloping, bounding, and scurrying towards me. Thankfully, my staying alive instincts deflected the worst injuries. I ducked behind a trashcan to watch the parade/stampede. I scanned the crowd, which was gazelles, giraffes, elephants, and zebras. Oh, and snakes-for my sister and brothers. No sign of them. I was getting a cramp in my thigh, when the stampede stopped. Stopped, miraculously, in front of Leland, who was standing on his back legs waving his arms frantically in front of him and squawking monkey nonsense. Oh right. My pet monkey was a world class detective. He motioned for me to come over. There was a part of me thinking “Why the HECK are you following a monkey’s instruction? Are you CRAZY?!?!” (Which yes, I was) But the bigger part told me to just do it. 

I crept out of my hiding spot and crawled towards Leland. I saw Violet and the twins huddled next to Leland. Suddenly, we heard huge stomping. Like BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!!!!!!! And there, in front of me was the shortest, fattest man I had ever seen. 

“YOU!! Vy you vuin my plan?! You vuin evevyving!! MY plans! All my plans!!” He said in a strong french accent. “WHY????” He said and broke down sobbing.

   This was the bad guy? This short man with a suit? Who is kneeling on the ground sobbing? Ha. But, there had to be a twist. There was always a twist. And of course, there was. He stood up, grabbed hold of Leland by the neck  and killed him. I heard the crack. I saw him go limp. I heard myself scream. And then I launched myself at the man, half screaming half crying. I didn’t have any reason to believe he was still alive. I was angry. So ANGRY!! I had done everything I could to stop it from happening, and it did. Leland was dead. And I tried to hurt him for how he had hurt me. But I couldn’t. There was a wall. Made of glass, through what I could see from my eyes that were clouded with tears. The mysterious man with the monkey blood on his hands was smirking on the other side of the wall. And then I just couldn’t anymore. So I slid my back against the invisible wall, and tucked my head in between my knees. Was Violet dead too? What about the twins? But I couldn’t just stay here. I had to help them. I couldn’t go home now. I didn’t want to, with all the wait on my shoulders. So I stood up, and put my hands on the barrier. I slid them on the smooth surface until I found a crack, as I had expected. I pulled it and it shifted slightly, and I slid to the other side. The man on the other side looked unamused. I ran up and grabbed his shirt. 

“Where are my siblings?” I seethed, spit flying into his face. He just smirked again and whispered harshly:

“Where your faith crumbles.” I dropped the shirt and he vanished, leaving a puff of smoke behind him and the smell of lingering ash. 

The End

Roman Story

Oceanus attended a school for training to fight in the Roman army. Oceanus was born in Rome. He was 18 years old, in Rome his father was a bladesmith. The Roman army had drafted because since his father was a bladesmith. Oceanus was good with a sword. He had to join the army. The year was 206 BC and Oceanus was training at the school with his friend, Maximus. He wasn’t sad because he wanted to become a centurion. The general himself was going to graduate them.

Oceanus woke up in the middle of the night because the alarm bell was ringing.

“What is going on?!!” asked Oceanus.

“It’s just a drill, keep your hair on,” said his commanding officer. 

“A drill in the middle of the night?” The officer shrugged. 

The next morning Oceanus got dressed and went down to the mess.

“Hey! Oceanus over here!” yelled a very excited Maximus.

“Hi,” Oceanus said as he got to his table. “Did you hear the drill last night?”

“I slept right through it!”

Oceanus rolled his eyes. Maximus could sleep through a fire and he gladly would.

“I figured as much,” mumbled Oceanus.

Fifteen minutes later he was practicing on top of the shallow river. He and Maximus were practicing with their swords.

“Aren’t you excited we’re going to graduate in two days! And then we can-”  Oceanus stopped the sentence by knocking him with the handle of his sword which knocked him on his back in the mud.

The next class was archery.

“So when we graduate will you join with me?” asked Maximus.

“I just want to go home,” answered Oceanus.

“Excuse me, but will Maximus and Oceanus please shut up!” said the teacher with a glare so cold Oceanus felt like the temperature dropped 10 degrees celsius.

“Sorry, sir we’ll be quiet,” Oceanus said and gave Maximus a dirty look. The next class was advanced weaponry which was where you learned how to fire a large crossbow, at least Maximus wasn’t in this class. During lunch Maximus kept trying to convince him to join. Finally after the twentieth time Oceanus gave in.

“Fine I’ll join!!!” yelled Oceanus. 

“Jeez, okay, I’ll stop.”  

The next day was a blur, packing and walking around the campus for the last day. The next day they graduated but there was a surprise.

“You are all joining the army,” said the general, “your instructions are on your bunks.” He turned around and left the whole grade in complete confusion. 

Then five months later he and his group were scouting the approaching army. They had been sent very close to a very large lake which led to the ocean.

“Are you sure that that’s the army? The other scouts said that there were about one thousand others?” asked one of the other scouts.

“I guess that they were off,” said the leader with a shrug.

“Off by one thousand?” asked another scout.

Their leader just shrugged again. “I don’t know.”

“Hey, I think that I see the general!” said another scout.

“No you don’t, he’s over there,” said the leader pointing to the far side of camp. 

When they got back to the camp they filled out a report and wrote how the army was smaller than expected. That night, as Oceanus slept he thought and he felt lonely yet he was in the middle of a heavily guarded fort manned by thousands of soldiers, but they were deep in enemy territory hundreds of miles from the closest border of the Roman empire. Oceanus drifted to sleep.

DONG DONG DONG DONG!!! Oceanus woke with a start as the alarm bell rang.

“We are under attack, this is not a drill!!” His commanding officer’s voice cut threw the words of panic coming from Oceanus’s tent. “Get your gear and get out there you will receive further instructions there!”

Oceanus grabbed his sword and armor and ran towards the nearest exit. He put on his armor and ran towards the gate.

“You there get over to the catapults!” A rough hand grabbed his shoulder “NOW!!”

Oceanus didn’t have time to argue. He left and went to the catapult crew. They told him to release the trigger so he did. The machine fired onto the approaching army but the enemy archeries open fired on them killing all of the crew but sparing Oceanus and one more, six were dead. The camp was burning and the gates were being rammed down, arrows flew and injured soldiers called for medics who they might never see. Just when it looked like they were winning, loud war cries that sounded like a tiger about to pounce on and kill  his prey sounded from the hills from the left and right. They were surrounded. 

In Front, there was the main body of the army to the left, there were about 500 enemies to the right, there were 500 and behind them was the river. Oceanus was thinking about how quick he could run maybe he could run just fast enough to the lake and get on one of the ships and hide. A loud command cut threw his thoughts.

“You go fire the catapults,” said a centurion who had blood on his uniform.

Oceanus went to the catapults and loaded the large heavy rock on the hull of the catapult with six others. Then the commander aimed the catapult at the gates towards the approaching army but the shot would take some of their own soldiers.

“Wait that will take some of our own men!” said a very concerned Oceanus.

“Some people are made to be sacrificed,” was his reply. And he fired the machine. The sound of the rock hitting the ground followed by the sound of crunching bones was enough to drive someone crazy. Oceanus was running. The Centurion mistook it as an act of desertion so did the other five.

“Hey, you traitor-” His words were cut off and so was his head. Oceanus ran. There were five enemies on his tail and he ran faster. 

They chased him, he ducked inside the armory. It was mostly empty because of the battle going on. He grabbed a crossbow off the shelf and aimed it for the door. The door opened and the enemy got a greeting. Three arrows in his chest he collapsed. Oceanus reloaded the crossbow and shot the next enemy. Then an enemy spear came and hit a rack of shields, they came falling down onto Oceanus. Oceanus ducked and protected his head as they came falling down on him. Somehow he wasn’t crushed, he was hiding under the shields and an enemy entered shield raised he lowered his shield and looked around. Oceanus leapt from his hiding place and cut the ropes that held a door. The door shut as the enemy dove for the other side the gate slammed shut. Oceanus was left in the cold dark room. He looked around the room and took the nearest torche off the wall and looked around the room. Where the rack used to be was a hole.

“What was that?” thought Oceanus. He went down the corridor. He took five steps and then he saw two paths left or right.

“It’s a trap don’t go either way go back it’s a trap,” said a voice in his head. He went left. He crept down the hall. He walked down the hall for about 10 minutes before he came to an end. There was dirt completely around him except for behind him. A dead end. Oceanus stood up and smacked his head on the roof.

“OOOOW!!” He suddenly realised that he had hit his head on wood not cold soft mush dirt, hardwood. He pushed upward and a trap door sprung open and a ladder dropped down. Oceanus pulled out the crossbow that was strapped to his back and fired up into the hole that had just opened. No answer. He climbed the ladder and pulled out his sword. Someone attacked him. Oceanus grabbed his attacker’s sword hilt and smashed the sword onto the other person’s face. 

“Oceanus?” said his attacker. 


“Yeah, follow me.”

Oceanus followed Maximus to a stable. There were seven other soldiers there, the highest rank was a captain which was three ranks below centurion.

“Let’s go,” said one of the soldiers.

They all hopped on a horse and rode away from the battle towards the nearest fort to get reinforcements. The soldiers had told Oceanus that the rider sent reinforcements was captured so they had been sent.

Five months later 

Oceanus strolled down the wooden stairs of the fort. He was thinking about what had happened five months ago as they had ridden to the fort. They had been riding when one of the riders grunted and fell off his horse with an arrow in his side. Oceanus pulled the crossbow from his back and steadied it. Twelve enemies had come running through the woods with spears and swords. Oceanus fired his crossbow at one of the enemies. 

Dead. The captain had told him and Maximus to go ahead. They had rode ahead and had gotten reinforcements. They had arrived in time and had won the battle but the death toll had been high for their side. The other riders had never been found. Him and Maximus had been promoted to centurion. Oceanus hadn’t been as excited as he thought he would be. He was just regularly happy, not as happy as he had been when he had realised that Maximus was not dead. Seeing a battle can do that to someone.