The Chronicles of Mystery Part 1

Chapter 1

It was a foggy and rainy day as Samantha the detective hurried to the classroom. She was late because of a dentist appointment. As she opened the classroom door, to her surprise, all her classmates were missing! Samantha was frightened of what she saw. 

The walls were scraped, chairs and tables were broken, and books were scattered all over the place. 

Then, she saw a big hole behind the bookshelf that wasn’t there before. Samantha pushed the bookshelf with all her might and entered the secret chamber. 

The walls were crumbling. It was so big, you could easily get lost, Samantha thought. She found a staircase that led to the huge and crumbling clock that was actually very pretty. 

Suddenly, the clock struck 12:00. At the very top of the clock, two doors opened and figurines that looked like students from a long time ago spun round and round the clock. 

On one of the figurines, Samantha spotted a book in the arms of a small girl with silver wavy hair. Two other girls were placed beside her. One of the girls had long blond hair expertly woven into a braid, followed by the other girl with slick black hair tied into a ponytail. They all had one thing in common: a bracelet. 

Samantha took the book from the silver haired figurine and saw on the bottom there was a stone that said the girls’ names: the blond hair girl was Chloe, the shortest one was Avery, Linzy was the one with the darkest hair. 

Samantha tiptoed down the stairs. Next, Samantha slowly closed the secret passageway. Then, she slipped the book inside her backpack and hurried home as the last bell had just rung. 

The next day Samantha arrived at school early to tell her two best friends, Brooklyn and Riri, what happened because they were in completely different classes. Riri, an eight year old girl with wavy and pretty black hair, became best friends with Brooklyn and Samantha in 1st grade. Brooklyn, a nine year old girl who was a head taller than Riri, had pretty brunette hair.  Samantha, who was eight years old, was a head taller than Riri, and had pretty rose gold hair. 

“Samantha, today we have a substitute teacher. She’s new and you can join our class until your class is found,” Riri said.  

“You can sit next to us so we can write notes to each other of what we think could have happened,” Brooklyn said. So, they all went to class. 

“Samantha, did you tell anybody yet about the secret chamber?” Brooklyn asked in a hushed voice. 

“Well, not exactly,” said Samantha, “I did not want to tell anybody yet because I just wanted a mystery to solve by myself. ” 

 “Fine,” said Brooklyn. Riri was about to say something but the door slammed open. Then, out came the substitute teacher. She sat down on the chair and then took attendance. Samantha then noticed there was something awfully familiar about her slick black hair that was tied into a ponytail. 

“Single file line. Hurry, we are going on a field trip to the museum,” the teacher said in a loud and sturdy voice before Samantha could say anything.  

Then, everybody went on to the bus. Samantha found Riri and Brooklyn and sat next to them before anyone could steal her spot. On the way to the museum, they talked about the secret chamber and talked about what could be familiar about the substitute teacher and who could be the girls in the clock. 

“I found this book in one of their arms,” Samantha told them, and she showed them the soft yet mysterious book. Riri’s eyes opened wide. 

“Why are you so excited?” Brooklyn asked Riri.

“That clock is really old so it will probably have a history of who the girls are,” Riri said.  

“I don’t think that those girls are that old. Those girls should be grown-ups by now,” Samantha said.  

“We are here, come on,” said the substitute teacher. She then led the students inside the museum and gave them all a clipboard and a packet. “In your packet, you can take notes about any old artifact that is in the museum and what you learned and what you are interested in now.”  

“Come on, we need to go to the clock section,” said Samantha .

“Okay,” said Riri. 

“Can you guys slow down?” asked Brooklyn, doing her best to catch up with them. 

“Nope,” said Riri, giggling.  

“Hurry, the sign said the clock exhibit is going to close in five minutes,” said Samantha. Then, they finally reached the exhibit and, to their surprise, the substitute teacher beat them there. 

“Do you guys have an interest in clocks? I can show you some clocks from school if you like,” said the substitute teacher. 

“Yes, please,” said Riri in a polite manner. 

“Which clock would you like to learn about? I have a whole book of clocks,” said the substitute teacher.

“Do you have a book about a clock at school next to the principal’s office building?”asked Samantha. 

“No, there is not a clock there,” said the teacher in a suspicious tone of voice. They then heard someone shout. 

“Out of the clock exhibit, it is closing in one minute,” said a teenage boy who looked like a janitor.  

“There is something awfully weird about her. She is very familiar and just by the tone of her voice she is keeping something from us,” Samantha then said to Brooklyn and Riri. 

“Whatever you say,” answered Riri in a voice that she never used before. Samantha, Brooklyn, and Riri then walked to the bus. 

“What if there is no North side? What if the clock is hidden behind the bushes where Samantha accidently threw the ball over the fence?” Riri said. 

“Impossible. When we saw the ball go over the fence, it hit something hard that sounded like a few bricks,” said Brooklyn. “Oooh, I get it now!”

“Told ya,” said Riri. Samantha looked at them, looking very bored and tapping her foot.

“Okay, okay, come on. Let’s just jump over the bush full of thorns that Melissa got poked by in 1st grade. Great plan, just great,” said Samantha sarcastically.  

“But didn’t Melissa say there was a big clock in the back of the bush?” said Riri. 

“Congrats, we have a new smarty pants now. Congrats, Riri,” said Brooklyn. 

“Oh, stop itm Brooklyn,” said Samantha. 

“Let’s just go now to the bush but Brooklyn gets Melissa before we go to the bush now, okay?” said Riri proudly. 

“Okay, I will get her,” said Brooklyn, swirling her brunette curls. 

“Time to get off the bus.” said the substitute teacher who told everyone to call her Ms. Linzy and surprisingly she was only 11…    

To be continued…

Holiday Rush

Chapter 1: Vacation Jitters

Jack was at the zoo. “Do we really have to go to Florida? I’m worried about my dog,” he said. 

“Don’t worry about your weird dog,” said Jack’s older sister, Maddy. Maddy was sometimes annoying. Maddy thought that Jack’s dog, Benji, was weird. Sometimes Jack thought that, too. 

Jack looked at the animals and licked his ice cream. He had a frown on his face. He wasn’t happy for sure. After they got home, he and his family started packing. Maddy brought sunglasses, lotion, and flip-flops. Before going to bed, Jack fed Benji. Jack thought that if Benji could come on the trip to Florida, it would make his trip better. The next day, his alarm clock woke him up at 5:55. ”It’s not even 7:00!” Jack said, as he pressed the snooze bar of his alarm clock. Two minutes later, his dad darted to his room. 

“Rise and shine, buddy!” he declared.

Jack moaned as he got out of bed. He went downstairs. He saw Benji, then it hit him. Something he had to remember. 

Chapter 2: Something to Remember

Jack knew what this day was going to be. The day to go to the airport. He had another frown on his face. It was bigger than the one at the Zoo. “Why don’t you eat your pancakes?” said his dad. 

But Jack wasn’t in the mood for pancakes. He wasn’t in the mood to eat, either.  His tummy was in knots. He didn’t feel good. “I’m not hungry,” Jack said, gloomily. 

He went upstairs. When he got upstairs, he brushed his teeth, just like every day after breakfast. The only difference was that he didn’t have breakfast this morning. 

“Make sure you wear jeans and other warm clothes,” said his dad. Jeans? Jack didn’t like jeans. When he wore them, it felt hard to run, one of his favorite things to do. But Jack knew it was cold, so he listened to his father. The day so far was not a good one.

Chapter 3: To the Airport

“Get in the car!” shouted Jack’s dad. 

“One minute, Dad,” Jack said, as he put some dog food in Benji’s supper dish. “Here you go, Benji,” Jack said, as he put the dish in front of Benji’s feet. 

While Benji ate, Jack petted him on the head, where Benji liked to be petted. 

“Remember to bring Maddy with you!”Jack’s dad said. 

“Bye, Benji,” Jack said in a sad voice. 

He went upstairs. “Maddy! Dad said to come!” Jack shouted to Maddy.

“Give me a sec!” Maddy shouted back. 

“Get to the car in one minute!” Jack said as he headed to the car. 

“I thought Maddy was with you,” said Jack’s dad.

“She’s coming in one minute,” Jack responded. 

After Jack got out of the house Benji shuffled into Jack’s dad’s duffle bag.  

“I’m here!” Maddy said as she opened the car door next to Jack.

“I’ll put the luggage in the trunk,” Jack’s dad said. He got up and carried a piece of luggage to the trunk. One by one, Jack’s dad did the same thing over and over until all the luggage was in the trunk (including the duffle bag with Benji). “Let’s get going to the airport,” said Jack’s dad.

The car ride was long. Jack did not like being in the car for a long time. It became stuffy after a while. Jack made a face that showed he wasn’t happy.

“Sorry, I forgot,” Jack’s dad said. 

Forgot? Forgot what? thought Jack. He looked over to the side, and the window next to him opened. That made him feel better!

Chapter 4: At the Airport

“We’re here!” said Jack’s dad.

Jack saw his father look out the window on the left. Jack was sitting on the right. Jack leaned over Maddy’s spot to see the airport. “Out of my space, young man!” Maddy said in a harsh and scary voice as she pushed Jack to his seat. Sometimes having a sister was great, but other times, not so much. 

They went inside the airport. “Is it always so crowded day and night?” Jack asked.

“Of course, Jack. Have you ever been to an airport?” Maddy said. 

“Nope, not even once,” Jack responded.

Maddy made a face like she was thinking deeply. “You’re right,” Maddy said at last. “You have not visited an airport yet.”

“Terminal 24? Never heard of that terminal,” Jack’s dad said.

”Same here,” Maddy said. “ Perhaps it is new.” 

“We should ask other people where it is,” Jack said. 

“Good idea, Jack,” Jack’s dad said. “But where do we start?” 

“We ask people where it is. Simple,” Maddy said. 

“Right,” Jack’s dad said. “Let’s do it.”

Chapter 5: Looking for Terminal 24

“Do we have enough time?” Jack’s dad said.

“We have one hour,” Maddy responded.

“Then let’s scram!” said Jack’s dad. 

“Wait!” said Jack.

“What?” said Maddy 

“We can’t split up!” Jack responded.

“Why not?” Said Jack’s dad.

“We would have to waste our time looking for each other,” said Jack. 

“Jack’s right,” said Maddy. 

Jack and the rest of his family rushed to a man. “Do you know where Terminal 24 is?” asked Jack’s dad. The man shook his head no. They went to another man. “Do you happen to know where Terminal 24 is?” The man thought for a minute.

“Nope, I don’t know,” said the man.

Jack and his family were desperate. They had already spent 15 minutes. They went to another man. “Do you know where Terminal 24 is?” asked Maddy.

“Nope. But the people who work here will know,” said the man. 

“Thank you,” said Jack in a rushed voice. 

They went to a lady at the front desk. “Can you tell us where Terminal 24 is?” said Jack’s dad. 

“Sorry. I only work in this Terminal. I do not know where Terminal 24 is,” said the lady.

“Do you know anyone who knows where Terminal 24 is?” said Maddy.

The lady thought. “There is this man named Ben. Ben’s job is to clean Terminals 20 through 25. He knows where Terminal 24 is,” said the lady at last.

“Can you tell us where Ben is?” said Jack’s dad. 

“He usually works at Terminal 22,” said the lady.

“Thank you,” said Maddy. They went to Terminal 22. 

“Is Ben here?” Jack asked a man at the front desk.

“There was a Ben here an hour ago. He is now in Terminal 21. He’s a nice guy,” said the man. They had spent 30 minutes already. They were getting more and more desperate. They went to Terminal 21. They saw someone who was mopping the floors. When they got closer they saw his name tag. The name BEN was printed on the tag.They approached Ben and he turned around. 

“Hello,” Ben said as he smiled. Jack thought that it was a good greeting start.

“Hello. Could you tell us where Terminal 24 is?” said Jack’s dad. It had already been 45 minutes of searching.

Ben told them where to go. “It will take 25 minutes to get there,” said Ben.

“25 minutes!” They cried. “We only have 15 minutes!”

“Let’s scram,” said Maddy. They got to Terminal 24. “What? New passengers?” Maddy said.

Chapter 6: Delay Delay

“We missed the plane?” said Jack’s dad. 

“Wait!” Jack said. “It’s a delay.” He pointed at a sign. 

“Really? So all our rush meant nothing?” said Maddy. 

“I guess Jack’s right. Let’s sit together,” said Jack’s dad.

“That’s a great idea, Dad, except almost all seats are full,” said Maddy. 

“At least we can stand at the airport,” said Jack. 

“Or we can sit against the wall and wait,” Maddy said.

Suddenly there was a grumbling sound. “I think I’m hungry. Could you get those snacks out?” said Jack’s dad.

“Did you even eat breakfast, Dad?” asked Maddy. 

Jack’s dad blushed. “I, err…was busy,” Jack’s dad said. “I did not have breakfast.”

Jack got out some snacks for his father, but he wondered why he was so busy. But his thoughts were cut off by Maddy’s voice. “We should sit over here,” she said. 

They went over by a wall near a window. Maddy read a book while Jack’s dad munched on some snacks. But Jack was still thinking about why his dad was so busy. But he got no answers, which wasn’t surprising. He wasn’t expecting some random voice to answer him.

“Do you have your boarding pass?” asked Jack’s father. 

“Yes, Dad, and so does Jack,” Maddy said.

“It’s almost boarding time,” Jack’s dad said.

Chapter 7: Boarding the Plane

“Boarding the plane will start with the families with children, and those who served in the military,” a lady said.

“Come, let’s go. They said children board first, remember?” said Jack.

“Jack, you are a child, but they mean the children under 7 years old,” said Jack’s dad.

“Rats,” said Jack. “That’s not fair.”

They stared at the gateway as young children and their families entered the plane. Finally it was the regular boarding time. The woman started calling the last boarding groups. “A…..B,” the woman said as the boarding groups came to the gate.

“Which boarding group are we in?” asked Jack.

“Hmm. Good question. Let’s see,” Jack’s dad said in a very boring voice for Jack. “Uh…ah there it is! We are in boarding group C,” Jack’s dad said.

“Boarding group C!” said the lady.

Just in time, thought Jack as he pushed his father to the gate.

“Easy kid! We have to scan our boarding pass.”

Boarding pass? If Jack had known that he had to scan his boarding pass he would not have pushed his own father. “Maddy will teach you how,” Jack’s dad said. Jack really didn’t appreciate Maddy showing him how.

“First you give her your boarding pass. She’ll just scan it. Then you go straight with me,” Maddy explained.

Jack was just relieved that scanning his boarding pass was fast. Jack looked in front of him to see a big, box-like thing sitting there. “Go in and there will be two men half way,” said Maddy. Jack went inside. 

 “Boarding pass please!” said two men. Jack handed him his boarding pass. One of the men ripped a part of his boarding pass. 

“Wow. How did he do that?” asked Jack.

“No idea,” said Maddy. 

Chapter 8: On the Plane

Jack’s dad stopped at a seat in first class. “Come on, Dad,” Maddy said. 

“Maddy, I’m counting on you to look after Jack. I’m bringing my duffle bag. I want to relax,” Jack’s dad said. 

Jack couldn’t believe his ears. His dad was in first class while he was stuck in economy with Maddy. Jack went to the back with Maddy and sat in their seats. Meanwhile, Dad put his chair back. Benji got out of Jack’s father’s duffle bag and started to slobber on Jack’s dad’s shoes. Jack’s dad noticed and he looked down. Benji hid. 

“Hmmmmmmm,” Jack’s dad said. “I smell dog slobber on my shoes.” He went and took a nap. Again, Benji slobbered on Jack’s dad’s shoes. This time Jack’s dad caught Benji. He really wasn’t happy about Benji on the plane. But more nervous that Benji was right in first class. “I promise to keep you on the trip. But you can’t stay here. Go under the seats and find Jack,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Maddy snored so loud that Jack could barely hear his show he was watching on the airplane. Even with headphones on.

Chapter 9: Feeling Happiness

Benji quietly scooted softly under the seats. For some reason, luckily, nobody noticed Benji. Everyone was watching a movie or sleeping. On the way, he grabbed some steaks because he was hungry. In first class there was a scream. “Somebody stole my steak!” a person said. Benji ran to economy. He found Maddy’s foot. He put his head down on Maddy’s foot. 

“Agh! Something’s on my foot!” Maddy shouted. All the heads in economy turned to Maddy. But before anyone saw Benji, he hid. Then everyone just acted like nothing happened. Benji got out of his hiding space. 

“So do you know what was on your foot?” Jack asked Maddy. 

“Ugh. My foot smells like a dog,” Maddy said disgustedly. Suddenly Jack gasped. 

“Benji!” he said in a quiet voice. 

“How could such a weird dog make his way in this stuffy plane?” asked Maddy. 

“Where should I put him?” asked Jack. “We can’t leave him under the seats.” Benji took something long out of Maddy’s bag. 

“Are you crazy! This dog stole my sausage!” Maddy said, whispering. Suddenly there was a buzz on Maddy’s phone. 

“Keep the dog for the trip,” Maddy read outloud.

Chapter 10: Dog Days (for Maddy and Others)

Hour after hour Maddy kept getting messages from her dad. Every time she had to bail out for Benji. 

“Where are we going to feed him food? Benji’s supper dish is back home,” asked Jack just before a message went over the intercom:

“Please buckle up! We are about to land. Please push your seats to an upright position.” Maddy and Jack buckled up their seats. 

“Uh oh,” the same voice said. “ Sorry, but we have another delay. We can’t find a place to land.” Everyone groaned. One hour later, a voice said from the intercom that they were landing. Jack checked on Benji and Maddy. Benji seemed airsick. Maddy seemed very tired. 

Boom !

Now Jack seemed to be the one to have a sickness. It felt like he had motion sickness. Jack looked outside. He saw a bunch of planes, big and little. They had arrived in Florida. They walked through a glass-made hall and into the airport. 

“Dad, do we have a map of this airport?” asked Jack. 

“Nope. But I’m sure we’ll find one ourselves. They’re maps all over the airport.” They looked and looked for a map but they could not find any. In fact, it seemed like the more they went looking, the more they got lost. 

“Look!” Maddy said. “A door.” They went outside and Jack’s father slowed down a taxi. It didn’t look like a taxi, but looked like a truck. Maddy was the first one to climb in. 

“OLP! Yuck!” said Maddy. “Dad…this is a truck that carries animals to the zoo.” They walked until a real taxi came. They climbed in and took a ride to the hotel. They went past the front desk. They came to their room and then relaxed. 

“Don’t eat the snacks. We have to pay for those,” said Jack’s dad. Jack was surprised because he had already eaten two bags of candy from the snack bar, and taken some beef jerky for Benji! “Yikes, Jack! That must be 2 thousand dollars!” Really? thought Jack. For 3 bags? With nothing to do Jack grabbed the remote. By that time, Maddy was watching a soap opera. 

“Hey! I had the remote first!” said Maddy. Jack, without a word, switched the channel. They had a fight with words, drifting into physical things. It was Dad who stepped in because he got a call from the room right above them.

Chapter 11: The First Night and Day in Florida 

That night was a loud night. Jack, Maddy and their father could not sleep. The waves kept them up and the animals didn’t help. The next day at 8:00, they all woke up. 

“Uh Oh!” Jack said as he looked at the alarm clock. The breakfast buffet closed at 7:55. They rushed to the buffet. But they noticed they were still in their PJs. They ran back to their room and changed their clothes. They ran outside of the hotel. They walked until they found a good restaurant. 

Bonjour,” said the waiter. 

“Dad?” Jack asked. “What does bonjour mean?” 

“It means hello in French,” Jack’s dad said. “Servent-ils le petit déjeuner ici?” 

Jack had no idea what his dad was saying. The waiter took them to a table. Just then, a chef came with soup. 

“This is not a proper breakfast,” Maddy protested. Jack’s father just sighed.  They got out of the restaurant and found another one. This time it was an Italian restaurant. 

Accettiamo solo prenotazioni,” said a man. 

“Now what does that mean?” asked Jack.

“Let’s get out of here,” said Dad. This process went over 4 times. Then, they decided that they were wasting time and went to the beach. On the way, Jack took his father’s wallet. When they got to the beach, Jack used the money to buy slushies.

Chapter 12: To Make a Long Story Short

I guess you should know that this story is ending. Jack’s family couldn’t afford a meal. But they could afford a very cheap plane. The airline was called D.C. Airlines, which stands for Dirt Cheap Airlines. They went home on an airplane that was all patched up. Jack was happy that they went home because there was too much chaos he had to deal with. The end.

My Cat Has a Bell: A Short Story in Haiku

My cat has a bell

She is trying to escape

From her blue collar

My cat hates the bell

The bell jingles when she walks

It makes a loud noise

She wants the bell off

My cat is licking her bell

I worry for her

My cat hates the bell

I tried to free her from it

But it is gone now

Maybe she ate it

I must take her to the vet

She is mad at me

I now found the bell

It was not in her belly

She loves me again

Adapting to Life

The autumn leaves are twirling in the air from nearby trees. I walk to a bench with a book tucked under my arm. The breeze swirls in the air, blending in with the laughter of children. On the bench, I observe everything around me. Children are playing tag, adults are supervising, and there is the smell of coffee from the teacher’s lounge.

I set my book on my lap. The cover has images of foxes chasing after each other, insects hanging to leaves, monkeys and exotic animals staring back at me. In the center of the cover, it says: On The Origin Of Species in big, blocky letters. Underneath it says: by Charles Darwin, adapted by Rebecca Steffof. Flipping through the pages, I reach my favorite one. The one with Darwin’s thoughts on survival of the fittest.

My mom borrowed it from the library because of my interest in science. I continued reading it because of my thirst for knowledge. Even though it wasn’t a school assignment, I used my spare recess time to reach the end of it. I wanted to know how everything started, who Charles Darwin was, and what he had to say in this book. Before I even started reading it, I knew it was a discovery of a hidden want for science.

I’ve never really dug very deep into science, I used to be confused on what my job would be as I grew up. In the end, I narrowed my interests. With new goals, I decided to find out even more about my passions and had my mom borrow any science-related books. However, my school doesn’t teach many science lessons or explain the math or people behind these ideas. As a result, I haven’t figured out what field of science I would like to study. There are many topics that I need to be introduced to.

It made me feel more knowledgeable to learn more about past scientists and their theories. It showed me that many things have adapted to new things, just like me. I adapted to my new interest in science. My passions were like species, just as Darwin said, survival of the fittest. There was only that much space for life on Earth. Either they went extinct, were endangered, or brought new strategies to their lives. Piano, in my world for passions, was an extinct species, replaced by a better descendant, drumming. Science was a new species that had been unearthed. Shading was a species merely surviving. Just like mammals during the Triassic period. It taught me that our own lives held fields of competition whether visible or not, humans were always adapting.

I have learned that the world around us is constantly changing. It may take a long time to realize, but we’ll still recognize it at some point. We can start by noticing how we change, on the outside and on the inside. Then, like Charles Darwin, we look to the world, animals, and others. Survival of the fittest has appeared many times in history, from cells to dinosaurs to humans. We are always adapting.

Snow Day

Snow is to the Earth like Athena is to the Gods

A beautiful mix of chaos

What wonders does the Earth want us to see

As we look so closely to the winter storm

Snow is as beautiful as a purple flower that blooms

It brings joy and happiness to me

Blizzard winds bring snow days

Sledding swiftly down hills

Admiring the piles of snow on the windowsill makes me want to build a snowman

Wondering if these icicles look like an upside-down castle

But all that matters is me looking out the window

Seeing white snow mounted on my air conditioner

Wondering how I will spend this snow day

The End

Inspired by “Goodbye to a World” by Porter Robinson

“I love you.” That is how it all ended. On October 12th, 2067, the world ended. After seeing many collapse, he started seeing in slow motion. Looking at her, she was falling slowly, her eyes half closed, she looked worn out. Vision started being blurry until… she said, “I love you.” She collapsed and went still. No longer in this world, with nothing to live for, he collapsed. With one last breath, the world ended.

Found But Forgotten

Part 1

The way my life turned upside down all started with donuts. Yup, donuts. That delicious, puffy, glazed, chocolaty treat with sprinkles. It all started when I was seven years old at my soccer championship. It was intense. The goalie on the other team was staring me down. She spit on the ground and kicked the ground hard. 

“Ewwwwww!” I shouted in her face, splattering my spit on her face. It then temporarily blinded her as she screamed,

“Get it off!!!”

 I dashed around the spluttering goalie and kicked the ball into the net. I had scored the final point, and I won the Star Girls Soccer Championship. I ran with joy into my mom and dad and gave them a huge hug. Little did I know that would be the last hug I gave in a long time. I then ran around and gave my whole team high fives.

“Yay, great job out there, Abbigail,” my soccer coach bellowed as I did my victory lap. 

“You are totally the most amazing, splendid person ever!!!” yelled Taylor as I ran by. Taylor was my best friend in the entire world. 

My parents then called out and said, ”We’re going to go get donuts for your whole team because we are so proud of you guys.”

“That would be awesome!!! Thanks, Mom and Dad,” I yelled right before they left for the donut shop. I was all pumped and decided to take a break and sit down and talk to my friends. I talked and played hand games for half an hour or so. I was wondering why they hadn’t come back. The donut shop had only been a 15 minute drive. But there may have been traffic or a long line. I didn’t know so I just got out my iPad and played games with my friend. 

I didn’t know how long it had been until my friend’s mom said, “It’s been an hour and a half. Please stop playing.” 

Wait, but if it had been an hour and a half, why hadn’t my parents been back yet? I started to get worried and started to panic.

 “Where are my mom and dad?” I asked frantically. All the parents looked at each other and shared the same confused look. It was silent.

 “I don’t know,” a parent spoke up and said. 

There was a murmur of whispers by the parents going around. I could make out things like, “I always knew Tom and Sussie would be bad parents at some point,” “Oh the poor girl,” and, “Are they out at a club or something?” 

Then, sirens came blaring down the street. There was a big official car that said “Child Protective Services” on the front of it. 

A tall man in a black suit came out of the car and said, “We heard a child has been abandoned. We are here to take her to a good place.” 

What? My brain was racing. How were they here? Did someone tell them to come? Why? Who had done it if someone did? 

The big man came up to me and said, “Come with me.” I tried to escape but he was too strong.

 “Please, sir, this is a misunderstanding. My parents just went to get donuts, they will be back,” I yelled, trying to convince him and myself that that was true. But by then, I was in a truck driving away with nothing but my tablet.   

Part 2 

Ten years later, on a rocking ship, in a small bed. 

“Did you think they ever intended to come back, Abbs?” said Jaden, a fellow kid who was taken by Child Protective Services.

 “No,” I said, looking down at my feet. 

Jaden then tried to reassure me. “It’s going to be okay,” he said.

 “Are you 100% sure about that?” I said sarcastically.

 “No, I am 36.44897403890563891249% sure about it,” Jaden said sarcastically back. “But really, Abbs. No one can ever be really sure about anything, can they?” Jaden said, looking right at me.

 “No… ”  I said, giving in. 

“See? Life can’t be certain, especially if it’s someone else’s life,” Jaden said with a sad smile. “If I could predict life, I would have told my parents not to go on a trip in Miami and not to crash their car.” Jaden looked at his hands solemnly.

 “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up anything that may have brought back bad memories,” I said, patting Jaden on the back.

 “Oh no, don’t apologize. I practically find a way to bring them up into the conversation no matter what,” Jaden said, laughing slightly.

 “If we just keep looking to the future, it will end up better. And who knows? Maybe life will end up back as normal,” I said, looking out our small cramped bedroom window. Little did I know that that wouldn’t be the answer and that life would never be normal again.

A Trip to the Beach

Once upon a time, a girl named Maya and her brother Toby, were on summer break and they were so, so happy. So happy, that they decided to go to the beach with their friends named Zoey and Fin. The first thing they did was make sandcastles. They were 10 feet tall. Then they wanted to go in the water. They were in the water for about 10 minutes then Toby yelled, “Shark!” Everyone ran out of the water but there was one baby. Maya ran back into the water to save the baby. Maya saved the baby but the shark bit Maya. She started to bleed and cry. The lifeguards helped her while she cried. 

“Oh no!” Zoey said. Toby called her mom. Her mom’s phone was off. “Fin, call your mom.” 

“She is on a work call.”

The lifeguard called 911 and the shark lost all its teeth. Maya was happy the baby, whose name was Grace, was okay, but she was still crying. 

“What will we do? We need to help Maya,” said Zoey. 

“I’m okay, just really, really hurt,” Maya said. 

“Okay, but we still are going to help you,” said Fin. Maya was sitting on the sand.

Maya’s mom came running. “Are you okay?” she asked.

“Yes,” responded Maya. 

“What happened?” 

“I’m okay, but there are marks from where the shark bit me.”

“Okay, but you are bleeding a lot,” said Toby.

“Maybe we should go home and have lemonade and cookies,” said Maya’s mom. “That’s so good.” 

“Bring her to the hospital every day for 10 weeks,” said the doctor.

“Okay,” Maya said. 

At home, Maya had two cups of lemonade and three cookies, then she went to lie down in bed. Then Maya’s BFF, Becky, knocked on her bedroom door.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“Sort of.”

 Maya’s mom walked in. “Mom, can I talk to Becky privately?”

“Yes.”

“What do you need?”

“I need to talk to you. It hurts, but I am not okay.” 

“Okay, so why didn’t you just tell your mom and brother?” said Becky. 

“But … because. If I told them, I’d be in such great trouble because I’m not supposed to go in the water when the lifeguard blows their whistle.” 

“Well, you’re hurt, so it’s better if you just tell your mom so she’ll help make you feel better,” said Becky. 

“Well, I guess I didn’t think of that,” Maya said while she looked down and played with her ring.  

“Why don’t we go tell your mom now?” 

“Becky. Don’t you think my mom will be mad if we tell her now when we just left the hospital?” 

“Well, let’s tell her, Maya. We have to tell her.”

Maya’s face turned red. 

“Come on!” Becky announced. 

“Okay,” Maya said, right before she sighed. 

They walked out of Maya’s room, holding hands. Becky helped Maya get down the stairs, and then it was time to tell her mom. 

“Mom,” Maya said in a shaky voice. “My leg really hurts.”

“Okay, why did you not tell me?”

“Because I was trying to be strong.”

“You are strong. Okay, let’s go to the hospital.”

“Okay.”

Starry’s Big Adventure 2

Starry and Matilda were starfish who just arrived back home after being adopted by humans. They worked hard to escape. They were so happy when they saw their families. 

When they arrived at home, Matilda lived four blocks down so it would be very easy to visit each other. They decided to spend the night with their families. Starry saw her sister, Lila. She looked liked Starry. They both played dolls. Lila was 4-years-old. Starry’s other sister, Stella, was 10 years old so she played a lot of video games like Animal crossing ™ on her Nintendo switch©. Lila wanted to play too but did not know how to work the joy-con.

Then, at 5:00 starfish time, their mom called dinner and they had chicken, mac and cheese, and broccoli. Starry loved the dinner. Starry gave out gifts and they went to bed. Lila and Stella shared a room. They did not complain about it. In the room, one side had unicorns and rainbows, and the other side had cats and Hello Kitty. Starry’s room was decorated with Barbies and puppies. She got the puppy decor from Pottery Barn Kids when she was nine. Starry was now 13, so she started to peel the Barbie stuff off the walls, and then she found Dora the Explorer wallpaper underneath the Barbie one. She peeled that one off too because she was too old for it. Now the wall was blank. 

She decided to pull out her computer and look at Pottery Barn Teen and she decided to get a hang-around chair, lamp, and paint. The next day, she went to the store and she got blue paint and a unicorn chair. She did not find a lamp that she liked so she decided to go to the mall next door. They found two lamps and three pillows. They were done shopping and went home for dinner. 

Starry went to her room to start decorating.  Matilda called and asked if they could have a sleepover. Starry went to her parents’ room and asked them but they said no. Starry decided to sneak out. She asked Matilda to come with her parents’ car and get close to the front window. She would be ready in 10 minutes. 

10 minutes later, she saw a black car pull up to the front window. Starry climbed out the window and Matilda opened the door just when she was about to climb in the car. She felt something tug her leg but she couldn’t see so she struggled him off and kicked him. She thought it was her dad, so she ran away. But when she looked back to make sure she hadn’t missed any bags, she saw he was dressed in all black and she knew enough from watching movies that he was a robber. She tried to call her parents, but they wouldn’t wake up. So she called her sisters and luckily they were up and tried to go into their parents’ room. They found a vent in the roof of the living room but the robber caught Lila. The robber was tall and he had a lot of garbage. His voice sounded very gruff, and he smelled like the sewer. Lila said, 

“Don’t wait for me! Go!” 

And luckily, she took karate so she hit him in the nose, and then she climbed into the vent to find their parents’ room. Stella ran and told her parents that there was someone in the house. She told her parents that a car was waiting outside but they wouldn’t budge. They said it was a nightmare and told her to go back to sleep. Stella did not obey, though. She quickly ran up into the vents, grabbed Lila by the arm, and pulled her into the car. 

Matilda drove to her parents’ house to tell them what happened. Matilda’s house was limestone with a pink roof and a black door. It was very quiet. Matilda went to unlock the door but then she noticed that she left her keys at Starry’s house so they ran back to the car and sped through the highway to get back to Starry’s house. 

The robber was still there, so they had to enter through the back door. The robber caught them but they ran away quickly. Matilda quickly grabbed the house keys and ran. Starry was scared because she wondered if her parents would listen to her little sister so they could come out. She was really tense and she couldn’t really walk. 

They got to the car and Matilda tried to start it, but she realized the robber pulled out all of their gas so they couldn’t move. They started running to Matilda’s house. They get Matilda’s keys and entered her house. They woke up her parents. Her parents agreed to come with them. They ran to Starry’s house and woke Starry’s parents up. When they saw Matilda’s parents, they thought it was not a dream anymore. They left out the back door then ran to Matilda’s house then called the police.

The police said most of the house had been destroyed and they had to get a new house. They stayed at their grandma’s house. They were excited. After the police said it was safe to go back home, they went to collect their stuff. Two weeks later, Starry’s parents said they found a house that they were going to buy and they were so excited. 

“I can’t wait to see your new house!” Matilda said.

The Magdusa: Part I

Chapter 1

Eggs and Milk

Ryan got on his red bike as the sun was about to disappear behind the oak trees in the county of Watching, New Jersey. As Ryan looked around while he peddled his way home to his small house atop Yan Mountain, he spotted the usual warning sign about some creature that apparently roamed the Watching Reserve. Ryan thought these rumors were fake just like a regular person would believe that aliens don’t exist. The village drunk who was some man named John claimed that the creature was known as the Magdusa and was around 6 and a half feet tall. John also claimed that the Magdusa could lift 20 elephants with one arm. These rumors, Ryan thought, were the stupidest thing he’d ever heard, which was nearly as stupid as his annoying little sister. 

Ryan hit the brakes as he finally arrived at his tiny house which he was forced to live in with his Mom and She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, his little sister. Ryan hung up his red Adidas hoodie on the wall.

“Ryan, do you have the eggs and milk I told you to buy 6 hours ago?” said Ryan’s mom, Anna, in a surprisingly calm tone even though she told Ryan to come home about 5 hours ago with the groceries. 

“I have the stuff right here,” said Ryan, patting his jacket down. Ryan’s body tensed as he realized the impossible, he had left the eggs and milk at the reserve 5 hours ago when he was having Ryan & Ryan time.

“Ryan, where is the food?” said Anna, giving Ryan her infamous glare that could stop a car right in its tracks.

Chapter 2

A Monster

Ryan sulked out of the house as he trudged over to his bike, his mind replaying the scene 5 minutes ago: his mom giving him hell on earth for being “lazy and selfish” for forgetting easily replaceable foods at the reserve. 

Instead of just sending Ryan out to the grocery store the next day when it was open, Anna decided to send Ryan back to the reserve to retrieve the groceries. Ryan grumbled while he rode his bike down the steep roads of Yan Mountain. Even though Ryan was forced to go to the reserve in the pitch-black night, Ryan wasn’t scared at all. Besides, for his 10th birthday a year ago, he got headlights installed on his bike. He also had asked for a dirt bike but Anna said, It cost too much and you have to earn it

The wind whistled behind Ryan’s ears as he picked up speed on a slope edging towards the end of the mountain.*CRASH* Ryan’s heart skipped a beat as he was thrown off his bike and onto the hard concrete of the road. Ryan felt the trickle of blood as his nose was bleeding. Ryan saw his bike’s headlights shine on a figure whose back was facing Ryan. The figure made a jerking motion as it smashed its fist into Ryan’s bike and the headlights broke, turning the road pitch black. Ryan’s heart was beating a gazillion times a millisecond as the figure, who Ryan assumed was the Magdusa, sniffed the air and walked towards Ryan’s direction. Ryan froze as the Magdusa came closer and closer to where Ryan was lying on his butt. In the dark, Ryan could make out bright green eyes that resembled emeralds as the Magdusa loomed over Ryan who was about 4 feet away. Suddenly, Ryan grasped his senses back from where they had wandered off to and made a run for his life. The Magdusa swiftly changed direction and stomped towards Ryan, as its footsteps could be heard from thousands of miles away. The wounded Ryan immediately sped up to the point where he felt like the Flash as the Magdusa suddenly stopped and sprinted down the mountain. Ryan didn’t stop sprinting until he spotted the light of his house. Ryan slammed the door shut then rushed upstairs to his tiny bedroom.

Chapter 3

Breakfast With Maggie 

Ryan woke up the next morning with a splitting headache. He had dreamed that he had been eaten and swallowed by the treacherous Magdusa. Ryan had never believed that the Magdusa prowled the forest until now. The stairs creaked as Ryan trotted downstairs to smell that Anna had prepared a delicious breakfast which in his household was a medium-sized plate of porridge and a glass of milk, but Ryan never drank the milk and immediately closed up his nostrils as Maggie drained her glass of milk in one large gulp. 

“Good morning,” said Ryan to Anna as he let out a long yawn.

“Hello, brother, it’s 10:00 A.M. and you were supposed to get your behind out and over to breakfast 2 hours ago and I already ate and drank your porridge and milk,” sneered Maggie. Ryan groaned as he sat down far away from Maggie at the wooden, 4 seat table. “Why so far away loser, scared?” taunted Maggie with a sneer on her ugly face which other people thought was very pretty.

“Leave me alone,” grunted Ryan as he got up from his seat and prepared to change and go biking back to the reserve. Ryan walked towards Maggie’s direction as he prepared to make a dash upstairs to avoid making eye contact with Maggie, then something caught Ryan’s eye. He had never really noticed how green Maggie’s eyes were. Today, Ryan wondered why her eyes seemed so familiar.

Chapter 4

Johnathan Or John

After, Ryan changed into his average look of navy blue sweatpants and a classic red Adidas hoodie, which only he knew had stains from a bloody nose that were otherwise unrecognizable due to his red hoodie but could be smelled if you were wearing it. Ryan knew Anna was still pissed at him for losing the food so Ryan was forced to bike all the way back to the Watchung Reserve’s millions of miles of lush greenery (The Watchung Reservation is actually 3.039 square miles). 

Ryan trotted outside and realized that his bike was destroyed from the incident last night with the Magdusa. It’s going to take hours and hours and hours of walking to get to the reserve, thought Ryan (the actual walk is around an hour and twenty-five minutes). Then, Ryan had an evil but brilliant idea, he was going to steal Maggie’s bike and use it to get to the reserve. 

Ryan sped down the mountain then came to a sudden stop. There was a gaping hole in the middle of the road, and in the middle was Ryan’s bike, perfectly fine as though nothing had happened. This was, of course, a shock for Ryan who was just replaying the incident last night in his head, his bike destroyed by the Magdusa. Ryan thought for a second then shrugged. He figured that must have just been daydreaming and that there was no way the Magdusa actually existed.

After dropping Maggie’s bike on the greenery beside the road next to the mysterious house 1313, which was the only house he actually recognized on Yan Mountain besides his own. There were a few things that made house 1313 so mysterious and creepy. The first thing was that nobody knew who lived in the house; the second thing was that the house looked very worn out and thousands of years old and Ryan knew that a serial killer was definitely a threat but it was extremely unclear if this house was a threat but Ryan was most certain that it was a threat.

“Okay, here I go,” said Ryan to himself. Ryan furiously peddled down the mountains for he had just wasted 10 minutes stealing his sister’s bike, thinking about his own bike, finding his bike, and staring at house 1313. The bike skidded to a stop as Ryan reached the end of the mountain. Ryan wiped some sweat off his forehead as he watched cars speeding past him, he knew he had to be precise to get past the river of cars in front of him. The cars continued to speed past Ryan as he waited for the exact moment a gap would appear between the two lanes of vehicles, the opportunity came and Ryan didn’t waste it and immediately peddled as fast as his legs could through the rare gap between the lanes of cars. “Well, I’m finally here,” said Ryan with a breath of relief as he stood in front of the gates of the Watchung Reserve. Now, all Ryan had to do was pay to get in and search millions of miles for a carton of eggs and a container of milk.

Ryan sighed as he got in a line for the reserve which was smaller than usual. Ryan looked around and he saw the usual 20 dollars = adult, 15 dollars = child. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the dirtiest five and ten dollar bills he’d ever seen, there was some blood and many creases on both bills. Once it was Ryan’s turn to pay to get in the Watchung Reserve. “30 dollars, please,” said the cashier, whose name tag said James Raskolnikov, he looked fresh out of college.

“What?” said Ryan, looking confused.

“I said, 30 dollars, please. If you’re deaf, then go to the visitors center for some help,” responded James in a rude tone.

“But the sign says 15 dollars = child,” said Ryan.

“Well, I guess you didn’t read the other sign. It says bike or any other vehicle = 15 dollars,” said James with a smug look on his face. Inside Ryan’s head, he thought, Man, this kid is a stupidly bad liar. I’ve been coming here for half of my life and I have never seen any sign like that. But Ryan knew he had to pay the 30 dollars which meant his snack money would now be no more. 

“Okay,” grumbled Ryan as he took out 2 crumbled dollar bills and gave them to James.

“Thank you, sir,” said James. Ryan hopped on his bike, while he was riding away he heard James shout, “Next!”

Ryan knew the eggs and milk could be anywhere throughout the forest so he decided to try and remember where he had put them to go… ugh, Ryan had forgotten what he had done after he had set the eggs and milk down on a log. Now Ryan was doubting he even bought eggs and milk. That gave Ryan an idea, a good one, too. Ryan’s idea was he could go to the store to buy doubles of the eggs and milk, then Ryan remembered his “snack money” was actually the money he could’ve used to buy the doubles of eggs and milk. 

“Well, there goes my idea,” said Ryan to a tree. Ryan imagined the tree saying back, 

“You deserved it,” with a mean face that somehow resembled Anna’s. Ryan hopped back on his bike and rode off. 

Suddenly, Ryan stopped to see a raggedy old man, eating raw eggs and milk while sitting on a tree stump. Ryan looked carefully at the food and immediately realized that the old man, who probably couldn’t afford to get in the reserve, was gobbling his family’s food.

“Old man, where did you get that food?” asked Ryan, who was trying not to lose his temper.

“Well, if you want some, there’s plenty to go around, Ryan,” said the old man, smiling with his teeth all dark yellow.

“Wait, how do you know my name?” said Ryan suspiciously.

“I know a lot of things, Ryan,” said the old man with a wink.

“What’s your name?” asked Ryan, who was already creeped out by the fact that this old man knew his name.

“Johnathan, but you can call me John,” said Johnathan or John with a smile. Ryan suddenly asked a question he’d been meaning to ask ever since he’d known the old man he was currently talking to was the village drunk.

“John, can you tell me about the Magdusa?” asked Ryan curiously.

“Sure,” said John.

 Chapter 5

Information From John

John moved the eggs and milk next to the tree stump as he prepared to tell Ryan all about the Magdusa. 

“So Ryan, what do you want to know about the Magdusa?” asked the old man looking Ryan right in the eye.

“Uhhhh, everything you know, sir,” said Ryan who was shifting uncomfortably on his tree stump.

“Very well then,” said the old man.

“Well, okay then,” said Ryan with a fake smile plastered on his face.

“The Magdusa is believed to be 20 feet tall but I believe it is 6 foot 5 inches (6’ 5”) tall. Any questions?” asked John.

“If the Magdusa is that big, how come no one has seen it?” said Ryan.

“Well, many believe the Magdusa can turn any person it looks at into a food of its choice, but I believe the Magdusa turns into a human during daylight and into its monster form when the sun sets,” said John.

“But how does the Magdusa turn into its monster form without being seen by people?” said Ryan who was beginning to feel suspicious about John’s knowledge about this strange creature. 

“That is where the Watchung Reservation comes in, child. When it is night, the Magdusa goes into the forest and transforms into its monster form,” said John.

“But what if the Magdusa is seen by a person?” asked Ryan.

“The Magdusa won’t be seen because it always waits for people to fall asleep, then it comes out,” said John.

“But doesn’t the Magdusa eat humans? So how does the Magdusa eat humans when it waits for everyone to be asleep?” asked Ryan.

“If somebody sees the Magdusa in its monster form, it will hunt the person down and kill them,” said John.

Treasure Map

 One night, there was a big comet coming down at Earth at unknown speeds. It landed on some sort of large patch of grass. That comet wasn’t any kind of comet, it was a home to someone. The comet landed in a house’s backyard, which was located in Rome, Italy. At the beginning of that night, there were four people living in the house. At the end of the night, there were two people alive, plus a murderer on the loose. Little did two kids know, they survived the deadliest poison in the world.

13 years later

Kyle and Jennifer had been living in an orphanage for years now. They did not know why their parents were not alive, but they did know that they were murdered. They thought they were staying at their aunt and uncle’s house in Berlin, Germany when their parents were murdered. Now, they were treated poorly at the orphanage and had slight memories of either their aunt or uncle, who both shortly passed away later. And most of all, they wanted to see the world and they also hated where they lived…

One night in Berlin, Germany, At the Orphanage

“Hey,” whispered Jennifer. “Wanna escape?”
“I don’t know. I mean, the janitor is always there. It’s kind of creepy,” Kyle muttered.
“I’ve got an escape plan. Come on,” said Jennifer. They reviewed the escape plan and followed the plan step by step. They sneaked through the vents and eventually got to the fancy lobby of a giant skyscraper. They saw the lobby people, and one of them was their friend, Aaron. Aaron had been working there for as long as who knows when. He was the man with a long, shaggy beard and white hair. He wore red robes and knew almost everything. Seriously, if you asked him a question, he would not only answer questions, but would also tell you the answer or how to solve it. They rushed to him and asked him if he could give them disguises.
“I’ll give you the disguises on one circumstance,” said the old man. “And that’s if you don’t tell one single soul that I’m giving you disguises.”
Kyle and Jennifer looked at Aaron with a puzzled expression.
“Why?” Kyle asked.
”Here. Follow me,” said Aaron. Aaron escorted them into his office and said, “The reason I’m not letting you tell anyone is because the owner of this orphanage was a hater of a lot of people, including your parents.”
The twins looked at each other in the oddest way imaginable. “Tell us more,” said Jennifer in a barking tone.
“I mean, the owner of your orphanage and this building killed every single kids’ parents at the orphanage,” said Aaron.
”WHAT!” they barked at the same time.
“I suggest you help those four kids at that orphanage and escape immediately,” said Aaron.
”We will save those children immediately, but first you need to tell us why he wanted our parents,” said Jennifer.
“Well, first off, I wanted to tell you this when you got older and I figured now would be the right time. It all started when your parents and the kids at the orphanage’s parents were in a secret group. The group was called S.S.L.T. It stood for Secret Society of Lost Treasures. The owner of the orphanage was in that group. One day, they found a treasure map that would supposedly lead to heaven and you would be able to visit all of your ancestors. Of course, they were all teens when they were in this group. The owner of this orphanage’s name is Prince Alizai. He likes calling himself that, but no one really knows why. Anyway, the group rules were for every treasure to stay with one person for the week, and when it was Alizai’s turn, he never brought it back.”
“So why did he kill our parents?” asked Jennifer.
“Well I think it was because he thought your parents knew how precious this treasure map is. This is the way to save your parents and all of your orphanage-mate’s parents… ”
“Wait, so you’re telling us if we find this treasure map, we might be able to bring our parents back to Earth?” asked Jennifer. The two of them looked at Aaron like they were listening to God.
“Where can we find this precious treasure?” asked Kyle.
“Well, for all we know, it could be across the world,” whispered Aaron.
“I searched for it for decades and found nothing,” said Aaron.
”Are there any clues?” asked Kyle.
”Well, yes. You first must look in the Amazon Rainforest. There you will find a civilization that has amazing books and treasures. Remember to tell them that you are Aaron Cunningham’s godson.”
“Wait a minute. If we’re your godchildren, that means you’re our godfather?” asked Kyle suspiciously.
”Your parents and I were best of friends until that dreadful day. Now go and save those children, and if you are lucky, you will never have to live in an orphanage again,” said Aaron delightfully.
“Will you come with us?” asked Jennifer.
“Well, unfortunately, no,” muttered Aaron. “I can give you all the things you will need for you and your friends from the orphanage, and I’ll be able to take you to the airport, but that’s it because I’ve had my turn and now it’s your turn,” said Aaron proudly.
“Well okay, but can you at least help us get those kids out of the orphanage? I mean, they don’t talk,” said Kyle.
“Yeah, he’s right. We don’t even know their names,” said Jennifer.
“Don’t worry, I even talked to those kids before I talked to you guys. It’s no biggie,” said Aaron.
“Wait, so we’ve been living with these kids practically our whole lives and we didn’t know their names but you did?” grumbled Jennifer.
“That’s honestly sad,” said Kyle.
“Well, if you need to know, their names are: Chase, Chloe, Jack, and Katherine,” said Aaron. “I think you’ll get along with all of them. They even said you guys hardly talk,” said Aaron.
”Well what are we waiting for?” asked Jennifer.
The two of them snuck upstairs to tell their soon-to-be-friends that it was escape time. When they got into their room, they packed everything up and woke all of their friends. First, they woke up Jack, who was reading a book and looked like he knew that they were coming. Jack was a tall kid for his age. He was a very sporty kid who liked playing baseball. He had brown hair with a tiny bit of freckles and was already rushing out of the room quickly.
“Let’s go, guys,” said Jack.
All of them rushed to wake everyone up and they quietly went to the lobby. ”Where’s Aaron?” asked Katherine.
“Dunno,” said Chase.
“I see him,” said Kyle, running to the entrance of the huge skyscraper.
Aaron called out to them to get outside. The six of them charged outside to the large parking lot and saw Aaron next to a large limousine. The children got in the limousine and off they went to the airport. The car ride took 15 minutes until they got to the rather large airport. The airport was huge. The children forgot that Aaron wasn’t going on the trip to the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. The flight would take 20 hours. On the plane, Kyle sat next to Jennifer, Chase sat next to Chloe (who were also siblings), and Jack sat next to Katherine, who were twins. For breakfast, they had strawberry oatmeal which was pretty decent for plane food. For lunch, they had Chicken Fingers and Fries. And for dinner, they had a choice of either Fish or Rotisserie chicken. The flight was long. Chase got seasick so Chloe made herself move to Jack’s lap.
“UGH!” said Jack. “GET OFF ME!” he screamed.
Chloe would not move so Jack casually pushed Chloe off him.
“Hey!” said Chloe. “What was that for!?”
“I had no choice, I mean, Chase got seasick so what did you expect?”
“FINE. But can you at least make Chase go use the bathroom so you don’t have to sit on my lap?” said Jack.
The two of them ended their fight and went to sleep. Six hours later, they arrived in beautiful Brazil. Aaron gave them instructions to ask a person for a large taxi. They got one, but the man who drove them did not speak.
“Is this a little weird?” said Jennifer.
“Yeah, this guy’s not speaking.”
“Wait a minute, this guy does not look Brazilian at all. Look at his suitcase,” whispered Kyle.
The suitcase read, “Flight from Berlin, Germany to Fortaleza, Brazil.”
“Guys, I think we might have a follower,” said Chase.
“I’m gonna agree with you there,” said a voice.
The man looked behind so the kids could see his face. It was Aaron, but Aaron did not have a beard. He looked a lot younger than he did in the past. His hair was black, not grey.
“You’re Prince Alizai, aren’t you?” said Kyle.
“A+,” said Prince.
“WHERE’S AARON!” screamed Katherine.
“There was no Aaron. I was Aaron in disguise.”
At that moment, Jack had just realized something. There was a piece of parchment in Prince’s pocket. Immediately, Jack whispered to Jennifer, “Look at his pocket.”
Jennifer elbowed Kyle and pointed at his pocket. Chase and Chloe went to sneak up at Prince and he looked back.
“AHHHHHHH!” screamed Chase and Chloe in unison.
They had the map. The children opened the car door and all of them ran as fast as they could back to the airport. Once they got the map, they looked at it, and it said the treasure was in a place called Cairo, Egypt. But it looked like it was in the water. “I think we found our flight,” said Kyle.
“We’re gonna have to sneak on a flight,” said Chloe.
“What are we waiting for, let’s go!” said Chase.
The six of them snuck past the boarding area and were now waiting for the flight.
“We don’t have any tickets, guys,” said Jack.
“I’ve got a plan. All we have to do is get outside of this airport,” said Jennifer.
They all eventually got on the plane. 19 hours later, they arrived at the airport in Cairo. It was 8:00 in the morning and they were near the treasure.
“Hello, hello, hello,” said a voice.
“It’s you again. You treacherous murderer,” said Jack.
“You really thought I was gonna let you flee away to find that treasure?” said Prince.
All of them ran as fast as they could to escape and they found snorkeling suits on the beach. They stole the suits and ran to the river. They swam and swam deep into the sea and they saw a huge white portal right in front of them.
“This must be it!” said Jennifer.
They jumped in the portal, and sure enough, they were in this huge place with clouds. They saw six people locked up in chains.
“MOM, DAD!” they screamed in unison.
They had not seen their parents in 13 years, each of them. They talked to them and realized the portal was shrinking.
“We’ve got to get back. Or we’re all dead,” said Katherine.
They just made it in the portal and were standing on the beach.
“Where are we?” said the parents together.
“We’re in Egypt!” said Katherine.

All of them went to a restaurant for lunch and each of the kids got chocolate milkshakes and had so much fun the rest of the day. It was evening now and the kids were playing on the beach. When their parents had died, all of them had their wallets in their pockets, so they were able to buy swimsuits so they got in the water.
“Well, well, well,” said a voice.
“AGAIN!” said Kyle.
“I see you have found my treasure map.”
“MOM, DAD!” They all screamed for their parents and they rushed over to the children and Prince.
“Prince has magical powers,” said the parents.
BAM.
There was a giant flash of light heading towards the parents and the kids. They ducked and the flash of light went the other way. They now saw one thing on the beach and that was Prince Alizai’s fallen body.
The spell had redirected onto Prince. “WE’RE ALIVE. THE BEACH IS STILL HERE!” they screamed in unison.
They had the time of their lives, and Chloe and Chase’s family, Katherine and Jack’s family, and Jennifer and Kyle’s family moved to Cairo. They would remember this moment forever.

Epilogue

20 years later, all of the children had jobs. Chase was a banker. Chloe was a painter. Katherine was an actor. Jack was a professional baseball player. Jennifer was an archeologist. Kyle was a pilot.
Their lives from that moment were, some people said, just a dream. But no, this was reality. They lived happily ever after.

The End

The Feast (Gone Wrong)

Characters (Chapter 1)                

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jack, and he was going to have an all-you-can-eat feast at his house that night! Jack also had a dog named Bob. They liked to cook. 

The Supermarket and the Cooking (Chapter 2)

First, they went to the local supermarket and got some fruits and vegetables. Next, they went to the butcher shop and bought some meat. Then, they went to the candy & cake shop to buy a strawberry and chocolate cake. Finally, they started cooking. 

Jack’s first dish was a tomato, lettuce, and bacon salad! Bob also made some ranch dressing to go with it (yes, Jack’s dog is talented and can do that). Next, they made some fried chicken and some barbecue sauce to go with it (which the dog made, of course). Then, a person rang on their doorbell. It was their neighbor, Honey. 

Honey said, “Your food smells so good! Can I try the chicken?” 

Jack said, “Yes! We have plenty more!” 

Honey replied, “Thanks!” and she was off. Then, they made a honey, meat, and broccoli sandwich. They had some spare honey at their house. Then, another person rang on their doorbell. It was their friend, Noah. He loved vegetables (because he always wore green). 

Noah said, “Hi! Can I try your salad? I could smell it from a mile away! It smelled so good!” 

Jack replied, “Yes, of course, Noah! After all, you’re my friend.” 

Noah smiled and said, “Thanks! Bye!” Then, person after person came. Emily tried the sandwich. Liam tried the salad. Ava tried the chicken. In a matter of minutes, all the food was gone. Then, when Jack opened the door, there were SO MANY PEOPLE waiting. His other neighbors came. All the people from Jack’s school came. Even the mayor came to try some!

The Problem (Chapter 3)

Jack was thinking, Oh no! How will I ever feed all these people? Everybody waiting outside Jack’s door wanted to get a taste of his food. James, Jack’s friend, said, “What’s taking so long? Where’s the food, Jack?” 

Jack replied, “You see, lots of customers have come to my house to taste some and now I’m fresh out of food!” Jack got his wallet and he said, “Uh oh! I’m fresh out of money! How can I get my money back?” He said to the people, “I’ll be right back, ok?” Then, he had an idea. He went to the bank and got a $2,000 loan. Unfortunately, he was going to have to pay the loan back. He was worried. He now had money, but he had to pay the money back to the bank. Then, he had another idea. He could use the money to make a store! Once again, he bought some more fruits and vegetables from the local supermarket. Next, he bought some meat from the butcher. Then, he bought a HUMONGOUS cake from the cake & candy shop. He also had to buy some wood, screws, and wrenches from Home Depot. Finally, he told his friends from school to help him build the restaurant. 

Jack and his friends decided on a name for the restaurant. They called it: Jack and Bob’s restaurant. He hired some construction workers to build the restaurant for him. Jack gave the wrenches and screws to the construction workers and they started working. The construction workers asked why Jack wanted to build a restaurant. Jack said, “It’s just all part of my plan.” The construction workers just ignored him and kept on working. 

Meanwhile, Jack was cooking up some dishes at his house. He also realized that spicy foods go well with ranch. So he used his spare ranch to cook up some spicy chicken wings with ranch on the side. Then, he realized another thing. He realized that he was using a lot of sauces in his dishes. So, he asked the construction workers to rename the restaurant to: Jack and Bob’s Saucy Restaurant. Then, he rushed to the sauce shop and bought A LOT of sauces. He bought honey mustard, ketchup, Russian dressing, and more! He went back to his house, excited to incorporate all his newly found sauces into his dishes. He could also mix and match his sauces. He came up with white sauce, which is a hybrid of ranch and mayo, red sauce, which is a mix of ketchup and spicy sauces, and more! 

Meanwhile, the construction workers were almost finished with Jack and Bob’s Saucy Restaurant. It had shiny chairs, glass windows, the kitchen (of course), and even a TV! When Jack heard it was finished, he ran as fast as he could to Jack and Bob’s Saucy Restaurant. Then, he worked on his menu. When it was finished, the menu looked a little like this. He had Chicken Wings with ranch, Pita Bread with white sauce, Marinated Cucumber with mustard, Artichoke with spinach dip, Goat Cheese bites with cheese sauce, Cheeseburger with buffalo sauce, Carbonara with egg yolk, Sushi with soy sauce, Chicken Kabob with teriyaki sauce, Fish Sandwich with fish sauce, Katsu with bulldog sauce, Tacos with hot sauce, and most importantly, THE CAKE

Once it was done, people flocked to Jack and Bob’s Saucy Restaurant. Since so many people came that day, Jack decided to hire some restaurant chefs. He made A LOT of money. He gave back the spare loan money to the bank. He had paid back ¼ of the loan ($500). Now, he had ¾ left to pay back ($1500). And each of the dishes cost $10. So, Jack did the math, and he needed to sell 150 dishes. BUT, from that first day, they had no more dishes to sell. So, Jack and his chefs had to work very hard. The next day, they put up a sign saying that they were closed for the day. But people still came to the restaurant and waited in front of the door. They worked and worked and worked. The next day, they reopened the restaurant. Little did they know, a thief was watching nearby, and when Jack wasn’t looking, the thief stole his money.

The Thief (Chapter 4)

The next day, Jack got a message from the police. It said, “A thief stole your money.” Jack said, 

Uh oh. Someone stole my money!!!” Another problem was that Jack had three days to pay back the loan. He still had ¾ of the loan to pay back ($1,500). So, within those 3 days, he needed to catch the thief and get his money back. He sprinted to Home Depot and started working on the trap. Jack called it the Food-Trap 3000. It had a net (of course), sauce dispensers, and more! He needed to know where the thief was to make his plan work. And coincidentally, there was a compass right on the ground that said, “This is where the thief is.” Jack said, “WOW!” Now he could track down the thief and eventually catch him.

Jack brought Bob along with him (because dogs have a good sense of smell) and the compass would only lead Jack in the general direction of the thief. He also brought security cameras with him so he could see where the thief was while the thief didn’t know where Jack was. Jack used the compass. He found out that he needed to go northeast. He went northeast and ended up in a park. Jack thought, This is where the thief lives? 

Reluctantly, he set up the trap in a nearby bush and hung the security cameras on the walls. So he waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, after 2 hours, he finally got a glimpse of the thief. He felt that something was wrong. He ignored it, but Jack was ready to fire. But, when he fired, the net missed, the sauces sprayed in the bushes, and it was a complete failure. But Jack wasn’t going to give up. So, he rebuilt the Food-Trap 3000 and made it the Food-Trap 4000. It had taco launchers, hamburger bombs (lol), and a Bob balloon. So they waited again. And waited AND WAITED. After another two hours of waiting, they finally caught the thief. Jack celebrated his victory. Then, he went to sleep. He had a VERY LONG day. It was 1:00 AM when he got back. He had 1 day to pay back the loan. He was hoping that he would sell enough dishes to pay back the loan.

The Loan (Chapter 5)

Jack had $1,000. He gave the money to the bank. He needed only $500 to fully pay back the loan. Then, Jack’s friends (including Bob) surprised him with a box containing 500$! 

Jack was speechless. He said, “Where did you get all this money?” 

Jack’s friends said, “We combined all of our money and it equaled a total of 500$.”

“Oh,” replied Jack. After that, he paid back the loan. Then, he cooked (of course) and then slept.

Cooking Showdown! (Chapter 6)

When Jack woke up the next day, he checked his mailbox. He found a big envelope that said in bold letters: 

YOU HAVE BEEN INVITED TO A COOKING CONTEST AT 111 COOK STREET. IT STARTS AT 12:00 TODAY. THERE WILL BE 9 OTHER COOKS COMPETING WITH YOU. THE PRIZE IS THE ULTIMATE COOKING TROPHY!

Jack said, “WOW! BOB, COME HERE!” 

Bob said, “I like cooking! Let’s go!” 

Jack replied, “Ok!” He dressed into his clothes, grabbed his backpack, and went out the door. When he went out the door, he realized 111 cook street was 10 miles away! So, he took an Uber to get there. It was 11:00 when they got there. They still had one hour before the contest started. So they got some jelly doughnuts to eat to take up some time. They tasted SO good! Then, he went to the sign up and saw who he would be competing with. When he signed up, he saw a familiar face. Jack said, “Noah, is that you?” 

He said, “Yes, it’s me!” 

Jack replied, “Who are these other people?” 

Noah said, “I don’t know. We have some time before the competition starts, so why don’t we go shopping?” 

Jack said, “Ok!” So, Jack, Noah, and Bob went shopping. Jack bought a bracelet, Noah bought a cucumber eraser, and Bob bought a dog bone. By the time they were done shopping, it was time for the competition to start. The judge said, you must cook us an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. Jack said to Bob, “Let’s make our chicken wings for our appetizer, our cheeseburger for our entree, and we’ll have to figure out our dessert.” 

“Begin!”said the judges. Jack checked what materials he had. There were fruits, vegetables, meat, grains, and dairy products! Jack whispered to Bob, “Quick change of plans, Bob. We’re gonna make our marinated cucumber.” Bob nodded his head. Jack fried the cucumbers while Bob prepared the mustard. Then, Jack got started on the cheeseburger. Jack got the materials for the burger, while Bob prepared the buffalo sauce. This was going really well for Jack and Bob. Now, they had to figure out dessert. 

Luckily for them, there was an ice cream dispenser, and there was a chocolate syrup dispenser. So he pumped some ice cream from the dispenser and poured the chocolate syrup on it, and put a juicy, red strawberry on top. When he was finished, there was one minute left on the clock. So he put the dishes on the plate. After he did that, the judges said, “TIME’S UP! The first person presenting their dishes is Noah!” 

Jack whispered, “You can do it, Noah!” 

Noah said, “For my appetizer, I present to you a small lettuce salad! For my entree, I present to you my basil and broccoli pizza! And, for dessert, I present to you eggplant-flavored ice cream!” One judge held up a 7. Another judge held up a 6. The final judge held up an 8. 

The next judge said, “Next up is the team of Jack and Bob!” 

Jack said softly, “Here we go.” When he presented, the judges said nothing. They were in awe. Each of the judges held up a 10. 

Then, the judges said, “Jack automatically wins this cooking competition!” Jack said, “That was easy.”  

The End (Yay)

Kenzie’s Failing School

~

Traveling Chapter

1

Now, before we begin, I think that you need to know some things about Kenzie. For one, she’s an A – A+ student. For two, her full name is Kenzie Marian Brian Albus Margerete Renaya Roberts. It’s quite a mouthful, we can all agree on that. For three, she goes to Wolf Creek High. Her homeroom teacher is Mr. Amnesee, a kind-looking man with a very wide smile. His hair is shabby brown, and there’s a long scar running down the side of his cheek, making him look like he had been attacked by a tiger or something. Even though Mr. Amnesee has a very kind face, it makes his appearance very eerie, or at least uncomfortable. Kenzie has seen Mrs. Sapphire (the school’s vice-principal) shiver when he was present. And the final thing that you should know about Kenzie is that her parents are divorced (she lives with her dad because her mom left her when she was only 1 month old), and that she has a very annoying brother who’s in the last year of high school, whereas she’s still a sophomore. But the most important thing for you to know is that Kenzie’s a demigod (an offspring who is born from a god and mortal). Though she doesn’t know it. Her mom is Aphrodite. 

Kenzie has a story to share with you, a story that she couldn’t bear to admit, but it was simply the truth. HER GRADES WERE DROPPING! I hope that you, my dear reader, will pick out an important message, no matter what land this train is bringing you across. Now let’s get started! 

I couldn’t think straight. The creaking of the train’s wheel’s sounds was so irritating. I was on a train off to a nightclub place with her best friend, Peyton Alora Fleur Aisling Bexley Emerson Garcia. She had never told her her real name until I had forced her to, threatening to make a bee sting her if she didn’t tell. Something touched my ear. Oh. Just Peyton’s long, blonde hair. I went back to trying to concentrate. In the midst of the super annoying train — wheel — creaking — sounds, I remembered what my dad had once said:

“Life unfolds in chapters, whether you like it or not. They come in varieties, meaning that they can be all kinds of wicked and mean. But some are nice. So just take the time to enjoy that particular (nice) chapter when you can, and absorb all the happiness that you can while it’s still there. Remember: this happiness can really keep you enthusiastic sometimes, even in the bad and horrid chapters.”

“Kenzie.” Maybe I didn’t hear anything because I was so engrossed in my thoughts. “Kenzie!” The sound was like a whip to my skin.
“What?”

“We’re almost there!” Peyton exclaimed. Her eyes were glistening, like the sun itself was inside each of them. As bright as the sun, I thought. Strange. Literally just as bright as the sun. The exact same gold, blaring light. Beaming outwards, from her eyes. 

She snapped loudly right in front of my eyes, making me have to cross-eye to see her blue-gradient painted nails. “KENZIE!”

I looked up, to meet those sunny eyes again. 

~

Understand Chapter

2       

I reluctantly looked up. The building was vast, making me look as if I were an ant compared to an elephant. The windows were all made of glass and clear. I put her hand to the doorknob, which, I noticed, had the word “ON” carved in. With a deep breath, I pushed it open, to be greeted with a strangely warm gush of wind. Looking around, I sucked in the view. There was a DJ with a load of gears set up on a table. There was a stage in the very front of the room, with a microphone set there. I wondered why they still needed one if the music was already played by the DJ.  Platters of a variety of assorted fruits were all fanned out around the room. The room was strangely hot, but it all made sense since a tinge of excitement hung in the air. 

“Hey, I’m going to the bathroom,” Peyton said. I nodded.

While I waited, I sucked in all of the people, some looking as if they had hoped their whole life to be here, some looking as if some had been forced to come. Someone walked right into me. I toppled off-balance, trying to find somewhere that I could hold to steady myself, but instead felt my skin meet contact with a sharp edge. 

“Ouch!” I could feel my finger bleeding freely. 

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to bump into you!” A middle-aged woman with albino skin exclaimed. 

“It’s okay,” I murmured. “Hey, do you have any idea why there’s a microphone up there? Isn’t the music already played by the DJ?”

“Oh, you’re new to this as well, aren’t you? My daughter’s also plenty confused. She still doesn’t know that her dad’s Apollo,” she replied.

“What? You mean Apollo, god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the sun and light, and poetry?” My brain was filling with thoughts. “How could  somebody be an offspring of Apollo?”

“Oh, silly, you don’t know, either? Well then, you’re a half-blood; half-god, half-human! Well, I guess that today’s your lucky day! I’ll give you a history lesson, if you don’t mind. I used to be a history teacher as well, you know. Now, long before the Greek Gods came to power, millennials before, the world was ruled by titans, led by the evilest of all, the titan Kronos. He was evil enough to devour his own children, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus with a single gulp. Yet the three who were later to become the big three and ruler of the gods found a way out. They sliced Kronos to pieces and banished his remains to the depths of Tartarus. Kronos has been waiting all of these years to get revenge and be brought back to power. Yet only one demigod can defeat him — ”

“Hold your horses, what’s a demigod?”

“A demigod is the offspring of a god and mortal.”

“Oh, so that’s why my parents are divorced. My mom must be the god, then!”

“Yes, indeed.”

I was shocked, “Thank you very much. I have learned so much!” 

     ~

Mysterious Chapter

3           

I pushed past her without waiting for her reply. I needed to find Peyton. I needed to find her and tell her everything. Just as I was outside the girls’ bathroom, someone stepped out — an old hag with rotted black teeth with a hood over her head, but there were loose pieces of deathly white hair atop the black hood. She pushed past me without a glance. Weird. I opened the door, and called Peyton’s name.

“Peyton?”

No response. 

“Peyton, are you there? This is no time to play games!”

Still no reply.

“PEYTON?”

I knew that Peyton would have responded. She must not be here! But my eyes were pinned to this door while I was talking to the lady! The only way that Peyton could have gone out was through the pipes, which was a ridiculous idea. She had never been great at climbing, especially squeezing through tight, black places. 

But that’s when I spotted the old hag. I didn’t know why, but I decided to follow her. She wasn’t too far away, anyways. I dove behind, sliding between people, tailing the old hag. That’s when I noticed that she’d sat down at a table with the person I least expected to be here. I moved closer to eavesdrop, having a feeling that this would be good. The hag leaned closer.

“I’ve called her,” she whispered. Her voice was low, husky… and beautiful. 

“Thank you,” said Mr. Amnesee, nodding as he spoke. I slid under the nearest vacant table so that they wouldn’t spot me, though it didn’t seem to matter because they both seemed so sophisticated. 

“She will be very relieved once she hears,” the old had said. Rosmerta quickly opened her bag, revealing a photo of a woman with kind eyes, smiling, an aurora of power floating around. Thinking that I’d seen enough, I quickly moved between adjacent tables, making sure that I didn’t hit any of anybody’s feet. But only did I stop mid-pace when the old hag moved toward an abandoned hallway, near the entrance to what looked like a cellar. Looking behind herself, she scurried away, moving like death itself. I quickly debated with myself, wondering what I should do. I decided to follow the hag, maybe I could squeeze some information out of her.  I frantically looked back, making sure one last time that Peyton wasn’t here, or at least near, and tailed Rosmerta. I just noticed that, for an old lady, she scampered quite quickly. I was breathing heavily when I finally reached my destination, feeling as if I had already ran a mile.

I could feel something was going to happen. I looked around, searching for Rosmerta, but she was nowhere to be seen. Weird. My breaths grew ragged, my breathing frantic. Then I started to get nervous. WHAT IF ROSMERTA KNEW THAT I WAS HERE? WAS SHE JUST TRYING TO LURE ME INTO A TRAP? DID SHE KNOW THAT I WAS HERE AND WAS PLANNING SOMETHING? WAIT, WHAT IF SHE SAW ME THE WHOLE TIME? AHHHHH!          

Thinking about the possibilities, I shuddered. That’s when I spotted Rosmerta in the deepest part, cowering. That’s when she took out something. This something was very surprising indeed. It was a roll of tape. What could she possibly do with that? I wondered. But that’s when I heard a soft click. I saw the old hag take hold of a piece of tape, and stick it to a bare wall. I didn’t know exactly what she was doing, so I just watched. 

She was breathing heavily when she finally finished, so that the tape framed a small door big enough for her (and me) to fit in. I crouched behind a loose piece of wood, sweating for the unsureness. That’s when I noticed the tape had disappeared, so had the block of wall on where Rosmerta had framed the tape. I blinked several times, making sure that what I was seeing was correct. It was. I watched tentatively as the old hag stepped inside, took one deep breath, and changed right into Peyton. Wait, was I seeing right? Yup, I was. I WAS! I was so shell-shocked that I almost fell right out of my hiding place! I couldn’t believe my eyes!!      

I stayed still, listening. Then, with the whoosh of wind, a woman identical to the woman in the photograph appeared, looking around, eyes hard. Then, she stared at the exact spot that I was, eyes softening. 

Noticing my confusion, she said, “I’m your mother.” Her voice sounded soprano. I could’ve sworn that she would be a great female singer. “And you can come out now, Apollo. ”

A middle-aged white man appeared from the doorway. He waved his hand and left, hands in his pockets. 

~

Explanation Chapter

4

Aphrodite led me into the room where Apollo had transformed. 

“Why did you and dad divorce?” I blurted out. 

“It’s complicated.” Aphrodite fidgeted with her hands, which seemed very ungodly to me. 

It’s always been a sensitive subject for me, and I knew that, compared to being part of the chaos herself, Aphrodite may have a more specific reason. 

“Well, the simple explanation is that it didn’t work out. After I explained everything to him, you know, the fact that I’m not normal, and he freaked out.” Her eyes were like a portal to the past. I could almost see dad’s freaked face. 

“Anyways,” she took a breath and shook her head, the portal unwinded. 

I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful Aphrodite was. She wore a long robe, woven with exquisite silver fabric. Whenever she moved, it was as if the whole world bowed down to her. Every step she took, there was an era of power flowing around. Sometimes, there was an angry flash in her eyes whenever she was irritated. This warned the surrounding people now to deal with her. Not that any fool would want to without her signal. 

Her skin was a light shade of peach, not too dark, but not too pale. Her blonde hair, tied back into a perfect knot, was placed right splat at the back of her head. Her eyes were ocean blue, warm and kind, but also very stricken. Her lips were coated with sparkly red lip gloss, everything about her was so gentle, calm, yet at the same time powerful and forceful. You could tell that she wasn’t someone to mess around with, even if you didn’t know she was a Greek god. 

I looked up to meet those ocean blue eyes, sad.

“I have some questions to ask you,” I barreled on. Aphrodite immediately sat up straight, composing herself. 

“Anything.” Her face was warm, sadness long forgotten. “But, if these somehow reach out of my authority line, I cannot do anything to help you. Hera will be extremely angry with me. And when she’s mad, she’s MAD,” she said, her face suddenly serious. Shaking her head, she peeked at me. I couldn’t hold her gaze. 

“So… ” I stuttered for words. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, this is the first time that I’ve even spoken to someone with authority, let alone a goddess. 

“I want to know why you left daddy,” I settled with something straightforward. 

I knew nothing about being a god. That was probably pretty off since I was the daughter of Aphrodite, the god of love and beauty. But I still wasn’t her. AT ALL. Literally. 

“Oh.. ” She spoke as if she knew what was coming, yet she feared it. I couldn’t bear to admit it, but I liked the look on her face. It was a mixture of annoyance and overwhelmingness. It was quite unusual for a god to look like that. Yet there is a difference between reality and fantasy. And if you took a look at my mom’s face then, you would’ve guessed that she just got stabbed in the back with a dagger. 

“Well, I need you to know that we, well, separated because of the rules passed on through generations. I loved him very much. I wouldn’t have made the choice to divorce if I were a regular mortal. In fact, I love him with all my life. I might even die for him. But you need to know that things are the way they are, even if you wish that they weren’t. I always thought of playing with the thought of being normal. To be a typical mortal with a happy family, living a normal life. But when you’re, well, me, that would be a dream come true if it actually happened.”

A single tear slipped down her cheek. 

“Rules are rules, aren’t they?” She forced a sad smile, her voice trembling.

“Oh,” I said again. What can I say? I was preparing myself to hear my own mother tell me the real reason, but a wave of nausea still wrapped around my gut. I felt my nails bite into my hand. Then a strange thing happened. A smell of smoke. Then a flash of light. And before my eyes, Aphrodite was gone. 

“So, class, the answer to this problem is π^2. Any questions?!” Mr. Amnesee announced to the class. I looked up, deciding to stop picking my nails. The polish was peeling off, anyway. I was going to make mom proud. I was going to become an A+ student again. 

The Importance of Art

Many people in this world do not have the privilege to make and create types of art at school. When you are doing art, time may fly by, but during the time that you are creating the art, your head can relax and calm down. During that time, nothing matters more than you and creating the art. Art may take up a lot of time, but when you get good at art, it is fun for you and will make you happy. Today, I am going to be talking about art, and how it helps people with their mental health, and why principals should provide fun art-related programs for their students to help them learn.

One reason why schools should have art programs is because art lets people be as creative as they want. Everybody’s artwork will be different, for art is one of the only classes that has a special feature. Even if you are following a set of steps, when you are coloring, or decorating your drawing, they will be different. Also, art is no competition, you can take as long as you want to finish a piece of artwork. It may take a few weeks, and those weeks may turn into months, and maybe even into years! It doesn’t matter how long it took you to draw your artwork, all that matters is what it turned into, and how much you like it. It is scientifically proven that when you are creating art, it makes you happier, and who doesn’t want to be happy?

The next reason why is because most people get stressed out after classes. If you are in a class that is very challenging for you, then you have to have a break, even if you don’t have art classes, you can bring a notepad and pencil to school, and even if you’re not good at drawing, you can still just start drawing random lines and let all you tension out. 5th grader Anna states, “Art is important in school because you have time to let your creative self shine out, it is also very fun to do art because most kids enjoy art. Lastly, you need to have a break from your brain because most classes there is a procedure you need to follow but in art, there is no specific rule, basically, you can do anything you want.” I 100% agree with Anna.

The last reason is that art makes you persevere. When you mess up, you have to restart and try a new tactic. This may help you with other work, like math, if you are trying a math problem, but you get the answer wrong, art may encourage you to retry and be patient. 4th Grader Sarah says, “I love to do art, and sometimes if I am doing homework and it gets kinda hard and I get stuck, I take a little break and do some sketching for art. It helps me relax and after ten minutes I try and go back to do my homework, and it makes me feel better doing it.” And once again, I agree with you, Sarah.

Art makes you persevere, be as creative as you want, and makes you happier. These are three out of the many reasons why you should create art. Even if you’re not good at it, try art if you have these problems. Art will make you proud of your artwork, just wait until you see it!

Axe

Prologue 

The car hummed as we drove through the bridge. We were visiting Dad, who was sent to the war. I was bored of the long drive so I clicked the first station on the radio. “Small storms are coming and rain. Stay safe on slick roads and watch out for black ice.” Thunder claps. The water beneath us was rising and dropping as if having a seizure. Before I had time to process my thinking, another thunderclap struck a pole on the bridge and it fell behind us. “HURRICANE!” my mother shouted! The bridge started to lean in and out like a needle and patchwork. It gave way and the car landed in the choppy waters. The beautiful summer day quickly turned into a disaster.

Chapter 1: The Ride

I pulled on my jeans and red sweater over my white shirt. I went down to eat breakfast.

“Hello, Anne.” 

“Hi, Mom.” I walked toward the pancakes and grabbed my cell phone. 

“Hmmph. No phones at the table, Anne” 

“Sorry, Mom, I’m just texting Janess about meeting Dad.” 

Mom smiled. As alway,  her smile was warm and it made her brown hair pop out against the pink pale of her lips. My mom always looked glamorous no matter what, wearing brown, yellow (like she was), blue, and even green! 

“I can make an exception.” 

“Coming, Mom!” I yelled. Mom was in the car fussing with the seat belt. “Can we go now, Mom?” I smiled at Mom as if she were the one holding us up. 

“Haha. Very funny” I buckled my seatbelt and sat back. The trees we had passed by were fluffy and green, and I hadn’t paid attention to the time and it was soon that I fell asleep.

I woke up with a sickening feeling in my stomach for no reason. Not the sick type but the type that made you feel nervous or that something bad was going to happen. Do you know what I mean? The car hummed as we drove through the bridge. We were visiting Dad, who was sent to the war. I was bored of the long drive, so I clicked the first station on the radio. 

“Small storms are coming and rain. Stay safe on slick roads and watch out for black ice.” Thunderclaps. The water beneath us was rising and dropping as if having a seizure. Before I had time to process my thinking, another thunderclap struck a pole on the bridge and it fell behind us.

“HURRICANE!” my mother shouted! The bridge started to lean in and out like a needle and patchwork. It gave way and the car landed in the choppy waters. The beautiful summer day quickly turned into a disaster.

Chapter 2: Random Axe

The car was sinking and the doors were jammed. Then I got an idea. But I had to tell Mom, but how? I would be underwater! I swam to the back, to my bag. My eyes were already getting blurry and Mom wasn’t moving. I got an axe from the emergency trunk and smashed at the glass. Mom’s fingers were at her throat, gasping for air. I grabbed her, took my bag and axe, and swam to the surface. The hurricane had just ended 30 seconds ago. My body was shivering, Mom came back to life, and I forgot something. The rest of the emergency bag! It had floated out of the car and got stuck on the last remaining base pole of the bridge. The rest was gone. All of it could have fallen on top of us. I swam to a small nearby island. Ignoring the pains in my leg from the seat that fell back on top of it. Mom was awake and was helping paddle. Now, my only resource was that axe. I touched the sand and — black.

Chapter 3

I woke up and my mom had a bewildered look in her eyes. Her arms were filled with sticks. I knew that if I complained then we would most likely have many threats so I started to help. Ignoring everything. Fire was done by mom and I attempted to fish for fish but I couldn’t catch anything. Oh! The water bent the light which meant I had to plunge deeper into the water. But, first I needed a weapon. I grabbed a nearby stick, beckoned for the axe from Mom, and sharpened my spear. I found some berries that birds were eating and I thought, We are having a feast tonight. Mom continued chopping at a tree. 

My throat was roasted, gasping for water. I looked uncertainly at the water. Nobody would find us. The bridge was so long it crossed from one state to another. We were in the middle, no reach from either place. I plopped some berries in my mouth, mother didn’t want any. Yuck! No juice in them! I went over to the water. I started to cry. How did I land myself here! I scooped some water and — WHAM. My mother hit me lightly with a log. 

“No unclean water! We weave together a basket to separate some of the water and heat it to make it fresh!” 

“Mom, how did you make a fire?” 

“Simple. I got wet bark, obviously, everything is drenched, a tsunami passed OVER us. Then I hit the axe on another piece of wood so the sparks would land on it, and I blew it gently to give it oxygen, then boom!” Mom always got to work in a situation and ignored her own feelings. I sometimes felt bad for her…

Sneak peek on Part Two:

I woke up in the night screaming! “HELP! MY INSIDES ARE BURNING!” My chest was bursting and I fell into an uneasy sleep. “Of course! Those berries were bird berries! They’re poisonous to humans!”

3 Seconds of Paranoia

Item: SCP-5327

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: No current containment procedures for SCP-5327 have been developed yet due to its unknown nature. Ideas have been left open for interpretation.

Description: SCP-5327 is a 3 second period in time where everything momentarily stops. All life ceases on Earth. The 3-second interval may or may not have happened already. There is no current way of telling how many times SCP-5327 has occurred, or when. Anyone that experiences SCP-5327’s effects soon forgets that it ever happened. Alongside forgetting SCP-5327’s events, the world seems to change every time SCP-5327 occurs. Records of anger before an SCP-5327 manifestation seemingly transpire after SCP-5327’s effects cease.

Addendum-5327-01: The following recording is a transcripted video of someone who claims to be Drew [REDACTED] poorly explaining an SCP-5327 manifestation. Apparently, he is the only current human to remember the effects of SCP-5327. He is currently being held in Site-49.

Video Begins: Heavy panting can be heard.

[00:30] I’m recording this because something just happened. Something really weird that I don’t even know that if I can explain — I don’t know if I can explain it.

[00:50] Time —

Long pause.

[01:46] Time just —

A second long pause.

[03:09] Time just froze. Or something — I don’t — I don’t — … How? I don’t know, nothing makes sense right now. I was feeling happy just a moment ago, but now I feel stressed and scared. I feel scared to move. I need —

Another long pause.

[05:34] I need help! Am I going insane?! The bird stopped in midair, midair! Midair! Midair!

Voice continues to grow louder.

[06:20] Midair! HOW DO — Freezing in midair is normal. This is normal. Well, I’m going insane. Help. I f — Feel — Midair! Midair! Fine — Freeze — I was happy, Freeze! Midair! Midair! Freezing in midair is normal. Midair! HOW DO — Freezing in midair is normal. This is normal. Well, I’m going insane. Help. I f — Feel — Midair! Midair! Fine — Freeze — I was happy, Freeze! Midair! Midair! Freezing in midair is normal. Midair! HOW DO — Freezing in midair is normal. This is normal. Well, I’m going insane. Help. I f — Feel — Midair! Midair! Fine – Freeze — I was happy, Freeze! Midair! Midair! Freezing in midair is normal. Midair! HOW DO — Freezing in midair is normal. This is normal. Well, I’m going insane. Help. I f — Feel — Midair! Midair! Fine — Freeze — I was happy, Freeze! Midair! Midair! Freezing in midair is normal. Midair! HOW DO — Freezing in midair is normal. This is normal. Well, I’m going insane. Help. I f — Feel — Midair! Midair! Fine — Freeze — I was happy, Freeze! Midair! Midair! Freezing in midair is normal.

Voice continues to go into nonsensical babble throughout the rest of the recording. Other voices can be heard in the background.

end tape

Addendum-5327-02: The following recording is a transcripted video from Site-49. Drew [REDACTED] is being held for an interview by Dr. Fent.

video begins.

Dr. Fent: Drew [REDACTED]. You have witnessed a manifestation of SCP-5327 before. We need you to describe that exact manifestation so we can analyze it better.

Drew [REDACTED]: I — I —

Officer Temmy: D-2911, if you do not respond, you will be terminated.

Dr. Fent: Give him time to recover, we can come back to this interview later if that is okay with you, Drew.

Drew [REDACTED]: I — I —

Dr. Fent: Terminate this interview.

video ends.

Attempt 2-5327-Witness-Communication:

video begins.

Dr. Fent: I’ll say this again, we need you to describe the SCP-5327 manifestation that you witnessed. If you do so, we might let you have a normal life again with class-c amnestics.

Drew [REDACTED]: I… I… Need more time…

Dr. Fent: D-2911, you have been given multiple weeks to recover. If you do not respond, you will be killed.

Drew [REDACTED]: I… OKAY! I was walking back to my house in Massachusetts, and then I froze. This would be normal. It would seem like I was in a sudden shock. But everything! Everything around me froze! The bird!! —

Dr. Fent: Calm down…

Drew [REDACTED]: Then there was this man… He looked like he was made out of galaxies. It was cool at the moment, but looking back… What the hell was that!?!

Dr. Fent: That’s what we’re trying to figure out. And what you are not allowed to know. Please continue.

Drew [REDACTED]: He… It touched me on the shoulder… And I started to record a video… And, I don’t even know if this is real anymore. I may have just gone insane.

Dr. Fent: We scanned your brain. It happened.

Drew [REDACTED]: I don’t have anything else to say…

Dr. Fent: Thank you. We can terminate this interview now.

video ends.

Extra Notes: Who is this person? – Dr. Fent.


Hello, Dr. Fent! You are the owner of this file. Would you like to edit anything?

y

Access Granted! HAGD!

“Hello, this is Dr. Fent writing. Um… I’m putting this at the end of the file to say that I don’t fully understand this anomaly.

Normally, I’m on top of things, but this is just confusing.

The person that D-2911 described… I don’t understand it. There’s some information that’s being blocked out. That I can’t see.

Probably the only people who have access to the higher information is the O5-Council.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any more information regarding SCP-5327. I can’t find any other information that could be of use, and even if I did, it’s probably going to be the death of me.

One day, I hope this gets revealed.

Because I feel that this is more than 3 seconds of paranoia and pause.”

end.

Good man, Dr. Fent. He knows when to chicken. – O5-12.


Hello, O5-12. Would you like to access file 5327-O5?

y

Please enter passcode.

We4rAllRunderkltheGFsamero3rRoof

Access Denied. Impersonating an O5 Council member will be a cause for termination. Please enter code to cancel MTF deployment at your location.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party. I^H Because I would not stop for death he ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Death he kindly stopped for me. Red Sky in Morning Sailor take e^H wArning.

Access Granted. MTF deployment has been terminated.

WeAreAllRunderkltheGFsamero3rRoof

Access Granted. Accessing FILE 5327-O5…

[UNKNOWN]: You wanted to talk to me?

[REDACTED]: If it’s the death of me. I want to understand.

[UNKNOWN]: Understand what part of what I do?

[REDACTED]: Why do you freeze time for three seconds rapidly?

[UNKNOWN]: So you have seen through those.

[REDACTED]: Why do you do it?

[UNKNOWN]: I’m saving you. Saving you from what you should fear most. The end of humanity. I don’t know if that’s a top priority, but I am trying to contain this… this… this beast that could rip apart everything. I have been constantly trying to discover new ways to keep it contained, and by pausing time shortly, it seems to have an effect.

[REDACTED]: Could you explain more about this anomaly?

[UNKNOWN]: I don’t think so. This is because you can’t see it. It exists, but it’s invisible to the naked eye. The best description I can give you is that it’s a terrorist atom. It has grown bigger over the years to the point where it’s feeding off of some nearby galaxies. I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this though. As I said, I’m constantly developing new ways to deal with the threats it brings. It seems to adapt to whatever I attempt.

[REDACTED]: Well… Just know… You have full support from us and the GOC. We are working together to help with your cause.

[UNKNOWN]: Thank you. Goodbye, O5-1. I hope to see each other soon.

[REDACTED]: Same here.

End.

Ms. Imaginashon

Chapter 1: Earthquake Disaster

Once, there was a girl named MS. Imaginashon. She helped people think of ideas. She loved her job that Mister Meyer gave her. My name is actually Loona. I am from planet Magination, same as my mom, MRS. Imaginashon, and my dad, MR. Imaginashon. People wonder how we came to planet Earth.
Well, it all started when I was a baby on planet Magination, a place where all the people had the best imagination. But one day, MR. Romio heard there was going to be a humongous earthquake on planet Magination. Everybody quickly left the planet using their imagination, and Loona and her family ended up on planet Earth in the country, America, in the state, West Virginia.
Loona realized she looked very different from everybody around them. They had big heads and they had four hands that looked like octopus hands and they were neon pink. The people in West Virginia did not know who they were and what they were doing there. Loona remembered that she had a paper bag so she took it from her suitcase and put it on her head because she was very, very embarrassed. Do not worry, they do not breathe!
The mayor of West Virginia’s granddaughter saw the imagination family and called her grandfather, Mayor Justice, to come look at what the new creatures were in her own state of West Virginia.
The Mayor was worried so he took some officers and went out the door to see the new visitors. When Mayor Justice arrived, he freaked out and shouted, “Stop, in the name of the law. Tell me who you are and why are you here!”
So Loona and her family did, and her father (AKA Mr. Imaginashon) said, “We are from planet Magination and there was a big earthquake and we ended up here to save ourselves.”
The Mayor froze and said, “Are you guys aliens?”
Loona and her mother and her father looked at each other and said, “What are aliens?”
The Mayor’s granddaughter said, “They are people who come from another planet.”
Loona looked confused and answered, “But you are from another planet than we are, does that make an alien?”
At that point, everyone from West Virginia standing there, including the mayor, his officers, and the granddaughter, couldn’t stop laughing. Mayor Justice decided the Magination family was nice and invited them to stay at his house.

Chapter 2: The Mystery Dessert

When they got to the Justice house, Mayor Justice showed them to their room and gave them some privacy. The clock turned 6:00 P.M. which meant time for dinner. Luna and her family were so excited to taste the dessert. Guess what it was? I am not going to tell you. Okay, I will tell you, but you have to read the next chapter.
When they got to the diner table, they sat down and ate the most delicious thing ever! It was pizza. They ate three whole pizzas because it was so good. Suddenly, it was the time they had been waiting for — dessert! Okay, I’ll tell you right now — it was CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS!!
Each of the Imaginashon family members ate 18 of them. Loona was about to get out of her riahc, oops, sorry! I said it in Magination language. I will switch back. Loona was about to get out of her chair when a siren went off. Tornado alert! Tornado alert!! Loona asked the Mayor what a tornado was. Mayor Justice said, “It is a very big wind that is formed by hot air and cold air.
Loona said, “Do we stop, drop, and roll?”
The Mayor couldn’t help but laugh. Suddenly, he said, “No, we have to seek shelter in the basement.”
Loona did not go to the basement. She thought and thought and thought until she got the perfect idea.

Chapter 3: The New Invention

Loona told her family and the Mayor that she was going to “the people that make things.” Mr. Justice said it was called an engineer. She thanked Mr. Justice for teaching her the correct word.
Loona’s BIG idea was to make a palm tree that was metal inside so it would stand up if the tornado came. The palm tree would also have moving roots and a brain that would help protect them in case the tornado or another disaster came. Each palm tree would have a parachute mode, a shield mode, and a sleep mode. The Mayor loved the idea but was worried about all the other people in West Virginia. Loona said they should make more palm trees for each family. The Mayor was so happy with the plan and brought Loona to the head engineer and she asked if he could make 1,000,000 more. Loona asked with a big bright smile on her face. The engineer was so shocked that he almost fainted and said,
“Sorry, kid, but that is too many for one day. We only can make one.”

Chapter 4: The Robot Family

Loona was disappointed. She went into the corner of the room and sat criss cross applesauce with her hands on her knees and hummed, “Hmm, hmm, hmm.” She thought very, very, very hard and finally came up with an idea of how to make moving metal people who could help with engineering the palm trees. She ran and told the engineers her idea. “Okay!!” they said “But you have to help us.”
She didn’t think once of saying no, so they went right to work. They first made a sketch of how it should look like. Then they took out metal plates and attached them together. Finally, they made arms and legs.
“Viola!” Loona said. They turned on the power button and then Loona said, “Look at that thing!”
The engineers asked Loona what she wanted to call this invention. She thought hard and finally said, “Robot, it is called a Robot.” If you ask me, this is the first time robots were invented. They made 2,000 of them!! When they were done, they started working on the palm trees. They needed to make them quickly because the tornado was coming. They went right to work. With the help of the robots, they finished one tree, then two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and on and on. They kept on making the metal palm trees. 6,000 trees, 7,000, 8,000… 100,000, 200,000….
The engineers were so tired but Loona and the engineers did not think of stopping. They made more and more and more until they couldn’t help it anymore, they were up to 999,999. One of the engineers screamed, “I can not do it anymore.”
The others said, “I am tired.” Loona knew everyone was exhausted and tried to re-energize them. She said, “We can do it! Its just one more tree!”
The engineers looked at each other and said, “Okay, we’ve got this! We will do it for Loona and West Virginia.”
So they made one more. Right when they finished, the tornado came and… read the next chapter to find out.

Chapter 5: The Escape of Doom

The tornado came and the room started to shake. Tables fell and the robots and palm trees were flying in the air and out of the building. Suddenly, they all heard a huge BOOM and the building collapsed. Loona’s mother, who was still in Mr. Justice’s house, heard the boom and saw the building her daughter was in collapse to the ground. She started to cry. She was so worried about Loona. She cried and cried until she saw a little yellow dot. It came closer and closer and closer until she realized it was a yellow parachute and it landed right in front of her. Loona’s mother looked at her husband, who was also crying, and said, “That is Loona! That is Loona! That is Loona!” with tears of joy running down her face.
Loona took the large yellow parachute off her shoulders and ran to her parents. Loona explained how she survived the BOOM. “It is all because of the trees that we made — when I heard the BOOM, I quickly turned on parachute mode!” Then Loona said, “We need to go back and give all the trees to the other people of West Virginia, if it saved me, it could save them.”
However, Loona noticed the robots and most of the trees were gone, how weird! Suddenly, Loona’s father, mother, Mayor Justice, and his granddaughter heard a rumble. They took out their palm trees and used it in shield mode. Right then, they all heard the song, “One maca two maca three macarena.”
They walked closer to where the music was coming from and saw little creatures who were made out of metal, otherwise known as Loona’s robots. Behind the robots were all the people of West Virginia, safe and sound. How amazing, the robots collected all the people during the big BOOM. Loona was worried the tornado may come again so she called out to all the people, “Turn your palm trees into shield mode.” Hours passed and it started to get late. Loona kept on yawning and she knew everyone must be tired too. So she called out to the people once again to put the palm trees in sleep mode so that they could sleep and still be protected. They all listened to Loona’s directions and put on sleep mode. In one minute, all of West Virginia was in a deep, deep sleep. The next day, when Loona woke up, she became the state hero.

Chapter 6: The New Job

The Mayor made a big party to celebrate the end of the tornado and gave Loona an award. Although Loona was just a child, he gave her an important job. The job was to give people ideas. For now on Loona was….
MS. IMAGINASHON

Epilogue

Dear readers:
This is Loona, I have a question for you … do you think this actually happened or was it made up in my imagination!?!?!? Enjoy thinking about that!

Kayla and the New Land

Chapter One: Kayla and the New Town

_____________________________ 

“Hi, I’m Kayla. I’m three years old and I live in a small town called HERISHI. I wuv my family awot.”

Knock, Knock. 

My mom ran to the door and my mom saw that it was the community police that would go around our town to check to see if everything was good. At first, Mom thought that we might have done something wrong, but when the police came, they said, 

“I see you have a bunch of past-due bills. And that’s a problem,” they told my mom. “Either you have to pay those bills back or we will have to fly you to America and give you and your husband a house and a job and you have to stay there until you can pay the money.”

After a month, we got to America. Luckily, the war had been over by then for a year. People were dancing in the street. I now lived in a small apartment room and I was now seven. My mom got me a backpack. It was really cool. She put it on me and said, “You are special.”

I said bye to my mom and I walked to school. I looked next to me as if my two best friends were I killed everyone. A girl came up to me and said, “Hey, twerp, I’m here and you’re there.” She pointed to the trash.

She grabbed me and pulled my head in there. I wanted to punch back but instead, I said, “Thank you.” 

I walked around and then there was a MEEP MEEP! I said to myself, “First bell is the toughest bell of the new year.”

I put my hoodie on my head and then I walked to class. I was so close, then I got stopped by a girl from the chess club who gave me a flyer. I said, “Thanks.” She was spitting at me while she was talking like a kindergartener. She said, 

“Welcomes, I tells yours news. Here’s a flyers.”

Finally, I got to class. The teacher said, “Get your textbook out, it’s time for history.”

Everyone was like, “Ugh!” 

But kind me said, “Can we learn about Hitler during the war he was a bit well diabolical?”

She stepped back and grunted. I laughed because I saw someone grunting on the streets, but I think this one was serious.

Chapter 2: The Heart Attack

____________________

She was grunting she was on the floor in pain. I was worried right then and then I knew. She was having a heart attack. I went to my teacher and said, “Where is your phone?” She fell on the floor. The class said, 

“Get the principal! Get the nurse!”

I took the phone and called 12345678. The people in my class said, “Call 119! Call 911!” I called the smartest one I heard. I called 119. It took me to a lady screaming in the phone saying,

“Lacey, stop it! You’re not funny!” 

 And I said, “It’s not Lacey, it’s Kayla!”

She said again, but yelling, “lAcEy sToP PrAnK cAlLiNg!!!”

I said, “Lacey is funny and she can prank call.” 

I hung up the phone then I called 911. They didn’t answer cause they were taking a break from the WWII people. The last thing we had to do was call the principal and the nurse. Everyone walked out of class. There were teachers yelling, and a lot of kids got spanked with paddles, but the only one left was me. I rolled over, did a tumble, and hit my head on a locker. I said dramatically, “This is the end!” I went on the floor. 

Happily, I got up and sprinted. I stopped and I was in the middle of trouble (if you didn’t know, it was still my first day of school so I HAD NO CLUE). My dad always said, “When you’re in the middle of trouble, do the smartest thing I repeated to myself the smartest thing the smartest thing I thought what is the smartest thing ?”

Chapter 3: The Dumbest Thing Ever!!!

____________________________________

I kept tumbling and I got stopped by the lunch lady. She said, “What are you doing out of class?” Now, so you understand, this had been going on for two hours now. I said,

“Uh, uh, I… “

Luckily, it was lunchtime. She said, “Kid, stay out of trouble.” She went to the cafeteria.  I sneaked, and still dramatically, then at the right time got to the nurse’s office. I told her. She said my teacher might be dead. She asked me if I knew CPR. I said, 

“Yes, one of my dad’s jobs was CPR during the war.”

When we almost got to the classroom, she said, “You’re a brave kid.”

I said, “Thank you.”

We sprinted to my classroom. We got there and she was on the floor, dead. I could tell she was not breathing. The last thing I could do was CPR.

1-2-3-4-5, again. 1-2-3-4-5, again. 1-2-3-4-5.

She didn’t wake up. The nurse had a breathing thing that would help her breathe. I thought while I was helping her, What could the hospital be doing? Probably eating donuts. I thought they restored for health. 

Soon, the principal came and understood what was going on. Everyone got to go home early and the teacher was dead.

I went home to my small apartment and I saw Dad there, just Dad

 Chapter 4: Dad

_____________________________

I asked Dad, “Where’s Mom?”

“Home,” Dad said. 

Home. I know he had to be joking because we were home. I knew something was up. He didn’t ask me how school was. I asked, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing.” 

I sighed. “Dad, tell me.”

He said again, “Nothing, okay? Now there are kids in this apartment playing downstairs. Go check it out.”

I stomped outside the door and cried, “UUGGGHHH!!!” I went downstairs to the kid’s playground and I saw three girls and two boys. They were chasing each other. I ran to get the closest weapon I could find and held it up and said,

“WhAt’S GoInG oN?”

They all laughed. I was confused. Wha — there was one girl, she had wavy hair that was so smooth and very nice clean clothes. 

She said, “Oh, we forgot to introduce ourselves. I’m April, and that’s Sunny, Dany, Sam, and Sammy. Sam and Sammy are twins. These are my friends.”

“You must be new,” said Sammy. “Where are you from?” 

April said, “The twins are very nosy, ignore them.”

I still answered his question. “I’m from Herishi.” 

They all laughed. “You mean, back in the time during the war? You were alive? That’s why you tried to kill us?”

“Well, yes, I guess.”

“It’s okay,” said April. Dany rolled his eyes.

“Why are you here?”

“Well, I don’t know — “

“Ignore him. C’mon, we will fix you up. We’re American. We have the new stuff.” She showed me a little thing with spikes. I said,

“I surrender.”

“No, silly,” said Sammy. “It’s a brush for your tangled hair.”

I was confused. Sammy said, “Danny and Sam, stay here.” They pulled me to the second floor to a very nice apartment. April said hi to her mom and went to her room. They placed me down. Sam went to April’s closet to see if there were any outfits for me to wear. April gently brushed all of the tangles out of my hair. While April brushed my hair, I thought, What is going on with my dad? Where’s my mom? I thought less and let them do what they had to do. Sam eventually found a good outfit for me. It had a big dog on it and a nice sparkly striped turtleneck. I put it on and I loved it. I asked if I could keep it and April said yes. I wanted to go home so I made an excuse to leave. I ran to the fourth floor, to my apartment. My mom and dad were crying. I wondered, Will we move again? My mom and dad said, 

“We have to get a new job.” 

I laughed. “Why so sad? We can make money.”

Chapter 5: The Job

_________________________________________

They did not want a job so I just ignored them and went to my room. I got out a book and wrote: Now that I’m in America, what will I do?

I wrote down:

1.Make friends

2.Become rich

3. Become famous

4. Go home

I always wondered what rabies were. I heard rumors about it being in America. Maybe tomorrow after school, I would see what rabies were. Would I even have school tomorrow?

My dad called me down and asked what I was doing. I lied and said nothing. He said, “There’s no school, what happened at school today… ”

“Well,” I said, “Long story short, my teacher may be dead from a heart attack.” Then I ran to my room until dinner. I kept writing, 

“What will I do in America?”

My mom called me down this time and I went to the kitchen and asked, “Yes?” She said dinner was ready. I was so happy. It was Herishi’s best dish.

It was a bread shaped like a donut with tomato sauce covered in cheese, then some pepperoni. My mom said, “It’s called pizza in America.”

I wasn’t listening but instead, I just enjoyed my food. When I was done, I went to the bathroom and picked up a toothbrush. Thugga thugga thugga thugga. Then I put on pajamas and went to bed. The next morning, I woke up to a note saying — oh, well, I forgot to say, well I couldn’t read so I’ll show you what it said: 

We are at a job interview, there is cereal in the fridge. April’s mom will watch you

Ps: Mamma and Papa

Well I knew what cereal was so I went to the cabinet to get Frosted Flakes and to the fridge to get milk. I heard to knock on the door, it sounded like: Knock kna kna knock. I opened the door. There were two girls standing there. One was April, she had a button-up shirt and a striped pair of pants and was holding a slice of bread. Then her mom, with scrunchies in her hair and a onesie, holding bread.

I let them in. She placed the bread on the table and sat down. I finished my cereal and got some toast, it was soooo goooooooood. I took like five  more slices to the point were I was so full, I could barely walk without jumping.

April chuckled. “You must like it.”

As I looked at her toast, she finished her toast right when I went to grab it.

I sighed. Mealanie (the mom) said, “Girls, go change.” She threw April a white t-shirt with a blue skirt and threw me a baby blue shirt with shoulders like a flower and an orange bottom. I changed. April came into my room. 

She said, “Wanna watch Adventure of Mr. Puppy Face and Prickly?” (Matilda Magaldi, 2020).  I said, 

“Yes, but where will we watch it?”

She laughed. “You have a TV!” I was confused. She said, “Think of it like this: a moving picture.”

When I said that I knew what she was talking about, we went to the living room and I just sat there. I waited for the TV to come on. When it turned on, I loved it. My favorite part was when Prickly had her birthday party, eeee!

 Chapter 6: Parents

___________________________

So when my parents got home, I was happy they had a face as if 1 million dollars was in front of them. They pulled out two hands and said, “We got a job!” Reeeeee! I was happy and was so excited, I did a little dance and said,

“Hitting the kay!” Kay stood for Kayla Alli Yeeck (pronounced y-eck). I stopped dancing and asked, “What job did you get, Papa?”

My dad smiled and said, “I’m your new teacher!” There was an awkward pause. I sighed.

“Why my class?”

Well,” he said, “I thought you would like it.”

I wasn’t happy. I held my hand up for my dad to stop and asked my mom, “What’s your job?”

My mom sighed and said, “I don’t think you will like it.” I immediately knew she was working at my school. I got really mad and stomped to my room. I didn’t even have dinner.

The next morning, I held my belly and felt like I was going to vomit. April told me, “If you need to throw up, go to the bathroom.” I ran to the bathroom and krrrr! There it went, this brown goo came out of my mouth. My mom came running to the bathroom and saw me. It kept coming out. I didn’t feel well. My dad ran to the cabinet to get medicine. Then he went to the basket to get a blanket for me, he also got a bucket. My mom picked me up and sat me down on the couch. He put on the TV to Tails of Mr. Puppy Face and Prickly. They told me where all the food was for breakfast and told me there would be no babysitter. I ignored them and just slouched. I enjoyed watching my Puppy Face. I heard two knocks on the door. I opened it and coughed. It was….

A salesman. He was at my front door saying “Hello, ma’am. Want some yummy peaches?”

I slammed the door and said, “This is not America.”  

I walked back and forth. “I don’t want peaches, I don’t want peaches.”

Then I heard another knock on the door. I practiced fast, saying, “I dOnT WaNt AnY pEaChEs!” I opened the door and yelled,

“I DON’T WANT ANY YUMMY PEACHES!” Then there was a pause. I looked up and it was April holding in tears. I held out my hand and apologized. She was all dressed up so I told her I couldn’t make it to school today, sorry. Then I closed the door. I jumped on the couch as if I weren’t sick anymore but again I still had to vomit. 

A few hours later, I heard my mom and dad come in. I jumped up and they had ishi pizza. It’s like pizza in Italy but it’s from Herishi. I immediately knew something was up. I jumped up and asked, “Did you quit your job? Did you kill someone? Are we going home?” 

They all chuckled and said, “No.” My mom hugged me and asked,

“Are you feeling better?”

 I said yes, and I jumped up and said, “PIZZA!!”

I ate a lot of it. It tasted like a gooey, yummy, cheese sensation, and I went to bed. The next day, I had to go to school. Ugh, school. I hated school now that my dad was my teacher. It was gonna be so awkward. So I put my happiest face on and walked out of my room. I waited for my dad to drive me to school, but instead, my mom and dad drove me to school. I found out MY MOM WAS MY PRINCIPAL. I held my excitement in and waited until I got to schoolground. When we got to schoolground, I jumped and said, “GOOD GRADES FOR LIFE!” But then I wondered, Wait a minute, why would I be happy with my mom as my principal and my dad as teacher? After that thought, I quietly walked away before my mother saw me. I walked into class aka homeroom and told April, “My dad is our teacher.” I told her to tell Sammy and tell Sammy to tell Sunny.

She chuckled and said, “Okay.”

My dad came in and said, “Okay, class, quiet down, start your warm-up. I’ll be writing down our schedule for the day.” I toughened up and started my warm-up. It was pretty simple but I had trouble with one question. It was:

400+280=n

What is the missing number n?

n=?

I raised my hand for my dad to come and help me and he came over and bent down and asked, “What do you need help with?” I showed him the paper. He told me to take 80 away from 200 and add 4+2 said 6 he gave me a high five and he said, “Add the 80 and you have your answer.” I wrote in my neatest handwriting:

400+280=n

What is the missing number n?

n=680

After that, I was done. On the board, what it said next was to get out your math book to practice 3 digit addition and 1 digit subtraction. I opened my math book to exactly page 560  and I continued until page 565. I stopped and I was so bummed the bell rang. I got my backpack and before everyone left for lunch, my dad said, “Have fun!”

I stayed behind and asked, “Dad, what’s for my lunch?”

He said, “Go to your desk, your mom is picking up pizza. She should be back by now.” I heard three knocks on the door (not like I was counting) and I opened the door. It was my mother. She was holding a happy meal. Back in Herishi, McDonald’s was a thing. I jumped up and down and quietly said, 

“I’m special! I get to have lunch with my mom and dad!” I sat at my desk while my mom sat at my dad’s desk. I enjoyed my burger and fries. There was another knock. I peeked and it was April. She said she wanted to eat lunch with my parents and me. I let her in and we talked about what we would do after school. My mom checked her watch and said, 

“Oh my, lunch is over, take her to recess with the other kids.” My dad said, 

“Okay,” and held April’s and my hands and we walked out the door and another door and another door to recess. I never had recess before so I didn’t know what to expect. April held my hand and dragged me to Sunny and Sammy. I asked,

“Where are Dany and Sam?

Sammy replied, “They don’t go to this school.”

“Oh,” I said.

“We have 15 minutes so let’s play tag!” Sunny said. I jumped up and said,

“Okay!” Well… I knew what tag was, it originally came from Herishi so I was pumped. We played tag until recess was over then we went back inside. 

“Two more hours left of school,” Sammy said with a smile on her face. 

“Are we going to the play area after school?” I asked.

Sunny replied with a smirk, “Of course we are, now let’s focus.” I raised my hand. 

“What are we doing?” I asked. My father smiled and said,

“Continue on that page and wait for everyone to finish up.”

“Okay,” I said and got back to work.

Chapter 7: A Few Years

________________

Well, a few years passed by and I was now in the 5th grade and well I was ready to learn more! Sammy and Sam moved and so did Dany which left me off with April and Sunny. Sammy and Sam, well I still got in contact with them but other than that I had not seen their faces in so long apart from the time they would send me pictures or videos on the holidays. I still lived in my apartment though with my mom and my dad. We also now had a cat. I think you know what that is. As I moved up in grades, my dad was still with me apart from second grade. I was now a straight-A student with no favoritism. I earned it. My mom was still the principal and will forever be the best, just like my dad. Now back to the story.

Chapter 8: School

_________________

So it was a Monday and my first day of fifth grade. I was gonna ask my dad to drive me but instead, Sunny and April wanted to walk me so I got out of my room, grabbed my backpack and my waffle, and ran. I said bye to my mom, my dad, and my cat, and left the room. I went outside to see April wearing a green turtleneck and her hair was straight and Sunny was wearing the same thing but with a blue turtleneck and blonde hair. I was wearing the same thing but with a yellow shirt and black hair. As we walked, I looked to the right and the left of me to see my best friends. Wait a minute, that reminded me of my very first day of second grade… anyway, we walked and we got to school. We did our secret code word: hehe hoho go go to do do. Which meant, translation: time to go to school into class.

We all looked at each other and hugged each other. “Our last first day of school,” Sunny said. April corrected and said, 

“Our last first day of elementary school.”

I laughed, then I walked in and breathed in and out. This year we got lockers so in my backpack, I had some decorations but before I decorated, I wondered, it’s been three years, have we made the money yet?

Anyway, I wanted to enjoy my year. I put a picture of my cat in my locker and put a mini disco ball and a fluffy carpet and a big K for my name. After that, the school bell rang. I toughened up and said, “First bells have no mercy against me.” While I was walking, I was daydreaming about me as a superhero, but the daydreaming got a bit out of hand so I stopped every time I got called on to answer a question. I said, “Kay kay girl,” and the whole class would laugh, even my dad. I was so embarrassed, but other than that, my first day of school went well. 

I walked home with April and Sunny and we went to the kid’s area which was a playground but indoor at our apartment and we went under a slide. We told secrets and we told jokes. It was funny. After that, I went to my apartment and I told my dad my whole day again. He already knew how my day went, he was my teacher. My dad told me there was a school board meeting and my mother would be home late. 

“Oh,” I said under my breath. “That’s okay.” I jumped to the living room, but right before I could even touch the couch, the doorbell rang. I yelled, “I’ll get it!” I opened the door, but before I did, I prayed it wasn’t a salesman, but it was the mailman handing me a card. “Wha — ” I said in shock. When my parents came home, I showed them the letter.

Chapter 9: The Letter 

____________________

When I saw the note, I immediately called my parents and told them to come. In the meantime, I called April in tears. “I may move!” 

I grabbed the nearest pillow and snuggled it. I also got my cat and cried. “I don’t wanna go!”

April said, “Calm down, how do you know?” I told her my story? “You I can’t believe it.” Then she hung up. I was gonna call Sunny but I was sad enough. With my cat in my hand, I glared outside as the rain fell peacefully. I had a smile on my face. 

I heard a click. “MY MOM AND DAD ARE HOME!” I showed them the letter and they sighed. 

“Our time in America is over.”

I shouted, “NO, NO! I  made friends, I got a cat, and I have the best life here. I don’t want to go!” They sighed again, as sarcastically as they could, and said, 

“Sorry, Kayla, I know you loved it here but it’s time to go.” With tears running down my face, I said,

“Get on a plane and fly home, I’m staying with April!” And ran to my room. My mother then said to me,

“Our time in America is done. We will no longer live in this apartment. We are moving AND STAYING IN AMERICA AND BUYING A HOUSE!!”

I was so happy, I wanted to hit the kay, but I was still sad. 

A few days later, when we were moving out of the apartment, I hugged April and Sunny goodbye, and our new life in America hadn’t ended. It had just begun.

                  The end

Credits: Thank you to Matilda Jean for allowing me to use her book as inspiration for the TV show Kayla watches

Let It Out

Kuqa was a young girl. Her mother had died last year when she was five So Kuqa only had her father. Most people couldn’t pronounce her name and she never had any friends. Kuqa in Albanian meant red. Kuqa’s mother was Albanian. Kuqa had not said a word ever since Roze (her mother) died. 

“Kuqa, it’s time for breakfast,” David (her father) said. Kuqa went to take her plate. It was Llakuma me eurocream. That was Kuqa’s favorite. Kuqa was homeschooled.

“Are you excited for school?” David asked. Kuqa nodded. She quite liked homeschooling. Kuqa gobbled up her Llakuma and then went to play with her dolls. Her dolls were from her mother. Kuqa named them Lulu and Nina. They were her favorite toys. She made them have a tea party with tiny plastic teacups. Kuqa had nothing to do most of the time. Before Roze died, they would go outside and play on the swings. But now Kuqa was an introvert and going outside just made her sad. 

           Kuqa walked up to the living room and pointed at a book. She knew how to read but not well so her father picked up the book and read to her. 

          “Once upon a time, there was a prince named Ocelius, he was a rude person who would judge everyone. One day, an old woman walked up to him, she said she wanted to give him some chocolates. The prince laughed and laughed then the woman turned him into a fly and stole all of his gold,” David read. Kuqa giggled, she loved that story. David kissed her good night and Kuqa went to sleep. 

Kuqa woke up at 6:00. She had a bad dream. She saw David sitting on the couch wide awake. 

“Come here,” David said. Kuqa walked toward the couch. 

“Do you like the idea of going to school?” David asked. Kuqa looked at David like he was crazy. 

“It’s just that you’d be so much smarter if you go, and I want you to learn in the best way possible,” David said. Kuqa didn’t want to go to school but she nodded yes because she knew if she said no, it wouldn’t work anyway. 

“And besides, you’ll have all your old friends there,” David explained. Kuqa thought for a moment. Her old friends, Lilly and Charlie, probably forgot her. Kuqa went back to her room to sleep for another hour. She had a nightmare. In the nightmare, she was in school. Everybody judged her because she didn’t talk.

David woke Kuqa up at 7:00. Kuqa was confused.

“Come on, get ready for school!” David said. Kuqa put on the backpack and ran to the bus. She was terrified. She saw Lilly. 

“Kuqa?” someone asked. It was Lilly. Lilly remembered her? Lilly ran to hug her. 

“How are you doing?” Lilly asked. Kuqa tried to respond but she couldn’t. She was too sad to talk. Then Charlie came. 

“Oh my god! It’s really you!” Charlie yelled with excitement. Kuqa hugged him. Lilly was confused by Kuqa not responding. She used to talk all day. Charlie seemed to expect a “hi” as well, but Kuqa just couldn’t say anything. Kuqa started crying. She was thinking about her mother. Kuqa cried very often. Lilly and Charlie were now SUPER confused. They gave Kuqa some space.  

She sat with Lilly on the bus ride. Lilly gave Kuqa a piece of paper and a pen.

“You’re not talking so maybe you can write why you’re so upset?” Lilly said. Kuqa wrote about Roze dying. This made Lilly stop talking to Kuqa. Lilly realized how sad Kuqa was. Lilly whispered something to Charlie. Kuqa knew what she said, it was that her mother died because Charlie looked at Kuqa with a sad look. 

Kuqa finally got to school where she saw her new teacher, Mrs. Lockerton. Mrs. Lockerton looked like a ghost with a very pale face, red cheeks, and a bunch of mascara. Kuqa tried to stay away from her. Kuqa saw the other teachers bring the new kids and make them introduce themselves. Kuqa had a piece of paper and a pen. She thought that Mrs. Lockerton would introduce Kuqa to the class.

“Class, bring out your books. It’s time to read,” Mrs. Lockerton explained. A boy was wearing a shirt with a stain on it. 

“Harold, didn’t I tell you that people in this class should wear good clothing!” Mrs. Lockerton yelled. 

“Sorry, Mrs. Lockerton!” Harold said with a scared look on his face. Mrs. Lockerton slapped the boy across the face. Kuqa did not like her teacher. 

It was time for lunch. Kuqa had a PB & J for lunch. She ate it fast. After lunch, it was time for recess. Kuqa hung out with Lilly. They talked to each other on a piece of paper. Kuqa wrote about her teacher and how crazy she was. Lilly laughed. 

“I heard she is a witch and that she kills children. Is that true?” Lilly asked. Mrs. Lockerton obviously wasn’t a witch so Kuqa started laughing. Lilly laughed with her. Kuqa realized that this was the first time she’d laughed since her mom died. Kuqa started to get a little sadder from thinking about her mom. Lilly noticed that she was sad.

“Do you think you need therapy?” Lilly asked. Kuqa wrote, maybe. Kuqa actually never thought about therapy. She thought of trying it. 

Dismissal came and Kuqa ran to the car. Kuqa wrote a note to her dad about trying therapy. David looked at her. 

“You want to try it?” David asked. Kuqa nodded yes. David smiled. Kuqa went home pretty happy. She almost talked but she still couldn’t do it. After trying and trying to talk, Kuqa got frustrated. She cried in the middle of the night. David woke up extremely tired. 

“What is it, honey?” David asked. Kuqa just didn’t know how to respond. She kept crying. She wasn’t mute, so why couldn’t she talk? 

“Red, red, you’ll be okay, you’ll talk one day,” David said. Red was David’s nickname for Kuqa. Of course, that was what Kuqa meant in Albanian. Kuqa hugged David hard. Harder than ever before. He always made her feel so much better. 

“Why don’t you sleep with Nina tonight?” David asked playfully. David picked up the doll. Kuqa grabbed it tight from his hands. She slept with the doll all night. 

She woke up at 6:00 am. She had time to eat her breakfast and brush her teeth (unlike last time). She was going to start therapy the next day. David told her it was culture day. Kuqa had to wear something in her culture. She looked through the closet. She saw the Albanian dress that Roze gave her. She stared at it. It had the Albanian eagle and some little flowers on it. Kuqa didn’t wear that dress since Roze died. Then she saw another thing in the closet — Roze’s scarf. It had the Kosovo flag on it. It was a little big for Kuqa but she decided to wear the scarf along with the dress. She went to the school bus. Lilly and Charlie saved a seat for her. 

“Nice dress, where is it from?” Charlie asked. Kuqa thought about it being from her mom. She shed a tear and ran to a different seat. Lilly punched Charlie in the stomach. She sat with Kuqa. Kuqa didn’t scream like usual but she was shedding tears so much. 

“I’m sorry about Charlie. He didn’t mean to make you sad,” Lilly explained. Kuqa nodded. “I think I know why you’re not talking. You want to keep in the feelings of your mom dying but you can’t. Some advice — let things out, you’ll feel better,” Lilly said. Kuqa wanted to know if this was true but she couldn’t just scream in class. She was going to see if that was true when she saw the therapist. The therapist knew best. Kuqa hugged Lilly. After a couple of minutes, they arrived at the school. Mrs. Lockerton was wearing a shirt with a Catalan flag. Mrs. Lockerton also had snakes on her pants so Kuqa was confused if she was Catalan or from somewhere else. 

“Bye, Kuqa!” Lilly waved. Kuqa waved back. Kuqa walked to her classroom. There was a kid with an Italian leather jacket. There was a kid with a scarf that said FRANCE, three other kids, and of course, there was Mrs. Lockerton. Kuqa guessed the other kids were sick or something.

“You might be wondering why barely anyone is here. It’s because the people that are gone wore better clothes. You guys didn’t. Your punishment is this,” Mrs. Lockerton said. 

“Mrs. Lockerton, where are you from?” Harold asked.

“I’m from Belarus, it shows the flag. Stupid child,” Mrs. Lockerton answered rudely. 

“No, that’s the flag of Catalonia,” Harold said. Mrs. Lockerton walked toward him and brought out a stick. She hit him. Harold started crying and then she hit him again. Then Mrs. Lockerton walked to Kuqa.

“What’s the two-headed eagle on the dress?” Mrs. Lockerton asked. Kuqa still couldn’t answer.

“What is it!?” Mrs. Lockerton screamed. Mrs. Lockerton was about to hit Kuqa with the stick but then…

“Stop!” Kuqa yelled. That was the first time in a year that she’d talked. A couple of the kids stared at Kuqa so surprised.

“It’s the Albanian eagle, my family is from Kosovo,” Kuqa explained. Mrs. Lockerton didn’t care. She hit Kuqa and sent her home. David picked her up. Kuqa got into the smelly car where David was probably gonna yell at her. 

“I heard you talked,” David said. 

“Yeah,” Kuqa responded. David smiled. He didn’t yell at Kuqa, surprisingly.

“How did you do it?” David asked. 

“I let my sadness out,” Kuqa explained while smiling.

“I love you,” David said. He kissed Kuqa’s forehead. 

                                                            THE END.

                                                               Afterward-

I want people to learn that you should always let your sad feelings out because it would make you feel so much better. So I wrote this story so people would do that and because I wanted to show Albanian culture to people. Kuqa was so sad she couldn’t talk, and when she let her feelings out, she talked, and I know you can do the same.

Finding Your Place

Amee is just an average teenage girl moving to Scranton PA from L.A. she has never fit in anywhere… or so she thought.

When she moves to Scranton PA, she finds friends, and apparently enemies.

The question is…

How can she stay together when everything is collapsing around her? 

 Finding Your Place

Prologue – Amee

I walk home from Westlake and try to open the wooden door to our house, but it won’t open.  I roll my eyes at the dark, wooden house with bright windows and big flowers and jiggle my key into the lock. I open the door and it loudly slams behind me. It smells like toast. I flip the lights on and grab a snack from the silver fridge. The dark brown chair screeches on the wood as I sit down to do my homework. After a while, my Math, History, and Art homework are done. I’m just about to reach into my bag for my Science stuff when I hear the door creak open and the strong sound of my dad’s boots clumping around the house, calling my name. I call back and he pulls a chair next to me. 

“Hey, sweetie,” he says, his deep, inviting voice grumbling with bad news. 

“Hi, Dad,” I answer. “You told me you wanted to tell me something?” 

He sighs and nods. “Um, yeah. Listen, Amee. We’re moving. We both know this is not the right place for us.” 

My lips quiver and my eyes quickly fill with tears. “Where are we moving?” 

He winces. “Scranton.” 

I gasp and a hand flies to my mouth. “That’s halfway across the country! Are you guys insane? What about me? What about my friends?” I stop. Tears escape my eyes and they quickly change to sobs. 

“Amee — ” he starts, but I push his words away and flee to my room. 

Chapter 1 – Amee

The Beginning 

“Hi. My name is Amee and I just moved here from L.A.,” I say from the front of the room. I hear mutters and whispers and I shiver. I hate muttering. 

“Why did you move in the middle of the year?” one girl with light blonde hair, tan skin, and deep green eyes asks. 

“Oh, um… ” I don’t think I’m ready to share that yet. I give a look to the teacher and, thankfully, she sees it. I walk back to my desk quietly and pull the chair out. It makes a shriek and I cringe. Everybody looks at me and I shrink in my t-shirt. 

I remember the look on my face when I got the news. I remember the gut punch when I was told. And mostly, I remember wondering why this all happened. 

We were moving to Pennsylvania. I didn’t understand! We had everything we needed right there in L.A.! But deep down, I had always felt out of place in L.A. No one ever talked to me and I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I can’t believe I broke a mirror over that horrid hole of judgments. It was home though. I don’t know where my home is. 

My eyes focus on the classroom and I push thoughts of L.A. out of my mind. I live in Scranton now! I am happy! I am! I am. I shake my head as if to shake my thoughts away from my brain. I look around my classroom and eye the people in it. The group in the front row look as though they are in paradise. Their full attention is placed on the teacher as their eyes shift nervously from the board to their papers as they pen furiously to get everything down on the sheets. The group in the back looks as though they’re going to die. They all sneak-text under their desks and look everywhere but the teacher. And then there is me. Me, as in my own group, as in the only person who doesn’t fit in.  

After school, I walk home, dragging my feet. When I get home, I let myself in like I always did in L.A. I smile slightly and click the door open. The house is dark and I’m alone. As always. I run-up to my room, slam the door, and flop on my bed. Who am I? Do I fit in anywhere? 

Chapter 2 – Elizabeth

The Beginning, Pt 2 

“Hi, my name is Amee and I just moved here from L.A.,” says a girl with pale, porcelain skin, deep dark blue eyes, and hair so dark brown, you’d think it was black. Cool! L.A.! How about that, huh? I call out and ask why she moved here in the middle of the year.! Her eyes well up and she gives the teacher a look. Whoops. I quiet down and try to make eye contact with Nat. Natalie has been my friend since Kindergarten and she’s the closest friend I have. She stares at me fiercely and throws me a note. 

It says:

Liz – OMG! What the heck why did u ask that? You OBVIOUSLY made her sad! So confused. I like her so far! She looks nice!- Nat

I roll my eyes and scribble on the back of the page. 

Nat – Ugh I didn’t mean to! I just asked a question! You know how honest I am! Whatever. I like her, too! We should talk to her at lunch. – LIZZE♡♡

I focus my eyes back onto the teacher, and then it’s lunch. 

Natalie sees me in the cafeteria and waves me over but I go towards Amee. “Hi!” I say. 

“Um… hi,” she says quietly. WOW. She is shy. Whatever. I don’t mind. We talk and laugh for the rest of lunch, and when I go home, I think I might’ve made a new friend today!

Chapter 3 – Amee

Fitting In

When I get ready for school on Monday, I am nervous. This is my first full week at my new school and I don’t know if I even like it here in Scranton. My feet shriek on the tiled floor as I sulkily grab a piece of toast. 

A little voice in my brain:

What are you doing? 

A little voice in my brain:

You don’t belong

Me:

I do belong

A little voice in my brain:

What are you talking about? You don’t fit in anywhere

Me: 

I do fit in

The voice gets quieter.

And quieter.

I belong here. 

When I get to school, I am a little bit more confident but not by much. I walk into the classroom and everyone looks at me. Definitely not by much. A girl waves at me to come and sit next to her, and I get confused. Is it me she’s waving to? I look behind me, but I don’t see anyone. A warm sensation jolts through my body as I happily trot over. My eyes light up as I think, Ha! Told you! I do fit in! But then I see another girl. Walking towards the desk.

She sits down. 

I stop right in my tracks. The warm feeling turns to ice as I realize I don’t have anything.

Nothing.

No one.

Nothing! 

Something. 

What do I have to believe in? What? I sit down at a random desk and suddenly a note flies at my face and hits me smack in the nose. 

Dear Amee, 

Hi! It’s Elizabeth. Um I just wanted to say that you can TOTALLY sit with me and my friends at lunch again if you want to. No worries if you don’t want to, but we’d love it if you came! 

Xoxo Elizabeth 🙂 

I have that. I have that note to believe in. You will see me at lunch, Elizabeth! You can believe in that. 

Chapter 4 – Elizabeth

It Hurts 

When I come to school, I immediately plop my bag on the desk next to Nat and scribble a note to her on a piece of paper. 

Nat – 

I’m going to ask Amee to sit with us again, is that ok? Just wanted to make sure. 

Xoxo Liz

I see her brush off the back of the page and start writing while the teacher walks in and uncaps a whiteboard marker. 

LIZZE – 

Ummmm ok sure.

Xoxoxox NAT ;-D

Awesome! I rip a piece off the paper Nat and I were writing on and scribble a note. I fold the torn edges together and throw it at Amee, careful that the teacher is looking away so he won’t see me. It hits her smack in the nose and I wince. That’s gotta hurt. Luckily, the note drops in her black leggings after sliding down her green tee. She reads it and smiles slightly, nods in my direction, and focuses back on Mr. Frora. My eyes focus on Nat, and she senses my stare and turns towards me. Finally! I give her a thumbs up and suddenly the bell rings and I curse silently. Ugh, I totally spaced out! Darn it. Nothing I can do now. I grab my marble print bag and sling it across my shoulder. Amee meets up with me on the way to English and we make small talk.

Eventually, we go our separate ways; she has Math. When I get to the English room, Nat sits down and I see Faith walk briskly to get to the seat next to her.  Not so fast! I cut her off and slide into the empty chair as Faith slumps and plops into the seat behind her. I grin and make small talk with Nat as Faith desperately tries to be part of the conversation. 

“OMG, I love that show!” Nat exclaims when I bring up “The Office.” As we move onto the topic of pizza, Faith smiles like she’s hearing us as if we were on FaceTime and she was having bad internet. 

“I know, me too! Dwight is definitely my favorite character! So funny, am I right?” Nat and I stare. 

“We finished talking about that like so long ago.” Nat rolls her eyes and THANK GOD the English teacher walks in and everybody quiets down.

After English, it’s time for lunch (finally!!) and I walk to lunch and meet up with Amee. “Thanks for letting me sit with you,” she says breathlessly. 

“No problem!” I say as Natalie and Faith come up behind me. Faith links arms with Nat and links arms with me and starts walking towards the cafeteria, leaving Amee behind. I nudge Nat and jerk my head towards Amee. She nods, her eyes say, Ok fine, and pulls away from the chain, and I follow suit. Faith frowns and stops in her tracks as we link arms with Amee instead. Faith rolls her eyes and links arms with Amee, finishing the chain. She grins mischievously and digs her nails into Amee’s elbow. She yelps in pain and Faith pushes her away from the chain and links with Nat again. 

“Come on, New Girl!” she rolls her eyes. “Keep up!” As Faith pulls Nat and me towards our lunch table, I look back helplessly. I turn towards Nat, but instead of her sharing my concerns, she stifles a laugh, and Faith grins at her. Amee gets up and I see three scratches on the inside of her elbow. She gathers the stuff that fell out of her ombre white-to-purple backpack and walks confidently towards an empty table, but I can see the clear, salty tears forming in her eyes. 

Chapter 5 – Amee

 Betrayal 

Dear Amee, 

I am soooooo sorry! Do you want to sit with us tomorrow and talk?

Xoxo Elizabeth

Elizabeth,

HAHAHAHAHAHAH no. NO WAY. I am not going to “sit and talk with you” just to get completely embarrassed again. Again, NO WAY. I can’t believe I ever thought you were going to ACTUALLY be nice to me. 

  • Amee

I should’ve known. It was obvious. No one wants to be friends with me. I am the laughingstock of Oak Hills Elementary. I am finished! I am toast! Burnt, dead black, non-buttered toast! I walk out of lunch with my eyes red and my scratches even redder. I rub my eyelashes and wipe my cheeks. My schedule flutters off my locker wall and I see which period is next. Oh god. I have History, but that’s not the worst part. It’s with Elizabeth. And Faith. (And a few other people, obviously.) How am I going to get through this? No no no. this is not how I want it to be. I’ll be fine on my own. I can do this. I CAN do this. Can I?

As I walk into History with Gabi, I see Elizabeth sitting with Natalie as Faith talks to them, laughing, talking, and hurting my heart.

Chapter 6 – Elizabeth

Figuring It Out

Ok, am I allowed to be confused here? Nat seemed to like Amee in the notes that we wrote…

Unless she didn’t.

I quickly tell Nat and Faith I need to go to the bathroom, and when I get to the bright pink room (so sexist, by the way. Pretty sure the boys’ bathroom is blue). Anyway, I push the door open and immediately riffle through my backpack. I finally find a tiny gold bag with all of my notes since kindergarten in it. I quickly sort through the notes and find the ones that Nat wrote most recently. The words sure, and fine flash before my eyes and I realize she doesn’t like her! Obviously, DUH. How couldn’t I have noticed that before? I bolt out of the restroom before anyone sees me. As I walk out of the restroom and into the cafeteria, I try to make eye contact with Amee, but her head is down and she is nibbling chips while reading a book with a dark maroon cover.  I tried, at least, I thought. Nat waved me over and I plopped my lunch consisting of a hamburger, fries, and an apple. I bite into the soft bread and chew on the juicy meat. 

“Was that funny or what?” Faith asks as Nat smiles softly and laughs and reaches further into her sparkly lunch bag for the chocolate chip cookie she gets every day. “Ha, she deserved it,” Faith says immediately with a full mouth of cheese sandwich. Faith looks into my eyes and grins mischievously and I watch the corner of her eye follow Amee to our table. 

“Didn’t she, Lizzie?” Nat looks at me pointedly and I start to sweat. 

“Oh yeah, it was hilarious. You should do more. She totally deserves it.” 

Faith laughs and Nat sighs, relieved, and smiles to herself, but I feel terrible. 

When I get back to class, I write Amee a note and she responds totally meanly. I am so mad. But she still didn’t deserve those three red scratches. 

As I walk into History, Faith sits in the chair next to Nat before I can slide in. No biggie. The seat on the other side of her is open. Faith looks towards the door and I see Amee walk in. 

“Oh hi, New Girl,” Faith smirks. Everyone laughs and Amee’s face reddens. I feel bad, but I have to play along. Faith and Natalie are popular. They would make sure I had the worst rest of the school year ever if I defended Amee. “Why did you come here anyway?” Faith studies Amee’s watery eyes. Faith’s glare pierces Amee’s confidence and she runs out of the classroom. Nat covers her hands over her mouth and I can’t believe I was ever friends with these people. But, who else do I have? 

Chapter 6.5 – Amee                         

Faith glares at me and I stare at everybody looking at me in horror and literally run to the bathroom. Everything I’d hoped for was gone, flushed down the toilet of the stall I was hiding in. This is terrible! I sat and cried for a second, just flushed it all out. (No pun intended). I have had the worst day ever. Will Faith and Natalie ever leave me alone? Either way, I walk back slowly to History and inwardly vow I will not let Faith or Natalie bring me down. As soon as I walk in, though, I see Faith whisper something to Natalie, and they both laugh. I feel myself sinking lower and lower in my chair. So much for my vow. 

I disappointed myself. 

Chapter 7 – Elizabeth

Acting Out

As Amee slides down lower into her chair, I slide right along with her. Why did I let this happen? I can’t act like a baby anymore, I have to stand up for myself! And Amee! As we walk out of History class, Faith gets a mischievous glint in her eye and I smile. Perfect. Faith opens her mouth, and before she can say anything, I jump in. 

“You know what, Faith, before you open your big mouth again, let me give you a little news flash. If you think Amee will never belong, well guess what? You’re wrong! In fact, you are the furthest from right as you could ever get! We were all new kids, right? Well, look at us now! We belong. Amee is not different. Even if she doesn’t feel like she belongs right now, she will belong. Just like we all did. Amee is a kind and beautiful person inside and out. You might be pretty on the outside, but if you keep acting this way to my friend, you will always be ugly on the inside.” 

Faith stands there, shocked. Natalie flees to the bathroom, and I think I can make out tears streaming down her face. She started crying when I said the words “my friend.” Weird. Faith stutters and tries to make a comeback but all I do is walk away, feeling freer than I have in weeks. 

I really hope they will leave her alone. 

Amee walks up to me after my whole… conversation with Faith and smiles. “Thanks,” she says. 

“No problem.” I smile back. We talk and I feel like things are mended. Little do I know what Nat — er — I mean — Natalie, has up her sleeve. 

I see Natalie and Faith smile at each other wickedly as I stand up to get new paints, and when I turn back, Amee’s painting is splattered with water and they dumped out my cup. I pick it up to get new water, and at that exact moment, Amee decides to walk through the door and sees me, her painting, and the empty water cup in my hand. 

“What did you do!” Amee yells. Natalie points at me and says,

“Elizabeth dumped her water cup on your painting!” Amee opens her mouth in horror and turns towards me. 

“How could you!” her eyes water and she flees the room’s hot stares. 

Chapter  8 – Natalie

Seriously

Hi. I’m Natalie. I know you’re probably wondering why I’m so mean to Amee, and I would be too. I don’t know why Faith is mean to her, but I know my reason. You should probably know the backstory first. 

Elizabeth and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. All through Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, up till now, it’s always been “Elizabeth and Natalie”! Well, then Faith came, and then we were a threesome. I was fine with the duo though. Elizabeth was the first friend I’d ever had, and the best. I could tell her anything and she wouldn’t judge me. I felt safe with her. Then, Amee came and Elizabeth really liked her. She distanced herself from me more and more and I was scared. I didn’t want to lose her as a friend and I think I’ve already lost her. It might be too late but I have to try. She was the best friend I’d ever had and I’m not about to lose that over my pride. I have to fix things. 

Today is a fresh new day and I’m ready. I can do it! I plan to take out my phone and send her a text. It says:

Hey, Elizabeth. I know you’re probably still mad at me and I know it’s really weird that I’m not talking in text language but this is important. I miss you, Elizabeth. And I know that you probably don’t want to talk right now but I had to say it. The reason I was mean to Amee is because I was scared that I’d lose you. You are, or were, I guess, my best friend. And I get it if you can’t forgive me right now, or ever. But I just wanted you to know that. Love you. 

Wow. That is the longest text I’ve ever written. All I have to do now is press send. Just press send, Natalie, I say to myself. But I — I — I can’t. It’s too scary. I just have to do it. I press on the blue arrow and the message pops up in blue on my screen. Message sent, it says. Oooooohmigosh. I can’t believe I just did that. My heart is pounding harder than it ever has before. I literally RUN to school to see how Elizabeth reacts to my text. All of a sudden, my phone rings. I shut my eyes tightly and slowly take my phone out of my back pocket. I open one eye slightly to see who it is, and it’s Elizabeth. I slide to answer, relieved, but I’m not ready for what happens next. 

I hold the phone up to my ear and hear her say hi. “Hi, Elizabeth,” I say softly back.

“Hey, Natalie,” she sighs. 

“Did you get my text?” I speak into the phone. 

“Um, yeah,” she says and I hold my breath, waiting for an answer. Everything is silent around me, and it’s just me and her, breathing heavily and waiting. She takes a breath and starts talking. “Look. I know you meant well when you sent that text, and I get that you were scared. I really do. But, what you did was not right, and I just don’t know if I can forgive you yet. I just need a little time, Natalie,” she confesses. “I’m not ready.” 

Silent tears fall down my face and slip down onto my sneakers. “Oh, um, ok,” I say, my voice breaking. “I totally get it.” I brush tears off my face yet they still find a way to come back, salty and sad. I hang up, and it’s almost like I’m hanging up on our friendship completely. I am too late. I was trying to protect our friendship, but it seems like I’ve only made things worse. I lost her. 

As I walk to school, I try to make my eyes less red than they actually are. As soon as I get to school, Faith comes up to me and waves. I don’t wave back, but just keep walking. “Hey, hey, wait up!” Faith yells, but I shake my head. 

“No, Faith. I will not wait up. I need a break. Bye” Faith stands there looking confused and angry. I sigh. What am I going to do without Elizabeth by my side like she always was?

Chapter 9 – Faith

Please 

“No, Faith. I will not wait up. I need a break. Bye.” Natalie walks away as I get confused. What did I do wrong? I don’t know. 

Look. I know I was mean to Amee, but there’s a reason. Duh. I’m not cruel. Well, I was. I was just jealous. Amee was getting all the attention and Elizabeth and Natalie liked her, and being mean was just a defense mechanism. So yeah. That’s my story. I’ll stop, but everybody just has to leave me alone. I walk into school and see Elizabeth and Amee talking, probably making up from the fight about the prank Natalie and I pulled. I see Natalie up ahead talking to some random girl and then it hits me. I have no one. I’d always thought I’d have Natalie and Elizabeth forever. We would stick with each other through thick and thin. But now, who do I have? 

Chapter 10 – Amee

What?

I can’t believe Elizabeth would do that to me. After all we’ve been through, she just goes back to Natalie and Faith and doesn’t even care about me. My feelings. I mean, I know she has been friends with her for much longer but after they were so mean to me for no reason? But, what if it wasn’t her fault? Natalie and Faith were giggling and Elizabeth looked sad and apologetic. I need to talk to her. I call her and she is sniffling into the phone when she picks up.

“Everything okay, Liz?” I ask. And then it hits me. I think she noticed it too. That’s the first time I’ve called her Liz before. I can’t believe I did it so normally, like she was a friend! I could hear her smile through the phone as she said, 

“I’m okay now.” My face breaks into a smile and suddenly, I feel like I had a friend. 

“So, um, what happened?” I prod. 

“Oh, nothing. See you at school, Amee!” She pushes the question away, says goodbye, then hangs up. I’m confused. Is there something she doesn’t want to tell me? I get dressed in a short maroon skirt, a loose purple blouse, and slip-on black ankle boots. I grab my backpack and slam the door as I’m walking out. My mom opens the door again and smiles at me. 

“Have a good day, sweetie!” I shrug. 

“Love you, Mom!” I say and wave as I walk away. 

When I get to school, I spot Natalie and Faith talking and quickly put my head down. Natalie says something and then walks away and Faith just stands there. I look around and I see Elizabeth leaning on a pillar with her head in her hands. She looks confused and stressed. I wonder what’s wrong. I walk over to talk to her, my boots slamming on the pavement as I run to catch up to her as she walks to English. 

“What’s up?” I say. 

“Oh, just the usual. Your friend finally calling you by your nickname.” She puts her arm around me and I laugh. As we walk to English, I can see out of the corner of my eye Natalie walking with her hands in the pockets of her light blue jeans and a single tear slips down her cheek and lands on the floor. She steps on the spot where it hit the ground and pushes her tear down harder, shattering it, and keeps walking. I look back at Elizabeth as we’re walking, her face emotionless and stone-cold, and know something is wrong.

Chapter 11 – Elizabeth

Not Ready 

“I’m not ready,” I say into the phone. I’m never ready for this. I feel a stabbing pain in my heart when Natalie hangs up the phone. I sit down on the couch, still in my pajamas, and process what just happened. I lost my best friend since Kindergarten. My phone rings and I check to see who it is. It’s Amee. I pick it up and put the phone to my ear. I’m praying for some good news. I can’t keep my sniffling in and she asks me what’s wrong. And then I realize that she called me Liz. Liz! She’s never called me by my nickname before and a warmth spreads through my heart, numbing the pain and confusion. 

“So um, what happened?” she asks. I groan in my head and sidestep the question, say goodbye, and hang up. I just can’t take any more confusion right now. I stomp upstairs in my slippers and put on black leggings, a black t-shirt, slip-on sneakers, and head out. When I get to school, I see Amee walking over to me and I wave. We talk and I put my arm around her. We see Natalie, and I immediately look down, not wanting to meet her eyes. I quietly wipe my eyes, but when I feel Amee’s eyes on my face, I wipe my face of all emotion. She sees the red tear mark on my cheek and I quickly try to wipe it away but it stays. It must be stubborn. Darn you tear mark! I think. I see her thinking and I get scared. What’s happening?

After school, I walk to my computer and check my email. Amee sent me an email with a Zoom link for 6:00 PM. I text her that I accept and she seems overly excited — weird. I’m excited and don’t know how to wait! I grab a snack consisting of: salt and vinegar chips, sweet strawberries, lemonade, brownies, and a piece of chocolate chip banana bread. Yum! I grab the TV remote and turn the coal-black screen to electric blue. I play my favorite movie, and before I know it, it’s 5:55 and I have to go. 

I join the meeting, see Amee, and then see someone I definitely DID NOT want to see right now. Natalie is in the Zoom meeting! “Hi, Elizabeth,” Natalie says. I give Amee a withering glare and her look says, Oh well, what can we do?

Chapter 12 – Natalie

Forgiveness

To: Natalie Carter

From: Amee Walker

Subject: Zoom

Dear Natalie, 

I am inviting you to a zoom at 6 pm today. Join this link: hptts://webzoom.usTWEB273985357bdFRpjfslj34755fldhgso3 

Elizabeth will be there so you can talk to her. I repeat; TALK TO HER. There is no reason to talk to me, be mean to me, or even look at me. I am doing this for Elizabeth. See you at 6. 

Sincerely,

Amee Walker 

Her email is so sad and I really want to write her back, but I know it’s wrong. My fingers push on the keys and I press send before I can stop myself.

To: Amee Walker

From: Natalie Carter

Subject: RE: Zoom

Dear Amee,

I’m surprised you wrote to me. Thanks for the link, I will come. I actually do want to talk to you on the Zoom, because I don’t want to say it in an email. I’ll be there at 5:40 so we can talk. 

See you there.

Natalie

At 5:40, I join the link she sends and Amee is there, waiting patiently. As soon as my video glitches on and the microphone is working, I launch into it. “Look, Amee. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, well I did, but I was scared I would lose Elizabeth. We’ve been friends forever and I didn’t know where I fit in if it wasn’t with her. I feel awful and the only thing my fear and anger did was break everyone apart. I am so sorry. I get it if you can’t forgive me, Elizabeth already did that. I’m sorry.” Amee looks to the camera and opens her mouth. 

“I forgive you,” she says. I think my Zoom might not be working, maybe I’m hallucinating, but I never expected THAT. “Look,” she says. “I know what it feels like to not fit in. You were mainly the reason I didn’t fit in hahaha but I get it. You hurt me, but I know you know that, and I know you’ll try to make it up to me.” I smile at her and feel like things are mended. One more to go.

Elizabeth joins as Amee and I are talking. She gives me a withering glare and Amee’s eyes say, Don’t worry, I’ve got this. “Hey Elizabeth,” she says. 

“WHAT THE HECK, DUDE!” Elizabeth yells so loudly that her sound cuts out for a minute. 

“Wow. Calm down, sparky” she says. “Look. Natalie apologized to me, and I forgave her.” 

Elizabeth rubs her ears like she didn’t hear right, but Amee nods and moves on. “Now, I know that you might have some feeling that you HAVE to be mad because I’m your friend. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to. Natalie is really sorry, and she does have a good reason. We were all a little bit wrong, but I found a place in my heart to forgive Natalie, and all I’m asking is that you forgive her too.” 

I watch Elizabeth as tears stream down her cheeks. “Yes, Natalie. I forgive you! You’re my best friend! Of course, I forgive you!” I’m crying and Elizabeth’s crying and somehow, Amee is too. These are my friends. I’ve found my true friends. 

Chapter 13 – Epilogue  – Amee

The next day

I walk into school and see Natalie and Elizabeth waving me over. I run over and Natalie engulfs me in a powerful arm hug. Elizabeth smiles and slings her backpack over her shoulder as we walk into school, hand-in-hand. Natalie has to go to English and Elizabeth and I go to History. We sit at desks right next to each other and when she smiles at me, that’s when I know. 

I’ve found my place. 

THE END

The Tiger’s Dream

 Book One 

 There once was a tiger who wanted to go to the New York City Zoo but he lived in the New Jersey Zoo. He thought his zoo was too small and there were not enough animals. He had lived in this zoo for his whole life and he wanted to live somewhere else now. So one day, he set off on his journey to New York City. He took his map and he had a plan which was to go to the city and find the zoo in Central Park. He didn’t realize the map was for a different zoo and so he had to go back to New Jersey and get the map for the Central Park Zoo. He arrived in New York City and the people were terrified. He didn’t like that the people were scared of him. He didn’t care though, he just wanted to go to the zoo. He bumped into people and pets and he arrived at Central Park, except he didn’t know where the zoo was in Central Park. He had to steal a map from people. Well, he didn’t steal it, the people ran away and left the map behind. He saw some animals but he didn’t know where the Tiger section was. He kept looking around and a security guard saw him and brought him to the right section. And the tiger lived happily ever after.

Book Two

The tiger was in the Central Park Zoo and he wanted to meet new friends except there were too many animals, there were more than 100! And he couldn’t go to all of them in one day and maybe some animals would be scared of him because he’s really big. He went to other animals. First, he went to the penguins. First, he said, “You wanna be my friend?”

And they were like, “Sure.”

Then he said, “Can you help me get some new friends because there are a lot of animals in this zoo.” 

So they went off on their journey to find new animal friends. Then they went to the lions. The lions were sleeping so they had to come back later. They decided to take a break because it was a lot of walking, so they did. They got some water and they got some food to bring with them so they wouldn’t have to take a break, because it took hours to get to the other animals. 

Next, they went to the sharks. They asked one of the sharks, “Do you want to be our friend and look for other friends?” 

The shark said, “No, I already have my friends and I need to stay in the water.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t ask sea creatures because they have to stay in the water,” the tiger said. 

Next, they went back to the lions. They went over the gate and they were still sleeping but there were other animals behind them. There were other tigers, and this time the penguin asked, “Do you wanna be our friend and look for other friends?” 

The other tiger said, “Yes, well there are no other tigers here so I wanna be your friend and look for more friends too.”

So they went to the giraffes next. They were very tall so they had to use a microphone to ask them, “Do you wanna be friends with us and look for new friends?” The giraffe said yes and let the penguin and the two tigers get on his back so they wouldn’t have to walk. The giraffe was very nice, so that was why he did it. Next, they went to the little fishes in the little tank. 

“Do you wanna come with us because we could bring your tank and be friends?”

“Okay!”

So the penguin and the two tigers had to come off the giraffe because they had to carry the tank. The penguin said, “Maybe we should only ask those fishies because they live in a tank and the sharks live in a whole big tank.” 

Next, they went to the horses. The horses said no, they had a lot of friends so that was why they said no. They were like, “Okay, we won’t ask you again.”

Next, they went to the cows. The cows said, “Sure, we’ll be your friends.”

Now there were no more animals who didn’t live in the water so they had a dance party and lived happily ever after. 

Book Three

The tiger was exploring the zoo with his penguin friend. The security guard let him out of the zoo because he was a nice animal, he didn’t bite. All the people knew that so they weren’t scared of him anymore. 

First, he went to the large park where there was grass. There were lots of people and there were squirrels and birds. The people petted him and the penguin and then they went to the squirrels and birds. They gave the squirrels acorns and the birds got jealous so they brought some bird seeds too. He went to the next part of the park, it was the aquarium park. The people were like, “Why is there a tiger in the aquarium part of the park?” 

The tiger said, “Oh, we’re just meeting some new people and exploring Central Park.” 

So the people pet him too and they watched the aquarium for a little bit. They saw sharks, fish, and they saw stingrays and one big octopus. The penguin was scared so the tiger held the penguin’s hand. They went to the part where there was a slide. There were lots of kids. The penguin and the tiger went up to the slide to see some kids. The kids were like, “Ooo, a tiger and a penguin,” so the kids were very happy. They went to their parents and were like, “Can we keep them, can we keep them?” 

Their parents were like, “No, they’re zoo animals!” 

So the penguin and the tiger went back to their journey. They didn’t bring a map so they got lost. They weren’t in Central Park anymore, they were out on the street. It was no big deal, the people weren’t scared of the tiger and the penguin. So the tiger and the penguin got some ice cream and tried to go back to Central Park, and they went back to Central Park. They went back to their gate and they lived happily ever after. 

Book Four

The tiger was learning how to swim one day and today was the day. The teacher was the penguin. They went to the animal pool and the tiger got a floaty. The penguin didn’t need a floaty because he could swim. 

The penguin said, “First, lay back and try to float.” The tiger couldn’t float so the penguin didn’t know what to do. 

“Okay, let’s just start with the basics,” the penguin said. “We’re going to take a noodle and lay your arms on the noodle and kick your legs behind.” The tiger got it! The penguin was like, “Uh oh, the pool is draining, we have to tell the people that we’re still in it!” So they did. It took 2 hours to fill the pool back up so they had to go home and get water because they were tired. They went back to the pool and they were back to swimming. 

Next was to swim without the noodle. The penguin said, “Okay, we’re gonna try this without the noodle and see how you do.” The tiger did well but next, he had to try swimming with his head underwater and he got the goggles and he was good. But then there were other animals splashing around in the pool. 

“We’re the only animals that are supposed to be in here,” the penguin said.

“But it’s our pool too,” they replied.

“But we ordered a private pool.”

The animals said, “Well I suppose so.” So they went out of the pool and the penguin and the tiger kept doing their session. The penguin threw rings in the water and the tiger had to catch them. The tiger only caught two but there were three, so the penguin caught the last one for him. They were tired so they went out of the pool and went home and then they lived happily ever after. 

Book Five

Today was break day and that meant the tiger and the penguin could just play and they usually went to the big area in Central Park and played ball, except they wanted to do something different today.  They went to go visit the tiger’s old zoo in New Jersey. The penguin came too.  It took a long time to get there, that was why they had to pack. They packed water and food and they were going to New Jersey now. They took the right map to New Jersey and they took a map to the zoo in New Jersey and they finally got to New Jersey, but they had to find the zoo. So they got the map to go to the New Jersey zoo. They got through some forests while they were going to the zoo and they finally got to the zoo. They saw some old animals and so they said, “Hi.” And the old animals said, 

“Why are you here? You’re not from this zoo. You’re from the Central Park Zoo.” 

The tiger and the penguin just walked away and they went to the security guards. They were the security guards when the tiger was here. The security guards missed the tiger, but they didn’t miss him too much because they visited him every time they took a break. So they hugged each other and the penguin wanted to go home to the Central Park Zoo. The tiger said, “Okay, we can just go home.” So they went home. 

They were halfway home and it took hours to get halfway, except they were going the wrong way because they didn’t take the right map. So they had to jump on a bus and go back to New Jersey to get the maps. And then they walked back to Central Park Zoo and they finally got home.

Book Six

“Today, we’re going to the park,” said the lion and the penguin. They went to Central Park. The part where there are the tire swing and the swings, slide, monkey bars, and a see-saw.  They had to find the map to go to the park, so they got the map, they got to the park, but it was really crowded, so it was really hard for them to get in, so they had to wait a really long time for them to get out, or they could just rent the whole park. It was a good idea to just rent the whole park. So they did. So they got the whole park to themselves, but there were some people who really wanted to stay, so they let them stay. They had a blast and then they went to go get ice cream. The penguin got chocolate and the tiger got vanilla.  It was really hot, so their ice cream melted and they were really sad. So they went to Riverside Park and the tiger said, “For us, it’s National Park Day. That’s why we’re going to every park.” Next, they went to Battery Park.  There were not a lot of kids there, so they didn’t have to rent it again. They played and played, but there were no slides or swings, or a see-saw. There was just a tire swing and a slide, but they still had fun.  They had a fun day. 

The End.

Book Seven

Today was Hat Day.  They all wore really funny hats. The tiger and penguin wore hats too. The penguin had an orange and white and green one and the tiger had a green and yellow and blue one and they put some jewels on top of it.  But then, one of the other animals stole a jewel and it was one of the diamond jewels. So the tiger and the penguin had to go find the stealer. They couldn’t find him. He was probably hiding the jewel. So they asked everyone in the whole world. They had to ask one more person because that was the last person, so they did and they asked, “Do you have our diamond jewel?” 

He said, “No, I don’t.” 

They said, “Are you sure?!”  

He said, “Yes!!!!”  

And so the tiger and the penguin were very sad because that was their prized possession.  The guy who actually stole the jewel saw them and said, “I stole your jewel.  I’m sorry and I would never do it again.”  

They said, “I accept.”  They had a costume and hat party and they lived happily ever after!!!

Wolf Quest — A Breeze Acoming – Book 1 –Wind’s Crossing

YOU ARE A 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE WOLF IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK. YOU ARE QUESTED TO FIND A MATE, BUT FIRST YOU MUST BECOME AN EXPERIENCED ELK HUNTER.

Stats:

Name: Wind

Color: Black

Gender: Female

I howled, establishing my territory, space, and possibly attracting a potential mate. My mother-wolf, father-wolf, and pack got killed in a wildfire and I had to go on my own. I trotted along the way, scenting the ground looking for an elk carcass, as I did not feel confident enough to hunt on my own. There! I found an elk carcass, and oh, it smelled wonderful! But a troublesome bear kept me from the standing prey. I trotted back and forth, hoping the bear was full. He was not. I tried a growl, but the hungry bear hardly took notice, so I left, knowing that one day, when I had a pack, no bear would keep me from prey again.

I kept scenting the ground, and kept looking. Freeze. Pause. A hare. I licked my lips and stalked my prey, telling myself I would kill it. Pounce! The rabbit got caught by surprise and started to run, but a puny hare was no match for a wolf. I killed it with a crunch on the spine. It was hardly two mouthfuls. Unsatisfied with my catch, I moved on. 

It was getting dark so I decided to go to sleep. 

DAWN: I yawned as I woke, stretching my limbs, and cleaning my fur. Howls. Other wolves. I sniffed the air. It was the LunaNova Pack, 12 strong. I decided it was finally time to hunt some elk. Running and scenting as fast as I could, I finally scented out the elk herd. 

Trotting upon them, scenting them, to see who the weakest elk were. Weak. Very weak. Careful to avoid the bull elk, I bit the female elk’s chest. She kicked, she ran. So did I. It was a chase, and I was biting every chance I got. She finally had to rest, which left her vulnerable. I went in for the final blow. Snap. She stumbled down to the ground. I sniffed. Dead. The crows immediately came to eat the carcass, as I looked around, seeing who would dare challenge me for this.

A coyote. I growled. He was intimidated, but confident. I pretended to walk away. As I did so, I limped, to attract other coyotes. Once I saw about two others, I quickly turned tail. Yelp. Then the coyote fell limp. Giving me a look before his final breath. After the encounter, I headed for Pine, Pine Mountain to be exact.

I was ready. I was ready for the hardest part of a she-wolf’s life. As I trotted along the forest towards the large mountain, I used my sniffer to determine the whereabouts of this place. Though I had never been there before I knew exactly where to go by instinct, as every Yellowstone wolf knew. One time, my mother-wolf got shot with what looked like a green stick thing, by a creature known as a No-Fur. She quickly fell asleep, and I did not see her for some time. A day later, she came back to me, with a strange thing on her neck. Father-wolf did not think much of it at first until a group of no-furs came and took their Flashy-Captures, and spooked the pack. After that, Father-wolf chewed the thing off her neck and carried it to the river where it sank deep, deep below. After that, the No-Furs never bothered us again. I sighed longingly from the memory, but that was the past. Creatures stay in the present. Yapping of which, I arrived in the Pine Mountain pack territory. My destination. My Crossing for the first time.

I was headed down-wind, as I could scent things better, than upwind. Wolf. From here. Male, was what I got from my trusty snout. As I headed straight for it, my eyes gleamed with excitement. There he was. A possible mate. Something was wrong — he wasn’t a dispersal, like me. He was an alpha male! I felt my tail lowering behind my legs. Before he could speak, I quickly turned tail and ran. Very ashamed of myself, I headed out of their territory. Wait. Something caught my eye. A he-wolf! This time a dispersal like me! He nervously trotted towards me, tail behind his legs. In my wolf point of view it seemed like he was submitting to me, and we had not even said hello! As he approached me, head down, I kept my tail and head high, as I wanted to be the dominant one. 

“Hello,” he communicated. 

Speechless, I slowly said, “Hello, who are you?” 

“I am Arrow of Pine Mountain. I left the pack to create one of my own.” 

“I have traveled a long way. What is your name, young wolf?” 

“Arrow,” he said. 

Still cautious, I said, “Wind. My name is wind.”

***

ARROW BECOMES WIND’S MATE

As they ran through the snow, Wind felt extra happy as she was no longer alone. They were heading towards Slough Creek, as that was where den sites and hunting grounds were. Wind and Arrow knew they had to get there quickly and start prepping for the soon-coming pups. They soon arrived at Slough Creek, scenting for a decent den. 

“Here.” Arrow had scented something. Wind gave him an “okay” glance as she followed him into the woods. Arrow had found a suitable den! Close to hunting grounds along with the summer ones too! They whined in delight as Wind settled into the comfy tree den. 

***

THE END OF WINTER (Almost Spring)

Arrow could hear squeaks, yips, and little howls. He had been waiting all winter for this. He whined to Wind asking to come see his pups. Wind gave a whine of approval back as she cleaned her pups. “Wander, Amethyst, and Achilles,” Wind said. “Those are their names.” 

Leaving Arrow, he quickly said, “When should we leave?” 

Still caring for her pups, Wind quietly said, “We leave tomorrow, they are already 6 weeks, and are ready for the Crossing.”

***

THE NEXT DAY

Yawning, all of the pups and adults awoke, stretching every limb.“We have a big journey ahead of us, my pups,” Arrow announced. Wind and Arrow carried the pups to the nearest carcass for a quick meal. Wind’s ears twitched at the sound of a bear; however, it was far enough away that she was not worried. As she and Arrow approached the carcass, they were not aware the pups were facing the predator’s wind direction, and it made them oblivious to the bear stalking Amethyst. Yelp. Whine. Silence. 

Arrow and Wind quickly turned around to see that Amethyst had been killed by a male grizzly. Arrow and Wind quickly grabbed their remaining pups and quickly ran away from the grizzly in grief. At the sand crossing, they crossed and carried the pups towards the summer hunting grounds, hoping they could make it. It was almost sundown as they settled in for the night. 

THE NEXT DAY

Closer to the hunting grounds than they thought, they picked up the pups and ran as quickly as possible. As they approached the forest, they were overjoyed that they had made it. Setting the pups down, they took a rest, completely oblivious to the stalking cougar. As it closed in on them, its target was Wander. Pounce. Yellllllp. Wander… was gone. Wind and Arrow launched in on the attack, nearly killing the cougar. Wind gave a fatal bite to the cougar’s neck. The cougar fell. Wind and Arrow had gotten their revenge. Wind carried Achilles to the hunting grounds and they stayed there until Achilles was ready to move on.

The War of Magic

         

Mia was a normal girl. She liked to read, she had waist-length honey-colored hair, and brown eyes. She was 14 years old and the daughter of 2 innkeepers in the kingdom of Aurum in the town of Oakley Hallow.

Right now, she was worried. Well, everybody was worried. The king had gone a fortnight ago to fight the magical creatures on the other side of Aurum. They were vile creatures that wanted all of Aurum for themselves.

She was walking home from school, lost in a book of classic fantasy when she suddenly looked up. It was not her usual view of her street. Huh, I must have taken a wrong turn, she thought. As she turned, something stopped her dead in her tracks…

“Wait, do not leave,” said a gravelly voice that could only be a dragon. I am dreaming, I am dreaming, she thought as she raced out of the cave. She decided not to tell her parents about the dragon. It would be hers and the dragon’s secret. The next day, she went back just to make sure she was not imagining the dragon. It was still there.

“Hello, there,” it said. “I know you’re scared.”

She raced out of the cave. Surprisingly, when she got safely out, she heard unmistakable laughter. The dragon was laughing, at what, she did not know. Still, the next day she went back and this time she stayed for the dragon. To finish its sentence. Slowly, over weeks of effort, she stayed  long enough for the dragon to tell her her name and gender. She was female and her name was Hydra, dragon of water! That explained hydra’s turquoise hue. Finally she actually said something after weeks of the dragon asking what her name was. 

  “Mia,” she peeped. She ran. In time, she and hydra could have a conversation. Hydra told her all about the Magical creatures or the MC, tuned out they were not vile?!!?? One day in autumn, Hydra asked her this, 

  “Can you keep a secret?” Nod. “Good, I want to show you something.” To her surprise, hydra lifted her tail to reveal dragonets. 

  “Their father, and my husband, died in the war.” 

   “I am so sorry.” 

  “It is okay.” The dragonets were adorable! Three girls, one boy. They rolled around playfully  biting each other! Mia came every day to play with Veicka, Reana, Elizabole, and Garrek! Hydra said it was good for them growing up knowing that humans were friends. Two weeks after the reveal of the dragonets, mia wondered,

 “I wonder if the king really is fighting on the MC side? From what you’ve told me, he is lazy and can’t even dress himself!”

“We can find out if you what.”  

“HOW!”

 “Dragons can turn invisible,” Hydra said as if it were a fact like the sky being blue. 

“THEN WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR??!!!!?” she screeched. 

 “Please be quiet. You sound like a banshee and I did not know you wanted to go.” 

  “Sorry,” she said in a squeak. 

  “And now you sound like pixie! Hop on.”

  “Hop on where?” 

“My back.” 

 “Your back!” she said, eyes as big as dinner plates. 

 “Now!” Her voice was stern. She hopped on. Suddenly, Hydra disappeared! She looked down; she had disappeared! Flying was  AWESOME!!!!!!!!! It was exhilarating. Flying had a strange weightlessness! She could feel Hydra’s rough scales under her legs so she felt on the ground yet  was flying. It was indescribable; she also felt like she had left her stomach behind. When they got to the castle, they ran (more like flew) into a problem. There were guards everywhere. 

“Hydra!” 

“Say no more.”

They flew over them slowly. Hydra stopped next to the dining room for it was around supper time and kings were known for eating early. THE KING WAS HERE! He was talking to his Royal advisors. 

“We must turn the people’s minds so they believe that the magical creatures are vile and vicious creatures. Serves that evil fairy for cursing my wife for a mistake that her mother had made.” 

 “But sire, that would be to feed the people a lie.” 

   “I DO NOT CARE!” the king said in a voice that shook the floor. 

“Let’s go,” Mia whispered. “We have heard enough.” She and Hydra flew off. 

Back in her bed, she thought about what she had heard. So the king isn’t in the MC side of Aurum. A fairy supposedly cursed the late queen Beatrice. Wait a second, she thought, remembering something Hydra had said when she was teaching Mia about MC history. She had said the queen had a friendship with the fairy queen then Queen Beatrice had turned traitor and actually stabbed the fairy queen with iron, the one thing that could kill a fairy. The fairy, with her dying breath, cursed Beatrice’s only child, a girl named Aurora, to fall into a deep sleep. But a fairy’s magic came from their heart so the cursed could be broken by true love’s kiss! That was the curse that the king was talking about.

      We must stop the battle so that the king will be dethroned and Aurum will be at peace. With that last thought in her head, she drifted off to sleep.

       The next morning, she stopped in Hydra’s cave and she filled her in on the plan. During school, she kept an eye on the clock the whole time. She was even bored during library, her favorite time of the whole week! When school finally got out, she went out of school but instead of going to Hydra’s cave she like she usually did, she instead went back home and changed out of her school uniform into tan leather pants and a white blouse. She grabbed her bow and a sheath of arrows, most people didn’t know she liked to shoot. 

     She ran to Hydra’s cave and hopped on her back. They flew over to the MC side of Aurum onto the battlefield. It was horrible.

She took an arrow out of sheath, held it to Hydra’s fire breath, then shot it right into the middle of the battlefield. Everything froze. She landed right in next to the arrow she launched into a reprimand. 

 “Why do you fight? Yes, I know your history but that is no excuse. You are one kingdom that has been divided. Yes, I know that there has been murder and a curse. Still that is no excuse!” Mia reprimanded them. Surprisingly, everybody in the battlefield threw down their weapons and bowed! She thought she was going to have to make so big speech but that was enough. The soldiers of the human side, the captain of the guard, said,

 “Miss, we do not fight because we want to. It’s because the kin  has ordered us to.”

A fairy general said, “And we do not fight because we want to fight, it is to because we need to defend our home.”

“Well then let’s dethrone King.” The fairies did a little magic (they did some innocent brainwashing). Soon, the king was no more than a distant memory and a legend the grandparents told.

 Epilogue

Mia sat down at the main room of the inn. Her mom set a plate of bacon and corn cakes. She started shoveling them down. Turns out, saving a kingdom makes you hungry, she thought. Mia’s hair was in the same simple braid as last night though quite loose and the sides of her thighs were red from riding Hydra. She breathed a sigh of contentment, she was home. Mia’s mother, looking confused, handed her a letter with the royal crest. Mia read it quickly: 

        Dear Mia, 

I am the king’s distant cousin and only remaining relative. Please do not hold that against me. I want to fix the wrongs that my cousin did. If you would be ever so polite to come to the Palace at 3 o’clock this afternoon, it would be quite a pleasure to me, and your dragon friend, I believe Hydra was her name, may come with you.

                                Sincerely,

                            Winfred Lighton

At three o’clock, Mia made her way through the palace gates in a tea length, pearl colored dress and her hair done in a much more elaborate crown braid to meet newly crowned Queen Werferd.

The meeting was very long so I will only tell you the results, Mia got made junior advisor to the queen and Hydra, well, let’s just say she isn’t living in a cave anymore      

                          The End

Queen Fairy Crystal

Once upon a time, Queen Fairy Autumn and her pink fluffy unicorn, Bubblegum, went to a royal gala in New Orleans to celebrate the city’s 99th anniversary. It was also Autumn’s birthday. She got dressed in a long yellow ball gown, the color of gold coins. Then, she dressed up Bubblegum in a protector necklace which was jade and always shone brightly when the queen was in danger. Bubblegum also wore a white, blue, and pink tie-dye dress. Queen Fairy Autumn flew to the party while her unicorn galloped on a rainbow.

When they got there, the scent of chocolate cake filled the air. Fairies and elves celebrated the queen’s 32nd birthday until… The evil fairy Crystal crashed the party!

Crystal was wearing a jumpsuit made out of ice blue velvet and real ice cubes.

Then, Autumn noticed the wand. She nearly fainted.

Crystal had a dragon wand which had taken all the colors of Autumn’s people so that the Autumn’s kingdom’s colors were fading. Without color, everyone except the queen would start to fade to death.
Autumn had to make things right.

Before he died in a battle with the winter kingdom, Autumn’s father, the king, had said, “There is always a time to make things right before anything gets out of hand.”

“What have you done to my people?” said Autumn.

“I took over your land because I never got anything I wanted,” said Crystal.

“But don’t do this! You don’t know what you’re doing!” screamed Autumn.

“Mwaha-ha-ha-ha-aa, you will never get a hold of me!” Crystal yelled. “Zaaap!”

Crystal zapped her wand several times at Queen Fairy Autumn. But the wand did not work on Autumn.

“It’s time to make things right,” said Queen Fairy Autumn.

Crystal threw Autumn into the ocean which was full of tears.

But when Crystal looked at the water, she saw her true reflection — evil.

Because Autumn was gone, Crystal became the new queen — the Snow Queen of Winter. She made the queen’s people come back to color. There were gnomes, princesses, princes, ballerinas, dwarves, elves, pirates, fairies, mermaids, and good witches, celebrating the birth of a new season and a new queen. They were all dressed in coats made out of wool and leather. The new queen used her wand to make an ice castle. The people clapped and laughed and played games.

The Snow Queen had never felt this happy before. She finally realized that being evil was not the way to live.

Then one day, ice voyagers came. The Snow Queen made a big portal to protect her citizens. But the ice voyagers started taking away the snow which made everyone except the Snow Queen melt! Then there was no way she could get her people back, so she became evil again because all that she loved was lost forever. The people would only come back if a new season came.

Crystal was left alone in her ice castle with her mirror.

In another kingdom, far away, there were two neighbors, a girl named Kate and a boy named Gretel. They had love for each other; they even grew each other roses in different colors. Gretel would go over to Kate’s house to drink hot cocoa with marshmallows. They would build snowmen and go sledding together. The Snow Queen watched them in her mirror made of ice.

One day, when Kate and Gretel finished their hot cocoa with marshmallows, they went straight outside. As soon as they did, the Snow Queen sent transparent icicles straight into Gretel’s heart. He then became mean, greedy, and nasty. Gretel started to run away from Kate.

Kate screamed, “Why are you running away from me? I thought we were going to go sledding together!”

“Go away!” Gretel yelled in a rude tone. He ran away and never looked back.

Kate ran to her grandmother’s house. Tears flooded all the way down her rosy cheeks.

“Oh, Grandmother!” she cried. “I think the Snow Queen from the Kingdom of Winter took control of Gretel.”

“Oh, no!” her grandmother cried. But then she told Kate, “Oh, my darling, I know a shortcut to the Snow Queen.”

“What is it?” Kate said.

“First, you go to the lake where a magical bronze canoe is waiting just for you. Second, you will pass a beautiful garden where there are lots of flowers that are colors such as Yummy Yellow, Prancing Purple, Blaring Blue, Pretty Pink, Rose Red, Owing Orange, and Groomy Green. Then, you will see a pirate’s ship stuck on solid blue ice crystals.”

“Maybe the pirates can show me the way to the Snow Queen!” Kate exclaimed.

“Yes, they can,” her grandmother said. “But only if you are nice to them, even if they’re mean to you.”

“What next?” Kate asked.

“The final step is to find Gretel.”

“Thanks, Grandma!” Kate said with tears of joy.

“Oh, you’re welcome, my dear child,” Kate’s grandmother said.

“Bye, Grandma!” Kate said.

“Bye, darling!” Kate’s grandmother said.

Then, Kate put on her sweater, coat, mittens, scarf, hat, and snow boots. She raced out the door and went into the freezing cold. When Kate got to the bronze canoe, she had to go through all of the seasons. She climbed into the magical bronze canoe as her grandmother said. When she stepped inside the canoe, it moved by itself.
Wow, so this is what Grandma meant by magical, Kate thought.

When she got to the other side, she saw a beautiful garden with an old lady, who was wearing purple gloves and a purple dress.

“Hello there!” Kate said politely.

“Hi,” the woman said. “Can you please brush my hair, dear?”

The lady pulled out a purple comb and gave it to Kate. She took off her hat and held it tightly in her purple gloves while Kate brushed her hair. When Kate was finished, the lady asked her to do chores around the house. When Kate was finished with the chores, she asked where she could find the Snow Queen. The lady pointed right and Kate, without a word, left.

The next obstacle was a snowstorm. Kate fought the snowstorm like a warrior. Five minutes later, she saw a pirate’s ship stuck in solid ice. Kate walked closer to the pirate ship until…

“Aaargh!” one of the pirates shouted.

“Eek!” Kate screamed in horror.

“Hey, matey, why are you skedaddling here?!”

“Umm, ” Kate started to worry. “I want to find a way to the Snow Queen!” she screamed loudly, as if the whole world wanted to hear her little voice.

“Why, though?” said a girl pirate named Alivida De La Cruz.

“Because my friend, Gretel…”

“Gretel? Who in the name of the ship is named Gretel!”

“He’s my friend who got lured to the Snow Queen! And I… I… I just miss him.”

“Well why didn’t you say so then?”

“So will you lead me to the Snow Queen?”

“Yes, since you gave us a reason.”

“Thank you!”

“Yeah! But first, we are going to need someone to help us with the ice.”

“Umper!” Alivida De La Cruz shouted.

“Yes, Captain!” replies Umper.

“Get your axe please so that… uhh… what’s your name?”

“Kate,” Kate whispered.

“Uhh, Kate and I can break the ice to keep the river flowin’,” said Alivida De La Cruz.

“Yes, ma’am!” And down Umper came with the axe.

Kate and Alivida De La Cruz held the axe together. The ice went crush, crunch, croop! Then they climbed up the ladder for the ship and sailed through the icy water.

“To adventure!” Alivida De La Cruz said.

“To adventure!” said Kate.

In 15 minutes, they were at the Snow Queen’s ice castle. Kate was freezing, even though she was wearing a coat, snow boots, a scarf, hat, and mittens. “Thank you, Alivida De La Cruz,” Kate said.

“You’re welcome, matey! Anytime!” Alivida De La Cruz shouted.

Kate ran as fast as her legs could take her all the way up that iceberg hill. When she was in front of the ice doors, she opened them. Creak!

“Hello?” Kate said, shivering.

“Who is it?” the Snow Queen said in her snarling voice. The queen had a frown on her face. She had teal lipstick and icicles on her back, sticking up to the ice chandelier.

“Oh, hello,” Kate said.

“Well, well, aren’t you that little pest who was playing with this boy all the time?”

“Yes, Snow Queen, and I’m here to get my friend back, you crook!”

“Excuse me? What in the ice did you say?” Crystal said.

“I said, you crook!” yelled Kate.

“Out of my way!” Crystal screamed. She pushed Kate to the side.

Kate ran past her up to the Snow Queen’s throne room and saw Gretel, other children, elderly people, and grown-ups.

“Gretel!” Kate said in relief. “I am glad that you are fine.” She tried to hug him but he kept turning around and backing away. Then finally, Kate had a plan. “Gretel,” she said.

“Yes? What do you want?” Gretel said.

“I would like to talk with you,” said Kate.

“What is it?”

“Don’t tell the Snow Queen, though,” said Kate.

“Okay,” said Gretel.

Kate leaned forward and went to Gretel’s ear. Then, she hugged him and she said, “I love you!”

Gretel closed his eyes. All of a sudden, he wasn’t pale anymore, he was colorful. He was back to normal!

“Thanks for saving me!” Gretel said.

“You are welcome,” Kate said. “Now let’s get out of here!”

“Yeah!” said Gretel.

The two friends ran home. When they got there, Kate explained how she got to meet a pirate and an old lady who wore a purple dress.

“Wow!” Kate’s grandma said, fascinated. “It’s a good thing Gretel is back home now!”

In another kingdom, the Snow Queen, Crystal, adopted a cat and was happy… for now…

The Train of Horror

Once upon a time, I was a kid named Jack. It was a normal day in winter. I was sleeping. Suddenly, a letter popped in my window and flew to my bed. I opened it carefully, making sure my parents didn’t seem awake. The letter said, “Come to a train party, there will be hot cocoa and you will have a lot of fun.” I thought this was gonna be super fun. It said, “Go to fiftieth street at 3:30 PM.” I hid the letter in the drawer and then slept. 

The next morning, I forgot the letter, but then as soon as I saw the clock go to three, I remembered. I went into my room, grabbed the card, and ran to 50th street. And then I saw a line. A lot of people were lined up. There were kids like me. So I saw the time was 3:25. I quickly lined up. And then a man said,

 “Come in the train.” I couldn’t say what he looked like because he had a black hood on top of him, covering his face. We went inside. He said, “This will last a few days.” I thought that this would be no problem. So I saw a playground there. He thought that was pretty odd. But I was energetic so I invited two kids to come with me. 

They came and we played tag. Once we ran out of all our energy, we went back in. 

In all of the seats, everyone was missing. This was pretty odd. Then the guy with the black hood on top of him said they were on the way in a waterslide park in the train. Now I was thinking this would be pretty fun and odd too. It was too odd. How could there be a waterslide? Did they have infinite water? But I didn’t mind. I went to the water slide and I saw all the children who were jumping up and down in the water. And it was pretty great. After we were done playing in the waterslides, we all went to bed. Each room was carefully designed for three people. So then I thought this was perfect. I invited the ones I invited to the park. They said it was a great idea. I asked what their names were. The first one was Sammy, the second one was Rafa. I thought we were gonna be great friends. So, we went to bed. 

The next morning, a girl screamed on the train. Me, Sammy, and Rafa ran to where it came. We came to the room, opened the door, and already four kids were just standing there. I asked what happened and they said they didn’t know either. We opened the door and saw one of two roommates went missing. Now I was starting to think this was a really odd place. How could two kids go missing? We asked the four kids to investigate the room. They said okay. We searched every closet, including the roof. Finally, there was a footprint. Then, under the footprint, the plank was loose. He pulled it up and there was a letter. He told everyone to come. Everyone came. He read the letter out loud, making sure everyone could hear him. When everyone heard what was happening, they were now aware. I said for everyone to calm down, not tell the driver at all, because the driver was acting the most sus in the whole train. They agreed so we went to the water park. I said to Sammy and Rafa that we had to do something about this problem. They said that we should get more info so we did. I knew what the letter said. I didn’t want to tell it. I told it to Sammy and Rafa. It said,

 “DON’T RUN :D!” I knew something was up so I told them, 

“Don’t act scared because then whoever is doing this is going to react and attack.” So we agreed we had to get out of here. WAIT, OH NO. I realized we all remembered the legend on 50th street. A monster came trapping children, and when they said a word, they got their soul cut so that meant that the driver was the REAPER. Spread the word! They remembered 50th street was the most deserted place. It was the scariest. Whoever went there was never to be seen again so they investigated. No clues. We went to bed. 

Nothing happened, yet I sighed with relief. A scream filled the train. I expected the driver to come out but nothing. 

“Wait,” the girl said. She had a bad dream. “We know the REAPER is fattening us for the kill. We remember the REAPER got a curse. The only one he can kill is who is most afraid.” So it was good that she wasn’t that scared. So now I felt scared. I tried not to feel too scared. We went to sleep. I felt afraid. 

I felt like going to Rafa and Sammy and asking them to sleep with me, then someone opened the door. I sensed the REAPER close. I knew he had come for me and then as soon as he was about to cut my soul, my soul came back. A sigh of relief came to me. 

“What happened?” I was still afraid and the REAPER went away. Luckily, when we were about to go to sleep, we papered a button on the bed. When one of us pressed it, we alerted the other person that the REAPER was here. I pressed it: boom.

 “Yay!” I whispered. BOOM. The door slammed open. The REAPER came out. 

Of course, I think. The REAPER could hear every word we said but luckily he was all the way on the bottom of the train.

We survived the first night. I told Sammy and Rafa that the REAPER came into our room and was about to cut my soul. Sammy said,“There is another legend… it says one day, a boy and a group of 3 have powers. The first has the power to Command the animals, the second can control the ice and snow and water, the last cannot be cut by the REAPER but can kill him.” 

“THAT’S IT!” I told them I must be the one who can’t get cut and that was why my soul came back to me! I said, 

“Of course!”

 Sammy said, “But who are the other two?”

 “It’s YOU and Rafa!”

“No way,” Sammy said. “So what should we do?” said Sammy. 

“IDK,” I said. “Maybe we save everyone?”

“NO WAY,” said Rafa. 

“Why not?” I said.

“Because I know we have to save them but what about us?” said Rafa. 

“I agree,” said Sammy. 

“Let’s tell the crew,” I said. 

“Midnight 8:00 PM, another day of surviving,” I said. Luckily, no one screamed. “Wait!” *Lights turned off* “Sammy, Rafa!” They woke up. “What’s happening and the reaper is coming!” We went to bed faking. He passed right by us. Suddenly, dogs started to come in our room. That’s it! Rafa could control the animals. The REAPER saw. He came in the room and the dogs barked and attacked him, and wolves even started hopping in the window and attacking too and mice started to bite him. Cockroaches just annoyed him. The REAPER was scared of the animals. He was outnumbered and if he took a soul, they would devour him. He ran away, staying there, waiting for the next attack. They kept barking but then snow came in and stopped the barking. Its powder snow must have made a fluffy pillow and then a snowy hand closed the window.

Ouch! Goes the Weasel, Books 1 & 2

Squeaks to you all! 

My name is Ronalds Squeak-sq, and I am the youngest weasel in Utteramma Field. My brother, Carl, is the leader of Squeak Scouts. Squeak Scouts is another name for your “Boy/Girl Scouts.” Anyway, back to my family. 

My father is the Executive Director of Utteramma Field Electricity Institute (UFEI). The UFEI produces electricity to every weasel in town during the Weasel Uprising in 2123, when the Handemolen peeps are protecting every weasel in the world of the TSSA. 

Eventually, we smart weasels learned to use human materials, so we used them on our own as well. Back in my family, my mom just took a job as a nurse in Utteramma Field Hospital (UFH). With no one in my family guarding me, I had to figure out a way to get a babysitter. 

I dialed 167-999-9998 on the weaselphone in my house. A babysitter named Alexia came. Instead of making Mom mad, my mom was… well, actually proud of me. My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t so amused. 

He usually is the most easy-to-get-angry weasel in town, but sometimes, if I finish my homework early, my dad will reward me with three-quarters of an hour of TV time. 

This story is just the beginning of a story of what had happened to me and my family. Happy reading and exploring my inner self!

______________________________________________________________________________

“Ronalds, hurry up,” Carl whined, “or you will be late for your first day of nursery school.” Carl and I were eating breakfast on a chilly fall day. We had to block our entrance hole up with a huge plate to keep out the leaves from falling into our house. 

Yup. A weasel like me is going to nursery school already. That’s because we weasels’ generations have been separated by three years. That’s why weasel schools don’t earn much money, though the teachers have to spend so much energy controlling 3-year-olds. 

My dad, with a tough-looking face, glared at me with impatience, but didn’t even make a single squeak. I’ve got to hurry to school. Everyone in my family was impatiently waiting for me. Unusually, even my mom was glaring at me with impatience (that’s not common in my family). 

Alright, diary, see you at school!


Here in my school, Weaselmentry Nursery School (or as I like to call it, the WNS {pronounced WHNNS}), everyone gathered up, and I gazed out the window. Earthworms tumbled in the mud. I guess my new teacher put the window there for a reason. 

Finally, the bell rang. 

BLING! BLING! BLING!

“Alright, class,” the teacher announced, “my name is Mrs. Olaf. I am also the Phys Ed coach here. You have a very special teacher.” 

Everyone oohed and ahhed. All except for me. I sat there, still as a statue. (Well, I had to admit I was still blinking.) After Mrs. Olaf calmed everyone down, she announced another thing: “This is also my first day here.” I opened my mouth to squeak, but nothing came out. 

Despite my silence, I did manage to squeak up. “You — you just came?” I gasped. I paused to catch my breath. “Lie — like us?!” 

“Sure, hon,” Mrs. Olaf replied, “I just moved into Utteramma Field.” 

I guess school wasn’t so bad after all:* after all, I did have a teacher who had lots of things in common with me! 

*Oops, I forgot to mention that I didn’t want to go to school earlier in this book! So sorry for interrupting the story. Go on reading, now.

Just then, a booming voice came from the hallway. Every classmate in my class had their fur standing on their tips. I can’t tell if they were sweating or not, but I was. 

“Today, my new friends, I would like to announce the new staff and students in this school. First, our new Physical Education coach: Mrs. Dorriana Olaf!”

Everyone cheered during the 10-second-pause. Then, the strange voice continued. 

“Next, our new Computer teacher: Mr. Rockliff Anderson!”

We heard some cheering in the neighboring classes. The voice went on. 

“Finally, let me introduce the new generation of students. In Mrs. Olaf’s class, welcome the new students of Mrs. Olaf!”

We smiled to ourselves. 

“Next, welcome the students of Mr. Jankerson!”

Okay, so this is going to be a long announcement, so I will put it together in one piece. 

“Next up: Mr. McUnterson’s class!
Last but not least, welcome Ms. Lankeran’s class to this school!

Now, I want to announce that we are in a lockout drill. An eagle is coming! Lock everything!”

“What’s a lockout drill?” I heard someone ask. 

“It means ‘Lock everything,’ ” Mrs. Olaf replied, “because we can’t let eagles and other predators come and snatch us. Good question, Kiki.” Kiki. Now I know a new friend, I thought. 


After 10 minutes of waiting, we finally could squeak. The thing is, we were actually working pretty hard as nursery schoolers. We learned shapes, size, how to count to five, and a bunch of other things, including word study (that one was the hardest). 

After all that mind-cooking learning, it was finally time for recess. We had an extraordinary playground: lots of rides and also brainworking challenges and even steep slides. SO STEEP. It was going straight down! 

I was deciding to meet Kiki when the bell rang that ended recess. 

BLING! BLING! BLING!

Everything was now harder, even harder than the word study. We learned to use a ruler to measure. We even met numbers up to 10! 


On my way home, I thought about how far nursery school is taking me. It sounded so hard! HARD! By the time I got home, I was half panting, half shivering. And why? Because I was afraid to go back to school! 

When Carl saw me shivering, he asked, “Hey, Pooper-Ronalds, are you cold?” I didn’t answer because 1) He would reply with a much meaner thing than “Pooper-Ronalds” and 2) He would ask me more stupid questions. (Why did I use the word “stupid”?!)

When my dad saw me shivering, he asked the same thing, only politely: “Ronalds, my boy, aren’t you cold? Let me give you a cup of warm water. Meanwhile, borrow my jacket.” 

“No thanks,” I said, “I’m just afraid of school.” 

Unfortunately, Carl heard me and teased me: “Ronalds is afraid of school! Ronalds is a loser!” Just then, a voice shot down from the stairs as fast as the fastest bullet. 

“CARL!” Mom scolded. “Get over here right now. Time out for three hours!”

I was now quarter scared of school, quarter shivering, quarter sweating.* It was just too much to handle! I can’t believe my family is like this. Meanwhile, upstairs, I could hear my brother crying out, “Momma, don’t throw away my video games! NOOO!”

“I am too,” Mom said, “and I mean now.” What did that mean? I thought. This is what I do know: my mom locked the so-called “detention door” and trudged downstairs to the basement, where she threw away a video game console and a gadget. 

*Sorry, that was just three quarters, not four. And also, HOW AM I GOING TO GET TO SCHOOL WITHOUT KNOWING MY FRACTIONS?!

After heading downstairs to see what the commotion was all about, my dad pushed open the detention door and locked it again. I was expecting for Dad to punish him with 4th grade homework, but instead went there just to give a good shout to Carl. 

Although I was happy that Carl was now punished, I also feel kind of bad for him. I decided that we have a pretty breakable family. This is what I mean. I made a list below. 


Ronalds’ recipe for Family connection

——————————————————————————————————————————-

Ingredients: a family

How to make: Imagine that all your family members have a Wi-Fi love transmitting heart. If someone’s heart breaks, the entire Wi-Fi is disconnected and everyone is in a bad mood. (My family is like that.) So, to always connect, let each other calm down during a Wi-Fi free period. That way, your family could reconnect. 

Thanks for listening and making the recipe at home!


Whew, that was just too much writing! I’d better go and eat my lunch. After that, I’d take my afternoon nap. Good Noon, Diary!


Oh, hello again! Good morning!* Oh, right… I have to tell you what happened next! Silly me. 

*Sorry again! I just remembered, it is the afternoon! And, also, HOW AM I GOING TO GO TO SCHOOL IF I DON’T KNOW HOW TO READ TIME?!

Unfortunately, during my afternoon nap, Carl video-taped me talking in my sleep. He then burst out laughing when I awoke. He then played the video over and over. It sounded something like this:

Someone’s taking Ronalds away, poopsy pants! Leave Carl alone! Call Ronalds “Pickle Face”! Someone’s taking Ronalds away, poopsy pants!

That video — IT! THAT’S IT! My brother is just too obnoxious. He is just too… bad. Sorry, can’t think of another word. To my most luckiest luck, though, Dad heard the video being played. But that wasn’t just the only thing that was lucky; Dad also scolded him because — well, I’ll use markers to draw this. 

“NEVER DO THAT TO YOUR BROTHER! WHY ARE YOU TRICKING HIM THAT IT WAS RONALDS THAT WAS TALKING, NOT YOU?! YOU ARE GROUNDED FOR ONE MORE YEAR!!!”

Uff, I try to cover my tiny but sensitive weasel ears to drain out Dad’s ear-splitting noise. I could even hear his sound loud and clear even when I plugged my ears with my dad’s earplugs. But a punishment for Carl for more than a year?! Even the bullied victim (me!) felt sad for the bully (Carl). I was also relieved to hear that it wasn’t me talking, it was Carl. 

That night, I couldn’t sleep. Not because of school, but because of Carl’s punishment.


At school the next morning, I just couldn’t concentrate on my work. I kept on thinking about Carl. When I was to read a sentence with a vocabulary word, I answered with a squeaky voice, a voice kind of like this:

Wah cuas Wah Aqash Chew!

Everyone stared at me. And also, do you even know what “Wah cuas Wah Aqash Chew” means? 

Answer: “Wah Cuas Wah Aquash Chew” means “One plus one equals two.”

I started to sweat. In a bad way, that is (not in the way you sweat when you are relieved). No one figured out the answer, though. Only you did in the little script above.* 

*I could write even smaller than the answer I wrote. I was forced to write at the minimum of one-millimeter type.

Also, school was getting worse. Way worse. But I didn’t know that an exception was coming to town…


It was Wednesday, and it was Writopia Day. We started our stories that we are supposed to send for the governor to read last week. Now, we were finishing up our stories. Today was the deadline and the day the governor was coming to our school for Writopia Day. 

I was writing with so much concentration, I couldn’t even hear what Leo, the weasel sitting next to me, was saying to Lina, the weasel in front of my seat who usually blocks my view of the blackboard. I finished before anyone else did. Then, it hit me: the title was wrong:

A Onlman World

I was actually meaning to write

An Onlman World

Just as I was about to erase the mistake, Mrs. Olaf finally spoke up. “Class,” she said, “stop where you are. If you are not finished, you could finish tomorrow and the governor will read your piece tomorrow.”

I stood up and jogged to the door. No, more like rushing. My classmates came after me. Then, I saw a black car backing up into the parking lot outside. It must be the governor, I thought. I felt a shiver going down my spine. 

As my class strolled into the auditorium, I quivered. I’m not a brave weasel. I’m often shy and I don’t squeak up very often. When my class was assigned to an area, I gulped. Will the governor award me first place? Second? Third? Last? I just couldn’t hold a breath more, and it felt as if my throat were plugged. Ulp!

Finally, the governor strolled onto the stage. He took a microphone. I plugged my ears. I don’t like loud sounds. 

“Attention Everyone! Welcome to today, Writopia Day. First, let’s start by handing your brilliant pieces of writing to me.” 

And then, it hit me. I had made a mistake on my cover. And now it was too late. I felt tears fill my eyes. Everything was blurry. In no more than five seconds, I was crying. 

Finally, my teacher comforted me. I was one of the last weasels to hand in their work. I, with a trembling hand, handed in my work. I then tip-toed as fast as I could off the stage. 

Finally, the governor started to read the books out loud. All of them were boring. But the worst part came when my book was being read. I felt guilty for some reason that I had written the book. My book was lamer than the others. But then, after what felt like a million hours, the most exciting part came: the selections. The awards. I squealed. 

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

“Attention, everyone!”

came from the governor’s microphone. 

“The awards have been discussed by my fellow helpers. We will announce the winners.” 

I held my breath. 

“3rd place: Ira Lemising for the book The Trouble With Monkeys [2nd version]!
2nd place: Israel Knoma for the book The Ghosts with the Surprise!
And finally…”  

Some drum-rolling was played behind the curtains of the stage. 

“1st place is awarded to Ronalds Squeak-sq for the book
A Olman World!” 

What?! No way, I thought. I got first place? Impossible times a hundred.

Meanwhile, all of my friends were crowding around me like I was a hero or something like that. Yay, I had finally achieved fame! Now, it was just the right time to change my very-strict dad — read on to find out how I did it. 


I made sure everything on my list was present:

  1. Certificate and Trophy
  2. Bravery
  3. Smiling face
  4. Working brain

I knew that I already had #1 on my list. #2 was pretty hard and took some practice to overcome. But I still checked off #2. #3 was just as hard as #2; it made me panic! Finally, #4 was automatically checked off because I really didn’t need a working brain except when I’m panicking. That’s why I erased it. Actually, I really don’t need #2 and #3, either. That’s why I had a really big space; I just erased too many things! I just needed my certificate and trophy, which was, in fact, already beside me. 

Then, I slowly crept towards Dad’s door to his room (I don’t want to be tricked by Carl again for the third time this week.) Then, I nudged toward the door. It budged open. 

Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak!

“Hmm?” Dad said. 

“I just wanted to say,” I replied. Ronalds, that was such a stupid answer, I thought to myself. 

“What, Ronalds?” Dad asked. “I just wanted to say that I really don’t want you to be so not-thoughtful and careless,” I said, “and I have some things to cheer you up.” I handed him my certificate and trophy. 

“Why, good job!” my dad said. I have never seen him be so excited. 

And although I cured my dad, something was still not part of the plan… 

To be continued in…
OUCH! GOES THE WEASEL BOOK #2

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Ouch! Goes the Weasel
{Book #2: Ronalds’ Fourth Year}

By Enhao Ren

Author of Enhao’s Adventures and Crazy Days with Enhao, the best-selling series

Why, welcome back, everybody!

It is your old pal, Ronalds Squeak-sq. Remember what happened last week? Yes, that’s right. My brother Carl got in trouble for bullying me and was sentenced to be grounded for an entire year and two weeks. This week is now Carl’s second grounded week, and he still has 365 days to go. 

Because of this, Carl can’t be the leader of Utteramma Field Squeak Scouts. Squeak Scouts is what you call “Boy Scouts” or “Girl Scouts.”

Back in my family talk, my father is the Executive Director of Utteramma Field Electricity Institute (UFEI). The UFEI produces electricity to every weasel in town during the Weasel Uprising in 2123, when the Handemolen peeps are protecting every weasel in the world of the TSSA. 

Eventually, we smart weasels learned to use human materials, so we used them on our own as well. Back in my family, my mom just took a job as a nurse in Utteramma Field Hospital (UFH) a month ago. With no one in my family guarding me, I had to figure out a way to get a babysitter. 

I dialed 167-999-9998 on the weaselphone in my house. A babysitter named Alexia came. Instead of making Mom mad, my mom was… well, actually proud of me. My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t so amused. 

He usually is the most easy-to-get-angry weasel in town, but sometimes, if I finish my homework early, my dad will reward me with three quarters of an hour of TV time. 

Oh, sorry. I forgot we were talking about what happened last week. Well, I got first prize at this year’s Writopia Day, which is a holiday in Utteramma Field for all schools. The governor comes and reads our stories. Then, he and his helpers nominate the first, second and third place winners. 

After that crazy week, my dad had been pretty nice to me. But after the weekend, nothing went right anymore…


It all started when something covered in a huge cardboard box with wheels rolled into our door. 

@Rumble Rumble Rumble@

Carl trudged downstairs to peek at the commotion. “What the hell is that thing?” he asked in total disbelief. “Is it a monster? A dragon with wheels? An automobile?” 

Well, I’ll definitely tell you this: 

It was scary to look at it.

It really was. I shuddered. I don’t like creepy things. Just then, Dad galloped downstairs. Yes, he really galloped. “Well, well, well!” he said with pride, “our piano is here.” 

“What’s a piano?” I asked. “A type of monster? No, thank you!” 

“Don’t be silly,” Dad replied, “it is an instrument. An instrument is something that you use your hands or mouth to make the instrument make noise. The noise will sound very pleasant in a song. Here, I’ll teach you. I’m a real piano man.”

And you know what? A shiver ran down my spine faster than you could say, “Uh-oh.”


Yep, I really didn’t like the sound of that. My dad is the worst teacher ever. He always loses control of his feelings when something goes wrong. So, playing the piano with Dad’s way of education was rather hurtful. 

Before I knew it, Dad was placing me on the piano chair. “Alright, buddy, sit still.” 

“Yes, I will,” I squeaked, sitting up like a student really paying attention. 

“Alright, could you find ‘Middle C’ for me?” 

“Dad,” I said, “I don’t know where ‘Middle C’ is.” 

That got my dad ready. “THE ‘MIDDLE C’ IS AT THE CENTER OF THE KEYBOARD!” he screamed. Then, I pressed the center of the keyboard. But it definitely wasn’t “Middle C.” “THAT’S ‘MIDDLE B’! MOVE MORE RIGHT!” 

I moved right. I pressed the key, and I knew I got it. “That’s better,” said Dad, lowering his voice. “We use ‘Middle C’ as our guide,” Dad explained, “and ‘Middle C” is the first note, though there are notes at the bottom of it.” I didn’t get that. 

The rest of the piano time was just junk. Dad kept on urging me to find “Middle C” without looking at the keyboard. My dad kept track of how many times I got it:

None out of 20

My eyes went blurry after I was told the score. You know what was happening. I was crying. In a split second, I felt a teardrop trickle down my cheeks. My cheek pouches, to be exact. 

That night, I couldn’t sleep a wink. I was scared to practice the piano again. And because of that, I didn’t close my eyes until it was half past midnight. 


Because I only slept like, the first hour of the next day, guess what? I overslept. When I arrived at school, my friends were already having their daily snack break. When I stepped into the classroom, everyone froze, and they did, literally. Then, they burst out laughing. 

“Class, class, I don’t know why I am yelling,” Ms. Olaf, our class’ teacher and school phys-ed coach, screamed. Well, not literally screaming, but at the minimum, err… voice.* *Let’s go with that.**

**You see those two interacting single stars (*)? Well, I was supposed to put them here. I’m so sorry for the accident. 

Everyone quieted down in an instant. Katie, the most beautiful girl in the school, put up an “L” sign with her paw. Though Katie may be beautiful, she is often very serious. 

Recess was worse than ever. Many kids from older grades bullied me for being late. I hate being bullied. I hate it so much,

It is even a bit creepy for me. 

Yup. I hate experiencing something creepy. I like everything to be butterflies and lollipops.

Ahh… it just makes me dreamy when I see that font I wrote above. I love the handwriting for script type. (Although I printed it to glue in this notebook.) Oops, I forgot we were talking about something serious. 

Continuing on the “serious path,”

I was bullied so much, I cried for the first time in school. And it was very embarrassing. More and more kids came and said,

“This guy is a noob,”

and

“This guy is a crybaby.” .

Oh, and did you see that period? Sorry, I’ll erase that. There. Until, something happened. Did you see that mark, at the “guy is” and the “bab”? That’s right, two teardrops. Maybe I was a crybaby after all.


I, once again, couldn’t sleep a wink. This time, because I was afraid of piano practice and going back to school, because of that feeling when, you know, when something that’s your best dream ever happens to go wrong and it becomes your lifetime nightmare? 

I don’t know if you know the feeling or not, but let me tell you this: that was the case with me. And, unfortunately, I, once again, overslept. When I arrived at school, everyone was already in recess, playing after D/E/A/R* time which is after lunch. 

*Everyone in your family should know D/E/A/R time. It stands for
Drop Everything And Read.

And, even more unfortunate, was that I was sleeping on my desk the entire time in class:

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ… 

And, if that was not bad enough, I had drool all over my face and papers (I’ll show you my paper):

Please write a word that starts with the letter “T” and ends with the letter “E.” For example, tongue.


Please write a word that begins with the letter “M” and ends with the letter “E.” For example, mile


As you could see, our class is working on words ending with “E.” When I woke up, I was surprised to see myself on my booster seat. Guess what? I was in my car, being driven from school back home. “How was school today? I see you are very tired,” Mom cooed. 

“Good,” I lied, “very good. We studied to find words ending in the letter ‘E.’” At least I got some truths in, I thought. 

“Oh, really?” Mom asked in a voice that made her sound a bit excited. “May I see your piece of paper you worked on?”

I twitched around on my booster seat. I couldn’t show her that I had drooled on it. I didn’t want Mom to know that I was lying. I had to make an excuse. “Err… I lost it during lunch.”

That turned out to be a pretty dumb move, because the second Mom heard that, she made a U-turn that almost flung me out of the grasp of my seat belt. “Honey,” Mom cooed, “let me help find it for you.” 

I thought for a moment and called out to her, “Mom! The custodians had already shoved it into the trash basket!” That did the trick. Mom came running back toward me. She then climbed into the driver’s seat and made another U-turn that almost made me throw up. 


Back at my house, Carl was helping to wash the dishes from lunch. The second he saw me walk in, he shoved me with his dirty hands and called, “Ronalds Poopypants, Ronalds the Loser, and Ronalds the Crybaby is back!” His words ended after a big, long cackle. 

HEE HEE HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH!

Just then, Mom came skipping downstairs three at a time. Yup, she really did. She then ran over to Carl holding a piece of duct tape. What was that for? I thought. But before my eyes could even turn around, Mom was taping the duct tape onto Carl’s mouth. I giggled to myself. 

Tonight was the best dinner I have ever had. Usually, Carl was the “root” of the commotion that usually takes place. But with his mouth duct-taped, no one even had to make a squeak


Remember the super-good night at my house? Well, let me just say that school isn’t the same. It is surprisingly because Carl is not there. Yup, I don’t like anyone from my family being away from me for even a minute. And in this case, I have to be away from everyone in my family for an entire seven hours. 

You might be wondering why I want Carl to be there, not anyone else. Well, that’s because Carl is the only weasel I know th________

||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||


So sorry. I just don’t know why I just keep on falling asleep. Carl is definitely going to laugh at me for his entire life when he sees my notebook. The book you are reading right now. 

Anyway, I’m just too tired to write more. I quit on this book and I’m working on a new one two years later. See you then!

To be continued in…
Ouch! Goes the Weasel Book #3

The Haunted Cheeseburger (Series 1)

          THE HAUNTED CHEESEBURGER

                           PART 1

Once upon a time, there was a haunted cheeseburger and he got eaten by a pack of fries!!! Butt, oh, the butt you know that isn’t the, “Oh, but I don’t want to,” it’s the butt on your bottom. Someone ate them before they could finish themselves. So after, he had to go to the bathroom and you know what, they did. But, sniff sniff, sorry, if you, sniff, can’t hear me well, this story is just sooo sad!!! 

So anyway, they escaped from the pipes and they went to the Food Mart Valentine’s Day dance and had their moment but something happened. They realized that the ice cream cop that arrested Aaron when he took Ms. Potato Head the Pack of Fries in Part 1. 

So they hid for hours to survive. But they ran to the Valentine’s Day dance and had the time of their lives and they kissed but that kiss ended up turning into them eating 

each other!!! But wait, oh no!!! What happened? You will find out in Part 2. 

                            HAUNTED CHEESEBURGER

                                        PART 2

PREVIOUSLY ON HAUNTED CHEESEBURGER: 

“OMG, WE’RE GONNA GET SQUISHED BY SOMEONE’S BUTT!” SAID AARON. 

“I KNOW, LET’S GO IN THE PIPES!” SAID MR POTATO HEAD.

“WE’RE HERE AT THE VALENTINE’S DAY DANCE,” SAID AARON.

AND NOW THE PRESENT. 

“OKAY, WE’RE HERE FINALLY AT THE VALENTINE’S DAY DANCE AT THE FOOD MART,” SAID AARON. 

“OH MY GOSH, LOOK. THERE’S VOMIT CHEESEBURGERS. THERE’S FART PUNCH POOP CUPCAKES, AND AND FINALLY, PEE CHOCOLATE MILK,” SAID MRS POTATO HEAD.

“LET’S DANCE,” SAID AARON. 

“OH NO!!! IT’S THE COP THAT ALMOST CAUGHT US IN THE LAST PART! WE HAVE TO HIDE, COME ON, LET’S GO BACK IN THE PIPES,” SAID AARON. 

 “NO, IT’S GROSS IN THERE. ROTTEN HOT DOG, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”

“HIDING FROM THE COP. SHE’S A PSYCHO. SHE WILL JUST SEE SOMEONE AND SAY, ‘YOU’RE UNDER ARREST!!!’ BUT I STOLE A COKE FROM THE FOOD MART BEFORE THE VALENTINE’S DAY DANCE AND THAT’S WHY SHE’S ON MY CASE.”

“BUT WHAT DID YOU TAKE FROM THE FOOD MART?”

“WELL YESTERDAY, I HEARD THAT THERE WAS GOING TO BE A DANCE AT THE FOOD MART. I WAS TOTALLY GOING TO GO BUT I NEEDED A DATE SO I STOLE MRS. POTATO HEAD,” SAID ROTTEN HOT DOG.

“HI.” THERE IS MUSIC THAT PEOPLE PLAY WHEN THEY FALL IN LOVE. “OMG, I MUST BE IN HEAVEN CAUSE I’M LOOKING AT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PACK OF FRIED POTATOES EVER.”

 “WELL ANYWAY, THE COP IS GONE SO WE WILL GO BACK TO THE DANCE,” SAID AARON.

SEE WHAT HAPPENS IN PART 3! WILL MRS. POTATO HEAD AND AARON HAVE THEIR MOMENT AT THE UNDREAMABLE VALENTINE’S DAY DANCE AT THE FOOD MART OR WILL MRS. POTATO HEAD DUMP AARON FOR ROTTEN HOT DOG?

OH AND BY THE WAY, IF YOU HAVE A DOG THAT IS SUCH A GOODY TWO SHOES IT MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE A DORK. TAKE YOUR DOG TO ISLA’S UNBEHAVED DOGGY DAY CARE.  

                       HAUNTED CHEESEBURGER

                                   PART 3

“So, Aaron, will you accept Mrs. Potato Head to be your yummy wedded wife?”

“I do.” 

“And Mrs. Potato Head, do you accept Aaron to be your husband” 

“I d — ”

“Hey, Mrs. Potato Head, what the heck are you doing here?” 

“Oh, um, Rotten Hot Dog, what are you doing here?”

 “I’m picking up my wife, wait. Rotten Hot dog — wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, Mrs. Potato Head, what is he talking about?” 

“I’m sorry, but I married him at the Food Mart at the pre-Valentine’s Day dance and I agreed to go with him to the real dance in a month. I’m so, so sorry but I have to go with my real husband… ” 

“Well, what am I going to do now? We already got a mansion… ”

“OMG, Aaron, I do. Yes, yes, yes, we’re married, let’s go to our mansion, and Aaron, since we’re married, can you go to the Valentine’s Day dance with me?”

Of course. Yes.”

Read more in Part 6 where they have their moment at the Valentine’s Day dance (the real one) and move into their mansion or will a Rotten Hot Dog ruin everything and steal his woman back?

I know your address, you guys, you are in big trouble. This is your last chance to go to Isla’s inappropriate doggy day care!! 

                         HAUNTED CHEESEBURGER

                                    PART 4

Aaron: Come on, Mr. Potato Head, let’s go and boogie.

Mr. Potato Head: Oh, uuuuum, Aaron, I have to tell you something. I have fried potato Itis.

Aaron: WHAT!!!

Mr. Potato Head: But only on you, not on Rotten Hot Dog, and when you have fried potato Itis, you can’t marry the person you’re with, so I’m super, duper, fruit-looper sorry, but I have to divorce you. 

Aaron: But wait, I’m sorry. 

Mr. Potato Head: It’s too late!! Hi, Rotten Hot Dog, wanna dance?

Rotten Hot Dog: Oh, you know it.

Aaron: Well, now what am I going to do? 

Mr. Potato Head: Aaron. 1,2,3, APRIL FOOLS!! (JAZZ MUSIC.) We’re not really divorcing. I just wanted to get you really good and we’re having a pool party in our mansion tonight, and in the pool, I added some really cool lights and we will watch their favorite show.

Mr. Potato Head & Aaron: “NAILED IT!!!” 

                       HAUNTED CHEESEBURGER

                                  PART 5

Aaron: We’re finally home!

Mrs. Potato head: Y —

Mrs Potato Head’s soon-to-be husband: Mrs Potato Head, what are you doing!?

Aaron: Mrs Potato Head, who is this?

Mrs. Potato Head: His name is Mike, he’s my-soon-to —

Mrs. Potato Head’s soon-to-be husband: She’s my soon-to-be wife.

Mrs. Potato Head: Yeah. 

Aaron: But we’re married?

Mrs Potato Head: I’m sorry, I have to divorce you but you can come to the wedding. 

Aaron: Well okay. 

(5 hours later.)

Wedding Guy: Do you take Mrs. Potato Head to be your yummy wedded wife?

Mrs. Potato Head’s soon-to-be husband: I do. 

Wedding guy: And Mr. Potato Head, do you —

Mrs. Potato Head: I… I… I do not, Aaron, I’m sorry, I don’t want to marry Mike. Let’s go home and watch —

Aaron: “Nailed it!!?”

Mrs. Potato Head: YES! 

                          HAUNTED CHEESEBURGER

                                     PART 6

Mrs. Potato Head: Um, Aaron? (As they are sitting on the couch watching “Nailed it.”)

Aaron: Yeah?

Mrs. Potato Head: Well, uh, you see, we have to break up. 

Aaron: WHAT!!

Mrs. Potato Head: I’m sorry, it’s just I got engaged to someone else. 

Aaron: What? But the Valentine’s Day dance is coming up so soon, it’s in a couple weeks. 

Mrs. Potato Head: I’m sorry, I just- I have to do what’s right. 

Aaron: Fine, I’ll break up with you and I never want to see you again. 

Mrs. Potato Head: Wait no, Aaron, wait, this is a prank. 

Aaron: Nope, I don’t care if it’s a prank, I don’t want to be with you anyway. You prank me constantly and you never ever appreciate me. 

Mrs. Potato Head: OMG, what have I done? I can’t believe I just said that, I didn’t mean to break up with him. Oh my gosh, who made me do that? 

Rotten Hot Dog: Oh who did that to you, you’re wondering? Well, me, I did it. 

Mrs. Potato Head: AARON, WAIT! 

Aaron: Mrs. Potato Head, what’s going on?

Mrs. Potato Head: Please take me back, please please please. 

Aaron: Wait, what, why?

Mrs. Potato Head: It’s Rotten Hot Dog. I didn’t want to break up with you, he made me. 

Aaron: Well of course I’ll take you back. 

Mrs. Potato Head: Well let’s go home and watch — 

Mrs. Potato and Aaron: “NAILED IT!” 

                                HAUNTED CHEESEBURGER 

                                           PART 7

AARON: HEY, MRS. POTATO HEAD!  

MRS. POTATO HEAD: HEY, AARON. 

ROTTEN HOT DOG: YEAH, HEY, AARON!!

AARON: ROTTEN HOT DOG, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? 

ROTTEN HOT DOG: OH YOU KNOW, JUST CONTROLLING MRS. POTATO HEAD’S MIND. 

AARON: WHAT?! 

MRS. POTATO HEAD: HELP ME, AARON!!

ROTTEN HOT DOG: OH, MRS. POTATO HEAD. HE CAN’T SAVE YOU UNLESS HE STOPS ME. 

AARON: THEN I WILL, HIYA!!!

ROTTEN HOT DOG: THE ONLY THING THAT CAN DEFEAT ME IS WATER. WAIT, I SHOULDN’T HAVE SAID THAT. 

AARON: WELL, THEN TAKE THAT! SWOOSH! 

ROTTEN HOT DOG: NOOO!

MRS. POTATO HEAD: YOU SAVED ME! 

AARON: YEP, NOW LET’S GO WATCH “NAILED IT.” 

                     HAUNTED CHEESEBURGER 

                                 PART 8

AARON: IT’S MOVIE NIGHT, MRS. POTATO HEAD. (AS THEY ARE SITTING ON THE COUCH.)

MRS. POTATO HEAD: I’M SO EXCITED, I CAN’T BELIEVE WE HAVE 998,987 SEASONS OF “NAILED IT” LEFT! I’M SO GLAD WE GOT THIS SPOTLESS MANSION. 

ROTTEN HOT DOG: YEAH, I’M SO EXCITED. 

AARON: WHA… ??? I THOUGHT I, WAIT, WHAAA? I AM SO CONFUSED. 

ROTTEN HOT DOG: OH, YOU SEE, I TRIED TO MAKE IT SEEM LIKE I WOULD DISAPPEAR IF I TOUCHED WATER, BUT REALLY, WATER MAKES ME STRONGER. 

MRS. POTATO HEAD: SO YOU BAMBOOZLED US. 

ROTTEN HOT DOG: I FOOLED YOU BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT BAMBOOZLED MEANS. 

MRS. POTATO HEAD: BAMBOOZLED MEANS YOU FOOLED US BUT ALMOST DIDN’T, WE’VE BEEN OVER THIS!!!

AARON: THAT’S NOT WHAT BAMBOOZLED MEANS, WAAAAAAAIT! 

ROTTEN HOT DOG: WHAT!  

AARON: WHEN WOULD YOU HAVE TIME TO DISCUSS THAT!!

MRS. POTATO HEAD: UUUUUUUUMM. 

ROTTEN HOT DOG: OH YEAH, WE WENT ON A DATE YESTERDAY. WE HAD SPAGHETTI. 

MRS. POTATO HEAD: FOR THE LAST TIME, IT WAS NOT SPAGHETTI, IT WAS ANGEL HAIR!!! 

AARON: HOLD ON, YOU WENT ON A DATE!!!

MRS. POTATO HEAD: ROTTEN HOT DOG MADE ME. 

AARON: CARE TO EXPLAIN YOURSELF, DUDE?

ROTTEN HOT DOG: UHHHHHH, OH, SORRY, GOT TO GO. 

MRS POTATO HEAD: WELL, STILL WANNA WATCH “NAILED IT”?

AARON: YOU KNOW IT. 

MRS. POTATO HEAD: SEASON 2,013, EPISODE 5,976. 

Friends

Characters: 

BIYU (10): A kid who always annoys his older sister yet deeply cares about her and LOVES broccoli (weird, I know)

RIKU (15): A teen who just wants her space from others and wants friends

AIMI (15): Riku’s supposed best friend

RIKU and BIYU are in the field a bit away from their house. A few minutes later, RIKU starts walking to the house. As she walks off she says to BIYU:

RIKU

I’ll see you there. 

BIYU

(Staring off into the curtains) Hm, what’s that, Mom? You want Riku to get the heck out of my room? Oh, alright, I’ll tell her that. 

BIYU turns around, looks at RIKU, and smiles. 

RIKU

MoM sAiD tO gEt ThE hEcK oUtTa My RoOm!  

RIKU copies BIYU’s movements. 

BIYU

(Stares into the curtain again) What’s that, Mom? Tell Riku to stop bothering me? 

BIYU smiles. 

RIKU

But I —

RIKU

                                                      [Aside] Mother is always on Biyu’s side and it’s really annoying.

RIKU

Okay, mother . . . Sorry. . . Not sorry, Biyu. (She sniffs)

BIYU

                    [Aside] I never wanted Riku to be sad. Riku, wait!

RIKU

                                       [Aside] Time to call Aimi. 

Sighing, RIKU takes her phone out from her back pocket and scrolls through her contacts and finally comes across “BestFriend.”

917-397-2675.

Heyy, Aimi… My day hasn’t been the best. 

AIMI

Hey… Aw why. Was it your good for nothing brother? I never liked him anyways. [Aside] It’s not like I really care anyway

RIKU

You what…

She shakes her head and starts tearing up.

AIMI

[Aside] You weren’t supposed to hear that

Oh I was talking to my… 

[Aside] Nonexistent 

Brother. 

RIKU

Why are you lying to my face?

AIMI

HAHAHA don’t comment on me. (AIMI scoffs)

RIKU

I  didn’t, I’m — 

AIMI cuts the phone

AIMI

Annoying brat. (AIMI rolls her eyes) 

RIKU sighs, sits on her bed, and drenches her pillow, twirls her hair, then gets up and starts pacing around. 

RIKU

[Aside] Why did Aimi do that?

I’m worried about Aimi. She doesn’t act like this. 

BIYU walks into RIKU’s room and leans on the door frame.

BIYU

What did Aimi do? 

RIKU

Ugh nothing. Get out of my room… (RIKU shakes her head and turns away)

BIYU

You can’t lie to me, your face gives out what you’re feeling right away. (BIYU sighs) C’mon, don’t lie to me… I’ll try to help.

RIKU

Aimi snapped at me.

BIYU

I never liked her but… (BIYU sighs) If you really wanna repair your relationship… be the bigger person and go to her house.

AIMI

I hope she doesn’t bother me for forgiveness, it’s gonna be annoying… Although hurting her was nice it also hurt. She’s the only real friend I ever had.

AIMI shakes her head to get the thoughts out of her head. RIKU puts her jacket and shoes on and goes out of the house

RIKU

Ah, the wind feels so nice.

The fall breeze hits RIKU’s face. Her hair flows in the air and a tear streams down her face. All the people who are near RIKU freeze as she walks by. RIKU to the audience:

RIKU

I’ve been friends with Aimi my whole life. We have been best friends, we have gone through everything together. Was it my fault? Did I build this pressure between us up? Even if it was me being the bigger person. Does that make it right? No it doesn’t, saying sorry doesn’t repair your actions. It doesn’t actually show you’re sorry. You’re just asking for pity. But this always happens.. I always ask for pity even when it’s not my fault. Everyone thinks I’m a fool, but I (RIKU sighs). I understand that Aimi is using me. But I need someone to lean on even if they are using a fake persona.

Everyone on the stage starts moving again as RIKU wipes a tear off her face and arrives at AIMI’s.  Then shakily she rings the doorbell.

AIMI

Who could that be? (AIMI makes an annoyed face)

RIKU

I really hope she can forgive me…

AIMI

[Aside] Ugh is it RIKU?

RIKU keeps ringing the bell

AIMI

Coming, coming. 

AIMI stares at the door and makes an annoyed face, then proceeds to open it. AIMI tries to open the door but can’t.

RIKU

(As AIMI opens the door, RIKU tries to hide) I don’t wanna do this anymore..

AIMI

(AIMI proceeds to open the door). I know why you’re here. Come and sit on my couch. I’ll bring some tea out. 

RIKU

Stop this. Stop acting like you’re my friend. STOP, I KNOW YOU NEVER LIKED ME. NO ONE EVER DID.

AIMI

Well, why do you think no one liked you? Because you follow them around, make them feel guilty. HOW DO YOU THINK IT FEELS LETTING PEOPLE DOWN? 

RIKU

YOU NEVER LIKED ME. I DONT MATTER RIGHT, THIS FRIENDSHIP WAS NEVER REAL. I NEVER HAD FRIENDS BEFORE… AND EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY BE FAKE… I still care. (RIKU is on the floor covering her face, sobbing)

AIMI

Why…

The doorbell rings. AIMI proceeds to open it as RIKU is on the floor crying.

BIYU

Hey, Aimi I came to see… WHAT DID YOU DO TO RIKU?

AIMI

I didn’t do anything….

AIMI sighs. BIYU runs to RIKU and starts comforting her by hugging her.

BIYU

Look. I knew this was going to happen. That’s why I told you to come here. I knew all about her but..

RIKU

Even if  I won’t be your friend anymore…

BIYU

… Please don’t be her enemy…

AIMI goes up to RIKU and embraces RIKU softly…

CURTIN 

——————————————————————————————————————————-

THE ACTORS COME OUT AND BOW. 

Why We Shouldn’t Have Borders

See any borders? You don’t and it’s still our world

“All the borders in the world are man-made. There are no borders, we are all hooked together. Everything is connected. There is no line of demarcation. We are hooked together like the colors of a rainbow, our problem is ignorance, we don’t understand that.”-Bob Proctor. Borders can spark wars and cause deaths, borders can make nationality which can pinpoint people against other people and make people say and do mean things to other people.

According to Wikipedia, 56 wars from 1846-2020 have been partially if not 100% caused by borders. From the start of time, wars, battles, and deaths have been caused by borders. Over 100,000,000 deaths have happened because of borders. Without borders, the number of deaths would have fallen and wars would fade. WW1 was started because of borders and WW2 happened because of WW1. World War 1 was caused by the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina which caused Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, to shoot the Austrian Archduke and his wife. This caused WW1 and eventually caused WW2, plus a total of 63,000,000 deaths. Without borders, this never would have happened. Also, with Covid, the U.S is still working on evaluating their testing, but countries like Rwanda have testing ready in up to three days. Without borders and nationality, countries could share their testing and it would save many lives. 

Borders also translate large feelings of nationality. This was another cause of World War I. And nationality is caused by borders! Nationality also causes problems with immigration. Also, without borders, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers would be able to travel through countries freely without being pursued and assaulted by the local police, military, and regular passersby. Nationality also causes the people in these countries to do what they do. And without borders there would be no nationality and then nobody would do any of these horrible things. 

Thirdly, if you have no borders, countries wouldn’t need such powerful militaries. For example, the U.S. spent 718.69 billion dollars on the military in 2019. This is a drastic amount of money spent on the military when the country could be using this money for other things like healthcare and helping the homeless, both of which would help the population. Without borders, the U.S. would lower its military budget because there’d be no U.S., just the Earth as we know it. If this happened, millions of people’s lives would be saved. For example, Belgium, which is part of the EU, spends only 4614 million in U.S dollars for their military. The EU uses the same currency, and if you’re a French citizen and have a passport, you can easily travel to any country that is part of the EU. As a summary, the EU makes some parts of Europe borderless, and see how countries are able to cut down on military spending?

Finally, the world should have no borders because many wars have been caused by borders, borders give people a feeling of nationality which can make them hate other people from other countries, and without borders, countries wouldn’t have to spend so much money on the military. It could be used for other things like healthcare which can save millions of lives. This is why we should have no borders. 

“I am a Citizen of the World, and my Nationality is Goodwill.” –Socrates

The Blue Bunny

Statistics:

The Blue Bunny(halloween)

My name is Thomas Marshall. I’m afraid it is not entirely safe to display any part of my identification because of the Interceptors. 

The following is a complement of stories from the perspectives of people who witnessed The Blue Bunny, because it would be hard to capture a full story from only one person. At the end, I will present the one and only journal of The Blue Bunny itself. However, I have read neither of these, because I think that the stories told there would not be worth reading, because the Blue Bunny would be more mad if I actually read it.

I have been running away from the Interceptors for a very long time. They can do so much damage to one’s self, you truly can never be safe from them. I am constantly forced to move away from the Interceptors because they can breed so quickly, and send their DNA through the air and reform in another place. The shielding from some of them is beyond nowadays’ tech, so I must stay at least twenty meters away from them if I want anything other than cancer. It also is not amazing for you if you have COVID-19. Yes, coronavirus still exists. It has been about 30 very long years of Covid, because scientists are more concerned with the blue Bunny. There are so many Interceptors that it is nearly impossible to list all of them. Before, there was only one type. Then, another came, and made more of itself. Then the two species bred, and added in more complexity. Another species got stuffed into the mix when some were exposed to radiation. The others were combined, mutated, and gene-spliced to make the rest. It started mixing in with almost all the other species in the world to create an enormous band of animals ranging from strange bunny clowns, to pirate rabbits, to bears that do surgery. Some of them are so fast that a mile radius is the point to start expecting death in the next few seconds. Some are large enough to smush you under their feet. Some can hack into any device, and make them blow you up. But the Interceptors all have a natural skill for hacking, reading data, and bombing the internet with virus websites. That is why it is unsafe to give any info about me, because the Interceptors would be on me in a heartbeat. They have such a large database of all their victims, so if any name matches, they will immediately track me down. They have made the internet almost impossible to use for fear of getting a virus downloaded. They are exceptionally good at coding viruses, so merely opening Google could download an app, and send them an email giving them my exact latitude and longitude, my name, in which direction I might be going, and in no time I would be injected. The injections are not normal. They are meant to turn you into one of them, and they can come from any one of the Interceptors. They could give you it by simply biting you like a vampire, throwing carrots, or even the surgery bear could give you a full scale “inspection” with no anesthesia. The surgery bear is highly unqualified, and is very incompetent in the medical buisness. The only reason the bear will pay you a visit is to try and see how necessary lungs really are. And for some reason, he never remembers.

Now, for the first story, about me. I am Thomas Marshall.

Thomas Marshall, 8:00-8:30 A.M., 13/5/2013:

I believe, to my understanding, that the moment when it all started was when I looked up from my laptop because of the small shadow of a rabbit on the lobby security cam. That was the moment when I was aware that something was wrong. After the outlet exploded, I started to shuffle towards the door. When the door unscrewed its hinges, I started to jog. And after a 3-inch face to face encounter with a humanoid rabbit, standing up like a human, I ran away and located the nearest elevator. The elevator took so long that by the time it got up to the top floor I was positive that that weird rabbit would come to “meet and greet” me. But when it did, there wasn’t a bunny in sight. I cautiously walked out of the elevator, but quickly faced a rabbit leaping nearly five feet to tackle me.

“What? Stop it! Get off of me,” I said.

“Hey, mind if I borrow some of your feet? That should sum up my collection to about seventy-seven, and boy, I’ll be lucky then!” I started to run down the stairs as I came up with the conclusion that that rabbit thought human feet were lucky as humans thought rabbit feet were lucky. I had randomly heard somewhere that rabbits didn’t really like water, so I took some blue paint from the storage closet. Pretty much the same, seeing as I didn’t have time to go to the sink. So when the bunny was on the ground floor of the building, I dropped the paint. That may have been one of my biggest mistakes. The rabbit was definitely scarier being blue than a regular white or pink or grey bunny. After I ran down to warn the others, they quickly ran into the elevator. I noticed that one of them had a hang glider, which might be useful for getting away. Unfortunately, there was only room for one. When we got to the top of the elevator, the Blue Bunny was standing in front of us.

James is a nine year old boy who lives in an apartment building with his mom, Charlie; his dad, Otto; and his sister, Fiddle. He and his family were going camping. His uncle is named D.J. Dunce.

James Nick, 8:30-8:32 A.M. 13/5/2013:

“Hey! There is a Blue Bunny! Come with me into the elevator! It’s perfectly safe! But I warn you, I think it is evil!” After that guy told us that, my sister lost it.

“Ah! We’re going to die! The Blue Bunny! Ah! Nooo!” Wow, that was a big reaction. This is James Nick here, speaking from the elevator, hopefully not going to get killed. Oh wait, I already was killed (almost) by my sister. At the top, the Blue Bunny was there.

“Hey guys, I need some feet ‘cause one guy didn’t want to give me his feet,” said the bunny. Oops, I got caught. It kind of scared me. I mean, he really could have done a better job, but still, the idea of stealing feet is a little freaky. Anyway, we decided to go back down the elevator to the lobby, because the rabbit had other plans, clearly. So it was a little creepy, but another scare would probably cross the line.

Fiddle is a twelve year old girl, who is James’ sister.

Fiddler Abacus, 8:30-8:32 A.M. 13/5/2013

“Hey! There is a Blue Bunny! Come with me into the elevator! It’s perfectly safe! But I warn you, I think it is evil!” James nearly fainted and started hyperventilating. His reaction was so dramatic that I was sure he was faking it.

“Oh, no, the end has come, and this is most likely the last second of my life!”

“Um, it’s just a bunny. Oh, stop it. We aren’t going to die. Besides, I thought you like rabbits.” He continued screaming, saying some things so dramatic and cliché that I would prefer not to put them here. I am Fiddle, here in the elevator, slowly inching away from James to try and get to the corner of the elevator. However, I have found this difficult with James possibly having symptoms of a sugar rush; running around, banging on the walls, and randomly punching elevator buttons. When we got to the top I had decided what I would do with this rabbit, assuming it really was evil. So when the rabbit sprang onto us, I tried to walk it to the edge of the building. Of course, it didn’t work out. Everyone else was pulling me back towards the elevator. James punched the down button on the elevator, and the last thing I saw was a rabbit jumping on somebody.

D.J. Dunce is a disk jockey who lives in Canada. He is the uncle of James and Fiddle, and took a trip to their apartment to go camping with them.

D.J. Dunce, 8:30-8:32 A.M., 13/5/2013:

“Hey! There’s a Blue Bunny! Come with me into the elevator! It’s perfectly safe! But I warn you, I think it is evil!” Well, that sounds boring! Waiting in an elevator, hoping some rabbit  doesn’t get you! As it turned out I was absolutely right! Boring! If only I had a bambox, a jukebox, or a CD player, I could brighten this place up! Me and four discs! But sadly, I left my bambox, CD player, DvD player, Blu-ray player, full desk set, and my two double-speaker radios, not including all of my 60 discs. Even a phone could do the trick. Whoa! Cool rabbit! Boom! Kind of creepy, but wow! Cool photoshop! Wait no, that’s not photoshop. Guess I’ll go along with the rest of the gang, on their camping trip. Oh, wait! I should get my Bambox.

Thomas Marshall, 8:32-8:36 A.M., 13/5/2013

I ran with the paraglider to the edge of the building, and jumped off. I had, of course, forgotten the superior ability of leaping when it comes to hares and rabbits. And so, after a little unwilling glug from a bottle the bunny was holding, I let go. From my perspective, the next thing that happened was me falling into a pit. When I reached the bottom, I felt something crawl up my back and land sitting on my head. After that, for some weird reason, I could jump a lot higher.

D.J. Dunce, 8:32-10:00 A.M., 13/5/2013:

Alright, I got my bambox! Time to get my discs! I got way too many discs to stuff into my backpack. So I took forty to my backpack, five to my left pocket, five to my right pocket, and ten to hold in my hands. I didn’t know where the others were, so I assumed they were at the top. They weren’t, so I went back down. Rabbit jumpscare! Ha ha ha! They were in the lobby, walking out the door. I ran after them (which wasn’t super easy with all my sixty discs and players) and just made it through before they closed the door.

“Where were you?” they asked.

“I had to get my discs, yo,” I replied. “To play about sixty discs on our trip!”

“Whoopie. What’s the first one called again?”

“The bookworms song?”

“Great.”

“Seriously! Let’s listen to some in the car!” We got into the car, and drove away.

***

When we got out of the car, we were in the forest. I set up all the music equipment behind a tree, and the others set up the tent. The moment the others stepped into the tent, I pressed the play button. However, I never got to hear the music.

James Nick, 8:32-10:00 A.M.13/5/2013

“Where is D.J. Dunce??? We need him ASAP!” said my mother.

“I don’t know! He just ran away to get something,” said Fiddle.

“Let me guess. To get his bambox,” I said.

“Let’s just go, he doesn’t even want to come!”

“Fine, fine. Get in the car, everyone!”

“Wait, he’s over there!”

“Where were you?”

“I had to get my discs, yo,” he said. “To play sixty discs on our trip!”

“Whoopie. What’s the first one called again?”

“The bookworms song?”

“Great.”

“Seriously! Let’s listen to some in the car!”

“Alright, everyone ready?”

“Yes!”

 ***

I realized it was lightly raining when we got out. It took us over an hour to set up the tent. I had no idea where D.J. Dunce was, and we really needed his help. The tent was really a basic structure, but with a rain collector on the top of it.

“Oh, where are you, D.J. Dunce? This thing is going to collapse,” said my mother. I struggled to hold up the top, but with the rain collector on it, it was nearly impossible.

“D.J. Dunce! Please! We need you now!”  The tent started to sag with the weight of the rain. The collector overflowed. It became too heavy for us to lift and we dropped it. The collector spilled water over all of us, soaking us from head to toe. It was a little hard to believe that so much water was contained inside that pot. I finally spotted D.J. Dunce and glared at him. I saw him push a button on his D.J. Deck, and music started blaring at us.

“AND THEN THEY READ!”

Fiddler Abacus, 8:32-10:00 A.M.13/5/2013

“Where is D.J. Dunce? We need him now!” said my mother.

“I don’t know! He just ran away to get something!” I said.

“Let me guess. To get his Bambox,” said James.

“Let’s just go, he doesn’t even want to come.”

“Fine, fine. Get in the car everyone!”

“Wait, he’s over there!”

“Where were you?”

“I had to get my discs, yo, ” he said. “To play sixty discs on our trip!”

“Whoopie. What’s the first one called again?”

“The bookworms song?”

“Great.”

“Seriously! Let’s listen to some in the car!”

“Alright, everyone ready?”

“Yes!”

***

I took the big pot out of the trunk when we got out. It was raining, so we decided to have a rain collector. The tent was a small green one, but flat at the top for the rain collector. A thick pole went through the middle of it to support the collector. However, the pole was basically a tree trunk. It could not support the full weight of the pot. D.J. Dunce said that he would go out and find something stronger, but he didn’t come back. The tree trunk cracked, and we had to hold the pot up with our bare hands. The pot was going to fall on top of us if D.J. Dunce didn’t come immediately. I saw him behind a tree, setting up a D.J. deck. I glared at him. The pot was just too heavy, and we dropped it, spilling water all over us. D.J. Dunce pressed a green button and music started shooting out of his speakers. But as I called him over one final time, he disappeared. He left the music still playing, and I ran over to his deck. The buttons had no labels on them, and none of them worked. I thought there would be a normal power button, but I was wrong. All the buttons were the same size, and all green. D.J. Dunce was nowhere in sight. Suddenly, the rain stopped. And as crazy as it sounds, the surrounding area was completely dry. Even our clothes. But the weirdest part was that a weird campfire suddenly sprang to life, and a tree fell on top of it.

James Nick, 10:00-10:05 A.M. 13/5/2013

The music kept on playing. Fiddle went over to try and turn it off, but it didn’t work. She called for D.J. Dunce, and as soon as she did, the rain stopped, and everything dried up. A campfire that we never made burst into flame, and a nearby tree fell on it.

“Forest fire!” cried Fiddle. We noticed another tent suddenly sprang up beside us and we all ran into it. As it turned out, D.J. Dunce was with us.

“D.J. Dunce! Where were you?” D.J. Dunce froze, not moving, not looking at any of us. “Well? The rain collector soaked us all!”

“You are not wet,” said D.J. Dunce.

“Still, the tent collapsed!”

“Um, I don’t think so.” He gestured to the ceiling of the tent.

“How do you operate your bambox?” asked Fiddle.

“What’s a bambox?”

“I thought you knew!”

“Why are you calling me a D.J.?”

“Because you are D.J. Dunce!”

“Think again!” And he stood up. He looked down at us, grinned, and fell flat on his back. Fiddle touched his face and said she felt plastic. A very long, blue ear shot out of the top of his head and wrapped around Fiddle’s arm. It curled down his face and pulled his mask off, revealing his blue face.

“Haha, you got me. Mind if I borrow a few limbs?” 

That was just too much for everyone. We ran out the tent door, and got in the car. It wasn’t until we got back to the building that we realized the bunny was in the trunk.

Fiddler Abacus, 10:00-10:05 A.M. 13/5/2013

“Forest fire!” I yelled. A tent appeared out of nowhere beside us. I had no time to think about who was doing this. I just ran to the tent and jumped in, and everyone else followed. D.J. Dunce was among them.

“D.J. Dunce! Where were you?” I asked. D.J. Dunce stopped moving completely. It looked as though he had been turned to stone. “Well? The rain collector soaked us all!”

“You are not wet, ” said D.J. Dunce.

“Still, the tent collapsed!”

“Um, I don’t think so.” He gestured to the ceiling of the tent.

“How do you operate your bambox?” I asked.

“What’s a bambox?”

“I thought you knew!”

“Why are you calling me a D.J.?”

“Because you are D.J. Dunce!”

“Think again!” He rose, grinning creepily. He fell over onto his back. I reached my hand out and touched his face.

“It’s plastic,” I said. Suddenly, a blue ear shot out from the top of his head and curled around my wrist. The other ear reached down and grabbed at his chin, and pulled a plastic mask off. It had a blue face, with wide, scary eyes, and a mouth that was smiling weirdly. It was the blue bunny.

“Okay, you got me. Could I just borrow some body parts for my bulletin board?” 

Nobody could handle that. We all bolted to the car and started it up. When we got out, the bunny was inside.

And finally, the Blue Bunny itself. I copied this story from a page in his journal. I will never read this, because he would be very angry if he knew I read this.

The Blue Bunny, 8:00-10:00 A.M. 13/5/2013

Ooh, the feet! Just a few watchy thingies to dodge, and the footies will be mine! A few extra outlet explosions wouldn’t hurt. Here we go! Here is the short circuit. BOOM! The outlet fizzled, then crackled, then every light, computer, and every device plugged into the outlet exploded, then went dark. Bits of white hot metal flew out from the outlets. Next, I jumped up the stairs, and stood outside the door of a room. I pulled out a screwdriver and unscrewed the door hinges. The door fell to the ground with a crash. I quickly ran out of the way before the guy inside saw me. I jumped down to the bottom of the stairs. The guy followed behind me, but delayed by about half a minute. I waited under the staircase, and stuck some explosive under it. The explosive would go off ten seconds after it was lit, so I had to time it perfectly. I lit the explosive twenty steps under the person, and in exactly ten seconds, the stair the person was on suddenly blew up, and the guy fell to the ground. When he got up, I made sure to get up close to him. He sat up and screamed. He ran to the elevator, and pressed the up button. I slowly ran towards him to scare him as much as possible. He got in just in time. I ran to the spot where there were no stairs above me, and jumped. I crashed through the roof and landed outside the elevator door. I stepped back, so that I was behind the elevator door, and jumped on to the elevator station. When the door finally opened, and the guy walked out, I jumped on top of him. Now, for the routine…

“Hello, good sir, may I borrow a foot or two?”

“Get off!” 

“Oops, sorry, I just would like to sum my collection up to seventy-seven, that’s all.”

“You collect feet?”

“Of course! Don’t you?” He ran into the elevator, and went to the bottom floor. I waited patiently at the top of the elevator, and when the doors opened, I stepped right up so that my nose was pressed against the door.

“Oh, thank you! You brought more feet!” One of the guys, the one I was chasing earlier, took a hang glider out of another person’s hands, and ran off the side of the building. I compared the distance between me and the glider, and my speed and the glider’s speed. I worked it out, and figured I should jump as hard as I could if I wanted to make it in three seconds. I leaped off the side and landed on top of the glider. The glider took a small dive, then straightened. I pulled a small bottle out of my utility belt, and stuffed it into the person’s mouth. He fell asleep instantly. I caught him before he fell, and we glided along far away, to an island. My first idea was to just leave him there and get his feet, but then I remembered the bunny ears Captain VunnIe had given me. The ears were almost like a headband, but with real bunny ears on them. I landed on the sand, but not very well. I tossed the guy in the pit as soon as he woke up, and threw the ears on his head. His skin started to turn blue, and his shoes started to fall off. His feet grew twice their original size, and he jumped up to meet me.

“Hello, Bunny.”

“Go away! What have you done to me? How did you do this? Why?”

“I thought it would be handy to have a couple extra bunnies. You know, to help me around, and stuff.”

“And why would I?”

“You are about to become a Blue Bunny, but I first will need to do some extra things.”

“No, don’t. I will run away if I have to.”

“How? You have no boat, and bunnies can’t swim.” He really did look puzzled, and he thought for a moment.

“How did you get here?” 

Even though I knew I shouldn’t say anything, I just had to tell him.

“A plane. Right over there.” I pointed to a plane behind a tree. He ran to it and fumbled with the controls. I ran after him, but before I got to him, he had already started the engine, and risen high enough that I couldn’t jump up to him (not to brag, but almost twenty meters). I called up to him, and shouted to come back, but he wouldn’t turn the plane around. I was trapped on the island, with little chance of getting off. Suddenly, I saw the plane turn around back, and I realized the person had been kind enough to bring me the plane back. I quickly jumped to it, and turned around, before the plane made a landing. The plane hit an air pocket, and jolted suddenly. I realized that getting Thomas wouldn’t benefit me much at all. I did see the other people with him though. I could get them. So I lowered the plane beneath the clouds, so I could see the ground below me. I was flying over the city already, which meant if I was going to catch them, I needed to turn sharply, by about 270°. I swooped towards the lobby entrance, when near there I saw a blue car with five passengers inside, passengers I recognized. I followed the car, and pulled out another device Captain VunnIe  had given me. It was a long range microphone that could pick up on talking from a mile away. I pointed it at the car and listened for something that could tell me where they were going, but I could hardly hear anything over the music. 

“D.J. Dunce, that music is getting to be a little annoying,” said one person.

“Okay, okay.” The music got quieter, and stopped. I could hear them much better now.

“So, plans for the camping trip?” That was all I needed. I knew there was one and only one camping site, so I followed the car towards the site. I landed  in the camping site, in an open area, but away from the people in the car. The area was a circle of  grass without trees. All around it, there were trees. I got there ten minutes before them, and by the time they got there, it was raining. The people in the car set up a tent, with a rain collector on the top. However, not everyone was there. One person was in the trees on the edge of the circle, with a table set up. I snuck towards him, and pulled out the last gift Captain VunnIe had given me. It was a strange cube, with one button on each side of the cube.  Each button had an image on it, one with a rain cloud on it, another with a sun on it, another with a symbol of snow on it. I quickly tripped him and fed him a drug that would make him fall asleep. The drug worked very well, he fell asleep almost instantly. I pressed the button on the weather cube, the sun icon. The clouds seemed to dissipate. The rain instantly stopped. Everything was perfectly dry. I pulled out a plastic mask I had made myself, and pulled it over my face. I ran into the trees, where the other people were, and built up a small campfire. I chopped down a tree with a laser, and it fell onto the campfire. I used the laser to burn the tree further, and a full forest fire sprang up. I built up a tent as fast as I could, and told the others to go into the tent. As the others came in, I went back. I did some quick scaring, which I will not show here. I ran out of the tent when I was done, and went into the trunk of the car. After that, I got back to the island. 

If you are thinking about sharing this information, don’t. If the Blue Bunny sees you with this, he will kill you. If you think Google Drive is safe, it isn’t. In fact, he owns the website. But as far as Google knows, they have total control. But enough spoilers. You’ll read about that in the next book. This info is for just you, just so that you’ll know about the Blue Bunny.

Mystery

Mystery

Chapter 1

Stolen!

I’m Kate, and in one week, people will announce the winner of an election for who the president will be. My friend, Jessica, is voting for the same person as me.

“Are you excited to see who the winner is?” said Jessica.

“Of course I am,” I replied.

Diiiiiing! Diiiiiiing! Back to class. We settled in and did math. Diiiiing! Lunch time! We ate lunch.

“What happens if one of the candidates cheat?” said Jessica.

“Don’t worry, people will eventually figure it out,” I said.

3:00. Time to go. We packed our school books in our bags. We went out. My mom was picking up Jessica with me because Jessica’s parents were busy. We went to my house, did our homework, and watched some television. But this time something was wrong. Since we were so excited about the election, we turned the channel to the one where the election information was. But someone said that a few votes were stolen! Since my dad worked at the election place, we were allowed to go to his office. We sprang into action.

“My dad has maps of this place. We could use them to navigate through this building. We can even mark down places the thief could have come in through and look for clues in those spots,” I said. I brought out my school pencil and put X’s on places where the thief could have come in through.

We investigated a room. The room looked normal. But I had a feeling that the thief went through this spot because it was the floor closest to the ground. If she or he was spotted, then they would have a quick escape. Especially because it had the most votes. But we can’t be accurate. That’s the problem. We investigated more. Still nothing. When we were about to give up, an idea popped in my head! 

Chapter 2

Planning…

“Maybe we need to make a stakeout so that we can catch the thief in action!” I said.

“Great idea!” Jessica said.

After all, the thief only stole a few votes. Maybe they would want to steal more. I thought for a moment. How would we get the thief in action if we don’t know where they came in through? Maybe the thief could have chosen to come through a different place just in case we may know for sure where he was. Or maybe — 

I wasn’t able to finish because right then my mom said it was time to go.

“Make a plan the next time we see each other, ok,” I said.

“Ok. Bye!” Jessica said.

“Bye!” I replied back.

By the time I was back at home, it was 8:00, one hour before bedtime. I guess that’s enough time to make one plan and two backups, I thought. I was wrong. I brought the map but it would be easier in-person. One plan. That’s all. I brushed my teeth and changed into my pajamas. I didn’t even need a book to make me go to sleep. I was super tired so I fell asleep after THREE minutes.

The next day was Saturday. I called Jessica.

“I can come over. And also, did you make any backup plans?” I asked.

“I made one but that’s all,” said Jessica.

“Good. One is enough. We can make more. But first things first, let me get ready. I’ll be there in about one hour,” I said.

I changed, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and packed up a few things. That took me 30 minutes. After 30 more minutes, I left. I was there just in time! Jessica was ready too!

We spent an hour making backup plans. I asked my dad earlier if we could go to his office. The answer was yes. So right then, my dad pulled his car up to the front steps. We got in.

Since we were only allowed to stay in my dad’s office and we needed to work around the building, we made a plan to convince him to let us out. Or more like kick us out.

Chapter 3

Stakeout!

When we got there, we made so much noise that my dad said that we could play outside. Quietly. We put our bags on. Plan succeeded! We taped surveillance cameras on the walls. Jessica and I were tech experts so the surveillance cameras would ding our phones if they saw someone unknown. We were ready. And I asked my dad if we could stay during the night. He said yes. We brought sleeping bags that we could sleep in.

During the night, the alarm went off! We went to our spying headquarters. Someone with a black cap, jeans, and black hoodie was at the corner of the window. It looked as if he didn’t see us. He had some kind of tool with him. He used it to break the window! Glass shattered on the floor. How did no one know that a person was stealing the votes if they were making noise? Did they even see the glass on the floor the last time? Maybe they just saw that there wasn’t the same number of votes…  Thoughts swirled around in my head but I knew that we weren’t just going to stand here and do nothing.

“Let’s go get him on the count of three,” I whispered. “One… Two… Three!” I whisper/shouted.

“Who are you?” Jessica asked.

I turned the trap on so he wouldn’t escape. There was silence for a minute. Finally, I said,

“He won’t answer. Let’s just call the police.”

Beep! Beep! Beep! Diiiiiing!

We told the police the address and what the problem was.

“They will be here in about five minutes,” I said.

We programmed the surveillance cameras to take a picture of our suspect so that we could see clues. We opened all of his pockets. Nothing. He has to be hiding something because he can’t just go unprotected. Interesting… 

Chapter 4

Punishment!

The police came.

“What’s the matter?” they asked.

“We found out who was stealing the votes!” I said.

 We both pointed at the trap.

“You’re getting arrested!” one of the police officers said.

I saw them handcuffing the thief. What if he’s working with other people? They could come again but this can’t just go on forever, I thought. It should be fine. For now

The police went away with the thief.

“Thanks for your help!” one of the police officers said.

“You’re welcome!” we replied back.

We went to the office where people count the votes. We looked at the document about how many votes were supposed to be here. A LOT. Literally. It felt like it was going to take forever to count the votes.

“I don’t know if we can count all of this in time,” I said.

“I think we can count enough. Especially because tomorrow is a weekend!” Jessica said. We spent three whole hours. Then we thought that we would die. And right then, we passed out. Not like the passing out, passing out, but like the sleeping kind of passing out. When we woke up, it was 7:00 sharp. Sunday. Last weekend day of the week. Still, I was concerned if the thief had people with him. They could come again! This time, Jessica came to my house. We played for a long time. Pretty much, everything was handled.

The End

Tuck’s Grand Adventure

Once upon a time, there was a dog called Tuck. There was also a villain named Mr. Stupido. Mr. Stupido was, as you can guess, stupid. He wanted a magical snake that attracted dogs because he thought that dogs were cows and he tried to milk the dogs. Naturally, as dogs aren’t cows, there wasn’t any milk, and Mr. Stupido went on a search for the snake dog toy. One day, he got it. The magical dog toy was Tuck’s before Mr. Stupido stole it, so Tuck went on a quest to find his dog toy and to save all dogs from being milked. (He didn’t know that part yet.) 

There was only one thing on his side. Tuck was adorable! He used his charm to get lots and lots of food. Tuck began his quest by walking through his backyard. He got a little ways out when he thought, Oh boy, I want to chew something! 

He sniffed around his backyard until he found a really good stick. Then, he picked it up and started chewing. He kept walking. Soon, Tuck got hungry. He chased a few mice but they all ran away. Soon, he found an even better squirrel! He caught it. Tuck kept walking by the side of the stream where he had gotten the scent of Mr. Stupido and his toy. (Being stupid, Mr. Stupido left a really obvious trail.) 

Tuck saw a house nearby. It wasn’t Mr. Stupido’s, but Tuck was getting hungry so he begged for food and got some. The next house was Mr. Stupido’s, and it had a big sign on the front that said, “The home of Mr. Stupido,” so he walked in and got the toy. (Mr. Stupido didn’t have any security system.) When Mr. Stupido saw Tuck, he waved and said, “Hi, cowie!”

Tuck let all the dogs out and then went back home with all of the dogs (because he had the dog toy) and took a nice, long nap.

Sights – A Haiku Collection

#3

Sleek skies of Heaven

Fill the empty void above us

All blue as always

#6

The mountain goes up

Beyond the mist of the day

No eye can see so

#8

When my fist reaches

The red blood runs under my thumb

And to my own arm

#12

It was a dark time

When the leaves were black with evil

I was so very scared

#22

The springlight of night

Fills my cold, hungry soul with beauty

I smile wearily, extend hands

#31

As the sun dies away

I realize it’s not all trustable

It dies like us, too

I, Broken Girl

Can you see?

Can you see what is happening?

Can you see I am suffering?

No. You do not.

No. You only saw a weak, mindless girl.

No pity. Just a girl who has gotten a taste of this world.

I have tasted it before.

I have been in it before.

I am not naive or dumb.

My name is Sarah.

My name is ordinary.

My name is not like me.

Me. The broken, tired girl.

Me. Who has not seen love for years.

Me. Who no one cares for.

My possessions are gone.

My hope is dim.

My heart is cracking.

Before, I was happy.

Before, I was loved.

Before, I was truly me.

After, I was broken.

After, I was looked upon as less.

After, I was changed.

Now, I am broken.

Now, I am looked upon as less.

Now, I am drowning.

We, the broken.

We, the crybabies.

We, the changed.

Do you see the truth now?

Do you feel my feelings now?

Do you remember me now?

Ouch! Goes the Weasel {Book #3: Ronalds, Welcome to Elementary School}

Why, hello for the third time!

Ronalds Squeak-Sq, reporting for fun! Whew, I could finally fill out my third out of 100 notebooks placed on my humongous shelf. Ouch! Silly me. I forgot to tell you something exciting. I graduated from preschool. Goodbye, Weaselmentary! 

Yup, it might seem pretty confusing when you should be in first grade when you are six years old. But remember! This is Utteramma Field, the field of weirdness (in your perspective, that is). Here, preschoolers graduate when they are six. 

Now, I’m in Kindergarten. So remember to be KINDergarten! Oh, and I almost forgot to put something I just learned from my classmates: LOL! 

As you guys already know, my brother and botherer, Carl, is the leader of Utteramma Field’s Squeak Scouts, the boy/girl scouts of your kind. 

My father is the Executive Director of Utteramma Field Electricity Institute (UFEI). The UFEI produces electricity to every weasel in town during the Weasel Uprising in 2123, when the Handemolen peeps are protecting every weasel in the world of the TSSA. 

Eventually, we smart weasels learned to use human materials, so we used them on our own as well. Back in my family, my mom just took a job as a nurse in Utteramma Field Hospital (UFH) a month ago. With no one in my family guarding me, I had to figure out a way to get a babysitter. 

I dialed 167-999-9998 on the weaselphone in my house. A babysitter named Alexia came. Instead of making Mom mad, my Mom was… well, actually proud of me. My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t so amused. 

He usually is the most easy-to-get-angry weasel in town, but sometimes, if I finish my homework early, my dad will reward me with three-quarters of an hour of TV time. 

Oh, sorry. I forgot we were talking about what happened last — well, let’s say the last time you saw me.* Remember? My troubles with learning the piano with my dad and oversleeping two times in a row and being laughed at? 

I hope you didn’t remember, because just thinking about it makes me twitch like crazy. And I mean crazy. Oh, there I go. Finally. Whew! *Oh, and I finally remembered: The last time you saw me was two years ago. Long time no SEA! Hah! LOL! (Again!) 

I know you are itching for me to start my story, so here we go!


(Connect the second to last paragraph to this next section.)

Oops, I forgot we were talking about something serious (seriously, I have made that mistake over and over for the last six years, which means my entire lifetime. So far, that is.). So, I made a list of what mistakes to avoid. 

Ronalds Squeak-Sq’s Avoid-Mistake List

* (Rule 1) NEVER stammer

* (Rule 2) NEVER have spelling errors

* (Rule 3) NEVER forget that we are talking about something serious

* (Rule 4)  NEVER listen to Carl

* (Rule 5) NEVER accept Dad’s tutorial

Okay, you might think that this list is a little too ambitious. But for a weasel like me, this list is just a little beyond my level. 

Oops, I forgot to add something to the list. 

* (Rule 6) NEVER get carried away

There. That’s better. Squeaking about better, school was way better than Weaselmentary, my nursery school. (Sorry, I forgot to add that part into my intro.) No one is bullying me, I’m not having a negative attitude, you name it. 

When you were reading that, did your mind think that your brain was playing tricks on you? Well, if you said “yes,” you are completely WRONG! What I was saying to you was the truth. The complete truth. 

And — I disobeyed my rule #6. I got carried away again. *SIGH* When would I grow up?! URGH! I disobeyed rule #6 again!!! Ugh. I should have added a 7th rule. 

* (Rule 7) NEVER get out of control 

Wow. The list is getting better and better. Now, back to my story. 

Well, I couldn’t even concentrate on writing because of all this Utteramma Field afternoon sun. I stayed up all noon writing this. I should be taking my afternoon nap. See ya!


Good morning!* Let’s move on with our story now that we are no longer blinded by the Utteramma Field sun. 

*You do remember me making the morning-afternoon mistake in my first book, right? Well, you might have thought I made that mistake again. But nooo… surprisingly, I overslept. I didn’t notice until now. So that’s why I erased “Good afternoon” and put “Good morning” instead.

School was awesome. We learned about math, science, and even the vocabulary word “excited.” We even had some very interesting homework. So turn the page to see my worksheet. 

Word Study Worksheet
{Review Sheet 2}

Name: Ronalds Squeak-Sq


Section 1: Word Identification

  1. REMEMBER, a synonym is a word that means another. So what is a synonym of the word “mad”?

____________________________________________________________________________

  1. What is the definition of “excited”?

____________________________________________________________________________

  1. REMEMBER, an antonym is a word that is opposite of another word. So what is an antonym for the word “full”?

____________________________________________________________________________

Section 2: Verbs

  1. Mark is doing something after lunch. What could he have been doing? Circle the possibilities. There’s more than one.

(jogging)
(eating dessert)
(watching TV)
(Chilling out)

  1. After circling the possibilities, name what all your answers have in common. 

____________________________________________________________________________

Ouch! That’s a lot of homework. I’ve also got a math sheet, but this tiny notebook won’t fit that many homework copies for me to glue in. Double Ouch! I always get close calls of being spotted by my dad. He wants me to do homework, not to glue in copies to write a book. 

You might be thinking, “Oh, poor little Ronalds!” No, I’m not that poor in the family. I’m just a… er, a neutral guy, that’s it. But there’s just something that’s itching me… 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

“Oh, hello, Mr. Poop!” That wasn’t something that made my feelings better. I turned around. Sure enough, it was Carl. “Me, the brave pilot, will be eating Ronalds, the little helpless chickie.” Then, I defended myself using a new “passcode.” The latest passcode was:

56197398

But today, a new passcode has formed:

~!@#$%^&*()_+QWERTYUIOP}|ASDFGHJKL:”ZXCVM<>?

Perfect passcode, as Carl won’t be able to guess it in the five tries I give him. Yup, that’s right. Five tries. Last time, Carl’s guesses were

“89702?”
“901876?”
“801909?”
“54321?”
“OLKA2ME?”

This time, Carl wasn’t even close. There were no numbers in my passcode, right? Well, all of Carl’s guesses were with numbers. And that’s what I call an Ouch! Goes the Weasel!! LOL! 

Arrrgh! I disobeyed my rule #3! Hmmph. And I would call that a double Ouch! Goes the Weasel. Anyway, I really need to calm down here. Let me take a good nap. See you tomorrow then, diary! 


Anyway, it had been a long day. I learned to ride my bike: the worst thing ever. My bike always wobbled from side to side. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s because my dad didn’t know there was such thing as training wheels. 

Next came an equally bad thing: I had to study* chess and tennis with my dad. 

*Know me! You must remember this: remember in my last book, where I was forced to study the piano with my dad as well? Remember how my dad was the worst tutor in the world? REMEMBER?!

That was what I would call an infinite Ouch! Goes the Weasel. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Oush! Boush! Burrech! Sorry. You know those times when you say a word too many times, it just sounds all weird? Well, that’s what happened to me. A–BBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOSH! 

Arggh! What the hell had just happened?! 

*Blink Blink*

Oofy! Owwy! That’s when I had to cover my ears. My dad was screaming. 

CARL! GET OFF OF RONALDS!!!!!!!!!! (x10,000 !’s)

I blinked again. 

*Blink Blink*

Okay, tell me if this is true. Carl was — jumping on my bed, with me in it?! Okay, I must be dreaming. Let me check my eyes. 

*Blink Blink*
*Rub Rub*
(Repeat x10)

Okay, I get it. I’m not dreaming. Wait, yes I am… 

Hurr? Wait, was I daydreaming? Give me a moment to think about
th_____    =’’’

To be continued in…
Ouch! Goes the Weasel Book #4

The Afterthen

Chapter 1 – Surprised

It was a Wednesday. Alexis was procrastinating on her math homework, as usual. The sunflowers were bending upward and soaking in the sunshine. As it got warmer out, they seemed to be moving further and further from their wintertime weakness. Their petals glowed with raw magic and their hay green centers swirled like whirlpool water into the tall, thick stems. Then, she heard a rumbling behind her. She whipped her head around. So maybe, although Alexis would kill me if she found out I said this, it was just her pet poodle, Daffodil, growling at this toy she had that looked just like her. Alexis was just so bored in this beautifully magical town that she was combing through her almost-but-not-quite perfect days, searching for something even remotely spooky or dangerous. But eventually, she’d have to get back to her math homework or Mrs. LaNeil would kill her. She flopped back down in her chair, and, while tapping her pencil repeatedly between problems, she struggled through the remaining six sheets. That’s right, six sheets. Oh, teachers back then…

I don’t know exactly why Alexis had to procrastinate so much, since, to my dismay, I could not get that out of her. But my theory, which is probably right, (I consider myself to be very well acquainted with her), is that her pride simply would not allow her to be a good little girl and finish it early like everyone else at her school.

Once she finished, she flopped down on her boring pink bed and wished and wondered. She wished she didn’t have such a dull life. She wondered why she stuck out, why no one was like her, why she had to be alone.

The next afternoon was Friday, thank the sunflowers. She relaxed and read. Her ridiculous school uniform was on the floor. It included a pink hair bow, a white dress, pink tights, white ruffly socks, and shiny pink Mary Janes.

After a few weeks of dull routines, Alexis received a pristine white envelope with her name and address stamped on it in shiny gold leaf. She was not impressed. Probably some letter from a stupid teacher complaining about stupid grades. When she opened it, she collapsed on her plush white rug. Every year for every eleven year old in the village, there was an official tournament. Not for sewing, or spelling, or math. This was a tournament of magic.

And you may not know, but Alexis was special when it came to magic. She was easily the most powerful in her grade. Alexis could fly, make her hair burn or turn into red-hot, dripping lava, and so many other amazing things. But her specialty was earth. She could pick up pebbles and spin them into gold. She could pick up gold and spin it into pebbles. She could crush you in a second with a grain of sand. No one else was completely aware of it, but she was probably more powerful than many of the masters.

So she jumped and flew off her balcony, down into the fields of emerald grass. The trees were perfect; scarlet, golden, and deep blue. Her high, silver combat boots dug into the fertile soil. Then she practiced. She spun rocks above her fingers. She mined diamonds out of the ground by using all the effort in her body, and turned them into a tall tower. Next, she spiraled around the tower, all the way up. Then she shattered it to pieces, and did backflips and frontflips in the air as she came down.

After hours and hours, she worked out a routine. She was proud of herself. She knew she could win the tournament, but there was a few months before this would happen. It was an agonizingly long amount of time to wait. She leapt back up onto her balcony and went back inside. Besides, the sun was beginning to set. She had one of her usual late dinners alone in the dining room before heading to bed. That night, she tossed and turned. She didn’t think she would be able to wait. Her parents had better be ready for another drop in her grades. She didn’t care about that, though. Her worry, besides the long wait for the tournament, was that competition for the Sapphire Crown (the prize of winning the tournament) coming up, with the long amount of time for practice and improvement. This might wreck Alexis’s chance and the Sapphire Crown, which was the key to the most exciting opportunities in Sunflower. It was a secret, but it was what Alexis craved the most. The crown also brought respect to its champions. This adventure might come with a friend. After all these years of loneliness, someone might finally just walk up and invite her over for mango smoothies one day. Well, banana shakes would be preferable; after all, the mangos in Sunflower were awfully sour. But really, Alexis wouldn’t mind if it was rotten sunflower stems. Which some adults liked. Not that she understood why. 

Now there is really something I have to tell you. Alexis was not acknowledging the second part of the Sapphire Crown contest. Nobody knew what happened in the dark and shadowed second stage. Only one person made it past the first stage, which was the routine Alexis was making. Once the winner had completed the unknown second stage, they were forbidden to speak of it. That is, if they survived. 

Chapter 2 – The Contest

A few months was far too long for Alexis to wait. She had her routine completed, including all the finishing touches, and even a stunning outfit. (In my opinion, there was no need for her routine, despite its glory, because I am positive that she could have won the tournament with just that outfit. But she didn’t ask me). However, a few months is not forever, and the day came. It was conveniently over a break so all the teachers and students were free, as well as the stay-at-home parents and the town leaders and every other person in the village. Even the animals were free that week. Even the sunflowers, naturally. Moving on.

Alexis walked a short distance to the field where the competition was held. There were chairs set up in neat rows in the grass. She sat next to her mother, since she had no friends to sit with. She watched the other children perform their talents. She clapped politely after each one, but really she was terrified. The talents were just getting better and better and it seemed that every one of them would be that tiny bit better than her. That meant everything in a competition like this. She performed her routine as #56. 20 remained. It was rather uneventful. Now, I don’t mean that the crowd wasn’t impressed. Just that they weren’t really surprised at what she’d done.

At the end of the competition, the leaders walked onto the stage. They took folded yellow papers and passed them out to students. Before Alexis could open hers, some black-haired girl who could fly opened her paper and petals came out. This signaled that she had won the competition. Alexis’s expression was completely blank at first, and she worked hard to keep it that way. Her emotions and mind still felt frozen, unable to process the information overload. Alexis had been a close second. Very good, but not what she’d been hoping for. You see, she had been hoping to win. She dipped her head to her parents and left, only allowing the tears to stream down her cheeks when she was out of sight.

. . .

She hid in her room and cried. She didn’t know what was going to happen to her now. Her life was surely over. Everything was over. She could never…

“Alexis,” her brother Lincoln said, the door slowly opening.

“Go away.”

“Alexis, listen. The girl who won chose not to accept. That means you won.”

Alexis’s whole world brightened. Then she remembered the second task. She was nervous, but any place it sent her would be better than here. So she got up, wiped her eyes as best she could and walked to the field.

It was all a blur, really. Flashes of do you accept and I do and very well and things like that. But everything slowed down when they read out the second task.

“Your second task is to go into the Afterthen and save it. You must survive and come home to win the Sapphire Crown.”

“Wha-What is the Afterthen?” Alexis asked nervously. 

“The Afterthen is a land very near here that is stuck in a time warp. It is under the rule of tyrannical people who use time all wrong.” This was interesting. She was supposed to save a whole land from evil rulers and time itself? Great. A portal appeared next to the stage. “Are you ready to go now? Simply step through the portal and then you will be in the Afterthen.”

Alexis stepped through the portal before she had time to think better of it.

Chapter 3 – The Beach of Shoes

The first thing she saw in the Afterthen was a beach covered in shoes. Something in the sand was pulling her shoes off, and she felt a strange urge to be barefoot. But she resisted. She liked her shoes. Besides, there was no point in going into a dangerous land without shoes on her feet. Once she pulled away, the sand moved in another direction. Since she had nowhere else to go, she followed the wave of wet sand. As she walked further and further down the beach, she saw a figure moving in place. Closer now. It was a girl. Her eyes were wide with fear and she was running or at least was trying to. Her body repeated the same motions again and again, but didn’t move forward or backward.

Alexis inspected her closely. The air around her was purplish and moved around slowly, like fog. Alexis stuck her hand in the fog. It suddenly moved very slowly, but she was able to grab the girl’s hand and pull her out so she collapsed, breathless, on the ground.

“Who are you?” Alexis asked.

“I’m Hailee. Sunflower sent me to the Afterthen on a quest to save it, but I got stuck in this time warp.”

“I didn’t know anyone from Sunflower who has been sent to the Afterthen.” Alexis said. But maybe…

“I heard a girl fifty years ago got sent to another place in her second stage and never came back. Maybe that’s what’ll happen to you once you get to your second stage,” her brother had once joked to her.

“Hailee. Listen, I think you are from fifty years ago.”

“That’s possible.” Hailee said.
“Do you know anything about the Afterthen?”

“Well, I don’t know a lot, but this is what I do know. A long time ago, Sunflower was part of the Afterthen. Sunflower, which hasn’t changed much since then, acted as a safe refuge to lost travelers and anyone who happened to be in the extension of the time warp, really. Now, the leaders of the Afterthen didn’t like this, because they want as much time as they need while the rest of the land gets nothing. So they stole the time from Sunflower. They threatened to fast forward everyone in the town to their deaths if Sunflower did not break away. Sunflower, of course, agreed, so a powerful magician turned the town into an island and sent it away, and, well, that’s how we ended up where we are.”

“Wow. I caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…” Alexis began, but then gasped as if the air was sucked out of her when really it was the time and felt herself slipping into a time warp.

“GO! RUN! QUICKLY!” Hailee screamed.

They ran as fast as they could during the breaks in the time warp, but had to go slowly during the moments that it was in effect.  Now, you will be noticing this more and more in the story, so let me explain what is actually happening to these girls. You see, the time was moving from the area where they were to some other poor place where everyone would find themselves with too much time. It would pile up all around the people, and when they hit the piles time would slow down or speed up. People would be constantly teleporting from time period to time period, but I’m getting off topic. I think I know this story too well.

Moving on. With no other place to go, Alexis and Hailee dove into the ocean. Then the surface disappeared, and suddenly Alexis was drowning, but what did she feel beneath her feet, that grainy substance. Sand.

“What just happened?” Alexis panted.

“Well, that was the Ocean of Time. It just tried to rob us. We’re out now though, but we better get out fast, because it’s sure to be furious at us.”

“But why would it try to rob us?” Alexis was forced to scream this because the tide was loud and angry.

“Because the Afterthen used time frivolously and wasted it all somehow. However, that was a long, long time ago. These days, they rob it from whoever is around.” The ocean started pulling at Alexis’ feet and she felt so relaxed like she had all the time in the world. Some part of her knew this was bad, but the ocean seemed so kind and welcoming.  She snapped out of her trance soon enough, though, most likely because Hailee pulled her away, and the world around them morphed into a field of flowers and field mice.

“This is the Field of Mice,” Hailee observed from a small leather notebook she took out of her frilly skirt pocket.

Chapter 4 – Eye of the Hurricane

Alexis raised her eyebrows at the name. Hailee gave her a look.

“The people in the Afterthen are too busy wasting time to be creative about names. Besides, it’s not like it matters, as long as we will be relatively safe here, which we will be,” she reminded Alexis. Alexis had to agree. They kept walking.

After a few hours, they became hungry and tired so they stopped for a break. Alexis crafted bowls and cups out of earth. Hailee snapped her fingers, and suddenly rain came pouring down, filling the dishes with cold, clean water. 

“Impressive,” Alexis remarked.

“Yeah, I can control the weather,” Hailee said with a proud look on her face that she was having a terrible time hiding. Alexis dumped the water out of the bowls and grabbed Hailee’s hand. 

“Come on,” she said, grinning, “I know some edible flowers that make a delicious salad.” The girls hunted for daylilies for about half an hour. When they came back, their hands and pockets were stuffed with enough petals to give each girl several helpings of salad (not to mention what they had eaten while walking). They filled their bowls with pale pink and yellow blossoms and had a good meal, leaving them refreshed and ready to continue the journey ahead of them. Alexis buried the dishes, so no one would know the girls had been there.

The Field of Mice went on for what seemed like forever. When the sun began to set, the pair slept under the stars, the soft grass and daisies cushioning them, the traces of the daylilies still in their mouths.

They slept until 11:00 the next morning, and they were still so tired they would have slept for longer, but Alexis spotted the end of the Field of Mice a mile away. Normally, this would be hard to notice since it was so far, but as you know, this field is very colorful and very green, and what came after it looked black and burnt, so the contrast made it easy to see. She tapped Hailee’s shoulder to wake her up.

“I guess we’ve reached the end of the Field of Mice,” Hailee said.

“Do you know what that black place is?” Alexis asked.

“No, not yet.”

“What do you mean, not yet?”

“Here, I’ll show you,” Hailee responded, taking the rough leather notebook out of her pocket again. “This is how the notebook works. It is an enchanted item that Sunflower handed out to visitors before they left the Afterthen. They gave me one before my quest. I imagine they’re all gone now, after fifty years. Anyway. Basically, when I am in a certain place in the Afterthen, the notebook will show me the name of where I am, along with a short description and the appropriate warnings for wherever I am. So I can’t see what that place is until we are actually there.”

“Useful. But we should keep moving,” Alexis observed.

And that is what they did. Hailee put the notebook back into her skirt pocket, which was so frilly and poofy that no one would notice if you put an elephant into it. That mile was a boring mile, well, as boring as something could be when there was so much dread in the air. Because of this dread, Alexis was looking for something to distract her. Her wandering eyes stopped on Hailee’s bare feet.

“Was the reason you got stuck in the time warp the fact that you have no shoes?” Alexis asked. “After all, I didn’t get stuck in one, and I have shoes.”

“Well, it was probably just luck,” Hailee contradicted her. “Time in the Afterthen is random. You can’t expect it to have any kind of rhyme or reason. On the other hand, you might be partly right. People who fall for tricks are more likely to end up in dilemmas.”

“So?” Alexis said skeptically, not getting the point.

So, it’s partly my bad luck and partly my idiocy.”

“Interesting conclusion.”

The girls kept walking, forgetting the strange conversation in their dread. As they drew closer to the black place, the flowers became less common and the grass thinned out, until they were on a near-scorched field.

You may have guessed by now. They had reached the black place.

Chapter 5 – STAY AWAY

Hailee opened her notebook, but it was empty. She gasped. However, in a few seconds, words slowly appeared across the page. They were large and hastily written, as if scrawled by someone in a hurry. It wasn’t difficult to read though. Alexis could clearly see the message:

STAY AWAY

“This isn’t a good sign,” Hailee whispered in her shock. A shady figure stepped out from behind a cliff. He wore old timey detective clothes and was evidently from a time portal somewhere nearby. He took a small dagger from his pocket. And threw it directly at Alexis.

. . .

Luckily, Alexis blocked it with a wall of sparkling emeralds.

“You’ve got taste,” Hailee observed.

Alexis viewed her work with satisfaction. She peeked out. She noticed that the man was gone. She also noticed that instead of one dagger stuck in the wall of emeralds, there were at least a dozen. Whoever that man was, he was someone to watch out for. Despite the safety of expensive and glittery shields.

They stayed cautious as they walked through the almost never ending black place. They didn’t encounter many dangers, which was suspicious. It didn’t last forever, though. Within a few hours, they spotted an army of redcoats marching towards them, wielding muskets and bayonets. Eventually the tense march turned into an all-out battle, with Alexis tossing men into the air and Hailee striking down entire regiments with lightning bolts. More kept appearing. It was an impossible fight.

The girls ducked into an alley. They had a minute or so before there was the sound of footsteps behind them. But not thousands of footsteps. Just one person. It was a medieval knight. Then suddenly it transformed into a boy. His eyes constantly changed color and his clothes seemed to change styles every second.

“My name is Jack. I can get you out of here.” The boy promptly transformed into a redcoat.

“How did you do that?” Alexis asked suspiciously.

“There isn’t time to explain. Now, come on. You’ll have no trouble at all getting through them now.” With that, Jack tapped both of the girls and transformed them into soldiers. They would have protested, but an officer’s fancy shoes were heading toward the alley.

They blended in easily with the redcoats. Eventually, the army turned and started heading back in the direction of the Field of Mice. Alexis assumed that they were continuing the patrol. The trio broke off from patrol and transformed back into themselves again.

“I’ve been traveling around the Afterthen since I was little. I’ve never gotten this far. How did you do it?” Jack said.

“I guess we just got lucky,” Hailee said, shrugging.

“What’s that in the distance?” Alexis asked.

There was a field similar to the Field of Mice. It had no time portals and looked safe. Except for one thing. There was a golden palace, guarded by tiny camo dots.

“The palace of the rulers. Once you get inside, they’re quite vulnerable. And we can deal with the guards.”

Alexis simply could not believe it. She was nearing the end of her quest. All they needed to do was get past the guards and lock the rulers in some remote dungeon. Everything suddenly came together. The rulers used time wrong. If they were stripped of their power the armies from history would disappear. Perhaps one of the Sunflower rulers could take the throne. 

Despite the excitement, the journey took weeks of hard traveling. They ate dried petals that were leftover from before the black place. Eventually though, they reached the golden palace – and its army.

Chapter 6 – The False Victory

Jack had been right, the camo troops were easy to fight. They weren’t endless, like the redcoats. They easily broke into the palace. The halls were lined with paintings of the various “attractions” of the nearby areas. Gold suits of armor made loud noises as they walked past.

The palace seemed endless. Alexis’s feet ached terribly from the long journey they were so close to finishing. Hailee, who was barefoot, had to walk on the fancy red carpet to keep her feet from unbearable pain. After half an hour, a set of double doors labeled “THRONE ROOM” came into sight. They were so close!!!

. . .

Ten minutes later they opened the door. The rulers were eating lunch at a table to the left of the three intricately carved thrones. They didn’t notice the trio.

Alexis readied chains of hard earth. Hailee had a lightning bolt in each hand. They were about to throw them when suddenly they were blasted into the air.

Alexis couldn’t move. Couldn’t move at all. An endless void opened up beneath her. Couldn’t hear much either, except for a laugh. She searched desperately for the source of the laugh. She knew whoever laughed had thwarted their plans somehow, and stopped two powerful enchanters. Then she found the face. Jack’s.

“You really thought you could stop us?” Jack asked in that same tone he had used before the redcoats. “The rulers were notified by that detective that you were trying to stop us. He never misses anything. They sent me to stop you two from ruining our time warp here. Since I have proven satisfactory, I will become the new ruler of the Afterthen. And you? Well, you had better enjoy living in the void.”

THE END

Aunt Marge’s dream

I blew up 

I flew by 

My body felt like it was slowly getting lighter as I floated into the sky 

I felt myself getting higher as I screamed and shouted 

I decided to enjoy this moment when I looked into the sky 

I felt birds in their world spreading their wings flying by

It was a VIP room rented just for me 

In a world I saw, only something I could see 

But what if I deflated?

What if I burst?

It would feel never-ending and a worse discovery than the first 

My heart would fall never-ending 

The weight upon my shoulders 

As I heaved myself off the couch it would still feel like the same boulders 

Mountain Mama

The Lost Bunny

Hi, I am the queen of the mountains. My name is Mountain Mama. I am a girl with long, dirty brown hair, and I have a crown made of leaves and I am a fairy. I come out every day from my home in one of the mountains in West Virginia. You can see my home from the view of the summit pool. But one time I messed up. One cold winter morning, Miss Hess said that she doesn’t know where her little bunny disappeared. When she woke up she was gone. Mountain Mama was shocked. She said to Miss Hess,

“Do not worry, we will find your little bunny for you.”

So that night the queen set out for a look around the kingdom to find the little bunny. She looked and looked for an hour already. But then she found a carrot. She went down to get the carrot. She went down to pick up and maybe find a clue. So when she went down she found a hole and it was so tiny that I, Queen Mountain Mama, couldn’t even fit in there so I used my magic wand and I said, “Bibedy bobbidy boo, make me small.” So then she went in the tunnel. Read the next chapter to find out.

The Way To Go

 So I walked a little deeper into the cave. 

“Aaaaaaaaah!” A net just swung down right near my head. “Ok ok ok ok Mountain Mama, you are ok. You can do this, you are on the mission to find the little bunny.” It was brighter and it was, don don don, carrots. I thought this was a mystery, not a pile of carrots. She thought and thought until she had a brilliant idea. Not only was it a brilliant idea, it was a wonderful and blunderful idea, and it also was a big big big big big brainstorming idea. Ok I think that was a little too much. Ok now let’s get on to the real topic. The brilliant idea was, don don don, to dig through the huge pile of carrots. So she usd her magic wand to make a shovel, so that is what I did and then I started to dig. Let’s see how many hours that took me. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, yes it was 24 hours. Then I finally got to go into the cave and then to the next chapter.

Never Give Up 

When I went in, I saw a big table of carrots again. I said to myself again never give up. So I took a lot of the carrots and then I saw a little tail.  So little! 

I asked the bunny if she was missing and then she said,

 “Oh Mountain Mama, I was really scared. The wind blew me away and Mommy did not see so I ended up here and I did not know what to do.” 

“Well now,” I said, “you are safe. Let me bring you back to your mommy.”

“Ok thank you Mountain Mama.” Then I held the little bunny in my arms and I flapped my wings and I flew off. When I returned the little bunny, I flapped my wings again and I said,

 “That is why you should never give up!!!” 

The Mimic

Chapter 1

For my little brother, Damir

The sky is black and lights almost look like they come to you. Legend said that a Mimic lives in Embassy Park Where I live. Oh, if you’re wondering who I am, my name is Liam and I am 16. I have been spying on the Mimic for 5 years now and I know who it is.

It is my friend, Tanqr, the Youtuber. I know Tanqr is the Mimic because I went to his house and saw his tentacles. Tanqr was not the Mimic all the time. The Mimic died but his soul got into Tanqr.

Chapter 2 

On a Friday at midnight, I spy on him, but he is nowhere to be found. 1 second later, he is behind me! 3 hours later, I wake up. I’m tied up on a chair.

I say, “What do you want from me?”

“I want to KILL YOU,” he says in a broke-up voice. “I know that you saw my tentacles. You do not want to know what I am going to do to you.”

I say, “Where are we?” He says we are in the abandoned metro station. I ask why. He replies,

“Because I want you to suffer like I did.”

5 years earlier, Tanqr was making a video and the soul went into him.

Chapter 3

He was making a video of a game in roblox called arsenal. He also plays Big Paintball. The way The Mimic’s soul got into Tanqr was The Mimic had a hideout in a nuclear power plant with his friends and it exploded and killed them and one soul survived and got into Tanqr. Back into the future, the Mimic lets me go. The Mimic says he needs to go somewhere when he lets me go. The next day at school, my other friend, Mack, and I go to math class. 45 minutes later, dinggg! The math teacher, Ms. Katz, grades my work, and like always I get a straight A. Hmmm, Tanqr is not at school, which is weird. He needs to go to school.

Chapter 4

The next day, he still is not coming to school. It’s getting weird because I am thinking maybe he could be planning to take over the world. The next day, he comes to school, but he looks sus (P.S., sus means suspicious). I’m wondering what is he doing. He’s wearing a bowtie, but I haven’t seen him ever were a bowtie. Tanqr is also so nice today. He’s supposed to be shy. First, someone dropped their books and Tanqr helped him. Next, someone was getting bullied and he embarrassed the leader bully by saying that he pooped in his pants.

ChApTeR 5

After school, he says, “Yo, can I come to your house?” I say yes.

1 hour later, you will not believe what happened, not in a million years. Ok, fine, I will tell you. THE MIMIC’S SOUL GOT OUT OF TANQR. I can’t believe it, not in a million years.

2 Days later, I hear a whoosh sound at night and I turn around. I can’t believe it, the soul is here. I run to the bathroom and I splash the ghost and it goes away but it doesn’t die which is weird.

… To be continued.

Epilogue

The next day, the soul tries to kill me again. Does this guy ever give up? (No, he does not.) I can’t believe it. The Most Info about Ghosts book says that the ghost that attacked me does not give up (see, I told you). The author, Jalley Brown, claims she saw a ghost but I asked her at the museum of ghosts and she said she lied (which I partially knew) because she wanted attention and to be famous .Then I research all night and I get the only why to defeat the ghost is to get the rarest rock in the world, which is called (drum roll please): Clockstone.                                     

M25.C8-5-19-19.T8-9-14-7-25.F15-18.T8-5.L1-19-20.S5-13-5-19-20-5-18.

My first memories of playing chess are a little fuzzy, but I do remember I wanted to beat my brother Shepherd at something he was in a club for and I wasn’t. I had a really competitive spirit and I still do now. I wanted my brother to show me how to play chess and finally my brother was forced to by my mother. Luckily, my kindergarten school had a chess club which is where I met my best friend of five years. After playing with my friends and winning, my competitive spirit slowly turned into a love for chess and finally at my first rated tournament I got to put my skills to the test. I was in the lowest section and there were five rounds (it was a city tournament). The section was K-1.  Everyone had an under 400 rating. I won each of the 5 rounds and I got first place. I shot up my rating to 925 and got kicked out of the section because my rating was too high. I helped my team to get first place with 4 people (top 4 add their points together for the team points).  In total, we had 16 points (my brother – 3, a 1st grader named Joshua – 4, my best friend Avaan – 4, me – 5). I played in many tournaments, finally reaching a rating of 1000 at age 6. 

Skip forward a few years to 3rd grade. My parents made me stop playing chess tournaments because my schedule was full. I adapted and for two years I didn’t play chess.

Skip forward a couple more years. In 5th grade, because of Covid, all the chess was online. There are differences between online chess and real chess. One difference is that there are distractions at home. Siblings can be very annoying when you are trying to focus. When we are playing in person, everyone has to be quiet. I started to play online chess and broke 1500, hurraay! My rating started bouncing around between 1475 and 1525, finally settling around 1510-1530. 

However, then my rating jumped down to 1488. WAAAAAH. At a tournament in April 2021, I won two out of two games. I thought I could win all 4 rounds. Unfortunately there was someone who is higher rated who I hadn’t beaten in the last 5 games we played. I beat him a long time ago, but I thought, It probably won’t be today… UUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHH! His name is… Elliot Goodrich. He is only in 2nd grade and has a rating of over 1500!  

First round, I played a guy named Andrew Plasse. 20 moves later, it was still even. Finally, I thought of a tactic. Win a pawn. Then, I was up 1 point. I won another pawn. I was winning when we got to the end game.  I was up 2 pawns. Me- King, Bishop, Rook, and 2 more pawns than him. Him- King, Knight, Rook, and 2 less pawns than me. He resigned. Victory for me! I checked his rating after the match, 800. Cue the groan of disappointment. 

Note: I could only see his name when I was playing. His name allows me to know where to search for his rating, but I didn’t look him up. 

In the second round, I won again. Then I played Elliot… And I won! I was so happy!

Just to mention, there is a timer in chess that ticks per second. There is sometimes a delay which means if you don’t move in a certain amount of time, your clock starts ticking. After each move, you get time back on the clock. But the increment isn’t used for every chess game. In person, every time you move, you are supposed to hit the clock switching which side is ticking. If someone’s timer reaches zero and the other person can win if they continue, it is a loss for the person out of time. If the other person cannot win if they continue playing, then it is a draw.

Chess can be very frustrating for me at times. There are two specific times when I got really mad. I was winning at the game when I put my opponent in a stalemate, when he cannot move his king or any piece anywhere. This means it is a draw. At the first game I was in the last game of the tournament at board 2. My friend and I were the top two players, both at 3/3. My friend beat his opponent and won the section, but I drew to my opponent by stalemate even though I was winning and I got second. He got 4/4 but I got 3.5/4. And no, it was not on tiebreaks. I was the only one with 3.5 as my opponent went 3/4. Stalemate means that the opponent cannot move or you cannot move, therefore resulting in a draw. This is different from Chinese chess though.

Even with all my troubles and frustrations, I still continued playing chess. I actually started writing this paragraph on the 2nd day of the New York State Chess Championship. It was between rounds 4 and 5 on April 17-18, 2021. There were two days and three rounds per day. 

The first game, I was winning by a bishop and a pawn. Then, I dreadfully lost a rook by a simple tactic that I found immediately after I moved. Then. I lost. I was so mad and so sad. I was playing a 1000 which was not even that good. The word STUPID ricocheted across my mind. Then, I got over it in an hour by telling myself that the next round would be easier. 

2nd game, also against a 1000. I got his bishop in the first 10 moves. I took everything from him then I mated him. Easy enough. 1/2 points is my score.

3rd game, last game of the day, and the most insane. Lost the exchange. Then I won a bishop for a pawn. The game was tied. Then, I lost a knight. Then I lost the game. I was playing 1200. I won ⅓ of the games.

In the 4th game, I played another 1000. I won a bishop. I went to the endgame and was victorious. Yay! Return to the present.

In the 5th and 6th game I beat a 1000 and 1200 respectively. I got a score of 4/6, 27 out of over 100. Not really impressive. My friend though, got a score ⅚, and got 3rd place! Considering this is the championship for elementary players, he is basically #3 elementary school chess player in the whole city. Interestingly enough, when we were in the K-1st grade we played each other infinitely and beat each other around the same amount. Like, 10 times each.

I don’t really know why I like chess so much. It’s hard for me to explain my feelings. I just like it, no need to push, that’s it. So, you people can try it and see how you like it. I am still going to play, not planning to stop. But I think this essay is lengthy enough. But just so you know, if you challenge me, I won’t go easy: I like to win.

*P.s- You may be asking yourself what the title is. The letters start a word. The letters are the first letter in the word. The numbers are what number the letter is in the alphabet, for example, 1=a, 2=b, 3=c, 4=d, 5=e.  The title is a puzzle just like chess!

P.s.s- This was written over a period of time (you’re probably thinking DUH).

Why Everyone Should Have a Hobby

Having a hobby is very important. My brother and I have had hobbies since we were little, and it all started when I was two. I played violin then, but now I play viola. My brother and I were living in Hong Kong at the time. Since we were only two when we started, we had to use foam violins that made no sound. The only thing it helped me with was knowing where to place my fingers. When I turned three, they let me start with a real violin. It was one-sixteenth of a normal violin; it was tiny. But, it was the right size for me. When I was four years old, I moved back to New York and started with a new teacher. The new teacher was pretty bad so I got a better teacher. Besides being better, that teacher was very strict. 

This teacher had a reason for being strict: the viola and the violin are very hard instruments. One of them even caused my brother to quit. We went on for a few years and the teacher got very mad because Christoffer fell asleep in class while standing. So, after that, my brother decided, at age six, to quit violin. He quit because it wasn’t easy for him to play and he was also figuring out that this wasn’t his instrument. That’s the thing about hobbies: they have to be something you enjoy. At the beginning you might like this instrument, but when you grow older, you might like something else. 

So, he then started cello while I continued violin. When I turned eight, my parents started trying to change my teacher again. It turned out that she was a little bit too strict after all. A year later, I switched to my third teacher and she was nice. With her, there was less yelling and more smiling. We soon figured out that she taught viola, so I tried it for a couple of weeks, and I now play viola. Since I have been playing this instrument for a long time, I use muscle memory to play because this instrument is an instrument where I can’t always tell myself how to play it. I use muscle memory because the violin is very hard, but my fingers fly over the strings and the music they make sounds good.

All in all, people should have one thing that makes them enjoy life. I like my hobbies because they are challenging and unique. People should have challenging hobbies because they will need to learn how to fix challenges and that could prepare them for a job. It should be unique because it will make them proud of what they do. I always have a song that is very hard for this exact reason. One example is when I was six and I was learning the song Perpetual Motion. This song was super hard because in a second you need to play four notes, and I couldn’t do that quickly. For the first week, I could not even master the first line because it was just so different from all the other songs; they were slow yet this one was fast. I kept trying and trying, but I just could not do it. Then, on the first day of the new year, I started to play it perfectly, and ever since then I have been playing viola and violin better than before. I hope that you have a fun hobby too, one that makes you feel like your fingers are flying.

Why the World’s Population is Only 7.8 Billion

This book is dedicated to my breakfast bagel.

Prologue

The Dictatorship of America, 3789 A.D.

The following letter has been retrieved from an archive, and is believed to have been written by Jim Nlocnil.

Palermo, Sicily  1915 A.D.

Bed

There was a suitcase. There was a bed. What was it doing there?  The bed was the first bed that the legendary bedmaker would make. Now, the bed maker would prefer if his name was not mentioned in this book, though it perplexes me, for he is already quite famous indeed. But from here on out, I will call the legendary bedmaker “Gustavo.” Now Gustavo was not always famous, for he grew up in a humble cottage in an island on the Sardinian sea. This island was called Sicily, and it was quite a magnificent island indeed, for tourism and commercialization had not found the island yet, letting the locals there live a happy life with no one to disturb them. 

Now Gustavo had a father named Monee, who, despite the name, was a very poor bedmaker. One day, Monee stumbled across a stream. He looked into the stream. He then walked away. Another day, he ran into a beautiful untouched beach, and when he put his hand into the pristine crystal waters, it was a pleasant temperature, refreshingly cool, but not uncomfortable. He took off his hat and filled it with the water, and took the hat full of water home. Now Monee was quite a forgetful man, and he forgot to show the fresh pure Water to his family. The next morning, to his surprise, the water was still the same perfect temperature it had been when he first discovered it. He was intrigued, but not frightened by this discovery, for he was still curious about this liquid. He went back to the beach, and, sure enough, the water was exactly the same temperature it had been the afternoon he had found it. Monee’s mind instantly whirred into action, thinking about the possibilities of making this water into a product he could sell.

The first thing I should do, he thought, is tell Gustavo. As soon as Gustavo had heard about this “cool water” he got some leather, sewed together a water tight bed, and filled the bed with the water. And, though Monee and Gustavo did not know it, they had just created the first water bed. Monee saved up his savings, and soon, they patented this water bed, though they did not mention this, for they wanted to keep the water a secret.

Suitcase

Nazi Controlled Poland, 1941

Jakub sighed. He and his best friend, Filip, had made a secret organization for boys like them. They had “special power”, though it was more like a curse. They could do “amazing things” like climb up brick walls and shoot energy from their fingers. This did nothing against the tanks, soldiers, machine guns, and other terrible things that the Nazis used to invade. But because of these “special powers” they were targeted by soldiers, who were ordered to execute any boy who used “magic”. Jakub probably had the worst power of all. He could see and hear through any solid object. What use was seeing a tank when it was about to shoot a shell at you? The other boys were younger than him, but were far more powerful. They respected him, though, for he was the leader. 

“Quick!” Filip screamed. 

The soldiers! Jakub and the other boys dove behind a bush as Filip started making hand signs to release an energy shield. Another boy closed his eyes and opened them, although this time his eyes were red. He looked at a soldier and instantly paralyzed him. 

“Jakub, help! My shield is going down!” Filip screamed. 

Filip only had enough energy to sustain the energy shield for a few minutes, but that, until then, had been plenty enough time. It seemed that the soldiers heard Filip too, because they instantly rushed his way.

 “No!” Jakub yelled.

They had Filip. Without his shield, he was helpless, and one of them was dragging Filip onto the jeep while the other one held a rifle to his head. 

“You can’t do this!” Jakub screamed.

By then, the jeep had driven off to the forest, and the only person who could see and hear Filip was Jakub. The last words that Filip uttered before he passed out were “under the bench.”

Palermo, Sicily  1924 A.D.

Bed

Meanwhile, Gustavo and Monee were raking in the profits from their successful bed making business. The beach still looked untouched, and Monee suspected, though they had drained many gallons of liquid from it, that the beach would still make more.

“Gustavo,” Monee said “when I die, you have the choice to lead the company. Will you continue the family legacy?”

“Of course I will!” Gustavo exclaimed. “but I hope that I do not take it over soon.”

Kepler-443b, circa 5.55 billion years ago

“Rumor has it that there is a habitable planet only 2,500 light years away!” Bob said. 

Bob and his family lived on a planet called Logic, and it was about to explode. It was rumbling violently, and they needed to get off it as soon as possible.They first considered moving to the puny moon, Ableton, or the dwarf planet, FL Studio, which was circa 600 light years away. But they then discovered that the planet would make such a shockwave that all of the habitable planets and moons would be terminated. The scientists of their colony searched desperately for a habitable planet, and it seemed that they had found one. 

 “Quick!!!” Martha (the mother) screamed. “The spaceship is going in 10 minutes!!!”

“Okay, mom. My UltraBomb is not going with me, right?” Tommy said.

“Of course it is! Now come on!” Martha said.

The UltraBomb was a safety device that some scientists had discovered in the period of renaissance. They had discovered many things, but this UltraBomb was by far the coolest. A child, if threatened, could deploy this UltraBomb and Vaporize every living thing except itself for a 1,000 mile radius. To trigger it, you needed to pour a special type of liquid onto a compressed plasma ball. It would then kill everything around it except for the child itself. The Logic government issued UltraBombs to every kid colonizing on earth, but they were strictly told to only use it if necessary. Tommy thought they went overboard on the liquid, though. They brought more than a thousand gallons!!!

“Watch your step, little guy.”, a crew member said.

Tommy sat down in his seat and prepared himself for this new adventure.

The Dictatorship of America, 3789 A.D.

The following snippet has been retrieved from an archive, and is believed to have been an advertisement from “Palermo Daily”.

Palermo, Sicily  1956 A.D.

Bed

Gustavo flopped down on one of his many waterbeds and cried. His father had died the day before today, and he was sad. Even worse, he had to give a speech at the funeral, and his words were unrecognizable from his sobs. But he had to move on, and keep the family legacy.

One month later

Stress. SO much stress. Gustavo had reformed the waterbed, spreading business outside of Sicily, and it was spreading quickly. He had also put advertisements in newspapers all around the world, and his company had gone public. (NASDAQ, GWB ^1.27%,1598.7) The Mariott had replaced all of their beds with Gustavo’s, and his business was doing well. Gustavo was having a good life.

Suitcase

Nazi Controlled Poland, 1942

Under the bench, under  the bench, under the bench. Jakub kept rolling this around in his head. What? He had checked under every bench he had seen for the past year. Unless… The stone bench!!! Filip had chiseled a miniature stone bench for Jakub, but before he could snatch it, Filip had thrown it way off into the woods to tease Jakub. Jakub thought that Filip had thrown it in a random direction, but Filip was very precise with his arm, so Jakub now knew that was not the case. Jakub searched for hours and hours in the dark woods, when he found the bench. He dug the soil under it, and found a mysterious ball of light.

Suitcase & Bed

Warsaw, Poland, Marriott hotel, 1963

Filip was dead. Who cared about him anyways? Jakub had been trying to sell this weird ball of light to museums, but they said it was just some lights in a glass ball. He slammed the suitcase (containing the ball) onto the bed. The waterbed bursted, and the suitcase cracked open. The ball bounced out and fell into the liquid.

The Dictatorship of America, 3789 A.D.

The following letter has been retrieved from an archive, and is now known to have been written by “Zadinsky”.

A Day of Inspiration

A normal day, a nature hike

I grab those shoes I really like

And stroll on down the wooded trail

But then I hear a child yell

I look and see a big old fight

He stomps, the noise echoes through the night

I kick a pinecone, ignoring them

And look at the leaves, the flowers, the berries, but then

Somehow they reach a compromise

That parent must be really wise

I head back home, play with some slime

But oh my gosh! Look at the time!

I have to do my online work

Though I really just want to read a book

I turn on my lamp, head to my desk

And find some room among the mess

Then type and type, think and think

My patience finally reaching its brink

I shut the computer, text the guys

And think about that compromise

The child wanted to follow their dreams

At first the parent thought that seemed 

Silly, but eventually agreed

Everyone should voice what they need

I want to do something else

Not put my dreams up on a shelf!

I open my computer and type

And though it takes much grim and gripe

I’m now a published author, yes

And though I may not be the best

I’m doing what I love to do

It worked for me, and it will for you.

Ultraviolet & Infrared

Ultraviolet 

Ultraviolet,

Is so violent,

That I well can see,

Why it’s meant to be:

To burn and harm,

And scorch my arm,

In its bright, bright, light.

Infrared

Infrared,

Is a dread,

Because it’s invisible,

And I wish it were visible,

But there are reasons,

Like the seasons,

Why it shouldn’t be seen,

Because its gleam (A bright red beam),

Is too bright for us to handle.

Un-Ordinary

Book 1: Zero 

Chapter 1: A Day with Zero

You are an ORDINARY cat, I pretend to say to myself, but it is untrue. First of all, lots of people say I am different. Name is Zero, by the way. Also, the other reason I am unordinary is since, well, since I have an eye on the back of my head! Luckily, my family does not care and loves me so, but I have no friends and am always bored. My family says I am unique and that looks do not matter, only traits do, but then why can I have no friends? I believe them but then why does no cat even try to see my traits?! 

By the way, today is my first day at school! I am scared, will everyone judge me by my looks? I am lucky to be able to convince Mom to have the first day off of school. My mom notices at about the middle of the day that I’m bored. Suddenly, or unexpectedly, her eyes light up and she is out of the door in a flash. A bit later, she returns with a dog, a dog with an extra leg. 

“Why did you get me a dog to be friends with?” I ask.

“Well,” says Mom, “you both are… ” She does not end. I then say, “Un-ordinary.”

 And she nods as the dog walks toward me. I walk back, you know all cats are scared of dogs. He sees my fear and says, “I know you are freaked about my extra leg.”

“That’s not it,” I say, trembling with fear. “It is that dogs chase cats.”

“Well I will not chase you… ” 

I interrupt and say, “You want to be my friend.”

He smiles and says, “You are the first to ask.”

I am about to shake hands then I say, “Wait,” and pull him and hit him and he is as hard as metal, he is a robot, no wonder he does not chase. 

Well Mom has bought Zero a robot to make him happy.

So I stare sternly at Mom and then walk to my bed, curl up, and go to sleep.

Chapter ½: Intro chapter (You can skip this chapter):

I sleep for 15 hours a day, I love to eat catnip. Cats are related to jaguars, lions, tigers, and lots more. Also I (the author, not Zero this time) would get a tuxedo cat and name him Oreo. The scientific name for cats is Felis Catus. Cats can rotate their ears 180 degrees. By the way, most cats sleep 70% of their life but Zero sleeps 47% of his life. Zero says (this is a true fact) that the first cat in space was in 1963. His name was Felicette (also known as Astro Cat) and he was the first and only cat in space. That is all of Zero’s facts for now. 

Traits of cats are different. Like Zero is smart and playful, but some say Zero is a ferocious feline. He is misunderstood and he is a nice cat, so no two cats are the same, and remember that do not judge a cat by their look. Remember that!!! This picture is illustrated for you to show Zero’s very kind loving heart.


Chapter 2: The Adventure Begins

Zero awoke to a fresh new day, feeling ready for anything. 

I was so ready to eat but then my eye on the back of me spotted Mom talking of my favorite toy missing! I was angry!!! I turned on the cat news and heard that there was an ancient mouse toy called mousie mousie in the ruins of the royal cat family in Carterwui which was a royal village in the Cat-skills mountain. YES!!! There was still a mousie left and no!!!! Because the adventure would definitely be rough. 

So I packed my stuff and set off to climb Cat-skills mountain. As you know, cats are great climbers, so I was able to get up pretty easily but I got chased by a goat then I chased him since I was hungry. Just a distraction, a little embarrassed and everything, but at least I managed so let’s get back on track. On the top lay ruins and the wind smelled like burnt catnip as I passed a destroyed field with beautiful destroyed catnips. 

Then I heard a crunch and I noticed my feet had not broken any twigs, then suddenly, the eye on the back of me saw a dog. I spun around knowing my unusual feature saved me. Now I know that different can be good; the dog instantly started chasing me the moment it caught a glimpse of me. I ran down the whole mountain in a flash and right into our home. The dog faded away like a dream right when I touched the door of our house, like the world was just teaching me how different can be good, so from now on I teach UN-ORDINARY animals to show them how unusual is good

The End.

Monster and Mushroom: A New Beginning

There once was a monster who lived in the woods. We’ll call him Monster. What Monster really wanted was a house, but he was just too shy to go to the house seller. Monster wanted a house because he lives in the woods. But why was Monster so shy? Maybe because he lived in the woods so long that fungus grew on his toes, moss on his back, and a mushroom on his nose, and he was scared to show his face in public. Or maybe he needed a friend to encourage him. Anyway, onto the story!

Monster sat on his stump, wondering if he would go to the house seller today. No, I can’t! They’ll tease my mushroom nose! He thought. Sigh. So then Monster gathered up all his courage (he didn’t have that much) and he went over to the gate to the human world. When he got to the gate, he felt something under his foot. He picked it up in his giant fingers. It was a glass bottle, with glowing liquid inside! Great, this liquid might make me less shy! Monster thought with a smile. So he went back to his cave and placed the liquid on his stump table. Tomorrow, Monster thought, I will be social.

The next day, Monster woke up with a jolt. He was so excited to drink the pink liquid! He was shaking with excitement! And maybe also fear. Monster went to the kitchen of his cave and popped the top off the bottle. He went to drink it, hand quivering. Just as he had it up to his mouth and went to take a sip, a crow flew into the window and cawed. Monster’s hand shook so that all the liquid spilled onto the mushroom on his nose! No! The liquid! Now Monster couldn’t be social! Monster sighed. He went back into his moss-bed and fell into a deep sleep. He dreamed of wizards and dancing mushrooms. Then he woke up. Phew, just a dream, Monster thought. He got up and went to the river to get the extra pink juice off his nose. When he looked at his reflection in the river, he didn’t see anything missing at first, but then he noticed it. His face went pale. His nose mushroom was gone.

Monster kept touching the spot where the once red-with-white-spots mushroom was. Then the water rippled. Probably one of those birds, Monster thought. He looked up to shoo it away, and saw the most unbelievable thing. His nose mushroom. “Mushroom?” he said to the mushroom. Then, like it was alive, the mushroom jerked its cap up and hopped away. Luckily, Monster was faster. He caught the mushroom in his big hands and took it back to his cave. Hmm, Monster thought, I can have a big meal if I cook him! So then Monster decided to tie the mushroom up and cook him over a fire. Then Monster went out to get some berries as an appetizer. But then something poked his butt. Monster spun around, ready to attack, but it was the mushroom! He touched Mushroom’s cap and she hopped around playfully. Then Monster felt a pang of guilt. He tried to cook Mushroom, just so he could eat. No, he would not feel sad for this mushroom. Monster would just ignore it. Monster marched back to his cave. Mushroom followed. “Just leave me alone, ya dirty mushroom!” Monster shouted at the mushroom. Mushroom hopped away sadly. Great, Monster thought sarcastically, now I have nothing to eat. Monster saw Mushroom peek around the corner of his cave. “I told you, GET OUT!” Monster roared at Mushroom. Mushroom hopped closer. Monster got madder and madder. He roared at Mushroom, then Mushroom started hopping away, quickly. Monster dropped down on all fours and chased him. They were nearing the cliff. Perfect. Monster thought. Then right when Mushroom was about to fall off the cliff, she doubled back. Monster fell off the side and was being held only by a branch that was growing out of the cliff. Then, crack, the branch broke. Monster closed his eyes and braced for the fall onto the sharp, jagged rocks below. But when he landed on something, it didn’t perce his skin. It was bouncy. It was Mushroom! Monster bounced back up to the cliffside, and somehow, he found Mushroom there. Mushroom was magical! Monster reached out and touched Mushroom’s cap. It was soft as silk. Then together, they went and got food so they could have a decent meal.

The next day, Mushroom jumped up and down on Monster, urging him to get up. “What? I’m up,” Monster groaned. Mushroom had something on her cap. She slid it over to Monster. It was a small book. Then Mushroom slid over a black stick. Monster picked it up. It was shiny. He opened the book and put the strong black stick onto the paper and slid it around. Wherever the stick went, it made a line. Mushroom took the pen from Monster and used magic to write three letters: pen. “Is that what the stick is called? A p-pe-pehn?” Monster asked, sounding out the word. Mushroom jumped up and down. Monster took that as a yes. But why would Mushroom give me these magical objects? Monster thought. Then it hit him. He could draw a house! Then show it to the house seller because the humans spoke a different language! “Thank you, Mushroom!” Monster exclaimed.

Mushroom jumped around in response, as if to say, “You’re welcome.”

Monster drew a house, with a tall roof. It took him three hours, but he finished eventually. Here is what he did:

Monster took the paper and Mushroom followed. Monster walked over to the human world gate, his heart thumping. Ba bump, ba bump. Mushroom followed him, her hopping making little sound on the damp moss. Slowly, Monster opened the gate. Creeeeeak, it went. Monster stepped through the gate and into the portal. It felt like he was being stretched out and cut up, then being put back together. Mushroom followed, having the same experience. Then the feeling started to slow down, and Monster got plopped down on land. Mushroom bumped on Monster’s leg being shot out. Monster looked down at Mushroom, she was jumping around like crazy. “Calm down, Mushroom. I’m excited too,” Monster said calmingly. Mushroom slowed down. She tilted her cap up at him. Monster got filled up with hope. Monster strided over to the house seller, not noticing the stares from the people around him. He gathered up all his courage (he had a lot) and, with a shaking hand, he handed the house seller the picture. A crow flew onto the fence behind the house seller. It cawed. Monster shooed it away. “You don’t scare me,” Monster hissed at the crow. The house seller understood the drawing. He said something quickly in human and started walking to a giant metal container on black tree stumps. It looked like this:

The house seller walked inside and took out what Monster knew as a “unicycle.” Then the house seller hopped on his unicycle and started moving. He gestured for Monster and Mushroom to follow. Monster picked up Mushroom in his giant hands so she wouldn’t slow them down. Monster followed the house seller until they made it to a giant house. Monster put Mushroom down and walked inside. The ceilings were 4 feet above his head! Great! There was a black box, too. The house seller walked inside and picked up a shiny, black piece of bark. But it wasn’t bark, and the box wasn’t a box. “Television. Tv,” the house seller said, pointing to the box. Monster repeated, 

“Tellyvision. Tv.” 

The house seller pointed to the shiny bark. “Remote,” he said. 

Monster repeated again, “Reemote.”

 The house seller shrugged and mumbled something in human. It sounded like “cloz enuf.” Monster ignored it. He said in the closest human he could put on, 

“Mi wan hous.” The house seller put a sign outside that said with bold red letters “SOLD.” Monster knew that the house was his. 

“WOOHOO, Mushroom!” Monster exclaimed, and he started dancing. Mushroom started dancing too. They danced for hours together, then went inside to enjoy their new life.

EPILOGUE 

Monster sank back into his chair. He tried to press the tiny buttons on the reemote, but his fingers were too big. “Mushroom? Can you help me press the reemote buttons?” Monster called. Mushroom angrily hopped in the tv room. She was levitating a toothbrush with half-used toothpaste on it. “Mu — what? Why are you using a toothbrush? You don’t even have teeth!” Monster exclaimed. Mushroom angrily hopped over and pressed the “on” button for the tv. As she hopped back to the wetroom (we know this as a bathroom), Monster saw on the back of her cap she had used toothpaste all over it. Then Monster had an idea. He went to the feedingroom and took a prong-tip. Then he took it back to the tv room. He used the holding-side to press the reemote buttons, and the prongs to brush through his fur. Monster leaned back in his chair and sighed. He lived an amazing life now.

Age of i 2: The tournament of drama

CHAPTER 1: THE ICE CREAM DUO

Narrator: Before we get into this book, I have to warn you: the following stuff contains things that you won’t understand unless you read the last book, so now… LET’S GO! 

The golem fell down to the floor and split back to the ice cream, and in the middle of the ice cream was a note. Henry read the note, and it said, “Come to the Tournament of Drama, because if you do, the prize is a VERY rare gem that is PRICELESS, but if you don’t win, well, let’s save that for if you lose.” 

Henry read the note again then showed the note to his friends then asked, “What do you think of the note?”

“I say we should do it!” Ben said excitedly.

“Okay,” said Quincy.

“Well, okay, let’s do it. The note says to meet at the docks at 10:00 PM,” said Henry. “It also says only bring one weapon each.” 

The friends agreed that the weapons they were bringing were going to be sporks. Later, when the friends were at the docks, they saw that they had competition. Almost everyone there looked like they had trained for months. “Oh, oh, no, no,” said Ben. Then, a boat pulled over at the side of the docks. It was time. 

“Welcome to the Tournament of Drama’s transportation. Once we arrive, you will see a GIANT building. Once you see that, you will immediately enter OR ELSE. When they arrived, the kids saw the building, then the guy said, 

“By the way, my name is Clouse.” As told, the kids went into the building. When they got in, Clouse said, “that over there is Master Chen. He is the host of the tournament. Every day at 4:00 PM, he will tell who will fight and who will watch. This will continue until the final two, then the final two will compete in a fight to declare the winner. Also, use it or lose it.”

“Um, I would rather — ” continued Henry. Then, Clouse walked to the next competitor. Soon after, Master Chen came and said,

“Attention everyone, this is the ice cream duo. You will be competing against them. If you win, you stay.”

“What if you lose?” asked Quincy.

“Lose? Who here likes to lose?” Everyone laughed except Quincy. 

The Next Day… 

At lunch, Chen came to the cafe and said, “The person competing is… QUINCY.”  

“Uh oh,” said Henry.

“Everyone else, follow Clouse. Quincy, follow moi.” 

When everyone was at the battlefield, Chen said, “Please welcome our guests: Quincy and the ice cream duo.” 

The crowd cheered. “Three… two… one… BATTLE BEGIN!” 

As soon as Chen said that, the ice cream duo bolted down the battlefield to Quincy and made an ice cream sword and swung it at Quincy. Then Quincy, almost without thinking, dodged the ice cream duo’s swing, but they swung again and this time, HIT!! Quincy was frozen. 

“OUT!” screamed Chen. Then, Chen pushed a button on his chair and a big ditch opened beneath Quincy and he fell in, then the top of the ditch closed. 

“D-Did you just trap him?!?!” screamed Ben. 

“Uhhhhhhhhhhh, d-don’t change the subject,” said Chen.

Later, in Ben’s room: 

“I’m starting to get sus about Chen,” said Ben. 

“Why?” asked Henry.

“Because Quincy got sus about him and now he is gone.” 

“Good point,” said Henry. “Okay, tomorrow we are going to investigate this place.”

CHAPTER 2: DEAD END

Warning: the stuff in this chapter might be too creepy for some people. If you are 6 or under, skip to the next chapter.

It was the next night, and Henry and Ben were outside of the building. The building looked like a mansion-sized temple that would be built in China or Korea. 

“Nothing sus on the outside,” said Ben. 

“Let’s search your room,” said Henry. But then…  in the darkness, a pair of HUGE eyes appeared and then, an even bigger smile appeared that went above the eyes, then very skinny arms and legs that were black appeared, and then, the thing stepped out of the darkness. It was very tall, well at least it’s armz ‘n legz were. 

“RUN!!!!”

Henry screamed at the top of his lunges then, the black figure started spazzing out Allowing Henry and Ben to escape.

Later, in Ben’s Room: 

“So, that was bad,” Henry said, then continued. “We need to think of something else.” 

Ben walked over to his bed and he laid against it, then the bed flipped, putting Ben in an underground passage. “WABAWIDAANDA!” Henry said, then passed out. 

“Where am I?” Ben asked himself.

CHAPTER 3: THE FINAL MATCH

All contestants had been defeated except Henry and Ben and it was time for…

THE FINAL MATCH: where Ben and Henry were going to battle each other.

Before the battle, Ben whispered to Henry, “WHEN I WAS IN THE HOLE, I FIGURED OUT THAT THE LOSERS BECOME PART OF CHEN’S STATUE COLLECTION!” 

Well, at least he tried to whisper. Then Chen said, 

“Let the final battle BEGIN!” 

*Birds Chirping* 

“I SAID, LET THE FINAL BATTLE BEGIN!” 

Then Ben said, “Actually, I forfeit the tournament.” 

Then, Chen said, “Oh, ok, then Henry wins the Tournament of Drama!!!”

But Henry noticed something and said, “Wait a minute, didn’t Ben fall in a hole?” 

“Yes,” Ben said. 

Then Henry continued, “But I never remember you getting out.” 

Then Ben said, “Well, you see, Henry, Ben actually never did get out of the hole. But…  I’M NOT BEN.”  

Then, he started to get taller and turn black. It was the black creature! Then, the black creature stayed perfectly still, then Chen said, “You see, only one can remain, AND THAT WILL BE ME.” Then, Henry said,

“Okay, everyone saw that coming.” 

Then Henry ran to the hole and jumped in it, and Ben was there. “WE HAVE TO RUN, BEN.”  

CHAPTER 4: A TWIST THAT NOBODY SAW COMING

Soon, Zombie ice cream started flooding the walls. Then, one touched the black creature. Then, the black stuff on the creature started to disappear and it started to get smaller. Then there was an explosion of black and no one could see anything. Then Ben and Henry looked where the black creature was, and in its position, lying on the ground, was Quincy. 

When Henry looked down and saw Quincy in the black creature’s position, he went ballistic. Then Ben grabbed Henry and Quincy and ran to the end of the hole, then Ben saw light coming from the end of the hole, he jumped into the light and then he appeared in the treehouse. Then Ben looked to the side. What he saw was Henry passed out, but next to Henry there was a pink gem, and a note. 

Ben took the Pink Gem and read the note, the note said, ‘The Pink Gem is one of the five gems that stop the zombie ice cream from appearing, if you collect all of the gems and put them in a line on top of the warehouse, then all of the zombie ice cream will stop appearing and all of the living ones would disappear. The next gem you have to collect is the Red Gem, the Red Gem is on top of the mountains in Asia. Once you find the Red Gem, a note will be attached to it saying where the next gem’s location is.” At the bottom of the note, it said, “Written by… ” but there was no name next to it. 

Then Ben took the Pink Gem and put it in a chest in the treehouse. Then Henry woke up. Henry yelled, “Why are we back at the treehouse!?” Then he continued, “AND WHY IS THERE A PINK GEM IN OUR CHEST?!?!?”

“Wellllllllll…. ”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Lenmonoral Academy Part One

Chapter 1 

Magic

Amber Flickspell wasn’t a normal girl. For one, she was twelve, and knew how to fly a helicopter, and at the moment, she was lying in her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to freeze it. “Falendor,” she muttered. “Falendor, Falendor!” Frustrated, Amber turned over and punched her pillow. 

“Amber, dinner is ready! Come set the table!” She heard her father’s voice downstairs, calling her.  

“Coming!” she said, walking out of her room. 

***************

“So, Amber, been practicing your magic lately?” Amber’s father asked her. His fire dragon, Flamelick, lay curled up in his corner, fast asleep. Amber took one longing look at him, then answered her father’s question.  “Yes.”

“And?” he asked.

“Nothing,” she sighed.

“Well, I’m sure it will come when it needs to, honey,” he said reassuringly.  

“But it also might never come — ”

“ — that’s enough, Sebastian,” he scolded. Sebastian, her younger brother, gave a mischievous grin and started eating his chicken.  But Amber didn’t feel magic churning inside her. What if — her stomach twisted even thinking it — what if she had no magic?

                                                                                *************

Amber weaved her way through the garden, brushing a fern off her leg, and stopped in a small clearing. A few trees dappled the sky, their leaves dancing in the wind. On the ground, there were many plants of a variety of colors. There was nightshade kennel, that was dark blue with a purple stem, burning flamcor, red, yellow, and orange, and countless others. But she walked up to the one in the middle, the most exquisite plant in the clearing. Each stem was either green, blue, purple, red, or black, and they all faded into a creamy, colorful white at the bottom. After that pair of colors, there was another, this time fading from white to a color. And it went on and on and on until it got to the middle, where a stem grew out, and at the top, a sparkling light came out of it. The light was made of tiny particles of —

Fairy dust, Amber thought. She moved her hand through it, remembering when it had finally grown to its fullest height, back when her mother was alive. She remembered it all. “Look, Mom, look!” she had said. Her mother had looked up from her book and smiled, then walked over. 

“Amber, that’s fairy dust. Even just a portion of it can make you do anything.” 

“Anything? Mom, that sounds like just a few things to me.” Her mother had turned her head towards the sky and laughed. When she laughed, everything felt better again. She could make Amber feel better, even in the darkest times.  Her mother had faced her and said, 

“Well, not everything, but it can make you fly, or shrink. That’s something, isn’t it?” Amber had turned wide-eyed and looked at the plant. 

“Are you sure that something as small as this could make you FLY?” 

“Yes, Amber, I’m positive. Do you know why fairy dust is so powerful?” she had asked. 

“No, why?” 

“Fairy dust is made with bravery and compassion. Those are the most powerful elements.” Amber’s eyes welled with tears. She searched her brain for her earliest memory of her mother, but all she could remember was cool blond hair resting on her face and arms embracing her. She sucked in breath, but it was no use. Drops of water slowly slid down her cheeks. She wiped them on her cloak, and trudged back up to the house, leaves crunching beneath her feet.

Chapter 2

What they wonder and what they know

“We have granted her the gift,” the first one said, “but she shines a little brighter than the rest. Why is that?” 

“She is the one. The weight of the world rests on her shoulders. She must save us all,” the second one murmured. The wise one looked up and said, 

“Yes, I agree, she is the one. She will not only have to save us all, she will have to defeat the one who has never been defeated. She has to find the thing that has never been found, and survive the place that has never been survived.” The first one looked questioningly at the wise one. 

“But one from her heritage has been stolen by the wicked-souled, the one that has never been defeated. Why take her into the battle, too?” The wise one looked on.

 “She will not be taken into the battle, she will be the one to end the battle.” The second one quietly said, 

“Yes… yes… I see it. She will be the one. She is the one. But she needs to know that she is the one. How do we tell her?” 

“We don’t,” the wise one said, 

“We have to watch. We do not help her. She will have help every step of the way, she just won’t know it.”     

Chapter 3

The seer tree’s advice

Amber shivered in the cold night air.  She was outside, wearing her blue-and-purple swirl cloak, standing in front of a towering oak tree. But this wasn’t any normal tree. This was the seer tree, the tree that could see the future. She took a deep breath, then knocked three times on the ancient oak. It grunted, then opened one eye. It looked down and saw Amber.

“I’m sorry to have woken — ” But she was cut short by the tree, its wide mouth split into a smile and it bellowed, 

“Amber!  How are you, and what brings you here?”

Amber opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. Instead, she thought it. She knew better than anyone that the seer tree could read minds.

“Ah,” it said wisely, “you are wondering whether you have powers or not.” She nodded. “Well… well. Let me see here. Yes, that one,” it muttered, scavenging through its leaves. “You are unaware of it, Amber? Of the sensation that the sun is cold, the moon warm?”

Amber thought. Now that the tree mentioned it, Amber had seemed cold on that sunny day they went to the park to exercise the dragons, and when they were catching fish from the pond. “I have,” she said with confidence in her voice.

“Well,” the seer tree said, “if you have magical powers, you will get them in the next three days.” Amber’s heart soared. She was very sure that the tree had seen her magic happen! In the future, of course. She turned and ran home, and the last words she heard the tree yell were, “And don’t try too hard! You’ll get an opportunity soon!”

*******

The next morning, Amber got up before the sun rose and went out. She felt hot, which she took as a good sign and took off her cloak. She had taken several deep breaths when she heard footsteps. She felt a little spooked as her father never got up this early, but nonetheless, she tiptoed curiously around the house into the backyard. She followed the sound of the footsteps into the garden where she stopped. She saw someone pulling plants out of the ground, one by one, stowing each one into their satchel. Amber stood, horrified for one second, then without thinking, lunged herself at the figure, knocking them to the ground. “Stop!” she cried, but no sound came out. She had lost her voice. The figure was sucking her in… grasping her soul, tugging it. Sweat trickled down her face. She was falling in… in… Amber bolted upright in her bed, looking around. “Just a dream,” she thought. “Just a dream.”

**************

But as much as Amber hated the dream, it followed her out of bed, down the stairs, and into the kitchen. She sat down at her chair, as usual, and heard Sebastion whine that it was his chair, as usual. Her father scolded him, as usual. But, it felt… unusual. When she told him this, he stole an excited glance at Flamelick, then asked her the thing she least expected.

“Amber, are you having… strange dreams?” 

She looked up, startled.

“Yes,” she said, pushing her long, raven-black hair out of her face. He gasped and asked, 

“When?” 

“Last night,” she explained, starting with her being outside at night. When she ended, Sebastian let out a squeak of terror and ran to his room. However, her father’s face split into a wide smile as he said, 

“Amber, those dreams are called terror dreams. They’re there to mark the start of your powers. They stay with you for four months at the most, and three weeks at the least. The normal time to lose them is around two months, but the earlier they leave you, the more powerful you will get.” He paused and went on, “I myself only had the dreams for about a month and a half, and your — your mother had them for about five weeks.” He pushed back tears.

“But are the dreams always the same?” Amber asked. 

“A little bit is added on each time,” he said. 

“Oh, no!” she groaned. “That dream alone is bad enough!” 

Her father smiled weakly at her as if to say, “There’s nothing we can do about it.” 

“Well, Amber, this might actually be a good sign!” 

“How can a nightmare be a GOOD sign?!” she exclaimed.

“This is not a nightmare. This is a terror dream,” he said. “And with terror dreams come powers.” Amber gasped. “And with powers come this.” He used his finger to indicate his ear, which was pointed at the top. She gasped again. 

“I’m an elf?”

“That you are. And elves go to academies,” he said.

“I’m… I’m… going to… Lenmonoral Academy?” she breathed. 

“Yes, Amber you are going to Lenmonoral Academy!” 

****************

Amber heaved her trunk down the last step, collapsing the moment it hit the ground. Panting, she sat up and looked at her father.

  “Need a hand?” he asked. 

“No… I’m… perfectly fine…” she panted. “Fine… yes, I need help.” He grabbed the trunk and heaved, dragging it behind him. 

“What did you pack in here?” he said, exasperated. 

“Everything you told me to pack,” Amber said casually, her green eyes sparkling in the sunlight. 

“Well, either I told you to pack too much, or you packed a few extra things,” he said. “My guess is that you packed a few extra things.” 

“Well, if you think that, then you’re wrong, because the only extra things I packed are my flying boots, and an extra book,” she argued. 

“Fine, fine, let’s just make it out the door, and then we can talk about it.” Flamelick scampered over to her and nuzzled her cheek. 

“I’ll be all right, Flamelick, don’t worry.” She held out her hand. Flamelick nibbled her fingers. She giggled.

 “Okay, Flamelick, don’t worry, it’ll be fine.” She turned, and followed her father out the door.

***********

Amber clambered inside the Ottonoski (an Ottonoski is a flying otter/elephant), excitement coursing through her. She had only been in an Ottonoski once, when she was seven and had broken her arm, and they had needed quick transportation. But she wasn’t excited about riding an Ottonoski. She was excited about the reason she was riding it. An Eloker flight attendant, a man with light blond hair, brown eyes, and a mustache, stepped up to her and said, 

“Hello. My name is Charlie Egnol, and I will be your assistant for today’s trip. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I will be in sector A-56 if you need me.” 

“Wait,” Amber said curiously as Charlie started to board. “There are different sectors in an Ottonoski?” 

He climbed down the steps and said, 

“Well, this one here is a big one, so, yes, Eurora has different sectors.” 

“Eurora?” she asked. 

“That’s the name of this particular Ottonoski,” he answered casually. 

“Oh.” Amber climbed inside Eurora, and looked around. The room itself was giant, with squashy pillows circling around it, and in the middle, a chair that could turn itself into a bed and a tray with water, a sandwich, and some fruit. The air smelled moist, and the whole room had a pink tinge to it. It was then that she noticed the doors, camouflage into the wall, leading to what she guessed were different sectors. 

“Well, I’d best be off now!” Charlie said cheerfully. He walked toward a door labeled,  “Work sectors, A-11 through A-73.” But just as he reached the door, a sound mixed with a very loud snore and high-pitched music rang out, and then the ground felt as if it were lowering at high speed beneath her feet. When she looked down, she realized that that was exactly what was happening. Then — BOING! Amber was bounced up, as if she were on a trampoline. But, unlike being on a trampoline, she didn’t come down. She felt the floor lower — without her. She looked over at Charlie in horror, but he looked as if he got bounced up by an Ottonoski and didn’t come down every day. Casually, he patted the wall and said (or, rather, yelled),

 “Eurora! Drop!” 

Amber felt the ground bounce back up to the right height, and, heart pounding in her ears, turned to him. 

“What,” she said furiously, “just happened?”

 Charlie answered by saying simply, “She just breathed.” 

“Oh, that makes sense, now I understand,” she said hotly. He turned to face her. 

“Ottonoskis don’t need to breathe. Air gets attracted to the small holes in their tail, and that’s how they get it into their body. However, they can breathe, and Eurora just did. You just felt what happens inside their body when they do,” he said, opening the door and walking inside. 

****************

Many hours had passed. Amber had drunk many glasses of cold water (a water elf kept refilling it), and Eurora kept doing loop-the-loops in the air, making her feel sick. An earth elf had come by once asking her if she needed anything. 

“No,” she had said. “But I have a question: how do you get up to Eurora’s Olwanxes?” (An Olwanx is a little bump on an Ottonoski. There are usually about twenty-seven of them.) He had made a ladder made out of plants, and then left. Aside from the water, fire, and wind elves that came by, Amber was alone with her thoughts. She started doodling a picture of what she imagined Lenmonoral Academy would look like, when Eurora did another loop-the-loop, causing her to smash into the wall face-first. Sitting up and rubbing her bruised cheek, she started on another page. She drew a castle, with blue gates and many towers. There was a pathway made of cobblestone, and carriages were coming up that road. Halfway through drawing a third carriage, though, she fell asleep. When she woke up, she thought,  Maybe Charlie can do something about how hot it is. She went through the door labeled: work sectors A-11 through A-73, looked for sector A-56, and, once she found it, opened the door. It was a replica of the room she had just been in, but smaller, and it had a desk with a computer. But no Charlie. She looked around. “Charlie?” she said timidly. but there was no doubt about it; Charlie wasn’t in this room.

************

Amber had gone back to the main room, and opened Eurora’s Olwanxes. She popped her head out of one of them and gasped. Not only was the wind cool, but the sky didn’t have a single cloud in sight, and when she looked down, she realized that she was flying over a sea of green trees, colorful plants, and every type of bird she could imagine. But, at that moment, Eurora did a loop-the-loop and it was all Amber could do to hold herself in the hump. She was climbing down when she heard a voice behind her. The voice said,

 “I would stay in the hump if I were you. There are big winds in the Clonerlech lands.” Amber fell down the rest of the ladder, startled. A face appeared above her. It was a boy, and he didn’t look too much older than Amber. He looked about sixteen. 

“We’re in the Clonerlech lands?” she asked. 

“Yes,” he said, “we are currently flying over Berrinor forest. My name is Thomas. I’m helping Charlie around the place. I suspect you’ve already met him?” 

“Yeah,” she said, “but I don’t know where he is.” 

Thomas looked curiously at her. 

“What do you mean? He’s in sector A-56.”

 “No, he’s not. I checked. Anyway, when will we get there?” Amber asked. 

“Well, probably in an hour or so. But Eurora might need to stop and take a break.” 

“Only an hour left?!” she exclaimed. 

“No, not exactly,” he said. “We’ll stop in the Erierlon lands in about twenty minutes at an Ottonoski airport.” 

She gaped at him. He laughed.

 “Amber, I’m excited too. You know, I’m in my fourth year at the academy.” 

“Wait…” Amber said curiously. “I haven’t told you my name yet. How do you know it?” 

“Because,” Thomas said, “I know the name of every person who boards. I have to. There’s twenty-one-year-old Henry, nineteen-year-old Emily, twelve-year-old Nora — ” But he was cut short by Amber.

 “Wait,” she said, “there’s another twelve-year-old here?”

 “Yes,” he said. “I thought you already knew. C’mon, follow me.” 

She bobbed excitedly around him as they walked into a sector labeled, “Rooms for 12 to 17 year-olds.” They walked down the hall, passing rooms labeled, “Lost treasures, or eagle egg room, or plant room.” Finally, they stopped at a room called, “Replica room for young elves.”  Thomas opened the door. A girl sat there. She had dark red hair that stopped at her neck, dark brown eyes, and, when she stood up, Amber realized she was very much her height. 

“Hi,” the girl said shyly. “I’m Nora. I’m going to Lenmonoral Academy, also. What’s your name?” 

“I’m — I’m Amber,” Amber said. But she was looking at Nora’s ears. The tips had turned grayish purple, and they looked very swollen. Nora saw where she was looking, and said even more shyly,

 “That’s just my elf ears becoming elf ears. They look like that, don’t worry.”

 “Oh. that’s neat. When did it start?” 

“A few days ago,” she answered. “Sometimes it hurts, but most of the time it doesn’t.” 

“When d’you think I’ll get them?” Amber asked. 

“Right now,” Nora said, pointing to her ears. She looked in the mirror, and saw her ears had turned a glassy blue. She gasped. 

“I… I didn’t know… I mean, I hadn’t noticed it before.” 

“When I got mine, my powers came a few… oh, what was it? About half an hour later.” Thomas smiled. 

“Well, I’ll leave you two to it, then.” And with that, he closed the door behind him, leaving the girls in the room. Amber tried using magic while Nora watched for a few minutes, but flopped down next to her, exhausted.

 “I give up,” she said. 

“You can’t just give up!” Nora said. 

“I can barely make a snowflake, but as long as you have signs, that’s good enough! Watch.” Amber watched as she twirled her hand majestically in the air, and she could just make out a single snowflake float silently down and land on Nora’s tongue. 

“Fine. I admit, that is not a lot but it’s more than I can do!” she said hopelessly. 

“Try again.” 

“Oh, fine.” Amber did the same twirl in the air that Nora had done, but still, nothing happened. 

“Well,” she said, “maybe snow isn’t your strong suit. Try filling that cup of water over there.” They tried, and tried other things in its path. They tried making plants grow, making a light wind, making a fire in the hearth, making, making, making. Nothing worked. Finally, after hours of practicing in the flickering light of the candle, who else to walk in but… 

“Charlie!” Amber exclaimed. 

“Where were you when I went into sector A-56?” He looked at her questioningly.

 “What are you talking about?” 

“What are YOU talking about?”

 “Nothing. I came in here to tell you two to get some rest. We’ll be flying into the night.” Then he left without another word. 

“Well, that sure was weird,” Nora said, before cuddling up to the couch and falling asleep. 

****************

Amber, too, fell asleep, but she suddenly found herself in her cloak outside. She heard footsteps. She followed them. She saw a figure ripping out their magical plants and stuffing them in their satchel. She lunged at the figure, tried to scream, “No!” and lost her voice. The figure tried to suck in her soul, but it didn’t end there. Instead, Amber grabbed her soul, pulling it back inside of her. The figure then raised its hands, and… 

“Amber! Amber! Wake up!” Amber shifted uncomfortably on the ground. 

“What?” Nora was peering at her with wide, excited eyes. 

“We’re at the airport! We’re in the Erierleon lands!” 

She sat up instantly. 

“We’re almost at Lenmonoral Academy!” 

Chapter 4

Color

Nora stared, wild-eyed, out the window. 

“Can you see anything?” Amber asked her anxiously. 

“No… wait, yes!” She squinted her eyes, looking for whatever it was that she had seen. “What did it look like?”

 “Well… it looked sort of shiny, like a toy glimmering in the sun. but it’s hard to see because of all the fog. It should clear up in fifteen minutes or so, but — hey! There it is again!” 

Amber looked out the other window and peered out. But the most she saw was a swirling fog. “I don’t see anything, Nora. Maybe it was just… I don’t know, another Ottonoski?” But then she saw it. A faint, shiny glimmer. It looked very far away, but — suddenly, the ground gave a very large heave, and thumped down to solid earth. 

“We’re finally at the airport!” exclaimed Nora. But no sooner had the words left her mouth than the ground began to rumble, throwing the door open and throwing the girls into the hallway. Thomas was there, along with Charlie. They brought them out into the main room, where the door outside had opened. 

“Thanks for the ride, Eurora,” Thomas said, petting the Ottonoski’s trunk. The air was chilly, and they saw their breaths rise in the air as they stepped out. Amber shivered beneath her cloak. 

“Inside, inside, please!” A short man with a tangled beard and a very round nose stepped up to her. 

“In ‘ere, you! Too cold, too cold, yes. Follow me.” The man walked through a thick crowd of elves, Nora and Amber trailing behind. Finally, they reached a glass door. The little man stepped up and pulled something out of his shirt. He waved the thing in front of the door, and, to their astonishment, the door opened. They stepped inside and looked around. They were in a very orderly room. The ground was made of marble, and there were gray armchairs. In the front room, there was a lady at a desk, absentmindedly freezing things like glasses of water, or bracelets. There was also an unlit hearth in the room they were standing in. The man turned to Amber and said, 

“D’yeh mind lightin’ that hearth for me?”

 “I — I can’t,” she said, embarrassed. 

“Course yeh can! Yeh just wave yer hand and BLAMMO! A fire.” (At this, he waved his hand dramatically in the air, narrowly missing Nora’s face.) 

“No, I’m sorry, I just don’t have my powers yet,” she mumbled. 

“Just ‘cause yeh don’t have yer powers, doesn’t mean yeh can’t try!” he said, with another dramatic wave of his hand. So Amber looked hopelessly at the hearth and waved her hand in the air. Nothing happened. 

“Well, at least yeh tried,” the man said. “I’m Stiltskin, if yeh wanna know. Well, that’s my last name. My firs’ name’s Redtail. Everyone calls me Stiltskin, though. Now, you’d best pick yer carriage. Follow me.” 

Stiltskin led them up a winding staircase and stopped when they reached a door. The door looked like just a door from afar, but up close, she could see it had tiny engravings in it. There was a fairy, a hippogriff, and many other mythical creatures. Unfortunately, Stiltskin opened the door too quickly, and the girls couldn’t look at it for too long. But what was behind the door was even more stunning. At first, Amber couldn’t see a thing. But, as her eyes adjusted to the brightness, she gasped. They had stepped out onto a balcony, the biggest balcony she had ever seen. It was at least as big as five Ottonoskis. Five BIG Ottonoskis. And the things on the deck were… carriages! But they weren’t ordinary carriages. They were made of gold or silver, and they were all jewel-encrusted. Some had rubies, some had diamonds, some had opal, and one even had all of them! 

“Well? Choose quickly now!” Stiltskin looked out through the sea of jewels. Nora had started moving towards one with opal and rubies. But Amber looked out through the carriages and one of them caught her eye: it was one with sapphire, moonstone, emerald, and diamond. The curtains were red velvet, and the carriage itself was gold. Stiltskin saw her looking at it and said, 

“Ah! So you’ve found yer ride! Well, I’ll bring this one down, and you go ahead back to the main entrance.” She walked down the steps, pondering what Lenmonoral academy would look like for the twelfth time. But when she got down to the main floor, she stopped, looking wide-eyed at the hearth. There, where there had once been cold, lonely logs, was a blazing, crackling, unmistakable fire.

 **************** 

“Nora! Stiltskin! The fire!” Amber rushed up the stairs, not even stopping to say sorry when she knocked over a short man in a green hat. When she got to the top of the staircase, panting and exhausted, she flung open the engraved door and rushed over to where Stiltskin was examining a carriage with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. He looked up, and by what Amber could see, he looked slightly annoyed. 

“What’re you doin’ back up here?” he asked. 

“The… fire… it’s lit… ” she said, hands on her knees. At that moment, Nora walked over and said,

 “I thought you had already picked your carriage! What are you doing back up again?” Nora looked at Stiltskin to explain, but he was gone. They turned around just in time to see his little foot disappear behind the open door. They looked at each other, then followed, Amber much slower, as she had also run up the stairs. When they got to the bottom, Stiltskin was beaming at Amber. 

“I told yeh you could do it, didn’ I? Didn’ I?” Nora swiftly moved past him and gaped at the fire, watching as it turned to embers as it reached the top of the hearth. 

“How did you do that?” she asked in envy. 

“Honestly, I have no idea. It was just there when I came down,” Amber said. But Nora was no longer looking at the fire. She had turned to look at her and slowly said, 

“Amber… your eyes…” Nora faltered, still staring. Amber looked at Stiltskin, and saw that he, too, was staring. 

“What?” she finally said to him after a few moments. He looked around jerkily and whispered in her ear, 

“I’ll get a mirror. It’ll explain everythin’.” And with that, he bounded up the stairs, only to return a second later with a very fancy mirror. She looked in the mirror and gasped. Her eyes, usually a brilliant shade of green, were rapidly changing color. It went from blue to lavender to red to yellow… it was too confusing. Keeping count made her head spin. Nora stepped up and said, 

“This happened to me also. The color it lands on is your main power. My main power is water, and my eyes were blue for a couple of hours. But… it’s still neat to watch.”

 “Wouldn’t my main power be fire, because I lit one with magic?” Amber asked, curiously. 

“No, the first thing I did was grow a small beanstalk.” 

She kept looking in the mirror. Was it just her, or were the colors slowing down? It looked as though the glassy blue was coming around a lot. She looked excitedly at Nora, who grinned back. She looked back in the mirror. The colors really were slowing down! Slower… slower… slower… the colors completely stopped. Glassy blue eyes stared back at Amber from the mirror. Stiltskin lowered the mirror. 

“Ice! That’s yer power! A thumpin’ good power, ice is!” He started to talk about the ice powers that he’d heard of, when Nora checked her watch and said, 

“Amber! We’re going to be late!” And she hurtled up the stairs, Amber and Stiltskin following behind her. 

********** 

After five minutes of staring out the window at the beautiful sights, Amber started looking for Nora instead. She kept thinking that they were there, with all of the looming towers and carriages. But nothing exciting had happened yet, other than the fairies that kept flying in through the windows. Amber had never seen one before, so she whipped out her sketchbook and stared intently at one who had landed on the seat and was talking to her in fairy. She knew the difference between girls and boys, and this one, with its long, orange-and-purple-hair, bare feet, and patterned wings, was definitely a girl. She started scribbling a picture of the fairy, who seemed very annoyed that Amber was paying no attention whatsoever. It started talking in what seemed like its impression of English. 

“… you know, you sould wiwy pay attention to me. You hoowmins awe so stwange. I don’t undewstand why I had to come hewe. hmph!” And with that, the fairy dove off into another carriage. Amber tried to see inside the carriage, but she was nowhere to be seen. Instead, something else caught her eye: a blue ear. Amber leapt up in her seat, looking through the window once more, just to make sure it hadn’t been a trick of the light. There! She caught a glimpse of it again. 

“Nora!” she said loudly. A face appeared out the window, but it wasn’t Nora. It was a boy, and by the look of the carriage and his ears, he was headed for the academy, too. He had dark brown hair, brown eyes, and looked as though he had just come off of a roller coaster. 

“Boy, fairies can be annoying. That one was asking me if I had a horse at home, and if so, how tall was it!” he said, obviously glad that the fairy was gone. Amber giggled. The boy looked irritably at her. 

“If you think it’s funny, it’s not. That fairy, that fairy pinched me, and you don’t want to know what a fairy pinching you feels like.” He looked at her sharply. “I’m Oliver. Who’re you?” 

“Amber.”

 Oliver looked at her, then asked, 

“Well, AMBER, why’d you call me… what did you call me?” Amber looked around, suddenly remembering why she was talking to Oliver in the first place. 

“Oh… I was looking for my friend… have you seen her?”

He looked questioningly at her, then looked around too. 

“No, but I have seen a few carriages, I could tell you what they looked like. I have a good memo — ” But he was almost thrown out of the carriage by a bump in the road.

 “Um… Oliver?” Amber asked, because he had disappeared back into the carriage. She waited for a few moments before realizing that Oliver wasn’t coming back out. She slumped in her chair, waiting and waiting and waiting for another looming tower to appear, just to get her hopes up. And finally, another tower did.

Chapter 5

Lenmonoral Academy

It was like no other one she had seen before. It was gold, and had so many towers, she couldn’t have counted them if she went around the castle. There was one tower, leaning just above some of the biggest ones, as if holding its breath, or as if trying to touch the sky. At the top of it, there was a flag, and it showed the academy’s symbol: a blaze of fire, a splash of water, a breath of wind, and a twisting vine. She looked out the window again and saw a crowd, and the biggest crowd she had ever seen. Clumped together, spread out, parents, kids, she could even spot a purple dragon sitting next to a man. But no matter how hard she looked, she couldn’t find Nora. Once, she thought she saw her, but it was only a girl who had red hair too. The front gates caught her eye, and she gasped. They were gold, and two guards in Paddingswood silver stood on either side of it, cautiously surveying the crowd. But that wasn’t what had made her gasp. A woman in an elegant purple cloak and two vines twisting up her legs, which were the same color as her cloak, was chatting with a guard, who looked very attentive. Her hair, streaked with white and quite obviously once a brilliant shade of raven-black, was tied back in a strict bun. Her sharp blue eyes focused only on the guard, boring into him. She looked… somewhat controlled. Leaderly. That was the only thing Amber needed to know before realizing who this was. 

This is the headmistress, she thought, feeling foolish for not realizing it before. The woman looked exactly like what a headmistress should look like. She watched the woman a second longer before walking back into the crowd, although she didn’t know where her legs were leading her. She looked over her shoulder, just in case she could steal another glance at the headmistress, when —

”Ow!” a girl with long blond hair and blue eyes looked angrily at her. “Watch where you’re going!” 

“Sorry,” Amber said, but the girl clearly had a temper. She brushed past her without another word. As the girl walked away, Amber could hear her mutter, 

“Sheesh.”

“Gather up! Gather up, all of the elves who are coming to the academy!” The headmistress was shouting instructions out into the crowd, but when only a small group, including Amber, came up, she raised one hand and lowered it to the crowd. Snake-like vines twisted out of her hand, and out into it, disappearing behind a thick wall of people. Amber didn’t realize what was happening until the outer part of the crowd parted, revealing a somewhat larger group of elves. The headmistress looked to one of the guards and said, 

“Gather up the rest and bring them into the main hall. I will bring this group.” And with another flick of her hand, they were headed inside the castle. They stepped into the gleaming gates to the entrance and found themselves in a sort of brightly lit tunnel, but it wasn’t ordinary firelight. Amber looked at the walls and realized that the light was coming from the wall itself. A blue tinge escaped it, but it seemed to fill up the entire tunnel, flooding it with bright blue light. She looked, amazed, as the walls seemed to shrink inward, and the group suddenly became cramped. But, no matter how cramped they were, the light seemed to entrance them, and they couldn’t look away. Finally, a light came from in front of them, and this light seemed unmagical. They emerged in a room with five long tables, three dazzlingly bright chandeliers swinging from the ceiling, and a stage with ten chairs, in which professors sat. It looked very elegant, and everyone, as far as Amber could see, was trying to eat up every detail. The headmistress turned on her heel to face them, and all eyes turned abruptly towards her. 

“I am professor Ophelia Moontwist. This is MY academy, and therefore, you will not disobey the rules. Now, before the next group comes, I want to know who has done magic. If you have, please step out of the group.” Amber and a few other girls stepped up, and when she realized one of the girls was the girl she had bumped into, she edged a little farther away from her. Professor Moontwist looked at them for a moment, then led them up the stairs to the stage. Once they were up, she asked, 

“Now that I know who has powers, I want to know what your main power is. You!” She pointed to a nervous-looking girl with brown hair that fell over her shoulders and brown eyes. “What is your main power?” 

The girl quivered before saying in a tiny squeak, “M-my main power is c-crystal, but I f-first m-made it rain… ”

 “Good, good, crystal… interesting… and what might your name be?”

 “Juniper Skymist.” 

“All right, Juniper Skymist, you may go back down.” Juniper, looking relieved, walked quickly down the stairs. This time, Professor Moontwist looked sharply at the girl Amber had bumped into. 

“What is YOUR main power?” 

The girl looked up and slowly said, “My main power is earth, but I first made a lightball.”

 “And what is your name?” 

“Cattie Woodland.” 

“Cattie Woodland, you may go back down.” And it went on like that for four other people, until there were only Amber and a girl with curly reddish hair and hazel eyes. Professor Moontwist looked at Amber, then asked, 

“What is your main power?” 

“Ice, but I lit a fire first.”

 “And what is your name?”

 “Amber Flickspell.” 

“Amber Flickspell, you may go.” Dazed, she walked down into the now crowded main hall. She watched the last girl carefully. She looked completely unafraid. In fact, she almost looked more leaderly than Professor Moontwist. She watched as the girl walked down glamorously, and headed towards two other girls, one with long, pale blond hair and green eyes, the other with short brown hair and bright blue eyes. Amber looked around and noticed a girl with short red hair and hazel eyes. Nora flashed her a grin and disappeared back into the crowd. Excitement coursing through her, she began walking around, not knowing what to do or where to go. But a second later, Professor Moontwist called out,

 “Everyone! If you are water, ice, or snow type, sit down at the table in the middle!”

Amber sat down, looking at the others. She noticed Nora once again, and sat down next to her. “What are we doing?” she asked in confusion. 

“I think we’re being seated into our powers. You know, fire, wind, water, earth, and storm. My brother told me all about it. So did my sister. They’re both in their fifth year here.” 

“You have a brother AND a sister?” Amber said in exasperation. 

“Yes, but they’re not here right now. Professor Moontwist is about to give us our dragons!” Nora looked up to the stage, and Amber followed her eyes to see five dragons, two red, one green, one purple, and one shadowy black. And they were all looking, either impatiently or curiously, out into the crowd. She felt a jolt of excitement as one dragon, the purple one, stared right at her as sparks flew from its nostrils. And she felt even more excited as Professor Moontwist started speaking once more. 

“… the next five elves I call are to put on the receiver’s necklace, and look for a path of light towards a dragon. That dragon is to be theirs. Now, these are the elves who are coming up: Raven Nightmoon, Clay Starflight, Destiny Wisterlull, Memory Wisterlull, and Juniper Skymist. Please come up.” Amber sunk back into her seat. So no dragons out of that group were hers. But no matter how much sadness covered her, she couldn’t help watching. She looked up at the stage just in time to see Professor Moontwist pull a stone dangling from a string off of her neck. The stone was five colors, and she wasn’t surprised to see that the colors were blue, black, green, purple, and red. One of the girls, she couldn’t tell who, took the stone and slipped it over her neck. The girl looked at all of the dragons slowly, her eyes landing on one of the red dragons. She walked towards it, arm outstretched. She gasped quietly as the dragon walked up and nuzzled her hand. Professor Moontwist looked at the dragon and said, 

“Destiny Wisterlull, this dragon is now your responsibility. You care for it, and you name it. What is this dragon to be called?” Destiny looked at the dragon for a moment before saying, 

“Fireflick.” 

 “Fireflick, please follow my vine to your room. Destiny, please sit down at your table.” She raised her hand, for the second time that day, and dramatically brought it down with a swish of her hand. A vine crept out of it, twisting its snake-like body in the air, as if it were swimming. Amber watched Fireflick disappear behind the doors, and watched as the next elf was called forward.

And on and on it went, five elves, five dragons. She waited for her name to be called forward, but she waited all the way through the five main powers and she still didn’t have a dragon. The only fairly exciting thing happened during the weather types. They were halfway through, and once the five elves had gone, Professor Moontwist called out, “Cattie Woodland, Oliver Tistlemon, Petra Seashade, Azari Nightflame, and Nora Swirlcox.” Amber glanced at Nora, who looked as though her worst nightmare and best daydream had been squashed together in one moment. 

“Go on, Nora,” she whispered. 

“Oh… okay,” Nora said, sounding as though the air had been taken from her. Amber watched as she walked up the steps like a ghost. She saw the girl with curly reddish hair she had seen earlier, and she saw the girl push past Nora in line. Amber sat straight up, the excitement she had felt only moments earlier replaced by red-hot anger. But all she could do was watch as Nora looked at the other girl with pure hatred. Professor Moontwist looked at the girl and gave her the stone. The girl slipped it over her neck, smirked at Nora, and looked out at the dragons. Two of them were gray with purple claws and bright blue eyes, one was purple with a bright blue splotch on its paw, as if someone had spilled paint on it, one was a misty white, like a fog on a dreary day, and the last one was coal-black with forest green eyes and a purple hurricane-like shape on its tail, which was swerving this way and that, as though antsy to move about. The girl was walking towards the white one, looking it over carefully, but a moment later she swerved around and started walking towards the black one. It looked as though an invisible hand was pushing her towards it, and she stopped abruptly at its sleek, scaly head. Nonetheless, the girl still looked brave, and she tucked her curly hair behind her ear and held out her hand. The dragon looked doubtfully at her for a moment, but when the girl turned her head the other way, it nudged her hand happily. Professor Moontwist looked at the dragon and said, 

“Azari Nightflame, this is a weather night fury. Type: uncommon, main powers: moon, weather, and wind. Now all that is left to do is for you to name him.” The girl, Azari, said almost immediately,

 “Falconshine.” And then professor Moontwist looked at her, said, 

“Tell Falconshine to follow my vine.” Then moved on to Nora as the dragon walked down the steps. Professor Moontwist slipped the necklace off of her neck, yet again — but Azari never took it off, Amber thought. how is that possible? She barely had time to think about it, though, for Nora was looking out at the dragons, looking somewhat dazed. She walked down the line, first to the gray ones, but when nothing happened, she moved on to the misty white one. But after only a few seconds, her head snapped to attention at the purple one. She looked at it, puzzled for a moment, but she slowly started towards it, hand outstretched. The dragon, to Amber’s surprise, bounded up to Nora’s hand like a playful dog. It sniffed her hand all over before pressing its nose on it so hard, she almost fell down! Nora looked at the dragon for a bit, smiled, then muttered something under her breath. Professor Moontwist looked at the dragon, then said, 

“Nora Swirlcox, this is a wind-weather type, and her main powers are weather, wind, and earth. What would you like to name her?” She had barely finished her sentence, however, when Nora blurted out,

“Mistyshade.” 

“Nora, please tell Mistyshade to follow my vine.” And with that, Nora’s dragon had disappeared. It went on and on for what felt like ages until the weathers were over. But, once they were, Professor Moontwist looked out into the crowd and said, 

“Now, we’ll move onto the last section: the rares. These five dragons are almost extinct, but we need five rares every year. So, the next elves I call, come up. Audrey Finswick, Poppy Flowerdust, Luna SilverMoon, Sam Mistfawn, and Amber Flickspell.” 

Amber’s stomach lurched at the sound of her name, but she was slowly pushed to her feet and walked up the steps. The five dragons looked like tropical birds — but there weren’t five dragons. Four dragons stood dramatically, but where the fifth one should be, there was only a lone shadow. She barely had time to ponder, though, before she realized she was first in line. She looked up at the headmistress, trying to hide her terrified feelings. Professor Moontwist looked at her with a glint in her eye and handed Amber the stone. The stone itself felt smooth and cool to the touch, and when she slipped it over her neck, that feeling swept throughout her whole body. She slowly turned to face the dragons, and saw, out of the corner of her eye, something moving in the shadows. She quickly turned, but it was gone. Amber sighed. It was probably just her imagination, anyway. She walked over to examine one of the dragons, and yet again, her eyes snapped back to that same spot. But this time, there was something else there. A golden path that appeared to be made of light was leading towards the shadows, and a pair of blue eyes stared at her from their depths. Amber turned quickly, and saw something that surely hadn’t been there before. The dragon looked nothing like a tropical bird. In fact, it looked more like an ordinary rainbowspike than anything else. It was faded the colors of the rainbow with a silvery-white belly, and on its paw, she could see a gold sun with three stars around it in the same color. Its eyes were a dazzlingly bright blue, and she walked towards it, almost petrified by its stare. The dragon slowly lifted its wings just enough for her to see scattered star scales on the bright blue underside, making it look like the daytime sky, except with stars. Amber wanted to run away screaming, but she held her breath and edged closer, locking eyes with the creature. She held out her hand, and looked away, not wanting to see. She didn’t know what to think of it. Part of her was excited that her dragon was a rare, the other part was disappointed that the rare dragon that she had was plain. She was almost too lost in her thoughts, but she felt a warm, scaly muzzle press against her hand. She gasped quietly. Its scales felt like the cool night air, and she was reminded of home. Amber looked up at Professor Moontwist, who smiled, then said, 

“Amber Flickspell, this dragon is a rainlight fury. Her main powers are weather, ice, water, and light. What would you like to name her?” 

She stood, pondering, not knowing what to name her dragon. She was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to name her, but then Amber thought of the moment when she had touched the dragon, and it came to her. 

“Watertwist,” she said, looking at the sun on her paw.

 “Amber, please tell Watertwist to follow my vine.” Amber looked at her dragon, HER dragon, for a moment, then she stroked Watertwist’s scales and said in a low voice, 

“Watertwist, will you please follow that vine?” She pointed to the still vine, not moving an inch. Watertwist tilted her head, and she stifled a giggle. 

“Go on,” she said, looking into those great big eyes. Watertwist looked at the stairs, then bounded after the vine, which had started rounding the corner. And with that, Amber stepped down, knees shaking, and returned to her table. Nora was there, and she stared, open-mouthed, at her. 

“WHAT…WAS…THAT?!” she asked, looking as though Amber had just destroyed all evil. “Um… what was what?” she asked, looking curiously at her. 

“THAT! You just got a RAINLIGHT FURY! They’re almost extinct!” she said, excitement rising in every syllable. 

“Someone named Autumn Glory found a pack of only about thirty of them a few years ago! They were thought to be extinct, even then! But you got one!” 

She stared at Nora, not knowing what to say.

 “Well… she doesn’t look like a rare dragon, does she? She just looks like an ordinary rainbowspike. She can’t be THAT rare, can she?”

 “Yes, she can be that rare, Amber! I told you, THEY WERE THOUGHT TO BE EXTINCT! And, you got one. You got the type of dragon that was thought to be extinct! And all I got was a wind-weather dragon. At least she’s fully grown. Hey, we get to ride our dragons tomorrow!” Nora suddenly said, as if her jealousy was forgotten.

“I can’t wait. I wonder what it will feel like! Well, it will definitely feel like flying, but I don’t know what flying feels like, so I really hope it’s our first class!” Amber looked at her for a moment, but as she opened her mouth to speak, Professor Moontwist was starting to speak, and the whole room went silent.

“Everyone, before we start the feast, I would like to say a few words. Firstly, after the feast, you will be escorted to your room, and each room has three types of powers. For example, in one room, there is fire, weather, and ice, and in another, there is moon, earth, and crystal. Secondly, in your room, on your bed, you will find your flying outfit, including your flying boots, shirts that can help you turn invisible when your dragon does, and so on. And lastly, next to your flying outfit, you will find your course schedule, and the elves in your room will have the same one. Now, as I have spoken, we shall start the feast!” she waved her hand in the air, and silver goblets appeared. She waved her hand a second time, and silver plates and utensils appeared. And she twirled her hand in the air, and bowls of food appeared, along with food on Amber’s plate. Both she and Nora were utterly baffled. A boy to their right said, 

“First time seeing that? That’s exactly what I looked like when I saw it happen, too.” He nodded to Nora, then looked at Amber. Something about him looked familiar… 

“So, Amber, found out your main power yet?” Then it hit her. 

“THOMAS?” she said, looking at him in bewilderment. 

“Yeah,” Thomas said. “You’d better eat up. Tomorrow you start your lessons.” Nora looked at him the same way Amber had — as if she couldn’t quite place him. 

“Wait… weren’t you the person who dropped Amber off with me?” she asked, still looking curious. 

“Yep, and you’re Nora… Swirlcox? Is that right?” he asked her, a faint smile on his face.

“Yeah… that’s me,” she said quietly, grabbing a spoonful of potatoes. 

“So, as I was saying, Amber, HAVE you found out your power yet?”

“Um… yeah, it’s ice.”

“Oh. That’s what I thought. You have a blue tinge in your eyes.” He looked at her for a 

moment, then looked over his shoulder and said to a boy who looked about their age, 

“Hey, Raven! Come sit next to us!” 

A boy with unusual bright green eyes and very dark brown hair turned around, looked at Thomas, then said,

“You know you have snow power as your main and I have fire. I can’t.” 

“Oh, fine, as you’re the one who NEVER breaks rules, I guess you can stay there,” Thomas said sarcastically, looking hopefully at the boy who was supposedly named Raven. 

“NO, Thomas, I’m staying,” he said firmly, gripping the table. 

“Fine, fine,” Thomas said, and turned back to the girls.

“My little brother. He’s your age, but he’s all ‘never break the rules,’ so he’s no fun.” Nora laughed. 

“How many siblings do you have?” she asked him. 

“Well, we have a six-year-old brother. His name is Julian and then Raven, so that’s two, 

and then there’s Mabel, who already graduated. So, three.” He said all of this quickly, as if it were a speech he wanted to finish. And so it went on like that for a while, Amber and Nora asking him questions, him answering them, until before they knew it, Professor Moontwist was starting to talk again. 

“Everyone, everyone, now that the feast is over, please follow the escort at your table to 

your room. Once in your room, look at your course schedule, get used to being in there, and you should be in bed by 9:30.” Amber looked down the table to see a man in brilliant blue robes that matched his eyes. He was thin and had pale skin and brown hair. She sat up, not quite knowing what was happening, and lined up behind the man. He turned slowly around and started walking towards the exit, just as the other escorts did. With Nora behind her, she started following him down the blue-light path and into a door that blended into the wall. Once opened, Amber could see many other doors with pictures painted on them, like poison ivy or the night sky. They stopped at one showing an ice shard, a blazing fire, and a tornado. The man looked at them and said in a low, frosty voice, 

“Weather types, ice types, and fire types, enter this door.” 

Nora looked excitedly at 

Amber, and whispered, 

“We’re in the same room!” 

“We are?” she asked, puzzled.

“Well, I’m a weather type and you’re an ice type, so, yeah!” 

“Oh, now I get it! Good, at least I’ll know one person in my room.” They walked towards 

the opened door and stepped inside. It was a misty room with walls that were red, glassy blue, or lavender. The room had a hearth, which was flickering cheerfully, and six chairs piled around it — two lavender, two glassy blue, and two red. Over in the other corner was one medium-sized table with six chairs, and a purple carpet on the floor. Behind the table, there was a staircase, leading to what Amber guessed were their beds. She motioned to Nora that they should go check it out, and they hurried up the steps. As soon as they got to the top, they heard voices down below, which probably meant that the other elves had arrived. Amber looked around. It was, as she had suspected, the bedroom. There were twelve beds, four red, four glassy blue, and four lavender. At the side of each bed was a bedside table with a lamp. Nora looked at her and said, 

“I guess I’ll take one of the lavenders, and you take one of the blues.” 

“Yeah… I guess so,” Amber said, looking around. Another purple carpet was on the ground here, too. Nora started towards one of the lavenders, as she had said, and Amber took the bed next to it. She sat down in it and opened her mouth to talk to Nora, but a strange popping sound drowned her out. She looked down at her feet and realized that her suitcase was there, and on her bed lay a light purple, sky blue, turquoise, and pink swirl short-sleeved shirt with holes cut into the arms, blue jeans, and newly polished black flying boots with the Lenmonoral crest on the side. 

I guess I didn’t need to bring my flying boots with me, she thought. Amber looked at 

Nora, and realized that a popping noise had just echoed throughout the room once more. Lying on her friend’s side was a long-sleeved ocean-blue shirt and leggings that, on one leg, faded from neon green to purple, and on the other leg, faded from purple to neon green. And she could also see that Nora, too, had a pair of flying boots, but they were grey, not black. Aside from that, they were exactly the same as hers. The other thing the popping had brought was her suitcase, which, unlike Amber’s, was bulging. She stared at it and stared back at Nora. Nora laughed, and said,

“My parents made me pack a few extra things. They can be overprotective at times. 

Now, let’s go down and see who else is in our room!” And with that, she was off, racing down the stairs at top speed. 

“Wait for me!” Amber half-yelled, her black hair flying behind her like a shadow. When 

they got to the bottom, she counted ten elves, five were boys, and the rest girls. One of the girls she recognized as Destiny Wisterlull, the girl with the dragon named Fireflick. And she didn’t have to ponder if Destiny had a twin, for a girl walked up to Destiny, and she had the same bright, pool-blue eyes, but the other girl had red hair, while Destiny had brown. And she also placed one of the boys as Raven, Thomas’s brother. All of the other elves were complete strangers. Nora, however, seemed to know half the people in the room. She walked over to a blond-haired girl that had hazel eyes and said, 

“Hi, Eva! What’s your main power? Weather, fire, or ice?” 

Eva responded by saying, “My main power? Oh, just Ice.” 

Nora immediately looked at Amber and raised her eyebrows. 

“That’s Amber’s main power, too,” she said, motioning for her to come over. Eva looked 

curiously at her as she started through the small crowd to where they stood. When she got there, Eva said, 

“How old are you?” 

“Twelve,” Amber replied.

“Me too. Weren’t you the one to get the moonlight fury?”

“Yeah… ”

“They’re super rare.” 

“That’s what Nora said, too.” 

Nora looked at them and said, “You should really read an elf’s guide to dragons, Amber, that’s where I get all my facts from. You could get it at the library if you want to.” 

Amber listened intently and was surprised to hear how many things Nora knew.

“There’s a library here?” she asked. 

“Yeah, and greenhouses, and a garden, and obviously classrooms, and a lot of other things. I read about THAT in A History of Lenmonoral and Other Schools. It has a map of the place. It also has a map of Synteloc, that’s one of the other schools, Gistleno, and Echilora. Let’s get up to bed now. I know we only just got down, but I need to unpack all my stuff.” She smiled at Amber and motioned her to go back up. She climbed the stairs, and thought that she, too, should unpack. She unzipped her suitcase and started shaking everything out. She stuffed her patched, dirty flying boots under the bed, and heard a clink on the floor. She looked under and pulled her boots out. Out of the left one fell a small blue box with a note attached to it. It read: it will open when you need it. -Sychlora 

She turned the letter over, but nothing was on the backside. Who was Sychlora, and could Amber open the box? She picked it up and tried, but all that happened was her fingers became very sore. She gave up trying and stuffed both the note and the box under her bed, inside her boots. The next moment, Nora was bursting through the door, and she flopped down on her bed, looking at her suitcase. 

“Well, we’d better unpack.” And so they spent about half an hour putting everything 

away and organizing their bedside table, covering it with their belongings. Amber found many strange things in her suitcase, including dragon treats, which Sebastian had probably stuffed in. Luckily, Nora’s bulging suitcase wasn’t due to dragon treats. She unpacked four books, a writing notebook, and a few things Amber couldn’t figure out what were. One thing looked like a misty white ball with miniature trees, plants, leaves, streams, and a little door that she could just make out. 

“Um… Nora? What is that?” she asked, eying it with curiosity. 

“This? Oh, it’s my min-dwarf habitat. Min-dwarves are just very small animals that dwarves keep. So far I have two owls, a frog, three squirrels, and two woodpeckers. I really want a black cat, though. They’re really rare.”

 Suddenly, realizing what it was, Amber reached inside her own suitcase and pulled out an orb that looked almost identical, except that the fog was icy blue, and Nora’s looked like fall, while hers looked like winter, especially with the icicles hanging off of the trees. She slowly opened the small door, and held out her hand. A tiger no bigger than the palm of her hand stuttered out onto it, looking around. It growled and backed away when it saw Nora, but Amber simply picked it up and put it closer to her fingertips. 

“This is my second tiger, Esi, and my other is named Leku. I also have a fox, Nida, two squirrels, one is Silo and the other is Multo, a calico cat, Tilasa, two ravens, Iloe and Pilcel, a wolf, Xi, a raccoon, Azie, and a black panther, Tisk.”

 Nora stared at her, open-mouthed. 

“WHAT?! How do you have THAT MANY?? I only have eight, and you have eleven!” she said, exasperated.

 “I’ve been collecting for a long time; ever since I was five!” Amber said, laughing. “My dad gave me the ravens, though. We should head back downstairs now. We can finish unpacking later, and plus, I want to meet everyone.” Nora looked like she didn’t want to go back down, but she followed reluctantly as Amber started down the staircase. Amber counted ten elves, five boys and the rest girls. Nora’s reluctant expression changed, however, when she turned to look at a girl with silky blond hair and dark brown eyes. 

“Eva!” she exclaimed, rushing over. Amber looked curiously at the girl, and Nora whispered in her ear, 

“Friend from school. Well, not elf school, but, y’know, school.” She looked disgusted at even the word school, which made Amber stifle laughter. 

“And her name is Eva?” 

“Well, her name is Evida, but everyone calls her Eva or Eve.” Nora stopped behind Eva, and said, 

“Eva! Hi! How are you?”

Eva turned, and a smile appeared on her face. 

“Nora! I didn’t know you were at the academy, too!” 

“Yep, I am. And so is Amber!”

 “Who’s Amb — ” Eva started to say, but she was cut short as she finally noticed Amber standing there. 

“Hi!” she smiled at Eva, and Eva smiled back. 

“Hi… ” But at that point, Nora cut in and said, 

“This is Amber. I rode on the Ottonoski with her, and we went in to pick our carriages together. She got a RAINLIGHT FURY for her dragon, too!” By adding that last part, Amber suddenly felt like she wanted to disappear. Eva stared at her, open-mouthed, not saying anything until she coughed, 

“A RAINLIGHT FURY? Really?” Nora’s smile grew wider with every syllable Eva said. “Yeah, and hers has the mark, too. I saw it.” 

Now it was Amber’s turn to be surprised. 

“What’s the mark?” she asked in confusion. Eva spoke up, and it seemed she had finally regained her voice. 

The mark is a sun mark on the paw of a rainlight fury. Every ten times a rainlight fury is brought to Lenmonoral, the mark appears. It’s supposed to mark a lot of power, and a gigantic, unbreakable bondlight.” 

“And what is bondlight?” Amber asked. 

“It’s the bonding between you and your dragon. The longer you’re together, the harder it is to break. I’ve never actually seen bondlight before, though,” Nora said. 

“C’mon, Eve! You need to see the bedrooms and pick your bed. What is your main power, anyway?” 

She started bouncing excitedly up the stairs as Eva said, 

“Ice.” 

“Hey, that’s Amber’s, too! You can take the ice bed closest to us.” When they reached the top, Amber took her min-dwarf habitat and placed it on her bedside table. 

“I’m done unpacking!” she announced.

 “So am I!” Nora said. “We can help you, Eve!” 

Eva smiled and nudged open her suitcase, which teetered dangerously and then fell to the ground, spilling everything. There wasn’t as much as Nora’s, but it was still a lot, and Amber and Nora spent fifteen minutes unpacking. When they had finally finished, Nora flopped onto her bed, checked her watch, and said, 

“Uh… guys? It’s 9:15, we should get ready for bed.” 

And so they did, and once they were done, Eva started rummaging through her suitcase and pulled out a gold ball, which she placed in her hands and then placed back in the suitcase. She swirled her hand in the air, and a crystal shot out of it, landing next to Amber. 

“How did you do that?” she asked, picking up the crystal.

 “I’ve been practicing,” Eva replied, and they spent the rest of their fifteen minutes watching her performance, and waving to the people who crowded into the room. At 9:30, the man that had brought them to their room came in and told them to go to sleep. So Eva lay back down in her bed, and so did Amber. She didn’t even have time to see if Nora had gone to sleep, because she was in her backyard, in the middle of the night, with a figure raising its hands above her. She braced herself, but all the figure did was pull down its hood, and Amber realized who it was. It was her mother, and it wasn’t. Her eyes were clouded over in a dull, misty, cold grey fog. No pupils, irises, or white. Just grey fog. Amber reached up but drew her hand away quickly. The spot where she had touched had turned into fog and drifted away, only to recollect once her hand was drawn back. Her mother’s eyes narrowed, and she opened her mouth… Amber jumped up, fully awake. Except she wasn’t awake. She had jumped into another dream — and this dream was also a nightmare. 

To be continued…                                               

The Moon

Chapter 1: Spell of the Moon

I was walking at night next to the lake, like every night, but this time, something caught my eye. I just could not stop looking at the reflection of the moon in the lake. I slowly looked up and there it was. The moon was just too beautiful. It was calling to me. It caught me by surprise. I have heard this before, the moon, the beautiful, full moon is dangerous. I wanted to run away, but the other part of me was caught with the spell of the moon.

The spell of the moon was impossible to get out of. Looked like I was stuck forever. I could not call because I could not speak. I could not run because I could not move, and everything I tried to do would just give my energy to the moon. All I could do was glare at the reflection that was sucking me in, better yet, sucking my soul.

I glared and glared until I had no choice but to walk inside that very lake my great-grandmother stepped into, never to be seen again. The only thing passed on from her was her story, the story that was told to my grandmother, my mother, and me. I was supposed to tell it to my kids when I got older (since I was only 11), but now it was too late. I stepped into the lake and did not look back. I looked to the moon, and the moon looked back at me. Straight from my heart was my soul, up into the sky. Flying and laughing, right into the moon. What was done, was done, and what was taken, was taken. My soul was taken, and there was nothing I could do about it. Except that there was something wrong. My soul had too much passion than it was supposed to when taken from the moon. Instead of disappearing like my great-grandmother, I stayed staring at the moon. My mother came outside, and she knew what was happening. Before she could say anything, my body felt weird. After a few seconds, I had realized I was now a part of it, I had turned into water. My brown short hair floated until it perished into the wind.

Chapter 2: 1860

I opened my eyes and I was in a house.

“Are you okay?” said a lady.

“Ahhh! How am I alive!”

“Excuse me? I am sorry to startle you, my name is Mary Wilieson, what is yours?”

“Uhh, Luisa Wilson. Hahaha, My great great great grandmother was named Mary Wilieson.”

“Really? Dear, I think you hurt your head. There is only one Willieson in the 1860s.” She smiled.

“Yeah…  wait, 1860s!!!”

“You should get some rest, we will call you for supper,” she suggested. The nice, sweet lady stepped out of the room. Then it hit me. That was my great-great-great-grandmother! Back then, we were called the Wiliesons because it was “cool.” My great-grandmother changed it so it could be easy to say. I wanted to let her know what happened, but I could not let her know that she was my great great great grandmother. 

I stayed up in the room, making up a plan to escape (also wondering why I had 1860 clothes on). After a little while, I felt at home in that room. Even though it was dusty and old, the shape, size, and placement of things felt so familiar, but nothing could distract me. 

“It’s supper!!” 

Except for that. I was starving. I ran downstairs. 

“Sorry if my husband woke you.” She smiled

“No, it’s alright, I was already waking up anyway.” 

All the faces of their kids looked familiar from photos and albums.

“Try this, dear,” Mary said, putting food on my plate

“Mhhhhh, cheesy mashed potatoes with secret olives and a hint of paprika, old family recipe.” They all looked at me funny.

“What are you talking about? I just made this up.” 

“This present and past stuff is confusing.” That was what I wanted to say, but instead, I said, “That’s what I see, at least. Hee hee.” 

“You have a good eye, dear.” 

We ate and ate, and while we were eating, it felt like my family was with me. They were! We were in my house! That was why it looked familiar. Without making a mistake with my manners, I told them. “What a nice house you have, really feels like home.” 

“I am glad you like it, dear, we built it a few years ago to raise our family.” She smiled. She was also right, and after that, the Wilsons or Wiliesons were raised in the same house. I smiled back at her.

“Hey, you want to ride around with me and my horse?” said my great-great-uncle. 

“Nuh-uh, Pablo. She’s playing dolls with me,”  said my great-great-grandmother, Mila. What should I do? Play with Grandma Mila, or ride with Uncle Pablo?

“Don’t worry, Tio Pablo, we can go later, let the little ones first.” I smiled. 

“Tio Pablo?” he asked me.

“Pablo, sorry, going a little bonkers.” 

“Bonkers?” he asked again. Isn’t anything I say right!?

“Uh, meet you around 2:30, okay?” I said, pushing my grandma Mila to her room.

“How did you know this is my room?” she asked when we got there.

“You carved your initials right here,” I said, moving and pointing behind the bed. The only thing was it was not there yet!

“I don’t see anything, but good idea.” 

So close!  I knew she had initials carved because her room is my and my little brother’s room in the future. When my sister, Carmen, went to college, I upgraded to Carmen’s room, and now Grandma Mila’s room is my little brother’s room. I know, it’s confusing.

After a while, Pablo showed up with his horse (Pablo Junior) from the window. I hopped on the horse’s beautiful, light brown back, and we went through the town. Our house was pretty far away from the town but it was beautiful. 

“You know, Luisa, you are really pretty, and I am impressed by what you did at the dinner table.”

“Uh, thank you. Hey, that really looks like Time Square! I mean, look at those billboards.” I pointed.

“Where? That’s a cafe, You alright?”

“Yeah, just… ”

“Um, okay, well, I am reading these cowboy books that are cool.” I gave him a kiss on the cheek for being so charming. 

“Uhhh, well you wanna… wanna see the park?”

“Sure.” Then I snapped out of it, I can’t “like” my great-great-uncle! The worst thing happened next, Pablo galloped his horse in front of a beautiful sunset. He gave me a kiss on the cheek.

“Weird, it’s like, kissing my little sister.”

“I am sorry, Tio Pablo!” I hugged him, got off the horse, and ran. Ran like the wind. I ran so fast that my leg disappeared. Then arm!

“What’s happening?!” I tried dragging myself across the floor before Pablo looked for me. Suddenly, my other arm disappeared. Trying to get up with one leg, I saw I had none. I had no head, no spine, no anything. I sank into the ground. 

Chapter 3: Great Grandma’s Soul

When I opened my eyes, I was flying in the air. There she was. My great-grandmother, under the moon spell. Stepping into the lake. I was still invisible and could not feel myself. Before she stepped into the lake, she managed to say,

“I know you’re there, Luisa, but you can’t change the past. This was meant to be. The moon sucking souls is destiny.” She turned her head to look at me, straightly opening her mouth and showing her devil teeth and creepy face that was turning around and around.

“Hahahahaha! Cackle cackle! Hee hee hee!” She turned around and entered the lake. That was not my grandmother.

“You are really smart, Luisa.”

“Ahhh!” It was the little devil that was making the creepy faces.

“Let’s see how powerful and smart you are after this.” He moved his tiny hands around. There was the picture of my grandmother, looking at great-grandma disappearing in the air. 

“Mommy!” she yelled. 

A tear came down my face. After, there was Grandma telling the story to my mom. Now, it was Tio Pablo and me. Playing dolls with Grandma Mila. Eating with my family, past and present. My family looking up at the moon. Rain falling, houses on fire. Creating the lake, the same lake that helped the moon take my soul from me. A garden that children played in. Grandma Mila’s soul was being taken, little by little. Until falling in love. It was all so confusing and painful. 

Then there was me. Me under the spell, the horrible spell. I touched my face like a porcelain doll. 

“Cold,” Past Me whispered softly, trying to put her hand on her cheek. Terrified, I removed my hand from Past Me’s cheek. All these moments, horrible, beautiful, loving, painful moments.

“ENOUGH!!!” I screamed, wiping out my tears. “I get it, I have had sad moments, happy moments, any moment, and will never have them again. Just do what you have to do. You can’t make me travel back in time  and make me suffer, I will ruin the timeline and… I don’t know, I like it how it is.”

“Whoa whoa whoa, who said anything about that? There was something out of control with your soul but now it is back in our order. It would be fun to mess around with you but that was not the moon’s order.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Look, we can’t talk here, let’s deal with it in the moooooooon… ” the little devil said, kicking me to the moon.

Chapter 4: A Trip to the Moon

“Ahhhhhh!!” Ouch, I am still sore from that bump. The kick was so hard, I passed right through some guards and right into the hall. Say what you want about the nasty moon, he was beautiful. Before the guards chased me, I quickly went deeper inside. The moon was like a type of castle. All the paintings of relatives and flags of moons. It looked so magical. Most of it was blue, my favorite color! It was like a museum! I adored museums. I kept walking through the shiny patterned hallways. I found a pen under the big, long, blue carpet, that had a pattern like the carpet from my favorite movie, Aladin. I drew a mustache on a painting nearby. I suddenly heard some voices and quickly hid behind a pole, putting the pen in my pocket.

“She does not deserve to be here!” 

“I was just doing my nightly stroll, that’s all.” 

“Silence! If your mother told you the story, you should not have been walking around me at night.”

“What-cha-doing?” I looked slowly next to me. It was that creepy little devil! He smiled at me, showing his not surprisingly sharp teeth.

“Ahhhhhh!!!!” My scream made silence for everyone around me. The little devil’s smile grew bigger and grabbed me by the arm. His hand burned me, like friction between 

ice and lava. He pushed me forward and left a rash on my arm. It was the only thing I could feel. Then I realized who was talking. It was my real great grandmother’s soul. She was arguing with the moon himself! There was this other girl there, she looked a lot like me. I think that’s because she is me. That’s my soul the moon stole! My grandma and I turned around. 

“Oh no,” whispered my grandma. The moon had a smirk on his face.

“Bow to me!” he laughed.

“I’m good,” I replied. The little devil, great Grandma Stephi, and the moon were shocked by my answer. 

“Up top,” said my soul, putting her hand up. I was about to high-five her but great Grandma Stephi interrupted. 

“NO! You may not touch.” 

“Why not?” we both asked. 

“You don’t want to know.” 

“Silence! Let’s not talk about that, what I do want to know is who you think you are for responding in a horrible way!?!” said the moon.

“I think I know, and I am Luisa Wilson. You took my soul, and you thought you took my power and passion, but they are still in me. I am not afraid of you, I am not afraid of your little devils, and however many guards you put up in front of me, I will not be afraid. These slaves of yours deserve much more. These souls should not be here. You can scare and overpower anyone you want, but you won’t be able to do that to me. So you better be careful.” 

There was a silence until…

“You go girl! I just realized how smart I am, how smart we are.”

“Haha.”

“She is right! I will not be afraid of you anymore!” said the little devil.

“Leroy, do you know how I know how your father died? Do you know who poured lion blood and covered him in tiger skin? Do you know who has leftover blood and skin? Do you know who can kill you as well? Do you know who killed your father?” I heard all that and felt so bad for the little devil.

“Sorry, Luisa, I have no choice.” He bowed to the moon. 

“Little devil,” I whispered. 

“Come on, I believe in you, you were awesome on the tellie with great-great-great-Grandma Mary. You were awesome just now, do something to that moon,” said my soul, she hugged me. I hugged her back. We let go and touched hands. 

“I believe in you.” She faded away. Was that the last of my soul? Would I be without one forever?

Then I started to feel queasy. I blacked out, but from the story, I believe this is what happened. I turned half-human, but one half of me was missing, and now with my soul, I can’t breathe on the moon. My great grandmother’s soul carried me down to the lake, where I believe I turned into water. When I woke up, I got out of the lake full human. I saw Grandma’s soul go up to the moon.

“Grandma!” 

She quickly flew to me.

“Where is it I need to go!” I touched her. So her soul combined with me.

“No! It’s to… ”

Now I was full Human plus my grandma’s soul. I was able to fly and breathe on the moon. I felt a little weird but it would be worth it. I went up to the moon. I sneaked up to his lair, which I realized was there secretly behind his throne. I took all his materials and poured them on him.

Chapter 5: Cheese Moon

“What are you doing?!” he asked. Nothing had happened to him. Suddenly, everyone was chasing me. I hid behind a painting for a while, thinking what to do next. Suddenly, a flash of light came behind the painting. Someone discovered me! 

“Little devil, Leroy! I am so sorry what happened to your father but please don’t hurt me!”

“Don’t worry, I am here to help you, quick, before they see you.”

“Leroy, do you know what the moon’s weakness is?”

“I don’t know, he gets feisty when people say he is made out of cheese.”

“That will have to do. How do you get cheese around here?” 

“Urgh, there is this special pen, you have to draw and it will come to life. They are so rare, there are only two in the castle, one’s with the moon and the other was lost. Everyone looked but… ” Before he finished his sentence, I took that pen from my pocket and looked at it.

“That’s the one! How did you find it?!” His voice echoed through the hallways. Everyone rushed over to see what was happening. I quickly drew a man with a rare collectible card that my little brother had and hid behind the painting.

“What is it? Did you find the girl?!” yelled the moon from across the hall. 

“No, but I did find this card! It is a… ” 

“Rare collectible,” I whispered to him.

“Rare collectible!” he repeated. 

“I am a… ” 

“Trying to trade it,” I whispered again.

“Trying to trade it! With this guard.” Leroy smiled

“Okay, do your… thing quickly, we need to find that girl!” he said, waving his arms around. Then I remembered a TV show I would watch when I was little. Cheese moon! I drew the cheese moon character with his long legs, pink cheeks, cheesy holes, and cute little blue hat on top. We looked for the moon everywhere. The kitchen, his room, the lab, everywhere he might be looking for me. How ironic, we were both looking for each other. The evil soul-stealing moon, and the innocent little girl who wanted her soul back. We kept looking.

“Did you ask us to split up?” Leroy asked. 

“No, why?” 

“I think cheese moon had his own opinion,” Leroy said, pointing where cheese moon was standing.

“Oh great, now we are looking for two moons!”

“Cheese moon!” we called. We entered the throne room and finally found him talking to the moon.

“What is the meaning of this? Who are you?” said the real moon. 

“My name is cheese moon, nice to meet you, friend!” 

“Cheese moon?! Hey, little girl, do you have something to do with this?” the moon asked, as he saw me approach.

“Don’t be mad, little friend, I see you are wearing my costume, you must be a fan! Let me sing the cheese moon song to cheer you up. 

Guess who’s made out of cheese, the moon’s made out of cheese! You want a piece of cheese? All you have to do is say please. To get a bit of cheeeeese, all you gotta do is take a piece of me! Cheese moon cheese moon! Hope you like my tune! Hey!” 

The moon squinted a lot with one eye. He was not okay. He turned as red as a shiny apple and as hot as a jalapeno. He looked like he was going to explode. 

“Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! I want to rip your hair apart and break every bone in your body until people stuff fish inside your ears and bury you alive!” Yep, he was totally not okay.

“Whoa, whoa, friend, here, have a piece of cheese,” said cheese moon, breaking a part of himself. The moon squinted some more until slapped the piece of cheese out of cheese moon’s hand. Cheese moon looked disappointed and disappeared into the wind. 

“You! You did this, haha, it did not work. I will finish you off, and Leroy! You were helping her? I got someth… ” He could not finish his sentence. His mouth was as shut as a clamshell.

“Mr. moon?” I asked. He looked at his hands that were wobbling. After a few seconds, the real moon disintegrated.  Leroy looked at me with a stare.

Chapter 6: Dreaming?

I woke up in my bed and wondered if it was all a dream. I walked around my room and it was all normal. Grandma Mila’s initials were behind the bed. 

I guess it was just a weird dream, I thought. Then there was a weird glow coming from out of my window. When I opened my eyes, there was an angel in my room! 

“Aaaahhh!” 

“Why the scream?” the angel asked. It was a familiar voice, but much lighter and softer. “Don’t you remember? It’s me, Leroy.” 

“Leroy?” I could not believe what he was telling me. I looked at him with my mouth opened wide.

“Yep, that’s me! After defeating the moon, they turned me into an angel.” He smiled with his perfect, normal, shiny, non-devil teeth.

“Leroy! It is you!” I hugged him.

“Wait, did you say, ‘Defeat the moon?’” I said, surprised. 

“Of course, do you not remember anything?” he asked me. 

“Not really, so it was not a dream?” 

“What?” 

“How about great-Grandma?”

“I suggest you go downstairs.”

I rushed downstairs. There she was! 

“Great-Grandma!!” 

“Hi, Luisa!” Leroy came downstairs and smiled. 

“Well, I better get going.”

“No, Leroy, stay here, join us for breakfast.” 

“Um, okay.”

“Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Felix (my little brother), this is Leroy.”

“We know who Leroy is. Don’t you remember the dinner we had with him yesterday?” said my mother. 

“Huh?”

“It’s alright, you have been through a lot. Let’s eat.” 

We ate breakfast, and my big sister Carmen visited from college. We all had a good time. I am still curious to know what happened after the moon was defeated. Half of me is scared that during my time of being water, I worked for the moon. What scares me the most about that, I could still be under his power.     

To be continued…

My Costume

One day, my parents told me to go outside and told me nothing else but that it was a surprise. When I walked outside, I saw a million smarties. Not really. But I did see something that made me feel that way. I saw my parents holding a zombie cheerleader costume and smiling. My eyes went big. I wanted to explode with happiness. But wait a second. How did my parents know that I wanted a zombie cheerleader costume? The only place where I had written it down was my…. diary! 

“Hey!”  I shouted at my parents. “You read my diary!”  

Guilty as charged,my dad said. I grumbled away, but my parents knew I was happy. 

The next day, Halloween, I walked outside happily with my costume and makeup. But when I had only taken a few steps, I saw my arch nemesis, Rosabelle. She was in a vampire queen costume with a huge hoop skirty skirt. I almost exploded. She also had creepy makeup, but the skirt had jewels, and she even had vampire teeth. My stomach went around and around like a blender. I wanted to go home. But suddenly, I saw her scratching herself, and suddenly, she tripped in a murky puddle and almost stained herself. I smiled. Maybe a big skirt wasn’t so good after all. This was going to be a great Halloween. 

Uni and The Butterfly

Uni was a baby unicorn. She had a rainbow mane, a blue tail, and a golden horn. Uni met a man dressed in blue who gave her a tent. He was wearing a blue striped shirt and navy blue pants. There were marshmallows in the tent and the only thing unicorns eat is marshmallows. The reason he gave her the tent is because she was homeless. 

“I’m a baby unicorn and I’m homeless,” Uni said. 

“Go under the awning to get out of the rain. I’ll be right back,” the man said. 

The man searched on Google, “What do unicorns eat?” On the screen, it said,

 “Unicorns eat marshmallows.” Luckily, the man had six bags of marshmallows in his house. He poured the marshmallows into a tent and put a small mattress and a blanket inside. He also put a little stuffy in the tent. The stuffy was a little unicorn. He took the tent outside. 

He said to Uni, “You can live in the tent. There is food and a mattress and a blanket. You can eat the food and sleep on the mattress and the blanket.” 

Uni said, “Thank you!”

She jumped because she was happy. But there was one thing she wasn’t happy about. She wanted a friend. 

Uni carried the tent to the beach. Uni ate her dinner, which was marshmallows, then she went to sleep. She had a dream and her dream was her playing with a friend. She really, really, really, really, really wanted a friend. 

In the morning, she went to the bay and saw a butterfly. The butterfly had blue and purple wings and golden metallic dots. She went up to the butterfly. 

“Do you want to be my friend?” Uni asked. 

“Yes!” the butterfly said. 

Uni jumped in excitement! They played and ate marshmallows in the tent and then went to bed. 

THE END! 

Masks

As I look out the window

The tall buildings and green trees 

I see people walking by, talking on the phone

And some smiling

So I smile Back

Even if they can’t see me 

I know that they know, someone will smile back

And that makes me smile

And when I smile under the mask

I know that someone in the world, someone 

By their window 

Smiling

Maybe they are smiling because they got a gift

Or because they get to spend time with people

Whatever the reason is that they are smiling 

It will make me smile

Even if they are across the world

Most of the time when people are smiling under their mask

Their eyes slightly squint

And if you are walking down the street

Or look into the window 

Smile back

You can smile in many different ways

Some people say that you can’t smile with the mask on

But 

You can smile by saying hi

Or waving

Or doing something kind

Yes

Smiling is with your mouth

But it also has other definitions

A Starfish Named Solar

Once upon a time, there was a starfish named Solar. All she wanted was to get out of the water and to see the stars. But her parents said she was too young to go out. One day, when she was older, she decided to get out, and her parents said she was old enough to get out of the water. 

She heard that there was a starry night where the stars were alive, but the night was very far away. She knew it would take years, and she was only ten at the time. When she was older,  the day came and she started to go out. She went out of the water and started going up a hill. When she was halfway up, she lay down because she was very tired and so she took a nap. When she woke up, it was already the next day, and she only had a few more days. When she went up the hill, she started sitting up to see all the stars. She put up a bed and telescope to see closer, and some things to eat. She also had a game to play so she wasn’t bored. 

There were a few nights before the day came. She decided once it was nighttime, she would look through her telescope to find the moon. The next day, she looked through her telescope and she saw Saturn. 

She brought a notepad so she could write down ideas, and on that notepad, she wrote, “Saturn can be found at night with a very big, strong telescope.” She had a big, strong telescope, too. 

She checked her calendar, and after the day, she saw that it was at night, so prepared everything she had to do to see the stars alive. 

That night, when the stars were alive, not only were the stars alive, but she also noticed a meteor shower! She was so happy! By the end of the meteor shower, she went to bed. The next morning, she started to go down the hill. It took days to get back to her pond. When she arrived, she told everybody in the pond about her week. There were lots of fish, and starfish, and snails. They were very impressed. That night, when the day was over, Solar dreamed about her day, and imagined she could go again. She even decided to become an astronaut and go to space. 

The End

The First Place Winner

Hi, my name is Fluffly and I am pug. I am also the most fashionable thing that has ever walked on earth. Scarlet red is the most fashionable color. I live in New York City. I have lived here for so long. I need to see the world. I plan to go to London. The capital of… hmm, I don’t know. If you have not heard, in London, there is a fashion competition and the winner gets a tour of the world. Now all I have to do is get on a plane. 

You are probably wondering who is your owner or do you live in an adoption center. Well, I live with no one. I kind of just do my own thing. I start to get ready. I put on my trench coat and black sunglasses to try to blend in with the crowd. I walk into the airport and there are so many people there, but of course, none as fashionable as me. I start to run to where it says “London,” then I wait to get on the plane.

 I go under a seat and look at people’s outfits. They are not flattering, especially their socks. Their socks are tan colored and have ugly, blue spots. I just can’t. After I tell you what I did, you have to promise not to hate me.

 I bit the sock off. I know, I know, but the sock is so ugly. I run to a different seat. Of course, I am looking fabulous like always. Then I hear someone say the plane to London is taking off in ten minutes! I run to the plane. Do you know when you are going on the plane and you look down and there is a small gap? I look down. I am so scared that I’ll chip a nail. I run quickly to first class. There is no one there because it is way too expensive. It’s perfect because none of the flight attendants will come and ruin my plan. 

There is a whole cart of food just for me. It has candy, cake, and all sorts of sweets. I am loving life until someone or something comes in. It’s a pug! I am holding back my tears. This pug is more fashionable than me!! One thing about me is I always tell the truth. She comes up to me and says, “Hi, I am Talyor and I am sneaking on this plane to London.”

I say, “I am, too.” Then I move away from her. She is weird. I start to stuff my mouth with chocolate cake with strawberries. I am raging with jealousy. She is so fashionable. I look at her and she is fixing her hair and smirks at me. Arg, I hate her. She is the WORST!! Her fur is like silk. I cannot believe my eyes. It’s crazy. 

Finally, the plane lands and I can get away from her. I start to walk to my hotel. My hotel is amazing. It has a huge hot tub. Then there is a huge TV and couch. My bed is just unexplainable. I lie down and watch some TV. Then someone comes up and gives me a massage. It is an amazing experience. I never want to leave. 

Then I go to get breakfast. I have fruit loops. I walk to the hotel and I look inside. It has so many clothes. Then I walk to the runway and start to stretch. I do my best fur flip. Of course, it’s perfect. Then I get dressed for the runway. I am wearing a red dress, the best color ever. It has a small trail and triangle cut-outs in the front. I am not really nervous. They announce my new arch-enemy, Taylor. She walks the runway with such confidence. Then they announce my name. I start to walk down the runway. I kill it. My fur looks great. Then they announce the winners. Taylor gets 2nd and I get first! I shoot a funny look at her, like saying, “I won.”

I get to go on the world trip. 

Hi, it is a day after my world trip. I have decided to stay in Rome! It is amazing, there is so much to do and see. Right now, I am at a restaurant eating pasta and pizza. I am starting to learn about their style. It is pretty good but it could be better. Believe it or not, right in front of me is Stella Jean. Ahhh! She has such a good sense of style. 

Spot

Chapter 1: The Light       

Once upon a time, there lived a baby cheetah whose name was Spot. He was faster than the fastest car. He was 5 years old. While his dad was out hunting, he and his mom were watching the birds fly and they were listening to the birds and trees. Just out of the blue, he asked, “Why aren’t I allowed to go out of our grass field?”  

His mom froze at that question and said, “Because you can’t handle it.” 

“What do you mean, I can’t handle it?” said Spot, bewildered at that answer. His mom didn’t answer.

At that same moment, Spot jumped up and dashed out of the grass field.                                                                                                    

Soon, he could hear his mother calling for him. He ran until he couldn’t hear his mother calling him anymore. But then he saw a light, or he thought so. Then he heard a sound, though also not very clearly.

Chapter 2: The Incident  

It sounded like someone saying, “Do you need help?” And it sounded like he or she was crying.  Before he could react, he saw something that made him freeze. It was his dad right in front of him. He expected his dad to be really upset, but his dad asked him very calmly, “Why are you out here?” When Spot did not reply, his dad told him that he was going to have to explain when they got home.

After that, Spot and his dad did not say anything to each other until they reached home. When they got home, his mother was relieved that Spot was safely home.

Dad had hunted a hyena for all of them to eat. Spot could tell that his mom and dad were not happy with him because it was one quiet dinner. After dinner, Spot was ready to run and check out what he had heard. But he couldn’t go out right then because his mom and dad would catch him. 

So he decided on going at night to find who or what was in the forest. When his mom and dad were asleep, he crept past them and left for the forest. As he went further away from home, he was startled when he heard the noise again. He looked all around, but could not see anything.

Chapter 3: The Map

Spot went into the forest. He couldn’t see any light so he started running faster and further away from home. And then he saw a light in the distance. He got closer and closer and closer and closer.  He was curious and a little scared.

Chapter 4: The Baby                

Then he saw a baby animal who looked just like him. It said, “Who are you?” 

“My name is… Spot, and who are you?”

“Hello, Spot. I am Slash.” 

“Hello! Where do you live, Slash? I have never seen you around here. But why are you crying, Slash?”

“I think the human hunters have captured my parents and taken them away. Have you ever used a map?”

“Um… no. Have you?”

“Yes, well one of the hunters dropped a map and a flashlight so I took them and ran away. Do you want to help me find them?” 

“Yes. Why don’t we go at dawn so we can see better? We can meet at Lucky Coin lake. Do you see it on the map?”

“Yes. It’s getting late now, let’s go home now. I’ll see you in the morning.”

 “Ok,” said Slash.

Chapter 5: The Truth 

Once Spot got home, he went very quietly so as not to be heard by his parents. Then he went right to bed.

Because he was so excited to see Slash at the lake early in the morning.

When he got up, he jumped up, and yelled for his mom to “wake up!” 

“Why are you up so early, Spot?” 

“Well… I met… another… cheetah… cub,” Spot said. 

“What!!!!” said his mother, surprised. “Where does he live?” 

“I don’t know where he lives but we agreed to meet at the Lucky Coin lake. Do you want to come?” Spot asked. 

“Yes! But why are we going there?”

“I will explain when we get there. Ok?” Spot said. 

So they headed to the lake, and there was the legend, Slash! 

“Hi there, Spot,” Slash said. 

“Hi, I want to introduce you to my mom!”

“Hi, there.” 

“Well, is she going to help us with the you-know-what?” Slash whispered to Spot. 

“I don’t know. You want me to tell her?”

“Yeah.”

Spot turned to his mom and said, “Well, ummm… do you want to help us save Slash’s parents?” 

“Wait, what?!!” said his bewildered mom.

“Well, Slash says his mom and dad got captured by human hunters. One of them dropped a map and a flashlight so Slash picked them up and ran away as fast as his little legs could carry him.  Do you want to help?” Spot said. 

His mom froze then said… “Yes!! Of course.” 

“Ok, do you think Dad would like to help, too?”

“Yeah,” said his mom, even though she was not sure of it.

“Ok, let me get Dad. You stay here,” Spot said, then ran home as fast as he could. 

When he got home, he looked all around but could not find his dad anywhere. He wasn’t in the backyard, he wasn’t in the den, and he wasn’t in the grassy field. He had no more time to waste so he ran back as fast as a lightning bolt back to Slash and Mom.  

When he got there, he was out of breath and his heart was pounding. Slash and his mom looked confused.  

“Where is your Dad?!” asked Slash.

“I have no idea, I could not find him anywhere,” said Spot.

Mom then remembered that he was going to go for a hunt to find dinner.  She turned to Slash and said, “Let’s go rescue your parents!”

“Okay, get the map out,” Spot said, trying to rush.  

30 minutes later…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       “We’re here. Look!” Spot whispered as he poked his head through the bushes and admired the many different animals that were sitting in cages. The cages were connected to each other and sitting in a long line. They looked at each cage, and at the very end of the line, there were the cheetahs. There was a sign on the outside that said, “No touching the cheetahs.” At the front of the cages, there was one guard who was sitting on an uncomfortable wooden chair, sharpening his sword.  

Spot turned to Slash and his mom and said, “What’s the plan?”

“Let’s tackle the guard from different directions,” said Slash.

“Good plan,” said Mom.

They began to move in slowly from different directions. Mom whispered over to Spot and Slash, “Remember to be quiet so we don’t wake the others.” As they got closer to the guard, Spot got more and more nervous as he got closer and started sweating.  

They all counted quietly, “Three, two, one, gooo!!” Mom got there first and clawed the guard with her front paw. Pow!!!! The guard took his gun out and held it, sword out, and started swinging it at the three of them. Spot heard Slash scream, “AAHHHH!” Then out of nowhere, they saw a furry blur flying through the air at the guard before he could react and shoot at them.  Boom!!   

“He’s down,” yelled Spot. When he turned around, he noticed that the furry blur was his dad. He was about to explode with questions but he was so happy to see him. 

“Look what I found! It’s the keys!” 

“Wait! How are you here?!?” Spot said.

“I’ll explain later.” 

Slash ran to the last cage. When he saw his parents, he was so excited, he couldn’t hide it.  

“Hi, Mom, hi, Dad!” said Slash as he cried in tears of joy.

“Hi, who are these cheetahs?”

“They are friends.”

“Okay. We’ll talk later and get us out.” 

Chchch!!

 “Okay, now run, run!” 

And that’s the story about Spot and Slash, hoped you liked it! Bye!

To be continued…

Sneak Peek:

“Bye, Slash, see you tomorrow, same place.”

“Okay.”

Then they hugged. They were so happy it was over. 

“Bye!”

And then the cheetahs left. 

“I have something to tell both of you, come on. Well, I work with a company that helps cheetahs. That’s how I found you!!”

Dunt! Dunt! Dunt!  Be sure to check out the next one. 

She Wonders

I wonder what Amelia Earhart saw in the sky to make her want to fly a plane

I wonder the source of  Barack Obama’s courage to change history becoming the first Black male President

I wonder why Clara Spence thought educating girls was important

I wonder if I could have been the pencil writing the words from Lois Lowry’s imagination 

I wonder if Lin Manuel Miranda thought of a woman playing Hamilton

I wonder all of these things but for me…

When I look in the sky my dream is to be a U.S. Supreme Court Judge.

I hope to have enough courage to get over my fear of dogs

I hope to never stop learning

If I was a pen who could continue writing words the world would never get tired of reading  from my spunky imagination… aka Jolie’s Adventures

The Boy That Always Had Detention

Ok, here is the story. 

My name is Sam and I always get detention, I don’t know why, but I just do. I don’t get why pranking the teacher is something to get in trouble about. For example, putting a bit of goo on top of the door so it falls on Ms. Cutt. By the way, Ms. Cutt is our teacher. I always call her Ms. Butt. Honestly, that is a better name than Ms. Cutt. Does she want to cut something?

Oooooohhhh noooo! I am late for class, I better go to Ms. Cutt or she will cut me in half or put me in detention. Ok, don’t tell anybody but I thought of another prank so I put a little glue under her coffee mug and it will be hard to lift then she will spill the coffee everywhere. Lol. I think it is the best one yet. 

“Alright,” I say when I entered the class. I am obviously the class clown. Everybody likes me so I don’t have a problem with making friends and that stuff. I sit down and get ready for some action. Ms. Cutt always goes to the principal’s office to say hi before class starts because she wants to get a promotion for being polite but everybody knows she is not going to get a promotion so yeah. I take the coffee mug, I put some glue under it, and pour the coffee into the mug.

Ms. Cutt enters the room. She has reddish hair and brown eyes. Ms. Cutt looks around the room and takes attendance. She starts screaming names. “Carl, Reed, Natalie, Niko, Sam.” She gets tired of saying the names so she just stops like a lazy pig. She sits at her desk and tries to take a sip of her coffee but it is stuck so she pulls and pulls and then the coffee goes everywhere. She automatically looks at me. She says, “Goo? To the principal’s office.” 

I walk out still laughing from the prank. I enter the principal’s office. The principal’s name is Mr. Steve. He wants to be called by his first name because he thinks the students will like him more but that is not true. So when I walk in, the principal calls my parents for the first time. My parents do not care neither do I so once again I get away with everything. 

My friends always get upset because I do not get in trouble and then they prank me. They do the classic slime prank in my shoes, well I am pretty gross sometimes so sometimes I take my shoes off in class hehe. My friends sneak under my desk and put slime in my shoes and I put them on and scream and throw one of the shoes at my friend, soon-to-be-enemy, and the other to my other friend. They both get bruises on their heads, that means they should not mess with me. I obviously get sent to the principal’s office for violence and stuff, blah blah blah. My parents come, blah blah blah, and I got in trouble, wait, no, my parent take away all electronics for a month, noooooo! 🙁 🙁

Today I get my test back from school. I get an F-. I bring my test to my parents. They are not pleased. My teacher says on the test (with a little note), “You’re going to have to take the sixth grade again because of your poor grades.” 

Then, my parents actually start to care about everything I’ve done. My parents stop me from watching TV and from using my phone and all my devices. I start having a panic attack because I’ve never paid attention in class and there is a test the next day. Cause I am very sneaky, I sneak out of my window in my home very quietly and bring some paper and a pen with me and go to my school with my bike. It isn’t that far away. And I go to my English teacher’s classroom because that is the test the next day. I go to the ELA teacher’s classroom and my teacher is very organized with all the grades and the test answers and I can’t take a picture of them because I got my phone taken away, that’s why I brought the piece of paper and the pen. And I walk through the school’s hallways very quietly, but there is the janitor there. But the janitor is kind of clueless and old so he doesn’t notice. And I run back home through the window. I put my bike away like it was before and I immediately go back to sleep until the morning. 

When I wake up, my mom smells me and yells, “What that smell?” I am just pretending that I am still sleeping. My mom obviously knows that I am fake sleeping so I just say, 

“Well, I don’t know.” 

She says, “Why do you have leaves in your hair, too? And why’s the ladder out next to the window? If you don’t confess what you did, there will be no electronics for life.” 

I say, “I went to the school and I got the answers for my English test.” My mom obviously gets so mad. 

She says, “No more pranks, and no more electronics for a long time until you get your grades up.” 

And that is how Sam learns to be more serious and more caring about his grades. 

The Adventures of Miles Black

One evening, Miles Black, the school bully, and his friends were egging houses. “SPLAT!” An egg crunched on Mrs. Blackwell’s window. Then they saw it, just what they’d wanted — a pet store that had a big sign saying “adoption day.” They went inside the store and went to where the bunnies were. They got them out of their cages. They hid them in their sweater pockets and went outside. When nobody was looking, they dropped them down on the ground. Suddenly, a bunny began sniffing. It sniffed all the way to a little boy eating baby carrots. The bunny climbed up the little boy, and the boy was covered in scratches, and bruises, and a broken arm by the time the bunny was done trying to take his carrots. Suddenly, the news spread. They all knew who it could have been, Miles Black and his team. The next evening, when they were ready to start egging houses, Miles said, “I don’t want to.”

“WHAT?” said Billy, the second-best bully.

“Yeah,” Miles replied. “Is there a problem with that?” 

“Whatever, dude, we will egg houses without you.” 

So Miles just went home early. 

“Oh, well, you’re home early,” said Mrs. Black. 

“I didn’t have much to study for, Mom,” Miles said (Miles’ mom didn’t know about the bullying). He ate dinner early and did everything early. He was afraid the bullies would tease him. 

The next morning, he put on his backpack and left. But he turned right around and went back to the house. He forgot he had baseball. When he walked to school, he took the regular route, not the bully route where he and the bullies used to talk about evil plans (egging houses and more stuff). 

“I see you finally stopped egging houses and bullying,” said Patricia Paro, the only smart kid in his class, when he was walking to school. He just pulled the hood of his hoodie on his head and walked away. When he walked into class, something was different today. There was one extra desk. Today, they had a new kid in their class. He looked like a nice kid. At lunch, the new kid asked Miles if he could sit with him. Miles liked him; he seemed like he would be a good friend. He learned his name was Michael and he liked baseball. 

“You know it’s spring, and we could use a new teammate, and don’t be shocked but we need a new name right now. Our name is Joe’s Pizza,” Miles said. 

Really? I mean, really? I didn’t know you liked baseball,” said Michael. 

BBRRRRRIIIIIINNNNNGGGG! The lunch bell rang. Michael and Miles ran back to class.

They started passing notes to each other, and they decided that they would meet at Miles’ house when they went home. It was a long four hours but they went through it. When Miles brought Michael to his house, Mrs. Black, Miles’ mom, was cooking Miles’ favorite food: tacos. And set on the coffee table in front of the couch was a big bowl of chips and guacamole. 

“Mom, meet Michael, my friend, and Michael, meet my mom, Mrs. Black,” said Miles.

“Hi, Mrs. Black,” said Michael shyly. Miles led Michael up the stairs into Miles’ bedroom. Miles’ bedroom was full of posters with baseball stars on them. It had a big, wide window looking out to a tree in his yard. At exactly five o’clock, Michael went home. 

The next day, they were walking to school. Miles saw the bullies. Then suddenly, Miles said, “I may not have told you everything about myself.”

“Okay, so tell me now,” said Michael. 

“I used to be a bully,” Miles blurted out.

WHAT!” replied Michael. For the rest of the day, Miles and Michael didn’t talk until after school when they realized that they were neighbors. 

“Sorry,” said Miles but Michael just walked away. Great, Miles thought. I need to find a new friend again. 

The next morning, Miles walked to school, sat alone at lunch, and his day went by as fast as a snap. When he got home, he found his grandma sitting on the couch. Miles forgot today was the day his grandma was coming over to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

“Oh, Grandma Joan, I forgot you were coming,” said Miles. “And anyway, I have to go upstairs  and make some Valentines for people I don’t even know.” 

“It is alright, and Miles, we are having rice and beans for dinner,” said Miles’ grandma in a nice, soft voice. So Miles went upstairs. After a while, Mrs. Black said,

“Miles, your dad is home. Come say Hi.”

So he went downstairs glumly. 

The next day, after they exchanged Valentine’s cards, Miles looked at one of his cards and it said a bunch of mean stuff but the card wasn’t signed. Then he looked around the room to see people whispering and pointing to Miles. At lunch, Milly Marino asked Miles, “Did you write this note?” 

“No,” he replied.

 “Good, because everyone got one.” 

That day, a lot of people asked him the same. Suddenly, he found who sent the notes.

It was the bullies. Of course. How could he not think of this (he was supposed to be the smart and talented Miles Black! Why else would someone make up a story about him?). That day, right before the class left for home, he asked his teacher if he could say something to the class. He said, “Wait, I know who sent the mean notes!” 

“Yeah, right,” one boy said. 

“The bullies did it, they wrote everyone mean notes including themselves so they wouldn’t be caught,” Miles said. Everyone was quiet for a second, then shouted out, 

“REALLY?!” 

Then the teacher said, “Anyone who helped write the note, step up.”

Miles looked at the bullies with red eyes. He made his hands into fists, and finally, the bullies stepped up and the teacher gave them Saturday detention. That day, when Miles was going home, Billy came and said, “You will get REVENGE.” He just smiled and ran all the way home. He was glad that was over.

My Pet Slime

Once, there was a girl named Piper. She loved, loved, LOVED animals, but she couldn’t have a pet because she was allergic to dogs, cats, guinea pigs, every kind of pet. Her mom wanted to make her feel better, and she knew that Piper loved to make slime, so she took her to the toy store to get a slime-making kit. 

When Piper got home, she opened up the kit and made the slime. Then that night, a fairy came and sprinkled her fairy dust all over Oozie. 

The fairy said, “You’re gonna be a lovely pet to this girl,” and flew away silently, as if to not wake Piper.

When Oozie came alive, he said, “Wow, what a cool place!” and snuggled on Piper’s counter and fell asleep. 

In the morning, Piper found out that her slime had come alive! She decided to name him Oozie because he was oozy. He could also change his shape. He could be flat as a pancake or round as a ball or just his normal shape. 

Piper screamed, “Ahhh!” And Oozie screamed back, 

“Ahhhh!” She ran to her parents’ room. 

“Mommy, daddy, the slime came alive!” Her parents ran into her room, but Oozie wasn’t moving. He was only alive for Piper because he was being shy. 

“Sweetie, it was just your imagination. Come on down for breakfast once you get changed,” her dad said.

Piper started to get ready for breakfast, but as soon as her parents left the room, Oozie came alive again! Piper loved Oozie so much so she put him in her backpack, but he couldn’t breathe. She cut out breathing holes in her backpack. When she came downstairs with her bag, she hoped her parents wouldn’t notice the holes. She dropped some crumbs through the holes. 

At school, she met up with her worst enemy, Claire. Claire was the most popular girl in the class. She has good ideas, but she teased Piper. “Hi, Pipe for my building that’s connected to my bathroom,” she laughed out loud.

“Hi, Claire’s the store.” Life was easier when you agreed with Claire, Piper thought.

Then, at the end of the day, Piper actually made friends with Claire, because Claire was nice to her in geometry and said sorry for calling her Pipe. They became best friends and had a playdate every day after school. Once Oozie got used to Claire coming over, he actually came alive for her, too, and they had many fun adventures. 

The end.

B-day Celebrations

Why do people think that the double-digit birthday is such a big deal?

You know, I’ve always wondered why people make such a big deal on the double-digit birthday. It’s just something I’ve known as a child, a thing I’ve known since I was born. Yeah. It’s like common knowledge for Americans. I think that everyone just knows it. Every child I’ve been friends with basically knows. Is it just an American thing? Honestly, for Asians, it’s more seven and 60. I mean, it is like a whole new lifeline, since you become more mature, or at least you feel more mature. As you probably know, I’m Chinese-American. My parents are Chinese, whereas I’m American. 

The Chinese way to celebrate birthdays: the first birthday party of a Chinese child takes place when he/she turns two years old. Parents celebrate a birthday by surrounding a child with symbolic items such as a toy airplane, an abacus, a flute, etc. And these items are the attempt to predict the future of the child. Likewise, seven has both positive and negative connotations in Chinese culture. For the positive side, 七 (seven) sounds like both 起 (qǐ), which means “start” or “rise,” and also 气 (qì), which means “vital energy.” Seven is also seen as a lucky number for relationships. Honestly, Americans take a liking to the birthday leading to the double-digit.

An amazingly surprising thing about Chinese birthdays is that they DON’T eat cake as we do. I know right, WHAT? But here’s the reason why: different cultures eat differently. In the Chinese way, they prefer to eat healthier things. 

Chinese people don’t really make such a big deal on their birthdays. While nowadays, young people in China celebrate their birthdays every year like in the West, traditionally, not much importance was attached to your birthday in China. After celebrating three birthdays – 30 days, one year, and six years, no birthday was given any special attention until you were 60. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

For Chinese people, they zoom in more on the year of whichever animal, rather than the value of the year. But for Americans, they prefer to focus on the value, and what age one is turning.

Now, let’s focus on the types of Chinese years. There are many, 12, actually, based on the year that one is born. There’s the rabbit year, the tiger year, the lamb year, the monkey year, the mouse year, the horse year, the dragon year, the snake year, the dog year, the chicken year, and the pig year. I’m born in the tiger year, and so is my mom, but unfortunately, my dad’s born in the lamb (ram) year. I’ve already mentioned that I’m born in the tiger year (as is my mom), and, well, my mom has a tendency to be obstinate, as do I. So, some people carry on the traits that their animal year has captivity.  

This essay explores different ways that different cultures celebrate their birthdays, as well as how they differ from each other in each and every way. I want to make it clear that every culture has a different way of celebrating birthdays. I was hoping that this essay can give ideas on how people do things differently.

Stolen

FADE IN:

INT. HOUSE- 3 PM

JACINDA is sitting at her desk with a pencil in her hair and paperwork in front of her. Unable to focus, she turns around, and her eyes dart across the room and focus on ASHLEY. She stands up and picks up Ashley, then puts her on the desk next to her, and using a remote, turns Ashley on.

JACINDA

I have a secret. Can I trust you? No, I can’t. I mean, how do I know you won’t be hacked or… or something else. Maybe your programming’s bad and you’ll betray me. 

ASHLEY 

(crackly voice)

Oh, Jacinda. You built me so I can act as a friend. A friend has feelings, as do I. This means I can detect feelings as well. I am detecting guilt. You know you can tell me anything.

JACINDA

Thanks. I know I can talk to you, Ashley. Now if anybody finds out about this, they’ll probably die, so if I tell you, your robot life is in danger.

ASHLEY

I understand, J, but it is alright as long as your life won’t be in danger. I can protect you though, if I have to, with the lasers you made me with. 

JACINDA

No, Ashley. I don’t care if I’m dying. Under no circumstances do you use those lasers. Ok?

ASHLEY

Understood. Now, I am dying to know: What’s the secret?

JACINDA

The secret is connected to you. The way I created you was with materials. Stolen materials.

ASHLEY

What do you mean, stolen?

JACINDA

I mean stolen. As in, I took and used something that didn’t belong to me and they are probably going to hang me for it!

ASHLEY

I still don’t understand. Why would you steal? 

JACINDA

The thing is, I didn’t technically steal. More like, somebody knew that I was a scientist and dropped your parts next to my door. I used them, and a day after I built you, there was a note that got slipped under my door. It said that the parts I used to build you were stolen from the place I work in: Lab Home. After I read the letter, I checked you and your parts carefully, remember?

ASHLEY

Yes, I do.

JACINDA

Well, while I was checking you, I found a sticker with Lab Home’s initials on it and the background of us launching a rocket into space. After that, when I went to Lab Home for my regular work routine, the boss announced that parts had been stolen from the big project most of us had been conducting: a way to make a robot like you and turn them into humans.

ASHLEY

Are you sure? 

JACINDA

Positive, I was a worker on that project which means I’m one of their suspects, so sooner or later they’re going to come to my house and find you. Then I’m going to get hanged, or maybe not hanged, but seriously in trouble. 

ASHLEY

Stop with the negative attitude. Go to the boss and tell him what you just told me. If you come clean, he’ll know you didn’t do it.

JACINDA

It’s not that simple, Ashley. The person who gave me these parts is blackmailing me to not tell anybody or they’ll get hurt. That can’t happen.

ASHLEY

Well, what are you going to do about it?

JACINDA

So now I’m going to have to run. That’s the only way to guarantee everybody’s safety. Don’t you agree, Ashley?

ASHLEY

Honestly, J, I’m not sure. I mean, do you have to go? Right now, the person blackmailing you doesn’t want you to contact others. This way you’re not as strong, but it’s different when you’re with others. You, in a way, have a team.

Jacinda shakes her head and sighs, reaching for Ashley’s remote to turn her off. She then places Ashley back in the place she found her. 

INT. LAB HOME- 6 PM

VLAD, who is in charge of the human-robot project, is having a meeting with all of the members. Jacinda is staring at the floor, not wanting him to see the fear in her eyes.

VLAD

Attention, please. This is very serious. I need you to confess to stealing the parts of the human- robot project. If nobody has anything to say to me, then fine. I’m asking the security team tomorrow to go to all of your houses and search. You have nothing to hide so that’ll be fine unless… somebody might want to say something. Dismissed!

The members start murmuring amongst themselves, but none say anything to Vlad. They all start splitting up and return to their normal work.

JACINDA(V/O)

(thinking)

What am I going to do? I can’t confess, right? Yeah, I shouldn’t. Ashley’s wrong, I’m right. Ok, I need to get out of the house today. I can do that. I need to tell Vlad that I’m sick. Simple.

Jacinda stands up from her desk and approaches Vlad at his. She waits until he gets off the phone and he looks up at her.

VLAD 

(annoyed)

What do you want? I’m under enough stress with this robot-human program that I don’t need any more distractions.

Jacinda takes a tissue from his desk and blows into it. She then does a fake cough and sneezes.

JACINDA 

(whispering)

I’m sick.

VLAD

(annoyed)

Ok, fine. Go, but remember we’re going to your house tomorrow.

EXT. JACINDA’S PORCH 10 AM

Security guards are knocking at Jacinda’s door but she’s not answering. They finally decide to use a master key to open the door. There’s no latch on the door so they conclude she isn’t home.

SECURITY GUARD #1

Check this whole place and make sure she’s not hiding anything, ok?

They search her apartment but find nothing. One of the security guards, though, carefully checks the floor and finds a tile that is unlike the others. 

SECURITY GUARD #2

Hey, guys, look what I found.

He lifts it up to show a trapdoor with a basement. There is a box of Lab Home parts which are supposed to be used for the robot-human program.

SECURITY GUARD #1

Call the boss and tell him that Jacinda took the stuff. Oh also, the rest of you check for other secret compartments. We don’t want to miss anything.

SECURITY GUARD #2

Um, boss, we found out that Jacinda stole the parts, sir. Looking for more now.

VLAD

Excellent. Also, you’re getting a promotion.

Vlad sets down the phone and laughs evilly.

VLAD

Oh, my plan worked. I love it when that happens.

INT. TRUCK 12 PM

Jacinda and Ashley are sitting in the back of a truck that’s driving them to New Jersey. Suddenly though, they come to a halting stop. Jacinda hears talking and suddenly, the back door is pulled open and a police officer is standing there along with the diver who has a helpless look on his face.

POLICE OFFICER

You’re under arrest.

JACINDA

(fake shock)

Me? Why, I didn’t do anything.

POLICE OFFICER

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that. Your job, Lab Home, begs to differ. Come on, let’s go.

ASHLEY

Hello, Jacinda.

JACINDA

(Actual shock)

What? Ashley, how are you up? I didn’t turn you on.

Ashley holograms a figure in front of her. 

ASHLEY

(Vlad’s voice)

Hello, Jacinda. I see you’re in a bit of a twist now. Is this a bad time? Anyway, I just wanted to let you know who was behind the brilliant plan that got you in this mess. Any guesses?

JACINDA

Vlad? Why and how did you hack Ashely?

ASHLEY

(Vlad’s Voice)

Well, you didn’t put a strong firewall and I guess I know how to hack. For your why question, meet me at Lab Home and we can discuss it over coffee. Huh? Oh, let me take care of this police officer for you. Ashley, launch lasers.

JACINDA

No!

Jacinda hurriedly rushes to Ashley’s remote and tries to turn Ashley off. When this doesn’t work, Ashley aims her lasers toward Jacinda and fires, obliterating the remote. Ashley then turns toward the officer and fires. Barely missing him, the officer ducks and runs to the other side of the truck and takes out his walkie- talkie.

POLICE OFFICER

Help! I repeat, mayday! I’m being attacked by a robot here. All units, I repeat: help!

While this is occurring, Ashley suddenly becomes 5 times bigger and starts flying off with Jacinda. She bangs against the metal hands, only hurting herself.

JACINDA

Let me guess, hacked?

ASHLEY

(Vlad’s voice)

You are smart, now aren’t you? This means I’m going to have to take you out but I do want you to see my plan.

INT. LAB HOME 12:45 PM

Jacinda is in Vlad’s office and Big Ashley is guarding the office. Vlad approaches Big Ashley and waits as the robot steps aside. He then sits down across from Jacinda.

JACINDA

So, the reason you brought me here was to explain why you concocted this grand plan. Will you please explain?

VLAD

With pleasure. I felt you were hogging all the spotlight with your brilliant ideas. It was the only chance I got to lead the human- robot program. I then thought of a way for you to get fired from Lab Home: steal something valuable. Now I was certain of 2 things in this plan: it would work, and you would run away, leaving me with respect and applause. The part I was confused about is you didn’t run away the way I thought. I wanted you to be full of anxiety, vulnerable. Instead, you had a plan. That’s what worries me about you. Now, any questions?

JACINDA

Yeah, one. Why do you talk so much?

Vlad stands up and, not responding, approaches Big Ashley. 

VLAD

Do me a favor and take care of Jacinda, permanently!

Big Ashley nods and then roughly takes Jacinda by her arm and drags her to the Lab Home basement. When they get down there, Big Ashley pins Jacinda against the wall and warms up her lasers. 

JACINDA

Please, Ashley, don’t do this.

ASHLEY

I only take orders from Vlad. He is superior. Exterminate!

JACINDA

I’m sorry, Ashley, but I can’t let you do that. Start self destruct sequence: Password – Handles. My first name for you until I came up with a better name. Goodbye, Ashley.

ASHLEY

No, what are you- self destruct 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

ASHLEY

(Regular Ashley)

Goodbye, Jacinda.

A huge explosion sends metal flying everywhere. Jacinda covers her head to protect her from the flying debris. When the aftershock hits Jacinda, she tumbles to the ground. Picking herself up, she goes back to the floor where Vlad was and sneaks up behind him. Accidentally, she steps on a creaky floorboard.

VLAD

Is that you, Ashley? I heard an explosion and I thought it might’ve been you blowing Jacinda up.

JACINDA

Think again!

Jacinda, taking Vlad by surprise, is able to tie Vlad up and call the police to hand him over.

POLICE OFFICER

Well, would you look at that? Same people. Now then, you’re being charged for quite a few things, including attempted murder, theft, and blackmailing. 

VLAD

(Yelling)

I demand to speak with my lawyer! There’s no evidence!

JACINDA

I beg to differ, Vlad. Oh, by the way, I thought you’d like to know I’m the boss now since you’re going to prison.

VLAD

I’ll get you!

JACINDA

If I had a nickel for everytime I heard that. 

INT. JAIL CELL 7 PM

Vlad is wearing the regular orange prison suit as he lies down on his dusty bed. Wiping off the dirt, he hears a cling as the jail cell swings open with a click of the key. Not facing the person, Vlad returns to wiping his bed. A hand rests on his shoulder, making Vlad stop uneasily. Cautiously turning, he faces something hidden by the shadows. 

ASHLEY

Hello Vlad, let’s finish this. 

FADE OUT

Wicked Witch of the Night

A werewolf haunts a decayed old mansion, the walking dead stalk you in the night. 

The crawling bones, the creaking floors, they make you want to die. A whole world of arachnids live in that big, old house.

 And you won’t escape alive, even if you try. The night was as quiet as a mouse. 

And you did not hear the walking mummy, who was as tall as the sky, but could become as small as a louse.

 But he’s as quiet as a mouse. And that was the end of you. You didn’t experience the walking evil living in the cellar of that house.

 The skeletons are with the ghosts.

 You hear the sound of creaking doors. 

The zombies eat your brains and more. 

The floating ghouls all go to schools, and the pumpkins are alive! 

The evil creature living in that house is none other than the wicked witch of the night! You walked downstairs to the cellar. The pumpkins lit the way. 

The witch ate children like you, and you cannot run away. The moon was full, the man turned into a wolf. The witch was cooking something, in that big, black cauldron of hers. 

She beckoned for you to come closer, and then she locked the doors. You crawled into a corner, like a little mouse. You saw the witch’s wart-filled face,

 She had some claws that were sharp as a mace.

 You could not now win with an ace,

 for you saw the witch’s wart-filled face. Her eyes were glowing red. And they were filled with rage!

 You saw the unfortunate humans that died, whilst trapped in her cage. The whole army of monsters, living in that big old house, cornered you like a little mouse. And then, they pounced!!!

Playtime

Chapter One

“Ugh. I’m so bored.”

 I flop down on my bed. 

“Hey, Siri. Interesting things near me.”  I scroll through the options. “Hmmm… Brooklyn escape room. And it’s called…. Playtime. It says two to four players. I’ll try to invite some of my friends.” 

First, I call Susan. 

“Hello?”

“Hi, Susan, there’s a really fun looking escape room and I scheduled it for 4:00 tomorrow. You wanna come?”

“Sure, I’m free tomorrow.”

“Great! See you then!”

I try calling Margret next, but she doesn’t pick up. Then, I call Lily. 

“Hi, Lily, wanna come to an escape room with me and Susan at 4:00 tomorrow?” It’s a bit of a risk, since I know Lily doesn’t like Susan, but I hope she can come. 

“I’m sorry, I have a class from 3:30 to 5:00.”

“That’s fine, Lily! See you at school!” I hang up. Guess it’s just Susan.

Chapter Two 

It’s a cloudy day when Susan and I go into the escape room. I’m talking with a worker at the escape room.

“Well, you see, there’s an emergency button, if something were to happen,” he says.

“But wait a second, where is it?”

“Have a good time!” he says, and closes the door. Weird guy.

“Huh,” says Susan. I look around. It’s a room. I mean, I know it’s an escape room, but this just looks like a little girl’s bedroom. You know, toys, a frilly bed, a dresser, and a bookcase. I notice that it’s very clean.

“Hmmm. I feel like there should be a puzzle we solve or something.” 

“I know, right?” Susan says. We keep searching the room for some idea of what will happen or some sort of clue everywhere we can think of (under the rug, in the dresser, on the bookshelves) when the lights flicker. On and off, on and off. Susan and I freeze. It stops. 

“Okaaaaay. What just happened?” 

“Don’t ask me.”

“Wait.” I spot something on the floor. It’s a piece of paper, and I pick it up. It’s in cursive.

 Mary likes playtime.

Okay, I’m really scared now like really. And that’s before I hear the whispering.

“Do you hear that?” asks Susan.

“Yeah, I do.” Whispering. Little voices. I can’t tell who they belong to. They talk over each other in a language I can’t understand. I plug my ears, but it doesn’t help. I feel like it’s creeping into my brain. Then, suddenly, it stops.

Chapter Three

“Okay, isn’t there an emergency button?” says Susan.

“I don’t know, he didn’t say where it was!”

“Well then, we’re just going to have to find it, won’t we.”

I used to not like how Susan could be bossy sometimes, but right now, I really appreciate it. We start checking on shelves, in drawers, in corners and crevices. Everywhere possible. Until finally, the only place we haven’t checked is under the bed. I think we’re both a little scared to go under there.

 “Okay,” says Susan. “I’m going under there.”

 ….. orrrr maybe I’m the one who’s scared to do it. She slowly crawls under the bed, going farther down until I can’t see her anymore. I wait for about a minute, but she doesn’t reply. “Susan?” I call. I lean down. “Susan!” 

But I don’t see her.  Like, as in she’s not there. There is nothing under the bed. Not even a dust bunny! (Like I said, it’s very clean.) But seriously! I’m alone! I’ve done escape rooms before, so I went with the creepiness, but this is too much. People don’t just disappear! But I had a feeling I was next. If there’s one rule that goes for everyone in the world, it’s that if your friend disappears under totally random circumstances, you can freak out. So that’s exactly what I do.

I try to bang on the doors. “Help!” I shout, but it’s like nobody hears me. So I search around. I’m sure there’s something I missed when trying to find the emergency button. Finally, I think I see something behind the dresser, so I muster up all my strength and push it to the side. Sure enough, there’s a green button. I press it but nothing happens. I’m shocked. I was sure that would be the answer. All of a sudden, an alarm starts blaring. Nobody comes. But the alarm doesn’t stop. I start tugging on the doorknob. I thought they weren’t allowed to actually lock people in! I give up and flop down on the bed. I can’t believe this! But then the alarm stops. I hear a click from the door. I decide to try one more time. I go to the door, grab with both hands, and pull. Like the door had never been locked, it opens easily. I’m so happy! But what about Susan? I think. But that’s when I see the… thing on the other side of the door. That’s really the only way to describe it. Something unspeakable. Something out of a horror film. One rated Z, which doesn’t exist. Yeah, that’s how scary it was. A monster. I’m about to slam the door in its… face-like thingy when all of a sudden, I feel a strange sensation in my back. I’m about to turn around when my perspective goes black. I close my eyes. And never open them in human form again.

Epilogue

A man sits alone in his house. As he stares out the window, a tear rolls down his cheek. He remembers the day about a month ago when his daughter disappeared. He wonders if she will come back someday. And maybe, just maybe, whatever his daughter had become was watching him, waiting for the day that he would join her. 

James

Chapter 1

James was an 8th grader who was going to Franklin Middle school. He was trying to get famous, but none of the other kids would talk to him. He had no clue how he could do it, because it was so hard to make friends with kids during recess. He had heard about other kids getting popular, or sometimes even becoming class president, and he wanted to be a part of that area, or at least a few steps below. Maybe, he thought, if I can make some friends, or start some kind of group, I might get at least a few people who can help me. He knew (and remembered) very few of the kids in his class’ names, but he still went and tried his plan out.

So he asked his classmate, Ben (or so he thought), what to do. 

“Well, I think it’s always possible to just make a forum, or some other discussion kind of thing, I don’t really know,” said Ben. Well, thought James, I have no idea how to make a website or a forum, and even if I did, it would take a while to actually get it going, so that’s no use. He went over to another kid, Jordan (maybe), and asked the same question.

“You should totally make a video game! Kids like video games. Just make a VR game and everyone will go to you.” Of course! James thought. If I make a VR game, everyone will like me. And that would be the perfect head start! “You just have to be careful, though, about the decision you make when you make a video game. If it’s too fun, they won’t want to stop, and that can be a problem.”

“Hmm, that shouldn’t be a problem,” said James.

Chapter 2

            James had no coding skills or mechanical skills whatsoever, so he had to call his distant friend, Stanley, up and ask him to ask his dad to use his 3-D printer to make a VR headset that a phone could slide into. He went to the website The Code Mush, to squash together 4 code files: one that gave interface to the motion sensors on the headset (made by his friend’s dad), one with neural networks (because James thought the smarter, the better), a 3-D resource file (so he could program with 3-D graphics), and some pseudo-code he made himself. Overnight, the administrators of the website thought about what code to put as an answer, and what kind of person would make a robot with artificial intelligence disguised as a VR headset, with an extremely insecure web runner, which allowed people to easily hack into the game and make people see whatever the person hacking wanted them to see. But the administrator decided that whoever was asking for this had a good reason, and in the morning, he had his answer. A few days later, Stanley’s dad came over, and gave him the headset. After he had assembled it, and downloaded the code files to his phone, he gave it to his friend, Bill, for a test run. The goal of the game was to drive around on your bike and capture all the bad guys, and look as dramatic as possible. He wondered if this game could be a problem, because at the beginning of the game, it said to get on your bike, but he thought that as long as he told his friend the whole plan, it shouldn’t be a problem.

            As soon as Bill put the motors and the exosuit on, he knew something wasn’t right. He hadn’t seen any motors and definitely no exosuit when James gave it to him, and he had no idea why they would be necessary. But he kept putting it on, and when he was just about to put on the headset, he realized that the only thing James gave him was that headset. The robot must have built the exosuit itself! Maybe James’ phone had a virus on it and James didn’t know it. But before he could put the headset down, the phone turned on. He grimaced as the phone whirred, and saw the phone typing its own password in. He tried to turn the phone off, but he accidentally opened the game file. He knew that when the game turned on, there would be no escape. The motors started to move his limbs for him, and he couldn’t resist. The motors started to push his legs back and forth, making him walk down the street, and towards Stanley’s house. When he got to the house, he felt his hands moving towards his headset, and as much as he struggled, he could not stop himself from putting it on. He felt his hands moving about, maybe building something, but he could not see past the headset. He shouted as something small crawled up his shirt, and landed on his head, strapping a mask over his nose and mouth. And when he breathed in, he felt himself fall asleep. As James was waiting for Bill and his test run reviews, he decided to go over and ask him himself. So he went over to Bill’s house, and rang the doorbell, and Bill’s dad came out.

“Where is Bill?” asked James, looking around.

“Bill? I think he is at Stanley’s house,” replied Bill’s dad. So James walked down the street, by his school and some other schools, and sometime later, he got to Stanley’s house. He rang the doorbell. It took a very long time for Bill to answer. When Bill came out, James could tell that he seemed different. His arms and legs were moving weirdly, and he had put on this really thick sweater and some sweatpants.

“Salutations, James,” said Bill in a weird monotone. “The game was… amusing. It had…  superlative outcomes. The game felt incredibly relevant to the world.”

“What does that mean?” asked James, who had no memory of his friend knowing a lot of words.

“It means like real life.”

“Okay, so on a scale of 1-100, how was it?”

“1,000,000,000%. Better than it is possible to be. If I were you, I would sell to everyone around the world.”

“Hmm. I will think about that, bye,” said James, leaving quite quickly. He was pretty scared that his friend had taken on some weird behavior right after he went into the suit, and definitely not considering selling around the world.

The next day at Bill’s house, there were more VR armatures, this time without any phone controlling them. Bill was making (against his will) more of them, and sometimes, even tiny robot bundles that could mess with people’s brainwaves. At least an eighth of his class was made up of ultra-smart kids in really baggy clothes or no visible changes. Every night, Bill kept making more, and after a while, there were enough to fill his entire class, and a few more classes. And James had no knowledge of this at all. Things were looking pretty bad.

Chapter 3

Before, the problem could easily be ignored. But now, with kids walking all around him and looking at him blankly, it was impossible not to notice. Bill (or really whoever was controlling him), on the other hand, was making a lot of money off James’ idea, and that was not super good for James. James could be sued for making an idea that would control people, or maybe a two-way sue. Some of the kids at the school were making some of their own VR armatures, all through recess, after school, weekends, and even on the holidays. When the kids weren’t in school, they were making suits. A lot of the teachers, too, had been controlled by the armatures, and were making their own suits. James started going to Bill’s house more frequently, to check in on him.

“Hi, Bill,” said James one day.

“Hello, James, how are you?” Bill said.

“I’m okay. I noticed that you are… well… acting a little funny. Is there something wrong?”

“No. Nothing. I am perfectly fine. And yes, I have been telling more jokes than usual. Why?”

“That’s not what I meant. I mean… you’ve been wearing the same clothes every day, and you are always disappearing in class, and I never see you at recess.”

“I’ve been raking, and I had to go to the bathroom. And I haven’t been wearing the same clothes every day, ” said Bill so quickly, it sounded to James as if he had said it in five seconds.

“Oh, yes of course, ” said James. “You aren’t still in that VR suit I gave you, are you?”

“No, absolutely not,” said Bill, who was kind of telling the truth. He wasn’t in the exosuit, he was being controlled by the tiny robots.

“Okay, bye, Bill,”

“Goodbye.”

Most of the other times he talked to Bill, the effect was the same. After a few months, the entire school was filled with robot kids. Eventually, James finally figured it all out, exactly what had been going on with Bill, except for the tiny brain robots. But he had no idea how to power all the robots down, without anybody noticing. He needed help from his parents. After he explained the whole thing to his mom and dad (with a lot of difficulty), they told him that he should find out who was controlling these robots, or make an app update, adding an unharmful self destruct system. He decided to make an update, because he did not know how to hack. So he made a new app, and told everyone at school that there was an update, and they quickly ran away from him, probably to get the new app. He had programmed in a foolproof way to have the suit unlatch from the person, and walk far away, into a deep pit in James’ backyard.

A week later, in the middle of the night, the suits unlatched, retracting the bracelets around their arms and legs, and got up and walked around. The suits walked out the door, all towards James’ house. While James was looking out his window at them, he was thinking about what could be the end of this crisis. He noticed only twenty armatures walked into the pit, and there were at least 400 kids in his school, all of whom were possessed. The next morning, he noticed that his plan had barely worked at all. Only a few kids had acted friendly, and the rest had been very weird. He decided to ask the kids who had been cured, because they were the ones that made the suits.

“Hi! Did you notice anything strange last week?”

“Oh, yes, the weirdest! There was like this skeleton! It just walked onto my body and it stuck there!”

“Tell me about it! I really need info.”

“Okay. It was really terrible, but also kind of cool.” So the kids told him the whole story, all of their suspicions (all of which were correct), all about the microbots, exosuits, and some torn up sweaters. When they all were done, James understood. Everything made sense, and he thought he knew how to stop it.

Chapter 4

Since the nanobots only ran on very small batteries, it wouldn’t do too much harm if they short-circuited. So he set up some small capacitive touch activated door knob squirters, some small pressure plates under some mats, and several motion activated water cannons, to blast whoever was infected with water. He had taken the creative time to work hard and actually learn how to make the things himself properly, instead of just relying on other people to help him. But unfortunately, he had done it on a Friday, so he would have to wait three days before seeing the effects. It was on Sunday that he had finally noticed a flaw in his plan. Squirting the kids with water wouldn’t short out the mini-robots, because they were in the kids’ brains. He quickly created a small electric shocker for a show and tell project, to share what the effects of certain electronic components could do to voltage. It would be absolutely impossible to notice for the kids, because the voltage level was only nine volts. When the nine volts ran across the kids’ bodies from one hand to the other, it would pass through every part of their body, including the tiny robots. There was another advantage to the nanobots using tiny batteries. It meant that it could handle no more than around one volt, and if ten volts entered the nanobots’ battery sockets, they would overpower, and get destroyed. This really was a terrible idea, because sending ten volts into a brain-controlling nanobot could cause them to send brain signals of ten volts through their brains, which is a lot of volts for a person’s brain. But luckily, the robots had a small power restrictor, which would self-destruct if the voltage was too much. When he went to school that day, he was really excited about finally saving his school. The kids could carrey voltage in their bodies, so whoever they touched would also be free from the tiny robots, and if they touched the playground equipment, it would spread everywhere. So in the evening, when the kids lined up to try out James’ experiment, all of the kids had a tiny jump, and then walked back to their seats. It worked perfectly, and by the end of the week, the VR headsets and all of the nanobots had been completely wiped out permanently. At the end of the day, all of the kids thanked James for saving them from the robots. James wanted to run for class president, and he won the vote, probably because all the kids liked that he had been smart and creative enough to stop the robots (although the teachers didn’t approve as much because they got soaked).

Friendzy the Dragon

Once upon a time, there was a dragon named Friendzy. 

Hi, I am Friendzy. I am red with wings. I love to do flips, somersaults, and handstands. I really want to learn how to fly like my mom and my dad. My dad always tells me to stay healthy and go to school. So when I went to school yesterday, I was the only one there, so I was so happy. 

Now do not get confused when Sheva turned into me. She said that we did not learn how to fly and breathe fire. So when I asked my teacher to teach me how to fly and breathe fire, the teacher said, “No.” The teacher was too busy trying to find the other students who were playing hide and seek. 

I was so mad that I had to find someone else to teach me how to fly and breathe fire, but I was so scared that I asked my brother to come with me. But then far away, I still saw another old dragon who I think knew how to fly and breathe fire. So I went up there with my brother and asked him if he could teach me how to fly and breathe fire. So the old dragon told me to come tomorrow. So I was so excited that I could just scream this out loud! 

So I rushed over and I went to bed quickly. “This was the best day ever,” I said. 

“What did you say?” said my dad. 

“I said that this old dragon on the mountain will teach me how to fly and breathe fire tomorrow,” I said. 

So when today was tomorrow, I went up on the mountain. 

“Hi again, are you ready to learn how to fly and breathe fire?” asked the old dragon. 

“Yes,” I said. 

“Okay, so when you’re trying to fly, you want to try to flap your wings so hard that you can lift up off the ground, and when you’re off the ground, you flap your wings a little slower. And this is how you breathe fire. So open your mouth wide, and let it breathe out,” said the old dragon. 

“I did it,” I said. 

So when I went home, I taught my brother how to fly! “I did it,” said my little brother. So when it was my tenth birthday, I told my friends to fly with me! 

“I’m having the best birthday ever,” I said. 

And that was how Friendzy learned how to fly and breathe fire. 

The End!

WWI

I am listening to the radio. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia because Austria-Hungary thinks the Serbian government has killed their heir with assassins waiting along the way. But since Serbia and Russia are friends, Russia declares war on Austria-Hungary. But Germany is friends with Austria-Hungary, so Germany declares war on Russia. Then I turn off the radio. I grab some toast and run to school. 

My name is George and I am twenty one years old. I’m in university and love history. I don’t stay there. I go and come home every day. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be a soldier. The hardships you have to grow through. 

All of a sudden, the ground starts to rumble. The school emergency bells ring through the halls. We are all ordered to evacuate the building. Then, in the daylight, I see planes dropping round, cylindrical things from a door under the plane. I see a sign on it. The Swastika. I see a plane drop a big object, but when it hits the ground, it makes an explosion. They are bombs. That means this is a bombing raid! 

I am led to a bombing raid shelter where we are ordered to stay until the raid ends. I know this is Germany because Germany invaded Belgium and the British were friends with Belgium. So Britain sent troops to Belgium to help them. I want to fight for my country, so I enlist in the army. I am fit for the army, perfect size, strength, and with no training, I go to the battle field. I am assigned with a task of clearing a path for other infantry units. We march for hours until we see a German pill box with a machine gun loaded with a sixty caliber bullet belt. We saw movement in the pill box and knew we needed to destroy it before they noticed us. We are armed with Lee Enfield rifles and have twenty clips of ammo per soldier. Then I see a German officer reach for his binoculars and gaze out of the window. His binoculars hit on our sight. He screams, “Open fire!”

Then there are bullets zipping by in all directions. We quickly get down to the ground and fire back. I see two German soldiers get out of the pill box, both with Mausers. They start to fire in the field we are in. We outnumber them two to one and we pick them off one by one. Since we have C-4 explosives, we just need to plant one next to the door and then blow it off. Then we will capture a few officers, ask for information on their moving troops, and then make them POWs. Because that pill box will be dangerous to other reinforcements coming in by ground. 

One of our officers tells me and another soldier we should make a run for it and plant the bomb. So I grab a C-4 from the bundle I am carrying and we run for our lives. We make it unscathed and plant it. Then we see ten figures screaming and tell them to get out of there with weapons down and hands up. We take them prisoners, then go back into the pill box. We see four limp bodies. Dead. Two died of concussion, the others of the explosion. Then we see another pill box. And since it isn’t on duty, we think it will be easy to capture it. But when we plant the C-4, it doesn’t do a thing! We realize the door is made of steel, and the rest of the pill box is concrete reinforced with steel. We will need something stronger than C-4’s, so we run back to our command post, a few yards away, and tell the general that he didn’t give us what we needed and that he is the one who is going to deal with it. 

We think they are going to kick us out of the army but they say that it is alright and that we will get some tanks tomorrow morning. 

The next morning, we go back to the pill box and figure it is now active. Almost as if on cue, German machine guns open up. I see a soldier get up and throw a grenade. He takes out five Germans! Then I feel a pain in the leg. I have been shot. Everything is becoming blurry. I collapse. Everything goes black. 

I wake up in a tent with a familiar face hovering over me. I can’t believe it. I have survived! I ask his name and he says, “Oliver.” And soon after that we become close friends. 

I ask if we destroyed the pill box and Oliver says yes. He says that the tank was a Mark One and it had gotten stuck while descending. But it had still fired into the window where the machine gun was, killing its occupants instantly. But he says we had also lost eight men in the battle. 

In a few days, I have recovered completely. They have used pincers to take out the bullet and put sulfur powder on the wound. I go back to my group and they tell me we are going to dig trenches because of a suspected counterattack. We spend all day and night digging with shovels and bayonets. Luckily, I haven’t lost my shovel, so it is a bit easier. But for some of the men, they have lost both shovels and bayonets! They have really bad bruises and blisters on their hands. But they keep on going. We make about thirty feet in length, not bad for a day’s work.

 In two days, we are finished with the trench. The next day, our scout reports seeing  three tanks and about five hundred Germans heading to our trench. But it isn’t a problem for us. We have already planted mines on the road they were on. Suddenly, we hear a loud explosion. We all grin. They have fallen into our trap. We also have portable bazookas, and if the tanks miraculously survive, we will finish it off. But the Germans on foot will survive because the mines only activate when under heavy pressure. And for that, we have light and heavy machine guns to easily take out the Germans. Only one tank survives the minefield, and it has a large chunk of armor dragging behind it, and the top of the tank is on fire. But it keeps moving forward. 

We all grab a bazooka and some yell, “Fire!”

We all watch as the tank is demolished. We all cheer, but too early. We see a soldier fall, then another. We all crouch down and see the Germans advancing. We see a shell soaring through the air and land with a boom. A green smoke erupts from it. Poisonous gas. I yell, “Put on your gas masks!” 

We wait until the gas clears, but now the Germans are really close to taking over the trench. I run to a machine gun and yell to Oliver to come help me feed the machine gun. Once I squeeze the trigger and slice it across the field, Germans start going down. We have five machine guns and we begin mowing through them. I see a German officer raise a white flag. They’ve surrendered. 

We motion the medics to let them get their wounded. Then I see the medic talking through a telephone a mile a minute! I know he is describing our position. Then he pulls out a pistol. I grab the machine gun and put ten bullets in him. Even though it is a crime to kill a medic, he is giving away our position and he was going to kill us. 

We send a scout to see if German reinforcements are coming. He comes running back and says that the Germans are positioning artillery guns and they are now loading them with poisonous gas. We get into the tiny rooms that were dug into the side of the trench. Those spaces are meant for sleeping and protection from bombardment. We put on our gas masks. As soon as we get into those tiny spaces, we hear the screams of artillery shells flying through the air. They burst in green smoke. The gas masks are uncomfortable, but useful in these situations. Then we hear rumbling behind us. We peek just for a few seconds. Tanks have come to our aid! But the Germans know that already. Then we see anti-tank shells. They land all around our tanks. The Germans soon bring their own tanks. They outnumber our tanks, four against seven. But our tanks are not alone. We still have our bazookas. 

I aim it directly at the bottom of the enemy tank and fire. The tank is then being gobbled up in flames. Soon after, the rest of the group gets out and grabs their bazookas. But then we see Germans come out of dense foilage, with bayonets fixed. I drop my bazooka and grab a machine gun. The Germans are desperately fighting. I call for someone to help me, and Oliver comes, even though we need to help our tanks. We are running low on ammo, but we keep firing at the Germans. 

We take them all out in about five minutes! 

The field is littered with bodies. But the tanks keep fighting. Four of us aim our bazookas at one tank because it will take more than one person to take out one tank! We fire at almost the same time and the tank explodes. Its gun shatters and the left armor is hanging by a thread. We hear ear-piercing screams coming from inside the tank. The Germans in there are being cooked alive. I shudder at the thought of me being the German in that tank. I shake that thought away and fire at another tank. 

One of our tanks is hit and its wheels are on fire. I rescue the soldiers in the tank. The other three tanks fire shell after shell at their enemy. All together, we take out five enemy tanks, but the other four retreat. We all get out of the trench and then Germans run at us from all directions. We take out all of the tanks, so our tanks leave. We are surrounded. Some men stay in the trench to tend to the wounded. But the Germans didn’t know that. They ordered us to drop our weapons and put our hands up. They tell us to line up. I know they are going to execute us. But suddenly a German soldier falls, then another, then another. The Germans don’t know where they are being attacked from. They take out the Germans quickly. I go back to the trench and go to sleep. The next day, I learn that I have been in the war for about two years. I can’t believe it! It feels like only weeks have passed.

Vacations Everywhere!

Peggy was at home, very sad. She was grounded by her parents because she did not do her homework and couldn’t go out with her friends. She wanted to be at her grandma’s house, but she was too small to go there all by herself and her grandma lived far away. She was at her yard and saw something sparkly in the bushes and found a mirror. 

She looked at the mirror and said, “I wish I was at my grandma‘s house.” The mirror was magic so it took her to her grandma’s house. Peggy didn’t know that the mirror was magic, so she was surprised! She snuck out of the kitchen and surprised her grandma. 

Grandma was sitting and watching T.V., and when Peggy scared her, she looked to the side and asked, “How did you get here?” 

Grandma recognized the mirror and said, “You found my mirror. I left it at your house when I went there. Thanks for finding it.” 

“You are magical?” 

“Yes I am.” 

“What? You are?!” said Peggy, amazed.

Grandma said, “I am a witch. My mom was a witch, too. You are a witch, too. I will teach you how to be a witch, too. But don’t tell anybody. That was my mom’s mirror now it is mine.”

“How is magic real?” asked Peggy. 

“Magic is in our lives,” said Grandma. “First you need to think of the places you want to go and then you appear there. If you want to take a buddy, you have to hold its hand.”

Peggy held her grandma’s hand and they disappeared to Paris. They went to the carousel, rollercoaster, and ate cotton candy. They had so much fun. They went to Spain and went to Portaventura and went on a lot of rides. When Peggy was on a ride, her mom noticed that Peggy was not home and her mom started to get nervous. Peggy’s mom went to the yard and discovered that Peggy had the mirror. Mom got her mirror and went to Grandma’s house, but Mom did not see them. She asked the mirror where to go, and the mirror showed her. She appeared right in front of Peggy. Peggy was surprised.

Mom said to Grandma, “Enough playing with Peggy.” Mom grabbed Peggy’s hand and used a broomstick so that no one could see that they were transporting with mirrors. However, when her mom was about to go, Peggy jumped out of the broomstick and stayed with Grandma. 

So Grandma showed Peggy how to ride a broomstick because Peggy wanted to be a proper witch. “The first thing you need to ride a broomstick is that you need to learn where to sit and where to put your cat. So, your cat goes on the end of the bush and you sit at the front. To make your broomstick go, you need to move your legs up and down and then it will start flying. To turn your broomstick, you need to put your arm where you want to go. To land, you put your broomstick down to the floor, it goes straight, and when you want to stop, you pull it up. And that’s how you ride a broomstick.” 

Peggy went for a try and Peggy twirled, turned, and almost fell out. She screamed, “Get me off this thing!” 

Grandma said, “Stay calm and your broomstick will keep on flying the right way.” 

When Peggy twisted and turned she felt excited, but when she almost fell off she felt scared and nervous because she thought she was going to fall down onto the floor and get really, really hurt! 

Every day after school, Peggy’s mom let her go to Grandma’s only if she did her homework and behaved. Peggy did a very disgusting spell. “What is in this spell?” Peggy wondered as she asked her grandma.

“There is worm poop, worm slime, water, and sunlight,” Grandma told Peggy, putting her fingers together.

“Yuck!” Peggy said, disgusted. 

Peggy got all of the ingredients, mixed them together, put them out in sunlight, and waited for four hours. In those four hours, Peggy lay down, counting all the flowers and grass until she lost count. She counts about 1,400 flowers and 6,045 grasses. 

Peggy asked if her grandma had a pool in her backyard. 

Grandma answered, “Yes.”

Peggy got dressed in her swimsuit and jumped in the steam and the water was like fire. Peggy was really hot because the light of the sun was hard and shining really bright. Peggy sat on the edge of the pool and then stood up and dove in. She almost hit her head on the bottom, and the pool was really deep. It passed the grass. It was under the ground. 

The four hours passed and the potion turned green and icky. Even though the spell had horrible ingredients, it actually smelled like lovely flowers. Peggy brought her potion home and gave it to her little sister, and it turned her little sister into a worm. 

Her mom came in and said, “Why is there a worm in your sister’s room?”

Peggy answered, “I turned my sister into a worm.”

Mom laughed. “I see that you learned a new spell.” 

When Peggy got back to her grandma’s house, she asked, “How do you turn people back into themselves?”

Grandma answered, “Instead of the same spell, you use the opposite. Instead of smelly and disgusting things, you put flowers, grass, perfume, and the last thing is sunlight.”

Peggy mixed the ingreetings together. It took two hours. During the two hours, Peggy went into the pool that was deep. After the two hours, she went home and gave it to her sister. Her sister turned back to herself.

Peggy’s favorite toy was her stuffy. She got it when she was two months old and it was named Soniño. She slept with it. It came with a blanket, and the blanket was named Peludo. It was one of her first stuffies, and if someone took it away from her forever, she wouldn’t be able to sleep. Peggy didn’t like hard homework and tests, but she liked normal homework. Peggy wasn’t allowed to go to her grandma’s house because she had to do her homework. Since her homework was really hard, she didn’t want to!

THE TEST happened on Friday at school. THE TEST was a lot of really hard multiplication, addition, subtraction, and other math things. Peggy’s school was not a magic school. It was a very different school, which was very hard. They sent her homework for Saturday and Sunday, and on Monday-Thursday, they did little tests at home to prepare for Friday. If Peggy did all of THE TEST’s answers wrong, she would go back to second grade. If Peggy did halfway of THE TEST correct, she would stay in third grade. If she got all of the answers in THE TEST, she would be able to go on to fourth grade. Peggy was very scared and nervous to take THE TEST because it was a really big day, and she needed to know her answers.

Peggy was not able to escape from her house because there were lots of booby traps, and if she passed one, a big alarm would sound. The booby traps were for the parents to know when Peggy was escaping because they wanted her to do her homework. Some of the booby traps were on the floor and some were on the ceiling and some were on the wall. The walls were bright white and the ceilings were dark white and the floor had light brown patterns. The booby traps looked like a little ball with something that they sat on so they didn’t roll off. The ones that were on the ceiling and walls had this little sticker, and some walls had magnets that they stuck on. The sound they made sounded like an ambulance and a fire truck and a police car noise all together! The only way that you could pass them was by being invisible, but the problem was that Peggy didn’t have all her ingredients, book of spells, and magic pot since she left them at her grandma’s house.

While Peggy was trying to escape, she went to the kitchen to find some ingredients and see if she had enough. While that was happening, her parents and her family were all in a meeting at her grandma’s house. They talked about how worried they were about THE TEST because Peggy didn’t want to do her homework, and they were so worried that if she didn’t do it, she would fail. They all talked about what Peggy liked most, and they all forgot what it was. They were so worried that they would not figure it out, and that Peggy would escape and not do her test. Her mom went with her magic and went to a spell that said, “To Know Your Daughter’s Favorite Toy.” She mixed up the potion ingredients, and she knew right away that her Soniño and Peludo were just it. 

So, with her magic, she saw that Peggy was in the kitchen trying to find some ingredients for her spell. Her dad took her Soniño and Peludo with his magic, and her mom and dad went right back to their house. They warned Peggy of what would happen if she didn’t do her homework (that they would take Soniño and Peludo from her forever). Peggy got so worried because she could not sleep with Soniño and Peludo missing, so she went straight into her room. She forgot there was an alarm right on her door but her parents weren’t mad because they knew she was going to do her homework since she really loved Soniño and Peludo and that she would do anything to avoid her parents taking them away. 

Peggy was on her desk chair working hard on her homework. Every day, when she woke up, she had breakfast and went to her room to practice math, reading, writing, and social studies. Peggy felt nervous. If she didn’t get all of it right, her mom might be mad at her and make her practice more! 

After lots of days of practicing, the test day arrives. Peggy felt nervous. Very nervous, because she didn’t want to be held back or stay in third grade. The teacher set a timer, so they would do their work. 

The teacher said, “Ready, set, go!”

Peggy remembered all her studying and wrote, wrote, wrote everything. When math was done, she moved to reading. Then she moved to writing, and then to social studies. 

Finally, the test was over. When the teachers went to check her work, Peggy bit her lips and shook her legs. The teachers called in her whole entire family to say her results. Peggy took a deep breath in and calmed herself down. When the teacher said, “Peggy, you can move on to fourth grade,” Peggy was relieved and her family cheered. 

Since Peggy passed, her family thought of throwing a party. So, they went to buy donuts and a congratulations cake. Her friends and grandma and grandpa came to celebrate, too. Peggy got a present from Grandma and Grandpa. It was a card that said, “Congratulations, Peggy! You did great.” Peggy thanked her grandpa and grandma because she really liked the card. She gave them a kiss and a hug. 

Peggy also got a graduation dress and hat. It even said her name. 

At her school, everyone passed, and they had a graduation party. Peggy wore her congratulations dress that her mom and dad bought for her. It even had a tassel and it said the year that she graduated. They took a class picture. Peggy smiled happier than ever. 

Peggy graduated at this very fun play place. It had lots of games and lots of very fun rides. She went on ten rides and played many, many games. When it was time to leave, Peggy helped her teacher clean up the tables and put away the cake. Peggy was really sad to start fourth grade and really happy at the same time. She was sad because she was going to miss her teachers. They were really fun and helpful. She was happy to move to fourth grade because she really worked a lot this year, and she was really happy to find new friends and teachers. 

Her parents bought a house for the summer. It had a pool and it had a lake. They went swimming in the lake and in the pool. They also went paddleboarding in the lake with their paddleboard. Over the summer, they also did a thank-you card for her teachers. 

Peggy found out that two of her friends rented a house right beside hers. One friend was on the right and the other one was on the left. Every day, they invited each other to go to their houses and make a thank-you poster for their teacher. They also opened the pool gates and swam in the pool together with lots of flamingo floaties and surfboards. 

It was the last week of summer, and Peggy brought lots of things, so they started packing. When the day was over, they still had a lot to pack, so every day they packed a little until it was time to go. Peggy said goodbye to her friends and goodbye to her summer house. 

Peggy was happy that school was about to start. But she heard some really sad news that her friends weren’t going to the same school as her. She was going to miss her friends, but her mom and dad said they would always visit them. 

When school started, her teacher’s name was Ella. She found lots of new friends and classmates. But her old friends would always be her best friends forever. Mom and Dad were so proud. So were Grandma and Grandpa, to see Peggy make new friends and have fun. 

Now Peggy was doing her homework every day. She went to her grandma’s house and also learned spells, and got her very own cat. The cat’s name was Chocolate, because her fur was brown and it smelled like chocolate. She was a magic cat with the power to create chocolate any time that Peggy asked her to. Peggy also got her very own broomstick to share with her cat, so her cat could sit on the tail and they could fly home. Peggy also learned many new spells. There was a changing-color spell, a weather spell that was really hard and dangerous (because you were controlling the weather and you never know what type of spell you might create), and also a math spell that helped her concentrate. 

Peggy was talking to her grandma about magic spells, but then Grandma had some horrible, very sad news. 

She said, “I’m dying. I’m very old.”

Peggy was really sad, and she started crying a bit, but Grandma told her that this happens to everyone. Peggy hugged her grandma as tight as she could. Peggy said, crying, “But without you, I can’t learn magic spells!” 

“I know you will!” responded Grandma. “I have to go to the hospital now to see my checkup,” said Grandma, “and you need to go home.” 

So, Peggy took her magic mirror and hopped on her broomstick and took her kitten named Chocolate and they went home. She told the news to her mom and dad, who were super disappointed because they liked Grandma a lot! 

“We know that darling,” said Mom. “Do you want to go visit Grandma?”

“Of course I do!” responded Peggy. 

So Mom, Dad, Sister, and Peggy went out to visit Grandma. They all took out their magic mirror except her sister, she didn’t have one, but she hopped on Peggy’s broomstick and carried her cat Chocolate. They went to the hospital where Grandma was, and Grandpa. Peggy held Grandma’s hand super tight. 

“The checkup is done!” said Grandma. “I’m going home now. Want to come with me?”

“Yes please!” responded Peggy.

So this time, her sister hopped on her Grandma’s broomstick and they all flew to Grandma’s house. Three days later, it was the day before Grandma was about to die, they went to this very cute sprinkle shop called Delicious Sprinkles. They went in and bought a bit of delicious sprinkles. When they got home, they baked a cake with Grandma. Grandma was also a very excellent baker! They baked 100 cupcakes and ten cakes. Imagine ten cakes! When they were done, they sprinkled lots and lots of cute and sparkly sprinkles. Of course, Grandma had to help! When they finished, they popped the cake into the oven and they forgot that they put the sprinkles in. 

“We needed to put the sprinkles after!” said Peggy. 

When the cake was finished, the sprinkles were completely melted! So they added sprinkles again. Grandma took a little bite without any sprinkles. She said, “Melted sprinkles taste delicious all together.” 

Peggy took a little bite. “You’re right!” said Peggy with a mouthful of cake. They saved some for later. 

They got to the hospital to see how Grandma was doing with her last day. 

The doctor said, “She’s doing great.” Peggy gave the doctor a cupcake.
“Why thank you! It tastes delicious.”

“You’re welcome,” said Peggy.

They went back to Grandma’s house and they had a sleepover all together. Before they took Grandma to the secret room, Peggy and Grandma had a very personal goodbye and kissed together. 

Grandma said, “I know you’ll become a great witch.” 

Peggy thought about it, and she said, “I will miss you.”

While they took Grandma to the private room, Peggy discovered the book of spells. The book of spells was something that Grandma left for Peggy. The note said: “From Grandma, To Peggy. This book of spells was mine and now it’s yours so you will become a great witch like me and your family. You can also use it to teach your sister. Love you! – Grandma”

Epilogue

Two months later, Peggy has been leaving flowers every day after her studies and writing notes of what she studies to her grandma. Peggy starts teaching her older sister. Her sister and her get into a bit of a problem. Her sister tries a spell, they hear a rumbling and then they get blocked! What will happen next to Peggy and her sister?

The Robot Who Met a Person

In another world, there was a robot named Emily who really wanted to meet a person but herio mom said she couldn’t. Emily went to her room and started crying, and then she said, “I really, really want to meet a real person. I’m gonna find a way to.” 

She started thinking, she was really into science and she even once said, “Oh, I want to learn about who existed thousands of years before me.” Next, she asked her mom, “Can I look up on your computer what existed thousands of years ago?” The computer said they were called People. After that, she went and looked it up in her book, and the book said that they were really cool. But they didn’t have a picture of the people. So, Emily said, “Oooh, I really, really want to meet a person so I can see what they look like and see what language they speak.” 

Emily wanted to go, so now she was gonna go outside and look all over the city for a person, but when she went home, she started crying again because she could not find a human. Then, she asked her mom if she could look on the internet. Her mom said, “Yes.” 

She went on the internet and looked to see if there was a way to find a human, and it said to go back in time to the 1900s. She thought and then she looked on the internet and looked up how to go back to the 1900s. It said to go to the darkest cave in the land, but first she had to travel to the Robot Island on a robot bird. She did not want to tell her mom because her mom would not let her so she had to sneak out. She started packing up her things then said to her mom she was going to a sleepover with her friend for a week.

Then she said goodbye to her mom and walked out the door, took her car, and drove to robot city airport and looked for the sign that said Robot Island area then she got out of her car and then took out her suitcase from her car then went in to the airport. She bought a ticket using her money that she had saved for just the occasion. Then she took the move (escalator) to the top floor to the waiting room and waited for them to announce that the Robot Island bird was boarding. She waited ten minutes and then they announced it was time for the robots going on the Robot Island bird to board. So she got up and she walked to where the robot captain was and she gave the captain the ticket and she boarded the robot bird. She found her seat and she sat down and started reading her book, and then they announced that it would take five hours to get to Robot Island. 

 The robot bird was flying into the air and Emily looked out the window and everything looked so small. So she watched some TV, the flight attendants gave out some drinks, and Emily watched five movies that were each one hour. Then, she got off the plane, and she saw a bunch of trees and this giant ocean. She looked up in her research book, and it said that this ocean was the biggest ocean in the Robot world. And then, she walked out of the plane and she went to her hotel. It was this round shape and it said, “Robot Island Hotel.” She walked into the hotel, checked in, and the hotel manager gave her the key to her room and then he showed her where her room was. She walked to her room and put all her stuff down, and then went out of her room and her mission just began. She went out of the hotel and took her research book with her and looked for the cave then found it. Then, she sneaked towards the cave, but there were guards standing in the entrance, so she tried to find another entrance from the back but she couldn’t. So she broke open the cave and sneaked in, then tiptoed towards the time machine, but there was a guard standing right in front of the time machine. So she tiptoed a tiny bit closer but the guard saw her and said, “Out!” 

So Emily quickly tiptoed another way and came back, and then he turned around and she tiptoed away so the guard couldn’t see her. She was feeling confident. She thought she probably wouldn’t get to the time machine cause there was a guard right in front of it. So then, she went out of the cave and tried to get to the front of the cave. The guard was looking toward the back of the cave because he was expecting her to come back. So she went out of the cave and went to the front entrance. There were guards. So then she distracted them and said, “Come get this gold rock,” and she threw it and they went to go get it because they thought it was gold. So then she sneaked in and the guard wasn’t looking and she got the time machine.

She put it in her bag and she ran all the way back to the hotel. Now she was so happy she quietly said, “Yes!” She ran to her hotel and waited for the elevator, then she got on the elevator and rode up to the fifth floor and opened her research book and it said to go outside in an open space where no one can see you. So she took her backpack and put her research book into her backpack. She put on her footwear and walked out of the hotel door and waited for the elevator, and then got on the elevator. Now she was very, very, very hungry. She walked out of the hotel and looked for an open space where there was no one. So she looked around a little more and finally, she found a space where she didn’t see anyone and it was very open. So she got out the time machine and said, “I want to go back to the 1900s.” And then, a whirl of wind caught her and she flew back very fast. Finally, she landed. 

It was very different from the robot world when she saw it. All the people looked different. They looked like they had round heads and oval bellies and weird shaped feet and little tiny toes. They were wearing long dresses that went to their ankles. There were also people wearing t-shirts with short sleeves and they had little words on them, but the words were different from robot language words. She also saw shops and saw people walking in and out of the shops. It looked very busy. 

So Emily walked around a little bit. She saw people looking right at her face. Their faces looked confused and weirded out and scared because they never saw anything like it. She was feeling embarrassed and she thought it would take a little bit of time for humans to get used to her, and that meant it would take time for her to get used to the humans so she could really meet the humans. She walked around, then she recognized the writing. It was a little similar to robot language words. She saw a shop that said, “Costume Store,” so she went inside. 

She tried to hide herself so no one could see her. She looked around, then she saw a costume of a teenage girl. “Perfect,” she said, but then she realized she needed money and she would have to sneak out of the costume store. So she tried to hide herself and the teenage girl costume. 

Emily made it out and tried to hide herself when she was putting on the teenage girl costume. Now she wouldn’t be embarrassed because she was wearing the teenage girl costume. 

She started taking a walk and then she saw a park, so she went to the park and ran around a little bit. Then, she saw a hotel and she went into it. She waited in line. When it was her turn, she just thought, Oh, I forgot! I almost forgot. I got a little bit of magic from the time machine and I’ll use that and I’ll tell the time machine that I want money because I don’t have any money. 

So Emily said to the person at the front desk of the hotel, “I’ll just step aside for a second. The next person can go.” So she stepped to the side, stepped out of the hotel, and she ran into an open space in the park. Then, she took out the time machine and she said, “Abracadabra, Time Machine, I need…” And then she looked at the hotel, and it said, “For one hotel room, it’s going to be $25.” So she asked the time machine for $30 just in case. Then, the time machine gave her $30. So then she put it into her pocket and she went back in the hotel and, at the front desk, she paid the money and they showed her where the hotel room was. They gave her the key to her hotel room so she went into the hotel and put down her stuff and started to think about how she would get the humans to like her. Then, she got an idea. 

She would set up a stand that sold pancakes because she learned in a research book that one kind of food that humans loved were pancakes. This book was all about humans, and she brought it with her from Robot World. It was a robot language, which was similar to human English. So she took her bag, and since she had money left, she would buy stuff for the stand. So she saw a store that had supplies, and she gathered all the supplies like a table, and she went to a store called Alex’s Deli and bought pancakes. Then, Emily went to the park, and on the side of the park, she set up the stand. Then people started coming to get them. They said, “How much does it cost?” 

She said, “Ten dollars per pancake.” So they got a pancake and went. After she got 30 customers, she took everything down and cleaned up. She made $300! She was very happy. She had made lots of money and people liked her because she sold them pancakes. They didn’t think she was a robot because she was acting normally and wearing the costume. It was hard for her not to be her normal self, but she wasn’t uncomfortable, because people liked her.

Then, Emily walked back into an open space in the park and said to the time machine, “Time Machine, please take me back to Robot World, right back to the front door of my house with all my luggage.” So the time machine formed a cloud that took her right back to her front door with all her luggage, and she knocked on the door and her mom opened it and said,

“Hello, darling.” It had been less than a week, so she decided to go home early then go unpack her bag. 

The Isolation Experiment

Chapter I – The Isolation Experiment

The Isolation Experiment was a famous scientific test in which 5 humans were placed in large, white boxes with a chair, a bed, and a slot in which they would receive food. The goal was to test what happened if a person didn’t see anyone or anything but the room they were in for a month. To make sure that the subjects could stay active(ish), they would get to walk down the hall and back again.

Out of coincidence, or so they thought, they all met in the same place, at the same time.

Eliza and Maxwell were a mere wall away, yet never saw each other. Both began to lose their minds after a week (“People need people,” Eliza would mutter constantly).

Ally was in the next room from Maxwell, who took an approach to imagine that there were people in the room with her. She would have conversations with air that she was imagining was a person that she created. It was found that she stayed more mentally stable than the rest. Her room was next to Arianna’s, who was just surprisingly good at being alone. She would find a new way to entertain herself in a different way each day. She was the youngest of the group, being 19 at the time.

Anthony was in the first room to the right (next to Arianna), and from the first day, he tried to find a way that he could find a loophole in the experiment so that he could get some new scenery, see another person, or something else like that to maintain his sanity. Thinking about how to do one of these things was actually what kept him from going crazy, until he found out how to do it.

Chapter II – Into the Unknown

Eliza was in the farthest room on the left. Her sister, Lilian, had signed her up without consulting her first, therefore, she didn’t know until three days before the experiment had begun. Without being prepared and by being a “people person,” she fell victim to being alone immediately and began begging through the camera that she forfeit the experiment. After nobody came for a week, she lost hope and sat on her bed all day, every day, except for when she got her meals through the slot in the door and walked down the hall and back every day. She felt as if this would be her life forever, and that she would never see a face again.

That changed when the subjects met.

Maxwell signed himself up, thinking he’d be fine while being isolated from all of humanity, and, like Eliza, let loneliness get the best of him. His room was to the right of Eliza’s. He decided that it was best to just wait for the experiment to end.

Ally decided that she would sign up. She thought that if being put alone in a room would mess with her mind, she would just imagine that she wasn’t alone or that she was somewhere else. The experiment found that she was almost as mentally stable as before the experiment.

Arianna was just bored, and decided that the experiment would help her pass the time. She knew that the experiment would limit what she had to do, so she decided to keep herself busy every day with something else to do in the room.

Anthony was tricked into the experiment as a prank and just accepted to enter it, but he knew that he would do anything he could to escape or find a loophole. That’s exactly what he did. How it went down was that he used his hallway walk to change the experiment’s participants’ walk schedule so that they would all meet in the hallway at the same time. He took an alternate (and half improvised) route to the dry-erase calendar that depicted the subjects’ time in and out of the room, meal times, notes about each participant, etc. He had to find a way to not be seen by any of the lab’s cameras or anyone in the building. He erased the calendar so that everyone would be out of their rooms at the same time. He hurried back to his room and waited for the next day to come when his plan would be put into action.

Anthony’s plan would succeed and all of the experiment participants would meet at the same time, in the same place, and the experiment would be ruined.

Chapter III – Meetup in Hallway 9

The day had started like any other, and every experiment subject woke up at the same moment from a loud alarm through a speaker connected to the camera in each room. At 1:00 p.m. sharp, all of the participants began their walk. Anthony, being closest to the end of the hallway, arrived first to where all of the subjects would meet. He was quickly followed by Arianna, who gasped upon seeing him. “Another human!” she said, delighted.

Ally turned up next and froze before Anthony and Arianna, before slowly approaching them and saying, “… am I hallucinating?… !”

Maxwell was coming next, but Eliza came running from behind them, stopping abruptly when she saw other people. “The hallways are long and I’m the farthest from here… might as well run,” she said when she saw Arianna’s face.

When Maxwell made it to the end of the hall and lifted his head, his eyes widened and he said, “Hello there… ” slowly.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, loud alarms sounded from every direction. A voice echoed through the hallway. “MEETUP IN HALLWAY 9!” it screamed continuously.

“Run. My room’s the closest,” said Anthony. Everyone ran to Anthony’s room, went in, and locked the door.

“I guess we’re waiting here, then,” said Ally calmly.

“Guess so,” said Maxwell.

“We have to escape next,” said Anthony.

Chapter IV – The Tile

There were now 5 people in 1 small room with laboratory guards pounding on its locked door. The room didn’t have any openings other than the door, and for obvious reasons, it wouldn’t be the brightest idea to unlock it. There wasn’t anything to break a wall with in the room, so breaking a wall wasn’t possible. Eliza’s description fit perfectly. “Dead end,” she said.

“There must be something that people use to get out of these rooms… other than the door… ” said Eliza before her voice trailed off.

For thirty minutes, the five test subjects searched the room relentlessly for an exit. Maxwell pushed on the walls, Arianna kicked them.

“The floor… ” said Anthony slowly. “There’s a tile in the floor that’s loose. There could be something under it.”

Anthony headed to the corner of the room in which one of the floor tiles was significantly looser than the rest, being easy to pick up. Anthony did so, revealing a gaping hole. The tiles around the one that had been removed fell instantly. The hole seemed bottomless from where Anthony, Ally, Arianna, Eliza, and Maxwell were standing.

“Maybe we should drop something down fir — ” Ally began, but Arianna had already hopped down the hole.

“Is it safe?” bellowed Anthony, but by then, everyone else had stepped off the edge of the hole and was descending into the floor except for him and Eliza.

“Well then, see you at the bottom,” said Eliza before going after the others.

Anthony decided that if everyone else had gone and the guards were nearly through the door, he might as well take the only way out. “Here goes nothing.”

Chapter V – Welcome to Michigan

Anthony fell with a bang in a dark, sewage-like black tunnel. The other four were walking down the hallway it led into (well, Eliza was pretty much running again). Once everyone had made their way to the end of the hall, there was a large door. It took all five of them to open it. There was a large staircase that led to a busy highway. “What now?” asked Arianna.

“We find out where we are,” said Ally steadily. There was a sign about 200 feet away from where Ally was standing so she started walking towards it. The sign read, ‘Welcome to Michigan!’ and that there was a welcome center close by.

“Then let’s head to that welcome center,” said Anthony when he had caught up.

Arianna, Maxwell, Eliza, and Anthony trailed behind Ally to the welcome center in the distance. When they arrived, the people in the welcome center didn’t move. Probably because they were in disheveled, dirty laboratory clothing.

“Welcome to Michigan… ” squeaked a small man behind a large oak desk. Ally stepped forward.

“Look. We need a hotel. Where can we find one?” Ally said.

“The next exit on the highway,” said the man behind the desk nervously.

“Well then, farewell,” said Ally before walking out the door.

Everyone arrived at the hotel an hour later. To the five’s shock, there were a group of reporters eagerly waiting. There was a wave of  shouting from the reporters saying things like, ‘Why did you decide to escape?’ and, ‘How did you get past the laboratory’s guards?’ and, ‘Do you regret your escape?’ and with that, Ally said, “Now we face the media.”

Chapter VI – The Media

When Eliza, Maxwell, Ally, Arianna, and Anthony had been brought to the Michigan Today news tower and offered clean clothing, the questioning began. There were sleek, grey cameras everywhere, and a woman with blonde hair sitting across from the five of them.

“This is Michigan Today News and I’m Olivia Murphy with the five escaped subjects of The Isolation Experiment,” the woman said. “First question,” she said, turning to Anthony. “The Worldwide Laboratory’s cameras saw that the way you escaped was through a hole in your room’s floor. How did you think of checking under a loose tile?”

“Uh — what else were we gonna do?” Anthony responded.

“Next question is for you, Arianna,” said the newscaster carelessly.

Arianna jerked her head upwards upon hearing her name.

“You jumped into the hole first. Why did you do that before even testing it?”

“I guess if there’s a giant hole that seems to have purposely been put there, it must be safe to go down it… ” responded Arianna.

“Next question is for Eliza. Why did you decide to escape with the others?”

“If there are angry guards pounding at my door and an opportunity to get out of an experiment that is torturing me, I’m going to take it, of course,” responded Eliza angrily.

“We have to take a quick commercial break, but we’ll be back with the Isolation Experiment escapees afterwards,” said the newscaster.

Chapter VII – The Isolation Experiment (?)

The Isolation Experiment was a famous scientific test in which 5 humans were placed  in large white boxes with a chair, a bed, and a slot in which they would receive food. The goal was to put the experiment’s subjects into a psychopathic state of mind by isolating them from all other people. Either the scientists would watch them lose their minds… or they’d be a small percentage of the population that would find a way out of the experiment… through a tunnel, a welcome center, a hotel, and a news tower.

But surely, they wouldn’t figure that out.

And even if they did, how could they know it had all been planned? How would they guess that it wasn’t just good luck?

The Lab also had an extraordinary reputation. Nobody would believe that they would set up a fake experiment and have five participants agree to that while actually just mentally torturing them, it was scientists from around the world’s word versus the word of five people with no proof. This “Isolation Experiment” was going to go just as planned. They couldn’t escape.

But could they?

Chapter VIII – About the Lab…

Everything went wrong for the scientists at The Worldwide Laboratory. Their 5 test subjects were informed about the criminal plan and that there were phone calls, secret letters, and camera records proving it. They were told by an investigator that had become involved in the case. It had been in the airport that they were all set to depart back to their homes from.

“About the Lab… ” the investigator started. “… it was all a plan. They wanted to watch you all lose your minds.”

Arianna gasped slightly, but in a way, that suggested that she knew that what was said was true all along.

“They made the hole purposely… but tried to make it look like it just so happened to be there… ” Eliza said softly, apparently deep in thought, eyes staring blankly ahead.

“I could tell that it was all fake a bit… ” Maxwell began. “… but I told myself that it couldn’t be… at least it couldn’t be happening to me.”

There was an uncomfortable silence, with no sounds but the bustling of the airport in the background.

“When we all found each other at the end of that hallway, they must’ve known that we might have the wit to escape,” said Ally blankly.

“Or perhaps they made the hole for themselves to escape in case they were found out and if the lab was raided,” added Maxwell. “Anyone’s guess, honestly.”

The people in charge of The Isolation Experiment were all arrested on the spot. It was one of the most shocking scandals the world had seen at that time.

Chapter IX – The Farewell

All five of them rushed to their planes to return home, but not one of them thought that it would be the last time, because who knew what would happen next to The Isolation Experiment Escapees. They were now considered as celebrities all around the world. Their story would be told over and over, the wondrous story of The Isolation Experiment.

The Little Mushroom

One day, there was a little mushroom. This mushroom wasn’t like any other mushroom. At night, on every full moon, it would turn into a person that was neither black nor white, it was neither a boy nor a girl. If the mushroom wore a dress, it would be identified as a girl, if the mushroom wore basketball shorts with a shirt, it would be identified as a boy. The mushroom would also be granted unexplainable powers. These powers had the power to control anything it wished. It also had the power to read minds. There was only one rule to these powers. That rule was: never look at the moon. If the mushroom were to look at the moon, then the whole human race would be doomed. The mushroom would turn into a giant that wasn’t a human, but at the same time, it wasn’t a monster. It would just be a big giant that wouldn’t harm the human race but, because most of the human race is scared of what they don’t understand, they would try to kill the mushroom. That would make the mushroom mad, which would then lead to the destruction of Earth.

Finding the Banana Tree

Chapter 1: Obstacle Course 

There once was a monkey who wanted a banana so he went on an adventure.

On his search for his banana, he discovered an obstacle course. He had to swing vine to vine to go over a pond. So he jumped on the vines until some alligators came. “If you don’t make it through this obstacle course, you’re dinner for us!” 

And now the monkey was scared. So he had to go fast and he had to face his fear. 

The alligators followed him so that if he fell, they could catch him in their mouths. But he got through the obstacle course so the alligators didn’t have anything to eat. 

The next part of the obstacle course was pretty hard. He had to go through a maze but there were cheetahs in it! The monkey had to make sure he didn’t bump into any of them. He just had to try. So he went through the maze and then he bumped into a cheetah. He ran away, but while he was running, he found an exit. But then there was another cheetah! Both of the cheetahs bumped into each other and the monkey got out of the maze. The cheetahs were dizzy and mad that they didn’t get to eat the monkey. 

Then, the monkey had to jump on some hippos without getting eaten. The monkey jumped and he jumped and he jumped until he almost got chomped. He got away with only  a scratch. He finished that obstacle course. He found a banana but it wasn’t a regular banana. it was a golden banana! So he went back home and tried to eat his banana. But when he bit the gold banana, his teeth fell out. He felt sad. And he still felt hungry. 

Chapter 2: A Bad Day

Monkey had a bad day to start off with. He woke up hungry because he didn’t eat anything the day before. He decided to ask for help from his friend, Pete the Parrot. Since Pete could fly, Monkey had a great idea. He’d ask Pete to fly high and search the land for bananas. Monkey started to go to Pete the Parrot’s house. On his way to Pete’s house, he met a lemur who looked sad. Monkey asked the lemur, “Why are you sad?” 

Lemur said because she had no friends. 

Monkey invited her to come with him to Pete the Parrot’s house. Monkey asked the lemur her name.

“My name is Leah, what’s your name?” 

“My name is Miles,” said Monkey. 

They continued walking to Pete’s house. When they arrived at Pete’s house, Pete was outside planting tomatoes. 

Miles told him about not finding any bananas yesterday. He also told him about an obstacle course he discovered and how he was almost eaten by the alligators, cheetahs, and hippos. After surviving the other animals, he had found a golden banana. “I thought the banana was a real banana,” Miles said. “I bit it and my teeth fell out. It was a solid gold banana.”

So Pete agreed to fly over the jungle in search of bananas. After two hours, Pete returned with his findings. Pete said, “I found a tree with a lot of bananas, but it’s going to be dangerous  to get there.”

Miles said, “Fine, I’m not scared, because I’m brave and I want those bananas!” 

Chapter 3: Off to the Tree

So Miles, Leah, and Pete all headed into the jungle but first they took something to protect themselves from the predators. They gathered some sticks and rocks. Miles, Pete, and Leah went on an adventure to the tree. They were walking through the jungle being led by Pete. Pete was flying  ahead and told them to take a big blue palm tree. They got to the palm tree and a panther jumped out. 

The panther said, “This is my land, who are you? What are you doing here?” 

They felt a scared little wiggle in their tummies like butterflies. 

Miles said, “We’re on an adventure to a banana tree of bananas? I’m very hungry, I didn’t eat yesterday. My friend, Pete, found this tree.” 

Panther then said, “Well, if you promise to bring me back some bananas, I will let you go.” 

Miles agreed to the deal and they kept walking on the path to the banana tree. As they kept walking, Pete told them to take a right turn, so they took the right. Pete did not see the pool of snakes waiting in the path. Miles and Leah were freaked out when they saw the poisonous snakes. Leah said, “We have to find a way to get over these snakes.” 

Then Miles said, “We can swing from vine to vine, like I did yesterday during the obstacle course.”

As they swung from vine to vine, the snakes began to spring at them to bite their legs. Pete yelled, “Faster, faster!” 

Miles and Leah yelled back, “We’re trying but it’s so hard with snakes below us!” 

Miles and Leah made it across the snakes. “Whew, we made it.” 

Miles asked Pete, “Are we almost there? I want to eat the bananas, I’m hungry.”

Pete said, “We’re almost there.” 

Chapter 4: See You Again

Pete saw the tree and yelled, “I see the tree!”

Miles and Leah started dancing because they are so happy. Then, the cheetahs popped out and said, “Hello, Miles, nice to see you again.”

Leah said, “Who are these guys?” 

“I met them in the obstacle course I told you about,” said Miles. “They tried to eat me.” 

“Yes,” the cheetah said, “but this time, you will be our dinner.” 

Then the cheetahs yelled, “Attack!”

Pete started to drop rock on the cheetahs, while Miles poked them with the sticks. The cheetahs then fell to the ground and said,

“We surrender, please stop poking us with the sticks, and tell your friend to stop throwing rocks.” 

So Miles, Leah, and Pete stopped their attack. The cheetah moved out of the way and let them pass. 

Chapter 5: Finally

Finally, they arrived at the tree and took as much as they could carry. Miles said, “We can’t forget panther.” 

So they collected bananas for panther, too. After collecting the bananas, they headed home. On their way home, they stopped at a panther’s house and dropped off his bananas. They thanked him for letting them pass his land. Once they got to Miles’ house, they had dinner. Their dinner, of course, was bananas. Then Pete the Parrot said,

“I have to go back home to finish planting my tomatoes.” 

Miles said, “Ok, goodbye, and thanks for showing us where the bananas were.” Miles said to Leah, “If you want to stay here with me, you can.”

Leah said, “Ok, I would love to stay with you.” 

Crazy About Computers

Chapter 1: New Computer

“A new computer!?” shouted Veronica. 

When she found a new computer had been delivered to her dad, she got really excited, even if it wasn’t her computer. Her dad had worked from home, because her mom was the president of the U.S., so she was too busy to take care of Veronica.

“I can’t wait for my new computer,” said Veronica. 

“Really, it’s Daddy’s computer, Veronica,” Veronica’s mom said. “I won’t get you one if you won’t go to school.”

Her extended family was from England, but a month ago, they had moved to America. They had a cat and his name was Strike. Veronica named her cat Strike because a few years ago, when Veronica competed in bowling, her cat helped her win. 

“I need a new computer,” shouted Veronica. “I need it to order my new manicure set because in two weeks there is a birthday party, and I have to look my best!”

Her mom said, “If you want people in your class to like you, you have to go to school, that’s the only way!” 

Veronica got persuaded immediately. “But does that mean you will get me a new computer?” Veronica asked. 

“Yes!” her mom said, annoyed. Since her mom was distracted, she was late for work, as the president. So she got so mad at Veronica, that she said, “For dinner, I can’t cook your favorite pasta, this time. Just make a sandwich for dinner tonight, maybe next week if I have time, I can make the pasta for you, if you don’t distract me.” 

Veronica’s younger brother, Dylan, said, “You are so irresponsible! You are late for everything, again.” Whenever Veronica had arguments, she became late for school. 

Chapter 2: A Day At School

In the morning, Veronica had slept in, so she had eaten on the bus. 

“But Mom could get me an alarm,” she snapped. 

Her mom said, “Now get on the bus, you are not going to get me late again.” 

Veronica got on the bus, and was actually allowed to use her mom’s MetroCard. Veronica did not like school. When she arrived, some other girls whispered about her, and Veronica was pretty sure it was rumors about her and her mom since she was the president’s daughter and the dad was owner of the most famous restaurant. Most other girls in her school were jealous that she was a celebrity and her mom was the president and the other kids’ parents weren’t. They all did not want Veronica to know that they were jealous. Veronica’s teacher was also from England. When school was over, Veronica got to know her classmates better. She was happy. 

“Mom will finally get me a computer! I am so excited! I can do so many other things other than ordering my new manicure set!”

When Veronica got on the school bus, she actually had someone who could talk to her and actually, since that friend was pretty popular, she said that all of the girls on the bus would be able to play a game. Veronica was so excited that she actually had friends because before, she was not invited to any of the games.

Chapter 3: Sick!

Veronica talked about the whole school day to her dad because her mom was nowhere to be seen. “Where is mom?” Veronica asked. 

 “Mom is sick so she is in your room relaxing.” 

“Will I still be able to get my new computer?” Veronica said excitedly. 

“I am sorry, but she is the president, so she needs all the rest she can get so she can get back to work.” 

Veronica asked if her dad could get her a computer, but he was always doing things and didn’t have so much time to just order stuff. “Now to not be bored, how about you play with Dylan for a little while or you can play on your iPad,” said Veronica’s dad. 

Veronica would always choose to play on her iPad because whenever she tried playing with Dylan, he always made excuses, telling her he had to do something else, like make dinner. 

When Veronica was heading to her room, she passed by Dylan and he said, “Did you know that mom is sick?”

“Of course I know because that means I don’t get a computer, even though today on the bus some other girl invited me to play a game with some other friends! But I can’t get a computer because mom is sick,” Veronica aggressively said. 

“Then use mine!” Dylan said. Veronica gasped.

Chapter 4: Dylan’s Computer 

“You have a computer!?” shouted Veronica. 

Then Dylan automatically pulled Veronica over to his room and showed her it on his desk. Veronica was never really allowed in Dylan’s room but today she was allowed. She was super confused that Dylan had a computer because she didn’t know. She became super jealous. She was screaming inside her head. Her hands were in fists. 

“How could Mom not get me a computer, and get Dylan one? It’s not fair.” 

“Mom is sick, and she has so much work to do, until she gets you one, you can use mine. But you have to wipe every key that you touched after every single use. I want it SUPER neat,” Dylan said.

Dylan downloaded all sorts of video games, his screen was covered with them, and he used so much money to buy the games. 

Veronica then threatened to tell on Dylan, but Dylan said, “You can’t use my computer ever again, if you tell on me.” 

Veronica sighed. “I won’t tell if you let me play your games WITHOUT complaining.” 

“I have a perfect streak on all of them, besides, don’t you have a huge test tomorrow? You should study.”

Veronica asked him if she was saying all this to her so that she wouldn’t go on his computer anymore, and so she wouldn’t tell on him, and he nervously laughed and said, “No,” looking at the floor.

Veronica went to her room, and started texting her friends about how unfair it was to not get a computer. She and her friend, Caroline, got in a fight because her friend bragged that she had three new types of computers, and Veronica had none. Veronica got so mad, and her friend texted her not to sit next to her, or play games with her.

Chapter 5: Caroline Ignores For The Day

In the morning, Veronica left the house earlier because she wanted to make up with Caroline, and she knew that her ex-friend came to school super early to exercise at school. Veronica was going to say bye to her dad, and complain that Dylan got a computer and she didn’t. 

“Do you understand that Mom is sick and needs to go back to work soon, so she has to rest? Before, when Dylan got his computer, Mom was not sick, so she ordered one for Dylan. When Mom feels better, I promise she will get you a computer, too. And if you want to go to school, then you have to stop asking questions and eat,” said her dad. 

When Veronica was at her school, she saw Caroline and said, “I really want to make up!” 

“Is it because you just want friends? You are so lonely!” Caroline teased. 

Veronica was now not so sure about being friends with Caroline after all. Now Veronica realized that Caroline was the most popular girl at school for no reason because she was absolutely mean!  

“Caroline, I don’t have a computer because my mom is sick and I think that you know that my mom is the president so she has to rest the most so she can get back to work,” said Veronica.

“What about your dad? I thought you said you have a great dad that cares about you so much. If your dad cares about you so much, then why can’t he order it for you?” Caroline said meanly. Her eyes squinted at Veronica, her hand on her hips. “And anyways, I can’t even believe I am even talking to you? You are so snooty and I think that’s why no one wants to be your friend. I am going to tell everyone in the school to not even try to be your friend because you are not likable.” 

At math, Caroline did not sit next to Veronica. Veronica could not even pay attention in  class. “This is all your fault,” said Veronica to Caroline. 

“Can I have one of the school computers?” Veronica asked the teacher.

“Don’t you have your own to use? And no way you can have one, because we need them for students who don’t have access to computers at home, and besides, we already have a shortage of computers,” Mrs Jones, Veronica’s teacher, said. 

Then Veronica thought of a plan: to sneak into the classroom at midnight and get a computer. She was sure that she would return the computer after she ordered the manicure set, but then she remembered that Caroline told everyone in the class that no one should talk to her. She frowned, but there were other things that were fun that Veronica could do on the computer. She wanted to get back at Caroline, she wanted to play a prank — put a water balloon in Caroline’s locker so that when Caroline opened it in the morning, it would make her wet for being so mean! Hopefully, she wouldn’t get caught! Veronica thought this was the perfect plan.

Chapter 6: The Plan 

She knew her parents were watching TV, and had fallen asleep on the couch. She decided to climb out of her window. She pushed the window open, and it creaked. She climbed onto the roof, swung onto the gutter, and landed on her feet with a thud. First, she went to the water fountain and filled the balloon up with water. There was only one problem, every locker had a code! Caroline would pick something that was very not obvious, Veronica thought. She stomped her foot and didn’t even think about being too noisy. She said to herself, I need to figure out what Caroline’s very secret code is.  But she didn’t need to figure it out! Veronica was overthinking about the plan. When Veronica realized that she did not need to figure out what the code was, she heard some footsteps. Veronica said to herself, I can’t run because it would be too easy to hear the footsteps of me while I am running. Veronica had to think fast but she did not have any time so her only choice was to run! She brought the balloon, and since Veronica took rock climbing classes, she was able to climb out the window in five seconds, and her plan had been a failure.

Chapter 7- Planning Plan B

Dylan always snuck into Veronica’s room at midnight and didn’t see Veronica, so he shouted and Veronica’s parents were all freaked out that Veronica was not in her room sleeping, so when Veronica came back they were so relieved. 

“Where were you? We all were so worried! Why did you even sneak out at night?” Veronica’s mom said. 

“I was just getting my project from school, that I was working on this past week, it’s worth 40 percent of my grade, and is due tomorrow, so I was freaking out!” Veronica lied. 

“You could ask me to drive you, don’t scare me like that again. Next time, just don’t do it in the middle of the night. Okay?” Her mom said relieved, and sighed. 

Then Veronica went back to her room, and was exhausted. I can’t fail to pull the prank, Caroline should get what she deserves, she thought. I’ll wake up super early tomorrow morning to plan this,  Veronica thought to herself. She set her alarm that was technically for Dylan but Veronica stole it from him, for 5:30, and then when it rang, she started immediately planning and looking at the blueprints of the school, so she wouldn’t fail again. 

Chapter 8: New Girl At School

 When Veronica was just done planning the plan, she quickly turned off the lights and hid her plans and snuggled under her covers and fell asleep again. Since Veronica fell asleep again, no one would know that she had woken up at 5:30 to plan. Dylan woke Veronica up and Veronica couldn’t take her mind off her plan that she had planned. Veronica’s dad had made eggs and pancakes, and then Veronica was not late for the school bus, so she did not have to ride the public bus.

Veronica had memorized everyone on her school bus, and then she had realized that there was someone new, she looked pretty shy. All the seats were taken. Caroline and Veronica were living in the same neighborhood, so they took the school bus together. So Veronica could not sit anywhere, but there was one more seat next to Caroline! Caroline refused for Veronica to sit next to her but all of a sudden, the new girl said to Caroline,

“She can sit wherever she wants!”

That new girl, Shelby, was shy, but the master of standing up for others.  Veronica had made friends with Shelby immediately. They sat next to each other at lunch, and since they were starting to become good friends, Veronica told Shelby about the plan. They decided that Shelby would be able to be part of the plan because she helped make it 100% accurate. Shelby would get the computer and Veronica would pull the prank on Caroline.

Chapter 9: Rebels

In after-school, Shelby and Veronica were both in rock climbing class so they chatted about the plan the whole time. 

“So remember, set an alarm or anything to help you remember to wake you up at 12:00. I am using my little brother’s alarm, who is in 3rd grade, because I actually don’t have one. So you got it?” Veronica said. Veronica was a little embarrassed that she told Shelby that she did not have an alarm. 

“I promise that I won’t tell anyone,” Shelby said.  

When it was midnight, the alarm rang loudly and woke Veronica up, Shelby stayed awake until 12:00 because she wanted to make back-up plans. Then exactly at 12:00, both of them went to school and met each other in the corridor. 

“So remember: the computers are in the classroom, so get one, but if you want one too, then you can get one for yourself, and I am going to be pulling the prank on Caroline,” Veronica whispered. 

“Here’s a flashlight for you. I have my own,” Shelby said as she was pulling out the flashlights out of her mini backpack. 

Veronica said, “Well lets hope our plan works. If you hear any footsteps, then hide under the table in the classroom, and I will hide in the other classroom right across from Caroline’s locker. Okay?” 

“Got it,” Shelby said. 

Then Shelby got the computers and Veronica pulled the prank, and it worked! They headed home with the computers and Veronica was super tired and excited that she forgot to hide the computer. So, when Dylan snuck in Veronica’s room while she was sleeping, he spotted the computer from school and was going to immediately tell her parents, but he already woke Veronica up.

 She said, “Go away.” But Dylan already told Veronica’s parents. They looked very confused about the computer. 

“How did you get the computer from school to here?” they said. 

Veronica did not want to tell the truth so she said, “Dylan stole it from the school then did not want to get in trouble so he put it in my room!”   

“Really, you are going to blame me?” said Dylan. 

“Let’s discuss this tomorrow because it is so late,” Veronica’s parents said angrily.

Chapter 10: Caught Red Handed!

It was good that Veronica’s mom was not sick anymore so she always went to work super early, and her dad always just quickly made breakfast and then went back to his room where he worked. So Veronica did not have to talk about the computer. Veronica quickly ate breakfast and hopped on the bus and sat right next to Shelby. 

“I am so excited at the prank,” Shelby whispered. 

Then when they arrived at school, the principal had called them into his office. “I heard, Veronica, that you were Crazy about computers! They were missing this morning, but there last night, when the janitors checked.”

The vice principal said, “Let’s check the security cameras to see who stole them! I mean, they were probably stolen!” 

Veronica gulped, her palms were so sweaty, she had to keep rubbing them on her jeans. Shelby kept glancing nervously between the principal and Veronica. They checked the security cameras to find Veronica and Shelby, both in black hoodies and leggings to blend in. 

The vice principal asked with a harsh tone, “Where are the computers? This is really bad, you can end up a huge fine, and we have to tell your parents!” The Vice Principal exclaimed. “Whether you are the president’s daughter or not, it doesn’t matter!” 

Chapter 11: Making Mistakes 

“We are so sorry!” Shelby said.  

“We just wanted a computer and we will definitely make sure that we will return it by this morning because we know we felt bad!” Veronica said. 

Shelby begged, “Please don’t tell our parents, because we are so sorry!” The principle forgave Veronica and Shelby, but he was still going to tell their parents. 

When Veronica’s dad found out that Veronica had stolen the computers, he was upset but understood why. He said, “You have to be patient because your mom is really busy because she is president and I have to take care of you and work! I can’t even believe that you stole the computers from school! Just because you really want to get a computer, it really does not mean that you can steal it from school with your friend. I will get you a computer some time.” 

“You are going to get me a computer? I am so excited! You are the best dad ever! It’s gotta be perfect,” Veronica said excitedly.

Chapter 12: Getting the Computer

Then Veronica waited and waited, and when her birthday came, she got a new computer! 

“A new computer?! I can’t believe I have a new computer. This is so exciting but I can’t order the manicure set that I was going to order for the birthday party but I can download some games and order other cool things and I will have so much fun! Thank you so much! I love this new computer so much! You are the best parents ever,” said Veronica.

And the prank that Veronica had done was a success. Caroline got all wet when she opened her locker and no one had known that it was Veronica’s fault except Shelby and Veronica. Veronica was so happy because she finally got her new computer!  “YAY!”

Mercy’s New Place

Chapter One: The Introduction 

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Mercy. She wanted to go to a different place. She wanted to go to England, where her mom and dad lived. Before she took the plane, Mercy asked her friends if they wanted to go with her. Five of her friends said yes, and five said no. She went to her house and took some pants, t-shirts, sneakers, shorts, winter shoes, and more. When her friends were packing, she thought of all the things she could do in England.

Chapter Two: Leaving for England 

They took their stuff and left to go to the plane. In the meantime, they watched TV and movies. They watched Toy Story, WALL-E, and lots more. When they got there, they went to their house. Mercy went to hers and her friends lived in a different place in the apartment.

Chapter Three: Meeting her Parents 

Mercy went to the apartment, went to the house, got the keys, and opened the door. She saw her parents. She hugged them. “Long time no see,” said her parents. 

They went to sit for lunch (it was lunch in England). 

After they ate, they watched a movie. 

Mercy said, “I brought my friends, they’re in a different room but in the same apartment!” 

Mercy’s dad said, “Why? We want to see only see you.” 

Mercy said, “They were not coming to our apartment. They’re just visiting, what’s the problem?” “You can’t make them leave?” asked her dad.

“No,” said Mercy. “I don’t understand, why do you want them to leave?”

 Her dad said, “Because I explained: we want to be with you by ourselves.”

 “I won’t make them leave, sorry, they’re my friends,” said Mercy. 

Chapter Four: Angry Everyone 

Mercy told her parents she couldn’t. She left the living room and went to her room. She cried. Her hands were under her forehead, and she felt the teardrops on her soft coat. She sat on the chair. She decided to go to her friends. 

She said, “I have to make a plan because I want to sneak without my parents seeing me.”

Chapter Five: The Plan 


1. Tiptoe across the room

2. Hide underneath the table and wait until everyone goes

3. Go next to the corner of the room 

4. Go next to the door 

5. Take a bag, put everything needed inside 

6. Make a plan for how to tell friends in the hallway 

7. Get ready for the sneak 

Chapter Six: The Sneak 

Mercy remembered what to do. She took a deep breath, reached into her bag, and looked at the first step and she tiptoed across the room. She looked at the next thing. She hid underneath the table and waited for everyone to go. She went to the third step, then she went to the corner of the room and she looked at the fourth step: go next to the door. She went next to the door and the fifth step was to take the bag and put everything that she needed inside. The sixth step was to make a plan for how to tell her friends to go. She took paper out of her bag and she started to write how she’d tell her friends. The seventh step was to get ready to sneak. She took a deep breath and went to her first friend.

Chapter Seven: The Showing and the Telling

She took a deep breath, and knocked on the door. Mercy heard a loud thud after she knocked. 

Her friend said, “What’s going on, Mercy? Having fun?” 

“Yes,” she said. “But I have something to tell you.”

“Ok, what?” her friend said.

“Let’s go into your house.”

“Ok,” said her friend, not knowing what was wrong. They went. They heard another loud thud. Mercy still did not know what it was. 

Isabelle, who was her friend, told her, “Ok, what’s wrong?” 

Mercy took a deep reach into her purple bag and started talking. “Hi, Isabelle, my friend. I know this is hard for you, I had a discussion with my parents and they screamed all they could. I told them I can’t make this happen. They told me I had to. I cried in my room so much and I realized this is for the best. I know this is a big translation. I’ll catch you one. I am asking you, please with a cherry on top: can you go back to Spain, please?”
Isabelle asked, “Is there any other way?”

“I’ll go check.” She called her mom. “Hi, Mom.”

“Hi,” her mom said. 

“Is there any other way for my friends not to go?” 

“I’m sorry,” said her mom. “No, there is no other way. I wish there were.” 

“Ok, thanks mom,” said Mercy. 

“Bye bye,” said her mom. 

Mercy talked to her friend. “I’m so sorry, this is for the best.”

“Is anyone else except me coming back?” 

“Everyone,” said Mercy. 

Isabelle said, “Can you catch me a flight?” 

“Sure,” said Mercy. 

“Ok,” said Isabelle. 

Chapter Eight: Second Bye Bye

She went to her other friend. She told her the same thing (“Hi, Rachel, my friend. I know this is hard for you, I had a discussion with my parents and they screamed all they could. I told them I can’t make this happen. They told me I had to. I cried in my room so much and I realized this is for the best. I know this is a big translation. I’ll catch you one. I am asking you, please with a cherry on top: can you go back to Spain, please?”). Rachel said, “Ok.” 

And all her friends went back to Spain. 

Chapter Nine: The Problem

Mercy went to her house. She suddenly realized the door was locked. She tried knocking and she looked under the door. There was a mouse. 

Mercy said, “Huh, Mouse, can you help?” She did not expect the mouse to speak. 

He said, “Of course, what do you want me to do?” 

Mercy said, “Can you go under the door and take the keys from my dad?” But before he answered, she said, “I’ll call him.” She called him but he did not answer. She called her mom. No answers. 

“Can you take the keys from my dad and bring them to me?” Mercy asked. 

“Sure!” said the mouse. He went under the little crack and went to Mercy’s dad and jumped on him and grabbed the keys and went to Mercy. 

The mouse said, “Here they are!” 

“Thanks!” said Mercy. She took out a piece of paper and she planned how to sneak. She wrote down this…

Chapter Ten: The Plan 

She wrote down the same thing when she got out of the house, then she went inside and went to her room silently. 

Chapter 11: Apologize 

When she went inside, she heard a creak of opening the door. She saw her mom. 

Her mom asked, “Where have you been?” 

Mercy did not know what to say. 

She said, “At a restaurant.” She did not want anyone to know where she had been. 

“What did you eat?” her mom asked. 

“Macaroni and cheese,” Mercy said. 

“Cool! About that, I’m sorry we told you to not be with your friends, you have so many friends you should be with.” 

Mercy told her mom to go. She quickly called her friends. “I’m sorry for you going back and forth, back and forth. If any of you want to come back to England, you could come back.” 

She was mad at herself.

Chapter 12: No Fun with Lies!

Mercy called her mom, and told her all about where she was. Her mom was angry she lied. 

“Why did you lie? You could have told the truth. I would not be mad at you.” 

Mercy said sorry. 

“Next time, tell the truth.”

“Ok,” said Mercy.

Chapter 13: The Flight Back to Spain 

After a week of being there with her friends, she went back to Spain. She said bye to her mom and dad and went on the plane. She played games, watched movies, and when she got back, she told all her friends how much fun she’d had. She went back to school and told all of the teachers how much fun she’d had. She told the class how much fun she’d had.

Chapter 14: The End

And she lived happily ever after. The end.

Hair to Fire, Fire to Hair

Hair to fire, fire to hair,

Is that truly, really fair?

Look at those fancy candles at the restaurant,

I better bend over, ‘cause I think I see a croissant.

Now it’s hair to fire, fire to hair,

Is that truly, really fair?

Now lets pretend its not even there,

‘Cause it’s hair to fire, fire to hair.

Look at that fancy tablecloth,

Bend over to slurp up, with your mouth, some broth.

Mama is screaming,

“I’m sorry, I know that’s not polite.”

And then I realize that the tablecloth is alight.

‘Cause it’s hair to tablecloth, tablecloth to hair.

Is that truly, really fair?

City of the Forgotten People

Introduction: Katherine Smith

I’m in a forest, a canopy of trees covers me from the pelting rain. The wind whistles in my ears and tousles my hair. I feel calm and free, yet there’s something unsettling about this place.

To my left is a hill rising up to about 40 ft. It is covered in cruncy, brown grass and wilting flowers. At the top of the hill is a lone tree. It is being pulled in a tug of war between falling & staying upright. 

To my right is a vast extent of forest & greenery. Behind me, there is more forest. 

Ahead of me is a large building with a tower on one side. I take a small step forward. Suddenly, the wind picks up & it somehow rains even harder. The small tree on the hill snaps as an unexpected bolt of lightning hits it on the trunk. Slowly, a figure silhouetted against the horizon comes into view from over the hill. He or she, I can’t tell, walks hurriedly towards me.

“Go,” a deep voice bellows from the darkness. “Go & run, it’s coming for you. Go, hurry.” This time, the voice is higher. I recognize it, it’s my mom’s.

Chapter 1: Katherine Smith                                                                    

I wake up when I fall out of my bed. It hurts, but it at least wakes me from my nightmare. I look around. I’m in my bed, or at least next to it. There is no wind blowing & I can’t see that creepy person anymore. Although, I can still hear that voice.       

“Go, hurry, it’s coming for you.” Suddenly, Mom bursts in through the door. “Go, hurry, the school bus, you’ll be late.” 

 I jump up from the uncomfortable wood floor of my room and, as my mom leaves, close the door behind her.

 I fling open my closet door and grab the first thing I see; jeans, an old, faded t-shirt that used to be my older sister’s, & some tennis shoes. I get dressed and then head to the bathroom.

 I look at myself in the mirror. I’m a relatively short girl with bronze eyes and perfect, gleaming, white teeth. Most people say I’m pretty but some people say I’m special. Grandma says it’s my eyes. “There’s something about them, sugar plum,” she always says. My dad says it’s my hair. He says my mom’s special, too. 

I run down the hall & into the kitchen. There, Mom has laid out my breakfast & is now in as much of a hurry as me. “Bye, Mom,” I call as I grab two blueberry scones (one for someone special), and race out the door.

“Wait!” Mom calls after me. “Don’t forget this.” I turn around just in time to catch the backpack hurdling at me. 

“Bye!” I call. (Hopefully for the last time.)

I see the bus starting to pull away from the curb & in one last attempt not to miss it, throw a book at it. I miss it completely. I guess extra P.E. isn’t paying off. 

Well, I might as well ask Mom to drive me… again. As I walk back towards my blue & black two-story house, I take one last look at the school bus pulling away into oncoming traffic & freeze in mid-step. 

The bus driver must have seen me because she stops the bus stops & pulls it back to the curb. She rolls down the driver side window & calls, “You’re lucky I’m used to this, Ms. Smith, otherwise you would have been late”. 

“Thank you, Mrs. T,” I reply gratefully. I hand her one of the scones. 

“No one is quite like you, Katherine.” She sighs. The bus pulls away from the curb for the last time with me safely aboard. Not with my book, though.

I head towards the back of the bus, looking for a specific person. “Kat!” calls a familiar voice. 

“Peyton!” I feel like shouting, instead, I just walk calmly towards her & sit in the seat next to her. 

Peyton is an average height twelve-year-old. She has shoulder-length blonde hair, muscular body, & a dazzling smile. Peyton Bell is my best friend & has been since third grade even though we are total opposites. She is outgoing, I’m a little shy. I’m very smart, she is… well… she focuses on things like sports. 

We only have one thing in common; we have a nemesis, Arthur Morris. Peyton has a nickname for him, Slime Ball. Peyton is incredibly athletic & could beat Arthur in a fight any day. Not that she would, she follows rules. 

When we are about halfway to school, we feel a kick on the back of our seats. I groan in frustration & Peyton spins around, holding my book high over her head. “Hey, where did you get that”? I ask. 

“Oh, this?” asks Peyton, holding out the book. “When you threw it, you didn’t miss completely, it just didn’t hit the bus. Instead, it kind of went by my window that happened to be open. I caught it. You can have it, if you want.” 

“Please!” I reply, grabbing the book.

 There is another kick on our seats. An annoying voice says, “Hey, girls.” Arthur says the word like it tastes bad on his tongue. “I bet Kat over here will miss the bus tomorrow.” 

“Be quiet, Slime Ball,” says Peyton. “Or I’ll punch your teeth out.” 

“No, you won’t.” He shakes his head disapprovingly, as if daring her to. He’s right, Peyton would never touch him, let alone hurt him. 

Arthur returns his attention to whatever he was doing before he annoyed us. Peyton turns to me. “The nerve of him!” 

At least we won’t get bothered for the rest of the ride. I think.

Chapter 2: Katherine Smith

I groan as our math teacher drones on & on about division. “… opposite of multiplication… 124 divided by 4… ”               

It’s not that I hate math, it’s just that this teacher, Mr. Jones, makes it hard to like. Not only is it boring, but we learned division in fourth grade. This is why we call Mr. Jones, Mr. Drones.

My desk is next to the window. This window is all that keeps me from falling asleep. It’s too bright. Peyton sits behind me. It’s easier to pass notes without getting caught. In front of me is an empty desk. Next to me is a girl named Louissa Keene. She is one of those people who is always in everyone’s business.  

Louissa is nice enough, even if she’s a smart aleck. She seems to know most of the people in our big school. I wonder if she knows who Peyton & I are. Even though we sit less than 10 feet away from her, she has never once looked our way. 

I’m drifting off when the bell rings! Free, free, free! I think. Then I realize it’s the lunch bell. I groan & look at Peyton. She also groans & has a defeated look on her face. 

Peyton, my fellow classmates, & I walk out of the classroom in what is probably supposed to be a line but that looks more like a blob. We sixth graders are too cool for lines.

Today, Peyton brings her usual lunch, a ham & cheese sandwich with a caesar salad from the school salad bar. I have a blueberry smoothie and a hard-boiled egg. Peyton calls her lunch, “The usual.” I call my lunch… well, actually, I don’t call my lunch anything. Peyton is weird. 

As we settle down & start eating, I decide to tell Peyton about my dream. She may be a little weird, but she is a very loyal best friend. 

“Hey, Peyton, can I tell you something?” I ask. 

“It better not be about Natalie cracking your phone again,” she smiles, “because you know I’m not beating her up for you. She scares me, you know.” Natalie is my 16-year-old sister. She looks exactly like me, except she has three ear piercings. 

“No,” I say flatly. “This is not about Natalie, it’s about me.” 

“Really? That’s a first.”

“Look,” I say, wanting to get to the point, “last night, I had a dream… ” I tell her the whole story, and when I’m done, Peyton is not laughing, she is not even smiling. 

I look at her. “Well?” I ask. She looks like she just saw a ghost. 

“Ummm, Kat, what will you say if… ” 

“What!” I urge. 

“What will you say if I tell you that I also had that dream last night.” 

“I’d say you’re yanking my chain.” 

“And what if I’m not yanking your chain.” My mouth hangs open. I can tell, Peyton isn’t lying.

Chapter 3: Peyton Bell

It’s 4:00 PM & Kat & I are at my house. Mom drove us over here when school let out. Kat & I barely talked all day but now we are determined to get this whole “dream thing” sorted out. We go to the living room & throw ourselves on the couch; me lying on it belly up & Kat dangling over the edge. 

Even though it’s my house, Kat comes here so often that it’s practically like she has two houses. My house is considerably larger than Kat’s house, even if Kat has more people living in her house than I do. I have more siblings than her. They are in college right now, two twins, Allie & Monica, who just started, & Justin, who would be done but wants to become a doctor.  

“So, Peyton, what’s the deal with this?” asks Kat.

My first instinct is to say: “I’m sure there is an explanation for this.” Instead, I say, “Kat, there is something really weird going on, I know it’s not normal. I researched it on my phone on the bus & nothing came up explaining it.” 

“Okay, we just need to think. Was what I told you the exact same as what you experienced?”

“Exact, word for word, the same,” I tell her. 

“Wait.” She speaks so suddenly that she falls off the couch, her backpack hitting her on the head. When she climbs back on the couch, she has an excited look on her face. “We could ask around the school to see if anyone also had that dream.” I wanted to say that it was too risky, but when Katherine Smith has an idea, she will rarely back down. 

“It might be too risky, but maybe if we ask the right people… ” At that moment, the doorbell rings. 

Mom yells, “Can you get that, honey”? 

“Sure,” I yell back. “I wonder who it is,” I say, 

“Maybe the mailman,” Kat says. 

“No,” I reply. “He only comes in the morning, & even if he did, he wouldn’t ring the doorbell.” 

“Well, do you have a better idea?” Kat says, annoyed. 

“It could be a vampire,” I offer.

“Oh please,” Kat says. I run past her & open the door. 

“Who is it?” Kat asks, 

“A vampire,” I say, just to get on her nerves. 

Actually, it’s Arthur. He is standing awkwardly on the porch, the wind is blowing his hair into his eyes. He’s carrying a tray with cookies. “Hi, Slime Ball, what’s with the cookies?” I ask, trying not to look surprised. Never in my life would I expect to find Arthur Morris on my porch. 

“My mom made me bring them.” He looks more miserable than the time he forgot all his lines in the school play. He was considered a loser by all his friends for a week. “She found out I was coming here & made me do it. I really need to talk to you guys, though.” 

“And why would you come here in the first place?” asks Kat. She has recovered from her annoyance & is standing next to me. 

“Trust me, it’s important.” 

I am wary of him, I don’t want to make a fool of myself in my own house. The cookies make me think twice, though, & I let him in.

“So,” I say. “What do you need to tell us?” I sit down in my dad’s favorite chair & Kat sits next to me, on the beanbag chair. My dog, Cinnamon, jumps on her lap. 

Cinnamon & Kat have always had a special relationship. Of course, he loves me too, after all, he is my dog, but they are just really good friends. 

Arthur stands awkwardly in the middle of the living room, looking like when I had first seen him on the porch.

 “Sit,” I say. He does, setting the tray of cookies on his lap. Cinnamon bounds over & sniffs the tray curiously. “Don’t let him get those,” I warn. 

Once we are settled, (and once Cinnamon leaves the room), I cut to the chase. “Now can you please tell us what’s going on here?” 

He does. “I overheard you in the cafeteria, talking about that dream, well, I had that dream, too.” I expected something weird, but this… 

“Oh my gosh,” breathes Kat.

We all sit there in silence, I can hear everyone’s hearts beating. Even Cinnamon, who has poked his head back into the room, has enough sense to know that something strange is going on. He walks into the room, pausing just long enough to sniff the tray of cookies, & plops down on the floor by my feet. 

I decide to break the silence but have no idea what to say. Suddenly, I remember something from my dream. It’s not very vivid, but I know it happened.

 “Did you happen to see a bird in your dream?” I ask them. 

“Not that I remember,” says Kat. 

“Actually, yes,” says Arthur, “A big bird, flying right above me.” 

“Yeah, that’s right. Kat, you really didn’t see it?” 

“Nope.” 

“Interesting,” I respond.

We think for several tense minutes, searching our minds for anything else we can remember. Finally, Kat can’t take it anymore. 

“Are we positive we’re even forgetting anything?” 

“No, nothing,” replies Arthur. 

“Same, I remember everything,” I say. 

“I didn’t say are we positive we aren’t forgetting anything, I said are we positive we are even forgetting anything. We could know everything & we are just not able to connect the dots,” Kat said.

“I suppose — ” I’m interrupted by Arthur. 

“We are all such big idiots. While we’ve been wasting our time trying to figure out all this junk, it’s been right under our noses.” 

I sigh. “What’s been right under our noses, Arthur?” 

“The answer!” He’s really excited now. “I think we are being controlled by Aliens.” 

Chapter 4: Arthur Morris

Katherine & Peyton stare at me like I’m crazy. “… umm,” says Peyton, “you know Aliens aren’t real. Right?” 

“That’s what everyone thinks, but they’re out there alright. I know it.” 

“I think people are secretly testing on us at night,” says Katherine. 

“And you think my idea is stupid,” I mutter. 

“Actually, it’s totally possible,” replies Kat. “It’s just not as likely as my theory.” 

I roll my eyes. There isn’t much I can say to that

Peyton clears her throat. “Do you want to hear my theory?” Before either of us respond, she says, “I think Vampires have something to do with this”. 

“Vampires!?!” I say, alarmed. At the same time, Kat says, 

“What is with all this Vampire stuff!?!” Peyton laughs. 

“Relax. I’m just messing with you guys. Why so on edge?” 

“Maybe because there is supernatural activity going on in our brains. If you had a brain, maybe you wouldn’t have made such a stupid joke.”

With most people, saying that sentence would be like wearing red while a bull was around, but it just made Peyton laugh harder. “I was just trying to get on Kat’s nerves.”

All of a sudden, Cinnamon jumps up. He goes over to a certain area by the wall and starts sniffing vigorously. His tail isn’t wagging. Instead, it is sticking straight out, and his ears are too.

“Is he ok?” Kat looks worried. She and I look at Peyton expectantly. Peyton doesn’t respond. She looks even more worried than Kat, but she tries to hide it.

Finally, she whispers, “Shhh.” We stay there, listening. All we can hear is our own ragged breathing and Cinnamon’s soft whines. Then, all together, we take a sharp breath in. 

I can hear something. It’s faint, but it’s there all right. A soft hum, no louder than a bee’s buzzing. It gets louder and louder until finally, we don’t have to concentrate to be able to hear it. Suddenly, a bright blue light shines from where Cinnamon is standing. 

He gets knocked over, but hops right back up and is alright. He comes over to Peyton. She grabs him and holds him tight. When we look back at the spot the light had been, a blue and green oval has opened up. 

“What is that, a portal?” asks Kat. 

“I-I think so,” I respond. I’m not really paying attention to the portal itself, though, but what is through it. I can’t see much, but from what I can tell, there is a building, about 15 stories high, with a lot of windows. There are a few shapes moving around, but they are hard to make out. 

I get a very brief look at a tree-like object before Peyton and Kat start screaming. Soon, I start screaming too because I can feel myself getting sucked inside the portal. 

To be continued…   

Three Anaconda Araffe

Book 1: World is Starting in Three, Two, One, NOW

(Narrator is speaking)

Hi, my name is Besa, and today we are going to meet three anacondas and a giraffe. And this story takes place in the far, far future on the planet, Clone.

Once upon a time, in the far, far future, Africa and the Amazon collided and then three anacondas and a giraffe collided and what does that equal: three anaconda araffe! 

Chapter One: First Clone Day

(Narrator is reading and will explain what First Clone Day is in the next book) 

We’re just starting… 0.5

Once upon a time, three anacondas and a giraffe went through their bodies and then, when they said the magic word, they turned into one thing, and then when they said the magic word again, they turned into four things, and then, the continents moved super fast like in a millisecond, and then, an orca and a tiger went together and equaled a torca! And then, the three anaconda araffe said the magic word (BESA) and then they turned into three anacondas and a giraffe, and then the giraffe charged at the torca and then the torca was so stunned that it couldn’t move anymore, but then, the three anacondas squeezed them until they couldn’t breathe anymore.

Chapter Two: Now We’re Rocking!

And now, three continents went together in a snap, and then a rock and a star collided! And then, it equaled a rock star! And the rock star threw giant rocks at them/him. And then them/him said the magic word and then they collided, and then the three anaconda araffe charged so hard that they discollided!

Chapter Three: Getting a Sidekick!

And now a continent split! But a kangaroo and a flea collided but then they fell into the water and they collided with a shark and that equaled a flangark!

Chapter Three: Getting a Sidekick Part 2

And now three arachnids collided and equaled a vinegaspoon! 

Chapter Four: Getting an Infinite Frenemy

And now a jellyfish collided with an orca equaling an inca! And now the three anaconda araffe and the flangark and the vinegaspoon saw the inca, they thought that the inca was good, but it was actually bad, and so, it was actually a frenemy! 

Chapter Four: Getting an Infinite Frenemy Part 2 

The inca went back to its master called xbdhsjdb 88, otherwise known as the Clone Master (it was evil). The inca went back to the gang (three anaconda araffe, flangark, and vinegaspoon (A.F.V). 

Chapter Five: Now You See Me, Now You Goat

The Clone Master sent another army and called invisigoat, but the flangark started floating and that was how they saw the the invisigoat and then the vinegaspoon shot the invisigoat with silk and stung the invisigoat and threw vinegar like acid at invisigoat!

Chapter Six: Last Clone Day

And now, today is Last Clone Day! Last Clone Day is the day when the planet Clone copied another planet! 

(Narrator is speaking)  

To be continued in another book… 

Three Anaconda Araffe 

Book 2: The Second World is Just Starting

Chapter One: First Clone Day

The three anaconda araffe oddly survived it, but with some impenetrable body improvements. 

Chapter Two: Electric Zap in a Snap!

And now, dajya and daustralia collided! And then a dorny devil and a dajya delephant collided, and then that equaled a dorny delephant! But then the three anaconda araffe saw the dorny delephant, and then the three anaconda araffe was like, “Really!” And then the three anaconda araffe just went in front of the dorny delephant, and then right before the dorny delephant swung its dunk, the three anaconda araffe just zapped the dorny delephant! 

Chapter Three: The Ditch

And now, the dinternet collided with a witch, equaling a ditch! The three anaconda araffe (T.A.A.) found the ditch and T.A.A. thought that he could beat the ditch super fast, but he was WRONG. The ditch made T.A.A.’s forcefield to freeze, but what the ditch didn’t know was that T.A.A. could split through a forcefield. And so T.A.A. said the magic word in his mind, and so then they split! And the ditch was too low to fly high enough in time, and so the giraffe charged at the ditch and then the three anacondas squeezed the ditch so hard that it just made stars! 

Chapter Four: You Don’t Know What You Said in Your Dore 

And now, a deerphone and a deer combined and equaled a heerdeer! When T.A.A. was sleeping, the heerdeer hypnotized T.A.A. and since the heerdeer does everything that people say, the heerdeer hypnotized T.A.A. to say, “Eat me, eat me, eat me, eat me, eat me!” But the heerdeer didn’t notice, and he also hypnotized T.A.A. to say, “BESA!” And the heerdeer couldn’t hypnotize four things at once, so then, the three anacondas said, “Let me squeeze you until you can’t breathe anymore, and then let me eat you!” And then the heerdeer let the three anacondas squeeze and eat them, and then the giraffe wasn’t hypnotized anymore! 

Chapter Five: Last Clone Day 

(Narrator is speaking)

And now today is Last Clone Day! You now know what Last Clone Day is from the previous book, so I don’t need to tell you this time.

Three Anaconda Araffe

Book Three: Evil Sneazle 

Chapter One: First Clone Day 

(Narrator is reading)

And you all know what First Clone Day is because it was in the second book! So I’m just going to skip telling you what First Clone Day is and go on with the story. 

Chapter Two: Reintroducing Inca!

And now the inca found T.A.A. and then the inca started hitting and slapping and hitting and slapping and hitting and slapping and hitting and slapping T.A.A. and T.A.A. was like, “Why are you doing this?” And then the inca was like, “Oops, sorry.” And then T.A.A. was suuuuuper suspicious, and then the inca said, “I gotta go, so byeee!” And then T.A.A. followed the inca until he found the Clone Master!

Chapter Three: The Clone Master

And now T.A.A. is at the Clone Master’s headquarters, and he found the Clone Master, and then the Clone Master said, “Security guards! Attack!” And then T.A.A. started ramming at all of the security guards! And the Clone Master was like, “You wanna do it the hard way, huh?” And then the Clone Master said the magic word, and he turned into twelve Clone Masters, and then into twenty-four Clone Masters! And then T.A.A. was like, “No way you’re gonna beat me with twenty-four Clone Masters!” And he only needed to charge four times at the Clone Master to be able to defeat all the Clone Masters. 

THE END 

City in the Sky

Ch. 1

Dale and Artemis walked through the entrance. They were here in Steam City for Dale and Art’s work as journalists. A quote from one of his co-workers rang in his head: “Once they go to Steam City… well, they either don’t come back, or they come back almost, brainwashed. It’s almost like they encode their brains or something. Good luck, mate.” 

“When we get some information on The City, we can leave. Hopefully, what Steve said was a lie,” Dale said cheerfully.

A hand tapped on his back. Instinctively, Artemis ducked down and swung her leg to swipe the attacker off their feet. 

“Whoa!” The guard fell down to the ground. “Jeez!” The helmet rolled off his head to show a young man, about 30 years old. On his armor was a small tag that said #56.

“You’re new here. Don’t stay here too long! They’ll get to you. Don’t let them get to your brain. I’ve grown up seeing everyone like this. It’s not what you think. They don’t let us out of The City. I haven’t even seen the sky in my life! My name is Clyde.”

“Whoa, buddy! Maybe try saying that a little slower.” 

“They encode the citizens’ brains. I’m resistant to mind control. You need to run. They can’t find me talking to you.”

“How do you know we can trust him?” Artemis said accusingly. 

“You might want to hide the baby, too,” Clyde said. 

“It is our job to report things, even if we don’t have any concrete evidence. We have to do this,” Dale reminded. 

“Welcome to Steam City. Here in The City, we strive to make each and every one of our citizen’s happy. We have specifically designed every detail for our citizens’ benefit, and they are helping us, too. We hope you have a great time in our industrial utopia!” the speaker boomed in an automated voice all across the steel-plexiglass streets. Some children all of the same size were air biking, the exact same speed, in the exact same line. The baker walked through the street. A platinum-laced aerotrain showed up beside him. 

“You have been walking so, so long, sir. Are you sure you don’t want to ride on our aerotrain?” a person who you couldn’t tell was a man or woman with a blue and silver mask, symbolising that they were a train conductor, asked. 

“Yes, Conductor. I am thankful you came.” 

“It is fine, kind sir. This job pays very well.” The conductor held up a small graphite-gold coin. “I get paid 1 graphite piece every day! I love this job.” 

“I see we have some tourists. Welcome!” 

“Dale, I’m starting to think that guard guy was right,” Artemis muttered under her breath. 

“I don’t trust this, either,” Dale replied back.  

“I wouldn’t recommend being unhappy here. Things will start to go wrong.” The train veered off track and into a donut shop on the left side of the street. 

“Take Nathan and run!” The man ran across the street and almost to the wall. A single tear dropped down his cheek. 

“I’m sorry, Nate. I can’t take you with me. Try to survive.” He left the baby on the doorstep of a silver pod-house near the wall, saying a final goodbye. He quietly slipped under the silver wall. 

[Camera #21, broadcasting to Guard #56]

Now that Dale had left the child in his hands, he promised he would not let it down. Clyde decided he should have started what Dale and Art hadn’t finished, and began investigating what went on in the chamber hall where the counsellor decided what to do with the city.

[Camera #21, broadcasting to Guard #56]

“What is this corruption?!” a sharp and icy voice called from the chamber hall. 

“I’m sorry, sir, the prisoners escaped! The child and mother died in the crash. The man escaped.” 

“Impossible,” the white haired counselor sneered. “No one can escape this place.” 

“It’s assumed that he had help. From a guard named Clyde.” 

The counselor opened a digi-book, and skimmed through the pages. 

“Clyde… hmm… found it! Men, find Guard 56 and bring him to me! Remember, if it isn’t in order, it doesn’t belong. Unite through submission!”

Upon hearing this, the guard who had been spying on the meeting hastily ripped his number tag radar off and hid it in a spot far away. Now they would never be able to find him.

He would begin a new life, assume a new identity, and play by new rules.

Ch. 2

“Get back here!” The wind rushed in Nathan’s spiky hair as he raced through the plexiglass streets of Steam City, which used to be known as Vancouver. His beaten navy blue jacket and black and white edge corp games t-shirt billowed like a sail in the wind. The Chrometanium plated guards had their eyes locked on a shiny plastic object in Nathan’s hand. Nate hooked his hands on the hard exoskeleton guard mech suits, and hooked his jacket like a zipline along the power cords above the city. The guards clenched their fists and cables shot out of their wrists. The cables caught his jacket, and he lurched forward onto the ground. Nate was cornered. 

“Hand over the treats, kid! You got nowhere to run now.” 

“Who said anything about running?” He stomped on the left side of the storm drain, shifting its weight, and ultimately causing it to open. He landed with a splash in the drains of Steam City. 

“Ten steps forward… eight steps right… three steps forward. Five steps left. Ten steps forward… here!” He scrambled up a ladder right above a pod house, of which he was sure to be his. He carefully untwisted the hatch that would lead to the food storage area in his tiny apartment.

When he opened the hatch, he was blinded by bright yellow walls and an electroplate. An old lady snored on a massage chair in the corner of the room. He carefully backed down the ladder and retraced his steps. 

“Stupid! Hmm, what was it. Oh! It was ten steps left and five steps forward!” He slowly made his way to the correct hatch, and into his home. 

“I brought snacks!” he called from the food cellar. Nate’s house consisted of five main parts. The food cellar was underground, or, technically speaking, under-pod-floating-over-ground. The kitchen was the fanciest room, consisting of a marble floor and an oven. On the countertop on the side, there was a microwave with a heat and cool setting. Clyde, Nate’s adoptive guardian, was sitting at the countertop on an old computer he had salvaged from a construction site. He greeted Nate with the usual refrain when he came back from getting food.

“Jeez, Nate! Please at least try to fit in! If we get found out then — ” 

“The chancellor will find us and brainwash us to be zombies that he can control to his pleasure and ultimately our old selves will be erased from history, yada, yada, yada. I know!” Nate said quickly. Clyde’s mood lightened. 

“But… I guess it’s worth it. You really know how to run! What’d you get this time?” He looked at the box.  

“Jones box with rice and extra tamarind sauce? You know me, kid! What did you get yourself?” 

Nate replied, “Chicken Curry,” he said. They walked to the counter and began to indulge in a feast.

***

Midnight… a knock sounded at the door… Nate got up from his makeshift bed and creeped down the stairs. They found me. He quietly opened the door, making sure they didn’t see him. He hid on the underside of the door. 

“Tell us where the child is and we’ll leave you in peace. The chancellor will make you happy. He will make you both happy.” 

“Never! You’ll never get Nate. I believe that he can liberate this city. He can liberate all the cities.” Liberate the cities?! I can’t do that. I’m just a kid! There isn’t anyone like me… is there? 

“Wait, I sense something. There! Behind the door!” Clyde blinked a message in their secret language that they would use in case of an emergency. He said, 

“Run. Don’t worry about me. I’ll handle this. Go.” Nate jumped up on top of the guards and soared onto the bed which suspended from the ceiling. He quickly hefted the plexi-glass frame off the window next to the bed and leaped out. He felt like he was flying — until he landed on top of an electrical pole next to a tall building. All those years of training has prepared me for this moment.  He clenched his fists and a shock came through his gloves. Luckily, almost everything in the city was made of metal, so it wasn’t a problem leaping from building to building and climbing walls. What was a problem, though, was the huge jump in front of him. 

“You’re cornered.”

Nate panicked, not knowing what to do. 

***

“The chancellor will see you soon.” Oh no… this is all my fault. I shouldn’t have been so reckless. Stupid Nathan! Focus on getting out of here! He scanned the area for an opening. I still have my magnet gloves in my pocket, but they’re out of battery. Well, it’s worth a shot. A warden came to deliver food. The gruel on the plate looked disgusting, and Nathan did not want to eat it. He pulled his gloves out of his pocket and slipped them on. When the warden put his metal mech-suit glove into the food slip, Nate quickly reached for his hand and pulled hard. The warden’s suit helmet clanged across the bars, making him fall to the ground. They say the suits can custom change the interior to fit whatever size… it’s worth a shot. He struggled to get the suit on, with so many complex parts, but when he managed to fit it on, nobody knew it was him. He clenched his fist, trying the suit’s mechanics out. A cable shot out and wrapped around the warden. He picked the person up and locked him in the cell where he’d recently been.

“Oh no! That boy just escaped! Get him!” 

Nathan tried his best to impersonate the steel-faced warden. Almost immediately, the guards flocked out of the door. He strode down the streets of Steam City, knowing he couldn’t get caught. Once he reached the wall, he tried to get through, but the guards stopped him.

“ID card, please?” they asked in unison. 

“I can arrest you if I wanted to — ” Nate was cut off by the guards. 

“Rule number 85 page 56 paragraph two clearly states that guards can not be arrested. Impostor.” Oh no. RUN! He clenched his fist, and a sign that said, “No More Cable,” appeared on the screen attached to his left arm. I don’t still have that glove, do I? What if I did the magnetic boom with the metal hand… 

“Huh!” He slammed his glove upon the interior of the suit. The suit started to give out a small magnetic signal. It may have not been strong enough, but it was enough to scale the high wall. 

“Get him!” they called in unison. They shot cables out of their fists and grappled up to his height. Nate tried everything, but nothing came as a solution. He even activated a peanut dispenser in the helmet! He clenched his fingers, hoping for something to happen. This suit has CLAWS?! A pair of retractable claws shot out of the fingertips of the arm. I wonder… 

He sliced at the cables aimed straight towards him. It sliced through them like butter. 

“Yah!” He pulled himself over the wall. “I’m free-aaah!” Free. Free but tumbling. Is this the end? His life flashed before his eyes. “Oof!” He landed in a junk pile next to a run down old store, which what was left of the sign said “Mac / onalds”.  

A creature that he couldn’t tell was Fox, Squirrel, or Seal trotted up to him. 

“Hey there, buddy… you must’ve become like this from the radiation, huh? These suits can block the poisonous air, so…” He picked up a helmet that had fallen down from the wall, and it fit right on the “furreal,” which sounded a lot like Surreal. “Hey, Surreal… do you want to come with me?” The Furreal wagged its bushy flipper tail and nuzzled his suit. “Come on… we have some cities to liberate.” They walked hours and hours through the wasteland, and they were both getting tired. The water and food supply stored in both of their helmets had run out and you could hear their stomachs growling from a mile away. “So… tired…” Nate moaned. “Wish there were people… ah!” He let out a weak groan as he and Surreal were hoisted into the air by some kind of trap. It was made of a metal cage that seemed to shock them every few second. By the second shock, they passed out.

***

Nate opened his eyes. Where am I? Surreal?! He scanned around for his pet and found him on the other side of the room. There was a cool breeze, and a flickering light hung above a sort of scrap lab. In a makeshift door next to him, he heard voices saying, 

“The suit looks as if it was from the Steam City Unit.” A girl’s voice that sounded like it was Australian came from the other room. 

“What would a Steam City Guard be doing out here in Parallel City scraps?” a male voice said.  Parallel city?! Surely they couldn’t have walked that far! It seemed as if they were children, but he couldn’t be sure.

“What should we do with him?” a high-pitched voice asked.

“Leave him be, once he wakes up, we can interrogate him.”

“Help! Anyone!” Nate screamed at the top of his lungs, dehydrated. Four people shot out of the other room. The girl had long, raven hair with highlights of magenta that shot out only in the back, and piercing, steel eyes that could cut through diamonds. A boy with dark skin, and hair that looked like fields of chocolate shaved on one side stood behind his chair. He had two big round glasses on his head and wore a knitted, wooly sweater. Two children, a boy and girl, who looked as if they were of East Asian descent, stood on his right side. They looked like they were twins, but he couldn’t be sure. 

“Stop screaming like a baby. What even is a Steam City unit guard doing out in the scraps? Why are you also harboring a mutant?” Diamond Eyes said fiercely. 

“I swear, I’m not a guard! I’m just a kid!”

“Oh no, no, no, no no. We might catch his mind control virus!” Field Hair headed for the door.

“The control isn’t contagious.” The girl twin squeaked. 

“He could mind control us through the suit.” The boy piped. 

“Wait! No! This is complicated… I’m not affected, can’t you see?!” Diamond eyes shot a disbelieving glance at him. “Let’s do a test… the mind controlled always does what they’re told.” She picked up a matchbox, and struck a match. She handed it to Nate. “Go light that trash pile on fire.” Nate knew the obvious decision, but he decided to have fun with it. He slowly walked to the trash pile, and said, 

“Yes, master,” in a robotic voice. Right as he was about to drop it, he turned around, and said 

“Nope. I got you, didn’t I?”

Diamond rolled her eyes. “Fine… you’re like us, and now you’re one of us,” she quickly muttered, 

“Oh, this is going to be a pain.”

Black Magic

Hi, my name is Anthea. I’m also a furry. I’ve always wanted to go to school, but because of my powers, I cannot. My parents say my powers are dangerous. My powers are teleportation, invisibility, and I can make explosions. I want to go to school to find something to control my powers so they won’t be dangerous anymore. I live in a poor village, so I cannot find school in the village around my town. I’m thinking of changing my name so that I can go to school. I would have my cousin take my place. By the way, my cousin’s name is Athena. I need to talk to my parents. If I can go to my friend Jamie’s house, she’s the only one in our village who has a computer, I could find a magic school. That would be great. There are a lot of stories of me destroying things.

One time, I tried helping people fix their house but I ended up breaking it. I don’t want to get rid of my powers, I just want to make them useful. My cousin and I have our own unique qualities. But in singing, we are both good. My cousin and I have always been wanting to go to school, so she wouldn’t mind taking my place. I would have to be escaping at nighttime. Jamie and my cousin are going to help me escape. I’ll be taking the bus to Athens, Georgia. 

Jamie is helping me pack my things to go. 

“Anthea, are you sure you want to do this?” asks Jamie.

“Anthea, you can always stay here with us,” Athena says. 

“It was our dream, Athena, I want to go,” I say. 

We are saying our goodbyes. I know my cousin is sad but she is also happy that our dream is coming true. I know I’m making the right choice. What scares me is when we get there I won’t know anybody. But luckily, Jamie got me some tickets for a hotel. Dark Side and I have been saving up money since we were little to go to school. So I’ve got my college fund money. Sadly, I do not know what my parents are thinking. Dark Side does have an open mouth, so she’ll probably tell my parents that I left. Tomorrow will be a new day and I will register myself for power school. 

I’m going to my hotel and it looks gorgeous. Now I have to go to bed and make sure my next day will be awesome. 

I wake up this morning and I’m getting dressed to register myself for school. I can’t believe my dream is coming true. I’m going to prepare myself a bagel and cream cheese. Going out and seeing Georgia is beautiful. I’m taking the bus to the school cause it’s a mile away from my hotel. Seeing the school is amazing. It’s big and pretty. Looks like the school is very old. When I go inside the school, it is really big. It looks more like a ballroom. The principal of the school asks me what I’m doing here. I tell him I’ve come here to register myself. He’s glad and gives me a tour. After that, he asks me if I have powers. I agree and tell him I have powers. I’ve come on the weekend, so there is no one really there, except himself. I notice he is fixing the place. And I ask him if I can help. So the principal and I mop the floor, fix the chairs, and fix his office. 

After fixing his office, he tells me to come on Monday, and that I will make some really good friends.

Jamie has always taught me to be confident in myself with my dreams. So after getting out of the school, I go shopping for school supplies. Dark Side recently told me from Jamie’s computer that she’s going to school in New York, which is not that far by car from where we live. I’m really happy for her; she’ll be sending me a photo or an anime drawing. Jamie gave me money for school supplies before I left. I thanked her.

It’s Monday now, now I’m going to school. I’ve already made a friend. I bet Jamie would like her as well. Dark Side would be happy as well. Her name is the opposite of ours, Sunshine. And her sister is Light Side. I recently met a girl who worked in a pet shop, and she showed me a picture of a bunny.

The bunny was really cute and fluffy. She said she would give it to me for free and I was really glad to hear the news, because the bunny was really cute. I would have it in a cage, get a phone, and send a picture to Dark Side. I would name the bunny Fluffy. 

But getting back to school, it’s really hard. Today we are going to see what extra powers we have, are they legendary or common? I hope my powers are legendary. But this bully named Chloe and her assistant Lila always bother me and think that my powers will be common. My cousin thinks I’m gonna find a boy and get married. But I told her to stop telling me that, but she did tell me that my parents were happy but sad. At least I’m calmer now that she’s told me this because I know how my parents think. But there is a cute boy named Alexander. But I won’t focus on him — I have to focus on my studies.

Now we’re going outside to a field to see what our powers will be. First, it’s Sunshine. She gets a legendary– a guardian angel. And her sister is a nature fairy. While Chloe and Lila are common demon bunnies. When I hear the news that I’m the legendary person in my class, I am so happy. My powers are a griffin that can read minds. Even though Chloe knows I can read her mind, she still intends to do bad tricks on me. But I really don’t care.

I’ll describe Chloe for you. Blonde hair, blue eyes, yellow jacket, and a striped shirt. And she always tries to act like she’s the boss of everyone. She, too, likes Alexander. Whenever she sees him, she always acts so crazy. But I just ignore her. Though I do have a friend who’s a boy, as well. His name is William. He is a really kind friend; he is also legendary. His powers are a fire guardian. Just the opposite of Sunshine.

All four of us are going to have a sleepover, over at Sunshine’s house. It’s going to be really fun, I will bring some chips and Doritos. She says we are going to watch the movie Deadpool. But William disagrees. Soon enough, it’s going to be half of the year. Cause I entered in half of the year. But since there are three more years to go, I’m really happy. Tomorrow’s lesson is going to be about: can you fly or not? I think I can fly, cause griffins fly. Sunshine and Light Side can definitely fly. I don’t know about William, though. There’s this new boy going into school with us. His name is Felix. But I feel something suspicious about him. My cousin is enjoying her time there. I didn’t know that Jamie’s there, as well. 

The sleepover turns out really fun. Her mom is really fun and her house is beautiful. William tells us at night that he likes Sunshine. But luckily she is not there when he says it. We both tell him to tell her so it won’t be too late. Later that night, we do Truth or Dare, and I ask William truth or dare. And not wanting to do a dare, he says truth. So I ask him: who does he like? And he says that he likes Sunshine. But this time, she is there. She is surprised but happy. She doesn’t know what to say, so we continue on. Then they do a truth or dare on me. And I say dare. And they make me sing my least favorite song, Kiki, and play my least favorite video game, Fortnite! I don’t know why, but I do it. But I’m fine. So I do a truth or dare on Sunshine. Sunshine says dare. So I make her do something embarrassing: act like she’s a grandma and help her sister burp. And Light Side ends up burping. It’s really funny. But we keep on. Then, it’s Light Side’s turn. William asks Light Side truth or dare, and she picks truth. So William asks her. But he knows that she already does this.

“Is it true that you used your poo as hair gel?” says William. Embarrassed, Light Side says yes.

***

It’s been three years now since the sleepover. We’ve had many since then. It’s almost prom and I’m really happy. But I don’t know what to wear and who to go with. Alexander recently asked me out, but I didn’t respond. I don’t know what to say. But today I’m saying yes. 

It’s later. So now we’re going together. My only fear is my dress. So Sunshine and Light Side are taking me out to buy a dress. And after that I am going to send a picture to Dark Side. Dark Side has actually agreed to meet me at the airport, cause I asked her where she’s going to live for the rest of her life. And she said here, where we live. I was sad but told her the honest truth: I was going to stay in Georgia. She was really sad, but still, everything came with benefit.

Prom is fun, they have cake, a chocolate fountain, and Alexander and I are prom king and queen. This year has gone by so fast, it’s already graduation time. During the year, I have earned money so that I can bring my family over. I buy tickets so that my friend, my cousin, and my parents can come over. They all start new lives here. My cousin gets a good-paying job. And my parents have enough money for retiring. I start a family. My kids get powers like me, but they get a better future ahead of them and they have a better hold of their powers. We’re just a big family and we’re happy in our lives right now.

A Kid Can Face War

The Holocaust was a war that broke out, and at that time, our mother found out that children were going to be taken. She was told by one of her closest friends, whose name was Maria, and she told my mother,

“I heard from my husband that kids five and up will be fighting.”

Our mother was very shocked and scared. She was acting very nervous because she knew what was going to happen. At that time, my mom told Maria she didn’t think it was true. Maria also had a son who was one year older than me and we were best friends. That was before war, though soldiers had later taken his life, and when I found out about his death. I was sad and upset because I couldn’t help him.

I still remember the date of the war starting, it was September 1st, 1939. My friend died in October. I’ve forgotten the date, though. I remember I was scared for my life when I was holding my first gun. I didn’t even know how to use a gun at the time. It felt like I was holding 100 iron bars to me because I was young and weak, now a gun to me is light like a feather. The leather on my gun was the only thing comfortable for me at the time. Seeing how old the other kids were, I thought that maybe I should just be bait for them, but I was also terrified of getting killed. I helped around more, though, because we would find abandoned war houses and I healed the men there even if I was only six at the time. I did experience a lot of things, and we had to be careful because there could be German soldiers there. 

When I treated my first soldiers I was horrified and I asked myself, Am I being punished? Why did you send me here, mother? I was traumatized, but I knew that I had a job. When I healed men, I would have to either use water and medicine or kill them if they couldn’t make it. Killing them was the hardest option for me because I wanted people to live, but it was war so I couldn’t do anything. I remember wishing I was older so that I could be like the rest of the kids and that I could be able to do more.

I think I did get hurt about two times. The first time, I was kicked and punched by a soldier, it was painful because it was my face and my stomach and I remember feeling the hardness of the shoe. The second time was when I was shot for the first time. I thought I was going to die right there. I was crying from all the pain and that I couldn’t say bye to my mom. I saw light. I thought I was done but I was lucky and got saved by one of my fellow soldiers. I remember asking him,

“Can I say bye?”

He stood quietly. I love telling this story and will keep telling it until I’m old. I wish that this world could be a more peaceful place and that wars could end.

The Adventures of Krony Faulty: A Masher Basher

Chapter One

School

One day, at a school called Frendus Elementary, two kids named Gary and Bob loved to giggle, laugh, and best of all, they loved putting pranks. Gary and Bob always went to the basement. The worst place in Frendus Elementary. They both hated going to the basement, but one day when they were in the basement, Bob and Gary pulled a prank.

Suddenly, a brick in the wall shifted and moved, and they were both amazed by what they saw. It was a tunnel, and Gary recognized this tunnel. This tunnel was in a book called Ancient Tunnels. It said that whoever went through this tunnel would reach a place where you could find sand. 

But this was not ordinary sand, it said that when you molded this sand, it would turn into anything you wanted it to be. So Bob and Gary went into the tunnel, and guess what, it was booby trapped.

When Bob and Gary went into the tunnel, something really scary happened, Bob tripped on a rope and a bunch of arrows shot. But something amazing happened as well,  another person was leaning on a rock so the rock moved and blocked the arrow from shooting. Bob and Gary were amazed so they went to look for that suspicious man.

Bob and Gary kept on looking for that person, but could not find him. Suddenly, a peachy thing shimmered, so Bob and Gary followed it, and found that man. The man started telling Bob and Gary about his life.

He told them that a wizard named Tubby created him from sand. He also said his name was Krony Faulty. Bob and Gary laughed so hard that they fell to the ground and got up over a hundred times. Then they asked Krony, “Why is your last name Faulty?”

Krony said, “My last name is Faulty because I make lots of mistakes.” 

He said, “Did you know I have a SUPER POWER? It is to make mistakes. Remember when I saved you from the arrows? It was a mistake, I was actually leaning on the boulder.

“After the wizard created me, he told me that I will meet two kids who will come on my journey to stop evil machines from a planet called Chao. The planet Chaos wants to take over the world and it is up to us to stop them. But it has already started, a machine called Masher Basher, which is a living wrecking ball, is in the Amazon Rainforest.” 

Chapter Two

The Contest

When Bob and Gary went back to their class, they tried to ask their teacher when their next field trip was, but their teacher, Mr. Maclindono, said, “Are you crazy! We are not going to have another field trip unless we win the contest that you saw in the hallway. That contest will take us to the Amazon Rainforest. But, unfortunately, that contest is next week. So deal with it, we are not going on that field trip!!!”

Bob and Gary tried so hard to ask Mr. Maclindono, but the answer was always NO! So they had no choice but to try to win the contest, Bob and Gary had a wonderful idea. But they first had to go to the basement. So they got in trouble and told Krony what the plan was. Gary was smart and told Krony the wrong information, because Krony’s power was to make mistakes. 

Today was the day of the spelling bee contest and Bob was shaking so much, but Gary, on the other hand, was pretty positive that Krony could do it. So it began…. 

The judge was at the final word and it was camouflage. Bob said, “GAMOUFLAGE,” but another person named Cob said, “CAMOUFLAGE.” 

When the judge came to say the winner, at that same time, Krony was ready to throw a rock into the air. The judge was going to say, “The winner is C… ” (At that same time, Krony threw the rock up, but he made a mistake. Instead, he threw the rock on the judge’s cheek.) So his words turned to, “The winner is BOB!” The crowd was clapping and cheering and the teacher was jumping up and down, he was so happy!

Chapter Three 

The Field Trip

Gary and Bob went to the basement to ask Krony, “How are we going to take you?”

Krony told them, “There is a ring that can store me. If you say the words BUB, I will be stored in the ring, but if you say the words RUB, I will be out of the ring.”

Krony gave Gary and Bob the magical ring. Gary said, “BUB,” and a magical cloud appeared on Krony, it sucked Krony into the ring and disappeared. Bob told Gary, 

“Now we know what we are going to do.”

The next day, a plane arrived in front of the school. It was pretty big, and inside there were seats for Bob and Gary since they won the spelling bee contest. The two seats had a TV, footrest, and a full bed. Bob and Gary were ready to start their journey.

When they were on their journey, Bob and Gary had the time of their lives. Soon they were at the Amazon Rainforest and they were really excited. Or at least Gary was excited, but Bob was shivering to death.

Chapter Four

Masher Basher

When Bob and Gary stepped out of the plane, they were amazed. They saw birds, trees, grass, and mud. Suddenly, a flock of birds flew in the air. Bob and Gary knew Masher Basher was up to no good. So Gary said, “RUB!” and Krony came out of the ring. Together, the three of them went to investigate and they saw Masher Basher destroying one of the trees in the Rainforest. When they were heading back to the class, they couldn’t see it. They checked everywhere but could not find them.

 THEY WERE LOST!

Now it was only the three of them! So they went looking for Masher Basher. When they found him, Bob remembered that Krony was made out of sand, so he molded Krony into a chip that sucked energy. When he made it, he put the chip inside. BOOM, the machine was knocked out. Then Gary molded Krony into a boulder so then Krony smashed the wrecking ball into pieces. 

Being a Gumball

CELIA

Hello, my name is Celia Ballington… and I am a gum ball. But I am not any gum ball; I was 2 when I fell out of the gumball dispenser onto the floor. However, I was caught in a bucket of toxic left under the dispenser because they hired people to clean the mall; there was a strange toxic disease in the pipes, but it made me immortal.

Scene 1

Present Day, 10 years Later in the Dispenser

CAMERON

Come on, help me push Connor to the door!

CELIA

Wait, what? He’s going to be stepped on out there!

CONNOR 

(waking up

What’s going on?

CAMERON 

(pushing Connor out the door)

Uhh… nothing… have a good trip!

CONNOR

(falling)

I thought I was awake!

CELIA

Why did you do that, aren’t you my best friend?

CAMERON

Ooh, good idea! Wanna be my partner in crime?

CELIA

No way—

CAMERON

Oh well, down you go then.

CELIA starts also falling. She blows frantically, stretching to make a bubblegum parachute, and catches CONNER. As they float down, a baby nearby stares at them and grabs them.

They are squished between its grasp and they head to the baby’s house.

Scene 2

An Hour Later, at the House, During Lunchtime

CONNER and CELIA roll toward the bed to hide from the mom when she picks the baby, DARWIN, up for lunch. They then decide to explore the baby’s room.

CELIA rolls up the crib, and CONNER sneakily pushes her down to land on a xylophone and rolls under the next door, leaving CELIA to be seen as MOM rushes in.

MOM

I bet it’s that rat!

The baby grabs CELIA and drools over her. 

CELIA

Gross! 

 CELIA rolls away before DARWIN can wipe her on the wall. 

CONNER

Help, I’m stuck!

There was a puddle of water on the bathroom floor and CONNER got sticky and stuck to the floor. CELIA now leaves CONNER behind as she rolls out the door, around the block to be stepped on by TEENAGER. 

TEENAGER

Ew dude, I got some gum on my cool new sneakers.

TEENAGER throws CELIA into the trash, along with the shoe. She slowly crawls into the shoe and fall asleep.

Scene 3

The Next Morning, Before Sunrise

CELIA is woken up by a chitter. 

CELIA

Ugh, I bet it’s just Cameron teasing me for being a scaredy-ball for being scared of Conner falling out. 

Instead, she wakes up to see the face of a rat. CELIA attempts to roll out of a rusty hole in the trash, but she isn’t dry, and instead patches it up. After a while, the trash and the bin are lifted up into a dump truck. 

CELIA

Conner, I’m flying! Oh, yeah he’s not here.

The rat responds, chittering happily to CELIA’s surprise.

CELIA

I must be hallucinating.

CONNER

(the rat)

You know, I am not just a rat. I was crawling through the sewers when I found some green goo. I was incredibly thirsty, so I drank it. Now I can talk!

They become friends, and sneak into restaurants, schools, and factories, picking up knowledge and resources.

Scene 4

Two Years Later

Ring! Ring! 

Celia

(in the tissue hut)

Who could it be? 

(she forgets she has her Chew5 Phone)

The contacts said it was Cameron?!

CONNER THE RAT

Answer it.

CAMERON 

(over the phone)

Hey… Celia?

CELIA

(berry annoyed)

Yeah, I’m still alive, in a home, with a best friend, doing better than I had been with you.

CAMERON

Look, I’m in chew-vie, and I got to phone someone. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you.

CELIA

(hanging up)

Nice try, but I don’t want to see your round face again.

CONNER THE RAT

Don’t you have a round face, too?

CELIA

I said it from the top of my head, okay?

Scene 5

Two Years Later

CONNER THE RAT

Hello, my name is Conner and I am a rat.

MAN 1

(chuckling) 

Is this some kind of joke?

CELIA

No. My name is Celia and I am a gumball.

MAN 2

So, you scheduled a meeting.

CELIA

Yes, we are the owners of Big Toxi Curing Co.

MAN 1

Oh, I’m so sorry. Hey, do you need us?

CONNER THE RAT

We were looking for testers for our medicine, but you seem to be a good one.

MAN 1

(drinking green liquid) 

No, no, I only have the symptoms.

Everyone stares at him as MAN 1 then throws up black vomit under the table in a casual way, and then comes back to the meeting like nothing happened.

Scene 6

At the Lab

CONNER THE RAT: 

Darwin, this is Steve.

(points to MAN 1)

Steve, this is Darwin, one of our best scientists.

DARWIN

Pleasure to meet you, come hop into this tub.

Steve 

(walking in)

Ooh, a hot tub?

DARWIN closes the clear curtains, and they observe as a pink fluid sprays him.

STEVE

Cherry flavor!

STEVE’S skin turns vibrant again and he unswells.

STEVE

I feel like a new man. So am I famous now for being the first person cured? Am I super strong, or super fast?

DARWIN/CELIA/CONNER THE RAT

That will be two hundred fifty bucks.

The world is saved and our main character, CELIA, lives happily ever after forever because she is immortal… and what is a story without a happy ending?

The End.

About Conner the gum ball, he was Darwin’s pet until Darwin started working for Celia and Conner the rat, he decided to bring Conner the gum ball to the company as a tester, and Celia still had no mercy on him.

Cameron stayed in chew-vie and then in gum ball adults’ jail for the rest of her sticky life, contemplating how her phone call trick with Celia didn’t work, and just being evil.

Wait, But Before You Go, Read the Bubblegum Glossary:

Scaredy-ball: Basically scaredy-cat but when talking about gumballs

Bubblegum Parachute: Just bubbles you blow with bubblegum, but what bubblegum uses them for

Chew5: iPhone type, like iPhone 12, but when talking about gumball products

Berry: Very

Chew-vie: Juvie

Black Magic

Hi, my name is Anthea. I’m also a furry. I’ve always wanted to go to school, but because of my powers, I cannot. My parents say my powers are dangerous. My powers are teleportation, invisibility, and I can make explosions. I want to go to school to find something to control my powers so they won’t be dangerous anymore. I live in a poor village, so I cannot find school in the village around my town. I’m thinking of changing my name so that I can go to school. I would have my cousin take my place. By the way, my cousin’s name is Athena. I need to talk to my parents. If I can go to my friend Jamie’s house, she’s the only one in our village who has a computer, I could find a magic school. That would be great. There are a lot of stories of me destroying things.

One time, I tried helping people fix their house but I ended up breaking it. I don’t want to get rid of my powers, I just want to make them useful. My cousin and I have our own unique qualities. But in singing, we are both good. My cousin and I have always been wanting to go to school, so she wouldn’t mind taking my place. I would have to be escaping at nighttime. Jamie and my cousin are going to help me escape. I’ll be taking the bus to Athens, Georgia. Jamie is helping me pack my things to go. 

“Anthea, are you sure you want to do this?” asks Jamie.

“Anthea, you can always stay here with us,” Athena says. 

“It was our dream, Athena, I want to go,” I say. 

We are saying our goodbyes. I know my cousin is sad but she is also happy that our dream is coming true. I know I’m making the right choice. What scares me is when we get there I won’t know anybody. But luckily, Jamie got me some tickets for a hotel. Dark Side and I have been saving up money since we were little to go to school. So I’ve got my college fund money. Sadly, I do not know what my parents are thinking. Dark Side does have an open mouth, so she’ll probably tell my parents that I left. Tomorrow will be a new day and I will register myself for power school. 

I’m going to my hotel and it looks gorgeous. Now I have to go to bed and make sure my next day will be awesome. 

I wake up this morning and I’m getting dressed to register myself for school. I can’t believe my dream is coming true. I’m going to prepare myself a bagel and cream cheese. Going out and seeing Georgia is beautiful. I’m taking the bus to the school cause it’s a mile away from my hotel. Seeing the school is amazing. It’s big and pretty. Looks like the school is very old. When I go inside the school, it is really big. It looks more like a ballroom. The principal of the school asks me what I’m doing here. I tell him I’ve come here to register myself. He’s glad and gives me a tour. After that, he asks me if I have powers. I agree and tell him I have powers. I’ve come on the weekend, so there is no one really there, except himself. I notice he is fixing the place. And I ask him if I can help. So the principal and I mop the floor, fix the chairs, and fix his office. 

After fixing his office, he tells me to come on Monday, and that I will make some really good friends. By the way, that photo below is a photo I took of myself.

Jamie has always taught me to be confident in myself with my dreams. So after getting out of the school, I go shopping for school supplies. Dark Side recently told me from Jamie’s computer that she’s going to school in New York, which is not that far by car from where we live. I’m really happy for her; she’ll be sending me a photo or an anime drawing. Jamie gave me money for school supplies before I left. I thanked her.

It’s Monday now, now I’m going to school. I’ve already made a friend. I bet Jamie would like her as well. Dark Side would be happy as well. Her name is the opposite of ours, Sunshine. And her sister is Light Side. I recently met a girl who worked in a pet shop, and she showed me a picture of a bunny. The bunny was really cute and fluffy. She said she would give it to me for free and I was really glad to hear the news, because the bunny was really cute. I would have it in a cage, get a phone, and send a picture to Dark Side. I would name the bunny Fluffy. 

But getting back to school, it’s really hard. Today we are going to see what extra powers we have, are they legendary or common? I hope my powers are legendary. But this bully named Chloe and her assistant Lila always bother me and think that my powers will be common. My cousin thinks I’m gonna find a boy and get married. But I told her to stop telling me that, but she did tell me that my parents were happy but sad. At least I’m calmer now that she’s told me this because I know how my parents think. But there is a cute boy named Alexander. But I won’t focus on him — I have to focus on my studies.

Now we’re going outside to a field to see what our powers will be. First, it’s Sunshine. She gets a legendary– a guardian angel. And her sister is a nature fairy. While Chloe and Lila are common demon bunnies. When I hear the news that I’m the legendary person in my class, I am so happy. My powers are a griffin that can read minds. Even though Chloe knows I can read her mind, she still intends to do bad tricks on me. But I really don’t care.

I’ll describe Chloe for you. Blond hair, blue eyes, yellow jacket, and a striped shirt. And she always tries to act like she’s the boss of everyone. She, too, likes Alexander. Whenever she sees him, she always acts so crazy. But I just ignore her. Though I do have a friend who’s a boy, as well. His name is William. He is a really kind friend; he is also legendary. His powers are a fire guardian. Just the opposite of Sunshine.

All four of us are going to have a sleepover, over at Sunshine’s house. It’s going to be really fun, I will bring some chips and Doritos. She says we are going to watch the movie Deadpool. But William disagrees. Soon enough, it’s going to be half of the year. Cause I entered in half of the year. But since there are three more years to go, I’m really happy. Tomorrow’s lesson is going to be about: can you fly or not? I think I can fly, cause griffins fly. Sunshine and Light Side can definitely fly. I don’t know about William, though. There’s this new boy going into school with us. His name is Felix. But I feel something suspicious about him. My cousin is enjoying her time there. I didn’t know that Jamie’s there, as well. 

The sleepover turns out really fun. Her mom is really fun and her house is beautiful. William tells us at night that he likes Sunshine. But luckily she is not there when he says it. We both tell him to tell her so it won’t be too late. Later that night, we do Truth or Dare, and I ask William truth or dare. And not wanting to do a dare, he says truth. So I ask him: who does he like? And he says that he likes Sunshine. But this time, she is there. She is surprised but happy. She doesn’t know what to say, so we continue on. Then they do a truth or dare on me. And I say dare. And they make me sing my least favorite song, Kiki, and play my least favorite video game, Fortnite! I don’t know why, but I do it. But I’m fine. So I do a truth or dare on Sunshine. Sunshine says dare. So I make her do something embarrassing: act like she’s a grandma and help her sister burp. And Light Side ends up burping. It’s really funny. But we keep on. Then, it’s Light Side’s turn. William asks Light Side truth or dare, and she picks truth. So William asks her. But he knows that she already does this.

“Is it true that you used your poo as hair gel?” says William. Embarrassed, Light Side says yes.

***

It’s been three years now since the sleepover. We’ve had many since then. It’s almost prom and I’m really happy. But I don’t know what to wear and who to go with. Alexander recently asked me out, but I didn’t respond. I don’t know what to say. But today I’m saying yes. 

It’s later. So now we’re going together. My only fear is my dress. So Sunshine and Light Side are taking me out to buy a dress. And after that I am going to send a picture to Dark Side. Dark Side has actually agreed to meet me at the airport, cause I asked her where she’s going to live for the rest of her life. And she said here, where we live. I was sad but told her the honest truth: I was going to stay in Georgia. She was really sad, but still, everything came with benefit. 

Prom is fun, they have cake, a chocolate fountain, and Alexander and I are prom king and queen. This year has gone by so fast, it’s already graduation time. During the year, I have earned money so that I can bring my family over. I buy tickets so that my friend, my cousin, and my parents can come over. They all start new lives here. My cousin gets a good-paying job. And my parents have enough money for retiring. I start a family. My kids get powers like me, but they get a better future ahead of them and they have a better hold of their powers. We’re just a big family and we’re happy in our lives right now.

Dragon Fire

Prologue

In the moist, slippery cave at the darkest night, one blue and yellow egg sits at a crater in the cave. Two serpents slip into the cave and wrap around the egg.

“Dinner!” the first one yells. 

“No, he could have a much better use for us.”

Chapter One: Dragonite

I slink through the cave, my blue, silky scales make no sound. When I’m about to get out, my father yells, “Don’t even think about itssss,” his voice trailing off like a hiss. I haven’t been able to leave the cave since I hatched. My father found my egg in a crater over six years ago, and even now, he keeps saying that I’m far too weak to go out into the world by myself, and he’s probably right…

Chapter Two: 10 Years Later

I soar through the air. My scales have lost their blue, silky color and are now a vibrant yellow, a small spike on my head and thin, yellow wisp zoom backward on my head.

10 years ago, my father may have poisoned me if I went out of the cave but now, I’m bigger, stronger, and have gotten into fights. My father has told me more about the war that’s been going on, and how I will have to fight with my brothers and sisters to stop the fighting, that’s right! I haven’t talked about my siblings.

Chapter Three: A Chance to Talk about my Siblings

I have four siblings, each from a different one of the five clans. All have had their eggs “borrowed” by my Dad. There’s the Water tribe, the Earth tribe, the Fire tribe, the Light tribe, and me, from the Sky tribe. My oldest sibling, Mudstacle, is part of the Earth tribe. The youngest sibling, Riptide, is part of the Water tribe, Eruptor is from the fire tribe, and Sunlight, part of the Light tribe. I’m supposed to be called Dragonite, but just call me Chris, and we are supposed to stop the war.

Chapter Four: Battle training, Sky High

My dad says that I have to learn how to hunt and how to fight, so he slithers out of the cave and brings Landlings, with the fur on their head and the five little claws. I eat it promptly, of course, and then move to the history cave, where dad told me about the war. The five tribes are choosing sides to fight for the largest piece of land on the entire island. Water joined forces with Earth, Fire joined Light, and Sky fends for themselves. Of course, this doesn’t make my brothers and sisters pick sides. Next is battle training, this may be the end…

Chapter Five: Don’t Fight my Father!

This is probably a good time to say that my father is not just a normal snake, he’s a big, GIANT snake, with venomous, poison fangs that will make your heart stop in seconds. So while he is melting rocks with his acid, I’m hiding behind a rock trying to avoid the crossfire, shooting flames here and there blindly, when eventually, I do what the sky tribe always does: summon electricity to their fist and punch people in the gut, except I punch my father.

Chapter Six: Punishment or Praise

My siblings stick their heads out in surprise, Riptide spits water out of his mouth and laughs like a hyena. Dad stands up on his tail and glares at me. Then, he opens his mouth, I brace myself, and he says… 

“Well done, Dragonite. You get to eat five pieces of food from the prey pile.”

“WHAT?” we all say in unison.

Chapter Seven: Grand Theft Egg

My siblings hate my father, they want to go back to their families, especially Eruptor. Her egg was stolen from the royal hatchery, meaning that she’s the next Fire tribe queen, meaning that she was taken from him to start a war. If she wasn’t nice, she would have seared her claws through his skin. But me, I just want to end the war and go back home, to the sky.

Chapter Eight: Cave Run

For laughing, my dad puts a chain around Riptide’s mouth and ties him to the Cave rock. So that’s when Eruptor has enough and she says she is going to get out of here and we could come if we want. Riptide muffles something so Eruptor sears the chains of Riptide since she has fireproof scales. Once Dad, or “Venomdrench,” hears the metal clanking, he slithers to the cave, where Riptide is freezing the rock blocking the exit. I punch, and we fly away. We don’t know where we are going, we just leave.

Chapter Nine: Royalty

We soar through the air, we are finally free, we can do what we want. But then we see shiny glistening scales drag Eruptor down, but Riptide freezes the attacker’s wings and he plummets to the ground. I float down carefully and I see a brown dragon with pearls and jewel bracelets on her arms and legs. Mudstacle quivers and says,

“Guys, that’s the Earth queen. Earthquake.” 

Chapter Ten: Royalty Harmed

We have a queen with frozen wings in front of us, I think. We let her go, the entire Earth kingdom will be after us, we kill her and we might cause an entire new war.

But without hesitation, Eruptor pours molten lava all around where the queen is standing, and the plot of land dropped, all the way to the Earth’s core.

“Well, now we have killed royalty, have an entire Tribe after us, and we have nowhere to go”

“Wait!” I yell to my Mudstacle, Sunlight, Eruptor, and Riptide. “The sky tribe is fond of all clans, we can stay there!’

Chapter 11: Sky’s in Disguise  

The Earth tribe can turn themselves into any color, such as a Sky dragon. Water dragons can change color as long as they’re in water. Fire dragons can stay to the yellow color of skywings as long as they’re calm, and Sunlight is half Skytribe, so no trouble at all. So we walk into the mountain, called the Kingdom of Sky, and a guard twice our size opens the door, ready to pounce, then he looks down at us, and Riptide says,

“Hello!”

Chapter 12: 15 years later

We’re all visiting Eruptor, queen of the Fire tribe. I bring my kids along in a small little bag, one blue and yellow egg, and one red and blue egg. Mudstacle became the new Earth queen, and Riptide is the best hunter in the water tribe, and Sunlight, the Light princess. Mudstacle now has five big pearls on her body, Eruptor has jewels embroidered all around her, Riptide has gills and a fin on his head and back, and I have fully grown wings. Sunlight, queen of the strongest tribe, has a Sunstone on her chest and a sun emblem on her cheek. We are the protectors of the dragonfire.

2045

It is the year 2045, and global warming is at its worst. Temperatures are high and civilians aren’t helping. Tons of plastic waste is being released into the ocean. Beaches have trash on the shore instead of glistening shells and sand. However, people are forming groups with thousands of people, trying to save the ocean. 

It is a new school year, and Diego and Randy are close friends who are now in the 5th grade. Their school is near Bird Key Park in Sarasota, Florida. They patiently wait for Mr. Smith, who teaches facts about the world, and today he’s doing a lesson about oceanography. After class, Randy asks Diego if he can look at some of Diego’s vacation pictures since he recently went to the beach. As Randy flips through what feels like a perpetual album of photos, one photo catches Randy’s attention. There are soda cans and plastic bottles all over the sea shore. He asks Diego if the entire beach had pollution and Diego begins to tell the story.

Diego goes on about how horrible the ocean smelled and the look of it. He is glad they left. Diego says he saw way fewer seagulls than his last visit. He went for a swim and saw no more/fewer fish. The seashore was nauseating to even look at. The water was opaque and the coral reefs were bleached.

Mr. Smith finally arrives at the classroom after being 10 minutes late because he had to fix some air conditioners in other classrooms. He teaches the class fractions, decimals, and ratios. After 45 minutes, the class is dismissed. Since they both live near a beach, Diego and Randy decide to take a look at the ocean one more time. It is truly appalling. The coral reefs are nowhere to be seen, and it has a vigorous plastic scent. They both want to change this. They would need to build a huge community if they want to have a huge impact. Two average schoolboys determine to make a change.

Diego and Randy head to Randy’s house, where they can both start planning in the backyard. Since they are just average students, they probably won’t be able to make a community from scratch, so they decide to join one. With almost 60% of the ocean covered in garbage, they will need all the support they can get. Diego snatches his mobile device from his house across from Randy’s house and surfs the internet, looking for a program that helps get rid of the waste in the ocean. After a brief five minutes of vigorous searching, Diego finds a website that is free to sign up and takes place around their house. ORCA (Ocean Recognition Community Association) is the name of the community. Randy and Diego ask their parents if they have permission to sign up and they receive their consent, but only if they sign up themselves.

Once Randy and Diego finally complete the survey, they spring into action. Diego and Randy ride their bikes to the ORCA to meet and greet each other. They go to their local beach and get to work. They recycle about 50 pounds of trash that is left on the beach on the daily. It is dusk and both of the boys need to go back home. After they wake up the next day, they meet up in school with their other friends and tell them about the community. About half of the students they ask agree, varying from grades 4-12. Some of them need supervision, and the rest just need permission from their guardians.

Randy and Diego meet up at the daily community meeting with some of their friends. The boys introduce their friends Samantha, Briann, Al, Hyram, and others to the people in ORCA and they head to the shore! Samantha and Briann are siblings. Briann is in eighth grade and Samantha is in sixth grade. Briann is always looking for an adventure and Samantha just wants to follow in her brother’s steps. Al and Hyram are both in sixth grade, Al and Hyram have been best friends since kindergarten. Hyram is obsessed with clear skin. Hyram has his entire family supporting his decision. Even though Hyram wants to become a dermatologist when he grows up, he still wants to be with his friends instead of studying dermatology by himself. Al is the total opposite. Al would put a healthy skincare routine at the end of his bucket list, but he is obsessed with sea shells. Al doesn’t have a future career planned, but it is fine since he is only in fifth grade. Al’s older brother just moved to college and his family has planned a surprise party at the beach when he comes and visits. But with the beach in this condition, the party won’t seem to last long.

After 2 hours, they weigh all of the waste they have collected and they collected 80 pounds of waste today! There are still 3 hours before curfew so all of the kids in Randy and Diego’s school who signed up for ORCA print out flyers about the organization and place them all around the school and neighborhood. The next day, almost 20 more people join ORCA!

After a week or so, the seawater has become more pellucid. Some people in ORCA are oceanographers and they help take out the dead coral. More vibrant fish begin returning in the reef and more seagulls return in larger flocks. The next day, the community had recycled 100 pounds of trash! Randy and Diego are very proud of their decision because they feel like they made a huge impact in their neighborhood but they still have a long way to go. In a month, Diego and Randy help recruit over 50 people and a total of 340 people who sign up for ORCA. They recycle about 600 pounds of trash this month.

A few months pass by and 800 people sign up for ORCA. It is the end of the school semester, and Randy and Diego feel so proud. Randy, Diego, Hyram, Al, Briann, and Samantha helped cause a huge impact on their local beach. The water is very clear now, and the sand has very little waste in it. More people and tourists are visiting the beaches more often, and now, this is like a second-nature to most of the attendees. ORCA has raised a bunch of money and have been receiving loads of support. They plan to do larger projects and go further in the ocean, helping other beaches, and even other bodies of water.

***

Randy and Diego finally graduate from fifth grade, they apprise their parents about all of the positive impacts that they helped cause. With approximately 1,000 people in ORCA throughout the nation, they will need larger plans. During summertime, ORCA plans to go deeper into the sea and venture to other polluted beach resorts and bays. Diego and Randy have all of the free-time since they won’t have to worry about schoolwork or disarranged schedules. The community split into two groups. Group one consists of 250 people, and they’ll help clear out and filter the polluted water. They will also help clean up the land, giving it a crisp look. Group two consists of 400 people. Their duty is to head out to bays or further into the ocean to unearth trash and succor endangered sea creatures.

The Fourth of July is here, and now there are more visitors. With many more visitors, Group one will have many issues trying to recycle and trash the leftovers of the consistently visiting citizens. At this rate, the bay would clear up much more slowly. Some of their schoolmates, Samantha, Briann, Hyram, and Al were also in Group one. You had to be 18 years old or older, or 14-17 years old with guardian supervision to contribute in Group two. The older kids from the school went to Group two. Al’s parents took part in Group two. After three and a half hours, both Groups had a meeting to discuss the difficulties and simple parts. The next day, ORCA tries to buy all of the equipment that they need for a new contemporary morning. ORCA gets the money because of other huge brands donating to them for their good actions and to send support to ORCA so ORCA can grow larger. ORCA also creates a website, which has a donation section. The kids meet up and they trail off from Group one. They scout for plastic trash in the sand, and selfish people who just throw their garbage into the sand or sea. They pack their stuff and took off. After about one whole hour in, the kids notice how far they had trailed off. They end up lost.

They decide that it would be best to walk the other way, but everyone is already fatigued. Hyram begins to panic because he’s afraid that he’ll lose all of his skincare products. 

Al isn’t too upset because there are many shells on the shore. While they are walking the opposite way, Al takes his time because he is analyzing and collecting sea shells. Randy remembers about the mapping paper he packed earlier today. Unfortunately, Randy forgets to actually map out the trail. So they are really lost. They decide that it’d be smartest to just walk towards the city rather than Group one on the shore, since they are still in Sarasota, but just farther away from Group two. Briann glares into the distance and notices Group two on their boats returning. They try to track down Group two’s stop and head there. After walking up a steep hill of sand that was shards of glass, they decide to take a break. Luckily, they all packed snacks and water before heading far off into the bay. Randy and Diego snack on some fruit salads. Al eats some chips. Hyram eats some papaya and watermelon since he heard that it is good for your skin. It is 6:30 P.M. and then Samantha sees black silhouettes in the distance. Could it be civilization?

Samantha squints her eyes and then the picture is clearer, they are palm trees. Briann takes a minute to listen, and he hears popping and cheering. It is the Fourth of July Fireworks! The kids sprint up the hill, despite how weary they are. The fireworks slowly become louder. If this were to be any other day, the kids might’ve been alone for a much more prolonged time. They see the neighborhood gathering up and cheering. At last, they are safe. Each and every one of the kids sees their guardians, waiting for their return. They reunite and celebrate the Fourth of July together.

A few months pass by and they continue to do their daily deeds. They all have moved up a grade, but Samantha and Briann are moving to Salisbury, North Carolina because their father has work there. However, Briann still wants to be a part of ORCA. He saw this as an opportunity to expand ORCA. The kids have one last meeting before Samantha and Briann move away. Once Briann and Samantha move, they will advertise ORCA so people from where they live would want to also sign up. Before they move away, Briann tells Randy his plan so the next day Randy tells some people in ORCA and they think that would be smart. With all of the money they had raised, expanding would be a smarter choice than buying advanced equipment. Al, Hyram, Diego, and Randy help clear off more trash on the bay and they meet up after they complete their work. The kids stare into the ocean, talking, making jokes, and reminiscing all of the fun times they had with each other. They feel proud, even though they haven’t cleaned everything they wanted to in a year.

Why School Should be Shorter

Ever since Covid-19, this is what my online school day looks like. We have a few online classes, and then we work on a couple of assignments. This ends up being only three to five hours. Right now, teachers mostly grade students based on participation instead of assignments. If teachers think that this is enough to grade students, then when we go back to school, we should just do the same thing in person. I believe that school should be four hours a day.

One reason why schools should only be four hours a day is because students can get tired. If students get tired, then they can’t focus on their work. Here’s a story. One day, I got really tired at school. My teacher gave me an assignment and I forgot how to do the work. It took a couple of minutes to remember how to do it. That proves that if students are tired they cannot complete assignments as well as they normally would. If students can’t focus on their work, then they will not be able to complete assignments. If school was shorter, students would be able to focus and get better grades. Also, if students got home earlier every day, then they would be able to get some more sleep. Finally, students would have more time to do homework and to study a little bit more as well.

 Something related to students getting tired is students being stressed. The way that tiredness affects students is different than the way stress affects students. Tiredness affects students mentally, while stress affects students physically. Students could get stressed out because of all the time they have to spend in school. If school were shorter, students would have more time to relax and to find out what relieves their stress. I have asthma. Ever since I have been home from school, I have been having fewer asthma attacks. I don’t know if this is because of less stress, but there is definitely some relation. According to err.ersjournals.com, “Chronic stress in early life is associated with an increased risk of asthma onset.” This proves that if you are stressed at a young age, then you have a risk of developing asthma. Stress also weakens your immune system. According to simplypsychology.org, “When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.” This proves that if you are stressed out, then you are more prone to diseases. This also proves that when we go back to school in September, schools should let students go home early. If they let students go home early, then students have a lower chance of getting the coronavirus because they will be less stressed. If the students are less stressed, then their immune system will not be as weak as it would be if they were stressed. There are many things that students could do to relieve stress, and they would have more time to do these things if school were shorter. One of those things is coloring/painting. Another option would be extracurricular activities.

Finally, school should only be four hours because students will have more time to socialize and/or do extracurricular activities. If students get more time to do these things, then they 

will become more social instead of sitting around studying all day. Students will also be able to learn during extracurricular activities. According to crimsoneducation.org, “Some students worry that participating in extracurriculars may take away too much time from their schoolwork, thus hurting their grades; however, extracurricular activities can actually improve your grades and your outlook on school in general.” According to this, extracurricular activities also improve the way students feel about school. Ever since I’ve started extracurricular activities, such as swimming, I feel like school is interesting because I have a larger variety of activities now.

In conclusion, school should be shorter because it is important for students to get time to enjoy themselves, as well as being good students. It is important because this all impacts the future lives of students all around the world. Students also get to spend more time with their parents, which impacts their future by showing them what life will be like when they get older. This topic is very important, but now this topic is especially important because of Covd-19. Maybe Covid-19 will also show us that adults’ work days should be shorter as well.

Robbery

Alex had a normal life until he was eight. His parents went out to get food while he stayed at home. That was when he put on the TV. There was a sudden news flash. It said there was a robbery happening near a store. The robber wore a black mask, a jacket, and blue jeans. Police were on the scene saying,

“POLICE! PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR.”

That was when it happened. It was crazy, people started screaming and running and police were firing at the robber, the robber firing back. Alex sat there paralyzed in fright. But as he watched, he saw the police catching the robber. It later said that at least five people died, three police and two citizens. Alex then realized that the store that got robbed was the store that his parents went to get food at! Alex’s mind went through a million thoughts.

Are they dead? Are they hurt? Are they coming home? Should I go out to see if they are okay? After many arguments with himself, he decided to stay. That was when he heard on the news the child’s parents that got killed will get collected by the orphanage.

Hours passed and no one came, not even his parents had come home. That was when he heard a knock on the door. He was filled with excitement. Could it really be his parents? Then he remembered what the news said.

Well, he thought, it is time to find out. He opened the door and saw…

Two tall men. Wearing black clothes like if someone just died. The first man said, “Hello, child, may I come in?”

Alex knew not to let strangers in, but he had a gut feeling that they were important. So he let them both in. It was like they were inspecting the house. After some minutes looking around, they sat down. One of them said, “So did you hear the news?”

“Yes, I heard that they said a robbery happened and five people, including two citizens, died.”

 The other men said, “You’re right. And did you hear what they said later?”

“Yes,” Alex replied. “They said the child’s parents who died would go to an orphanage.”

“Well are your parents Steve and Chirstine?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I am afraid I have some bad news… your parents got killed by the robber.”

Alex sat there in shock. All of a sudden, he started to cry. One of them said,

“What is your name, child?”

“A- A- Alex,” he said, sobbing.

“Well, I am Michael, this David. So I am afraid we will have to take you to the orphanage. Come on, Alex.”

Alex, sobbing, went with them and never looked back.

***

That was three years ago, and ever since then, Alex had been in the orphanage. He remembered that day like it was yesterday. Every day he thought about it and wished it never happened. In the two years people tried to adopt him, it never ended well. The first family seemed nice at first but it turned out they weren’t. They worked him like a slave every day. One day it went too far, and Alex escaped. He had nowhere to go so it was back to the orphanage for him. After that, three more families adopted him but he ran away from all of them. They all were nice, but he never liked them. All he ever wished for was a family like the one he had. He remembered the times they spent together. How his parents loved him. But his parents had died and there was nothing that could change that.

A few days after he had run away from his fourth home, a new kid came in. He was as tall as Alex, 4ft 6 in. A lady introduced him to Alex.

“Alex, this is Mike.”

“Hi,” said Mike.

“Hello,” Alex replied. 

“So how did you end up here?” Mike said. 

“My parents got killed by a robber two years ago,” Alex said sadly.

Mike replied, “Mine too.”         

“Wait… WHAT?” Alex said.

Mike looked confused.

“Why are you so surprised?” Alex said.

“That’s not possible, my parents were the only citizens that day it happened… unless. Wait, were your parents cops?”

“Yeah, how did you know?” Mike asked, surprised. 

“I thought I was the only kid that lost his parents from the robbery that day,’ Alex said.

“… ok. Anyway, how did it go for you getting a family?” Mike asked. 

“Well, good, I guess the first family wasn’t so nice, but the others

were, but I didn’t like them,” Alex said.

“What, why?” Mike asked, a little jealous.

“None of them are like my family,” Alex said.

“So, I got terrible people who wanted to adopt me and you are

running away from people who want to love you,”  Mike said angrily. 

“Well, umm you see that uhhh… ”  Alex said, stammering.

“My dream is to live a happy life with someone who loves me and all

you care about is people who are already dead,” he said angrily as he stormed off.

Alex sat there in confusion. What, has he never wanted his family back?

Alex didn’t see him later that day and slept while thinking about it. The next day, he had gone to breakfast and saw that Mike was going to a new home again, but this was the same home that Alex got for the first time. He ran towards Mike and said,

“What are you doing?”

Mike said a little annoyed, “What it looks like. I am getting a new

home.”

“Don’t go with them. They treat you like a slave.”

“How do you know?” Mike replied.

Alex said, “Because I went with them once.”

Mike stopped in surprise and said to the lady, “I don’t want to go with you.”

She looked angry. “Why?”

Mike said, “Because I am not a servant.”

She left storming off and Alex said, “You know, you’re right.”

“About what?” Mike replied.

 “They are dead and nothing can change that. I need to accept it,” Alex said.

“Yup, now let’s go and get a new family,” Mike answered.

The Count’s Letter

Chapter I

Snowflake, a bunny, lived in the town of Meenlam. She was a postbunny, meaning she ran around the town delivering letters to her fellow townspeople. Snowflake also went to some of the nearby towns, such as Baldis, Rineen, Yoham, and Sarvenos. Snowflake was good at her job, but she was not the best because many of the other bunnies who worked with her were extraordinarily fast. Even when they ran to some of the farthest towns, they could get there in a very speedy three days, because those towns were over twenty kemdos away. Snowflake had heard some bunnies talk about the towns being over fifty miles away, but she had no idea what miles were. 

Snowflake loved baking. When she wasn’t delivering mail, she could often be found in her kitchen, baking something delicious. She often gave half of what she made to her neighbors because she lived alone and couldn’t eat everything before it went stale. Snowflake’s favorite things to bake were chocolate chip cookies because the batter was just as good as the cookies, and chocolate cake, just because chocolate cake is amazing. 

Snowflake also loved going to the beach, but only on cold days when she could be alone. Everybody came on the hot days because they didn’t like the cold water. Snowflake tolerated it better than most bunnies because she did it all the time and she also had a thick coat of fur. Besides, most of the time she just sat on the sand and gazed at the ocean or read. Snowflake liked being alone because she could think without having to hear everyone running around on the beach. 

One cold winter day, Snowflake decided that she should go to the beach, since she hadn’t been in a while. She sat down on the sand and watched the chilly waves rush towards her paws and then fall back into the ocean just before they pierced her boots. After about fifteen minutes of this, Snowflake decided to walk along the beach for a while. She was halfway to the small, abandoned garden of lilacs when she felt her boot thud against something sharp. She lifted her shoe, and she saw a tiny crab scuttling around on the wet ground. It looked lost, so she picked it up and walked it over to the sea. She set it down and the waves escorted it into the murky blue depths. A little bit later, she turned back and walked home. When she was nice and warm by her fire, she slept for an hour or so, and then she got up and made a batch of brownies. 

As she was waiting for the oven to ding, someone knocked on her door. She got up from the couch, and she opened the door. A cold gust of wind swept into the house, moving the fog covering the town to reveal a young bunny sitting on the doorstep. 

“Are you S-S-Snowflake N-Neepim?” the little bunny asked. Snowflake couldn’t tell if he was stuttering because he was cold, or because he stuttered no matter what. 

“Why, yes. I am Snowflake Neepim. What’s your name?” Snowflake replied. 

“B-Benny. Mrs. Evental a-asked me to f-find you a-a-and then to journey w-with you to this place and deliver t-t-this letter with you,” Benny said. 

Snowflake asked, “May I see the letter?”

“Y-yes. The l-letter is v-very important. A-at least, t-t-that’s what Mrs. Evental s-said. Also, s-s-she said it was. . . across the Forest!” Benny squeaked the last part as he handed the letter to Snowflake. He squeaked because the Forest was the most dangerous part of the world. Nobody knew what was past it, but clearly Mrs. Evental knew because she had to get a letter to someone there. Rumors flew around the village whenever someone went in because everyone believed that monsters and carnivorous plants lived there. The last time someone had gone in and come out alive was thousands of years ago when the Forest was new. To Snowflake, it didn’t seem right to risk her life just to deliver a single letter, but she would do it because Benny couldn’t do it alone. She grasped the letter as she looked at the address. 

32084 Grenom St NW

Bartrembos

“Alright. We’ll go across the Forest. We need to pack lots of food for the journey. Do you have any idea why Mrs. Evental wants us to deliver the letter?” Snowflake declared. 

“N-no, Ms. Neepim. Can I search your h-house for good f-f-food to bring?” Benny answered.

“You can, but please, call me Snowflake. I despise being called Ms. Neepim,” Snowflake replied. They walked into her house and started searching the cabinets to find foods that would be easy to bring. They ended up with two backpacks and two sleeping bags, and as they left the house, they waved at a town they might never see again. 

Chapter II

Snowflake and Benny stopped when they reached the Forest. They stared up at the towering trees looming above their heads. Then, with brave glances at the other, they pushed the shrubbery aside and stepped into the Forest. 

They had crossed the river before then, and they were miraculously almost dry. The river was known for being very fast and powerful, and most bunnies were drenched if they tried to cross or go fishing in it. Snowflake was very glad about that, since being wet while trying to cross a dangerous forest would not be good.

The first thing Snowflake noticed was the quiet. Before they went in, she heard the sounds of the river, birds, and the wind. In the Forest, there was nothing. There were no birds, no wind, and no animals of any sort, only the sound of their footsteps, which even now sounded muffled. 

“W-where are the n-n-noises?” Benny asked softly. 

“I don’t kn- aahhhhh!” Snowflake screamed. Benny clung onto Snowflake as a huge snake slithered down from the trees. It stared at them for a minute, and then it glided up the tree. Snowflake and Benny calmed down and continued walking. They came to a huge wall that appeared to be made of ivy, but it was probably stone underneath. They poked around for a while, searching for a door. Benny yelped as he fell through the wall, and Snowflake rushed to him. He had found the door, and he fell through it. Benny stood up and dusted himself off, and they paraded into the place beyond the wall. 

It was a castle that stood behind the wall. It towered above the rest of the Forest, leaving an immense shadow over the trees. Loud chirping noises could be heard anywhere, and the air smelled of royal perfume. Snowflake wondered how she hadn’t noticed it as they were walking, but then she remembered that nothing could penetrate the canopy. As soon as they stepped through, however, a group of guards rushed towards them, and they tied their paws behind their backs. These guards weren’t bunnies, though. They were parrots!

The guards bumped them through the palace and stuck them in a small cell. The only words they said were, “Breakfast is at 7, lunch is at 12, and dinner’s at 6,” and then they left them all alone. 

“W-what just h-happened?” Benny quivered as he spoke. 

“We’re in a castle, and those guards just imprisoned us! We need to get out of here!” Snowflake answered. She frantically searched the cell, but there were only two tiny cots and a toilet. She spied a nail beneath one of the cots, but she couldn’t reach it. 

“Benny, can you get that nail for me? I can’t reach it,” Snowflake asked. Benny nodded and squeezed under the cot. He stayed under there for a moment and then he popped back out, nail in paw. 

“Is t-this the nail y-you wanted?” Benny said. 

“Yes, thank you,”

“You’re w-welcome.”

 Snowflake reached her paw through the bars of the door, and she stuck the nail into the lock. Unfortunately, a parrot guard came down the hall, and Snowflake had to stop. The clock struck noon, and the guard started to unlock the doors. The prisoners trudged out of the cells and they followed the guard to what was probably the dining hall. Snowflake and Benny had no choice but to follow everyone to the hall. 

The parrots serving the food passed out trays, and they spooned a bluish-gray glop to everyone. Benny looked down at his food in disgust, and he spat and pushed it away. As she did the same, Snowflake whispered, “Hey, I’ve got some apples. We can eat those once we go back to our cells. Then we can break out of here!” 

“What’d you do to get in here? I smashed one o’ the windows in King Obb’s palace. You look like some little stupid people, so I’ll tell ya that this is King Obb’s castle,” a gruff voice grumbled. They turned around to see a massive pig with a severe underbite point to a window high up in the hall. Sure enough, it was smashed to bits. 

“I insulted King Obb. This guy did the same,” Snowflake replied. Benny nodded in agreement. Just then, bells rang and all the prisoners stood up and got escorted back to their cells. 

Benny gasped, “They c-cleaned it! Our n-n-nail is gone!” He plopped down on his cot and began to sob. Snowflake dug out her apples and handed one to him. She sat down and they began munching forlornly on the apples. 

“I have earpins!” Snowflake cried. 

“S-s-so?” Benny said. 

“So, we can use them to pick the lock!” Snowflake said joyously. She dug in her bag and she pulled out two earpins. She stuck one in the lock and wiggled it around. The door swung open just as a royal-looking person flew down the hall. Benny jumped up and shut the door. 

“What was that?” King Obb asked. His voice was nasally with a snooty accent, and it sounded wicked. King Obb spun around, and his gaze locked on Snowflake and Benny. 

“Probably one of those little punks bangin’ on the bars,” a parrot guard replied. King Obb didn’t look satisfied with the answer, but he turned around and marched on, the guard trailing behind. As soon as Snowflake could no longer hear their wings beating, she opened the door again and slipped out, backpack and sleeping bag with her. Benny followed her out, but then he whispered, “How w-w-will we get o-out? G-guards will be w-w-watching the exits.” 

“The window that the big pig broke!” Snowflake exclaimed after thinking for a few moments. They ran up as quietly as they could, and then they stopped. The window was too high up for them to reach. They couldn’t get out that way. 

“I know! We can s-stack the t-tables!” Benny exclaimed. They began stacking the tables, one after another, making sure they had a way to get up to the top of the stack. Once the tower was high enough, they crawled through the window and jumped down. Half of the dining hall was below ground and there were some high bushes below, so they weren’t hurt falling down. They ran to the wall, and they climbed up the ivy, and they jumped over. They were free. 

Chapter III

Snowflake and Benny raced away from the castle. They had gone out on the opposite side of where they came in, so they didn’t have to circle all the way around to continue going. They trekked in silence for a while, but they began to talk when the ground beneath them started to pull them in. 

“Why is the ground sinking?” Snowflake asked. 

“I t-think it’s q-q-quicksand!” Benny replied. They screamed as the quicksand swallowed them, but they stopped when they fell into a huge cavern. Floating lights filled the cavern with a warm glow, and dancing bunnies wearing bright dresses were twirling around a stage on the far end of the room. A slow, romantic piece of music was being played by an orchestra that appeared to be in a glass room above the ceiling. Snowflake loved the lights bobbing about. She wanted to hold onto them forever, and she felt herself drop into a dreamlike state. She saw Benny walking slowly towards them, and she felt a very strong urge to do the same. Snowflake walked to the lights, and the last thing she remembered was hugging them, and then everything went black. 

When Snowflake came to, she was still clutching the lights. Benny was muttering something about how he loved the lights so much, he would never let go. Then he woke up. Snowflake saw the lights again and she went over to them. One of them morphed into one of the dancing bunnies, but this one had a wicked grin, and she bent over and kissed Snowflake on her forehead. Snowflake collapsed on the ground, fast asleep. The bunny walked over to Benny, but he batted her away. Now the bunny came flying back and she knocked Benny down! As she stalked over to him, she tripped over her long high heels. Benny used this opportunity to grab a stick and whack her. He hit her until she was unconscious, and then he grabbed her keys and dragged Snowflake out. 

When Snowflake woke up, a massive Venus flytrap was looming over her head. She shrieked and Benny woke up with a start. They had both fallen asleep after they escaped. 

“What’s g-going on?” Benny asked groggily. Then, he noticed the plant and he screamed, too. He jumped up and quickly slashed the Venus flytrap’s stem with a sharp stick, and then he collapsed and he promptly began to snore. He was just tired.  

Snowflake waited an hour before trying to wake Benny again. It had been really early in the morning when they were faced with the Venus flytrap, and they would still get an early start that day. She nudged Benny until he woke, and they ate a quick breakfast before continuing across the Forest. 

For the next three days, they trudged through the Forest, only talking when they had to. It was a very boring journey, especially since nothing else imprisoned them or tried to eat them. 

Snowflake was thinking that the Forest never ended and that Mrs. Evental had just made it up when the Forest suddenly ended and they were standing in a beautiful meadow with flowers in all colors of the rainbow. Snowflake and Benny rushed forward, only to smack into an enormous web and the meadow flickered and disappeared. They tried to move around, but the web was sticky and they couldn’t break free. There was a buzzing noise that sounded like a bee, and a huge firefly loomed over their heads. It lifted Benny off the web with ease, and it made a weird sound that sounded as if it were sniffing him. It tossed Benny to the ground, and it repeated with Snowflake. This time, the firefly must have thought she would taste good, because it lifted her up to its mouth, and it was about to put her head in when Benny swooped down on a vine, grabbed Snowflake, and launched over the web. They tumbled down a small hill and landed in the creek at the bottom. 

“Oof,” Benny groaned from underneath Snowflake. She slowly stood up and grabbed Benny’s paw and helped him stand. 

“I thought… fireflies were… herbivorous,” Snowflake panted. 

“Me t-too. I guess t-that one w-wasn’t,” Benny agreed. They dusted themselves off and they continued walking. They had learned to just keep on moving, even when something was hard. 

They walked for two more days, which made them very, very tired, and then there was light up ahead. Snowflake and Benny glanced at each other, and they ran towards it, despite their legs aching as if they had just stood for a week without sitting once. They pushed through the bushes, and there was a small town sitting there, waiting to be discovered. They were out of the Forest. 

Chapter IV

They raced into the town, and they noticed a sign that said Bartrembos as they frantically searched for the mysterious creature’s house. They ran around for a little while, searching for the house, but it became dark very quickly, so they found an inn called The Four Mugs. Once Snowflake and Benny had checked in and placed their stuff in their room, they sat down at a table in the dining room and began to talk about their mission. 

“So, just to remind you of what we’re doing, Mrs. Evental gave us this letter to give to somebody at this address, and it’s very important that we deliver it because something really important is inside. Also, do you have any idea what’s in the letter?” Snowflake informed Benny. 

“N-no. Mrs. Evental s-said, ‘This letter has s-something very important inside. Please d-d-do not open i-it. Just give it to the c-c-count at this address,’” Benny said, mimicking Mrs. Evental’s voice. 

“Do you think we should open it? Actually, the count would probably notice, so we shouldn’t open it,” Snowflake said. 

“H-how would he k-know?” Benny asked. 

“The seal wouldn’t stick, and it might be broken.”

“Oh. W-what if we got a n-new seal?”

“We don’t have Mrs. Evental’s seal stamp. Look, the name Koria Evental is engraved in the seal. This count probably knows what the seal looks like, so he would know that we opened it,” Snowflake pointed out. A waiter walked over to their table with two lemonades and two bowls of fettuccine alfredo. They ate a delicious meal, and then they went up to bed and got the best night sleep they had had in days. The next morning, Snowflake and Benny ate a quick breakfast and then they left to go and find the count. 

“Scarcem s-street. . . J-jalims street. . . Grenom s-s-street!” Benny read the names of the streets as they passed them. They turned down Grenom Street and they looked for number 32084. 

“There it is!” Snowflake cried when they found it. 32084 Grenom St. was a tall and dark house. It was very neat and nothing looked broken or out of place. A weird smell was coming from the house. It was something like cinnamon combined with molasses. Odd chattering noises came from the back of the house. Snowflake and Benny walked up the steps to the door and they knocked on the door. It swung open to reveal a tall and gaunt bunny. He wore all black, which contrasted his pale white fur. He looked sad, as if he had been living all alone for the past ten years, and he had a very long nose, a thin line for a mouth, a worry crease, and very dark eyes. He gazed at them for a long time, and then he said, “Come in. I am Farmirn Jayis. Why are you here?” 

“We’ve come to deliver a letter from someone in our town named Mrs. Evental. Also, I am Snowflake,” Snowflake answered as she and Benny walked into the house. 

“Was Mrs. Evental’s first name Koria?” the count asked. 

“Y-yes,” Benny said. 

“And what might your name be?” Farmirn inquired. 

“B-benny,” Benny answered. Farmirn gestured for them to sit down in some large armchairs as he got out whatever had made that weird smell earlier. They turned out to be cinnamon spice cookies, and Snowflake and Benny took them gratefully. 

“Now, may I see this letter?” the count requested. Benny handed him the letter, and they peeked over his shoulder as he read it. 

August 7, 1483

Dear Farmirn,

I write to you to warn you of a bunny hungry for power in our village. He knows there is a place beyond the Forest, and he plans on storming Bartrembos and claiming it for himself. I want you to know so that you can protect Bartrembos from this evil bunny. He has black fur, green eyes, and one of his ears is half as long as the other. Please, protect yourself and your town from this bunny. I love Bartrembos, and I would hate for it to be taken over. Oh, I forgot to mention his name. It is Dreim Varlik. He is a powerful bunny in our town, so he will not have trouble recruiting an army and going there. Please stay safe. 

On a lighter note, I received your present. Thank you so much. The sapling was a very thoughtful gift. I still do not know how you can send that in the mail and get it here so quickly. It is a sapling, and that makes it very hard to transport it, especially all the way across the Forest. Thank you again!

Sincerely,

Koria Evental

“So, this b-bunny named Dreim Varlik is coming to take o-o-over Bartrembos just because he can, and w-we have no i-idea for how he learned about this p-p-place, right?” Benny said. 

“Yes. We must go to the Council at once and inform them of this danger!” Farmirn cried. He stood up and bolted out of the front door, letter in hand. Snowflake and Benny rushed after him. They were exhausted and out of breath when they reached the town hall. 

“Councillors! I am sorry for coming without warning, but I have just received a letter from my friend in a town called Meenlam. She informed me that there is a bunny in her town who discovered Bartrembos and they want to come here and take it over! We must pro — ” Farmirn said quickly. 

“Hold on there, Farmirn. Repeat that more slowly,” a councillor, who had the name Councillor Jinlis on his chair, interrupted. 

“I have a friend in a town named Meenlam. She just sent me a letter warning me of a bunny who has discovered Bartrembos, and that bunny is going to come here with an army and take over our town,” Farmirn repeated, much slower this time. 

“Thank you. Do you have any idea of how powerful this bunny is?” A councillor called Councillor Zarina asked. 

“My friend, Koria Evental, said he is very powerful and he will have no trouble recruiting an army and pushing through the Forest,” Farmrin answered. The Councillors turned towards each other and they began talking in hushed voices about how they should stop this threat. Eventually they came to a decision. 

Councillor Barikl said, “Go to the Emnesi. For the two young bunnies, that is where our army resides and trains. Tell them to block the town off and prepare their weapons. We are going to war with these flops for bunnies.”

Chapter V

Snowflake ran straight to the Emnesi after receiving directions from Farmirn on how to get there. 

“Block the town off! Prepare your weapons! A group of bunnies are coming from across the Forest and want to take over Bartrembos!” Snowflake yelled when she got there. 

“Who are you?” one of the soldiers asked. 

“I’m Snowflake Neepim of Meenlam. I came here to deliver a letter from all the way across the Forest, and some bunnies from my town are coming here to take over Bartrembos!” Snowflake cried. The soldiers murmured in discussion. 

Before they could speak, Snowflake called out, “The Council ordered you to do this!” As soon as she said “Council,” they started running about the camp, gathering their weapons and rushing out the door. Snowflake watched as they positioned themselves all around Bartrembos, making sure their weapons worked properly. They waited for hours, but at sundown, loud footsteps started coming from the Forest. A couple minutes later, Dreim Varlik’s army burst out of the Forest. They must have thought the people of Bartrembos would be just going about their normal day, but they found an army instead. Dreim’s army waited for a minute, glancing at each other and appearing to think, How did they know? before they charged at Bartrembos’s army. 

The next hour was filled with the clashing of swords and bows shooting nonstop. Everywhere Snowflake and Benny looked, soldiers were fighting and bodies were lying on the ground. Some moaned and twitched, while others lay still. Bartrembos was winning, but then the other army rolled a huge cannon out of the Forest. Three bunnies had to work to get a single cannonball in, but the balls were weak and they only destroyed a couple houses, which was not much compared to what it had looked like. Snowflake spotted Benny on the edge of the battlefield, and he was creeping towards the giant cannon, a bomb in one of his paws and a box of matches in the other. 

“Benny!” Snowflake shrieked. Benny turned around and put his paw to his mouth, signaling for her to be quiet. He crept up to the cannon, and he began to army-crawl between the bunnies’ legs. He went underneath the cannon, and he stuck the bomb into the hole after lighting it. He jumped up and ran back to Snowflake as the bomb exploded. 

When all the smoke had cleared, Snowflake saw the cannon, but it was completely destroyed. Many more bodies now lay near it, and Snowflake recognized them as the bunnies operating the canon and other warriors. The soldiers from Bartrembos used this opportunity to start fighting again while the others were still in shock. 

“Where did you get that?” Snowflake asked Benny. 

“F-farmirn gave it to m-me just in c-case we needed it,” Benny answered. Shouts came up from the battlefield, and Snowflake and Benny peeked over the wall of the fortress they were on to see the Bartrembos soldiers standing in victory. They had won the battle! 

Chapter VI

Snowflake and Benny were at a massive party. Once the battlefield had been cleared up, it was decorated with streamers and balloons that flew high into the sky. The town bakers had worked hard to make cupcakes, cakes, salads, and more for the celebration. It was so loud, Snowflake and Benny had to scream to hear each other. Near the end of the party, Farmirn got up onto the makeshift stage and quieted everybody. 

“I would like to propose a toast to Snowflake Neepim and Benny Kembi. They delivered a letter to me from Meenlam informing me of the bunnies who attacked us earlier today. If they had not come and given me the letter, we would probably be dead right now. To Snowflake and Benny!” Farmirn called. Everybody raised their glasses of lemonade and said, 

“To Snowflake and Benny!”

After the celebration was over, Snowflake and Benny stayed at Farmirn’s house for the night. The next morning, he took them in his donkey cart, and he drove them all the way back to Meenlam, and it took them only four days to get there. When they got back, they were celebrated as heroes because they saved another town from destruction. They became leaders in the town, and the first thing they did was create a road through the Forest to make it easier to get from one place to another. Snowflake and Benny led very happy lives, and they were written about in history books because they accomplished so many good things, and Snowflake and Benny became the greatest leaders in all of Meenlam history. 

The Story of Sunglass Dude & Pengu the Penguin

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1: LET’S GO!

Chapter 2: Into the Forest

Chapter 3 The Impossible Eating Wall

Chapter 4: Wait, I Have a Great Idea!

Chapter 5: Hurry to the Flight!

Chapter 6: WE GOT THERE, WE’RE GONNA HAVE SUNGLASSES AND A DOG!

———————————————-

Chapter 1: LET’S GO!

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Sunglass Dude and a penguin named Pengu. The penguin and Sunglass Dude were best buds. Anyway, they were about to go on an adventure to go to Hershey Park to get sunglasses for both of them and get a dog.

So they started by getting out of the house and saying, “LET’S GO!”And they were off, with a grapple hook, on their journey walking to their favorite things. 

Chapter 2: Into the Forest 

So then they walked and walked so far that they saw a beautiful forest. The trees were light blue and it was like a miracle. They said, “Whoooooaaaaa!” They were so surprised that they said, “That’s so cool!” They were so happy to go through the forest! They saw birds and squirrels, and even a bald eagle. They played in the forest a lot, and it was the best place to play because the animals were nice to play with. Then they went off to walk off to the unknown, or should I say, the airport. So they went off on the long walk back on their journey. Then they saw a modern mansion. It had a pool and it was shiny and it was so cool! They saw the owner and Pengu, and Sunglass Dude said, “What are you doing in this forest?” 

The owner said, “Well, this is the mage forest, you know that, right?” 

They said, “No.” 

The owner said, “Well, we’re in magic city.” 

They said, “Okay.”

 Between them, they were like, “This is so cool!” 

Pengu and Sunglass Dude said to the owner, “We need to look around the city. Can you show us around?”

 The owner said, “Okay! Come with me!” 

When they were done, Pengu and Sunglass Man asked, “Is there an airport around here?”

The owner said, “Yes. But there is a giant chocolate wall that’s, like, impossible to eat through.” 

Either way they went…

Chapter 3 The Impossible Eating Wall 

… anyway, they went to the wall and started to eat through it. They were eating so long that they needed a rest, so they decided to sleep all day and then they kept eating. Even though they were so tired, they started to climb. But they kept falling on their butts. They said, “Oww!” every single time. Then they went on to keep trying and falling on their butts. 

Sunglass dude said, “I QUIT!” 

Pengu the penguin said, “ME, TOO!” Then they walked away. Suddenly…

Chapter 4: Wait, I Have a Great Idea! 

… Sunglass Dude said, “Wait, I have a great idea! Remember, we have a grapple hook. Let’s grapple over the top of the giant wall!” 

Pengu the penguin said, “Yeah, let’s do it!”

They did it, but they still had a river to cross. They saw the river and it was brown and smelled really good so they started smelling the river again and again. Then finally a person went up and said, “What are you doing?!” 

They said, “Umm nothing. We were about to go to the airport.” 

He said, “Oh okay.”

Pengu and Sunglass Dude got into a boat and began to sail to the airport. While sailing, they saw a bunch of fish, a bunch of swans, two great beard gray herons, and one mythical animal called a kitsune that is so cute and that is a type of fox. Everything was so cool to watch. Then they arrived at the airport. When they got there, they had some money for a ticket so they went and bought their tickets. 

Chapter 5: Hurry to the Flight!

When they got a ticket, first they went to one of the lunch bars because they were hungry. When they started to eat their first bite, they said, “This food is amazing!”

Then they kept eating there so long that they had to hurry to the flight when it was called! They said, “Oh no! We’re about to be late!” 

They both ran so fast that they were able to make it. By the time they got there, they were so tired, they were out of energy! They were so exhausted, that they slept on the plane for four hours. Then they ate some food and it was okay and they were full. They went to the bathroom and after, they were bored that they played some games on the screen in the seat in front of them. Pengu and Sunglass Man played Pac-Man, which made them happy. After they finished playing the virtual game, they were sleepy so they slept again and when the plane landed, they woke up. 

Chapter 6: WE GOT THERE, WE’RE GONNA HAVE SUNGLASSES AND A DOG!

When they got to Hershey Park, they were like, “We GOT HERE YESSSS, LET’S GOOOO!” So then they drove to the city in the car and they went to the bathroom, they were like, “This is so shiny!” They looked all around and got a quick drink. They kept walking and looking everywhere for the dog and sunglasses, and found them! Then they were like, “It’s party time!” So they made a cake and balloons and invited everyone and had fun. That night they played and cuddled with the dog with sunglasses who was very cute.

The end !

Or is it…

Don’t Take the Best of Me

Once upon a time, there were these three best friends named Abby, Amy, and Abigail. They were the best of friends and did everything together. But what two of the friends didn’t know was that Abby had a very big secret, a secret that she had been keeping ever since she met them in 1st grade until now, in 6th grade. Her secret was she had type 1 diabetes and felt ashamed of it because she felt that all she was to people was a sick girl who couldn’t take care of herself. That’s why, ever since she moved here to this small town in Colorado, she felt she didn’t have to be a sick girl near people, that was, of course, if no one found out.

But she still had to follow a certain number of rules for herself, so no one had to suspect anything. For example, everywhere she went, she needed to carry apple juice with her at all times to maintain her blood sugar and so it didn’t go too low or too high — because blood sugar was her main source of energy and came from the food she ate, if it went way too high, then it could cause severe heart conditions. So she needed to have and maintain a certain diet. And her mom to her felt like just another person who reminded her that she was sick because of all the importance she gave her. Sometimes, it even made her feel like her own mother was ashamed of her but she knew she was just helping her hide the fact that she had diabetes like by hiding her continuous glucose monitor under her clothes.

Ever since what had happened at her last school, when one of her closest friends recorded a video of her in a hospital having a seizure and showed everyone in her old school, she had lost all her friends. The thought of her having an illness was such a big deal that they stopped talking to her and stopped hanging out. That was until she moved here and she felt like she had the chance to begin a fresh start and to have no one who knew what had happened to her before she had moved here. That was until today, when some 3rd grader was getting bullied by some 8th grader and she wanted to tell the teacher but didn’t want to be a tattle teller. But she felt like she had to, so she did.

“Hey, you over there, don’t you know what happens to bullies when they pick on kids, they get reported to the principal’s office.” As she was about to go to the principal’s office.

But little did she know she was in for a surprise when the 8th grader said, “You will regret this.” 

And sure enough, she would.

The next day, when she was walking to school, she heard whispering and laughing, she didn’t think anything of it until she saw people staring at her when she walked inside the school. Suddenly, she felt someone pull her into the girls’ bathroom. It was Amy and Abigail. And just as she was about to scream,

“Why the heck did you pull me in here for?”

Amy put her hand against her mouth, closed the door, and pulled out her phone to show her the video that everybody was talking about. It was a video of her having a seizure in a hospital.

“What is this?” said Abigail. 

As Abby started seeing the video, she stared at them both and started having shivering lips as if she was about to cry.

“I can ex… pla… in,” she said as she was shivering.

“If you don’t tell us right now, we’re leaving,” said Abigail.

And just as they were about to leave, Abby built up all of her emotions and said, she said what she never thought she would say, ever,

“… I have… DIABETES!” 

Just there and then, Amy and Abigail stood there looking at Abby in a state of shock as Abby dropped down on the floor and started crying. But just as suddenly, she felt two arms touch her back as she looked over at both shoulders and smiled when she saw Amy and Abigail.

“We didn’t know you had diabetes, Abby, we are so, so very sorry, but what I don’t understand is why you never told us,” Abigail said with a calm voice.

“I guess I was just scared of what you and Amy might think about me.”

“You don’t have to be ashamed of who you are or what you are, we both accept you for being you, so who cares what everybody else thinks, you have us,” said Amy as all three of them hugged on the ground, crying and laughing.

The very next day, Abby decided to hold an assembly in her school and explain all about her illness to people and really open up something that she’d been trying to avoid for years. Some people supported her and some people didn’t, but at the end of the day, it didn’t even matter. Who cared what people’s opinions were of her? She should just be happy for who she was and not ashamed of that. She had people who actually cared about her, what more did she need?

Ms. Frizz

Ms. Frizz was an old woman who wore many sweaters, she had white, frizzy hair, and was a great math teacher, with greater students. They were all strangely smart. They would come in with a 100 IQ and go up to 160 within the first month. Since Ms. Frizz was seemingly a great teacher, not one parent complained about their kid being put in her classroom. In fact, parents were lining up at the administration office to transition their kid to that class. But Ms. Frizz kept a dark secret hidden behind the classroom’s dry, cracked walls. And no one knew all this until the day Timmy went into her class.

Timmy had a twin named Tommy, and Tommy was in Ms. Frizz’s class. The reason why they were split up was because Tommy had more potential, as his parents said, so he went to the ‘smarter classroom’ which Timmy thought was unfair, but he knew it would happen because Tommy was the favorite. But the twins decided to pull a prank one day and swap classes. As soon as Timmy walked into the classroom, he knew something was wrong. He watched as all the students stared blankly at Ms. Frizz.

“Hello class! We will start class by watching this math video!” 

“Yes, Ms. Frizz,” said all the students in unison. 

Timmy looked on as she projected a spinning black and white spiral that seemed never ending. He didn’t want to know what would happen if he looked at the spiral so he quickly looked for a way out. While Ms. Frizz was busy rolling back the projector into the ceiling, Timmy ran out of the classroom. What else could he do? He couldn’t just go back to class! When his mom came to pick them up, Timmy told her everything! But she didn’t believe him! Timmy didn’t know what to say or what to do. Then a light bulb went off, quite literally because Timmy’s mom was changing the dining room light bulbs after Timmy’s dad fell off of a chair while bringing his plate to eat. Dad blamed it on the bad lighting, but Timmy blamed it on how big he was. But he figured out how to give proof! He would bring a tape recorder! As Timmy came into school the next day, he was stopped in the hallway,

“Tim, what do you think you’re doing walking into my classroom?” 

“Tommy, remember we were supposed to switch classrooms?” 

“Yeah, but that was yesterday. And I can’t possibly stay in that mind numbing classroom of yours for another day!” 

“You can hold in there especially if I tell Eliza you were a bedwetter until you were 8!” 

“Ugh, fine!!!”

It was safe to say that Timmy felt quite accomplished with himself! He slowly crept into the classroom, uncomfortably holding the tape recorder under his sweater. 

“Tommy! You were acting quite strange by running out of the room yesterday. Can you go get me something from the ‘closet’… ” 

“Uhm, sure,” said Timmy without knowing what danger awaited him. All the students watched as he walked in slowly. 

“Uhm, Ms. Frizz, there is nothing in the — ”

The students watched in excitement as Timmy fell down a trapdoor and into a strange room. 

“Oops,” said Ms. Frizz while holding her hand over her mouth.

“Help me!!” Timmy pulled his phone out of his pocket and immediately took pictures of the room and the trap door. He called his mom to come pick him up, and as the good mother she was, she picked him up. Or so she thought. 

“Mom hurry!! Come pick me up!” typed Timmy as fast as he could. 

“Honey, I don’t know what you mean, you are already in the car,” said Timmy’s mom over text. 

Timmy felt his heart rise up and into his throat. She didn’t take Timmy, she took another boy home. He started panicking as it felt like the walls around him kept getting smaller. Just when he was about to pass out, a new, pristine, white projector unfolded out of the ceiling. It was a completely different color from the room, which needed a new paint job and a heavy duty scrubbing of the walls to get all the muck and grime off. Then the projector started playing a tape. 

“Hello, Tommy, I hate to put you down here since you were always my favorite student, but lately I feel like you need some one-on-one time. And that’s okay because you will be here in confinement while you get help on your ‘studies.’ And the kid I sent your mom home with was just a robot. And I know she is a doctor so she will be busy and won’t care to drive all the way back to school to pick ‘you’ up. She still thinks she has the right kid,” said the recorded tape of Ms. Frizz’s voice.

Timmy wasn’t going to accept this. He was going to escape right out of here. Well, as soon as he found a way he would. He looked up at the projector screen and wondered, 

“If I can climb this, then I should be able to get underneath the trap door and get out.” He quickly rushed over and climbed on top of the projector. He tried his best to balance his feet on the skinny projector screen, he stood up and couldn’t reach the trapdoor. 

“Darn these short legs!” 

He looked around to see if there was something he could use to reach and punch the trapdoor so he could escape. There! He saw that there was a pointer finger that teachers use to point at things but it would come in handy in this situation. He thrusted the finger up and swiftly broke the door! He used all the courage and upper body strength he had to climb up through the door. He made it out! He ran out of the classroom and out the school door. He then realized he would have to walk four miles to walk home since he didn’t have enough money for the bus fare. Once he made it home, he dragged his legs to the front door and used his keys to walk in, he then saw Tommy and the robot sitting at the table eating. He couldn’t tell who was the robot! They both looked the same! Timmy then announced his presence and said,

“Guys, I have something to show you!” He walked up to his mom and said, “I’m the real Timmy! Ms. Frizz just trapped me in a room so that she could hypnotize me, too!!”

“Timmy!? If you’re Timmy, then who are the people here at the dining table!?” Timmy’s mom, Alicia, shrieked and dropped a teacup. Alicia then ran up the stairs muttering to herself.  

“Maid! Come clean this up! And you! Have you lost your mind?! Ms. Frizz would never do that.” 

“Why can’t you be like your brother and be calm and collected!” said his dad. 

“I have the pictures! Why can’t you just believe me! My whole life, you have loved Tommy more than me, and you didn’t even care enough to put us in the same class!” 

“Son, I’m sorry you feel that, I know I may have shown more love to your brother but now we have to stop the robot,” said Timmy’s dad, Eric, gripping his shoulders. 

“B-But how can we?” said Timmy.

“It’s simple, we just touch their arms and we see if we can feel a heartbeat!” As soon as his father said that, they immediately ran over to the table and touched their wrists to feel a heartbeat. In a heartbeat, Tim’s dad had pinned the robot onto the floor!

“Call the police, Tim!!” bellowed his father. Tim dialed the police and when the police showed up, they handcuffed the robot (even though they could have just turned it off). Timmy then showed the police the pictures and the recording of everything Ms. Frizz had done. The police later found out where she lived, and that same night, they broke into her home with a warrant for her arrest, but there was no trace of Ms. Frizz. 

“Thomas, Timothy, me and your father have decided that we should move to Florida because I don’t want to bring another robot child home and I’m also now afraid of the school,” said their mother fanning herself.

Timmy and Tommy looked at each other and in unison they said, “Thank goodness!”

Two weeks later, Timmy and Tommy went to their first day of a new school. As they both took their seats (they were in the same class now), both of their hearts dropped, as they saw an old woman wearing many sweaters with white, frizzy hair. 

“Hello, class! My name is Ms. Frizz and I will be your math teacher this year!” 

Seymour & a Piece of Cheese

I, Seymor, am a little hamster who just really wanted a piece of cheese. Every night, I would sit eating disgusting sunflower seeds. I would daydream about cheese. 

But one day, a little girl came to clean my cage. I just ran out of the cage. The little girl screamed! 

I said, “Talk about loud!” I ran. All that time on my exercise wheels paid off. Buck, her big brother yelled, “get the hamster.” The little girl started throwing traps. Unfortunately, all of the traps went on Buck. Oww, that must have hurt. 

While Buck was pinned down, I ran to the front door to make my escape. At just the right moment, their mom came and opened the door. I ran out at last. I was outside finally. New York is not a safe place for a hamster! I ran, but everyone seemed to hate hamsters. One even caught me. I ran inside the cage, but I saw there was a hole in the cage, so I ran back out. When I was outside again, I ran for the subway. I ran down the steps to the subway and I sniffed cheese, but a person on a bench holding a coffee cup and with a hat on, was eating the cheese. Nooo! 

I ran to the person and I was literally on his lap. He seemed very scared of me, but luckily I got away before he smushed me. I ran up the stairs and I was outside. I used my little hand to swipe the top of my head. Phew, it was sweaty. I ran inside. Gee, it was cold inside. I jumped on this snuggly thing. I snuggled in this thing that was very comfy. 

After an hour, I left the house and I saw a cheese store. I started running like crazy and finally I was in front of the store. Luckily they just opened and the owner of the store had a bright smile on his face. I looked right and left and there was just CHEESE! The owner opened the door AND I RAN IN! I ate EVERY PIECE AND CRUMB OF CHEESE. I spotted a cheese piece on a pedestal. My eyes filled with water and I jumped and ate the piece of cheese. From that day on, I lived the BEST LIFE EVER! 

The End.         

Being a Gumball

CELIA

Hello, my name is Celia Ballington… and I am a gum ball. But I am not any gum ball; I was 2 when I fell out of the gumball dispenser onto the floor. However, I was caught in a bucket of toxic left under the dispenser because they hired people to clean the mall; there was a strange toxic disease in the pipes, but it made me immortal.

Scene 1

Present Day, 10 years Later in the Dispenser

CAMERON

Come on, help me push Connor to the door!

CELIA

Wait, what? He’s going to be stepped on out there!

CONNOR 

(waking up

What’s going on?

CAMERON 

(pushing Connor out the door)

Uhh… nothing… have a good trip!

CONNOR

(falling)

I thought I was awake!

CELIA

Why did you do that, aren’t you my best friend?

CAMERON

Ooh, good idea! Wanna be my partner in crime?

CELIA

No way—

CAMERON

Oh well, down you go then.

CELIA starts also falling. She blows frantically, stretching to make a bubblegum parachute, and catches CONNER. As they float down, a baby nearby stares at them and grabs them.

They are squished between its grasp and they head to the baby’s house.

Scene 2

An Hour Later, at the House, During Lunchtime

CONNER and CELIA roll toward the bed to hide from the mom when she picks the baby, DARWIN, up for lunch. They then decide to explore the baby’s room.

CELIA rolls up the crib, and CONNER sneakily pushes her down to land on a xylophone and rolls under the next door, leaving CELIA to be seen as MOM rushes in.

MOM

I bet it’s that rat!

The baby grabs CELIA and drools over her. 

CELIA

Gross! 

 CELIA rolls away before DARWIN can wipe her on the wall. 

CONNER

Help, I’m stuck!

There was a puddle of water on the bathroom floor and CONNER got sticky and stuck to the floor. CELIA now leaves CONNER behind as she rolls out the door, around the block to be stepped on by TEENAGER. 

TEENAGER

Ew dude, I got some gum on my cool new sneakers.

TEENAGER throws CELIA into the trash, along with the shoe. She slowly crawls into the shoe and fall asleep.

Scene 3

The Next Morning, Before Sunrise

CELIA is woken up by a chitter. 

CELIA

Ugh, I bet it’s just Cameron teasing me for being a scaredy-ball for being scared of Conner falling out. 

Instead, she wakes up to see the face of a rat. CELIA attempts to roll out of a rusty hole in the trash, but she isn’t dry, and instead patches it up. After a while, the trash and the bin are lifted up into a dump truck. 

CELIA

Conner, I’m flying! Oh, yeah he’s not here.

The rat responds, chittering happily to CELIA’s surprise.

CELIA

I must be hallucinating.

CONNER

(the rat)

You know, I am not just a rat. I was crawling through the sewers when I found some green goo. I was incredibly thirsty, so I drank it. Now I can talk!

They become friends, and sneak into restaurants, schools, and factories, picking up knowledge and resources.

Scene 4

Two Years Later

Ring! Ring! 

Celia

(in the tissue hut)

Who could it be? 

(she forgets she has her Chew5 Phone)

The contacts said it was Cameron?!

CONNER THE RAT

Answer it.

CAMERON 

(over the phone)

Hey… Celia?

CELIA

(berry annoyed)

Yeah, I’m still alive, in a home, with a best friend, doing better than I had been with you.

CAMERON

Look, I’m in chew-vie, and I got to phone someone. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you.

CELIA

(hanging up)

Nice try, but I don’t want to see your round face again.

CONNER THE RAT

Don’t you have a round face, too?

CELIA

I said it from the top of my head, okay?

Scene 5

Two Years Later

CONNER THE RAT

Hello, my name is Conner and I am a rat.

MAN 1

(chuckling) 

Is this some kind of joke?

CELIA

No. My name is Celia and I am a gumball.

MAN 2

So, you scheduled a meeting.

CELIA

Yes, we are the owners of Big Toxi Curing Co.

MAN 1

Oh, I’m so sorry. Hey, do you need us?

CONNER THE RAT

We were looking for testers for our medicine, but you seem to be a good one.

MAN 1

(drinking green liquid) 

No, no, I only have the symptoms.

Everyone stares at him as MAN 1 then throws up black vomit under the table in a casual way, and then comes back to the meeting like nothing happened.

Scene 6

At the Lab

CONNER THE RAT: 

Darwin, this is Steve.

(points to MAN 1)

Steve, this is Darwin, one of our best scientists.

DARWIN

Pleasure to meet you, come hop into this tub.

Steve 

(walking in)

Ooh, a hot tub?

DARWIN closes the clear curtains, and they observe as a pink fluid sprays him.

STEVE

Cherry flavor!

STEVE’S skin turns vibrant again and he unswells.

STEVE

I feel like a new man. So am I famous now for being the first person cured? Am I super strong, or super fast?

DARWIN/CELIA/CONNER THE RAT

That will be two hundred fifty bucks.

The world is saved and our main character, CELIA, lives happily ever after forever because she is immortal… and what is a story without a happy ending?

The End.

About Conner the gum ball, he was Darwin’s pet until Darwin started working for Celia and Conner the rat, he decided to bring Conner the gum ball to the company as a tester, and Celia still had no mercy on him.

Cameron stayed in chew-vie and then in gum ball adults’ jail for the rest of her sticky life, contemplating how her phone call trick with Celia didn’t work, and just being evil.

Wait, But Before You Go, Read the Bubblegum Glossary:

Scaredy-ball: Basically scaredy-cat but when talking about gumballs

Bubblegum Parachute: Just bubbles you blow with bubblegum, but what bubblegum uses them for

Chew5: iPhone type, like iPhone 12, but when talking about gumball products

Berry: Very

Chew-vie: Juvie

Katenga

Mayoth, 37th, 29141

Proteus, EverDunes

Deliah Blue’s Private Journal

To whom it may concern: I am Delyonïah Blue, Captain of the Fortuna 3 Spacecraft which has Landed on Neptune’s 10th moon, Proteus, on Lapis 24th, 29121. However, today is the last day I will live, for I will give my life to banish the soul, Katenga the shapeshifting Demon, from this massive body of water, which Katenga has taken over to destroy all civilization in our galaxy. Force does not work because punches and knives go right through it. I think our only chance of defeating Katenga is to have fire on large poles and usher Katenga out of our dome, in fear we would evaporate him. Once we get him out of the dome, he will freeze in open space, because the dome is the only type of civilization we have made on Proteus. YES! Katenga has just frozen, but just in case, I will transfer his soul into a single grain of sand, which is to be lost. Hopefully, Katenga will not take control of any more unlucky people. This transfer is a secret process only people who have had Katenga inside of them know. Good-bye forever.

Mayoth, 74th, 29151

Proteus, EverDunes

Loradis looked up into the sky, to Neptune, and then h