The Guy Who Only Struck Out

       

Chapter One: The First Game

“Oh hey, Janoris,” I yelled.

Janoris was my best friend on my baseball team. The difference was that Janoris was the best player and I was the worst player on our team. Our baseball team’s name was the Bronx Bandits, and we were an okay team. The reason why I was so bad at baseball was that I only struck out. My position was first base, and if there was a good throw I could catch it, but I couldn’t scoop any throws.

It was the day of our first game of the season, and we were playing the Burmington Sharks. We were the away team, so we batted first. The coach announced the lineup.

“Janoris is up, Josh is on deck, and Mike is in the hole,” Coach Dunlap announced.

Janoris worked the count to two and two and then swung and singled into center field. Four batters later, the bases were loaded and there were two outs, and I was up. We had scored no runs, but if I walked or got a hit, we would score. But I was probably going to strike out, and that was exactly what I did. Three pitches later, I was walking back to the dugout. In the bottom of the inning, when I was back at first base, a pop fly came my way, and I missed it.

Eight innings later, our team lost to the Burmington Sharks 5-1, and it was all my fault. I thought about quitting baseball. But after thinking about it, I decided not to quit. Baseball was too fun, even when you were really bad at it. As Babe Ruth said, “Don’t let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.”

After the game, my dad drove me home for dinner. My mom had made me my favorite meal to make me feel better. I ate two hamburgers, and then I went to my room. I thought it would be cool to swallow a baseball, so I did. I felt dizzy, and then I fell to the ground. Our next baseball game would be at a tournament at Ripken in Maryland. I was so excited even though I felt totally sick.

 

Chapter Two: Ripken

On the drive to Ripken, it was really bumpy, and I threw up the baseball that I had swallowed. I showed my parents, and they said I was just tricking them by pretending a baseball came out of my mouth. But I wasn’t.

When we arrived in Ripken, we were late. My team was already practicing. I thought they would be in our team’s dormitory, but I didn’t know the time. We were later than I thought. We were playing the Staten Island Badgers.

When I got to the field, I discovered that the fields were made of turf. That meant the baseball would bounce really high. I was sweating before the game even started.

I struck out every time at bat and made four errors, but we still won. No, actually, we crushed them 23-5. The tournament was a double elimination format. That meant that when a team lost twice, they would be out of the tournament.

In the afternoon, we played our second game of the day. It was a rematch against the Burmington Sharks. In the game, I was on the bench and not playing, so it was tied, and we went into extra innings. For the last inning, I played first base. They had scored no runs. The leadoff batter was me, and for once I got on base with a walk. Then, Janoris was up and hit a walk off home run.

 

Four days later…

“Yeah!” I screamed. We had just won the tournament.

“I don’t know why you’re so happy when you didn’t do anything to help,” Jerry said.

Jerry was the second best player on our team. I knew it was true that I never helped the team. I just struck out and made errors.

 

Chapter Three: The Mystery

When I got back to my house the next day, I wanted to go play catch with my dad, but my glove was missing.

“Dad, someone stole my glove,” I whined.

“No one took it. You just misplaced it,” he yelled back.

But someone did take it, and they were on my team. They didn’t want me to have my glove so I couldn’t play, and so they wouldn’t lose because of me. At the next game, I asked everyone on my team if they had seen my glove. “No” was the answer that everyone gave me.

“Guess you’ll just have to sit on the bench for the whole game,” Frankfort said.

Then right there I knew that Frankfort took my glove. I didn’t say anything to him because he would get mad and start throwing baseballs at me, and he was one of many pitchers on our team, and he threw like 65 miles per hour. When I was sure there were no baseballs around, I asked Frankfort.

“Did you take my glove because I’m bad and you don’t want me to play?” I asked him.

He looked offended. “I did no such thing,” he replied back.

After that, I got out of there really quickly because Frankfort was looking for a ball to throw at me.

 

Chapter Four: The Solution

For the past two weeks, I couldn’t play in any baseball games because of my missing glove. My dad was really mad that I couldn’t play in any games.

“How many times do I have to tell you, don’t misplace your baseball equipment!” he yelled.

I asked my dad if I could go to Frankfort’s house. I wanted to see if he had my glove. When I knocked on his door, Frankfort answered.

“Go away! I don’t want you in my house. My mom is not here!” he yelled.

“Please, just five minutes,” I begged him.

“Fine, but just five,” he said back.

When five minutes was up, I couldn’t find my glove. When I got home, all of my baseball equipment was gone. I convinced my dad to replace my equipment by saying, “You want me to play baseball, right? I can’t play without it.”

My dad agreed and went to get more equipment.

 

Chapter Five: The Guy Who ONLY Hit Homers

At the baseball store I got a new glove, a new bat, new batting gloves, and a new helmet.

At our next baseball game (which was the championship match) I was batting in the bottom of the second on the first pitch. I hit a long, high fly ball that was a home run! Everyone was so surprised, and even more surprised when I hit one again.

Then in the bottom of the ninth inning, the last inning, the bases were loaded. There were two outs, and we were down by three. My third home run would win the championship.

I pointed to right field calling my shot. Everyone started laughing and looking at right field. I ignored them. I let the first and the second pitches go by for strikes. Then, I hit a grand slam into right field. We had won the championship!

 

The End

 

Shortys and the Big Race

 

     Scene One: The Beginning

 

On stage, we see a bush and a red brick wall and no trees. It’s bright, sunny, and hot. There’s chirping birds.

 

MILLY (off stage)

Hey! Wait up.

 

Four girls run on stage. Emy first, Milly second, Kayla third, and Cat last. Emy touches the wall, and Milly closes her eyes and puts her hand in the bush.

 

EMY

First place.

 

Emy flips her golden hair with her hand.

 

MILLY

Second place.

 

Emy and Cat laugh as Kayla touches the wall.

 

KAYLA

Second place.

 

She puts an imaginary medal around her neck. Cat misses the wall by inches.

 

CAT

Third! I would be first if my mean sister Kay…

 

KAYLA

Watch it sissy.

 

EMY

I’m still counting!

 

Cat taps the wall with her finger.

 

CAT (muttering)

Third.

 

The narrator walks out as Cat silently argues with her sister, and Emy tries to break up the fight. Milly still has her hand in the bush, not noticing what’s going on. She has her eyes closed.

 

NARRATOR

The four girls called themselves the shortys because they each had long names that they had shortened. Emy was Emuleta, Kayla was Kaylamenta, Cat was Catrenen, and Milly was Milliana. They shortened them because they didn’t like them, and then people could pronounce them and couldn’t make fun of them.

 

EMY

Open your eyes, Milly.

 

Milly opens her eyes and sees her hand is in a bush. She pulls out her hand and touches the wall.

 

MILLY (muttering)

Last.

 

Their enemy Jane comes on with her sidekicks Lily, Gale, and Sadie.

 

JANE

Oh my. Lookie here.

 

CAT

Shut up, Jane.

 

EMY

You remember the time where we tricked you into jumping into the lake?

 

KAYLA

Don’t make fun of our names.

 

JANE

I challenge you to a relay race.

 

CAT

It is on!

 

Scene Two: The Training

 

We see a brick wall and Milly snoozing on the ground.

 

KAYLA

Come on, come on, come on.

 

Kayla runs on with Cat trailing behind her.

 

CAT

Hey, wait up! You got a head start! That’s cheating!

 

Emy walks on.

 

EMY

Okay, now the order. Cat, you first.

 

CAT

Why me?

 

EMY

Just, just…

 

KAYLA

You heard her. You’re first!

 

She turns to Emy.

 

KAYLA

Me next, right?

 

EMY

Sure.

 

CAT

Yeah, yeah,

 

EMY

Me next, of course!

 

KAYLA

And finally, Milly!

 

Milly sits up.

 

MILLY

Did I hear my name?

 

EMY

You did. You’ll be finishing off the race for us.

 

Milly faints.

 

EMY

Did I say something?

 

Scene Three: The Race

 

Narrator comes on stage.

 

NARRATOR

The race!!!

 

Narrator walks off stage and coach walks on.

 

COACH

Ready, set, go!

 

Cat starts to run off the stage, and narrator comes on.

 

NARRATOR

So they ran and ran and ran and ran, and Cat came in second behind Lily. And then Kayla started to run. And right behind her was Gale, but Kayla stayed ahead of her and finished before her. And then Emy started to sprint. She ran and ran and ran and ran. She was almost halfway there when Gale came home and Sadie started and Emy took first before Sadie. Then, Milly started to run.

 

Milly runs on stage with Jane close behind.

 

NARRATOR

Milly ran and Jane ran and Milly ran and Jane ran.

 

Milly and Jane turn towards the audience and run in place. They run off stage and come back on stage, and Lily, Emy, and Kayla come on stage to see the end of the race. And Jane has her hand out to touch the wall. And she touches something.

 

JANE

First.

 

Everyone laughs. And Milly touches the wall and cries with joy.

 

MILLY

First.

 

Jane opens her eyes and sees her hand in a bush.

 

MILLY

This memory is a keeper.

 

EMY

Good job!

 

Everyone bows.

 

ALL

The End.

 

Everyone walks off but Kayla.

 

KAYLA

See you in my next book, “Odd One Out.”

 

Emy walks on as Kayla takes a silly bow.

 

EMY

Come on, Kay. We don’t have forever!

 

Emy starts to pull Kayla off stage as she sends fake kisses to the audience.

 

 

 

Air France 447

It was 7:30 P.M. on June 1, 2009. No one on board thought anything could go wrong on this Rio to Paris flight.

However, things did not go to plan.

In a few hours, the A330 would be part of a three year-long investigation. It was four hours later when a gauge indicated that there was a rise in temperature. That was nothing that pilots Marc Dubois and David Robert were worried about. But that was only the beginning of the disaster.

An alarm lit up. Suddenly, autopilot and several instruments shut down by themselves. The pilot in control pulled up. The plane stalled and started a descent in a level position.

At 9:10 A.M. local time, the expected time of arrival, Flight 447 was nowhere in sight. The plane, Air France Flight 447, crashed.

There are two questions: Where is it? And what happened to Airbus A330?

Answers seemed to be gone with the plane.

Forever.

 

Forever Standing

        

When someone looks

Down on you

When they laugh

At your differences

When they criticize

Your similarities

When you want it all to end

So you hide away

Tears streaming down your cheeks

Thinking to yourself:

“You don’t deserve to be here”

 

Remember, to see is a gift

To come home to your loved ones and say:

“I love you”

Is a blessing

To stroll on the beach,

Sun shining down on your back

Water lathering your toes

Is a miracle

To have compassion and be able to give back

Love that others have given to you

Is a wealth that cannot be measured

 

When you are looked down upon,

Someone somewhere is looking up and saying,

“Thank you”

Because now those tears on your face won’t be on theirs

Because you didn’t give up and didn’t give in

Because maybe, just maybe, you powered through

All the hatred being poured onto your shoulders

Sweat drips down your face in effort

But you are still standing

You will keep standing

You won’t dare stoop down for a rest or a drink

You can’t

So you will keep standing,

Forever

 

Sean and Alex

           

Part One: Atlantis

Once there was a boy named Sean, and his friend named Alex loved to adventure. When they were teenagers, their parents told them to look for a different world without them, to be independent. They just graduated high school and came home from graduation when their parents said, “Good job, kids. Get out of the house. Be independent. Go explore.”

And then they went home and they started packing. They didn’t pack too much. They just packed as much as their blue and green backpack could hold. They packed diving stuff, food, and money. Their goal was to discover Atlantis. At first, they look in the marine area, wearing flippers and goggles and scuba tanks. It looked like water, green and blue water with a lot of sea animals, like blue, red, orange, and green fish.

They went on a boat to the sea to look for new worlds like Atlantis. Then, they jumped off the boat and went scuba-diving. They went deeper and deeper until they saw a squid. It looked like a black monster with eight tentacles and chased them until they went into a little hole where the squid couldn’t get in. And then one of them took the goggles off and said, “Hey, why isn’t there water in here?” Then, the other one took off the goggles, and they went exploring.

They found a boot, a sailing cap, and bones. Then, they started walking around, but it was a dead-end because there was a large shipwreck. They jumped on the ship and looked around to see if they could find anything, but there was nothing to be found. But then, they saw something glowing in the ship. Then, they went under to look. Then, they saw something glowing in a cap.  

They went in that room, and then Alex touched it, and a voice said, “Don’t touch it! Get out of here!” And then, bones came out of the ground. And the bones arranged into human forms. The bone people had swords, but then Alex and Sean started running to the other end to get out. While they were running, they put on their goggles, but then they went out into the water, the deep sea.

Again, they bumped into something bad. They saw a shark! Then, they took out swords they got from the skeletons. The skeletons were mad about that. Then, the shark saw them, so Alex and Sean took their swords out and stabbed the shark. The shark wailed and backed off, and left. Then, Alex and Sean wanted to go deeper until they saw a city. And a cobblestone sign said, Welcome to Atlantis! Then, they took out cameras and started taking pictures. Then, they went back up to the boat and went home to tell their parents about Atlantis.

 

Part Two: A Different Solar System

Alex and Sean asked their parents if they could go to space. The parents said yes. Then, Alex and Sean went to the space station. They took a bus there and a blue, white, and green rocket ship made by NASA. They felt really happy in the rocket ship, and the rocket said, “Five… Four… Three… Two… One… BLAST OFF!”

Then, they went into space. When they got into space, they put on space suits, and the space suits gave them air to go outside. Then, they went outside, and they went on Mars. Mars was cold and orange, and there were a lot of mountains. And he saw some aliens with some red spots. Then, they were hungry, and they wanted some restaurants to eat at. Then, they saw one named The Mars Hotel. Then, they went in. It looked like a huge place with tons of floors made of marble with carpets. They went to book a room and to order some food. And they ate the food, and it was pretty good, but they didn’t remember what they came there for.

There were a lot of video games there, and they got carried away until Alex said, “Should we leave?”

And Sean said, “Yes. I can’t remember what we came here for.”

Alex said, “Neither can I.”

But then, they left. They left that restaurant. They went back to their spaceship, and they flew off to a different solar system, and one of the planets there was named Candyland. Then, Alex said, “Please! Please! Please! Can we stop there?”

And Sean said, “Yes.”

And then, the auto-driven spaceship landed on Candyland. And then, Alex and Sean climbed out and went to eat some candy. The delicious-looking candy was peppermint and before Alex licked it, Sean smelled some poison in it, so he told Alex not to have it. Alex went back to the spaceship to take the map, and Sean took a walk. Sean went to look at the other candies, to see if they were poisonous. And then Mr. Candy said, “Get out of my land!” Then, Sean ran back to the spaceship and made his spaceship leave, and they left, going back home.

 

Part Three: Climbing mountains

Alex and Sean asked their parents once again if they could go climb on mountains. Their parents said yes. So they went to Mount Kilimanjaro. It was super tall, taller than the Empire State Building. Then, they started climbing. When it became dark, they were a quarter of the way there. They camped there. The campsite was just like rocks, and they built their own grayish, greenish fabric tent. In the night, they heard squawking. In the morning, they started climbing again. They were so fast, they climbed up and down the mountain until it became dark.

Then, they went to Mount Everest. At Mount Everest, they climbed it halfway. And then they had dinner. They had burgers and steak, and it tasted good. Then, they went to bed in their campsite. In the campsite, they heard a bear, and they came out of their tent in the middle of the night and saw a bear coming into their tent. They got out a knife and stabbed the bear. Then, they started climbing again with a flashlight. And they saw a man, sitting there, and they asked him, “What are you doing there?”

The guy said, “Can you help me climb this mountain?”

Sean said yes. Then, they started climbing. They went to the top. They were shivering because they didn’t have any jackets. The end.

 

Part Four: Conclusion

Alex and his mom and Sean and his mom talked. Sean and Alex said, “We want to stay at home. We’ve been on so many adventures.”

Sean’s mom said, “Okay, we’ll let you stay at home.”

Sean and Alex said, “Thanks!”

 

The End!

 

The Strong Pencil, the Weak Eraser, and the Evil Microphone

The eraser said to the pencil, “I want to die.”

“Why?”

“Because kids wipe me on the paper, and it hurts a lot, and they hit me with pencils when they play hockey.”

The pencil said, “Kids throw me around, and throw me on the ground, and they crack my friends in half, and write with me. Some kids put me into you, and it hurts a lot.”

Then, a microphone came and screamed at the children. “Don’t throw pencils, and don’t hit erasers,” said the microphone. Then, the microphone turned to the pencil and eraser, and the microphone said, “Pay me or else I will scream so loud I will break your ears!”

Then, the pencil and the eraser decided to run. The microphone was chasing them while screaming.

Then, the pencil and eraser ran away.

They went to the pencil box, and the microphone couldn’t fit, so it started screaming. It said, “Come, come, come out!”

Then, the pencil came out and tried to poke him off the table to break the SHHHHHH BOOM. The microphone cracked into pieces, but the eraser was still shivering with fear.

 

Even Death Has Morals

          

Charles

Hi, my name is Charles. I am ten years of age, and I have MVD. MVD is short for mitral valve disease. Almost all of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (the breed I am) get this disease by age ten. And I have it. Today I went to the vet, and she told us that I was going to die tomorrow. But I do not want to die. So I asked my friend Lola what to do because she is very smart.

 

Lola

Hi, I’m Lola, and I have FeLV. FeLV is short for feline leukemia virus. I am part of the 50% of FeLV cats to have FeLV-B. FeLV-B causes tumors and other abnormal tissue growth.

I learned about it today. I went to the vet today, and they told my owner. I do not know if i am going to die, but I sure do not hope so. Also, Charles asked me if I knew about MVD. But I do not know about it.

He said, “Hey, Lola. Today I was diagnosed with MVD. What do I do?”

I replied, “I do not know about MVD. I will go ask Sheldon.”

 

Sheldon

Hi, my name is Sheldon. And do not be the stereotype I know you are. Just because my name is Sheldon does not mean I am a turtle. I am a proud hamster! Today my cat friend Lola asked me if I knew anything about MVD or FeLV, but I said I do not know anything about them, and I am about to die! I am three, you know! (Three is a common age for hamsters to die.)

So I went to Charles and asked him, “Did the vet tell you more about MVD?”

He replied, “No! All he told us was that I am going to die tomorrow!”

 

The Owner

Hi, I’m the owner of Charles, Lola, and Sheldon. My name is Steve. Today is the day all of them died. I really wish I did something instead of just leaving them to die. But I have learned two things. The first is to not take things for granted because they can always go away. The second thing is that if someone or something is in pain, do not leave it. Get help. I wish you also learned these things too.

 

 

What He’s Become

       

(Warning: This is not for the lighthearted)

 

A cold darkness shifted throughout the room. It expanded, wrapping around the room, and for a moment, a light tucked in the corner flickered then gave way into the darkness. The room was now nearly pitch black, and you could only make out the slight outline of a bedside table idly waiting next to the bed.

The darkness grew in mass and balled together into a mass of darkness and shadow. A dark gas swirled around the figure then hardened into scales. It grew and

shrank, twisted and turned, and a slight hiss echoed throughout the room. A young boy shifted in the bed, hugging the blankets closer in the newfound darkness. The mass of darkness shifted its body towards the bed, a slight creak under its weight. Another hiss, vague but cold, came from the mass. It crept closer to the bed, now staring directly down on the poor boy, unaware of the darkness looking down at him.

The mass let out another hiss, making the bedside table tremble. The boy cautiously opened his eyes, sleep tugging at his limbs. He froze in fear, goosebumps crawling up and down his back. Though he could not see, he could hear a cold, satisfied hiss from the mass behind him. The boy hesitantly rolled over and froze once again. He could make out the slight outline of a large, bulky mass of teeth and scales, and on each hand, three distinct silver claws. The boy watched as a drop of drool trickled down the monster’s scaly back and dripped down onto the hardwood floor. The monster approached him, causing a large creak from the floor. The mass reached for the boy’s arm, gripping it with a cold, scaly hand. With the other hand, the monster used the tip of one of his claws and daintily pressed it onto the boy’s skin. The claw went deeper into the boy’s skin, and small streaks of blood bubbled around the claw. The boy shrank back, trembling with pain and terror, watching powerlessly as crimson red blood sprouted from the marks. He tried jerking his arm away from the monster’s tight grip, only to receive an irritated hiss from it. The monster continued, slowly carving letter-like marks into the young boy’s blood-soaked arm. Cringing, the boy blinked open his eyes, sleep tugging at them. He glanced down at the marks, fear masking the waves of unimaginable pain. It read Conner. The boy named Conner let out a small wail, and the monster let out an irritated growl, digging its claws into Conner’s mattress, now speckled with blood.

The monster readied a red tinted claw, and Conner’s breath caught in his throat as the monster continued to shave into Conner’s arm, Conner murmuring a plea of mercy under his breath. Tears formed in Conner’s eyes, dripping down his face and resting on his bed. That night, his mother had left a gentle kiss on his forehead and flattened the wrinkles appearing in his sheets as he moved. Smiling, she had playfully reminded Conner that it was his turn to make breakfast in the morning, then she had sidestepped out of the room, humming. Now Conner might never see his mother again. As if sensing Conner’s despair, the monster reached out and used a bloody claw to gently stroke Conner’s cheek, and Conner squeezed his eyes shut, as if he was hoping to place a wall of darkness between him and the monster. The monster growled in Conner’s ear, taunting him, daring him to open his eyes just once. Though all his instincts screamed at him to not give in, he cautiously opened his eyes. Conner trembled, forcing himself to scan over the markings. An “X” was carefully carved over his name, blood trailing down from the marks. Conner stared at the monster’s face, and a plea sparked in his eyes.

“Please… ”

 

The light was unbearable, and any movement was nauseating. Pain seared through Conner’s chest, and he gasped faintly. He closed his eyes, escaping into the darkness, leaving his body behind, and looking back to the night. The image of the mass flashed from the back of his mind, taunting him, frightening him, breaking him. He rolled over, sitting himself up as he cringed in pain. Darkness enveloped Conner, who was fighting to stay awake, fighting to keep the light that he held. But the darkness fought back, stronger than he would ever be. The darkness overcame him as he closed his eyes and shrank back into his bed.

The noise, the noise was terrible. Talking, beeps of equipment, crying, it all blurred into a single, ear-splitting noise. He rolled on his side, causing a sharp pain in his chest. The pain came in waves, and the end was nowhere in sight. Conner closed his eyes and moved his hands closer to himself, slightly putting pressure on his neck. He knew it would never go away, it would never stop, unless he ended it. He knew the monster would come back to finish the job, finish his life. This was the only way, no more fear, no more grief. This was the end to the river of pain. He gazed over to his mom, knowing the pain it would cause her. She would sit for hours on end, sobbing and hugging the blankets closer, and she would feel as he did now. Lost. Conner took a short breath, then applied more pressure, squeezing his hands tighter around his throat. He closed his eyes and waited silently for the pain to end.

Conner awoke in a hospital bed. Around him, a light hanging from the ceiling flickered, and he was left with the small circles of light being emitted from the machines around him. He sat up, sleep tugging at his limbs, begging him to rest, to lay down and let everything dissolve for one night. Rubbing his eyes, he looked around himself. He sat up, his back facing the door, and a small wooden desk stood solitary in the corner.

A familiar feeling washed over Conner’s body, a cold, dark feeling of anguish and hatred. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, a small creak in the floor echoed from behind him. And another. Footsteps, louder and faster, ushered him out of bed and under the desk. Conner’s heartbeat quickened, and a bead of sweat dripped down his face.

A hiss, loud enough for only him to hear, came as a wave of shock. It had… found him. Conner whimpered, hugging his knees closer and burying his head in his hands. It was over: his life, his family, everything. The footsteps approached Conner, and a mass of darkness stopped in front of the desk. A taunting hiss echoed from it as if to say, “Where are you… ?” Conner shrank back into the wall, his breathing growing heavier. A tap on his shoulder administered a shriek of sheer terror, and Conner ducked out from under the desk and dove behind his bed, his feet slipping on the glossy floor. He pressed his back into the cold, hard surface and tried to control his breathing. The mass pointed at a clock resting on the wall, its cracked face distorting the 6. It glanced at him, drool trickling down its face and down the monster’s scaly back.

“Time,” Conner mouthed, pushing himself farther into the wall, wishing that, if he could just disappear, this would be over. The monster shuffled towards him, grabbing his arm and stabbing a claw into it. Conner howled, attempting to tear his arm away from the monster’s grasp as dark streaks of blood trailed down his arm. He glanced back at his arm and froze, the pain coming in waves of terror.

“Time is up.”

The last thing Conner saw that night was the monster’s twisted face, its long silver claws. It smiled at him… then, there was only darkness. The image of the monster appeared in his mind, its long face looking down on him. The night he was first attacked, he was helpless, alone, stranded. He swam towards the image of monster, its hiss echoing through his mind.

The night he was first attacked, his mother rushed toward him, tears blurring her vision as she dialed the hospital with shaky hands. She stroked his face, blood staining her trembling hands. She looked at him with loving eyes and pulled him closer, sobbing into his shoulder.

“Don’t go… ” she murmured. “Don’t go.”

Conner gripped his mother’s hand. He was younger then, with not a worry in the world. A crowd of people were gathered in front of a display, bright lights flashing from the monitors displayed. Conner’s mother rushed him away from the crowd, but not before he heard the muffled words being shouted from the screens.

“… There are reports of terrorist attacks all around this city. They are known for their large, quite loud explosions… ”

He looked up to his mother, who had her back straight and walked with an urgent pace. Lines of worry spread across her face, and she bent down next to Conner, delicately placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Conner,” she whispered. “Promise me something. Promise me that you will never, never become what those… monsters are. If someone… if they hurt you, remember, I will be there. If you are all alone, nothing in sight, I will be there. In here.” She moved her hand to his chest. She looked as if she were about to cry, but she held it in well. “Don’t hurt people, don’t give up, don’t give in. Promise me, Conner.” She stood up, brushing off her pants, and held out her hand for him to take. He looked into his mother’s eyes and rested his hand in hers.

Conner gasped awake, straining his eyes to adjust to the light. The beeps of hospital equipment rang in his ears as he sat up in the hospital bed. His mother was sprawled out on a large sofa, and his father on a chair. The room was surprisingly quiet: with no talking and no crying, there was nothing. Sitting himself up, he took a moment to absorb the quiet. With great effort, Conner stepped onto the cold floor and slowly walked towards his mother.

“Mom?” he whispered, moving towards her. “Mom?” He placed a hand on her shoulder and winced as sharp pain moved through his back. Her arm fell limp towards him, and he jumped back, startled. Gently, Conner rolled his mother over and gasped faintly. He placed a hand on her forehead, but there was no warmth, there was… nothing. Conner cupped her hand in his and recoiled at the sight of dark streaks of blood that stained his hand. Tracing the palm of her hand, he whispered, “Mom… ” Her head rolled towards him, and three gashes running down her face revealed themselves. “Mom, wake up,” he whispered. “Please, wake up!” He realized that tears were slowly dripping down his numb face, though he gave no notice. He tore his glance away from his mother’s lifeless body and looked towards his dad. Stepping towards him, Conner could make out faint mumbles tumbling out of his father’s mouth.

“I’m here, don’t hurt me… Please, don’t hurt him. I’m here… Don’t hurt me.” Conner spun around, only to be greeted by his own paranoia. He gasped in relief and turned back to face his dad. Startled, Conner jumped back as his father got to his feet, eyes glazed over.
“No… ” Conner whispered, stepping back as his father approached.
“Don’t hurt me… ” his father gasped. “I’m here.” His eyes shone in pain and terror. “Come here, son,” he whispered. “One last time… ” Conner took a step back, then another. “I will always be here.” His father advanced, and Conner searched his eyes for any sign of his father. “Don’t run… stay here. Come to me, my son.” His father paused. “Come, Conner.” Conner took another step back and pushed against the wall. He watched helplessly as his father put his hands on his neck, then let out one final gasp, “I will always be here, you can’t hide.” His father’s eyes rolled back into his head, destroying any trace of his father, and he collapsed backward.

Conner fell to his knees, the weight of tragedy causing his shoulders to give in.
“You can’t go!” he whispered to his father, searching his blank expression for any sign of relief. There was only pain. There was only pain. Conner stumbled out of the hospital room, then froze. The hallway was covered in oozing blood that was pooling in puddles on the floor. The blood of patients, doctors, and nurses lined the walls. Shaking his head, Conner stumbled towards the elevator. He lifted his head as the rusted elevator doors creaked open. The limp, blood-soaked bodies of the nurses, patients, and doctors were piled onto each other. Their eyes were glazed over, and tears of blood dripped from their tear ducts. Stumbling back, Conner found his way past the bodies and into his room. Leaning into his bed, Conner let his eyelids close and let the horror dissolve into darkness.

Conner blinked open his eyes as the sound of tapping streamed through the room. Sitting up, Conner adjusted his eyes to the light and moved towards a window where the sound came from. It was dark out, and you could hear the whistling of the wind from outside. Conner leaned into the window on his tip toes and scanned the outside. There was nothing, nothing that could have administered a tapping sound. Weird. Turning around, Conner shrieked as the large, scaly body, which had come to be known as the monster, shuffled towards him. Stepping back, Conner’s breath grew heavy, and he could feel a bead of sweat running down his face.
“Leave me alone!” he cried. “Go away!” Conner swatted at the monster, though it was easily dodged. The monster smiled, its teeth covered in ruby red blood. Conner’s brow furrowed as he cried words of hate; he fought to control his fear. “Why did they have to die?!” he whispered, icy tears dripping down his face. “Why did you do this to me? WHY ME?” The monster hissed in return as Conner continued, “They didn’t deserve this, I didn’t deserve this! My parents didn’t deserve to die.” He closed his eyes, all the death, all the hate. It was for nothing. It was for nothing. It was for the monster’s fun. Nothing more, nothing less. The monster felt no grief, no remorse. The monster felt no hate. It couldn’t be for nothing. Conner looked up at the monster, his cheeks flushed red, and the tears streamed down his face.

“It won’t be for nothing.”

Conner’s body shook in anger as he fought to control his emotions. Then, he snapped. Conner hurled himself at the monster, shutting his eyes and waiting for the impact. He flew into the monster, and then, despite the monster’s harsh appearance, it felt like he hit a pile of pillows. Opening his eyes, he gasped in shock as a dark void swallowed the light. The monster’s drive to kill engulfed him. With nowhere in sight, he walked, he walked till he realized one thing: He would always be lost. Looking around, he pulled his arms closer to him, and, to his surprise, a voice echoed in his head. Don’t be scared, it’s over. Conner is gone, and you were born. The monster.
“No… ” he whimpered. Yes. Now, come. Conner walked, nowhere in sight, but he walked. His mother appeared in his vision. See her? “Yes.” Kill her.
“I… I,” Conner whispered, unsure of himself. Do what I say. Stepping forward into the darkness, Conner moved towards his mother, unaware that her last few seconds of life were about to end. “Mom… ” Conner ran towards her, pulling her into a tight hug of rejoice. “I… I’m sorry.”

His mother looked at him with painful eyes and murmured, “I know.”

“Not for that.” Conner adjusted his grip on the knife that appeared in his hand. Don’t hesitate, Conner. Conner’s mother grasped her hand, dragging down his face, then fell to the ground. Good job.

The image of his lifeless mother dissolved, and he was alone again. But he wasn’t. There were all the people around the world to help… to be friends with. Their screams would fill his mind each night, and he would smile, he would laugh at what fun it would be. Their blood would line the walls of the empty void that was now his home. He would play with their bodies, and he would never be lost ever again. Conner knew who he was now. He was a monster.

 

A Friend’s Secret

There once was a tiny panda bear named Teddy who lived with his parents in a bamboo forest. They could talk, but they couldn’t expose their secret to humans. They were afraid that humans would capture the pandas, force them to talk to humans, and prove that pandas could talk. The humans would separate the panda families and would kill some of them because they were afraid of their talking because it wasn’t natural.  They would put the others in zoos and cages. This family had a house in the bamboo forest and had one child. They lived in a community with a couple of panda families that had kids that were much older than Teddy. When Teddy approached the older kids to play, they excluded him and pretended he was not there. Teddy was always really sad because nobody bothered to be his friend. Teddy always tried to talk to his parents, but they were always too busy or at work. When Teddy was lonely, he went to his secret hideout and drew pictures of him being friends with other pandas.

Teddy was a curious, little panda. The little panda named Teddy had no friends and hoped to make friends, but since pandas were in danger, he had less of a chance of making friends with other pandas. Teddy dreamt of being friends with humans, but he knew it wasn’t possible and he wasn’t allowed to. One day, Teddy was strolling in the forest when he suddenly saw a boy that was walking down the pathway through the bamboo forest. Teddy knew he wasn’t supposed to talk to the boy, but this was his only chance to make friends. The bamboo forest was surrounded by a national park and was protected by the rangers and only had a few pandas to worry about. Because of the small number of pandas, the park was about to close. So, he took his chance.

“Hello, would you like to be my friend?” said Teddy.

The boy literally jumped by the sound of Teddy’s voice. The boy’s name was Parker. He lived with his parents in a house near the forest. His parents were scientists studying pandas, and he was an only child.

“Who said that?” said Parker.

“I said that!” exclaimed Teddy. Teddy curiously got out of his hiding place and started to walk slowly to Parker because he was not so sure that he could trust Parker yet. Parker was speechless. It’s not everyday that you get to see a talking bear. Parker was confused and scared. Why is a panda bear talking? Is he dangerous? Is he going to hurt me?

“Don’t be afraid! I just want to be friends. Just don’t tell anybody I can talk,” Teddy said.

“Okay,” Parker said, but he was still confused how Teddy could talk.

“My name is Teddy, and I’m pretty lonely, so I really do just want friends,” Teddy said.

“Okay, but I can’t stay here for long because I have to go back to my parents,” Parker said.

“This is a secret. Even my parents don’t know that I’m talking to you because I’m not allowed to talk to humans,” Teddy said.

“Okay. I promise!” Parker said.

Teddy was still a little scared and wasn’t fully comfortable, but he wanted to be friends and didn’t want to cause harm to anyone. In the distance, both Teddy and Parker heard Parker’s parents calling for him.

“I’ve got to go, but I’ll see you soon,” Parker said, and then Teddy ran back to his parents and reached home just in time for his family’s dinner.

“Where were you?” Teddy’s mom asked.

“I was exploring the forest,” Teddy stammered.

“You aren’t allowed to go too far out, or else you’ll get lost,” Teddy’s mom reminded him.

“Okay,” Teddy said and got up and washed his dishes and went to bed.

The next day, Teddy woke up and made sure that nothing was a dream by pinching himself. It was not a dream! He had just talked to a human! Teddy had never lied before, and it didn’t feel good to lie. He realized that he shouldn’t have talked to Parker — it could put all the pandas in danger! He could always make friends with the other pandas that their neighbors would give birth to. Teddy felt awful for what he had done. Teddy combed his tangled fur, and he went downstairs for breakfast. For breakfast he had bamboo and fresh water from the stream. In the dining room there was a smooth bamboo table with comfy bamboo chairs and a little wash basin at the corner of the room. Teddy slipped outside and hurried through the winding trees of bamboo, moss, and rocks. When Teddy finally got there, he waited behind the tree just in case other people came and Teddy accidentally thought that they were Parker. When Parker finally came, Teddy slipped out of the trees and walked toward him.

“Hi!” said Teddy. “Come with me. I want to show you something!”

Teddy showed Parker how to climb over the fence and led him through the trees until they came across the stream behind the trees, so Teddy’s parents didn’t see them. They talked about their parents and about what they did. Parker said that his parents were scientists, so right now they were studying pandas. Teddy said that his parents worked at the food workshop and made sure there weren’t any bugs in the food. Once they got bored of talking, Teddy took Parker a little deeper into the woods and showed him his secret hideout. It had a ladder underground that led into a tiny room with drawings and a little chair pushed to the corner of the room. On the other side there was a tiny cupboard with bamboo inside in case Teddy got hungry. Teddy showed Parker all the other tiny rooms, and then they went back to where they started. Once they were done, they crawled back up and went back through the path of winding bamboo trees back to the walkway. They saw Parker’s parents coming down. Teddy quickly went behind a tree.

“See you later,” Parker whispered to Teddy.

Teddy strolled back to his house. Teddy reached his house just in time for lunch. He quickly ate his lunch and went upstairs to take a nap.

When Teddy woke up, he felt exhausted. Teddy heard his parents calling him downstairs to meet his aunt and uncle.

“This is your aunt and uncle. They have just moved in,” Teddy’s mom said.

“They will be staying the night in your room, so you will have to stay in our room,” Teddy’s dad said.

Immediately, Teddy went upstairs and started packing his belongings. He packed his stuffed panda bear, his book on the national park, his bamboo lava lamp, and his panda pajamas. Then, he put that all into a rucksack, and he left it by his bed. He then went back downstairs for dinner, which was bamboo stew. He slowly ate his stew, thinking about Parker. Is Parker going to stay here, or is he going to leave? And does he even like me?

When he was done with dinner, he took all the dishes and handed out dessert, which was bamboo pie. After dessert, he took the dishes and washed them in the sink and went back to the table for conversations.

“What if somebody told our secret? We’d be in grave danger!” his Aunt Beatrice said. Suddenly, Teddy thought twice about his actions with Parker and started feeling sick.

“I’m going to bed now,” Teddy told his parents.

“Why so early?” asked his Dad.

“I don’t feel too good,” Teddy stammered. He felt uncomfortable and just wanted to tell them what he had done, but then he would get in a lot of trouble, and he didn’t want to. He quickly rushed upstairs and changed into his panda pajamas and went into his parents’ bedroom, and laid awake on his back with his eyes closed, thinking about what he had done.

The next morning, Teddy didn’t want to get out of bed. He didn’t want to meet Parker and didn’t want to cause harm to anyone anymore.

Meanwhile, at the walkway, Parker looked around for Teddy and shouted out his name, but didn’t see him. He tried going to the hideout and looked for him, just in case he was there, but he wasn’t. Parker started to worry. What happened to Teddy? Parker slowly walked back, feeling mad that Teddy didn’t show up. He was really disappointed that Teddy didn’t want to come, because he told him he would be there. He walked towards his parents.

“Let’s go home,” he said to his parents.

The next day, Teddy went to the walkway.  He knew Parker had been looking for him because Teddy had heard Parker calling the day before, and he knew Parker had been mad because he had heard Parker stomping his feet.  Teddy didn’t see Parker at the walkway and went back home. Teddy realized that he should have gone to Parker, and he should’ve talked things out, but he didn’t. He also realized that telling Parker about his secret was really wrong, and he was not going to be friends with Parker anymore.

Teddy went home feeling really sad and disappointed in himself. He should’ve talked things out with Parker, but he couldn’t anymore because Parker was gone, and he deserved that.

Teddy went to his hideout and drew himself and Parker as not friends anymore. Teddy never realized that Parker had been to his hideout to see if he was there. He also never realized that Parker had accidentally told his parents that pandas could talk! Parker felt terrible! He promised Teddy that he wouldn’t tell his secret. Should I go back and talk things out with Teddy and say I am sorry? Will Teddy be waiting for me? He chose to do the right thing. He went to the walkway when his parents were at work.

Back at the walkway, Teddy sat on top of the fence feeling disappointed that Parker wasn’t there. Suddenly, Teddy saw Parker approaching him. As Parker walked toward him, Teddy said he was sorry for what he had done. He shouldn’t have left Parker alone and not responded to him. Teddy also told him that he shouldn’t have told him that pandas could talk. Parker said that what he did was even worse. He had accidentally told his parents that pandas can talk.

“Oh no! We have to do something about it and stop them from telling other humans!” Teddy said.

“I’m really sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing when I told them,” Parker said.

“It’s okay. I understand. What I did was also really wrong. I should’ve worked things out with you. I shouldn’t have told you my secret in the first place even though I trust you,” Teddy said. “Let’s go to my hideout, and we can talk things out there.”

Parker followed Teddy back to the hideout, and they both sat at the table. Teddy pulled out two pieces of paper and two pencils. They both started brainstorming ideas on how they could solve their problem.

Suddenly, Teddy came up with an idea! “Parker, you can go home and tell your parents you were joking about how pandas can talk.”

“Great idea!” said Parker. “Then they will forget about what I said!”

Teddy led Parker out of the hideout and back to the walkway because Parker was still not used to all the bamboo trees and how to get through them. Once they got back to the walkway, Parker said goodbye and climbed over the fence. Teddy walked back to his hideout through the green, lush trees with moss covered rocks. In the air there was a scent of fresh dew on the moss. When Teddy got there, he grabbed all the weaved bamboo boxes he could find and carried them back home. He needed them because his family was moving into a different house, so his aunt and uncle would not have to sleep in his room. When he was done with packing, he heard the door open, and his mom, dad, aunt, and uncle entered. They carried bamboo boxes in their hands. Teddy left all the boxes with his belongings by the door. They were moving in two days. After everyone was done packing, there were a lot of boxes by the door. Teddy’s mom started packing all the dishes and pots and pans. Teddy stripped the sheets in the bedrooms and packed them into a box. Since Teddy’s hideout had a couple of rooms, they slept there for the night.

When they woke up, the scent of bamboo and fresh sunlight came in from the open light. For breakfast they had some bamboo. Teddy quickly got dressed and went for a walk outside. Surrounding him was a lush forest of dew, moss covered rocks, and a hundred bamboo trees. Teddy walked to the walkway and sat on the rocks eating bamboo and watched all the tourists stare in awe at him. He waited for Parker, but it didn’t take long. When nobody was looking, Parker snuck over the fence. Teddy told Parker about how his parents were in the hideout and how they were moving in one day. They sat on the grass behind the trees talking in whispers so nobody would see or hear them. In the distance, they heard Teddy’s parents calling him for lunch. Parker quietly snuck over the fence when nobody was looking. Teddy hurried back home through the path of winding trees and moss covered rocks until he came across the river. He grabbed a big log and carefully walked over it. He reached the hideout and went into the room with a table in the middle and a couple of cupboards on the side of the room. He quickly ate lunch and went back outside over the stream and through the winding path of trees. When he reached the walkway, Parker was waiting for him. They went back to Teddy’s old house and went up to his room.

Teddy asked Parker, “How did it go with your parents? Did they believe that you were joking?”

Parker said, “No, they didn’t believe me because I sounded serious when I said it. I’m sorry.”

Teddy said, “It’s okay, we can find another idea. Wait here. I’m going to go to the hideout and get a couple of pieces of paper.”

Parker said, “Okay.”

Teddy went back to the hideout and grabbed a couple of pieces of paper and then went back to Parker. They sat at the table and jotted down some ideas that they had, but none of them made sense. They didn’t know what to do, and they didn’t want Parker’s parents to tell anybody else.

Teddy came up with an idea that might work, which was Parker telling his parents that they can’t tell anybody, but then Teddy realized that then Parker’s parents would know that pandas can talk. They sat there thinking and thinking, but they didn’t know what they should do. Teddy told Parker that he should go home and that he will try to think of some ideas.

Teddy led Parker back to the walkway, and they both said goodbye. Teddy went back home. Teddy went into his bedroom in the hideout and sat at his desk and tried to think of some ideas, but he didn’t think any of them would work.

Teddy finally thought of an idea that might work. Parker would talk to Teddy in front of his parents, but Teddy wouldn’t respond, and then his parents would believe that Teddy couldn’t talk.

After dinner that night, Teddy went to bed and woke up eager to try his idea. He quickly got out of bed and packed his breakfast in a little container and ran back to the walkway. He waited until Parker came and told him his idea. Parker agreed to try this idea, so he got his parents to come with him. Teddy stayed behind the fence just in case they tried to take him to study him. Parker came back with his parents following him and showed them Teddy. Parker talked to Teddy, but Parker knew that Teddy wouldn’t respond. That was part of the idea.

Parker told him, “Hello. What’s your name?”

Teddy sat there and pretended to look confused. He tilted his head to make it even more realistic.

Parker told his parents, “See? Pandas can’t talk.”

His parents said to him, “So then why did you say that pandas could talk?”

Parker said, “Since you guys are really serious scientists, I just wanted you to laugh for once.”

Parker’s parents said, “Let us try to talk to him.” They tried talking to Teddy, but Teddy just ignored them. They said, “We have to go, so please don’t do that again. You disturbed us. You’re grounded. You can’t come here for two days.”

Parker said, “Come on!”

Once Parker’s parents went, Teddy said, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” said Parker.

Parker slowly walked home, disappointed that he couldn’t see Teddy for two days. At least it wasn’t for four days. Plus, by the time he was ungrounded, he would be able to at least see some of their new home. Two days passed slowly in those days. Teddy moved to his new home which was pretty big, and it had a ton of rooms. Parker was really eager to see Teddy’s new home, at least on the outside. Finally, on the day that Parker was ungrounded, he went to the walkway and met Teddy, who led him to their new home on the outside.

“Wait here, I want to get something!” Teddy said.

“Okay,” said Parker.

When Teddy went inside, Teddy’s parents glanced outside the window and were shocked to see a human.

“Young man! Explain yourself!” his mom said.

“Uh oh!” Teddy said.

Teddy’s mom had a very stern look on her face.

“Did you tell a human our secret?” said his dad.

“Maybe… well… we kind of just maybe became good friends,” said Teddy.

“Do you know how much danger you put us in?” said his mom.

“Well, I trust him. He’ll keep the secret really safe,” said Teddy.

“How long have you been friends with this boy?” said his dad.

“Well, maybe a month or two,” said Teddy.

His parents were really angry. Luckily, his aunt and uncle were out for a walk. Thank goodness!

“I’m really sorry, but I just don’t have any friends!”

“Well, if our secret is safe with him, it should be good,” said his parents.

Teddy thought, Phew! I thought this was going to be worse.

“You’re going to be grounded for five days,” said his dad.

Teddy felt awful and didn’t know what to do. He went back outside and told Parker the disappointing news and how annoying it was. He would be grounded for five days!

“You should go. I’ll get in more trouble if you stay here longer,” Teddy said.

“Okay,” said Parker.

Teddy led Parker back to the walkway, since the path was a little bit different. Teddy felt awful. He had gotten in so much trouble, and he didn’t want Parker to also have the punishment of not seeing him. Teddy walked back home slowly and sadly. His parents told him to go to his room. Teddy laid on his bed on his stomach. He was hungry but didn’t have anything in his bedroom.

“Mom!” Teddy said. “Can I have something to eat? I’m hungry!”

“Come down here and get something if you want something!”

“Okay,” said Teddy.

Teddy slowly dragged his feet down the stairs into the kitchen to the pantry, opening the door with a sad face on him. He looked in the mirror and thought to himself, Oof! I look awful! There were wet stains on him and green patches of leaf stains on him. I better take a shower, he thought to himself. He quickly got his clothes and went into the fresh, lemon scented bathroom. It smells like lemons, he thought. He used his fur body wash from Pandaphora. He grabbed a towel and wrapped it around himself cozily. Five days passed slowly, and in those days, Teddy stayed in his room, practicing his juggling. Usually the ball would bounce on his head and he would get a huge bump on it. His juggling got better and better every day. On the last day, he decided to just lie in bed and sleep. He was happy because he was ungrounded at last.

“Finally!” he said to himself. “Ungrounded!”

Parker was waiting at the walkway when Teddy was there.

“I’m ungrounded!” Teddy told Parker.

“Yay! Finally!” said Parker. “Those five days sure went by slowly.”

They went to Teddy’s hideout and hung out, talking about what had happened in those five days.

“Well, I’ve been getting better at juggling. Want to see?” Teddy said.

“Okay… ” Parker said, unsure.

Teddy grabbed three clementines and started juggling them, but they kept on falling on his head. Teddy and Parker laughed hysterically. They were on the floor, rolling on their backs cheerfully. They were friends in secret.

The End

 

Upsidedown

      

“Do you want a mint?” Nancy asked her friend Emma. “My mom just bought them.”

 

“Sure.”

 

Twelve-year-old Emma was having a sleepover with her friend Nancy. All of a sudden, there was a big boom.

 

Booooooooooooooooom. “What was that?!” asked Emma.

 

After the boom, they both fell asleep.

 

When Emma woke up, she realized that the whole world had turned upside down.

 

Nancy was still sleeping.

 

“Wake up!” Emma was shaking Nancy. Finally, Nancy woke up.

 

“What happened?” Nancy yelled.

 

“I don’t know,” Emma said.

 

“First,” said Emma, “we have to see what caused the world to turn upside down to see how to get it back to normal.”

 

“Do you see anything strange?” Emma said to Nancy.

 

“No,” Nancy said.

 

They pulled on their clothes and rushed outside.

 

Mrs. Doodler, Nancy’s next-door neighbor, was outside holding a bag of fruit she had just bought at the store.

 

“Nice day, is it not?” Mrs. Doodler said.

 

Clearly she had not noticed everything was upside down.

 

Emma ran behind a house with Nancy.

 

“Why do you think Mrs. Doodler hasn’t noticed everything is upside down?” Emma said.

 

“She is pretty old,” Nancy said.

 

Just then, in the house next to Mrs. Doodler, Emma and Nancy’s friend Lily came out of the house. She saw them and walked over to them. It didn’t seem like she noticed anything either. Lily asked them what they were going to be doing over the summer since school had just finished. Emma and Nancy said that they were going to be going away together, which was true. Lily said she was in a rush and that she had to be somewhere. So, Nancy and Emma told her she could go. When she was out of sight, they talked to each other about how she hadn’t noticed either.

 

“Maybe the world is only upside down for us,” Emma said.

 

“Why would it be only for us?” Nancy said.

 

“I don’t know,” Emma replied.

 

“How about we take a walk?” Nancy said.

 

“Okay,” Emma said.

 

They walked to the supermarket. When they got there, there were many other people. Some said good morning, some said nothing, but nobody noticed that everything was upside down.

 

“I bet it is only upside down for us,” Emma said.

 

“I mean, if it is upside down for them they would probably say something,” Nancy said.

 

“Let’s go to my house. We can tell my mom that we will be going to have lunch with Lily, and until then we will play with her.”

 

Emma normally never lied to her mom, but today she felt like she had to. Emma went to her house to tell her mom that she would be going to Lily’s house. Next, they took a little walk. While they were walking, they bumped into Lily, and she actually did invite them to lunch. She invited them to come at 1:00. It was 9:00 in the morning now. They had four hours until it was time to go to Lily’s house. They got ice cream and sat in front of the ice cream store on a bench to discuss what they would do.

 

“What should we do?” Nancy asked Emma.

 

“How about we go back to your house?” Emma suggested.

 

“Okay,” Nancy said.

 

Together they walked back to Nancy’s house. When they got to Nancy’s house, they discussed everything they did from when Emma arrived to the morning when they woke up. They remembered that Emma had come at 8:00 P.M.. The first thing they did was put on their pajamas, and then they both popped mints into their mouth.

 

“Those mints couldn’t have done anything,” Nancy said. “I’ve had them before and nothing happened.” Next, they went to bed. While they were sleeping, they heard a big boom.

 

“But that couldn’t have done anything,” Emma said.

 

Next, they fell back to sleep and when they woke up, everything was upside down. That’s all they had done.

 

“There’s one thing we forgot,” Emma said. “We both popped the mints into our mouth at the exact same time.”

 

Nancy thought about it. “I’ve never eaten a mint when I’ve had a friend over, so maybe the mints turned the world upside down.”

 

“That would make sense,” Nancy said. “Because when my mom got them at the store I was there, and that was the only pack like that.”

“So do you think we have to eat another one to get back to normal?” Emma said.

 

“We could ask my mom if we could have another sleepover at your house,” Nancy said.

 

“We’ll ask her after lunch,” Emma said.

 

“We still have two hours,” Nancy said. “What should we do?”

 

“How about we go on a little walk,” Emma suggested.

 

“Okay,” Nancy said.

 

While they were walking, they saw Mrs. Doodler again.

 

She invited them over for tea. They walked to Mrs. Doodler’s house.

 

They had their tea. Emma and Nancy both had chamomile and so did Mrs. Doodler.

 

Next, they went to Lily’s house for lunch. They had pizza with apple juice. It was really good. Emma and Nancy went to Nancy’s house to ask if they could have another sleepover. Nancy’s mom said she was okay with it as long as Emma’s mom was okay with it.

 

They walked over to Emma’s house to ask her mom. Emma’s mom was not okay with it, so Emma had to convince her mom

 

This is how it went.

 

“Mom, can I please have another sleepover with Nancy.”

 

“No.”

 

“Maybe I should go,” said Nancy.

 

“Oh yeah, bye. See you later maybe.”

 

“Mom, please.”

 

“Fine.”

 

“Yay! Thank you so much Mom.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

“See you tomorrow.”

 

Emma walked to Nancy’s house. When she got there, she told Nancy’s mom that her mom was okay with it.

 

It was 6:00 now. They played until 8:00. Then, they ate dinner.

 

At 9:00, they ate the mints.

 

Then, they went to bed. When they woke up the next morning, everything was the same.

 

They put on their clothes and went outside.

 

They did not want to wake Nancy’s mom up, so they went to the store to buy something to eat. When they went to the food section, Nancy had an idea. What if there was is something in the store they could eat before bed that would turn it back? They looked around and found a box of taffy that said reverse. They bought it.

 

They went to Emma’s house to ask her mom if she could have another sleepover with Nancy. Her mom said only if she would never have a double sleepover again.

 

“Okay,” Emma said.

 

They played until lunch.

 

They ate lunch. Then, they played until dinner. They ate pasta for dinner.

 

At 9:00, they ate the taffy. Then, they went to bed.

 

That night, there was a big boom.

 

Booooooooooooooooom.

 

They woke up the next morning, and everything was back to normal.

 

Emma and Nancy said, “Hooray!”

 

THE END!

 

Beautiful: A Feminist Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful teenage girl named Chrysanthemum. Her long, perfect nose inhaled the salty odor of the sweat trickling down her beautiful face. Chrysanthemum’s long fingers were clenched into tight fists, and her thin legs were driven into the soft carpet on her bedroom’s hardwood floor. Chrysanthemum breathed deeply and collapsed onto her hot pink bedspread. Her dark red hair fanned out in wavy strokes, clashing horribly with the repulsive shade of pink that decorated her blanket. Chrysanthemum opened her deep blue and amber eyes. She got up and looked at the pillow taped to the wall. One of the pieces of clear scotch tape was peeling. Chrysanthemum pulled another piece of tape off of the roll, enjoying the sharp sound of the thin strip snapping against the tiny spikes that stung when they pricked the bottom of a person’s finger. Chrysanthemum grabbed as much tape as she could and reattached the pillow to the pale pink and white wallpaper. She would need a lot of tape. Chrysanthemum definitely punched hard enough to knock a pillow off a wall.

Chrysanthemum’s body might have been in her bedroom, but her mind was at school. Earlier that day, she had heard something that was… disturbing.

She was in the schoolyard at lunch, and her less-beautiful-but-still-pretty-and-popular friends ran up to her.

“Oh, honey, are you okay?” they asked her, looking worried.

“Of course,” Chrysanthemum answered, wondering what they could possibly be talking about. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

The girls whispered among one another, sounding much like a frenzied flock of birds. Chrysanthemum managed to hear a couple of sentences, however.

“She stubbed her toe. She is too delicate for that.”

“The poor thing is clueless, like always.”

Chrysanthemum backed away, horrified at how her “friends” thought of her.

And then, a final blow: “It’s fine. She’s too pretty to handle herself without any friends. She’ll come back to us.”

Chrysanthemum shuddered, remembering how angry and alone she had felt when she had heard this. Chrysanthemum collapsed back onto her bed and sobbed into her second pillow. Everyone wished that they looked like her. They thought it was so easy to be pretty. They had no idea how wrong they were.

Whenever Chrysanthemum asked her parents to go to the store after school, they said no. Their excuse was that they were worried that she would get hurt or lost. This was the store that was a block away from school. She didn’t even have to cross any streets to get there. Whenever Chrysanthemum was about to climb the big, fake spider web in the yard behind her school, her teachers would run up to her and tell her that it was too dangerous. When she protested with the argument that everyone else did it, they would tell her that it was different because the time for being outside was about to end, and so she didn’t have time to climb it anyway. Chrysanthemum couldn’t exactly tell the teacher to stop lying about how long recess was, so she had never once gotten to climb the spiderweb. Nor had she ever gone to the store near school. The worst part about her being pretty was that everyone was always watching her. Chrysanthemum didn’t have any friends who weren’t popular and pretty, because everyone would judge her if she did. Chrysanthemum couldn’t show that she loved math and hated art because no one would like her if she did. Why would they? The kids no one could stand were the math whizzes. No one realized this, but Chrysanthemum was just as vulnerable and exposed as a turtle without a shell. Chrysanthemum wished that she could be ugly. Just for a day, to see what it was like. When Chrysanthemum looked at the calendar, she came up with a plan. The date was October 20th.

Over the next few days, Chrysanthemum worked nonstop. She worked with the teachers to plan a Halloween party in the gym at school. She made a deal with an unpopular seventh grader named Seraphina who was about her height and who had widely advertised that she was going to be dressed as a character from Star Wars: the green woman who served Jabba the Hutt. Chrysanthemum then told all of her “friends” that she would go as a mummy, and told them that she would be covering her face. Then, she started to make her costume.

 

It was Halloween. Chrysanthemum was ready. She put on a green mask and a lot of green clothes, and got ready to see what it was like to be disliked. Here was her plan: she would dress up like the green servant of Jabba the Hutt in the place of Seraphina, and she would dress up like a mummy with its face covered in the place of Chrysanthemum. This way everyone would think that Chrysanthemum was unpopular and treat her that way, and they wouldn’t wonder where Chrysanthemum was because Seraphina would be dressed as Chrysanthemum had planned to. There was only one problem. And it was called her parents.

“Honey, it’s not that I don’t trust you to go to the Halloween party alone, it’s just… ”

“That you don’t trust me to go to the Halloween party alone,” finished Chrysanthemum.

Her mom looked apologetic. “Well, yes. And I don’t understand why you really want to. You can have candy here. After all, you get almost everything you want.”

“You have to let me grow up! My whole life you’ve been babying me. You expect me to act like a little girl and to always need you to help me with everything, but how am I supposed to get independent enough to go out by myself if you won’t let me go out by myself? You say that I get everything I want, but has it ever occurred to you that maybe I don’t like all the things you give me? I know that this will come as a shock to you, but I hate pink and Barbies and dolls and unicorns! If I had a choice, I would never in a million years wear a dress! When I see ruffles, I’d rather set them on fire than wear them! When I go to the shoe store, I don’t actually want the tiny pink slippers with sparkles on them. I want the practical sneakers! But if this ruins me in your eyes or whatever, well then, you have to deal with it.

Chrysanthemum’s mom gave an annoying little giggle that made Chrysanthemum want to push her fingers into her ears and sing. “Honey, I know that’s not true. You asked me to give you pink wallpaper and pink bedding.”

Really?” Chrysanthemum hissed. “Because I seem to remember asking you for white paint and a red rug and bed.”

“Pink is the girl version of red. I just made you happy.”

Do I look happy to you???”

Chrysanthemum’s mother’s shoulders slumped. She sighed. “No. You don’t. I’m sorry, Chrys. I guess that I always wanted you to be like me, and I just didn’t understand how much it really affected you. You can go to the party.”

Chrysanthemum smiled and hugged her mother. “Thanks, Mom,” she said. “That means a lot.” Chrysanthemum then grabbed her bag and ran out the door. Her plan was in motion.

 

When Chrysanthemum got to the party, she immediately saw a girl dressed like a mummy, covered in linen from head to toe, but with slits cut out so that she could see and breathe. She gave little sign that she saw Chrysanthemum, except for giving her a small nod. Chrysanthemum returned the greeting and continued on into the party, bracing herself for whatever came next. But nothing came next, at least for a while. No one even gave her a glance. Chrysanthemum hated this. But it was a lot better than what did come next. Chrysanthemum was getting a piece of candy from the big bowl in the entrance when she was surrounded by a group of people dressed as a unicorn, a fairy, and a ballerina. These were the girls who she had previously called friends. Years later, this night came as a blur.

Chrysanthemum still could only remember one thing that they had said: “You’re nobody. You have no friends. So don’t expect sympathy from us.”

It was the first time Chrysanthemum had actually been bullied, so she ended up in tears. Tears that made the space under her mask hot and stuffy. Chrysanthemum ran to the bathroom, pushing people aside and forcing her way through the crowd.

There were drops of condensation on the dirty, cracked mirror. Chrysanthemum wiped away the fog and pulled off her mask. There were long tear marks on her cheeks, glowing in the fluorescent lights. Chrysanthemum turned on the facet and caught the glittering, transparent water in the cup of her hands. She poured the water on her face, wiping off the grime and snot. When she finished, it was impossible to tell that Chrysanthemum had ever been crying. Her skin was as clear and spotless as ever. Chrysanthemum steadied herself and turned to go back out. She was about to slip the mask back on, but was stopped. A unicorn, a fairy, and a ballerina were standing by the door.

“Oh my god! Chrysanthemum!”

“Weren’t you supposed to be a mummy?”

“We had no idea that was you!”

“I saw you dressed as a mummy!”

“We’re so sorry!”

“Yeah, guys, didn’t you see the mummy?”

“We would have never said those things if we had known it was you.”

“We thought we were talking to that dork, Seraphina.”

Chrysanthemum stared at them in horror. “How could you?”

“What?”

“How could you treat someone that way? If you had been talking to Seraphina instead of me, would you have apologized? And why did you follow me to the bathroom in the first place? To bully me even more? I didn’t want to believe it. Seraphina told me that you guys were mean, but I didn’t believe her. I thought you guys were bad friends… but it turns out you are even worse people.” Chrysanthemum then ran out of the bathroom and out of the gym and out of the school and into the cool scene of Manhattan in fall. Chrysanthemum breathed in the fresh, crisp air and let the familiar scents make their way into her sinuses. Chrysanthemum heard the banging of the big wooden door that led to the school, and turned around, ready to lecture her former friends some more. Instead, it was Seraphina.

“Hey, Chrys. You okay?”

In the last eleven days, Chrysanthemum and Seraphina had become close friends. It had turned out that they got along well. They both preferred math over art; they both thought that dogs were (very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very) awesome, but snakes were cooler; they both despised pink but loved blue. Most importantly, they got along very well. Well enough to hang out outside of school. Seraphina had changed Chrysanthemum’s entire perspective on beauty. She had helped Chrysanthemum with her plan to switch costumes. She was the one who had warned Chrysanthemum about her so-called “friends.” As far as Chrysanthemum knew, Seraphina was the first real friend she had ever had. Apparently Seraphina hadn’t had many friends either, except for a girl named Harper, who had also been bullied at her school until she decided to stand up to those bullies. Seraphina introduced Chrysanthemum to Harper, so now Chrysanthemum had two close friends to hang out with.

Over the next couple of weeks, people all over the school heard about how Chrysanthemum had stood up to the (formerly) popular girls, and people wanted to become her friend. And it wasn’t just because she was pretty! Meanwhile, people heard Seraphina’s account of being popular for a night, and how no one would talk to her because they were scared she would judge them. Everyone was happy that Seraphina hadn’t been judging them. Chrysanthemum’s former “friends” were being treated fine, but they were no longer popular or particularly well-liked. Chrysanthemum rarely talked to them, and when she did, they treated her with respect. The teachers still treated her the same, but Chrysanthemum knew she couldn’t control everything. Only herself. Middle school always has its ups and downs. But at least for now… they lived happily ever after.

 

Put on Your Game Face

 

Hmm…

Click.

Tap.

Crumple.

Arrgh.

Beep beep beep, goes my text tone.

“If London texts me again, I will throw my phone out of the window.”

Madeline Kate O’Brian

You have been selected for a game challenge.

You will have five days to complete this challenge.

If you don’t complete it in five days, there will be consequences.

If you accept, write back immediately.

 

Well, that is out of the blue. And who calls me by my full name (except for my parents when I get in trouble, of course)? Oh great, and now there is a five minute countdown. In red. This is definitely big. Very big.

I accept. Give me more details.

Immediately, the thing texts back.

Good, you accepted. Come to York Street, go to building number 33, and ring the buzzer three times. Come on September first at exactly 11:31 AM. Do NOT BE LATE!

“Well, that’s weird. 11:31? Who can pull that off?”

“I can.”

That is London, my very annoying twin sister who is also a gamer, and who thinks that she can do anything and everything, which isn’t all bad. But it is really annoying. Please don’t let her have gotten the same text as me, I think.

“Hey, little sis, what are you concocting now?”

“None of your beeswax,” I snap.

“Ohhhhh, someone’s in a bad mood.”

“I am not in a bad mood! I am just stuck. But why are you in here?”

“One, this is my room, too; and two, I think that something is up with you. You haven’t sent me an annoyed text in like 15 minutes.”

“So what?”

“So something is up.”

“No, I am down, I can’t think of a game, and… ”

“And what?”

“And I entered a contest with a deadline of three days.”

London walks over to my desk.

“Oh, so you’re making a game about random kids who have to ‘find their superpowers.’”

“Don’t you see that one is crumpled?” I say as I pick up the paper and throw it onto the soft, fluffy carpet.

Great, there goes my great idea. But now it probably isn’t my idea anymore because copycat London got it in her evil, evil clutches.

“Go bother Ryan or something,” I say to London.

“Oh, am I bothering you?” she asks in fake surprise.

“Yes,” I say through my gritted teeth. My fingernails are digging into my palms. I feel my anger rising and boiling up.

“Fine! I will leave. But keep in mind that I will come back, because this is my room too.” And with that, she slams the door.

I put my head down on the wood of my desk. Then, there comes another beep beep beep.

Here are the other people involved with this challenge:

Rose Apperad

Belle Mersa

Aaron Icer

Jack Canfor

And Beatrice Becomler.

Hmm. Those are interesting people. Really interesting. So, back to my thinking stage.

 

Tap.

Tap.

Crumple.

Crumple.

Headslam.

“Dinner time!”

Ugh! Dinner again. Ohhh! But it smells really good. I meet my older brother Ryan on the stairs.

“London told me you told her to bother me.”

“Well, yeah, because she was in my — our room, bothering me, and I am very, very busy.”

“Oh. Are you working on the other game?”

“Umm, yeah.”

“Can I test it?”

“Umm, I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?”

“It’s for a competition, and I am not sure on the rules.”

“Oh. Okay, then.”

When we get to the dinner table, London is already there.

“Mom called dinner two and a half minutes ago. You’re late. Funny! That’s how much older I am than you.”

“Stop it, London.”

“Why?”

“Oh, London, why don’t you just run away,” Ryan asks rhetorically.

“If I ran away, Mom and Dad would miss me too much. They would make a reward for anyone who found me, and I would turn myself in and get the reward, which would be pretty high.”

“Umm… London?” I say. “I am not sure that’s how it works.”

“Girls, could we have at least one dinner without you two arguing about something or someone?” Mom says angrily.

“Probably not,” mumbles Ryan.

“What did you say?” asks London, her face growing pink.

“I said that you couldn’t not argue.”

“I accept your challenge.”

“I didn’t challenge you.”

“Five bucks if I don’t argue.”

“Oh, whatever.”

I whisper to Ryan, “You just earned a free five bucks.”

Ryan chuckles.

“So, did anyone do anything fun today?” asks Dad.

“I went to the skatepark,” offers Ryan.

“You skate?” asks Dad.

“Well, kind of. I actually went to the skatepark in a video game.”

“That makes more sense,” Mom says.

At that moment, our neighbor, Mrs. Sweetson, (nicknamed Mrs. Grump by London and me, one of the only things we agree about) appears by our sliding glass door.

“Kids, did you do something?” Mom asks cautiously before she opens the door.

“Nope!” is our very speedy reply.

Mom gives us a cold, knowing look before opening the door.

“Did I see a For Sale sign on your front lawn?” she asks excitedly.

“I don’t think so. Do you feel okay, Mrs. Sweetson?”

“Yes,” she snaps, trying to hide her disappointment. “Well, I am sure that it’s there. I will show you.”

Mom goes outside, and we follow her. Mrs. Sweetson hates us because when we were six, we accidently told the petting zoo that we ordered for our birthday to go to her house. She still hasn’t forgiven us, six whole years later! Like, seriously, doesn’t she know the saying “forgive and forget”? Well, when we get to the sign, there really is a sign. I have a feeling Mrs. Grumps planted it there.

“I am very sorry, Mrs. Sweetson, but we are not moving. Kids, is this your version of a joke?”

“No. We aren’t that mean,” London says sweetly.

“I don’t think that that should be legal, because it is very confusing,” I say.

“We wouldn’t do such a thing. On top of that, we like our house and don’t want to leave if we don’t have to. Right?” says Ryan.

“Right,” London and I say.

“Fine,” Mom says and goes back inside.

“Okay, kids, you’ll get away with it this time. But next time, you won’t be so lucky, because next time I will have evidence. Now, get out of my sight,” Mrs. Sweetson says.

We all trudge back to the house and grab our favorite popsicles (mine is lemon cream) and walk upstairs. When I get back to our rooms, the thing had texted me a lot.

Start thinking of game ideas.

Unless you want consequences.

And then

I am putting you in the blueish-gray room.

And

You have to make your game out of the materials we give you and you get three extras.

All I am thinking is, What is this thing I got myself into? Blueish-grey room. Consequences. They give you materials. What is this, Chopped?

“Hmmm, what is this?” London asks slyly.

“Do you need to know?”

“Yes!”

“I entered a board game competition. Nothing new.”

“Did you tell Mom? Do you need parent permission?”

“No and no. And please do something for me for once, and don’t tell Mom.”

“Okay. I won’t tell Mom. But you have to tell me more about this contest.”

“Okay, it’s not a contest. It’s more of a challenge.”

“Fine! A challenge. Tell me more.”

“I don’t know more.”

“Uh , yes you do.”

“Uh, no I don’t.”

At that moment, Ryan walks into the room. Thank goodness, I think.

“What is going on here?”

“She won’t tell me about her challenge.”

“I don’t know enough to tell her without lying.”

“Okay,” Ryan says, “I will treat you to something… ”

“Anything?” asks London.

“Anything, if you leave Maddie alone.”

“Deal!”

“Thank you,” I whisper as Ryan walks out the door. He nods and walks off.

 

A few hours later, I am pacing around the house when the perfect idea pops up and makes its way into my central thinking system.

 

Why. That is a question I ask myself a lot. Like, why does London have to be my twin? And why do ideas just pop in my mind? And why do they not come to me when I really, really need them? But most of all, why am I in this challenge? I didn’t do anything to get in.

 

Later that night, I go to Ryan’s room. It’s the 24th of August, and school will start on the 10th of September. (It’s starting later because of technical difficulties with the sprinkler system.) I need help with getting to the place for the contest without my parents getting suspicious. And with kids like London, Ryan, and me, there is always a need for suspicion. I tell this to Ryan, and he doesn’t seem too worried.

“Maddie, keep in mind that I am sixteen,” he says.

“So?”

“So, what do you get when you turn sixteen?”

“Umm… a driver’s license?”

“Exactly!” he says. “And what can you do with a driver’s license?”

“Drive.”

“And what do you drive?”

I glare at him. “Ryan, stop. A car, obviously.”

How could I forget? Ryan is sixteen, and a few weeks ago, he got a used red sports car with money from his job as a caddy at one of the country clubs, even though he knows nothing about golf.

“Okay, so I have a way to get there now. I need an excuse.”

Ryan looks at me as if it is obvious. “Maddie, I provide the transportation, and you do the excuses. Okay?”

“Fine.”

I go back to my room to find London doing her normal nightly routine. Laying out her outfit, while checking the weather and her calendar to make sure that it is perfect for the next day. I roll my eyes. Shorts and a T-shirt work for me.

 

It is the night before the first day at the contest, and I still don’t have an excuse. Wait, London always has excuses. So, I ask London.

“Hmmm, I see your struggle,” says London. “I have the perfect thing. Say that you are going to get things for school.”

“That’s great! But remember, this is a five day contest.”

“Okay, go to a friend’s house on the second day, a movie on the third day, the park on the fourth day, and a drive on the fifth. Then you just have to leave at different times so you don’t create suspicion, which you should get an award for because you are really good at not creating suspicion,” she says sarcastically.

“London!”

“Just saying.”

“Anyway, thanks.”

“Wait, Maddie. My services have a price.”

“What do you mean, it has a price?”

“I mean, you have to pay. Two dollars.

“Why would pay you money?”

“Because… I just helped you a lot.”

“In other words, no.”

“Please!”

“NO!!!”

And with that, I storm out of the room, and I go out in the yard. A second later, Mom’s head peeks out of our sliding glass door. Ugh, I think I can never be alone in this house.

“Maddie, a girl named Rose Aperad is coming over in about five minutes. Do you know her?” I hesitate for half of a millisecond. Right! One of the other contestants.

“Okay,” I say. “But can you keep London very busy while she’s here?”

“Sure. I guess that not all of these things that you do have to involve London.”

“Thank you,” I say, then Mom pops back in the house.

A few minutes later, a girl named Rose Aperad comes. She has olive skin, brown wavy hair that tumbles down her back, and exotic looking green eyes.

“Hi,” the girl says. “You must be Madeline.”

“Yes, I am. Rose, right?” I ask.

“Yep.”

“Come on in.”

“Thank you,” she says. “But I can only stay for a few minutes. I am warning you that this challenge is very challenging and very dangerous. Good luck.”

And with that, she turns on her heel, gets on her bike, and leaves.

And for the second time that day, I ask myself what I had gotten myself into. And why would Rose, who I don’t even know, warn me?

Stunned, I walk into the kitchen. Mom notices and comes over. “Is everything alright?” she asks.

“Yeah,” I say. “I just don’t feel very well.”

“Oh,” she says. “Well, then I hope you feel better. Why don’t you go get some rest? Call me if you need anything.”

“Wait,” I say when she is halfway up the stairs. “Where’s London?”

“Oh, I was busy, so I sent Ryan to go take her for ice cream or something.”

 

It is the day of the first day of the contest. I am so nervous. So nervous. I get out of bed, and I play a one person game of Quiet-as-a-Mouse as I tiptoe up the stairs to the loft, also known as Ryan’s room. “Ryan, Ryan!” I exclaim. He rolls over and looks groggily at me.

“London, go away.”

“Ryan, I am not London!” This happens a lot with us being identical and all. Even with our older brother.

“So sorry, Maddie. I am just tired.”

“It’s fine,” I say. He rolls over again to look at his alarm clock.

“Madeline Kate O’Brian, how dare you wake me up at 6:20. Let me sleep for at least three more hours.”

“Sorry, Ryan.”

I head back to my room. I need something to do, so I find a piece of paper and write out my game.

 

A Race to the Deadline.

Rules: There are at least three characters. You are each either a movie director, a writer, or a reporter. You all have a deadline that you have to meet. On different spaces you pick a card. It is either good or bad. It will either set you back or get you closer…

 

Then, London wakes up, and she is mad. “You turned on the light and woke me up.”

“Sorry,” I say.

“Maddie, since you choose to be up at this hour, where is that sleeping mask Ryan gave to me for my birthday?”

“Yeah,” I say, pulling it out of my desk drawer. Now I am glad that I saved this thing, because I was going to use it for a game, but I didn’t.

 

It is a few hours later, and I am putting on jeans and a Harry Potter T-shirt. I am racing downstairs, grabbing a bag of gummy bears (for stress eating), a bag of sea salt and vinegar chips (for a snack), and a bottle of water. I take my game idea and my mom’s old phone (also known as my new phone) out to the front stoop and into the front seat of Ryan’s car.

“Ready to go,” I say.

We get to York Street, and there are a lot of numbered houses: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, but no 33. I am very confused. Then, I spot Rose going through the side wall. A hidden door. Why hadn’t I thought of that? I get out of the car and walk around the side door, my heart thumping like a drum. I check the time: 11:30. I look for cracks in the wall. Finally, I find the crack and push. Overhead, I hear a computerized voice say: “Welcome, Madeline Kate O’Brian.”

“You can call me Madeline,” I say, even though the computer probably can’t hear me.

“Yes, Madeline, and you can call me Viola.”

“Umm… okay,” I answer, not exactly sure what to say.

“Go down the hall, and take two rights. Then you will be at the blueish grey room, and then you will answer the riddle.” Oh great, I think. A riddle.

I walk down that hall and take my first right. I see a light pinkish-grey room with the names Aaron Icer and Rose Aperad. Then, I take another right and see the yellowish-grey room with the names Belle Mersa and Jack Canfor. I walk a little further, and I finally see the blueish-grey room with names Madeline O’Brian and Beatrice Becomler.

I step through the door, and a cranky old man’s voice says: “You will answer this riddle, and you will find that the password is the answer to this riddle. Here is the riddle: a cowboy rides his horse into town on Friday, two days later the cowboy leaves on Friday. How could this happen?”

I sit down on the cool tile floor. I think better when I sit down. Friday, cowboys ride horses. He rode a horse.

“Got it,” I exclaim. “The cowboy rode in on a horse named Friday.”

“Very good,” the cranky old man says. “You may enter.”

The door swings open to reveal two desks with fluffy roller chairs and a blueish carpet that probably used to be fluffy but was worn out by years of use, along with two hammocks with pillows and blankets, two bright green baskets, and a girl with dirty blond hair that is in beach waves. She wears thick black rimmed glass and a cheery smile.

“Hello,” the girl says. “I am Beatrice Becomler, and you are probably Madeline.”

“Yeah… ”

Just then, Viola’s voice blares through the speakers.

“Attention! The contest will start in two minutes. In the first round, you will have to draw out the plan for your game. With only the materials that we give you in the box. Then if the Master accepts your plan, you will move onto the next round. If not, then you will meet your fate.”

Beatrice and I freeze.

“Okay,” she says. “That was freaky.” I nod in agreement.

“Let’s open our baskets.”

My basket: One sheet of construction paper, a piece of charcoal, and a twenty-four count box of crayons. And a note: Try, Try, Try. Hun. Sounds like I have heard that before.

I get another text right as I am starting to draw out the cards for my game.

You have to work if you don’t want to meet your fate.

Great! Another creepy text.

I start working again. I look up at the wall. Ten minutes left.

Before I know it, the timer is going off. Beeee boooooo beeeeeeeep.

Then, Viola says: “Come to the front hall. Your work will be judged there.”

We all file into the hall. First up is Rose Aperad. Her work gets passed. Then Aaron Icer. His work is denied. A young woman leads a scared looking Aaron out of the room. Then everyone else goes, and then it is my turn. I walk up to the stand on shaky legs, where I put my work under a screen so that our judge can judge it.

“Your work is denied.”

I just stand there. I don’t move. The young woman comes back out and leads me to a small room where a girl about my age is standing. She looks just like me. She turns, and it’s…

“LONDON!”
“Madeline?”

“What the heck have you done?!”

“I made a contest. Nothing new.”

“Why would you do this?

“I am trying really hard to make you happy.”

“Yeah right.”

“No, really.”

“Are you judging our work?!”

“No. My friend Viola is.”

“Is this thing fake?!”

“Definitely not. You know that I don’t do the fake thing. I do the real thing.”

“London, you will never be able to repay me.”

“Madeline. Try me.”

“No wonder I never thought we were actually twins.”

“Oh, but we are.”

“I know that! But seriously, Why would you do this me?”

“I know how competitive you are, and that you needed a challenge. You were kind of on a gamer’s block all summer, and I wanted your creative juices to start flowing.”

“Thanks, I guess. But, wait, where is Aaron?”

“Safe and sound at home.”

“You know what, London, I actually kind of want to thank you. But now I know I will not read strange texts.”

“Remember Rose.”

“Yeah, did you set her up?”

“Sure, I did. I felt bad, so I wanted you to back down.”

“You did, did you?”

“Yes. Listen, Maddie, I am very sorry. I didn’t mean for you to take it that way. I was just trying to help.”

“I still do not forgive you. But I thank you.”

“Remember that story that Mom used to tell us about how on the first day of kindergarten, we wouldn’t separate, and our teachers had to come and literally pull us apart?“ London recalls.

“Yeah. Why don’t we get Ryan to pick us up and go home,” I suggest.

 

Epilogue.

I am sitting in my room, or at least my side of it. My side of the carpet is the fluffiest, and better for sitting on, whereas London’s side is worn from many years of practicing gymnastics and her horrible hip-hop. My bed is neat and cozy-looking, and London’s is the opposite. I am sitting on the fluffy carpet, bouncing a ball and eating a bowl of ice cream while mulling over yesterday’s events. (I am very good at multitasking.) I am still upset at London. I am wondering why I hadn’t picked up on how she knew about the 11:31 thing. Or how all of the texts mostly came when she was not in the same room as me. I look over at London’s bed. She had already done her silly ritual. Laying out her clothes. A scoop of ice cream trickles down my favorite Mickey Mouse T-shirt. Oh come on, I think. I hear London’s soft footsteps across the hall. Great, I think. London is going to barge in here and totally be rude. That will really drive me off the edge. Instead, London comes in and sits down next to me. Her eyes are full of remorse. We look at each other and go in for a hug. I look at London. Her clothes have smudges of my chocolate ice cream. She looks down and glares at me. We both giggle.

 

Dagger and the Bloodwolf

Dagger was a 21-year-old man living on Tracker Street in Orlando, Florida. He was the only one living on that street, but he was actually from California but moved because he got a job as a bartender in Orlando. Tracker Street was built in the 1950s, and now, by 2017, it had looked old and wrinkly, like no one had ever lived on the street. There was only one bar in the town, where Dagger worked. The rest of it was forest. The bar was named Beer’s Beer House and was very hard to work in, had a lot of fights, and was hard work because you had to protect yourself because people started bar brawls. There were so many brawls because people from all over the world came to have beer there. They could be friends, or they could be enemies, which was why people started brawls. Dagger had friends that he met when he started working there. Their names were Lash the trashboy, who mostly took out the trash, and Raker the waiter. Lastly, there was Jack the chef. Dagger and his friends usually went to a casino in the city of Orlando to have fun. They usually played games and had drinks.

That night, Dagger was walking home from the bar. That’s when it struck. Big, strong, deadly, the bloodwolf. Struck at the speed of light and never gave up when it was up to killing. When Dagger first saw it, he was scared to death. He ran as fast as he could, but the bloodwolf didn’t catch him. Not yet, at least.

The bloodwolf was a cross between a werewolf and a wolf. The people who made this terrible mixture was the government. They wanted to make an unbeatable weapon so no one would cross paths with them. That night, when the wolf tried to get out of their rusty hands, they took the wolf and threw him into a pit, thinking the wolf would become a weapon, but they were wrong. The wolf transformed into the bloodwolf. It was destructive, it was massive, and it killed everyone in its path that night. People said legend said that the bloodwolf still haunted Orlando, Florida, and they had assumed correctly. They put up warning signs, which was why everyone left. The bloodwolf wanted to get revenge for what the humans did to him, and what he ate was the flesh of human beings.

The bloodwolf had gotten Dagger’s scent and was now hunting Dagger. The next day, Dagger thought that was just a dream, seeing the bloodwolf in front of him.

He kept saying to himself, “It’s just a dream, it’s just a dream, it’s just a dream.”

When he arrived at the bar, because his job was a bartender, his friend said, “Hey, what’s wrong, buddy?”

He said, “Well, you know, I saw a werewolf.”

Everybody laughed, making fun of him. The whole day he was miserable and trying to make his friends think about something else, but it never worked. Dagger was turning away from his friends, trying to ignore them. Okay, let’s face it, Dagger could sometimes be crazy, and his friends knew that. So this time, they thought this was really just stupidity or a dream. His friends were never so mean to him, but when they heard he saw a werewolf, they just laughed and laughed and made fun of him. Usually, they would have fun together, but they also made fun of each other sometimes for the fun of it. When he got out of the bar, he was very vigilant and alert of his surroundings, but the bloodwolf was smarter than he thought. He went in the forest for a nice walk, thinking that the bloodwolf wouldn’t come so far from the village and thinking that it was a werewolf, but it was not. Bloodwolves looked like werewolves. But bloodwolves were faster, smarter, and did not come out of humans. That night he thought, Oh well, who cares. It’s just a werewolf. What can a werewolf do to me. He was thinking it was just a dog, so he could just throw a stick and he would go fetch. But he was very much wrong. Bloodwolves were not dogs. They knew the difference between dogs and wolves, and they did not give up until their prey was destroyed. That night, Dagger actually enjoyed his time in the forest. It was nice because the night sky was blue, and there was a full moon and a lot of stars. When he was going home, it struck again. It was like the speed of light. It was so fast, Dagger didn’t even see it coming when the bloodwolf was right in front of him. He ran the other way, thinking he could outrun the bloodwolf, but it was faster than he thought. The chase was two minutes long and as he was running, he thought he could survive because he was kind of smart, and he thought the bloodwolf wasn’t. But no, the bloodwolf was smarter and quicker, so when the bloodwolf pounced to get him, it did some damage. But then, the bloodwolf caught him and killed him and ate him. At that moment, Dagger found out that the bloodwolf was really a bloodwolf, but it was too late. That night, the bloodwolf had a feast on Dagger’s body. Legend stated that whoever went into the forest again would be hunted by that bloodwolf that killed Dagger five years ago.

The End

Oh wait. The next day, Dagger was in digital heaven. That why it’s written like this. Dagger was playing sports like soccer and baseball and made his dream come true, becoming the best bartender ever. Dagger was a skeleton. Dagger was thinking how rich he could be in digital heaven. Dagger was seeing himself being the president of digital heaven.

Now that’s the end.

 

Persephona

        

Part One

Once there was a girl who got bullied. Her name was Parsephona. Everyone always thought she was all nicey-nice. This was her worst fear. People thought this because she was Persephone’s daughter, goddess of spring. She went to the underworld. No one understood Persephone either. She lived in ancient Greece. Ancient Greece was beautiful. But she was just a normal girl. She was a sweet girl with beautiful, green eyes She liked sports a bunch and gymnastics. She got bullied because she didn’t have any friends that lived close and because she was the daughter of a goddess.

Ava lived three hours away. She lived in a town named San Deana. Her friend, Parsephona, lived in Caler Dean. Every summer, she loved to go and stay with her friend because they were the only ones who understood each other. They met in the middle of preschool when both looked really sad and lonely. They were sitting next to each other and looked in each other’s eyes and saw that they were supposed to be great friends. In preschool, they lived in the same town. Then in the middle of fifth grade, her dad got a job in Caler Dean. Over the years they were together, they became inseparable. So when Parsephona and her friend had to be separated, their moms said they could see each other every summer. Ava liked soccer and gymnastics.

Parsephona always tried to make the bullying stop, but it never worked. One time, she was talking back to a bully, but then everybody laughed at her. She wanted to ask her parents to help her with what was going on at school. But she was too afraid that her parents would say something like, “You can work.” So, she had it as a secret. So she was so mad that she tried to call a hypnosis teacher. She thought that she should after the last day of school. Then, she realized that she was not allowed to invite someone without her parents’ permission.

So that summer, she asked, “Can I get something by myself before we go.”

Then her mom said, “You sure, honey?”

“I’m sure, Mom.”

“Alright then, go. But you must be back by 5:00.”

Then, she went out to find the hypnosis teacher. As she got closer, she got scared. She also started to think that she would have nightmares that night. Then, she thought that she should turn back, but she also wanted to keep going because she wanted to be less mad. She stopped and sat on the stairs of an awkward building to think what she should do. She also thought she should just go to her friend’s house now because that was the only person she could talk to. She found a car and decided to take it, so she stole it. She didn’t think correctly, so she just did. Then she went driving, and a cop saw her and put her in jail. She should have just called her mom. She called her friend, and she came to help her get out of jail.

When her friend got there, she told the police that it was just a misunderstanding. She said that she did this because she was really scared. She had never been in jail before, so she had no idea what happened. Then, the police let her out of jail and called her parents.

From that day, she realized that she should always tell her parents what was happening. Now she told her parents that people were bullying her, and they said they would talk to everyone’s parents. All the parents told them that they should be nicer.

Then, she realized that they were all really good friends. Her parents did give a punishment and that was that she had to take care of her new baby sister straight after school till she was in seventh grade, and she knew to be more responsible next time. Then every time she got mad, she went to her mom for help. She was now more responsible.

The moral of this part of this story is to count on everyone when you need help.

 

Part Two: My Diary

(Night)

Dear diary,

Why did I do this. Now I have to go home and not do any gymnastics. I guess I’ll do a backflip in the backyard while sis is sleeping. I wish we had a trampoline. I also wish I knew who my dad is. I think he is really fun. I’ve been struggling with this because when it’s winter, Mom is in the underworld. We know it’s not Hades, but who is it? I ask my mom, but she says that she would never tell. Back to now, sis is sleeping, Mom has something on Mount Olympus, so I’m technically alone. I’m having a lot of thoughts right now. Like what if the kids are being nice just because their parents told them to? I wish that people understood me. Now it’s getting really late, and Mom isn’t back yet. I will go to bed, but if she is not back by morning, I will freak out.

(Morning)

Dear diary,

Mom still gone. I tried calling her, but she didn’t answer. I’ll call Athena. She is a wise goddess. Mom told me Mom has to go down to the underworld because it’s going to be winter very soon and how Artemis is going to be my babysitter. She is so fun. She taught me archery, and the first time I tried, I hit the target right in the middle and tied with Artemis, the best person at archery in the world.

“How did I even get this good?” I asked Artemis.

“Your dad,” she said.

 

The end

 

Sequel coming out summer 2019.

 

A New War

Our story begins in the village of Dinval in a world where wars never end. Dinval is home to many of the race Redwood, and our character Rohan has a friend named Ralf. They are very good friends. Rohan and Ralf are going on a trip to Dinvel, home to the race of Ginvers. Dinvel is a small village. It was once a huge kingdom, but Zoros destroyed the place, and it is now only a village.

But before they go, there is a celebration of Vindor, the ones who have been protecting Inval from Zoros, the dark lord. It happened 1,000 years ago, when the great war was going on, but Vindor has protected them ever since. Some time later, Rohan and Ralf have made it to the celebration. As violins play, they dance for some time.

And then they realize they have to go, so Rohan goes up to Ralf. Rohan says to Ralf, “Hey, we need to go.”

Rohan and Ralf go to their home and sleep. Rohan can’t sleep. He keeps hearing whispers, so Rohan gets up and goes outside and walks around to think. And then Rohan hears two men talking, and Rohan eavesdrops on their conversion.

“Zoros will tear down every city to take over this world,” the two men say.

Rohan panics, and he looks up in the sky and sees a rain of arrows. Rohan takes cover.

Rohan sees Hourloks killing villagers. Hourloks are the darkest race to live. Rohan gets Ralf, and they start running. A Hourlok runs over and is about to stab Rohan, but a Vindorion soldier impales the Hourlok and tells Rohan to run. Rohan and Ralf run into the forest, and they escape the Hourloks.

A few weeks later, they make it to a village named Oostir. They go into a motel and rent it out as they talk about what happened, and then they go to bed. Rohan wakes up, goes downstairs, goes outside, and sees a man. He is an Adorian. Rohan hears horses far away. The man tells Rohan to go inside. They go into the motel.

Ralf yells, “WHO IS THAT?!”

“I don’t know,” says Rohan.

“YOU DON’T KNOW?” yells Ralf.

“I’m Arados,” the man says.

“Who?” Rohan asks.

“It does not matter who I am. We need to leave now. Jump out the window.”

“Um w… why?” says Ralf.

“Just do it,” says Arados.

“Okay,” says Ralf.

“What are those things, and why are they after us?”

“They are Singhul, and I do not know why they are after you, but just go. I will meet you at the gate. Run.”

Rohan and Ralf get to the gate. Arados runs to them and opens the gate. They run.

A few days later…

“Hey, where are we going?” Rohan asks Arados.

“We are going to Elvon,” Arados says.

“Where?” Rohan asks.

“We are going to go to Elvon,” Arados says.

“Why?” Rohan asks.

“To understand why the Singhul are after you and to know why they are back.”

“But why Elvon?” asks Rohan.

“The seers are there now. Stop asking stuff,” says Arados.

“Okay,” says Rohan.

“Hey, we are here. Just over this hill,” says Arados.

Rohan walks over the hill and sees a city like no other. They walk into the huge castle and see a meeting room with three men called the seers. Rohan starts walking up to them, and then a glass ball falls out of Rohan’s bag.

Then, the seers yell, “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?”

“I… I… my dad gave it to me,” Rohan nervously says.

“Do you know what that is?”

“No, I don’t,” Rohan says.

A bearded man comes into the meeting room and says, “Don’t be hard on the boy, just tell him.”

“So that’s why the Singhul were after you,” says Arados.

“What is it? Just tell me,” Rohan says.

“It is the key to the crystal of the knight’s guard,” one of the seers says.

“What is that?” Rohan asks.

“It is… ”

A huge boom hits the castle.

“What was that?” Rohan asks.

“OH NO!! IT’S ZOROS! HE’S ATTACKING!” Arados yells as thuds and booms go on. “Run! Get your men to the battlefields!” the bearded man says.

“Rohan, run,” Arados says.

“Where are you going?” Rohan asks Arados.

“Just run,” Arados says.

Rohan gets to the top of the castle tower and sees the Hourloks breaking through the gate. A boulder comes and hits the tower that Rohan is in, and then the tower comes down. Rohan falls out of the tower. He gets up and is slightly hurt. He sees two Hourloks coming at him, but Arados comes and uses his sword and kills them both. Arados tells Rohan to run inside the castle. They both run inside and close the gate. Rohan hears the Hourloks banging at the gate.

“Arados, we need to leave to Airadon,” the bearded man says.

A few days later, they walk into the the meeting room, and they talk.

“What is your name?” Rohan asks the bearded man.

“My name is Dilval.”

“Okay, what is the knight’s guard?”

“They are the ones that protected the world, but now they are dead.”

The king comes into the room and shouts, “We must break the key.”

“No, we must use the crystal,” Dilval says.

“No, we will not. I own the crystal,” replies the king.

Dilval whispers to Rohan, “You take the glass ball and get the crystal. It is beneath the castle. Go now. The king won’t understand. It is the only way to take down Zoros.”

“Okay,” agrees Rohan.

Rohan finds the gate under the castle. He goes in. He sees a slot to put in the glass ball. He puts it in. It opens, and he sees a bright light. He sees the crystal. He grabs the crystal and runs. He looks up in the sky and sees a dragon. Zoros is here. Dilval and Arados run to the wooden bridge to leave, but Zoros himself comes out of a portal of fire.

When he came out of the portal, it felt like all happiness was gone from the world. Dilval fights, but Zoros kills Dilval. Zoros uses his sword and kills Arados.

Rohan screams, “NOOOOO!!!”

“You are dark. I can feel it. Why not join me?” Zoros asks in a deep, dark voice to Rohan.

“No, I will not join you, you monster.”

“Okay, then I will just kill you,” Zoros says to Rohan.

Rohan grabs the crystal and shines it on Zoros. The crystal breaks, and Zoros dies. And now Rohan will live on, his life scarred by darkness.

The end

 

The Diary of Sir Littleton III

        

December 1, 1924

Hello, my name is Sir Littleton III. I live in London, England. I have been having some rough times lately. I only want a friend, but how could a little mouse like me find a friend in London? I also have to escape mean people who chase me with brooms!

And guess where I live? An old pipe in a wall! Aieeee! Mouse! Oops! Sorry, gotta run! Bye!

December 2, 1924

I’m back!

I went to the museum by sneaking into some lady’s purse to get away from those mean people with brooms. When I was there, I heard some priests talking about how they should respect all life. That’s it! I thought. I could live in the church! I am going to be a church mouse!

I rushed home, stuffed my things in my doll’s suitcase, and headed straight for the church.

I scurried through the crowd and found a pair of fancy, comfy shoes to live in. I felt like a one pound weight was lifted off my tiny shoulders (which is a lot for a mouse).

Then, I decided I needed to look like a church mouse. I snuck into the priest’s dressing room and cut a tiny robe from his big one and put it on. Then, I cut off the top of his hat and put that on too. Finally, to top it all off, I took the long stick he carries and broke off the top. I went back to my shoe to get dressed. I looked fabulous! Amazing! Beautiful! I was a real church mouse. While I sat in the shoes and read a torn off piece of the bible, I heard a THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! The priest was coming! I shut my eyes tight and put my paws in front of my snout, hoping I would not get killed, when he picked me up and hugged me.

“My, my, you’d make a great pet,” he said.

Well, chop my cheese, I thought. He wants to keep me as a pet!

“And where did you get those adorable little clothes?”

My little snout went redder than a tomato.

“Oh, who cares? You are the cutest thing I ever saw!”

Suddenly, I heard a scream from the dressing room.

“Eek! Somebody ruined my clothes!”

“Lorenzo, what’s more important — clothes or animals?”

“FINE, but if I catch that dirty mouse doing anything with my things again, I promise, I will get revenge!” he snarled.

I shivered like I was in Antarctica.

That night, I slept in my shoe. When I woke up, I continued reading the torn off bible page. A cold, wrinkly thing pushed down on my snout. Wait a minute… that was Lorenzo’s foot! Ew! Lorenzo stomped into the shoes and started walking down the hall. I screamed for help, but to everybody else it sounded like SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK!

“Aw, are you okay, mouse?” Lorenzo laughed.

Great, now I’m stuck in a shoe getting crushed by none other than Lorenzo’s foot, I thought.

When I thought all hope was lost, the priest came running in screaming.

”MY MOUSE IS GONE! I WANT HIM BACK!” he wailed.

Now it was Lorenzo’s turn to go as red as a tomato. When the priest looked at his shoe, he went paler than a ball of mozzarella.

“Y-y-you… you took my mouse!” he stuttered. “YOU TOOK MY MOUSE!” he screamed.

Then, he ran over to the phone and dialed 9-1-1 to report animal abuse. The police rushed over and arrested Lorenzo. He was very mad. After that, the priest and I lived a happy and calm life together.

THE END

 

Goldfish

Once upon a time, there were two goldfish. One was Pretzel, and one was Cheddar. One day, they were swimming by a coral reef, and they found an extra cheddar goldfish, who was Cheddar’s mom. Extra Cheddar said that Pretzel and Cheddar needed to take a nap.

When they were supposed to be napping, they were whispering and talking, and Pretzel said to Cheddar, “I wish we were rulers of the sea.”
Pretzel said, “Ooh, me too. I wonder how we can become rulers.”

After their nap, Cheddar’s mother sent them out to play in the playground, which was the coral reef. When they got to the playground, they found Pizza goldfish. Then, Pretzel said, “Pizza, I wish we were all rulers.”

“I agree, I wonder how we could become rulers,” Pizza said.

Pizza, Pretzel, and Cheddar swam around the reef to try to think of a way to become rulers. They couldn’t think of anything, but then Pizza goldfish said, “I thought of something. We can go back to our house and have a snack there and think. Maybe we’re swimming around too much and can’t think about becoming rulers.”

So they went back, but they just ran into Pizza-Pretzel goldfish, Pizza and Pretzel’s mom. They asked their mom if they could go back home and have a snack, and she said, “Yes.” Then, they sat at the kitchen table and thought. Cheddar had an idea that they could go the ruler of the sea so they could ask to become assistant rulers. Pizza and Pretzel went to their mom to ask if they could go see the ruler of the sea.

She said, “No, you guys have been asking too much. When you guys are older, you can go out on your own and ask.”

Cheddar, Pretzel, and Pizza were all sad, and they had to think, think, think. Pretzel had an idea. “How about Pizza and I tell our mom that our birthday is coming up soon and if we can go then because we’ll be older.”

They asked their mom, and she decided it was okay with her, but Cheddar couldn’t go because she was younger. Cheddar felt sad because she wasn’t allowed to go, but Pizza and Pretzel were allowed to. She swam slow.

Pizza had an idea so Cheddar could come along with them. Cheddar saved just enough money to buy five pairs of sock. Each pair one size larger than the other. They went to Cheddar’s house and asked if she could measure Cheddar again to see how much bigger she’d gotten. Then, Cheddar put on all the socks to make her look taller to her mom. Her mom said, “How many pairs of socks is that.”

Then, Cheddar pulled up the largest sock to cover the smaller socks and said, “Only one.”

Her mom said, “Let me measure those socks,” and she saw that they were way too big on Cheddar’s fin, and she asked to take off the sock. Cheddar pulled them all off at the same time, and they came inside out. Then, Cheddar’s mom said “Cheddddarrrr, go into the house and have a time-out for five minutes.”

Cheddar was so upset that she started crying.

Pizza and Pretzel were having a playdate at Cheddar’s house, and they ran out and tried to see if there was any way they could become rulers and then make Cheddar a ruler too. They went to the ruler’s castle, but the drawbridge was up, so they went back to Cheddar’s house. Cheddar’s mom was in the kitchen. “We are going up to Cheddar’s room,” Pretzel said. They were really just going out the back door. They went out, and they went to the ruler’s castle. The drawbridge was down, and they went inside.

They asked the ruler, “Can we please be rulers?”

“Yes, but you need to take a test to see if you can rule properly. And it’s a very hard test, and nobody has passed it but me.”

“We’ll take the test!” they all said at once.

“Here are the questions: If another army comes, what would you do?”

Pizza, Pretzel, and Cheddar talked, and Pizza said, “Ask your army to fight back.”

“Yes. What would you do if someone came to visit?”
They talked, and then Pretzel said, “Give them your guest room and make them feel very welcome.”

“Yes. Name three good rules for the kingdom.”

Cheddar said, “Look both ways before you cross the street.” Cheddar was really frustrated because she was having lots of trouble coming up with rules. Then, she said, “Be nice to others.” Last, she said, “You have to brush your teeth every morning.”

The ruler said yes to all of them. They all became rulers, and they all got a castle. The castles had a big dining room, a huge kitchen, an amazingly large living room, lots of bathrooms, and lots of bedrooms. There was one tower where the throne was. The throne was made of red velvet. Pizza, Pretzel, and Cheddar had the castle to themselves, but their parents got to stay with them. They were very happy that they became rulers.

In their kingdom, real goldfish lived. They ate seaweed and sand. Their supermarket was a very sandy and seaweed-y place. They watched movies, read books, and played with their friends. Every day, the little fish went to a school of fish, and the houses looked like bubbles. Pizza, Pretzel, and Cheddar were the best rulers ever.

The End

 

Coco At The Circus

Coco is an elephant. She likes to go to the circus. In Coco’s world, there are no people because one day people invaded their world, but no one got hurt. Every year, there is a circus to celebrate that they are safe. Today is the day of January first, so they celebrate today! Coco goes to the circus and gets popcorn and cotton candy. She sits down and gets comfy. She is very excited. First, the horses come with beautiful feathers on the top of their heads. The ladies on top of the horses also have feathers on the top of their heads and beautiful headdresses. The riders twirl and dance on top of the horses. Coco really likes it. Every rider has a special color for their costume. Next, there are clowns. They are juggling eight bananas each. They hop on one leg. They also dance and juggle and do all different kinds of things when they juggle. Then, they start juggling with their feet and do the exact same things that they did when they were juggling with their hands. Next, there is a bear that can unlock itself from its cage. So, it unlocks itself. Everybody is surprised. Then, the bear goes back into his cage and locks himself up again. The audience is relieved. Then, the bear starts going in and out of his cage. In and out, in and out, over and over again. The audience laughs. When the circus is done, Coco is happy because there is another circus for animals that could not come today. But the next day, some of the things are missing! “Oh no!” cries Coco. So, she decides she would try and look for them. She looks in stores, her neighbor’s house, streets and sidewalks, but she still cannot find them. She goes back to the circus to look for clues, and she sees footprints. They look like bear footprints. That is odd, she thinks. She follows the footprints to the bear’s cage! She looks all around the cage, but she cannot find them. Then, she notices the bear’s blanket is bumpy, so she looks there, and she finds them! So, she tells the ringmaster she found the missing things. They have the circus the next day, thanks to Coco.

The End

 

Faller Killed Killer

Once upon a time there was a snowflake named Killer. He looked like he had many swords, and they were made of ice. His were semicircles. He was white and clear. He lived in Alaska on a tree. Next to that tree lived Faller, who was a snowflake, which was clear and was very irritating. Faller looked like he was a fan, so whenever you spun him, he would give you air. Before, when they both were not fighting, Killer used to spin Faller. When Faller thought, I don’t like it when he spins me, he started to irritate Killer. He would make lots of noise in the night when Killer was sleeping. Then, in the morning, he used to come in his living room and open the window shades and put music in his room and then wake him up. Then, Faller ran out, and he fell down. When he would fall down, he started spinning.

When Killer and Faller saw the biggest star in the sky in the night, Killer decided in the morning he was going to kill Faller because he irritated him so much

Killer had many swords, and he was holding seven swords. He was very dangerous. He was bigger than Faller. Faller was like snow and often fell.

One day, Killer put one of his swords in Faller’s body and took it out. He broke Faller’s flake. Then, Faller fell. Faller was flying again. When Faller had fallen on the ground, Killer came and tried to eat him up. Faller had no swords but had many flakes. He cut his flakes into two pieces, but then cut them off the middle and made them into swords. Faller pointed them on Killer, and he stabbed them through Killer. First, Killer had ten swords, but now Faller took three of his swords, and he only had seven left.

Faller thought, Why does Killer always try kill me and melt me? If Killer kills me, I can’t come back. He almost succeeded!

He saw one of his flakes on the ground and made a boomerang out of them to kill Killer.

But Killer took the boomerang and made that one of his swords. They both were fighting. Then, Faller broke one of Killer’s swords and made that his mighty, mighty, mighty, mighty, mighty sword. It was very sharp. It was very dangerous. It could go through Killer’s wings.

Then, Killer thought, I have to get revenge.

But Killer almost died. Faller used his mighty sword to cut Killer in half. Faller took part of Killer’s body to make another sword. Then, Faller took another part of Killer and made it into a mighty sword. He now had three more swords. Faller made one of his swords into metal by putting a metal piece he had and then put fire in that. Then, Faller went into Killer’s heart with his sword, and then Killer melted into water. Faller was happy, because Killer used to kill everyone. He was dancing!

The Twins that Never Fight

Once, there were two twins who lived in New York in Manhattan. Elizabeth and Grace were their names, and they were five years old. They both had brown hair, blue eyes, they were missing two teeth, and they had peach skin. They lived with their mom and their dad. They shared a room, and they liked each other a lot. They liked to do a lot of things together, and their favorite thing to do together was eat ice cream. And they were different in one way. Elizabeth played soccer, and Grace didn’t play soccer. She would rather fix her hair. They both liked to dance.

There was a big dance competition coming up. Grace and Elizabeth were dancing around in their uniforms for the dance competition. They had known about the competition for a month, and they practiced every day. They loved to practice. Grace remembered that they would get to go out to dinner after the competition, and they rarely get to go out to dinner. Their mom said they could get dessert. If they won, they would get to pick what restaurant they got to go to. If they didn’t win, their mom and dad would pick the restaurant. Grace and Elizabeth were excited, so they practiced really hard. They had five days before the dance competition.

Later that day, Elizabeth used Grace’s lip gloss. Grace got mad at Elizabeth, and she ripped her poster for soccer and threw her trophy on the ground. It broke in half. Elizabeth ran and told her mom, crying. Her mom told Grace not to throw trophies because someone can get really hurt. Grace thought maybe they would not make up, and they would miss the dance competition. So, Grace went and told Elizabeth that it was okay that she used her lip gloss. Elizabeth said that she wasn’t mad anymore. They made up and hugged and kept practicing for the dance competition. They turned on this weird music and thought it was the song for the dance competition, so they danced to the weird music.

The night before the dance competition, Grace thought as she slept, Am I gonna win? Am I gonna win? Am I gonna win? Then, she woke up and went to get water and went back to sleep.

In the morning, Grace and Elizabeth got their uniforms and matching bows on. They were red with white sparkles. They got in the car and drove off to Sag Harbor for the dance competition. It was a five hour car trip. At the competition, the judge called their names. They were first. They walked onto the big stage and started to dance with the weird music, but then different music came on, and they had to dance with that music instead. They just went with it and copied each other. Eight people danced after them. No one was as good as Elizabeth and Grace. At the end, they crossed their fingers that they would win first place. They jinxed that they would not win the competition. They put the first place on the board, and it was Grace and Elizabeth! They drove to the restaurant they picked, Maxwell’s, and ate dinner. They each got chocolate ice cream for dessert.

THE END!!!

 

The Evil Santa

Every night on Christmas Eve, Evil Santa takes toys from the innocent boys and girls. The Good Santa couldn’t help because he was kidnapped by the Evil Santa. Evil Santa first kidnapped Good Santa 200 years ago, and it had been going on since then. The old Good Santa tried to send a secret message to the elves to ride the reindeer sleigh to save them, but they couldn’t do it and couldn’t get back.

One day, an elf heard on the radio that someone was stealing presents on Christmas Eve again. So the elf said, “I’m going to finally stop this thief.”

He was going to go on Santa’s sleigh. He didn’t know how to ride the sleigh, but he did it anyway. They said the robber was in New York City, so the elf had to go with the reindeer to New York. When he got to New York, he saw a lot of beautiful stuff he never saw before. He saw the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

When he passed a few houses, he saw someone sneaking into someone’s house. He stopped outside of the building, and he went inside the elevator. There were too many floors, so he picked floor three. Then, he went into someone’s room, but they were sleeping, and they had a dog. The elf didn’t want to wake the dog and be seen, so he walked quietly. Then, he saw someone at the Christmas tree. He did a sneak attack. He went on the ceiling, and then he jumped onto Evil Santa. Evil Santa yelled, “How did you get up there?!” It was a little loud, but it didn’t wake the people. But it woke up the dog. The dog was barking, and the man saw Evil Santa but not the elf because the elf was too small. The guy went on Evil Santa. They were fighting for a long time until Evil Santa got away.

The elf was under the bed, and he still couldn’t get out. He was in big trouble. He didn’t know what to do until the dog saw him under the bed. The dog was growling at him. Then, the guy told the dog to be quiet. They went back to sleep. The elf went away, but the guy saw him. The guy told his wife that someone stole presents from their house, and an elf was in the house too. So he called the police and pressed the fire alarm.

The police came quickly. The elf was running so slow. The police were chasing him, and he was scared. His hands were sweaty, and his heart was beating quickly, so he called the reindeer. They came with the big sleigh. They were off again. The cops were so jealous that they were flying in Santa’s sleigh. The elf said, “Now the cops want to get me. I’m a criminal!”

The elf was hungry. He saw a restaurant, but he didn’t go in. He just saw a lot of stuff about Santa. He listened to his favorite radio and relaxed. He wanted to find Good Santa again so everyone could get back Christmas. He looked around for someone to help, but no one wanted to.

In the morning, the elf was off again to find his boss, Good Santa, and the Evil Santa. The elf was sleeping on the sleigh when they left, and he didn’t notice they were somewhere else. They were close to Pennsylvania. The reindeer were getting tired, and they were getting as hungry as the elf. So the elf gave them all carrots, and the elf got a boiled egg for his lunch.

The elf was back in New York. Then, he saw a big, giant building, and he saw Evil Santa with all these people. He didn’t know why he was up there. Then he thought, He was a criminal, a villain. So he couldn’t beat him by himself, and he needed help. Then, he thought for a minute. He built a talking dog leash, a leash that if you put it on a dog, it can talk. A police dog was walking, and he asked the dog if he could help. The dog barked, but then the dog put the talking dog leash on, and he said, “Yeah.” The canine dog told him about Evil Santa, and the dog said he also wanted to get rid of Evil Santa because he always saw him at bedtime stealing presents.

So, the elf and the dog went up to the building to get Evil Santa. The elf wanted to jump out of the sleigh, but the dog was scared and thought the elf was crazy. So the elf used his stick pads to get up the building. They used a laser to cut a circle in the window. Then, they went under the table and saw all the stuff Evil Santa stole. The dog saw his presents and wanted to get them.

“No, don’t get it!” said the elf, but the dog got it, and then they saw him.

They were chasing the dog, and the dog said, “Go get the presents and save everybody!” The elf got all the presents and also saw his boss. He wanted to save his boss, but he needed the keys. The Evil Santa had the keys, so the elf did a sneak attack like back in the house. He climbed up on the walls with the sticky pads and jumped and got the keys.

The Evil Santa was chasing the elf while everyone else was chasing the dog, until the dog jumped out of the window and used his parachute. It was a little windy, so he went too high and the parachute got broken. All the villains tried to jump with parachutes, but they were too heavy, so they fell. The dog tried to fly. Then, he used his grappling hook because he was a secret agent dog.

Evil Santa was still chasing the elf. Then, the elf fought the Evil Santa. The Evil Santa was much stronger than the elf, so the elf used all his powers. But Evil Santa grabbed the elf’s neck and was choking him. He said, “I always steal presents on Christmas, and no one sees me or stops me.” But then, the secret agent dog did his karate kicks. Evil Santa was on the edge of the window. The elf couldn’t move. He was injured very badly. The dog was mad, so he used the grappling hook on Evil Santa and shot him all the way to another building. The Evil Santa was shaking to get free. He fell on the ground and landed on all the bad guys that fell before.

Then, the police came and found out who was stealing the presents and arrested Evil Santa. The dog also found the keys on the ground and freed Good Santa. They all went back to the North Pole with the dog. The dog was happy to be there because he could help if anyone was in trouble. Good Santa said, “We have a new Santa: Jiminy Elf!” Jiminy Elf would now be the new Santa. Everyone planned a ceremony, and they were happy.

 

War of the Fruits

        

Note from the author: A lot of strange things have happened in the fridge. I hope you enjoy, and just saying, dried banana tastes quite good.

Chapter One

There once was a team of banana soldiers in a banana city in a fridge in a kitchen in a house in New York City on the Earth. They really wanted to take over more land in the kitchen, but the team of apple soldiers in the apple city in that same fridge in that same kitchen in that same house in New York City would not let them. It was easy enough to get out of the fridge, since in that house people were opening the fridge all the time, but it was harder to actually get to the landing that they wanted. Being fruit, they would land on the floor and not onto the glorious counters they so badly wanted.

The bananas needed to figure out a way to make a bridge to the other side of the kitchen to the counter. Luckily, they saw a plank and thought, That would make a perfect bridge. However, the plank was on the counter, the very counter they were trying to reach. Then, their time arrived: someone opened the fridge…

Chapter Two

Up on the higher shelf, the apples were thinking about the counter across the kitchen. The apples looked down and noticed their arch enemies — the bananas — talking about a plank on the kitchen counter. They immediately became interested.

“We have less of a chance of getting to that plank than the bananas do,” said an apple, noting how they would have to climb down from their higher spot in order to figure out how to get the plank.

Just as the apples began devising a plan to climb down from their shelf, the fridge opened…

Chapter Three

The bananas were super excited that their chance had come. They had everything planned out. Only two would go. The most agile and quick bananas of the bunch would go. When they fell on the floor, they would go to the drawers and climb up the drawers.

When the door opened, they made their jump. They quickly climbed up the side of the drawers, when they saw them… the apples, getting ready to jump down from their shelf in the fridge. They knew they had to move fast. They reached the plank and ran into some oranges. The oranges were big, muscular, and bright, bright orange. The plank was a bed for some oranges, and they would not give up their plank so easily. The oranges really valued their rest. They needed to sleep a lot because if somebody came and tried to attack them, they needed to be well-rested so they could fight back. So, the bananas thought, Maybe we could let the apples do the hard part and deal with the oranges, and once the plank is in the fridge, we could retrieve it. So, using their agility and quickness, the bananas hid and waited for the apples.

Chapter Four

The apples saw the bananas hiding and contacted their king. “The bananas are trying to get us to do their dirty work and battle it out with the oranges,” they reported.

So, the King replied, “Wait under the place you were going to climb, and wait for them to come down.” They did as they were told. A few hours later, they started to feel uncomfortable. Brown ickiness started to appear on their skin. It was hot.

“We’re beginning to rot!” they said, noticing they had been out of the fridge for too long. They needed to get back into the fridge. They tried to climb up, and they hid in the freezer until the fridge would be opened again. Three days later, they opened the fridge, and the apples jumped into the fridge. They were saved!

Chapter Five

The bananas were annoyed their plan was foiled. They jumped into the fridge, too. Then, they told the leader of the bananas, “It might take a little bit longer to get all of us out onto the counter.”

“We need to hurry,” the king said, “because the apples might get there first. We can’t let that happen! We have to go super fast, jump, and try to get a plank to make a bridge.”

The bananas decided to hide out in the freezer and make plans down there. It would take less time to get down, climb up, and get the plank that way. They went down, but the apples were down there, too! So, they hid behind an ice pack until the freezer opened. The stakes were high. If they were in the fridge for longer than four days, they would freeze into frozen fruit!

Chapter Six

The fridge opened, and the apples snuck up into the fridge so they wouldn’t rot. They were extremely strong, about as strong as the bananas were quick, so they were able to pull themselves up into the fridge. Then, it started warming up, so they could tell that the freezer had been opened. They realized this was their chance to get out and into the fridge. The bananas were on a lower level, so the apples needed to sneak up and past them to get back to their king on the high shelf. It was very important that they not be seen. The apples jumped onto the wall of the fridge and climbed up quietly and stealthily so that the bananas would not see them.

Chapter Seven

One of the bananas noticed an apple climbing up the side of the fridge to their high shelf. The banana ran to his chief, and the chief of the bananas said, “Follow them!”

The bananas climbed up the side of the wall after the apples. The banana chief was waiting for the bananas that were in the freezer to come back up. He noticed them climbing up and then climbing down the other side of the freezer. They ran as fast as they could to the drawers and climbed up. It was hard. There were not many places to grab on to climb, but they managed to do it. They hid and waited for the oranges to get off of the plank so that they could use it for their bridge. The oranges went off the plank and went to look for an intruder. They did not want anyone of those apples or bananas to come around and cause any of their chaos, and they especially did not want them to use their bed to make a bridge!

Chapter Eight

The apples were really angry because the bananas were closer to the goal than they were. They decided that they needed to be really quick, but the apples were still healing from their rot. They decided it was time for sabotage. The apples sent their strongest, but not most agile, apples to jump down out of the fridge and onto the floor. The strongest apple jumped out and grabbed the banana. He threw the banana off the shelf. The oranges heard a commotion, so they woke up. The strongest apple had the apples’ secret weapon: The Apple Slicer. He sliced himself into lots of more little apples.

Chapter Nine

The banana was about to get the plank, but an apple tackled him and threw him to the ground! He broke his leg from the fall! He ran as fast as he could, at least as fast as a banana can run with a broken leg. He finally climbed up and went back into the fridge. It took a while, so he started rotting a little too. He noticed a brown spot on his face… he was unripe. He had a smudge on his leg. Finally when he got up there, the bananas sent their strongest banana and with his bananas’ secret weapon: The Banana Cutter.

They sent their longest rope from the fridge to the counter, but only he could climb it because he was the strongest. He was there. He chopped himself into little, strong, and mighty banana pieces, and he used his skin as a rocket! He shot himself to the other side just so he wouldn’t waste time.

The apple and the banana called a truce just so they could team up to battle the oranges. But after that, they would fight again.

Chapter Ten

The oranges were furious to be woken up from their nap. The apple took on one orange, and the banana took on the other. Little did the two enemies know, the oranges unpeeled themselves and turned into lots of little oranges! So, it was basically an eight on eight battle! They fought and fought and fought! The apple called more apples to come and help. The apple jumped up, turned on the sink grabbed the bananas rocket that he flew there with, and used it as a raft to go across to the side with the plank!!!

Chapter Eleven

The bananas saw the apple calling for more help, so they did the same. “OH, NO. RETREAT!!!” said the oranges.

Meanwhile, back in the fridge, the banana chief said, “Hurry! Come help!”

A few planks across, the apple king said, “Go give them help, too!”

It took a little longer than it would for the banana and the apple because they were stronger, so they could just use the rope. They had to jump down from the fridge, climb a ladder, and catch the raft across from the sink. Then, when they finally arrived a few hours later, they surrounded the oranges. The oranges ran away, but the apple had the plank. He ran as fast as he could with all his other companions and made the bridge.

“Yay!! We made the bridge!”

Chapter Twelve

The bananas were quite angry that the apples got the plank. They turned bright green because bananas are green when they’re not ripe. They chased after the apples. One of the bananas was thinking, What is the point? So he just sat in the background, watching it like a movie, picking at dried banana. Then, the fridge door opened again. The apple put down the plank and said, “We win!!!” But then, right behind him, the bananas ran towards him. But, luckily, more apple warriors stopped them. Then, the apple king and the banana chief started screaming opposite things.

The banana king started weeping and weeping and weeping, and the apple king was jumping around on his throne, screaming “Yay! Yay! Yay!” Finally, the war ended. The apples had won.

They ran around screaming, “Yay! Yay! Yay!” just like their king. But every one of the bananas, except for one of them, was weeping and weeping, just like their king. He just kept on eating his dried banana.

Chapter Thirteen

I told you that dried banana is so good that you can eat it, even if everyone else is crying. That’s the whole point. Also, now I’m going to go eat some apples, and maybe a banana after, and the oranges, oh well. They’re just sleeping.

Hi, I’m the narrator. I told you some weird things that have happened in the fridge. My name is Fridge. Yeah, I’m a fridge. I hope you enjoyed. My pets are magnets, and my best friend is the counter. He’s quite sleepy, though, just like his pets, the oranges. Oh, and also, World War 2 is coming soon or, should I say, World War of the Fruits 2, so be sure to read it. Goodbye! Wait! Be respectful to your fridges, just because you might have me. Also your counter. Don’t wake him up. He’s grumpy. Now, for real. Goodbye.

They’re inside someone’s stomach. It’s gross, and they’re about to be pooped out. There’s a lot of brown stuff, and they’re unaware of what it is. They’re trying to swim in blood away from the toilet and the brown stuff that they’re still not able to identify. The apple and banana have also become friends. They look like chewed up fruit, and they’re very mushy, and there’s banana juice and apple juice dripping out of them. Also, they met a very nice broccoli that has not gone through the system yet. They’re all thinking, I’m doomed to see light again. Also, they met a frog which has been making their owner have a very weird voice. They’re looking at very gross puffy, brown stuff that they don’t want to touch.

 

The Road Trip

 

“Emma, start packing! We need to leave at 1:00 P.M.!” my mother yelled. Oh no… I forgot to pack! It was already 11 A.M.. I grabbed my shorts and a few shirts. I plugged in my phone and shoved my toiletries in my bag. My little sister came waddling in my room, holding her stuffed bear that she has had since she was born.

“Sis, did you pack yet?” I questioned her.

“Uh, I think Mommy did yesterday,” she replied, unable to pronounce “th” and “s.”

“Okay, well I need to pack.” I turned around, my words fading. “OH NO! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!” I screamed angrily. She was cutting my phone charger. I quickly ran over and picked her up, grabbing the cord out of her hand. What am I going to tell Mom? I thought. I brought my little sister down to the kitchen where my mother was.

“Uhh Mom? Kayla ruined my extension cord… ” I said with a sweet but harsh tone.

“O-M-G, is she okay?” she said, picking her up. “My sweet baby!” she cried.

“My sweet baby!” I mocked her under my breath.

“Why did you let her do that?!” she yelled as if I let her jump off a cliff.

“I did not! I was packing, and she just did it!” I panicked.

It was time to leave for the trip. We packed up the van and got in. I brought a lot of food like trail mix, Skittles, Twix, and beef jerky! When we started driving, my sister said it. What we all dreaded.

“I need to use the bathroom!” She grinned.

“Oh, for the sweet mercy of God! David!” my mother yelled to my dad.

“What should I do? Oh umm okay, sweetie? Pee in this bag.” He sweat.

Mom, Dad, she will not pee in a bag next to me!” I emphasized so they knew I was serious.

“BAG PEE PEE!” my sister squealed as she grabbed it and pulled her pants down. I heard the pee going in the bag.

Ewwww!” I exclaimed. I needed to take a nap…

I woke up from my nap. I was still tired, but I couldn’t fall back asleep because of my little sister eating. At least she was eating and wouldn’t start her “I’m hungry” campaign. I checked my phone, and it was 3:01 P.M.. We had been driving for two hours, so six more to go. I saw my phone was at five percent, so I asked to plug it in.

“Mom, can you plug my phone in?” I asked, full of hope.

“Sure, sweetie, but only till it hits 60. Daddy needs it,” she said. I could tell she was tired, but when you have a daughter like my sister, you are in for a long, annoying ride. I looked at my sister, eating a Twix.

“Hey, um, Kayla? Where did you get that?” I was worried she was eating my candy.

“I got from blue bag!” she said without a worry, but she better have been worried.

“What have you eaten?” I wasn’t in the mood to ask because knowing her, she ate all of it.

“I ate kittle, Twix, tale mix, and beef jerky,” she answered.

“OH NO! THAT WAS MY FOOD! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!” I screamed furiously.

“I ate you food?” she said, putting it down.

“YES!” I yelled at her. I felt kind of bad yelling at a three-year-old, but she needed to be disciplined to not steal other people’s food. I hated her so much. So much. Candy Thief, candy thief, candy thief. That is what she was. I was too tired to complain now that I got my emotions out, and besides, we were going to a beach resort. Relaxation awaited. So I went to bed.

“Sweetie, we are here. Get up!” my mother frightened me. Awww we are here, I thought. I opened my eyes in three, two, one.

“AAAAAAAHH!” I screamed.

“What is wrong?” my mother said, worried.

Well, the sign for this place is halfway lit up, it is hanging on by a screw, there is caution tape around the whole darn place, oh, and it is 12 miles away from the beach. And to top it all off, IT IS A MOTEL!” I scream with disgust. My parents and sister were silent. We went into our room, and it was gross. Spider webs were everywhere, bugs crawled up the walls, and wait. There was a queen bed and a twin. So I needed to share it with my sister. Oh. No. This. Would. Be. Torture! I grabbed my bag and laid my wash towel on the bed. I couldn’t bear sleeping on the bed, so I grabbed my backpack and used it as a pillow. My little sister kicked and talked in her sleep. But I knew it was just one night.

We woke up, and my little sister put the towel in my bag. “Thank you, Kayla,” I said. She just smiled. We decided to order food.

“Hi, we would like one breakfast burrito, a ham omelette, a chicken burrito, and a salad. Thank you.” I wanted the ham omelette. It sounded so good. When the food got here, I didn’t have an omelette. I got a weird carrot looking thing.

“Sister, do you want to trade? You don’t seem to like that,” my little sister said.

“Oh no, it is fine. But, I mean, sure?” I replied as she handed it to me. “Thank you!” I said. She smiled again.

It was now time for us to leave for the beach. We got in the van, and I was still tired after the kicking, talking, gross, bed phenomenon. I was ready to ride the waves. So was my sister. She fell asleep on my shoulder. So, you know, why not go to sleep too.

We got to the beach, and my sister wanted to swim. So, sure. I would swim with her. After all, she was the best sister ever.

 

Electro

 

Episode One/ Chapter One

There was once a boy named Jack, and he was a normal boy. But one day, there was an electrical storm, and he got struck by lightning. But instead of dying, he got electric superpowers, and he made his superhero name Electro. He could teleport, concentrate electricity in his fingertips, and release electricity. Jack was happy that he had these powers because where he lived was a crime ridden city, and a few days ago, criminals attacked his sister Lily. So he started teleporting around the city to test his powers, and when he was exploring, he found a gang of criminals attacking a man and taking his money, so he tried to cover his face as best as he could with his hood and went down to fight. When he landed on the ground, he shot an electric wave at the criminals. Then, the ones that he didn’t hit he hit with electric punches and kicks. When he did the punches and kicks, it felt like his hand was tingling and like it was surging with power. Then, after the battle, he helped the man that was hurt get up and gave his money back.

The man said, “Thank you for saving me, young man.”

Then, Jack said, “Anytime.”

After that, Jack teleported home and went to bed. Tomorrow, he was going to make his superhero suit.

 

Episode Two/ Chapter Two

In the morning, Jack put together his superhero suit. His suit would be a blue hoodie with sports goggles and a blue vogmask. He had one because of allergies. It nullified his allergies. Then, he went to school. School was going well for Jack. He got an A+ on a math test, and he then had science. Then, he heard a loud buzzing sound, and when he looked outside, there was a dark portal. Through the portal came a crimson demon, and the demon destroyed half of his school, and everywhere kids were screaming. Luckily, Jack brought his costume to school, so he hid in the janitor’s closet and changed and fought the demon. He shot an electrical wave at the demon, teleported behind it, and lightning punched the demon as hard as he could. Behind him, he heard everybody screaming. After Jack’s combo attack, the demon shot a fire blast at him, but Jack teleported away just in time. Then, Jack transformed into a lightning dragon and shot a mini electrical storm at the demon, and that destroyed the demon. But Jack used up a lot of his energy, and he passed out. When Jack woke up, he was in the school nurse’s office, and there was a bunch of kids all bunched up around him. His mask was on very loose, so he covered his face with his hands. Luckily, nobody recognized him.

One of the kids asked him, “Who are you?”

Jack replied, “I’m Electro.”

 

Episode Three/ Chapter Three

The next day, Jack asked his friends Ben and Mason to meet up with him after school. When Jack walked through the hallways, he saw all the kids talking about Electro and what happened yesterday. Then, when Jack looked at the school newspaper, he saw him/Electro on the front cover. It said: Yesterday, on April 22, a new superhero named Electro saved our school from a demon that came from a dark portal. Who really is this young superhero? And does he go to our school?

“Wow,” said Jack. “I’m really becoming a superhero.”

But inside, Jack was also worried about all the responsibilities of becoming a superhero.

After school, Jack met Ben and Mason behind the school, and Jack said, “Remember that Electro guy that saved the school from yesterday?”

Ben said, “Yeah.”

Mason said, “What about him?”

Jack said, “Did you know that I’m him?”

Then, Jack teleported in a circle to show them.

“Wow!” said Ben and Mason.

“But you have to remember this,” said Jack. “You can’t tell anyone that I’m Electro, okay? I only trust you because you’re my best friends.”

“Okay,” said Ben and Mason.

Then, they all went home. So now Ben and Mason knew that Jack had superpowers, but Jack didn’t know that Ben and Mason had their own superpowers. So that was why they weren’t freaking out when they knew their friend had powers. And Jack also didn’t know that the demon was after Jack’s powers because the demon ruler wanted his powers.

 

Episode Four/ Chapter Four

When Jack went to school, there was another demon attack, but there were two demons this time. Jack did everything he could. He shot the biggest electric wave he could make and shot two electrical storms at both of the demons, but it wasn’t enough, and just before both of the demons shot fire blasts at Jack, there was a plasma blast and a fire blast shot at the two demons. When Jack looked at the two new heroes, he saw the one that shot the plasma blast, which Jack figured out was Mason, because he didn’t see him with the rest of the kids. Mason was wearing a blue and green jacket with a green bandana over his mouth. And the hero that shot the fire blast was wearing a red shirt with an orange and black cloak and black gauntlets, which Jack knew was Ben because he didn’t see him in the crowd of students that evacuated the school either. Mason and Ben helped Jack with the battle. Mason shot huge plasma waves at the demons and hit them with plasma punches, while Ben used his fiery fists to attack the smaller demon and used fire breath to deal with the bigger demon. After a big fight, the demons retreated back through the portal that led to the demon world. When the battle ended, nobody knew that the two other heroes were Ben and Mason, so they interviewed them. Ben’s superhero name was Hellblaze, and Mason’s name was Retro. After school, Jack talked to Ben and Mason.

“I know those two heroes were you guys. Why didn’t you tell me you had powers when I told you I had them?”

Mason said, “I’m sorry. We should have told you.”

“Yeah,” said Ben. “We should have.”

“Well, at least I know now,” said Jack.

And then, all the boys came to Jack’s house to talk about their powers. Jack found out Mason got his powers by touching one of his dad’s radioactive experiments, so his dad knew about his powers. Also, Ben got his powers by being caught in the firestorm last week from a weather machine that the big science organization of the city made. They did a lot of testing with dangerous things. They decided to make a superhero group, but they didn’t know what to call it, so they would think of it later. And all the boys slept at Jack’s house.

 

Episode Five/ Chapter Five

When Jack was asleep, he had a dream that changed everything. He could see the king of the demon world ordering all of his strongest demon fighters to fight Jack and take his powers, because he wanted them to charge a weapon that would destroy the human dimension, so he could bring the human dimension into his empire. Also, he could use Mason’s and Ben’s powers for other uses. But he also found out that his powers were meant for him since he was born, because he could think of all the ways to use them, and the god of lightning was keeping them until he was ready for them. The lightning that hit him was supercharged by the gods. Then, Jack’s dream ended, and Jack was shocked by what he saw and what he found out.

“I can’t believe my powers were meant for me,” he said. “I thought it was just luck.”

And then, Jack woke up Ben and Mason and told them about his dream, and they told him they had dreams similar to his.

Mason said, “The demon king wants my powers to help power their weapon.”

“Same here,” said Jack.

Then Ben said, “The demon king wants my powers to be the source of the demon’s forge, so they can have stronger weapons to take over other dimensions.”

“Well, we’re not gonna let that happen,” said Jack.

Then, they all headed to school.

 

Episode Six/ Chapter Six

Now that the three boys knew what all of their powers were meant for and what was after them, they always had their guards up. When school started, everything was normal. Jack did history and a few other periods. Then, it was time for lunch, and still there was no attack on the school. The school lunchroom was much smaller now, because of the time when the demon destroyed half of the school, and also, some of the classrooms got destroyed, so there were less subjects, and school would let out early. At 1:30, school let out, and Jack, Ben, and Mason were surprised that there was no attack on the school. Jack thought there was something suspicious going on, so he called a superhero meeting. First thing at the meeting, Jack thought of a superhero group name: Thunder.

But Ben said, “That name is based too much on your powers. We have to make a name that makes sense to all of us.”

“Maybe we should call it the Force,” said Mason, and we all agreed.

“Another thing that we need to talk about is why there was no demon attack, because I have a feeling that there is going to be one tonight, if not today.”

Ben suggested, “Why don’t we have another sleepover, so we can protect each other?”

“Okay,” said Mason and Jack, so that’s what they did.

 

Episode Seven/ Chapter Seven

It was dark, and then there was a loud buzzing sound, and it woke up Jack, Mason, and Ben. Then, the three boys saw the demon portal, and then they all got ready to fight, but what came out were three demons the same size of the three boys.

One of the demons said, “We need your help to fight against the demon king, and we want you to be a part of the resistance.”

All the demons looked like normal boys, but with red eyes and red horns.

“Why would we trust you?” said Jack.

Another demon said, “Because we’re trying do the same thing: defeat the demon king.”

Then, one of the demon boys said, “Hi, my name is Kobal.”

Then, he pointed to his brother and said, “This is Leo.”

Then, he pointed to his other brother and said, “And this is Dagon.”

Then, Dagon said, “We promise you can trust us.”

“Okay,” said Jack. “We will come with you.”

“We will?” said Mason.

“Yeah,” said Jack. Then, he said, “If we come with you, you guys have to promise us that we can come back to our world whenever we want to.”

“Deal,” said Leo.

Then, Kobal said, “But first you have to help as much as you can.”

“Okay,” said Ben.

Then, Dagon said, “We’ll tell you our powers too: Kobal has fire magic, Leo has darkness magic, and I have earth magic, so we’re all very strong.”

“Okay.”

“Okay,” said the boys.

“Now, step into the portal,” said Leo, and that’s when Jack, Mason, and Ben’s journey began.

 

The next day, Jack looked at the sky of the demon world. It was red and black, and for miles and miles, Jack saw flames with red grass and black trees. Then far away, Jack saw the demon king’s castle. It had red and white walls, and at the roof of the castle, there were two holes, and out of them came blasts of white hot flames.

“Wow,” said Jack.

Right now, Jack was eating a devil dog. It was basically a demon version of a hot dog and way more spicy.

“This is so spicy, and I love it.”

Jack’s blue hair was messed up, and his mouth was covered with ketchup, and his clothes were yellow and red.

Jack thought, What am I supposed to be doing? I know that I’m meant to fight the demon king, but when? And what if he and his army are too powerful to beat?

Jack was very worried how this was going to turn out.

Then, Jack saw his friends’ worried faces. Then, he said, “Guys, together, the Force is way stronger than the demon king.” But inside, Jack was having his own doubts about how this battle was going to turn out.

To be continued…

 

The Great Snowball Fight

It was the best snowball fight ever, but I won because I know the secret to winning all snowball fights.

This is what happened. I, a snowman, and my best friend, a snowman, met on a snowy day. We made two different snow forts and made a pile of snowballs. We made a snow ship and two snow cities. The cities were giant buildings made out of ice and little buildings made out of ice, too. We made ladders to climb up to different stories of the building, and the finishing touch was an icy, snowy statue of me in the middle of my city and a statue of him in his city.

There was only one thing left that I needed: a sign. But the time was up! We had an hour left of preparations, so we made catapults and cannons and a wall with little windows to blast out of.

The battle began. I dug a tunnel down under my base and into his, and I used ice bricks to hold up the top, just so I wouldn’t die.

I ran as fast as I could through my tunnel into his big ice castle. I snuck around and climbed up his highest building and threw a snowball at him.

Now the battle was really beginning. We threw snowball after snowball. I noticed there was an ice cannon on his roof, and I ran for it.

Noooooooo! I got hit by a snowball! I thought I was done for, but luckily I didn’t get hit in the face. I limped over to the cannon, even though I had no feet. I reached the cannon, and I put in some snowballs and fired. Or should I say snowballed.

It started to snow. It covered up my escape route. I thought, how would I escape? I thought I could dig a hole as fast as I could and get back into my lair. I limped over to my hole and started digging.

So, I started digging. I ran through my hole and tried to get to the other side.

I thought it was over. I was just out of his lair. I finally got into my lair. I took out a snowball and threw it at him. It missed. But then I threw another, and it hit. Yay!! It hit! I won!

I couldn’t fully win, though, without a sign that said I won. And that was the secret to winning all snowball fights. But then I realized that I couldn’t make a sign that said I won without a pencil, so I tried to grab my pencil. Then, I realized my pencil was on the floor. And I couldn’t reach it because I was on the top of one of my buildings. I ran as fast as I could to get to it, but by accident I tripped off the building. Then, I fell flat on my face onto the snow.

I got really bad frostbite, but I did wonder how a snowman could get frostbite, because he’s quite cold already. I warmed up by building an ice heater. It melted straight away, though. Luckily, it cured me. I grabbed the pencil. I drew the sign that said I won!, but I still had to climb up the giant tower I had made. So, I climbed up the ladder.

Meanwhile, my opponent was not fully on the floor. He was digging a tunnel and making a labyrinth to me.

Finally, he got into my base. I had just put up the sign. We shook hands and said good game, even though I won. Yaaaaaay!

THE END

“Liar, you got it totally wrong. I was the one who won,” said my opponent.

“Uhhhh. Fine, I’ll admit it. You won,” I said. “You had the secret to winning all snowball fights. But I’ll never admit it again.”

“Oh, wait! If you want, I’m good friends with the fridge,” he said. “So if you wouldn’t mind, read the fridge’s story. His story’s quite good, too. The books are called World War of the Fruits 1 and World War of the Fruits 2. They’re really funny.”

Now it’s really THE END.

 

Maddy the Gymnast

Once upon a time there was a girl named Maddy, and she was really into gymnastics. She started gymnastics when she was only one year old. One day, she asked her mom to ask her teacher if she could move up to the team. Her teacher said, “You can move up to the team after you know how to do a backhand walkover and a back handspring.”

Maddy said, “Okay, I’ll try my hardest.”

She went to her house because her mom was a girls coach for gymnastics. She said, “Can you teach me how do a backhand walkover and a back handspring?”

Her mom said, “Sure.”

They were in the gym, and she was trying to do a back handspring, and she sprained her arm. She went to the hospital for one day. She was quite emotional. She had a boyfriend. He got her ice cream. She got rainbow ice cream. Then, they kissed on the lips. She jumped around and smiled and watched lots of TV. Then, she got an ice pop. It was her favorite flavor.

The next day, Maddy felt better. She went back to gymnastics. This time, her mom taught her a back handspring and a backhand walkover, but she was really scared to do it. She tried one more time, and she got it. Her mom taught her how to get better at her posture and moves.

Later, there was a tryout for the team. Maddy did the moves that the teacher asked her to do and all the ones she was good at. It all went really well. The teacher saw how good Maddy was and said, “You’re on the team!” Maddy made the team, and everybody was happy, so they threw her a surprise party. There was a girl named Grace that Maddy was friends with who didn’t make the team, and Maddy forgot to invite her to the party. Grace told everybody that Maddy forgot to invite her to the party, and everybody gasped! But Maddy’s besties were on her team, and Grace’s besties were on her team.

Then, there was a competition to go to the Olympics. Grace told the judge to give Maddy a zero for the beam, but the judge gave her 100. Grace got mad at the judge for not listening, but the judge ignored her because she was cheating. Maddy also did her new moves, the back handspring and the backhand walkover, and she got a 100. She got into the Olympics.

Maddy threw another party, and this time she invited Grace. But Grace wanted revenge because she was still mad. Grace wanted to prank Maddy at a meet. One day at a meet, Grace put glue in Maddy’s water bottle, and then Maddy drank the water bottle, but then she felt glue, so she spit it out. She was angry. She was going to get another water bottle, but Grace poured it on her pants, and everyone was laughing. Maddy took the leotard and started changing, even though she knew it was Grace’s prank.

She wore her leotard, and she went to gymnastics. She pretended like nothing had happened. Even though everyone knew what happened, they still acted like nothing happened. Grace pushed Maddy down the beam and said, “I hate you.” She also laughed when Maddy fell. She also teased Maddy.

Then, the teacher saw what happened. The teacher said, “If you keep this up, you will get kicked off the team.” Maddy smiled. Grace kept being mean after the teacher gave her a warning, and she got kicked off the team.

Five days after Grace got kicked off the team, there was a competition. Maddy felt nervous that she would get last place and the teacher would be really mad. Maddy and her teammates all stretched together. They talked about how they were scared for the competition. Maddy’s first station was beam. She did a triple twist, then a roundoff, then a back tuck. Her score was 100. Next, she did bars and got 100. After that, she did trampoline and got 100. The last station was floor. She did a triple twist into a backbend. She got 500. Afterwards, Maddy thought, I know I’ll get first place. Then, the judges revealed that she got first! She was smiling so hard, and they had a party.

The end.

P.S. This time she invited Grace.

 

The Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Drawing

Once there was a girl, and she drew animal people. Her name was Sophia. In her dreams, she only thought of animal people. There were food and games and animals, but there was always this animal with big eyes wearing a suit. Sometimes, another character would be in it. One day, she couldn’t stop drawing the photos of the animal people. Ding ding! The bell rang, and class was over. Sophia, the girl, took her stuff and walked out the door. Oops, she bumped into a pole. She was drawing in a book, and she dropped all her pictures. Then, Sophia picked all of them up and ran into the bathroom. She was so embarrassed because her pants ripped while she was picking them up. She ran out the door and into the class, and it was hard because she was at the front of the class. And they had P.E.. They started doing jumping jacks. She was at the front of the class, and everybody was laughing, even the boys. She ran out of school. Sophia ran to the hygiene store to pick up some medicine for her pants. But, instead, she picked up lice maker. And then, she drank the lice maker, and in the morning, she had knits. So, she didn’t go to school. She felt dizzy, so she started drawing. Drawing and drawing and drawing. She realized it was a problem. She remembered people talking about Ms. Pig Wig. So, she called Ms. Pig Wig. She helped anyone cure things like the Non-Sleeper’s Cure and Don’t Want to Go To Schooler’s Cure. So now, she’ll cure the Start Stop Drawing Cure. She tried thousands of numbers, but they didn’t work. The last one did though.

But her phone died. Sophia marched over to Ms. Pig Wig’s house. She knocked. Knock, knock, knock, knock. Ms. Pig Wig answered. She was old, had long rainbow hair, and wore random clothes and a guacamole hat with an avocado on toast purse. Her favorite animal was a blobfish. She said, “What do you need?”

And Sophia said, “I need the cure to stop drawing cute animals.”

So Ms. Pig Wig said, “I’ll go get it.” Sophia gave her three gold coins. And Ms. Pig Wig gave her a big box that said Start Stop Drawing Cure.

“Thank you, but what’s in here?”

“Something special,” said Ms. Pig Wig.

When Sophia got to her house, she opened the box, and there were paper and pens and some ugly stuff like fake poop, gross but moldy Febreeze, and an old piece of chalk with some food smudges on it. So, she just drew all of it. She kept drawing and drawing and drawing. But, instead of drawing ugly stuff, she drew cute drawings.

Then, she found a letter, and it said to draw the ugly stuff. So, she drew the ugly stuff. And she couldn’t stop drawing it. Sophia used all the paper and pens. One day, she did not know which one to draw. So she went back to Ms. Pig Wig and returned it back to Ms. Pig Wig and told her it helped.

The next day, she went to school. She was happy, but when she opened the door, there were posters that said “Butt Girl Sophia,” and they had a photo of the rip in her pants. She ran to the classroom. She told the teacher and said, “People are bullying me!”

So, the teacher went out into the hall to see the poster. He laughed so hard that his pants flew off. So, her friends took a photo of his underwear, which had kittens, pugs, and rainbows. And then they started putting up posters of him and took down the posters of her. The other adults were in the teacher’s lounge. When they come out, they heard the bell, and all the kids ran out except for that one adult. All the teachers saw him in his underwear. Sophia was now happy because everybody forgot about the poster of “Butt Girl Sophia.” She thought she was so grateful that after school she went to Ms. Pig Wig’s house and thanked her with ten chocolate coins, which in this country is $100 dollars. That’s not the only thing. All her bad stuff disappeared, and she drew cute animals once in a while, but she knew it would never be the end of the Start Stop Drawing Cute Animals Cure.

 

Gone Girls

 

Hailee

Hi, my name is Hailee. I am 11 years old, and I have been friends with Riley for eight years. We met when we were three at a Mommy and Me class. Since then, we are inseparable. We do everything together.

I am the one who loves sports. I am on the school soccer, swim, and basketball team. What Riley and I share is that we are both on the dance team. My whole family loves sports, my dad especially. When it comes to sports, our family doesn’t stop screaming.

I have a younger brother, an older sister, a mom, a dad, and then of course, Riley.

The one thing I am allergic to is pollen, and I might have to go to the hospital and take medicine if it’s near me.

Riley and I live in townhouses connected to each other by a garden. Sometimes at night, we’ll sneak out to the garden and hang out to talk and play. We got caught once but still keep doing it because we lied to our parents, saying, “We will never do it again.”

This summer, we are going to stay in our house. We already planned everything this summer. We already babysit people in a different townhouse. We will do that and get money and then, when we aren’t doing sports, art, or dance, we will go around and help out and have fun. We also want to make enough money to buy more stuff for the summer and school.

Between the two of us, Riley is way smarter. She always gets full scores on her tests, and I get like half or a bit more. She never gets in trouble, but I am the opposite of that. But with her, we always get out of trouble.

So, now you know about me. Let’s get on with the story.

 

Riley

Hello, my name is Riley. As you already know, I am best friends with Hailee. When she is at basketball, I am there watching. When I am in a play, she is in the front row. Then, of course, we are always dancing together.

My family is difficult. I have twin sisters who are six years old and an older brother who is fourteen years old. I also have my dog Bailey. My sisters have a turtle. Then, my mom. My dad doesn’t live with us because my parents got divorced when I was two. But every Friday, I get a weekly call to talk to my dad about everything. Sometimes he comes over when he is in town. I mean, I miss him and I wish I could see him often, but at least we can talk sometimes.

Since being a lawyer and handling a dog and four kids alone is hard, we have a nanny. Sara is our nanny. She sleeps over every night except for Friday and Saturday. She is amazing. She helps out and plays with us. She is always someone I can talk to, along with Hailee.

I am mildly allergic to many things: horses, dust, grass, and gluten. If I eat or touch one of those I can get sick, and I need to take a lot of medicine.

The activities I do are dance, art, swimming, acting, and fashion. During some of my free time I do fashion. This means that I design clothes, try on clothes, and finally sew and make the clothes. Sometimes, Hailee and I wear clothes that I make or design. Those are the things I am mostly good at.

Hailee and I manage our schedules, so most of the time we are together. Well, I gotta go. Our summer is starting!!!

Bye!

 

CHAPTER ONE: HIDDEN PASSAGEWAYS

“Come on!” Hailee screamed from the garden, jumping so she could see what Riley was doing in her room.

“Coming,” replied Riley. She jumped out the window. She got down with a thud then landed on her feet, and they started to walk down to town to get some ice cream. It was a really hot day that day. After five minutes of walking and talking, they arrived at the ice cream place.

“Hi,” they heard someone say to them. Riley and Hailee turned around to see Riley’s cousin Sasha working as an employee at Scoop. Sasha was Riley’s cousin on her mom’s side. She had straight blond hair just like Riley and bright blue eyes too. Even though she was six years older than Riley, they were still really close.

“Hey, Sasha. What are you doing here?” Riley asked her, looking up at the different flavors.

“Oh, I am working this week and next week because one, I love ice cream and two, I need money,” she replied, looking down at the girls.

They looked at each other, and then Hailee said, “I’ll have a cone with mint chocolate chip and rainbow sprinkles.” She looked at Sasha when she said that. Sasha turned around to get her flavor and then handed it to her.

“Um… I’ll have the same but in a cup,” Riley said. Sasha handed that to her, and they went over to get sprinkles.

“Thanks,” they said at the same time. Sasha waved bye, and they left Scoop.

 

They started to walk back until Hailee stopped in her tracks. She started to look at something in the far distance and saw a sign and trees. She licked the sprinkles right off her ice cream and asked, “What’s that?” She almost started walking over there.

“No, we don’t know what it is, and it’s in the middle of the woods. The only thing we see is a sign that reads COME FORWARD, and that could mean anything,” Riley replied cautiously. She kept on walking away from the ice cream place.

“Come on, just for one minute.” Hailee sighed while Riley started to turn around. They walked, staying on the passage. When they got to the sign, they saw many more passages. They all looked different. They all had many unique colors on the ground and trees. On one of the passages there was a house. It looked different from their house because in their normal town there were townhouses and country houses, but here there was an apartment.

“Woah,” Riley exclaimed, while her skirt shimmered in the light. There were beautiful trees and a huge lake. Hailee ran over to the lake. They stood by the lake for a while until they heard a thud.

There was a long sound. Riley and Hailee looked around. There was nothing but forest. Their town had disappeared.

 

CHAPTER TWO: THE HOUSE

“AHHH,” Riley cried. She fell to the ground where Hailee was lying down. After a minute of lying down in shock, Hailee stood up. She looked around a bit and then looked down at Riley.

“Are we dreaming?” asked Riley, not knowing what was going on. She stood up and looked around. All she saw was forest, but she also saw a house. It was the same house from before.

She was confused, but then Hailee replied, “No… But where are we?” She stood on her tippy toes to get a better view of the place. She saw the house too. The last thing they remembered was that they were sitting by a lake.

They took a look around. The forest they were in before had disappeared. Now they were in a place that was dark with barely any trees and worst of all, the passage had disappeared.

“Okay, let’s calm down. Maybe our cell phones work?” Hailee shrugged and took her phone out of her light blue fanny pack, and the case sparkled in the light. Then, Riley took her phone out of her pink purse. They held their phones up to the sun, but nothing changed. There was no connection.

Then, they started to walk over to the house. The house had music coming from it, and the music got louder as they walked closer. It was a bright yellow house which was odd for an apartment. Riley grabbed Hailee’s hand, and they got closer. Red roses surrounded the house.

Hailee began to sneeze. Her allergies began to act up more and more. She reopened her fanny pack and poured five pills into her mouth.

“Are you okay?” Riley asked, putting her hand on Hailee’s back.

“Yeah, I just need to get away from these flowers. Let’s knock on the door,” Hailee replied. She walked towards the door as Riley followed. Before they could knock, a lady walked out. She looked old, she had gray hair but it was short, she was tall, and she was wearing a long, black dress.

“Hi, girls,” she said, walking out more. They walked back, a bit scared.

“Um… Hi. I’m Hailee, and this is Riley,” Hailee said and started to walk forward.

“Would you like to come in?” the lady asked.

“Um, okay,” Riley replied. They walked into a kitchen where another lady was sitting. The rock music was playing. It was warm and nice. They wanted to stay there forever.

 

CHAPTER THREE: THE MYSTERIOUS WOMAN

After having tea and cookies, Riley said, “Thank you, but we better get going.” Riley and Hailee stood up, and they started to walk to the door.
“No, stay!” Annie, who was the old lady, shrieked. They pretended not to hear her and walked out together.

THUD.
Once they got out, the place had changed again.

Now, they were really scared. They were on the ground this time again. Riley stood up and then helped Hailee. They looked around. There was a castle and then the same apartment.

“O-M-G, what is that house? It is so creepy and so is this forest. Where are we?!” Riley said, looking around.

“Let’s go to the castle and see if someone can help us,” Hailee said while she started to run over there. Riley followed and when they got there, they knocked on the door.

The same woman from before was there, but this time she was wearing a big, red dress. They also saw the girl in the kitchen wearing a short, blue dress, but this time she looked more like Sasha. The two scared and shocked girls just smiled at her and then walked away.

Then, Riley realized, “These were all the pathways, and we just have to wait until we get to our pathway home.” She sat down on the pure, green grass.

“How about that lady?” Hailee whispered to Riley, sitting down. Riley shrugged.

“Let’s go to sleep and figure it out in the morning,” Riley said to Hailee and then took her phone out of her purse and put her purse under her head to sleep. Hailee sat down, leaning on a tree, and took Riley’s hand and thought, What if we never go home? What are our parents thinking?

 

CHAPTER FOUR: 100 PATHWAYS

When they woke up, they were in the middle of a room. They got up, only to see Sasha standing there. They were surprised.

“Sasha?” Riley asked, braiding her hair piece by piece.

Sasha walked closer to them and said, “Yes… I will explain later, but let’s get out of here.” Hailee put her hair up, and they followed Sasha out of the weird room. They were terrified. When they got there, they crouched down. “Okay, I am here because one day I was walking in the forest and I came in here, so Annie spotted me and said that she needed help. I was confused, but then she made me come back every single day to help because I heard rumors that if I didn’t, I could die. So I have my key back in my room to get out of this place. So all we have to do is get the key and go out,” Sasha said, looking at them. They spotted Annie looking for them.

“Shhh,” Sasha whispered. She moved a bit closer as a spider creeped up her leg.

“Ahhh, spider!!” Riley screamed and jumped back. Annie saw her.

“I knew you were here. So can you be my new assistant? If you want,” Annie asked. She stood there in silence, looking down at Hailee.

“NO!” Hailee screamed. She stood up. Annie walked closer.

“Why do you need help? What’s going on?” Hailee asked.

“Well, don’t you need to know everything,” Annie said, and she walked down and looked at Sasha. “Well, guess what, maybe while I am out working I need someone to do everything for me.” Then, it happened again.

THUD.

They woke up on the ground again back in the forest next to the house. Annie came out.

“Okay, sorry, whatever your name is, Saya. I am sorry you do everything for me. I can just get a maid,” Annie said surprisingly. The three girls who were scared walked closer. They took breaths and smiled.

“Thanks?” Sasha said. She was scared but also relieved that she didn’t need to read that much anymore, and she could just enjoy her summer at last. Then, the house disappeared.

THUD.

 

CHAPTER FIVE: HOME SWEET HOME

When they woke up, they were lying on a road and got up to see Riley’s parents and family standing there like robots. The three girls were really creeped out.

“Now is your chance to tell your family,” Hailee said to Riley. Riley looked scared and walked over to her parents.

“Um hi, Mom and Dad,” Riley said, with a different, more terrified voice than usual.

“Hi, sweetie. Where were you last night?” Riley’s mom asked.
“Oh, um… I slept over at Hailee’s,” she said, while pictures of what actually happened floated around in her brain. She looked over at Hailee, who motioned to her to talk.

“So… I have a question… It’s nice you like your job, but I was wondering if you could, you know, spend more time with me?” Riley questioned quietly.

Her mom put her hand on Riley’s back and said, “Sure, sweetie. I can go to the office this weekend and ask, okay?” Riley hugged her and moved on to her dad.

“Hey, Dad… ” she said and hugged him.

“Hi, sweet pea. Nice to see you,” he said to her, and then waved over to Hailee.

“Um, Dad… My question for you is can I spend more time with you?” she asked, scared to see the response.

“Actually, I just bought a house right near you, so you get to stay with me every weekend!” her dad replied.

She jumped up into his arms and whispered, “I love you.” Then, they waved goodbye and walked on the street home.

“I’m proud of you, Riles,” Hailee said to Riley, and they walked home together, holding hands. When they got home, they sat on their window sills and fell asleep.

 

Treasure Map

Once upon a time there was a treasure map. Ari was playing Minecraft, and it popped up on his computer out of the blue. When Ari saw this, he called his three friends, Hope, Linzi, and Mert, and told them to come to his house. His friends left their houses, and they reached Ari’s house in the span of five minutes. At Ari’s house, he showed them the treasure map. The boys and the girl decided to pursue it to find out what the mysterious treasure was.

They followed the map to a mysterious forest. There, they met a bear. In the bear’s den, there was a clue. They decided to get the clue when the bear was gone. Luckily, they weren’t caught by the bear. And then, the clue said, Up, up in the trees you will find another clue. But when Ari, Hope, Linzi, and Mert went up, up in the trees, they didn’t find any clue. They forgot that they didn’t read the clue fully — they turned the page. The clue said, Up, up in the tree, you will find it on a bird. Luckily, they went and caught the bird and got the clue. The clue was attached to its claws.

The clue said, Down, down underneath the surface, you will find a computer. But be very careful, it’s hot. Ari, Hope, Linzi, and Mert went down underneath the surface, and it was really hot. They found lava. And in the lava, there was another clue. To avoid the lava, they used two clues to make a little rope, and they got it. And then, they read the clue and the clue said, Read the treasure map and go to a different place. They followed the treasure map, and it led them to a swamp.

At the scary, smelly swamp, they found another clue, but they didn’t know how to get to it. Luckily, they had a little net and they used the net to get it. And then, they brought the net back, and they got the clue. And the clue said, Towards the right, you will find a fight. They went towards the right, and they found two animals fighting. A frog and a bullfrog were fighting. And then, they tried to get the clue in the middle of the fight, but everytime they tried to get the clue, they got hurt. Finally, they used the net to get in between the fight and get the clue. Accidentally, they picked up the frogs too. So, they let the frogs go and picked up the clue. The clue said, To the left, you will find flight. So, they walked towards the left, and then they found a bunch of birds, and one of them had a clue. The clue was attached to a bird’s claw. And they quickly jumped over the bird and got the clue. It said, The last place you will go is on the treasure map. They followed the treasure map to Skull Island. Everyone who tried to go there would never return.

Ari, Hope, Linzi, and Mert went to Skull Island and, luckily, they returned. They followed the treasure map, and they came across the huge skull of a giant T-Rex. And there, they found one clue. It said, Be very careful… Because above you, there is Blackbeard! They looked up, and they saw Blackbeard. He was a pirate with a black eyepatch, and he was a captain. He had a big, black beard. They saw a clue above him and jumped up to the clue, and they got it. Ari, Hope, Linzi, and Mert all worked together to throw Blackbeard off the island. They physically picked him up and threw him off. Then, they read the clue. The clue said, This is the last clue, and you must write a story about your adventure. And if you don’t, you will never return. They found a magical pen on the floor and wrote the story. Then, the story magically turned into a clue. The clue said, Finally, follow the treasure map to the treasure. They followed the map, and they got to the treasure. They opened it. There was a box of gold, and underneath the gold, there was another treasure map, but there were no clues with it. They followed the treasure map and took the gold and treasure chest with them. Then, they followed it, and it led to another treasure with a treasure map. And the treasure map said, There will be six treasure chests. And in the sixth one, there will be a key where you can open all six of them at once. You must stack all of them inside each other, and then you will get the real treasure.

They went to the third treasure, and the third treasure had a treasure map. They put the third treasure chest inside the other two. Next, the treasure map inside the third treasure chest said you must get three more treasures. There was one key, and when they opened it, they found a telescope and lots of things they would also need. Then, they followed the treasure map to the fourth map. The fourth treasure had more things they would need. Then, they followed the treasure map to the fifth one, but the fifth one was far away. Then, they took out some fake wings from their bag that they had, and they flew to it, and they got it. Then, it said the next one would give you the ultimate treasure. Then, they collected the fifth one, and the sixth one was very difficult to find. They didn’t find it, but they found a rocket ship, and they went to outer space.

In outer space, they searched everywhere, and still they couldn’t find the sixth treasure chest. They searched Mercury and didn’t find anything. They still had to go to the other planets. And then, they searched Venus, and it wasn’t there. Then, they went to Mars, and they couldn’t find it. They searched every single planet, and they still couldn’t find it. Then, they forgot they didn’t search inside the volcano in Mars. They searched inside the volcano at Mars and found the ultimate treasure. But since they were in outer space with zero gravity, the treasure spread everywhere. So everyone caught two pieces of the ultimate treasure, but there was some that were on the loose. All together, they got one quarter of the full treasure, but there were still three-quarters of it left out there.

They were too tired to look for it all, so they took a little break. Then, after that break, they took another break. After two breaks, they were still tired. So, they gathered all their stuff and went into their spaceship and traveled back to Earth. After a little rest and a water break, they got into their spaceship and went back to outer space. They searched and got two-quarters of the full treasure. Then, they put all of it together like a puzzle, and when they opened it, it was a cookie. When they took bites of the cookie, it was horrible. Then, they realized the treasure chest was a cookie making machine. They realized they could make cookies all day long. Then, they kept eating cookies. Soon, they were full. They wanted to take a break from adventuring, but then they found out that within the cookie machine, there was another treasure map.

The treasure map said, When you find this, there will be a huge surprise. So, they went to go and find the surprise but they could not find it. Then, they realized there was one place they did not look — the sun! In the middle of the sun, they found the surprise. However, they got trapped in the middle of the sun. They were all about to die because it was too hot. Finally, after they got out, they realized aliens took their spaceship. Then, they went to the moon to try and find the aliens. They couldn’t find the aliens, and they looked everywhere. Then, they went to work and found the aliens. They decided to put them on the moon forever and ever. Then, they found the treasure. The treasure was a cookie machine that could make delicious cookies. Then, Ari, Hope, Linzi, and Mert lived happily ever after.

The End.

 

Shadow Their Attack

      

Characters:

JACK: A boy, 15 years old, tries to be a good son to his mom, he is afraid of the trash alley

MOM: Jack’s mom

PROFESSOR ELECTRO MAN: A professor who makes wacky inventions that have to do with electricity, high school friend of Jack’s mom

SHADOWTHIEF: A monster who is invisible in the shadows, kind of like a zombie, lives in a trash alley even though it doesn’t like trash

 

Chapter One: Monsters Attack

“Jack! Time to take out the trash,” Jack’s mom screamed.

“Okay. I’ll go put it in the alley,” Jack responded, pausing Mario Kart, his favorite game.

Jack was sort of afraid of the alley. It was a dark and dirty place, and there were a lot of rats. Jack hated dirt because he thought it was gross. However, he still had to go because his mom would make him go to bed at 7:00 if the garbage truck didn’t take the trash, and the garbage truck picked up the trash in the alley. Jack was kind of scared, but normally he was brave — it was 7 p.m. and dark outside.

Jack stepped outside of his house, and his blonde hair blew in the wind. The leaves rustled and crunched beneath his shoes and made a big crackling noise. His sweater wasn’t warm enough, and a shiver went down his spine. He walked the block to the alley and threw the trash really hard before he was even at the entrance, because he just wanted to leave and run home because he was scared.

It slowly stood up and stretched and growled. It was sleeping and was hit by Jack’s trash. It walked slowly to the end of the alley and peeked its head out. It saw Jack going into his house.

Jack thought someone was lurking in the dark, so he looked around and saw nothing but shadows. He turned back around and rushed into his house and walked straight to his room.

It walked slowly down the block, like a zombie, and the leaves didn’t even crunch beneath its feet. Silently, it approached Jack’s house with the trash Jack threw at him dragging behind him. It rang the doorbell.

“Who is it?” Jack asked.

Nobody answered.

Jack opened the door.

Nobody was there. Jack slammed the door and walked back to his room, terrified.

It crawled into the open kitchen window and threw the trash on the floor and made a mess on the kitchen floor with a bang. It crawled back through the window and went back to the alley.

Jack’s mom walked into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes because she was tired. She saw the trash all over the floor and was devastated and disappointed in Jack.

“Jack! Get in here,” she shouted.

“I’m coming!” he mumbled, half-asleep. Jack walked into the kitchen, worried and confused. Surprisingly, the trash was still in the kitchen. “But I took it out!”

“No video games for a week,” his mom interrupted. “Jack, take out the trash again in the morning. Back to bed.”

 

The next day…

Jack thought things were getting strange. He hadn’t put the trash in the kitchen. What had happened? Jack was going to go back to the alley to find out what was going on.

“Mom, I’m going out to get some vegetables!” Jack lied.

“Sure thing, Jack.” Jack’s mom thought something sketchy was going on, but she trusted Jack and was making dinner, so she decided not to interfere.

Jack stepped outside. He didn’t want to go back to the alley, but he clearly remembered seeing someone a few days ago when he took out the trash. He slowly started walking towards the alley, trying to be brave.

The shadowthief saw Jack coming to the alley, so he thought of a plan. A plan to haunt Jack. As Jack approached the alley, he felt someone walking behind him. He turned around. No one. Jack felt cold. He felt alone. Who was there? He heard footsteps coming from behind him. In his mind he thought, Mom, help me! Suddenly, the shadowthief grabbed him and ran away.

Jack’s mom looked at the clock. How come Jack isn’t back yet? she thought. She waited and waited. An hour passed. Still no one. Jack’s mom grabbed her coat. Tears poured down her face. She rushed out the door. She looked all over town, but she still couldn’t find Jack. When she got home, she couldn’t sleep, she couldn’t eat. She tried calling the police.

“My son disappeared! Can you help me find him?” she said on the phone.

“Okay, we’ll try to find him,” the policeman said.

Meanwhile, Jack was in a trash can tied up.

He waited for somebody to notice.

And waited.

And waited.

The police looked everywhere but couldn’t find Jack. The policeman called Jack’s mom to report the news. Jack’s mom felt depressed.

Jack decided that he was tired of waiting and would break out. But how? He made sure no one was there in a 50 meter radius. He tipped the trash can over with all his might. The trash can broke into pieces. He saw some broken glass on the side of the street and used it to cut the ropes that tied him together. It was cold and foggy outside, although Jack didn’t feel the cold because he was struck with horror. He went back to his house, speechless and stunned, and told his mom that he was safe. It was so late at night, but his mom was still awake and waiting for him. Jack told his mom about the shadowthief and about how he was going to find it. His mom didn’t want him to go, but Jack really wanted to find the shadowthief, so she insisted that he bring a knife and a flashlight.

“Stay safe!” Jack’s mom said.

“Okay, I will,” Jack said. He gave her a hug and went back and hid in the alley waiting for the shadowthief.

The shadowthief came back from another alley a few blocks away and looked in the trash can, but Jack wasn’t there. He went back to the first alley, but little did he know that Jack was waiting for him with the flashlight and the knife. The wind was howling, and Jack was nervous when he saw the shadowthief. He shone the flashlight and was about to ambush the shadowthief, when he noticed that the shadowthief was struggling in pain under the light.

Jack realized that the shadowthief was afraid of light. Now he knew the shadowthief’s weakness, so he wouldn’t have to worry about him again. He kept shining the flashlight on the shadowthief until he got home. He rushed inside and slammed the door, happy that he figured out how to deal with the shadowthief. He told his mom about the shadowthief’s weakness, and his mom was worried and relieved. Jack went straight to his room and flopped onto his bed.

The shadowthief recovered from the light in a few minutes, stood up and stretched, and wanted to kill Jack. The shadowthief ran out of the alley with a new plan.

 

The next day…

Jack woke up feeling proud of himself, thinking that he defeated the shadowthief. His mom had made him cake, and they had a dance party to celebrate Jack’s victory. In the middle of the party, the doorbell started ringing over and over again. Jack looked through the mini-window on the door and saw multiple shadow thieves violently banging on the door.

Jack ran up the stairs and quickly got his flashlight. He ran back down the stairs and shone the flashlight at the shadow thieves. But this wasn’t enough light. The door was starting to break open.

“Do you know what we should be doing now?” Jack said. “Running!!”

Jack and his mom ran and literally jumped out the window. The shadow thieves went to every house in town to scare everyone’s pants off. The whole town was under attack of shadowthieves.

“If only I had a light big enough to defeat those shadow thieves,” Jack said.

 

A few hours later…

The whole town was under attack. The shadowthieves scared everyone, and no one felt safe in the town. People all started to hide in all sorts of places.

“Mom, we have to do something about these shadowthieves. Maybe we could build a light big enough to defeat all these shadowthieves,” Jack said.

“Jack, we first have to run from these shadowthieves because they’re dangerous.” Jack and his mom hid in a car.

“Hey, Jack, I remember a friend in high school that can help us with this situation.”

“Mom, who is this friend from high school?”

“Professor electro man. He specializes in making unusual things that have to do with electricity. He can build a huge light for us.” Jack and his mom tried to find Professor electro man, but they couldn’t find him anywhere in town.

“Maybe he’s terrified about the shadowthieves so he also hid.”

“I see him!” Jack’s mom said. Jack and his mom rushed towards Professor electro man.

“Sally, is that you?” Professor electro man said.

“Yes yes yes, it’s me, and this is my son Jack.” Just then, a shadowthief grabbed Jack’s mom and ran.

“MOM!” Jack screamed. “Please, professor, help me build an enormous light to defeat these shadowthieves. Please, please, please with a cherry on top?”

“Sure thing, Jack, as long as it saves your mom,” the professor said. Jack and the professor started to make the enormous light invention.

Jack and the professor got in a helicopter and shone the light all over the city. Soon, all the shadowthieves were in pain and down.

“Great job, professor, but we need to find my mom.” Jack and the professor looked all over the city, but Jack’s mom was nowhere to be found. Jack was determined to find his mom. The day started to turn into night. Jack had to take out his flashlight, so he could see. Jack shone his flashlight towards a trash can. There was writing on it: Jack, Kenya.

Jack used his knife to cut a hole in the trash can. Out slid a piece of paper, a map of Kenya.

 

Chapter Two: Hope

Hey, guys. It’s me, Jack. I just lost my mom a few days ago. I discovered a trash can and a map with writing on it. Now what do I do? I have to stay in Kenya with this crazy professor that I barely even know. This all started because of me. I hope to save my mom. I hope she’s safe. It all started when I threw some trash away. It hit this thing so-called the “shadowthief,” and now the “shadowthieves” stole my mom and pretty much destroyed the city.

Kenya is a hot place with sunny days. Normally, I would be happy because I love bright days, but how could I be happy when I lost my mom?

“Where do you think my mom will be?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe somewhere no one can see,” said the professor.

I realized that on the map, there was an X. The X was on the Museum of Shadows. “Wherever there’s an X, my mom is probably there,” I said.

“Let’s go find your mom!” the professor said.

“I’m glad that it’s night because the shadowthieves like the darkness,” I said.

The professor and I walked into the deserted museum, hearing screams of innocent people and carrying the enormous flashlight that the professor made. It was dark inside. We walked around, searching for my mom. Suddenly, I saw something run past me so fast that it was blurry. I froze. I realized that it was the shadowthief. The professor and I ran towards the shadowthief that ran past me. The shadowthief led us to a silent room. I started to hear my own heart beating.

“Professor, you go in first,” I whispered.

The professor nodded and went in. Five minutes passed. He didn’t come out. I was terrified. Sweat trickled down my head. I realized that the professor was also trapped by the shadowthieves. I slowly walked into the room, my legs trembling, hoping to find my mom and the professor. I turned gears and clicks and switches to turn on the light. When the light was on, I saw my mom and the professor both tied up.

I used the knife that my mom had given me to cut through the thick ropes that tied my mom and professor together. I hugged my mom and the professor. Right when I freed them, I felt footsteps coming behind me. I turned around, feeling seven pairs of footsteps coming. I know they’re the shadowthieves that captured my mom and the professor! I tried to run and escape, but I couldn’t find the door. I shone the light at the shadowthieves and hit them right away. I heard them collapsing on the ground. Meanwhile, the professor found the door, and we ran out of the museum. As we bolted out of the museum, we heard the shadowthieves running trying to catch us. I kept shining the flashlight at them, but it was no use because they kept dodging the light. I felt them gaining on me. The professor, my mom, and I slammed into a brick wall and were cornered by shadowthieves. They got closer and closer and closer…

“We had a nice life. Goodbye, Mom,” I said.

“Don’t worry, son — ” she said, but before she could finish her sentence, she was eaten. Tears escaped my eyes and poured down my cheeks. I tried to fight back but —

The end…

Or is it the end???

 

The War for Aspadus

        

Chapter One

The Guard: Michael

Six hundred years ago, on a planet called Aspadus, there was a country called the Irevalon Empire. They were a country where people had powers. But over time, they spread out over the planet and developed their own powers and their own languages. On one half of the planet, it was green, hilly, and warm, and they spoke Dragonese, and on the other half, it was mostly watery and cold. They spoke Lorainian. Eventually, they separated into two different Kingdoms: The Kingdom of Kilgore and the Kingdom of Lorain. The King of Kilgore was a good leader named King Ray. The King of Lorain was King Jensen. He was a greedy king and wanted to rule the entire planet. So, he went to war with Kilgore. The war was six years long, and Kilgore won. They just wanted to keep their half of the planet and have peace. Ever since the war, the Lorains had poured money into their military because the Kilgores were more powerful. The people of Lorain were just trying to defend themselves from the mess their king got them into. After the war, the Kilgores learned how to control dragons with their powers, and the Lorains learned how to train sea monsters just in case they had another war.

In the Kingdom of Killgore, some people had powers, and they were called the Iron Guard. They protected the Kingdom. The leader of the Guard was the most powerful Guard member ever. His name was Michael. He was seven feet tall with muscles all over his body, and he had black beady eyes and black hair with a big black beard. He was also the oldest Guard member ever. He was 500 years old. Michael could fly, shoot fire out of his hands, and turn invisible. Those were the powers that only he had, but he also had powers that all the Guard had, like strength, speed, and the ability to move things with his mind. All of the Guard had a dragon. Michael’s dragon was called DemonFire. The dragon’s powers depended on their owner. DemonFire was the strongest of all. He could turn invisible and breathe fire. The biggest enemy of the Iron Guard was the Lorain Shield. They also had powers, but instead of dragons, they had sea monsters.

One day, Michael was training in the Guard headquarters. In the training room, there were weapons like crossbows, flaming swords, and armor. They also had traps and a fake battlefield, so the Guard could train without going to war.

Michael was about to kill the last Lorain soldier, when Michael’s servant rushed in saying, “Lorain is attacking the Kingdom! Warn the rest of the Guard!”

“YES! FINALLY SOME ACTION!” screamed Michael.

Michael gathered seven of the best Guard members. They were called the Elders and had started the Iron Guard. They were the strongest, fastest, and smartest. Their names were Jack, Logan, John, Paul, James, Will, and Trevor. When the Elders got to the battlefield, the Lorains were already getting away.

“This should be fun,” screamed Michael.

“Would you shut up, please?” Jack yelled.

Michael lit his hands on fire and shot two big fireballs that lit up two Lorain soldiers and their sea monsters. Suddenly, he heard a scream, and it sounded like it was coming from his side. He saw Jack being shot by two long streams of water and dangling from his dragon with his feet hitting the water. Michael pushed Jack back up onto his dragon with his mind.

“You’re welcome!” screamed Michael.

“Be quiet!” screamed Jack.

Michael grabbed his sword, jumped off his Dragon’s back, and turned invisible. When he landed, he grabbed a Lorain and stabbed him in the back. Three down, twelve to go, Michael said in his head. Logan plucked two attacking soldiers off their monsters with his mind and threw them into the water. Trevor struck two Lorains with a lighting bolt. That killed them and their monsters.

“Eight more,” Michael said.

Michael used his flames as he flew, dodging arrows and water when the last Lorain was killed.

Michael said, “Let’s get back home.”

When Michael and the Elders got back to Killgore, the rest of the Guard was waiting for them at the Guard Headquarters. Thousands of Guard members were there. One of them stepped forward and asked Michael, “Why didn’t you take us?”

“Because we did not need all of you,” Michael said.

After Michael got home and took a shower, his servant told Michael, “The King wants to see you again.”

“Okay,” replied Michael.

When Michael got to the castle, the rest of the Elders were already there. They all went up to a room where they made decisions. It was a big room with a long wooden table and stone walls. The king had a chair at the head of the table, and the other Elders were gathered around. To people who didn’t know him, the king looked scary. He was big, with a beard and a scar across his cheek. But in reality, he was not. He was funny, and he was humble.

“What do you think we should do about the Lorains?” said King Ray.

“I think we should attack them and make them pay for what they did today,” Michael said.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with Michael,” Jack said.

“But we can’t just go into a big battle with the whole Lorain Empire,” said Logan.

“Come on, you’re always boring,” Michael said.

“Alright. You vote on it, but I’ll decide,” said King Ray.

“I say we attack with every member of the Guard and kill all of the Lorains,” Michael said. “Or do you want to stay here and let the Lorains take over the whole world?”

“Let’s attack,” Jack said.

“Attack,” Paul said.

“I say we stay here,” John said.

“Oh, come on, John. You would rather stay here and be a coward instead of have fun killing people?” said Michael.

“Still, I would rather stay here then risk killing the entire Guard. If we all die, what would happen to Kilgore?” John said.

“I think we need to get some revenge on Lorain. I want to punch King Jensen in the face so badly,” Trevor said.

“I like the way you think, T,” Michael said.

“I say we stay here,’’ Will said.

“Let’s stay here,” James said.

“Alright. What do you want, Ray?” Michael asked.

“That’s King Ray to you,” King Ray responded. “I think we should attack Lorain.”

“YES!!!” screamed Michael.

“We attack in three days,” said King Ray.

 

Chapter Two

The Shield: Jackson

When Jackson heard the news about the spies being killed, he was furious. He went straight to his dad, King Jensen. “I want to kill them all!” screamed Jackson.

“You will get your chance. We are attacking in three days — prepare your monsters and the Shield.”

“Perfect,” Jackson said.

Jackson went to his monster, WaveCrasher.

He said, “You ready, boy?”

WaveCrasher nodded all three of his heads.

One of Jackson’s powers was the ability to communicate with animals. Like all of the Shield members, he had special powers. Just he had more because he was the son of King Jensen and the most powerful witch ever, Queen Diana. Jackson’s powers were being able to talk to animals, breathing underwater, shooting water out of his hands, and being able to freeze the water as he walked.

“I can’t wait for the battle,” said Jackson to WaveCrasher.

When Jackson warned the rest of the Shield that they will be attacking Kilgore in three days, they were all excited because they hadn’t had a big battle like this for over 100 years.

“Prepare your monsters and the ships. We will kill every last Kilgores!” screamed Jackson.

When the entire Shield was on the boats, Jackson told all of the men to get ready to fight because the Kilgores were brutal.

A day later, Jackson saw ships and dragons. The dragons were huge. So was the Guard. Jackson knew that the Shield had more men and could eat them, but he also didn’t think the Guard was that big.

 

Chapter Three

The Battle: Michael

Michael was riding DemonFire when he saw a bunch of ships.

“It looks like the Shield,” he said. Michael told Jack who told the rest of the Guard.

“Let’s do this!” screamed Michael. All of the attacking line got on their dragons and charged. As soon as Michael got within 50 yards, arrows started firing at the Guard.

Michael said, “Make a shield.”

All of the members of the Guard made a shield with their minds, and the arrows bounced harmlessly into the water. Michael charged with DF, both of them burning boats and Lorains. Michael jumped off DM and told him to turn invisible. They both did and shot fire at the ships. Suddenly, something hit Michael in his back, and he visibly fell out of the sky. He called out to DF just in time, because he caught him before Michael hit the water.

“Thanks,” Michael said.

Going back to the battle, Michael was about to turn invisible when two arrows hit him in the shoulder and chest. Blood started pouring out of his mouth. He had to go back to the ship to heal.

 

Chapter Four

The Giant Jack

Jack saw Michael get shot three times and then retreat back to the ship. Jack thought, I’m going to have to make fun of him a little.

Jack said to his dragon, “Drop me.”

The dragon lowered him to the ground a bit, so Jack could jump off. Jack threw his dagger at a Lorain soldier in mid-air that hit him right in the head. When Jack landed, he flipped right over a soldier and stabbed him in the back.

“Come on, you’re making this too easy,” taunted Jack.

Jack flung two more soldiers into the the water without even touching them. All of a sudden, a Loric soldier twice the size of any other soldier jumped onto the boat. The huge soldier held a sword that was as long as Jack. In Jack’s head, he said, Oh no. Jack tried to hold the giant back with his telekinesis, but the giant easily broke through. The giant charged at Jack and punched him in the face. Jack went flying 20 feet backwards. Out of nowhere, Michael jumped off DF and shot the giant with fire. The giant screamed in pain as he jumped into the water.

“Thanks,” Jack screamed.

“Oh, look who learned some manners,” Michael said back.

As soon as Michael said that, three Loric soldiers charged him. Michael turned invisible and killed them all with his sword. Michael turned around and saw that the rest of the Loric ships were leaving.

“Look! They’re running!” screamed Michael.

When Michael got back to his ship, he talked to the Elders and asked them if they had ever seen a man that big. They all said no.

“We won the first battle. Do you think we should still attack Lorain while they’re weak?” asked Jack.

“I think we should attack them right now. It was fun,” Michael said.

“Of course you and Jack think it was fun. The rest of the Elders and I had to stay back and watch you guys fight,” Trevor said.

“Did we decide yet,” said Michael, “because I think we should attack.”

When Jackson got back to Lorain, he was a mess. He had one big burn on his back that was killing him. Who was that soldier that was flying and and shooting fire out of his hands, Jackson thought. I think I also saw him turn invisible when I jumped into the water. He was even too strong for the whole army to kill him.

Jackson went to his father King Jensen. “Do you know of a Guard member who can shoot fire out of his hands, turn invisible, and fly?” King Jensen and Jackson said at the same time.

King Jensen said, “Jackson, there is something that I never told you.”

“What is it,” Jackson said.

“He is your brother who was stolen by the Kilgores.”

Jackson was shocked when his dad said that. “So, he is Loric?” Jackson asked.

“Yes, he is, and he is the most powerful person in the world, and his name is Michael.”

 

Chapter Five

Round Two: Michael

When the Elders made the decision to attack the Loric island, Michael went out to scout the island by himself. When he got within 100 yards, he turned invisible. There are not that many Guards near the ships, so if we burn the ships, they won’t have a way off the island, Michael thought. When Michael got back to his ship, he told the Elders, and they all told the rest of the Guard the plan to burn the ships and kill all the Loric soldiers.

When Michael got back to the ships, he told the Elders the plan to beat the Lorains. Michael gathered the whole Guard and told them, “Anyone who can fly or shoot fire, step forward. You’re going to help me burn the Loric ships, so they can’t get away. Then, we will burn the rest of the Kingdom and kill them all.”

When the fleet was close to Lorain, Michael told the 20 men to get on their dragons and to start flying. Michael led the charge to Lorain. As soon as the Guard got within 100 feet, they started shooting flames at the boats. Michael thought, Good, all of the ships are gone. Hopefully, the rest of the Guard is destroying the rest of Lorain.

Jackson was awakened by screams, and his brother Jacob ran into his room screaming.

“The Guard is here.”

Jackson said, “What?” still half asleep.

“GET UP! LORAIN IS UNDER ATTACK!!!”

Now, Jackson was wide awake, and he put his armor on. He told his brother, “Get the people on the boats.”

Jacob said, “The Guard burned them.”

“Come on!!!” Jackson said.

Jackson got the Shield and told them that the Guard was attacking. When Jackson got outside, he saw that most of Lorain was already on fire and that the Guard was on their dragons. Jackson fired water at a few Guard members and knocked them off their dragons, but there were still a lot more. Suddenly, he saw the soldier that shot fire, his brother.

“Michael, brother.”

Michael was wondering why the giant was calling him brother. So, he jumped off DF and charged at him. Michael shot two fireballs at the giant, but the giant was too fast. This time, he stepped out of the way, so the flames went into the house behind him. Jackson made a wave and shot it at Michael. Michael blocked it with his telekinesis and threw another fireball at Jackson. This time, the fireball hit him right in his chest. The giant went flying back 30 yards with a big burn right in his chest. Michael started walking over to the giant, about to kill him, when two arrows flew over and hit Michael in his leg and back.

Jackson saw his chance and swept Michael’s leg. Michael fell and screamed in pain. Jackson looked over to see who shot the arrows and saw that it was Jacob.

Jackson smiled at Jacob and said, “Thanks.”

Right when Jackson said that, three Guard members walked over and started shooting at him.

Michael had blood coming out of everywhere. He was not sure who shot him and what happened after he got shot, because he blacked out. Michael tried to stand but couldn’t because of the pain in his back. His vision was blurry, and he couldn’t hear anything but 50 feet ahead of him. He thought he saw Jack, Logan, and John fighting the giant by themselves. Michael also saw DemonFire burning Loric soldiers. All of a sudden, a Loric soldier punched Michael in the back of the head. Michael was in no shape to fight but knew that he had to. Michael turned around and punched the man in the face. The man went flying backwards 45 feet. Michael had to help the Elders fight the giant. They couldn’t beat him by themselves. When the giant was not looking, Michael hurled three fireballs right at him. They all hit him in his back. He went flying, and when he landed, he didn’t get back up. John, Jack, and Logan all thanked Michael for killing the giant, but when they saw the two arrows, they started to get worried.

Jack said, “We have to get you to the hospital.”

 

The Castle of Love

Once upon a time, there lived a princess, queen, and king. They wanted to be very rich, but they did not have much money. They became king and queen because they were rich. Other people had $10, but they had almost $100,000, but there was someone way richer than them. They had $100,035, but that was from their army for fighting against England.

They became a little rich because they worked very hard for the high jungle every day to see plants and animals. The family had eight pet unicorns and 50 pet dragons and three horses. The first dragon was named Rainbow, the second was named Pretty, the third was named Beauty, the fourth was named Rainy, the fifth was named Rosie, the sixth was named Uni, the seventh was named Nature, and the final one was named Yummy. The unicorns were named the color hair they had. The first one was named Gold, and the next one was named Silver. The third was named Pink, the fourth was named Purple, the fifth was named Turquoise, the sixth was named Brownie, the seventh was named Rainbow, and the fifth was named Rainbow Gold. The army was named the Rich Army on Earth. Rainbow was a generous and kind unicorn. She could do anything for the family, but she was usually mean to everyone else because she didn’t like anyone else talking to her. Her friends didn’t know how this would happen. If she didn’t know anyone and she didn’t want to meet anyone new, how did she make friends?

Rainbow was almost a teenager because she was nine years old. Her next birthday was tomorrow. Maybe she must be magical. And the princess was very happy, but they had lots of money because they took care of all their pets, so they had been richer than ever. And they lived happily ever after.

The end.

 

Water “The Elixir of Life”

Water is the substance that is essential to life. Without water, we cannot live. According to www.worldwaterconcil.org (Water Supply & Sanitation), one in ten people lack the access to clean water and 1.8 million people die from diarrheal disease. This cannot happen anymore. People are losing their lives because they don’t have clean water. Right now people are offering two solutions, one is asking for donations to build a well, and two is selling water filters. Just donating money to different websites is not as productive as new inventions, and so we should focus on creating new inventions that can help with water problems.

One way that people are trying to help places with no water is that they are making organizations that try to persuade people to donate money and using the money that people have donated. They will get the equipment to build a well at a place that doesn’t have water. When they build a well, usually a whole village gets water, and nearby villages can also come and get water from them. There is this one website called Charity Water which raises money and helps build wells. My grade donated to the website, and in total we raised $25,130. This is not advertising or required, but if you want to donate, you can go to: https://my.charitywater.org. Donating will help many people worldwide. Charity Water also teaches people in the village how to take care of the well and how to repair it if it is broken. If the well is so broken that the people in the village cannot fix it, Charity Water will send someone there and help them fix it for free. These websites might be helpful for a bit, but soon people might not donate as much money as before because they need it for themselves.

Other than the organizations for building wells, people are creating new inventions such as lead detectors, water purifiers, etc. One company called LifeStraw makes water bottles with straws able to filter water so that the water will be safe to drink. Another cool invention is the Tethys, which is a water lead detector made by Gitanjali Rao, who is a 12-year-old. She won the Young Scientist challenge and got $25,000. The Tethys uses carbon nanotubes to detect lead in water and then sends the results to a smartphone with the Tethys app (Prisco). Attention: This device is not yet out on the market. One invention that has been around for a long time is Ceramic Water Filters. They are clay ceramic that have lots of tiny holes. The tiny holes are only big enough for water molecules to go through. Bacteria, dirt, and other bad stuff are too big to go through the small holes. This device was designed by Henry Doulton who is a British potter. This device was made in the early 1800’s (Kiger). Now, people are modifying the device by adding a silver coating to kill the bacteria and dangerous pathogens. There are still many inventions that are being made and are being tested. To me, all of these inventions are amazing and very cool.

Water filters are better than building wells. To build a well, it costs $6,000-$12,000 depending on how deep the water is (Brenner). People are going to have to donate at least $6,000 to build one well. On the other hand, buying a portable water filter costs $150-$275 (www.fixr.com). This difference lets you see how much money people need to donate to build a well compared to how much money a portable water filter costs. Lot of people argue that building wells can help more people, but people can share a water filter just like a well, and it’s much cheaper. Many people also say that water filters don’t work. Reasons that they might not work is because you have to change the filter once in a while. Some water filters might have a light to indicate that it’s time to change the filter, and others will have instructions that will recommend to change it every few days. Donating money to websites might not last as long as water filters. Ergo, people should focus more on developing new water filters. That work is more important than making organizations that ask for donations to build a well.

 

Work Cited

Brenner, Laurie. “The Average Cost for a Well & Septic System | Hunker.” Hunker.com, Hunker, 26 Nov. 2009, www.hunker.com/13402537/the-average-cost-for-a-well-septic-system

“Cost to Install a Water Treatment System – Estimates and Prices at Fixr.” Fixr.com, Fixr Blog, 22 Feb. 2016, www.fixr.com/costs/water-purification-system

Kiger, Patrick J. “10 Innovations in Water Purification.” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 8 Mar. 2018,

https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-tech/sustainable/10-innovations-water-purification2.htm

Prisco, Jacopo. “The 12-Year Old Who Won a $25,000 Science Prize.” CNN, Cable News Network, 15 Feb. 2018, www.cnn.com/2017/11/28/health/gitanjali-rao-young-scientist-winner/index.html

“Water Supply & Sanitation.” World Water Council, www.worldwatercouncil.org/en/water-supply-sanitation

 

Charlotte

      

Part One

Chapter One

One morning, the sky was so blue I could see white clouds and airplanes, which we never saw here in my town, so it started the day off with an odd but somewhat happy start. The happy part ended when mom came and told me that even though it was the middle of the summer, June 8th, 1941, I had to work. When I say work, I don’t mean writing. I mean babysitting the triplets.

“Noooooooooooooooooooo!” I said.

Meanwhile, my older brother Michael got to go out with his friends, and my twin sister, Madeline, got to lie on the other side of the room!!! Sorry for the delay. I am Adaline, and this is how the worst day of my life started.

My mom made me eat breakfast quickly. It was oatmeal, my least favorite. I had to get dressed in uncomfortable clothes for the middle of the summer. Agh, long sleeves, long jeans, itchy headband, long socks up to the knee, and boots. Then, my mom got ready in nice summer clothes. It took her twenty minutes. She did her hair and makeup, and she put on her nice sandals and dress.

“The triplets, Ava, Emma, and Samuel, are in their room in the cribs. Please get them dressed and change their diapers,” my mom said. Then, she added, “Remember, they need exercise. Take them to the park. Remember to take a diaper bag, a first aid kit, two pairs of shoes, sunscreen, and water. Don’t forget snacks! Bye!” Then, she left. I wanted to be like my siblings. They got to go and have fun while I was stuck babysitting.

I went to the room and changed the kids quickly (their diapers and their clothes). The triplets were one and a half years old. One of them was in the carrier on my back. The others were in a double stroller.

The one on my back started screaming. The screaming was so high-pitched! It sounded like me. I was so annoyed. I had three babies, one screaming and two in the stroller asleep, while they should have been eating. The screaming one was throwing her food all over me! I was only eleven years old. I shouldn’t have been the one taking care of these kids! Michael was fifteen, but mom said he couldn’t be helping out. Then, the two in the stroller woke up, wanting food. When I gave it to them, they started spilling it and throwing it everywhere! On our way to the park, they saw one of their friends who was going in the opposite direction.

No, I thought. Please help me.

 

Chapter Two

The triplets screamed happily when they were next to their friend. I talked to the other baby’s mother for a while, and then she said something.

“Hey, if anything happens to me, can you please adopt my child?”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll have to talk to my mom.”

I was not surprised, but I was very worried. I couldn’t have another sibling. Oh no, I thought. I was part of six kids already. The triplets, my twin sister, and my brother. I couldn’t take care of quadruplets! Wait! That meant my older brother and twin sister would have to help!

“And, if anything happens to me,” the mother continued, “can you pick my other daughter up from 104th street and West End? That’s where the bus stop is. Pick her up at 2:30, please. She doesn’t need to go to school tomorrow if anything happens. “I’ll be right back,” the mother said. “Wait here. If I don’t come back in five minutes, then just take the baby to the playground. If I don’t show up at two, please pick up my daughter. Her name is Alexei. Don’t look for me. It’s not safe in the building.”

“Okay,” I said, “Bye!” I took the baby, leaving the mother with the stroller, and put the baby in the front of the baby carrier. The mother started walking away with the empty stroller. She went into her building. I waited five minutes.

She didn’t come out. I waited a little longer, then we went to the park. I had kids. I couldn’t leave them. I’d get in big trouble!

 

Chapter Three

At 2:00, I went to pick up the little girl, but the mom never told me what she looked like!

“Alexei,” I called to the bus. She came off and looked for her mom. She was scared. But then I called, “Come here, Alexi. I’m your mom’s daughter’s friend. Your little sister is friends with my little siblings.”

Alexei came and said, “Oh! Are you Adeline?”

“Yep,” I answered.

She asked, “Where’s my mom? Are you babysitting me?”

I answered, “It’s a long story. You’ll be staying with us for a while.”

“I WANT MY MOMMY!” she wailed.

“I’ll tell you when we get home,” I soothed. “Why don’t you get onto the board on the stroller? You can ride.”

“Okay… ” she said quietly.

I gave her a ride home.

When we got home, I introduced her to everybody. Everybody met for the first time except for the triplets. My mom still hadn’t come home, but she said she would be back by 2:30. Oh, and I forgot, she was visiting her friend… whose daughter I just picked up! My heart was beating so fast. My hands were shaking. I was panting, I was running out of breath, and I had no words. What would I do?!

 

Chapter Four

I ran over to the TV room and turned it on, and I jumped onto the couch with the kids and the remote.

“HURRY UP,” I yelled for my brother. “We need to watch something! I think Mom’s in danger!” I heard my brother running.

“By the way,” I added, “we adopted two kids.”

“What on earth?! You adopted two kids without Mom’s permission?” my brother asked. Then, he hesitated.

“Where’s Mom? She should be home by now.” His voice was questioning and worried.

The TV was on, and we saw the news. There was a huge fire from 92th to 134th street! It was 42 blocks!

“EVERYBODY, GRAB A CHILD OR TWO,” I yelled. “WE NEED TO GET OUT OF THE BUILDING.” I turned to my brother. “You can drive, right?”  I asked. “If you don’t, you’re in big trouble, mister.”

“Sort of? I can sort of drive,” he said. “I can knock down a few trees and buildings, but I can still drive.”

“Good enough. INTO THE CAR!” I yelled.

 

Chapter Five

“Get into the driver’s seat,” I told my brother, “Everyone else, sit down, and I’ll buckle you in.” I began to buckle in one, two, three, four, five, six… we need more car seats. I unbuckled two seats and squeezed two into a car seat. I sat down and buckled up, and we were off, but we forgot the baby’s blankets in the fire.

Then, we drove off, and we saw the fire truck up ahead, and then the fire truck hit our car and turned it over. I yelled, “Again! Everybody, take a child, unbuckle them, and run. We will need to get as far away from here as we can. Follow Michael, then run to Grammy and Poppy’s house in Brooklyn!” On our way there, people in a minivan stopped us and asked us to get in.

Michael said, “It’s the only thing we can do.”

We hopped in the car, and the parents had two children in the car named Avery and Sophie. When we got in the car, everybody held three children, and we drove back to their house. At first, we were nervous, but as we got used to it, we felt more at home. They adopted all of us.

We lived happily ever after… for a few minutes.

 

Part Two

Chapter Six

One Sunday, everybody left for a trip to Australia. Everybody went except for me, my sister’s friend, and my sister, Alexei. My sister’s friend name was Amanda. Amanda couldn’t eat a lot of things. She was allergic to pretty much everything that everybody else in the house liked, and Alexei liked everything that Amanda didn’t like, and Amanda liked what Alexei didn’t like. They didn’t like any of the same things.

I was not very picky. So it made it hard for the seven months they were in Australia. Every night, we would put the blackouts up and went into the subway. I would put the kids to bed. The first Monday, things went a little differently. Usually, every day we would get a letter in a very bright color from our family letting us know that everything was fine and good, but today we got a black letter that didn’t seem very happy. It said:

 

Family of Samuel, Avery, Sophie, Emma, Ava, Michael, Madeline, Elizabeth, and Benjamin Smith,

Please come to Australia to attend the funeral of Benjamin Smith. It will be at the Waverly Cemetery in Sydney, at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday July 16, 1941. We will explain how they died when you arrive.

The babies are okay, but are sick because of the bomb, and aren’t doing very well.

From,

James Harrington

 

My shoulders drooped, and I began to cry. I was so upset. We rushed over to the docks, caught the first boat to Australia, and we were off. It would take one whole week to get there from London, and with all the bombing, I wasn’t sure if I should have taken all the little ones with me. But who would take care of them if I didn’t bring them along? So on our way to Australia, the boat stopped at Brooklyn so that people could get on to go to Australia, and I dropped off the little ones with our grandparents. Alexei stayed with me as we got on the boat and sailed away. The boat was rough, very crowded, and the food wasn’t very good. Both of us felt sick.

It was really hard to be on the ship alone with a five-year-old as an eleven-year-old. I had to take care of her, and I had to take care of myself, but as we got on the ship and started sailing away, I felt badly that I left the little ones with our grandparents. Our grandparents weren’t the nicest people. They found the worst in every situation, and I didn’t want the little ones to think I abandoned them. Also, I felt like our grandparents would teach the little ones to not like a bunch of things and be mean. They wouldn’t teach them manners, and I’d come back to rude little sisters. So after we went to the funeral, I would take back every child and go back to Brooklyn to pick up the little ones with all the other kids and Elizabeth.

 

Chapter Seven

I got really nervous that the kids in Australia got really hurt because the letter said they were not doing so well. I hoped Michael, Madeline, and Elizabeth were okay, because if they weren’t, who would take care of the little ones? I couldn’t take care of everybody by myself, especially while taking care of bandaged adults and all of the people who normally help me with the seven children.

There was a little boy on the boat with me whose mom was on the last ship, which sunk. His dad was in the war and died. So I thought, Maybe I could convince Elizabeth to adopt him!

“Hi, I’m Adeline. I heard about your parents. Do you want to come with me? I’m only 11, but you can trust me. I have triplet little siblings, an older brother, and a twin sister. We were adopted by another family, and then there are two siblings in their family, and then there was another family that got adopted by us, who were another family of two children, and now we can adopt you. If that’s okay with you. There’s a five-year-old girl over there whose name is Alexei, who is one of the kids that we adopted… And what’s your name?” I said.

The little boy answered, “I am Charlie. You heard what happened to my family, right? I have a newborn sister and an older sister who are over there taking care of each other. My older sister is seven, and I am four.”

 

Chapter Eight

I introduced Alexei to Charlie, and they started playing. I then went around the boat, asking if any of the other children needed a new home or didn’t have parents. In all, there were ten children who needed a new home, not including Charlie and his siblings. So, we adopted all ten children into our family, and I got all of their parents out of a few rooms on the boat and had all the children sit in a circle and introduce themselves. There were six girls and four boys. The girls were Amelia who was six, Olivia who was three, Emily who was nine, Jessica who was eight, Isabella who was four, and Isla who was seven. The boys were Oliver who was six, Jacob who was two, Harry who was nine, and Jack who was seven. There were two sibling pairs and three only children.

When we got off the boat, I had everybody get in a line. First was Harry, then Emily, Jessica, Isla, Jack, Amelia, Oliver, Amelia (Charlie’s sister), Alexei, Isabella, Charlie, Olivia, Jacob, and the newborn, Ava. Amelia had to switch over to hold Ava, but other than that, this was the line. As we were getting off the boat, I had the older kids pair up with a younger kid. We got onto a trolly and were off to go to the funeral. First, we went to our house in Australia to pick up everybody else, then we got our clothes on. I was terrified but happy to have all of these new siblings. I knew how it felt to be separated from your parents, and I knew how important family was in times like this. We were young, with any boy over the age of 16 being sent off to war. Us younger ones had to stick together. I reminded myself this as I got myself ready and helped all the new siblings get ready for the funeral.

 

Chapter Ten

All the girls would have a dress that was black or blue and a bow to put in their hair. All the boys would have a suit and a tie. Everybody got changed, and I put everybody that was younger than five in a stroller, that the kids that were older than five helped push. We got on a trolly and went to Sydney for the funeral. We met Elizabeth, Michael, and all the other kids that didn’t come with me. Elizabeth was very droopy and blue. Her eyes looked black, and I could tell she was really sad. Michael had just gotten a black eye while running with Samuel, so he wasn’t looking his best either. In spite of all of this, I was really happy to see them. They were my family. Even with Benjamin gone, it made me so happy to know that the rest were safe. Who knew how Benjamin was killed? I wondered. I decided not to ask Elizabeth, because I knew that it would make her upset.

Before I got to ask anybody, Sammy came up to me and said, “Ben got killed in a bomb while fighting. Elizabeth was on her way to save him, but she fell and got knocked over, and her eye isn’t actually a black eye… It’s an eye patch because she lost her eyeball while running. We had to run to the hospital, and it was a disaster. Michael had to carry three of us, and Elizabeth held her eye, and Madeline carried me. When we went to the hospital to try and find something for Elizabeth’s eye and Benjamin, Benjamin wasn’t there. They had taken him to a grave site, and laid his body over the dirt. They said that we would have a funeral for him soon, but it has been a week since it happened. It happened the first day we were here in Australia.”

I said, “Wow. You haven’t learned to talk any less! Has Emma learned to talk yet?”

“No! Not at all!” Sammy said. “She still makes baby noises even though she is almost two!”

“When you’re five,” I said, “you’re gonna be saying words from the dictionary! Your vocabulary will be far more advanced than mine!”

 

Chapter Eleven

Sammy walked away, and Elizabeth came over to me and asked, “Why are these other 13 children here?”

I said, “I know how it feels to have no parents for a while, so I decided we could adopt them! But if you don’t want too… I will.” There was silence. “Will you adopt them? Pleeeeeeease?” I begged.

Then, Amelia and Ava came up to Elizabeth and said, “Hi, are you Elizabeth? I’m Amelia! And this is Ava, my newborn sister. She will be two months old tomorrow! What happened to… Bean? Ben? Benjamin?”

“Benjamin,” Elizabeth corrected, “and he was fighting in the war when a bomb hit him and he died, and we are at his funeral today if you know what that is.”

“We know what that is,” Amelia continued. “We were going to have a funeral for both of my parents, but then we had to go to Australia to see our grandparents, who suddenly died from a bomb… Who knows how? So Adeline picked me up, my little sister, and my little brother. We helped collect ten other children who all really want new homes, even if it’s here. Pleeeeeeeeeeease?”

After a few minutes of silence, Elizabeth finally said, “Okay. After the funeral, we’ll go to court and get the adoption papers for everybody here, other than Sophie and Avery.”

 

Chapter Twelve

“Every week day, I’ll have to send all of you adopting children, and they don’t like it. So everybody is planning against you and the day so that I can do some work around the house, and it’s just too much for me. The kids that are eight and older will have to take care of the younger ones. I’ll send you all to your grandparents, also known as my parents, not yours. Michael, Adeline, Madeline, and Peter will be in charge. Peter is my nephew. He is 11,” Elizabeth said. “His parents, my brother, was in the war and died. His mother was very ill from the bombs, and she too passed. So he and his five siblings will be joining you and living with us. That makes 30 children. People know that you are other children. I want all of you to get together and get in a car. Michael can drive now. He runs into a few trees and buildings, but other than that, he can still drive. He will be driving, and you will be off. I want all of you on a boat by midnight every Sunday night. You will all be on a boat that fits 30 people over the age of one, including the captain. That will make there be able to be one captain and the 30 of you children. There are 29 children above the age of one, so it’s a really good fit, and you guys will have the whole boat to yourselves. Try not to spill anything on the bus driver or anybody else. I will see you every weekend, but let’s get to the funeral.”

Everybody stood in a line, and we would get to the ceremony. The kids under the age of five could leave unless they need to be supervised, then they were allowed to stay. There were special circumstances. Everybody would need to eat lunch while they were there, so this meant Amanda would stay with me, Ava would stay with me, and Charlie would stay with me.

“FROWN FOR THE CAMERA!”

 

Chapter Thirteen

After our photo, we walked over to the funeral. Elizabeth dropped off all of the kids at the restaurant so that they could eat and play for a bit during the service. Us older kids were at the funeral, and some stayed back to watch the little kids. I stayed to watch the little kids with Madeline, and then I got everybody the meal that they wanted and a teeny weeny piece of cookie, since sugar was scarce due to the war. We played with the little kids for a bit longer, until the funeral was over. Once it was over, we met up with Elizabeth, and she told us at 11:30 to go back to the trolley and meet her in order to get to the boat and load our things onto it.

“You are going to New Zealand to hide,” said Elizabeth, “and you will be taking the boat that Benjamin built. As I told you before, it will fit 29 people over the age of one, in addition to all of your stuff. The captain is one of my really good friends who will be driving the boat there and back every Friday and Sunday.”

 

Chapter Fourteen

We got ready to leave the next day. We spent the rest of the evening putting our stuff on the boat. We needed to load all of the babies’ blankets and pacifiers, and all of  the older kids’ books and learning tools. We also packed five cartons of milk for each of the older kids to give to the babies and sleeping bags to sleep inside of. Food and water went under the hatch of the small boat, along with clothing for all of us. After we loaded all of this onto the boat, we were feeling very tired. We slept in the cabin under the deck of the small ship. Ten people would sleep in a room, two babies would share each crib, and two kids over the age of five would share a bed. It was very crowded. I felt stuck inside but safe. There were so many people around to keep us safe, and we all knew how to swim, luckily.

That morning, the boat took off for New Zealand. I was feeling very happy to be going to New Zealand, but then I remembered I had to pick up the one triplet from my mean grandparents house. I had almost forgotten about them with all of the new adoptions, but I could not leave them behind! I ran and told the driver to go to Brooklyn, and he told me it would be a week’s long journey. We had to do it.

“Let’s go!” he said. “But I bet Elizabeth will be wanting you back by the time you get there.”

“I will send her a letter,” I said. “That way, she will know where we are.” I found a feather and ink, took a piece of paper, and began to write…

 

Dear Elizabeth,

 

I forgot all about the kids back in Brooklyn! We need to go back and get them, because they are with my grandparents who are not very nice, and I don’t want the kids there to be raised in a home that is not very nice. Hope you understand.

Love,

Adeline

 

I handed the letter to the driver and asked him for an envelope. Once the letter was sent out to Elizabeth, we began our voyage to Brooklyn. The time went by quickly, but not easily. It was a rainy and stormy voyage. None of us had been on such a long journey. Eighty percent of us were throwing up, the other 20% suffered from fainting. The babies were screaming like they had never screamed like before. Their screams sounded like people were dying and like seals were slurping water.

 

Chapter Fifteen

Once we reached Brooklyn, all of the children ran off the ship and tied it to the dock. The driver came out with them, and then we all ran to our grandparents’ house. We fixed our dresses and suits so that they looked presentable and rang the doorbell. Two kids came out, and they looked older than I remembered. They were wearing the most fancy clothes I had ever seen, and they both had really pretty purses covered in gems. The little girls, one years old, looked like they are five and rich, even though they weren’t rich. Though, they were half rich.

We had to walk into the house to pick up the little ones. I felt jealous and dirty in my sloppy clothes as I walked into the beautiful mansion. There were beautiful flowers outside, swings covered in pink and blue gems, and the yellow house that they lived in was beautiful compared to the house that we live in. Our grandparents said that Elizabeth told them to take us instead of going to New Zealand every week. We walked in, and our grandparents gasped at the sight of us in our dirty clothes.

They said, “Oh! We have some much nicer clothes for you on the bed. But you mustn’t walk in like that! You need to take a shower beforehand! I will give you towels to walk on… so that you don’t get the floor all sloppy.”

I stepped out, and my grandmother said, “Adeline! It is so nice to see you again! I haven’t seen you since you were a baby! Get changed, and we will have a bit of breakfast! And you are not allowed to step a foot into that little boat again! I will have the driver bring your stuff into the house from the boat!”

 

Chapter Sixteen

After he did this, the driver took off, and we were on our own with our grandparents. We cleaned ourselves and got changed. I began to brush my hair, which I hadn’t done in so long, and it felt really nice to be neat again. After my parents died, I’d been dressed in all of these rusty clothes which my parents would never have put me in.

The boys went fishing, and the girls cooked and took care of all of the little girls. I helped Grandma clean the house, set the table, make French toast, pancakes, fruit bowls, salad, eggs, fresh squeezed orange juice, and lattes.

Then, our aunt took us from our grandparents. Our aunt lived in pretty much the same house as our grandparents, except it was in Alabama. There was a mansion that was painted a soft baby blue with guards covering the whole first floor of the house, which was pretty much what my house used to look like. It had flowers and vines covering some of the mansion, and it was ten stories high. Well, my house wasn’t ten stories high, it was 15… but this would do. We walked in wearing high heels and our blue poofy dresses and suits. Our aunt greeted us in a long, straight dress, and said she didn’t like the poofy dresses. She put us all into pink dresses with silver gems. Well, mine was covered in silver gems, and she did my hair.

She dyed my hair red, and I liked it. She had everybody else stay in their clothes, except for the triplets. She had the other 26 children go back to our grandparents’ house and kept the four of us.

 

Chapter Seventeen

She had two children of her own who looked just like me, and she told me that my parents had dyed my hair blonde when I was a baby…. Well, my fake parents… the people I thought were my parents. She told me that the four of us were actually her children! And that my parents took me from her. She introduced me to my actual brother and sister. One of them was 15 and named James, and my twin sister was Adeline. She told me my name was actually Charlotte! She said that the triplets were taken from her by her mother as she was giving birth to them. The other kids in my family were actually my parents’ kids, but who I thought was my aunt was actually my mom, and I got a little mad at my mom that wasn’t really my mom… She was my aunt, but she was dead. So she said that she would go to Elizabeth, and that the eight of us would go to the half adoption/half not adoption ceremony. My parents, my siblings, and I would go. Everybody else would live with my grandparents, who we would get to see every Christmas.

At the adoption ceremony, my siblings ended up deciding not to live with my grandparents. They lived with a new family that now had 23 more kids! Charlie, Amelia, and Ava stayed with my family that became a family of nine children.

THE END

 

Random Stories

     

Bob’s Story

Bob was a little kid. He was stranded in a forest. He needed water. But he did not need food that much because he stole his father’s gun. His problem was that he couldn’t shoot that well. When he tried to kill a baby pig, he missed by five feet and hit a bright green leaf on a tree. He thought he should make some shelter and then come back to kill the pig. Well, the pig oinked and ran away, so no more pig. So, he went out into the forest to find someone to help him. He looked all over, but he found no one but himself. It started to rain. After it rained, it got really muddy. So he ran, and he found a green house where he stayed. But it was a bear’s house. But he didn’t know and he went in, so when the bear came back to his house, Bob was scared. He ran away in a panic. It was muddy. But Bob did not have shelter, so he was soaking wet. Bob was cold and shivering. Then, he made a bed with leaves on the wet floor. The next morning, he was in a house. He was taken to a house where someone lived. That person didn’t look nice.

Bob said, “Thank you for saving me, and goodbye.”

Then, the strange man cackled. Bob really didn’t like him. He went to grab his father’s gun but found that it was gone. He asked the strange man where the gun was, but the man kept cackling. Bob really didn’t like him, so he ran to the front door and tried to open it. It was locked. A shiver ran down Bob’s spine. He ran to the back door and found it was locked.

The stranger said, “Ha ha! You are all mine now!” He cackled.

But the window was open, so Bob jumped out. The house then exploded!! Bob had gotten out just in time. He somehow found his way home and wrote a story about it. This is that story!

The End

***

Ezreke’s Story

One hot day, Ezreke was strolling through the desert. He had just seen some water, but now some people on camels were drinking it. They had on cutoff T-shirts, short pants, and flip-flops for shoes. Ezreke slowly made his way over in the hot desert and asked for some water.

“Please, can I have some water,” he said. The travelers said yes and gave him a cup full to the brim with water. After he drank the water, he asked if he could join them on their travels.

The travelers said, “Yes, you may come with us, as long as you come for a short time. We don’t have enough food and water for you and us.” Ezreke thanked them and hopped on one of the camels

After three days, one of the travelers said, “We don’t have enough food and water for you. Well? What are you waiting for? Go!”

Ezreke hopped on a camel that was alone. He said, “Take me to some shelter.” The camel didn’t understand Ezreke. He slid Erzeke off his back. He was so exhausted he took a nap on the ground. When he woke up, he felt sand on his face. He was buried! There was just enough room to sit up. He tried digging up, but whoever buried him had used wet sand, so he couldn’t get out. He tried digging to the side, but more sand fell. He was buried. He tried to think of what his dad would do.

“Always be resourceful. Use whatever you find.”

Ezreke groped around the hole and underneath him. He found a stick and a rock. He used the stick to make a hole. Then, he threw the rock to crack the wet sand. When the sand cracked, he used his hands to dig the rest of the way out. When he got out, he found a man who was digging a hole. An unconscious boy was lying at the man’s feet. Ezreke acted instinctively. He grabbed the rock he had used to crack the sand and threw it at the man. The rock hit the man on the head, and he slumped down, unconscious. When the rock was halfway through Ezreke’s outstretched hand and the man’s head, the boy had woken up. He saw his savior throwing a rock at the man who had kidnapped him, knocked him out, and tried to bury him alive. Naturally, he automatically ran towards Erzeke. This boy was a few years younger than Ezreke, and he was very scared.

“It’s all right. Look, an iPad! We can contact the city!”

The boy sniffed and smiled at Erzeke. He ran over and grabbed the iPad. But he wasn’t done. He pulled up Google Translate and typed something in French. It translated as Hi. My name is Francesco. I don’t speak English, but understand it well. My family lives in the city. Thank you for rescuing me.

Erzeke said, “You’re welcome,” and smiled at him. He smiled back. Erzeke contacted the police and his family. The man was arrested forever, and Francesco and Erzeke became friends.

The End

 

Awesome Airplanes!

       

“This is so awesome!” said Matthew as he pushed full throttle on his airplane and rushed through the clouds above the plains. Just then, a black enemy airplane from TCOEP (The Country of Evil People) dropped something on his plane. It started counting down. “A bomb!” he cried. Then, he heard a blast.

“Aaagh!” screamed Matthew as he fell toward yellow plains. But then, another airplane below caught him and his broken airplane by suddenly lifting the bottom of the wrecked airplane. That airplane is very strong, thought Matthew. Then, Matthew realized it was his brother, Michael’s Blackbird airplane. “Phew, that was a close one,” said Matthew.

“Ssh!” said Michael. “This is a secret mission. We need to destroy the TCOEP’s base. It is just over the hills. We need to surprise them by attacking at night.”

After they returned to their home base and repaired Matthew’s airplane, it was time to go on the mission.

As Matthew started up his airplane, he felt nervous, like he would never make it back from the mission. Soon, Matthew and his brother were soaring above the TCOEP’s base. Suddenly, the intruder alarm blared in the base. Er er eer, blared the alarm as the airplanes closed in to the base.

Just then, the roof of the base opened up, and two gigantic machine guns emerged from the depths of the base and soldiers dressed in black marched out of the base shooting with tiny pistols.

“Seriously?” laughed Michael through the walkie-talkie as he looked at the soldiers attempting to shoot their airplanes.

“Umm, I think we’re in big trouble,” said Matthew, as a giant machine gun shot down his brother’s airplane.

I got to save Michael! thought Matthew as he landed his airplane next to his brother’s wrecked airplane. Unfortunately, Matthew didn’t find his brother near the wrecked airplane, so he decided to go into the enemy base to find his brother.

Meanwhile, Michael was sneaking around the TCOEP base looking for the power system for the base. When he finally found the power system to the base, his brother, Matthew, was waiting for him there. “Let’s set a bomb in here and get out!” said Matthew.

Soon, Matthew and Michael had set a bomb, and it was counting down. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one POW! Luckily, the brothers got out of the base in time, but the high winds whipped the smoke and dust into the air. Out of the shadows, a man stepped in front of them. Not any man, the leader of the TCOEP.

 

When Owner Left Me

          

Chapter One: Owner is Gone

Owner petted me with the softest, most serene pet, as usual. They patted my forehead calmly and sang me to sleep. A dream formed around me, surrounding my brain in sleep. Floating islands of delicate treats, singing birds, and a pack of fresh squirrels surrounded my dream. Owner was running on their machine, and I was free of work, obedience, and training. Giant fields surrounded my home, dotted with dogs, sticks, and trees. There was game to hunt, and dogs were all barking and playing, and the sun shone like a beacon of happiness, hope, and knowledge.

I skipped to my friends, fur freshly groomed, never to be unkempt again. They greeted me with a joyful bark, prancing about, delighted to see me. Their owners were lounging in chairs, talking cheerfully about the latest soccer game. Lin, my best friend, trotted up to me and gave me an invitation to play, so I joined him. We played chase, an average game, but the one I hungered for the most, for Owner never allowed me to play chase. My other friends approached me, and they all wanted to play with me, so we did. It was the world I wanted, a utopia, a dream. Owner was never disappointed with me, there were always friends to play with, and a happy home to go home to at the end of the day. Then, a jolt of light woke me up, and Owner was gone.

I scampered to the living room, as quiet as a mouse, expecting Owner to appear and push me outside to use the bathroom, but they didn’t. I poked around the house. It was dark and quiet except for the wind rustling behind the trees. I entered the kitchen, and I sniffed around to see if he was pouring food for me, but all I could smell was the smell of cheese, poisons, and… my food!

I clawed up the kitchen cabinets, and I grasped the handle and nearly slid. The metal was smelly and stung my paws, but I knew it was all worth it, for the bag opened and the food spilled out like a rainbow. I jumped down at full speed, and I gobbled the food as fast as a gazelle. The bundle of flavors was like dreams, and my head hurt a lot, and my stomach felt like a punchbag, and I fainted.

I woke up to a bright, sunny day, with boiling heat and an extremely cold floor. The temperatures were making me dizzy, and as I approached the door, a wave of cold hit me, and I realized that the pain in my head was coming from the temperature control machine, that thing Owner always played with, with the buttons. The buttons made the screen change, but that was all I knew. It changed the temperature in the room because whenever Owner said, “I’m hot,” they would walk over to the machine, and the house would get cooler, but I didn’t know which button did what.

I paced around the house, searching for a way to make the house warmer. The house was a mess, books scattered everywhere, food rolling out the kitchen, and Owner had not been seen since last night. The bed was rumpled, the toys were falling out of the bin, and Owner’s room was a disaster that even a service dog couldn’t clean up. There was no sign of a solution to this cold floor and boiling ceiling.

Everything I saw was covered in little, repeating scribbles that did not make any sense. Owner scribbled all of the time. They scribbled during meals, they scribbled during my nap, they even scribbled when I went outside. Then, I came across a paper with a vibrant, full-color picture of our temperature control machine, surrounded with black, repeating scribbles. The paper was white as milk, and the scribbles were black as night and glimmered like black holes. I felt like something was pulling me in. I felt an urge, a desire, to understand these scribbles and why Owner treasured them.

I quickly realized that I had to go outside, so I grabbed the handle, jolted backwards, and the door became a door to fairy tale land. I flew outside, and I looked at the sky, and I knew exactly what I had to do to fix my home.

 

Chapter Two: I Attempt to go to School

I could run free now! I raced out the front yard and down the street. I didn’t care if the pet control owners saw me. Running through the street like a cheetah, I jumped like a bird on five cars, and I slid onto the country road leading up to the school. Owner frequently passed the school on our walks, describing it as a big, red brick building with large windows and a giant course nearby. Today, I saw little owners barking like foxes in the front yard. Then, they all began to approach me.

“What a cute doggie!” one told their friend as they petted me.

“Let me hold it!” another shouted.

“Let me, let me!” they squealed!

The owners yelled at each other, pulling on my ears and patting my head constantly. I wanted to bite them, to growl at them, to even fight them, but I knew I couldn’t go to school if I fought with my new playmates. Then, I scampered to the entrance of the school, weaving my way around the forest of feet. I soon saw a pair of very large feet, and the forest was getting tighter. I could hear the cries of the owners that had petted me earlier, and their footsteps were quick like rabbits. Pushing forward, I attempted to weave my way through the big feet, tripping over lopsided bags laying on the floor. Fingers were slowly being added to the forest, owners reached their fingers and nabbed the bags next to me, nearly dragging me off of the ground.

The entrance felt closer now. I could smell the fresh smell of the red brick coming like waves through my nose. The wall was visible, but owners were still squealing like mice. Disorientated, I scuttled around trying to find the entrance to the school. Wafts of sweat, perfume, and breakfast floated around like clouds. The owners were so near each other now, the forest felt like a maze, and there was no sunlight.

I raced around this confusing, noisy place, barely able to see what was in front of me. I regretted going into this maze without Owner. The owners were suffocating me, I felt like there was no life left in this world. Then, the owners all fell silent, and I shivered.

The brick doors creaked open like a rocket, and I crawled inside. The school was made of dazzling marble with giant poles, large arches, and a stark, black floor. Brown boards were spread over the walls, covered with white papers full of small scribbles. Owners were everywhere, crawling all over the walls and floor. Larger owners were herding the smaller owners into small, colorful rooms, squealing and shouting at them. Some owners were pointing at a few of the papers, scampering away when the larger owners were close by. I followed a group of very small owners, toddling slowly to the door. Scuttling underneath their feet, I crept inside the room where a large owner was standing at the door.

“Hello, class,” the owner boomed. Is our name Class? “Let’s sing the alphabet,” the owner instructed the class. What’s the alphabet?

“Of course, Sir,” the little owners replied. Is his name Sir?

Sir pointed to a scribble on the board and said, “A makes two sounds, a and a.” One scribble can make two sounds at once? How do you know which sound to make? I was confused, how could all of these owners understand what the scribbles meant if each one made more than one sound at once? I quickly realized that an owner was staring at me and that I had five seconds until Sir kicked me out of the school.

I dashed out of the classroom, and I crept the hallways as silent as a fly. I could hear footsteps behind me, Sir was booming at other owners, and noise was growing. After scampering for some time, sensing a flash of bright light, I felt a drop in the floor, and the voices were much softer, but the hall was dimmer, and the floor smelled like dirt. I was now wading in water, surrounded by curved stone walls. I could feel the dirt in the water with my paws, and the water was getting deeper. I could see a small point of light at the end of the tunnel, but my paws were getting weaker, I was slowing down, and my head felt like rock.

Sniffing something, I bent down and tilted my head, smelling a familiar scent from back home, but I couldn’t quite identify what it was. Small lumps were floating above the water, and the water was now a murky green. The point of light I had seen earlier wasn’t very far away now, but the water felt more like sludge, and the lumps felt more like concrete. I could barely paddle, and I couldn’t even walk. Feeling weight on my back, I stopped to rest.

I crawled slowly through the muddy water, slipping and falling at various moments. The point of light was actually a gaping hole with a large waterfall coming from it, shimmering in the dark cave. I knew that the end was near, and unless I could paddle better, I wouldn’t emerge from the tunnel alive. I tilted my head ready to soar like a bird at the end of the tunnel. I paddled like a duck, and then an invisible force pulled me into the water. I sank underwater for a second, and then I did a straight vertical drop.

I dropped down like a cannonball to the ground. My paws were shaking, and my legs were freezing from the cold water. I could barely lift my head. I had dropped onto the ground and rolled over on one side. I licked my wounds from the drop. My paws were covered with dirt and mud, and I smelled like a skunk. I cried out for help, squealing in the blazing sunlight. Barking hurt my throat, so I settled down on the grass, and I fell asleep surrounded in agony and pain and devoid of care and love.

 

Chapter Three: The Pound

As I woke up, I could smell owners again, poking and prodding my paws, and legs, and even my head. Owner wasn’t here, though, and these owners were strange, new, and smelly. Their tools reminded me of the murky water from earlier mixed with treats. It probably had been used on at least fifty other dogs before me. Their voices were muffled, and I felt a needle near my leg.

“The dog doesn’t need it,” a voice commanded.

“How many shots has the dog got?” argued another.

Two owners were poking me with sharp stuff and yelling at each other, almost ignoring me entirely. They were screaming like gorillas, and poking me like tigers, and they had me pinned on their table. Then, I got a waft of air from another room, and smelling the scent of other dogs, I knew what this place was and how to get home.

After a little while, the owners released me from the table and took me to a gray crate, covered with scratches and broken nails. Dogs were barking around me like lions, and some large, lumbering owners were walking some dogs to a door at the other end of the hall. The dogs were scraping against the bars and were climbing up their crates. Above all, the dogs looked imprisoned, bored, and lonely, so before owners shoved me into a crate forever, I ran through the hall, opened the door, and crept away as fast as a cheetah.

I crept quietly through the streets, dashing from corner to corner hiding in the shadows. The owners had emerged from the building, the same ones that had poked me before, and shouted, “Find that stray dog!” I slid under a bench nearby, sliding like a snail on the ground. Running like horses, the owners checked under every corner, bench, and sidewalk, so I had to find a place where they would never look. I looked up. The blue sky went on forever, and the owners couldn’t fly, but I couldn’t fly either. The only way up was a set of slippery, metal stairs on the side of the building that Owner revealed were poisons. I did not want to get poisoned, but it was better than going back to a crate forever. I dashed up the stairs like a rabbit, and I scrambled up to the roof, and I admired the view. The buildings went on forever. Buildings surrounded me in every direction, and there was not an owner in sight. I could feel the wind blowing in my face, and I could sniff the fresh air. The giant owners were gone, and I felt free, but not happy.

 

Chapter Four: Home

Where was Owner? I could barely remember what Owner looked like. Was Owner a dog or a different animal? Was Owner nice? I slithered quietly off of the roof using another staircase. The ground was so far away, I felt the urge to jump off the roof, but I ended up on the second floor instead. It was still a shimmering, bright, sunny day, even though so many things had happened. Sniffing the staircase, I greeted five different cats and dogs on my way down, and by the time I jumped onto the street, I was exhausted and as slow as a turtle.
I twisted around and skipped down several streets, bouncy in my steps. I could finally return home! Huge buildings surrounded me, shades of brown, dark green, and gray. The tall owners were chasing their dogs across the street like cows, laughing and smiling like Owner probably did. The sky began melting into an orange color tipped with yellow, and the ground became a darker gray. I could hear the sounds of home close by, sounds of running, jumping, and playing like dolphins, having no worries, only fun. I missed my home, my friends, and Owner.

Where was home though? I wandered through the darkening roads, panting constantly. The sky was now a shimmering shade of purple with streaks of orange in the distance. Looking up, I could still see those scribbles drawn on every pole. If I understood them, I knew they would lead me home. Scratching at the poles, I gazed at the stars. They were like glowing dots, like small treats ready to be gobbled up. I got off of the pole and ran along the isolated, quiet streets, barely able to see. I peeked around the corner and saw glowing lights in the distance, covered by windows. I recognized it from somewhere, but I was not exactly sure where. I sniffed the ground, a mixture of gum, chips, stone, and plastic wrappers. I trotted slowly down the street, glancing at the dim, black sky. I turned my head, and I spotted a row of houses nearby, and I carefully lifted my head up, and I heard a calm, clear sound.

It was Owner. I hadn’t heard Owner’s voice since last night, when he sang me to sleep. This time though, something was different. Owner wasn’t angry or upset, but he knew something I didn’t, and it wasn’t the answer to the scribbles. I crept down my road, avoiding Owner. Hearing Lin’s bark in the distance, my panting fell silent. I didn’t want to be seen. I leapt over the fence near my house, falling like a ball. I pushed the door open with my paw, and I crawled into the house. I peered at Owner’s room. It was now clean, stately, but at the same time, empty. The whole house felt different, isolated and lonely. Was Owner lonely without me? I approached the bed, white and made of wood, and I noticed a lump in the pillows. I jumped up, eyes glowing, barely able to walk, I fell onto the bed, and I licked Owner’s face. I slept that night knowing that it was all worth it.

 

Candyland

Once upon a time, there was a student bunny named Isabelle who was six years old. One day, Isabelle called Jim the dog for a meeting because Isabelle was a new student in school.

“You’re so ugly,” Jim replied, and Isabelle had no idea he was a bully dog.

Isabelle cried and threw her phone away, because she was so sad. Once Jim’s mom heard what Jim said, she told him to apologize to Isabelle immediately and scolded Jim for being rude.

So the next day, Isabelle saw Jim at school, and he apologized to her, but Isabelle still did not forgive him. So when Jim asked Isabelle to play during playtime, she told him “no” because she knew what he said was true and was still mad. Isabelle just kept playing with the kind children.

When it was lunchtime, the students were allowed to go home and eat, so when Isabelle went home, she ate her mom’s food and made a card with an ugly face on it for Jim saying, You’re ugly too, doggy. But one day, Jim’s mom and Isabelle’s mom hung out and brought Jim back to Isabelle’s home. There, the moms told their kids to play with each other.

“I don’t want to play with the ugly doggy dumpling!” said Isabelle.

“And I don’t want to play with the bunny cookie!” said Jim.

“Oh, just be nice and play together,” said the moms.

So Isabelle and Jim made up to make their moms happy and played a tea game together for the rest of the day. When Jim left, Isabelle went to sleep and snored a lot. She dreamt of her and Jim turning into emojis. Jim turned into the meh emoji, and Isabelle turned into the princess emoji, and they then ran around in Candyland and ate all the candy, and they slept in the marshmallows. Then, they saw trees, and on the trees there was chocolate, and they ate the chocolate. But they didn’t know how to find their mom and dad, and whoosh! they saw their mom and dad, but the mom and dad were chocolate statues, and then they ate their mom and dad.

And then, the doggy said, “Let’s go to the little room in the ginger house,” and they stayed in the ginger house and made things to eat by themselves.

So one day, they went outside, and they saw big scoops of ice cream because the Candyland was snowing, and the snow was ice cream. And in the Candyland there was a tornado, and the tornado was made of spaghetti, and when it rained, there were gummy bears, and if there was a big rain, there were jelly beans. Sometimes, there were hamburgers falling down, and they ate them too. One day, there was a big sun, and it melted all the candy, so the Candyland turned into only candy rainbow, so they ate. The rainbow turned into jelly beans. Then, there was a big snow, and it turned the candy into normal candy, and you could eat the ice cream again.

Then, they slept one night, and when they woke up, they thought they were still in the Candyland because it was not a dream — it was real. One day, they slept again and got to the Popsicle-Land, and there was lemonade and gum that you could jump on. You could even take a lot and get it into your mouth and then you could have a big bubble, and the bubble would give you a helmet. There was candy water, and you could go inside, and there were gummy animals in the candy water. And then, they all saw cookies that could fly through the sky, and you could sit on them and see all of Candyland, and then you would see one big lollipop, and it would float you on the candy water. There was a little girl made of candy and another girl made of chocolates. You could eat them. Then, when they ate them, they returned back home and had chocolate on their mouths.

Their mom said, “Why do you have chocolate on your mouths?”

And the dog and the rabbit said because they went to the Candyland and ate a lot of candy, and when they got home, it was a lot worse because they had to eat a lot of vegetables. Then, they slept, and they lived happily ever after. Now they never go to Candyland ever.

The end.

 

Video Games

It was seven o’clock, and Tom had just woken up for the weekend. Tom couldn’t wait to play Fortnite with his friends. Just before, he brushed his teeth and ate his breakfast and then got onto his iPad to play Fortnite. Fortnite was really fun for Tom. It was his favorite game, so he played it for two hours. Tom and his friends also won a Fortnite battle which made Tom very happy. While Tom was playing the game, he got a lot of good guns, which meant he was able to kill a lot of people, which was exciting because it meant he was winning. He was also a bush, so no one knew it was him. Tom and his friends also got a lot of chests which also gave him a lot of good guns.

After he had a lot of fun playing Fortnite with his friends, he went outside to play soccer. It was really fun because his dad was playing with him, and it was a high scoring game, and Tom won.

After Tom won the game, he asked, “Can we go to the arcade and play some games?”

His dad said, “No,” but Tom still had a lot of things to do at home.

After 15 minutes, Tom couldn’t wait to go to his friend’s birthday party, but that wasn’t for a long time. It was his friend, Peter, and he was turning nine years old.

Time had passed, and it was finally Peter’s party. His parents drove him to Peter’s birthday party. When Tom got there, there was a lot of action going on. People were playing tag together. Some people were jumping on the bouncy house. Tom chose to jump on the bouncy house instead of playing tag.

Once Tom was on the bouncy house, Tom saw that Peter and his friends were having a lot of fun playing tag on the bouncy house. Tom asked if he could join. Peter and his friends said of course.

After Tom was playing tag with Peter’s friends, Peter was suddenly the tagger. Tom thought Peter was really fast, so Tom wanted to avoid him. Then, Tom realized that Peter was chasing after him. Tom tried to run away, but Peter tagged him. Then, Tom fell down and hurt his leg. He was crying because of the pain.

Peter said sorry, and Tom felt better. Peter meant a lot to Tom because he was Tom’s best friend, so Peter’s apology cured Tom’s pain.

On the other side of the party, Tom saw that there was another conflict. One of Peter’s friends named Bob, who was very athletic but a slow runner, was fighting with another one of Peter’s friends named Jeff, who was very fast and liked playing video games. They were also playing tag, so they were fighting about who was not going to be the tagger. Nobody liked to be the tagger.

Finally, Jeff offered to be the tagger, so the fighting stopped, and they all felt better.

After they played, Tom’s parents said to Tom that it was time to go. Tom was very sad, but he had a lot of fun.

When Tom arrived home, Tom went to his bedroom. He was exhausted, so he went to bed.

After he went to bed, Tom woke up and realized that Peter’s birthday party had been a dream! He realized that Peter was actually having a birthday party today, so Tom couldn’t wait to go to his party.

The End

 

The Super Sleepover!

Hi, I’m Sophia. I am ten years old. My mom’s name is Karen, and my dad’s name is Michael. I have a little brother named Charlie. He is three years old, I also have a newborn baby sister named Mia. She’s three months old. My two BFFs are Tracy and Maya. I have known them since we were three. We went to Mommy and Me music class together. My favorite thing to do with Maya and Tracy is to have sleepovers. During our sleepovers, we play truth or dare, watch movies, play with my baby sister, build forts, draw, talk, and sleep.

Tonight we were having a sleepover! I couldn’t wait. It was going to be a blast. I dressed Mia in her nicest outfit. My mom was being so annoying! I couldn’t stand it! She kept saying, “Honey, calm down. You’re making yourself stressed!”

“No, Mom. I’m not!” I screamed. Okay, maybe I was. I would try to calm down.

Later that night, Maya and Tracy came over with their purple sleeping bags. They were as excited as I was! I could not wait. I had so many activities planned. Maya brought over Uno, which she loved. So first, we played Uno. After that, of course my brother needed to storm in and start to burst out in tears. And then, naturally, my sister also started to cry.

Maya and Tracy both came over to Mia and picked her up and rocked her around, so she would stop crying. But she did not stop crying! So, Tracy handed her to me. I didn’t want to deal with this right now, but I didn’t have a choice. My mom was looking at me like, do it. So I did it. She stopped crying! Yes!

After that, we built a fort. Of course, my brother needed to join. But I was kind of glad, because Maya and Tracy didn’t really care if Charlie joined. We just told him that he needed to build his own room. After that, we were getting hungry. So my mom ordered fresh, hot pepperoni pizza. While we were having dinner, we also watched a movie. The movie was so good. And then we had dessert. Hot fudge brownies. Yummmmm!!!

Later, we were getting tired. Right before we got into bed, Maya said, “I need to get something from my bag. I’ll be right back.”

Tracy and I shrugged at each other. We didn’t know what Maya was getting. When Maya came back, there were Pop-Tarts in her hands. “We can snack on these if we’re getting bored,” she said.

I said, “No thank you,” and so did Tracy. I don’t like Pop-Tarts.

“Okay,” Maya said. “If you guys aren’t having them, I’m not having one.”

In the middle of the night, I swear to God I saw the Pop-Tarts glowing. I didn’t think it was a dream. I knew it was real. I got so scared I just went back to bed. In the morning, I told Tracy and Maya. Both of them believed me because they’re good friends. Right after that, I was getting a little worried, so I checked on my sister and brother and parents to make sure they were okay. Phewf! They were! After that, we made ourselves breakfast.

All of a sudden, Maya said that she wanted cotton candy! She hates cotton candy! Tracy and I were shocked. “Are you sure?” I said.

And then, Maya started talking in a deep voice! “I WANT COTTON CANDY!!!” she screamed. “You know what,” she said. “I want cotton candy, I want cotton candy, I want cotton candy, I want cotton candy!!!”

Tracy and I started to get worried. But then, we realized that the flavor of the Pop-Tart was cotton candy. And then, I realized that the Pop-Tart was glowing pink at night for cotton candy! Maya kept saying, “I want cotton candy,” over and over and over and over and over again. I told her to wash her hands and put orange juice over her hands. Maya didn’t want to, but Tracy made her.

And then, she was talking normally again, and everything was back to normal. Except, my brother was still crying.

The end…

 

(Hopefully, this will be our last crazy adventure!)

(Probably not… check out Maya’s adventure!)

 

Kingdoms Dragon’s Game

Once there was a kingdom called Goving. In Goving, the people were happier than the happiest person in the world, until one day, a dragon attacked. This dragon’s name was Billbaring and was so depressed that it couldn’t be described. This dragon saw the kingdom and got more depressed.

This happiness, he thought, I need all to myself. So, the dragon attacked the kingdom. Now you might have thought, Why is he depressed? It was its nature, oh, and the dragon just moved into the den.

Now you would think that the king would go and kill the dragon, but no, this was what the king said: “I can’t kill a dragon by myself. I am too old and weak, and my memory is fading. I can’t do this with a group, let alone do it solo. What should I do?”

Then, a knight said, “Make a group, high king of Goving!”

So, a group was made, including three of the bravest knights, that went to the den of the dragon. They found Billbaring, and Billbaring found them. The dragon opened fire, and the knight moved out of the way before you could say “fire!” Let’s stop here and see what the den looked like: just stalagmites and stalactites and damp walls. Back to the story. In the end, the dragon died by being sliced tons of times in the chest. Now you might think the story is done. No, it is not. You see, there was this kingdom which attacked Goving because the kingdom wanted more land. This time, the king helped. The great war of the kingdoms had begun. Goving was outmatched a ton because the other kingdom had ten dragons, so the king got a shield and a sword and lots of armor and set onto the battlefield. The king was scared of the ten dragons. Everyone was. When the king got there, the great battle had begun. Everything was dirty and was smelling really bad because the other kingdom didn’t take baths. The king was somewhat scared of the hygiene of the other kingdom. The king and his army somehow killed all the dragons with a lot of swinging swords and blocking the flames. The heat of the flames was molting hot. Then, the king charged past the smelly army, covering his nose. He climbed a cliff to face the other king.

The other king called, “King of Goving, I want to battle you!”

Goving’s king answered yes. Goving’s king attacked first, and the other king blocked. They did this for a long time. It was like it had no end. Then, the other king (without warning) kicked Goving’s king so hard… Goving’s king was hanging off a cliff.

 

Days after the battle…

The great battle was done days before, and Goving was safe at last. Now you may have thought about this: Was the king safe too? The answer is yes, yes he was. The other king thought he won that. He was blinded by the fact, so the king of Goving pulled himself up just in time and sliced the other king in the chest. Now the king was walking in the forest, taking in the sweet smell of roses and trees and the nice and warm day. The king loved it more than ever. Goving was happy once again.

The End

 

Writopia Land

Once upon a time there was a girl named Amy who was exploring around Writopia Land, where she just moved in. She was walking when she saw a cute bunny.

She asked the bunny, “Are you lost,” not knowing that the bunny would respond, but it did.

It said, “Actually no, my mommy is right over there.” When Amy heard the bunny speak, she went down on the ground and started to scream. When she looked around, the trees were becoming purple. The flowers were turning into mushrooms. When Amy screamed, every animal that was near her went into a huddle.

The frog took his glasses off and said, “My my my, why is this girl screaming.”

While the chipmunk was eating a golden nut she said, “Maybe she is scared of us. This would explain the screaming.”

The bunny from before said, “I think chipmunk is right.”

After the bunny spoke, Amy stopped screaming and took bunny by the ears and said, “What are you, and why are the trees purple and the flowers mushrooms?” The bunny bit Amy. Amy screamed and ran toward her house. When she saw her house, she quickly came inside and stayed there forever.

After she left the forest, she looked like a lady that just saw a bear. Her hair was everywhere, and her eyes were wide open. When Amy thought of that moment, she realized that she could have been more mature with her decisions and made friends with the creatures. She looked at herself and thought she also looked strange.

Till this day, she doesn’t dare step in that forest again.

The end.

 

Trouble in Disney World!!!

Some families do not go on vacation. Others do. Either way, I do not care. I am too busy anyway. Oh!! Sorry about my manners. My name is Erica, Erica Manning. As I was saying, I am very busy this summer because I have to catch up on some school work. You see, my mother and father are both explorers, and I usually go with them on their expeditions. I have seen many amazing sights, but I have missed a lot of school. Summer is my catch-up time.

Rumble, grumble. Oh dear, I think that was my tummy. In that case, I better head down to breakfast. At this moment, I was in Brazil, if you were wondering. I walked downstairs to breakfast, where I smelled something like cheese. No wonder, it was my mother. She loved cooking native dishes of the country we were in. As I got closer, the smell got stronger and stronger.

When I entered the kitchen, I curiously asked my mother, “What is this smell?”

She replied, “Erica, darling, it’s Pão de queijo, which is a little small-baked cheese flavored roll. Want to try?”

It sounded delicious, so I sat down on one of our chairs and gulped it down. It was amazing. No more rumbly tummy for me. Then, my father entered the kitchen. He had also tracked down the smell. Soon, he was gobbling those rolls down too.

“Guess what, Erica? We’re going to some place else. And this time, it’s not another city for exploring.” Now this caught my attention. My eyes were fixed on him. He continued, “Most kids your age go to this place for a summer holiday. We thought it would be nice for you.”

“Yes,” chimed in my mother. “We are going to take you to Disney World!”

I was astonished at just the thought of going there. It was supposed to be basically Mickey Mouse paradise. I remembered when I was little asking my mother and father again and again and again if we could go there. Finally, for the first time in my life, I was going to have a real summer vacation. I absolutely couldn’t wait. My head was bursting with a million questions.

The first thing that popped out was, “What! How soon? When?”

“Well, we are going to be going tomorrow at about 5:00 a.m., so you may want to go to sleep early tonight.”

This was really not a problem for me because I have been on airplanes at very early times a lot. Before I knew it, we were packing our bags.

“What should I bring?” I asked my mother.

“Make sure you bring some clothes that are good for walking with, and you might want to bring your Mickey Mouse ears, too.”

Obediently, I packed them and stuffed my favorite book, Robin Crusoe, in too. I couldn’t wait for the time to come. I got my wish. Since the plane we were going on was too crowded, we were put on an earlier plane right that night. When I woke up, I was soaring above Florida. All of the cars and buildings looked like little toy blocks to me.

An announcement came over the speaker. The captain commanded, “Please put your seat belts on for landing.” I looked at my seat belt. Sure enough, it was fastened. Must have been mother or father.

I told my father excitedly, “We’re landing? I can’t wait to see my first sight.”

Once we landed, I was jumping with joy. It was all kind of a blur, but I do remember getting into our hotel. It had long, silk curtains and a nice mini bedside table with all my necessities. I soon drowsed off on a very comfortable bed. After what I think was two or three hours, I was woken by my mother who was wide awake.

“Rise and shine, sleepyhead. It’s a special day today! You’re going in the shower after your father.”

I yawned. “What time is it,” I asked.

“It’s 7:30, we let you sleep in. You do look very tired.”

Once we did all the preparations, which seemed to go on forever, we finally headed out the door to Disney World. We jumped into a rented car and road all the way to Disney World. I could not wait for my first ride! Ta-da, there it was, the legendary amusement park I have been dreaming about since I was little. I couldn’t figure out what to do first. I ended up doing Aladdin and his magic carpets. It was amazing. You got to control your own magical carpet. We were all tired out after this amazing day, but we had one more stop to go. The gift shop, of course! I wanted to get a special pair of Mickey Mouse ears for my collection, but we could sense something was wrong when we stepped into the shop. We saw someone who looked very important pacing and mumbling under his breath. He seemed very unhappy.

I walked up to him and asked, “What is wrong?”

“You would never understand. My Mickey Mouse ears designer all of a sudden has gotten very ill with some disease, I don’t remember. She’ll be alright. Though the ears parade is tomorrow, and if I can’t find another substitute, the ears parade can’t go on.”

“Maybe our Erica can be a help,” my father said.

“We always knew she was a good designer,” my mother added in.

As he was making up his mind, I was bursting with anticipation. I really hoped he would let me do it.

“Fine,” he said. “What does she charge?”

“I’ll do it for nothing,” I replied. “It’s an honor.”

When I got home that night with my new designers pad and a job to do, I felt like I could fly. But that feeling didn’t last so long. As I carefully examined the paper, all of a sudden these numbers didn’t really make sense. Neither did all the graphs. I had to call on my mother and my father. And I still didn’t understand. Then, at around one in the morning, I turned it over. Ooooh, I thought. All that time I was having so much fuss over that one little mistake. It was turned over the wrong way! Then, I saw how sensible it was. I got to work knowing I didn’t have much time. I was feeling a little anxious. Though, now that I understood it, it was much easier. I made one Mickey Mouse ears with only one bow in the center. They weren’t pink, they were rainbow. In another one, I put a unicorn horn in the middle. I hoped that Mr. I don’t know his name would like them.

Even though I stayed up practically all night designing those ears, I thought it was fun. In the morning, I got the designs back to the director. We were supposed to meet up in front of the gift shop at seven. I could practically bounce off the walls. I felt like I was on the top of the world. I put my little pad in my little satchel. For some reason, I always knew that would serve a purpose when we went to Disney World, so I packed it.

My parents and I arrived at the gift shop at 6:55. My father always insisted on being there early. I saw from the distance a man coming toward us. He looked exactly like the director. He was the director!

So, then he got to the gift shop. I handed him my designs. I crossed my fingers that he would like them and put them in the ear parade.

As he looked at them, I could see a smile slowly spreading over his face.

“They’re fantastic!” he exclaimed, once he was finished scanning them. “Will you design the ears every single year for my parade? This is even better than my old designer.”

I couldn’t say no. Even though he was a middle-aged man, he looked as excited as a six-year-old on Christmas Day. I couldn’t let him down, so I replied, “Yes.” After all, it was enjoyable once I figured out I had the pad the wrong way.

“Little did you know, that you had averted a huge disaster. There could have been no ears in the ear parade.”

“Thank you. It was a pleasure. It was a real pleasure.”

“You know what,” my mother told me as we were leaving Disney World, “I knew it always a good idea to let a designer know about your talent.”

“This is for you,” my father said as he was holding up amazing gold Mickey Mouse ears with my name written on it in cursive.

It was a perfect day. I couldn’t wait to go back to Disney World.

The End.

 

Walking Through a Cave

Mayuree Nin and her team had just won a great soccer game in Hat Yai, Thailand. Her team was walking through a cave, which they went through a lot because it was a shortcut to the ice cream shop. They also had granola bars and celebratory treats.

Mayuree was laughing with her friends. The youngest kid on the team was 13. She was hugging everyone around her. The oldest kid on the team was 16, and she was jumping up and down. Mayuree was 14.

Then, the monsoon rain started. It flooded the caves.

“Coach!” shouted Mayuree. She ran over and hid behind a rock. All of the girls started to scream. Coach grabbed Mayuree’s arm. The team ran further into the cave. They stopped and waited. After a while, they went back out. Not every place was flooded. They went to try and find a way out of the cave. They looked around. The only ways out were small little tubes filled with water. Mayuree fell to the ground. They were trapped!

“Let’s try to ration out our food,” Coach said. First, they looked for water. They found water in a corner on the right side of the cave.

“This water tastes weird,” Mayuree’s friend said. The team was trying to wait for the water to drain. But it didn’t.

On the seventh day of being in the cave, the team ran out of food.

“What are we going to do!” a girl shouted. The coach sat down.

“I don’t know,” the coach sighed. They were trapped for four more days in the cave. On the fifth day, an explorer popped in all dressed in scuba gear. The kids looked up.

“Do you have any food?” the girls asked.

The explorer shook his head. The girls sighed. The explorer immediately dived back in the tunnel and left the girls behind. The explorer told other people about the team in the cave. The story became worldwide.

Mayuree was starving. Her whole team was starving. The rescuers brought the team food. The girls all ate very quickly. But now they were active enough to find some more water. The rescuers brought the team water bottles, snacks, and meals. Now they were finally active enough to talk about finding a way out. The rescuers told the team that the only ways out were the small passageways that were a mile long. It took six hours for the rescuers to get to the team. Mayuree liked to sit and wait for six hours for the rescuers to come. It really was the only thing to really do in the cave. But for two days, none of them came. They thought that the rescuers had forgotten about the team. They grew hungry again.

A rescuer came a few days later. He reported that a rescuer died in the passage. He was trying to put air packages in the passageway. But he ran out of air. That made the team cry. They knew they were never going to get out.

But the next day, rescuers came with extra gear. “Okay, kids. I will take four of you through the passage. One rescuer will be in front and in back of you.” As the rescuer said this, he handed scuba gear. They gave gear to Mayuree and her friend Malliyalara. Mayuree got scared.

 

A few hours later, Mayuree and the group of her friends were getting ready to go in. Mayuree used to be scared that she was not going to be good at soccer and lose the game. But this was so much scarier. Mayuree said goodbye to her friends and coach. Then, one by one, the girls went in the passages.

The girls had been swimming for three hours. The girls were very tired. Then, Mallivalara started to fall to the bottom of the passage. A rescuer came up behind her. He could not come next her. The passage was too small for that. “She ran out of air!” the rescuer shouted. Mayuree looked behind her. But it was hard. The tunnel was three feet tall and two feet wide. She had to turn back forward. How was this possible? she thought. The words went through her head a million times. Her friend had died. Her friend had died. Her friend had died. Her friend since diapers had died! But Mayuree had to focus. She went the rest of the trip focused and ready. When she got out of the cave, she could change out of her gear. She stared out of the cave. She took her mask off and took a deep breath. But she noticed none of the rescuers were holding Mallivalara’s body. Mayuree got filled with rage. She ran back to the tunnel. She dived in.

“Wait!!!” the rescuers cried. They grabbed Mayuree by the leg, then pulled her out.

“What do you think you’re doing?” the rescuers said to her.

“You left my friend’s body in the tunnel!!!” she shouted. Tears filled her eyes. She tried to pull back from the rescuer, but his grip was too strong. She gave up. She fell to the ground. The rescuers looked at each other. One pulled a mask out of his back pocket. He was about to put it on when Mayuree jumped up and grabbed it from him. Then, Mayuree jumped back into the tunnel. She started crawling towards her friend.

Three hours later, Mayuree came upon her friend. She was not moving, and Mayuree just wanted to cry. But she held herself together. She grabbed onto her arm and moved as fast as she could. She didn’t want to run out of air.

Four hours later, she was nearing the end of the tunnel. Then, she knew what was happening. She was running out of air. She tried to swim faster. She did exactly what she saw on shows. She had to take short breaths. She saw the exit. She started to swim faster and faster. Then, she totally ran out of air. She had a record of holding her breath for a minute, and she guessed that it was okay. She swam very fast and bursted through the top. She jumped out and grabbed her mask off. She took a deep breath and relaxed. She took Malmallikalara’s mask off. She sighed. At least she was okay, and her friend was not stuck in a tunnel. She took a deep breath. Then, she heard someone take an even deeper breath. It was Mallivalalara! She sat up. She looked around. Mayuree walked over and helped her up. Now this was a happy ending!!!

THE END

Inspired by true events

 

The Life of a Garbage Can

 

1

I’m mixed up. I’m crushed. I’m used as drums. I’m practically worthless. Recycling bins and compost bins have more value than me. They’re more organized. I’m a dump. A dump of trash. I’m basically nothing in this world. Dented all over. People use me, but not a lot. Why am I here? Do I have a sensible purpose?

 

2

It’s a windy day. I keep getting knocked over. Darn wind. I see lots of people with garbage in their hands. They don’t even bother to look at me seriously. The garbage dude drives by without even a glance at me. All alone, lying down, and no one to comfort me.

 

3

If only I was tidier, not dented and dirty. Just one glance at me and you’ll be disgusted. I just want to be known in this world. All the other garbage cans are even tidier than me. Yeah, a little jealousy going on here. They have a better outside. They have garbage bags in them. I’m just a dead, oversized tin can.

 

4

I’m rolling down a hill. Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow. I’m in so much pain. I roll into a ditch never to be seen again. No, just kidding. I just keep rolling until I stop at a dead end. The back and forth of the whistling wind rocks me like a baby to sleep.

 

5

I wake up to see a little girl putting me upright. She’s not like other people. She actually looks at me with heart. She stares at me like I need something. She carries me up the hill. She stops in front of a building and puts me down. It seems like it’s her house. She goes in and comes back with gray polish, a garbage bag, some paint, and some glue. She does all sorts of things to me. She uses the gray polish all around me. I’m starting to look pretty good. Then, she puts glue all on my rims, top and bottom, so I stay sturdy. She opens up the garbage bag and puts it in me.

 

6

The girl leaves me in front of her building and walks away. Now, I feel known. I sigh and look up at the sun. The start of a new day feels really great. I’m a new a person now. I breathe in the cool air. This time, I’m not going to let the wind knock me over. I’m going to stand strong. No, literally, she put glue under so I stay sturdy. Who knew?

 

7

The sun is about to set. People use me now. Not the way they did before. Before, they would drop their garbage in me, and sometimes they’d knock me over without even picking me back upright. When the sun went down and the girl came back, she had a big garbage bag in her hand. She put it in me. It just feels good. The garbage truck drives by and takes out the garbage bag from me. I feel relieved. I look back at the sky waiting for a new day to come.

 

THE END

 

Secret Samurai

Cynthia felt like she was a daredevil. After all, why would an eight-year-old jump down the Empire State Building with virtually no protection? She felt as if her insides had turned upside down and gone haywire. As she fell, she had a flashback as to why she was doing it:

Just five hours ago, she was in Chicago doing homework. Her aunt had given a high-tech suit to her as a birthday gift, which had the powers of a Samurai. “Your cousin has superpowers. This suit has powers you can use to defeat villains.” Cynthia decided to test it. She boarded a first class plane trip to New York. On the trip, she thought about Skullkiller, the notorious villain who wanted to kill her cousin. She had to defeat him.

To test the durability of the Samurai suit, she took a fall off the Empire State Building. The suit reacted and added wings to the suit. I’m not Falcon, she thought. She carefully glided down and landed swiftly on the ground. This wasn’t any ordinary suit. It could respond to her feelings. Cynthia suddenly remembered the history of the suit.

Her aunt had created the suit when she was a young girl. She used it to stop crime. Unfortunately, Skullkiller had learned about the suit and was willing to steal it. The suit, though, was destroyed before it had been used for evil. Somehow, it regrew itself.

“BREAKING NEWS, BREAKING NEWS! Eight-year-old makes heroic fall down Empire State Building. She fell down more than 500 feet, as a matter of fact. Officials are now trying to confirm the girl’s identity, although it may take some time. Around the country, there have been strange occurrences lately.”

Skullkiller was in his lair, watching the news. He reacted as soon as he saw the breaking headlines. “That girl’s in a black suit. Why does it look so familiar? Wait, it is familiar. It’s the Samurai suit! I thought it was destroyed. I’ve got to capture her, and also get back to killing that boy.”

That “boy” was really Cynthia’s 12-year-old cousin, Hayden. Skullkiller had killed his parents. Hayden and his older sister, Catherine, then went to live with their aunt. Skullkiller wanted revenge on Hayden, who defeated him many times before.

Cynthia and her mother were boarding the plane. Skullkiller confronted them. At first, Cynthia and her mother were in shock. They didn’t know that he was going to find them. Then, Cynthia and her mom came up with a plan.

Skullkiller laughed evilly, “Hahahahahahahaha…. Hello. Expecting me, eh?”

Cynthia’s mother began to levitate Skullkiller. She threw him out of the plane.

“He knows that you have the suit. We have to be as careful as we can. Anything you do makes Skullkiller smarter.”

When they reached their home in Chicago, Hayden asked Cynthia, “How did it go?”

Cynthia replied, “Went well. Only bad thing was confronting Skullkiller.”

“I’ll help you train for the battle. I’ve defeated him about a dozen times. Besides, the prophecy chose you.”

Cynthia nodded, then went to her room.

She took her suit disguised as a pack of gum — not a good idea! — and found a record of the newscast on YouTube. She thought, Things aren’t obvious. People don’t know superheroes’ real identities.

So, weeks went on. Hayden trained her to defend at the right time, use important items in the suit, and much more. Then, she was ready to fight.

The battle started in an abandoned town. It was dusty. The dust flew through the sky. Skullkiller tried to pounce on Cynthia, but the dust made it hard for him to see. She defended. A sword came out of the suit because she was thinking, I really need some help here. Cynthia used the sword and cut Skullkiller, badly wounding him.

Cynthia carried Skullkiller and flew high. She threw him down. Skullkiller surrendered. “I’ll get you next time!” he screamed. Cynthia felt more confident now. She could defeat somebody that only expert superheroes could master. Even if she didn’t have the suit, she could still do it.

 

Two Doughnuts Sometimes Make the Perfect Match

 

Chapter One

I knew my night was going to be a disaster when I picked up my phone and saw how many calls I got from Alison. With all the work in the bakery, I totally forgot to check my phone, and now Alison was going to be mad at me for two reasons. First, for not picking up her calls, and second, for telling her I couldn’t go to her masquerade ball because I was helping my parents at the bakery. Alison’s dad was the mayor of our small town in California, so every month, Alison had a huge party at her house, and her dad always asks my parents to cater the party.

I still remember the first time we met back when we were four when she first moved here. Our parents introduced us to each other, and ever since then, we have been best friends. We were four then, and we were thirteen now, and we were still the same. Sometimes it felt really good to think about the past. That was, until you flashed forward to the present and realized that you had some problems on your hands. I saw my dress and mask laying on top of my bed waiting to be worn. That made my decision for me. I was going to go to the masquerade ball.

So, I picked up my phone and texted Alison, I will meet you at your masquerade ball.

Alison texted back, I can’t wait to see what you’re wearing Jade!

I grabbed my red long dress with gold designs and my gold mask and quickly put it on. I did my makeup and put on my golden high heels. I walked to the mirror and couldn’t recognize myself. I wondered if anyone else could recognize me.

With that thought in my mind, I walked out of my room and yelled to my mom, “Mom I’m going to Alison’s party! Bye!”

“Okay, Jade. Don’t get into any trouble, and if you need anything ask your dad. He is at the party!” my mom yelled from her room.

After hearing that, I quickly headed out the door because it was already 7:55 p.m., and the party started at eight p.m..

 

Chapter Two

It was a good thing Alison only lived two blocks away from me. As I walked underneath the night sky, I felt the breeze blowing my hair. The walk to Alison’s party was very peaceful, but once I got to Alison’s house, I couldn’t even recognize her house. Alison went all out for this party. The house looked like a winter palace, like the one Elsa made in the movie Frozen. There were so many people going in and out of the house. I walked up to the front door and opened the door and walked in. As I did, I could see that everyone was staring at me. I felt like Cinderella when she walked into the ball and no one could recognize her. I quickly walked to the center to join everyone because I hated being the center of attention. As I walked to the crowd of people dancing and talking to each other, I realized something. I couldn’t recognize anyone. Something else I realized was that I was the only one wearing red. At that moment, I regretted wearing that dress because I hated standing out. So I walked out of the dance floor and walked to one of the

empty tables. As I tried the maccaron and the doughnuts that were at the table, I overheard two girls talking about a celebrity.

They were saying, “Bella, did you hear the rumors that have been going around?”

“What rumor, Isy?”

“Well, rumor has it that Alison invited Cabe Swift to the masquerade ball because he is working on a movie here.”

“Anyways, Alison asked, and Cabe said he would come.”

O-M-G, I can’t believe I am going to see Cabe Swift,” said both of the girls.

When I heard that, I was so confused because I knew everyone who was invited to the ball, but I never saw Cabe Swift’s name on the guest list. I guess it made sense that she invited him because she was a really big fan. Alison watched every movie that Cabe had ever made and has had a huge crush on him since the sixth grade. She said Cabe and her had a lot in common because they were the same age. I, on the other hand, didn’t hate him, but I didn’t love him either, so I guess you could say I liked his acting. But Alison loved him.

As I was sitting there and thinking to myself, I suddenly heard someone ask me, “Do you mind if I sit here?”

“Sure, go ahead!” After that, we started talking.

Me: “Are you having fun at the party?”

Him: “Not really, I don’t have any friends here.”

Him: “Why are you sitting here all by yourself?”

Me: “Let’s just say I don’t like being the center of attention, and as you can see, I am the center of attention today thanks to this red dress.”

Him: “Anyways, do you have any hobbies?

Me: “Well, I like to bake and listen to music.”

Him: “I like to bake too! Who is your favorite artist?”

Both of us at the same time: “Selena Gomez.”

Me: “O-M-G! Did you hear her new song ‘Back to You?’”

Him: “Yes!”

Both of us: “LOVED IT!”

Me: “Anyways, did you hear that we have a celebrity here tonight?”

Him: “Who’s the celebrity?”

Me (rolling my eyes while saying the name): “Cabe Swift.”

Him: “So are you a fan of Cabe?”

Me: “Let’s just say I am not a big fan. He seems so spoiled.”

Him  (with a smirk on his face): “Wow!”

From that point on, our conversation took off, and we talked for the rest of the night. He was really nice and mysterious. He had the same haircut as Cabe Swift, which looked really good on him. We took a lot of pictures and soon realized the party was almost over. So when I was about to leave, he asked for my phone number, so I gave it to him and walked home. When I actually got home, I realized that we never got to tell each other what our names were. So I started wondering, what could be his name be?

 

Chapter Three

The next morning, I awoke to the sound of my parents arguing. I quickly got out of my bed and walked to where they were arguing because they didn’t usually fight. When I walked up to them fighting, I asked what they were fighting about, and my mom told me to sit down because I wasn’t going to take it well. So I did. My mom told me the most horrible thing I could think of. She told me that my dad got a letter in the mail saying that we would have to close the bakery if we couldn’t pay all the bills.

I asked, “How much are the bills going to be for the bakery?”

“About 15,000 dollars.”

“I am so sorry, sweetie, but we can’t afford to pay that much money.”

“Plus, we haven’t been getting a lot of customers lately.”

“Maybe if we get more customers, we can keep the bakery longer.”

“Right now we can only keep the bakery for ten days.” Hearing that made me want to cry even more than I had already been doing since I heard about the bakery. I ran to my room and laid down in my bed when I realized that I was going to be late for school. I got out of my bed and got ready as fast as I could while trying to look cute. Then, I ran to school, somehow managing to get before the bell.

When I walked into the hallway and walked to my locker, I looked around and saw that everyone was on their phone saying, “O-M-G, who is that girl?!

Then suddenly, I heard someone calling my name from down the hall, so I turned around and saw Alison running up to me and yelling, “Check Cabe Swift’s Instagram!”

So I got my phone out of my backpack and went to Cabe Swift’s Instagram. I couldn’t believe what I saw.

There it was, the picture of me and that mysterious boy at the party. I was so confused at first, wondering how the picture ended up in Cabe’s Instagram, when something finally clicked inside of my head, and I realized that the mysterious boy that I was talking to at the party was no one other than Cabe Swift! I started freaking out. I couldn’t believe it. I just spilled my heart out and embarrassed myself in front of the biggest teen celebrity!

I was about to faint when I heard Alison asking me, “Are you okay, Jade?”

I tried to play it cool by saying, “I am fine,” even though I was dying inside.

“So, did you check Cabe’s Instagram?”

“Yeah.”

“So who do you think that girl in the the red dress is next to Cabe? Who do you think it is?

“Well, I don’t know.”

“But whoever that is, she is a very lucky girl.”

“Also, did you read what it said under the picture?”

“No, what did it say?”

“Well, it said, ‘hashtag the best night of my life (Thank you mystery girl for making it the best).’”

Hearing that just made me scream out, “I am the girl in the red dress with Cabe in the picture!”

After screaming that out, I saw that everyone was staring at me in confusion, then started talking again saying how jealous they were that they didn’t get to be his mystery girl. After that, I looked at Alison’s face, and she looked so happy. She was congratulating me, and right at that moment the bell rang, and I had to get to class. After doing a lot of work in class, school was finally over. So, Alison and I walked and talked about last night and everything that happened. I also told her about the part when I gave Cabe my number.

Hearing that, Alison said, “I bet he’s going to text you to meet him later.”

“No way!” Right at that moment, I got a text from an unknown number. It said, Hey. You probably know who I am by now. It’s Cabe and I was wondering if you wanted to meet up? So text me your address and I will come pick you up in my limo!

So, I texted him my address and called my mom to let her know that I was going somewhere with a friend. Then, Cabe arrived in his limo. I said bye to Alison and got in the limo. As I sat in the limo, I could sense the awkwardness between us.

So, I asked, “How come you didn’t tell me you were Cabe Swift last night when we were talking?”

“Well, Jade… ”

“Wait, how do you know my name, because I never told you?”

“I might have done some digging around. Now back to what I was saying. Last night I had a lot of fun not having to be Cabe Swift, because whenever I talk to someone the conversation is always about me, and I really get tired of that. But last night, the conversation wasn’t only about me. It was about both of us, and I really liked talking to you. Plus, it didn’t sound like you were a really big fan of Cabe Swift last night, so I was hoping you would like Cabe better. So do you want be friends?”

“Sure.”

“Anyways, I was hoping we could go to your bakery.”

“Sure! It’s Friday, so the bakery is closed today, so we can have it all to ourselves.”

 

Chapter Four

Once we got to the Sweet Storm Bakery, I took out my spare key, and we both walked inside. I told him how our specialty was doughnuts, and since we didn’t have the doughnuts premade, we decided to make doughnuts from scratch. We went to the back of the the bakery and took out all of the supplies we needed. I had a lot of fun baking with Cabe. We decided to make two of my favorite doughnuts: ocean blue (vanilla doughnut with blue icing and and candies on top to make it look like the bottom of the ocean) and Choco coconut storm (chocolate doughnut with coconut and white frosting on top.) To my surprise, Cabe was a really good baker. I thought he was spoiled and wouldn’t even know how to crack an egg. I guess I didn’t really know who Cabe was on the inside. After we were done making the doughnuts, Cabe took a knife, cut two doughnuts in half and put the two doughnuts together into one. He took a bite from the side so that he could taste both of the doughnuts.

He said, “Wow! Two doughnuts can sometimes make the perfect match.”

Hearing that made me laugh, so I tried the doughnut the way he did, and I had to admit they tasted amazing together. After finishing our doughnuts, we started talking, and I told him about the bakery and suggested that we should let customers switch up the donuts, like making one side one doughnut and making the other side a different doughnut. He said he would post about it on his Instagram.

When I thanked him for his help, he said, “What are friends for?”

He also asked me if I wanted to audition for a small part in his movie. I told him I would think about it. After talking to him for what seemed like a few minutes, I realized that it was nine p.m.. Had we really been talking for two hours? After that, Cabe dropped me home, and for the rest of the night, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Talking to him felt different than talking to everyone else. Was I really falling for him?

 

Chapter Five

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of someone texting me. I picked up my phone and saw that my mom had called me two times and that Cabe texted me, Good Morning. So, I texted back, Good morning to you too.

Cabe: I posted about the bakery last night, and it looks like you might be getting a lot of new customers because it already has 2.6 million likes.

Me: O-M-G really. Thanks a lot.

Cabe: My pleasure. By the way are you auditioning for the movie?

Me: Uh I guess I will give it a shot.

Cabe: Awesome I will send you the script. The auditions are held at my hotel at 5.

Me: K bye.

After I was done texting Cabe, I called my mom, and she said the plan to get new customers was working. She also said that if we kept having this kind of customers, we could pay off the bills by next week, and we could keep the bakery. Hearing that made me really happy. So for the rest of the day, I helped my mom out at the bakery while trying to practice my lines. I wanted the day to slow down because I was not looking forward to the auditions. But when you want time to slow down, time does the opposite and goes as fast as it can. Soon, it was  five p.m., and I was at Cabe’s hotel waiting to be called in. There were a lot of girls auditioning for the same part which made me even more nervous.

Then, it was my turn. I auditioned in front of Cabe’s manager and the director for a character named Bella, the main character’s best friend. She helps her best friend Isabel and Jake (Cabe) get together. When I was auditioning, I was very disappointed not to see Cabe in the audition room. But I auditioned anyway, and the director told me they would let me know if I got the part by tonight. I walked home and was so happy the audition was over and done with. As I was walking I felt a sudden burst of happiness, and there I was again thinking about Cabe. I thought about Cabe all the way home. Once I opened the door and walked in, I saw both of my parents waiting for me at the door with their happiest faces.

“Jade, did you get the part?” asked my dad.

“I don’t know yet, Dad.”

After telling my parents everything that happened at the audition, I headed to my room and watched Netflix for the rest of the day, until I realized it was nine p.m.. I took out my phone and was going through Cabe’s Instagram when I got a call from Cabe.

I answered it and said, “Hello?”

“Hey, Jade. Guess what?”

“What? What’s going on?”

“Well, you got the part!”

“O-M-G, seriously!” My face turned bright red. I was so overwhelmed and in disbelief.

“Yeah, the director loved the way you really got into the character.”

After he told me I got the part, I told my parents, and we were all really happy. That night, Cabe and I talked until midnight. He told me about how he never really had a real friend on set and how lucky he was that I was going to be on set with him. When he said that, I blushed. He made me feel really special. The next morning, I headed off to set, bright and early. Cabe and I really had fun being on set together. For the rest of the week, I filmed after school on set. It was the best week of my life. First, because my mom was able to pay off the bills, so we got to keep the bakery, and second, because I got to spend the whole week having fun with Cabe on set. The parts of the week that I didn’t like were when Cabe and his co-star had to do a scene where they danced and went on dates. Even though I knew they were acting, it felt like they were an actual couple. For some reason, I felt a way that I never felt before. I was jealous. At that point, I knew I was falling for him. I didn’t want to tell him because what if he didn’t like me in that way — then it would be awkward between us. I thought he just wanted to be friends. That is, until he asked me to be his date to the movie premiere. I totally died inside when he asked me. I said yes. Now my problem was what was I going to wear to the premiere. I went shopping with Alison and my mom. I bought a long white dress with silver designs on the bottom. I also bought some silver jewelry.

Finally, premiere night arrived. Cabe came to my house in his limo and had a cupcake flower bouquet because he knew how much I loved sweets. He came up to my door and knocked. I opened the door, and when he saw me, he stared at me for a second, then said, “Jade, you look amazing!” I said thank you, and we got in the limo, and we drove to the premiere.

On the way there, he took my hand and said, “Jade, I really like you more than just a friend. Do you like me too?”

I said shyly, “I like you too.”

“I didn’t tell you because I thought things would be awkward between us if you didn’t feel the same way.”

“Well, I am glad this turned out well.”

“Me too.”

“You know you were right: two doughnuts can sometimes make a perfect match even if they are from two different worlds.”

After talking and embarrassing ourselves, we arrived at the premiere. He announced that he had a girlfriend at the red carpet, and then we watched the movie. It felt so weird to watch myself in a movie. But I had to say, Cabe made me feel comfortable when I wasn’t. We got a lot of questions about how we became a couple, and let’s just say I didn’t know how Cabe dealt with so many people asking questions and taking pictures, because I couldn’t deal with that kind of stuff. After we were done watching the movie, we went to the after party and had a lot of fun. From that point on, my life felt like a fairy tale. Even though we both had our own busy life, we made it work. But the bakery and I didn’t really work out. I wasn’t home a lot because of all the movies I was in. I mostly spent my time in LA, filming. But when I was at home, I spent as much time as I could at the bakery.

 

One Look is Friendship

 

JADA: Main character

GABBY: Jada’s best friend

JUSTIN: Jada’s brother

MADDIE, CORA, and STEPHANIE: Mean girls

DAD and MOM

NARRATOR

 

Erika: MADDIE

Samantha: STEPHANIE and MOM

Lydia: CORA

Ronni: JADA

Belinda: GABBY and NARRATOR

Andrew: DAD and JUSTIN

 

Waking up in bed. JADA puts clothes on, brushes hair, goes downstairs, brushes teeth, and eats cereal. Bus honks. Thirty minutes later, she is at school.

MADDIE: Hey, did you finish my homework? I’m not gonna pay you this week if you didn’t.

CORA and STEPHANIE cross arms. JUSTIN arrives.

JUSTIN: Stop bullying her. What did she ever do to you?

MADDIE: Fine.

JADA (to JUSTIN): Thank you so much.

JADA exits. GABBY enters.

GABBY: What happened over there? Did they want to get their homework again? You should stop letting them do that to you.

JADA: I have to get money to get a new car.

GABBY: Only until you get a new car.

Bell rings.

Thirty minutes later. Lunchtime. JADA sits down with GABBY. CORA, MADDIE, and STEPHANIE arrive at their table.

MADDIE: Where’s my homework? I’m literally not gonna pay you for three weeks!

JADA: Okay, okay, I’ll give it to you tomorrow.

MADDIE: Don’t tell Justin I told you this, or you know what’s gonna happen.

MADDIE exits. JUSTIN enters.

JUSTIN: Did she ask you for her homework again? Tell me the truth.

JADA: She did not ask me.

JUSTIN: Okay.

JUSTIN exits.

GABBY: Why didn’t you tell him the truth?

JADA: Because you know what’s gonna happen. She’s not gonna pay me for the whole month

GABBY: You can’t go on like this! You can get a job.

JADA: I don’t want a job! I have to do this.

GABBY: Whatever you say.

GABBY exits. Five minutes later, bell rings, and JADA exits the lunchroom. Three hours later, she is done with school, and GABBY is walking home with JADA. GABBY goes home first because her house is closer.

GABBY: Bye, see you tomorrow!

Five minutes later, JADA is home,

JADA (to her MOM): Um, Mom, the girls also want their homework, and I forgot where I put it, so I need to find it today.

MOM: Honey, you have to stop letting them do these things to you. You have to stop doing homework all the time, you have a life.

DAD enters.

DAD: What’s going on in here?

MOM: Oh, well the girls still want her homework, and they’re still bossing her around to get money.

DAD: You have to stop letting them bully you. I’m going to school with you tomorrow, and I’m going to talk to them.

JADA eats dinner, takes a shower, brushes her teeth, and goes to bed.

The next day, JADA sees GABBY, and they walk to school. JADA’s dad meets JADA at school, and JADA sees her dad talking to MADDIE, STEPHANIE, and CORA.

STEPHANIE: Hey, what do you want? Oh, and by the way, we still need our homework from your daughter.

CORA: Yeah we do! You know how much homework we gave her? We need it today.

JADA: Dad, what are you doing here? Go home! It’s embarrassing!

DAD: Okay honey, I’ll go home.

MADDIE: Dad calls you honey, not princess?

CORA: Where’s the homework? We need it today. You know that!

JADA hands them the homework.

JADA: Here’s your homework.

STEPHANIE: Okay.

Gives the homework back.

It doesn’t look like our handwriting. Just do one more line, and it will look like our handwriting.

JADA takes the homework back.

JADA: Okay, but you have to pay me extra this week, or I’m not giving your homework back.

MADDIE (rolling her eyes): Ugh, fine.

JADA walks off to class.

MADDIE: Where’s our homework? We need it now! She’s calling us up!

JADA: Where’s my money first?

MADDIE gives JADA the money, and JADA gives MADDIE her homework.

MADDIE: Finally.

MADDIE, CORA, and STEPHANIE go to the teacher and gives them the homework. Three hours later, she is done with school. Gets home and counts all her money and runs downstairs.

JADA: Oh my gosh, Mom, I have enough money to buy a new car! I don’t have to do their homework anymore!

Runs down the street and knocks on GABBY’s door.

JADA: Gabby, I have enough to buy a new car! I don’t have to do their homework anymore!

GABBY: We have to have a celebration at my house tomorrow!

JADA: Okay, tomorrow it is.

JADA gets back home.

JADA (to her parents): We’re gonna have a celebration tomorrow!

MOM and DAD: Okay, let’s go!

MOM: Go eat dinner, brush your teeth, get in the shower, and then get into bed.

JADA: Okay.

JUSTIN enters.

JADA: I don’t have to do their homework anymore! I have the right amount to buy a new car!

JUSTIN: Oh my god, I’m so proud of you!

JADA: Okay, could you come to my celebration? It’s tomorrow at eight.

JUSTIN: Sure, I’ll be there!

JADA exits. The next day. A huge celebration. GABBY calls JADA’s MOM and DAD.

GABBY: It’s time to do the decorations! Hurry, my house!

GABBY calls JUSTIN.

GABBY: Hurry, the celebration! We need decorations!

JUSTIN: Okay, I’m gonna call everybody from school to come. And I’ll get some decorations too.

MOM and DAD (to JADA): Honey, we’ll be back later.

JADA: Okay, see you later! Remember the celebration! Don’t be late!

MOM and DAD: Okay.

JADA arrives at GABBY’s house. GABBY opens the door.

Everyone: Surprise!!

JADA: Oh my gosh! I can’t believe you planned this!

JADA sees MADDIE, STEPHANIE, and CORA.

What are you doing here? I thought you didn’t like me or something.

MADDIE: I’m sorry for bossing you around with all these things. I got this car for you.

JADA: But what about all that money you gave me for doing your homework?

MADDIE: It’s okay. You can keep it and buy another car.

JADA: Well, do you want to hang out sometime? Just not this time because we’re having a party.

NARRATOR: And they had a great time.

 

Friendship Song

JADA: Friendship comes with a key everywhere,

MADDIE: Even if it’s harder than it looks.

GABBY: We’re all in it together,

JUSTIN: No matter if it’s rough.

EVERYBODY: We can do it,

Because it goes on, it goes on,

Because friendship is the key to victory.

JADA and MADDIE: We started off as enemies, but then we became good friends.

GABBY and STEPHANIE: We both found something interesting we like together,

EVERYONE: We all end up friends.

 

Typed by Belinda Becker Jacob

 

The Drawing Book

The most important object to me is the drawing book my old art teacher gave me when I was in second grade. The book is kind of ripped on the cover. It’s all black, and when you touch the cover it’s kind of rough. But in the inside there’s smooth white paper. The inside is filled with drawings I drew when I was little. The smell just smells like regular old paper.

The first thing I remember was when they were handing it out to all the art club kids, since it was the last day of art club. It was really sweet that he handed me that book because it was directly from him. He didn’t tell us what we had to draw. He let us be creative. My sister was also happy because it was her last year there. After that, I knew it would be different with the new teacher. She wasn’t that good of a teacher. He was. It was just so special because they only accepted kids from third grade and up. So, I was the first kid to enter that was in second grade. And it’s not just special because of that, but that art teacher left the school, so I never saw him again. He taught me that it doesn’t matter if you mess up, it’s art. When I heard he was leaving, it was really sad for me and my sister. We really missed him when he left. But that never stopped me from drawing. I don’t use it that often like I used to. I just found it again, and I began drawing again. And it reminds me of my teacher. What I’m filling the pages with now looks different than what I used to. But right now, it’s in my backpack.

 

The Haunted Circus Chronicles

 

CHAPTER ONE

It was a hot and sunny day when Jeff and Bob walked into the circus. The noise was loud, they could hear people laughing, carousel music, and an announcer calling over the loudspeaker, “Last call for a ticket to the Great Juggler’s Show!” Jeff bought a big bag of hot, buttery popcorn, which smelled amazing, and cotton candy. Bob bought a hot dog, and they both bought cold sodas. They walked down the grass eating their food, looking around for something cool. On each side of the grass were tents: white and silver for the acrobats, red and blue for the animal tamers, blue and silver for the magicians, and one more tent for refreshments.

“Do you like school?” asked Jeff, while eating his popcorn.

“Not really,” said Bob. “The teachers are so mean.”

“Yeah,” said Jeff. “Ms. Butterbottom is really strict. She didn’t let you celebrate your birthday! We never have parties for holidays, and we had a lot of homework.”

Jeff and Bob were both thirteen. They were both wearing T-shirts and shorts.

Bob looked up and saw a platform ahead of them. A crowd had gathered. They were watching silently in amazement while a clown juggled on a unicycle. The clown was wearing a red wig, a red nose, big shoes, and a bright yellow and red polka dot shirt.

“I hate clowns,” said Jeff.

“Me too,” said Bob.

“Especially after that movie last night,” said Jeff. They had watched a horror movie, Politics About Clowns.

Jeff and Bob avoided the platform. They saw a path to the left, leading towards the carousel. They kept walking, eating their popcorn, and talking.

To the left of the pathway, there was another tent. It was red and yellow.

“What time should we go home?” asked Jeff.

“Well, I want to invite some friends over for a party tomorrow. We could have a pool party at your house… ”

The clown on the stage did a backflip on his unicycle while juggling ten balls. The crowd looked amazed, cheering and clapping.

Suddenly, Bob and Jeff felt a hand wrapping around their arms and yanking them backwards into the tent. “AHHHHHHHH!” they screamed.

Nobody saw Jeff and Bob — they were too busy watching the clown. Outside the tent, all they could see was a bag of popcorn left on the ground.

 

Jeff and Bob were tied down in wooden chairs inside the tent. The chairs had blood all over them. They saw a whole bunch of clowns in a dark room holding knives.

Everything had happened so fast that Jeff and Bob were confused. “Who are you?” asked Jeff and Bob quietly.

“We are your worst nightmare,” they all said. One of the clowns stepped forward to tighten their ropes. The clown had a freaky face with blood all over it and a lot of white and black makeup. It had red blood all over its white clothes and ruffled collar. It had red hair, ugly teeth, and stitches all over its eyes.

Jeff and Bob were shocked and frightened to death.

The clowns explained their ugly plan. “You must be clowns, or you and your families will die.”

Jeff and Bob didn’t know what to say. There was no escaping the clowns.

“It’s better for only us to get hurt than all our families,” said Jeff.

“Yeah, you’re right,” said Bob.

Jeff and Bob answered. “We want to be clowns,” they said.

“Good,” said the clowns. “And we are killer clowns. So you will have to kill people.”

“We don’t want to be killer clowns!” said Bob. Jeff and Bob were very, very scared.

One of the clowns came up behind Jeff and Bob with a gun. He pointed it at their brains, but Jeff and Bob couldn’t see. Then, the clown put a hole in their brains and put a chip inside.

Jeff and Bob dropped their heads. When they woke up, they had red eyes.

 

CHAPTER TWO

It was a hot and sunny day when Steve and Joe walked into the circus. Steve and Joe were looking for Jeff and Bob at the circus. They had just come home from vacation yesterday. Jeff and Bob had told them they were going to the circus, but they were on the plane, so they couldn’t go.

Bob’s and Jeff’s parents had called Steve’s and Joe’s parents, but they didn’t know where they were. So then, Steve and Joe went to the circus to find them.

When Steve and Joe walked into the circus, they started looking. First, they got food because they were starving. They got strawberry funnel cake with whipped cream and powdered sugar on top. They also got popcorn, hot dogs, and cold sodas.

They started walking around, and they saw a whole bunch of tents. They walked in the first one, and they saw a security guard. The security guard said, “Do you have a ticket?” They said no.

“We spent all our money on food,” Steve said to Joe.

“We have to get in there,” said Joe. “Bob and Jeff could be in there. Maybe they stayed there all night, or maybe they joined the circus!”

Steve used his martial arts karate moves to attack the security guard. He was down in two seconds. And Joe was just standing there. He didn’t know any martial arts.

They looked in the tent, but they couldn’t find Jeff and Bob. Elephants and musicians were doing a show in the middle of the tent. There was a humongous crowd. They loved it! They were amazed!

Steve was feeling proud of himself for taking out a security guard, and Joe was worried about Jeff and Bob.

When they went out of the tent, the security guard woke up with ten other security guards. Steve and Joe knew that the guards were there for them. Steve and Joe tried to punch the guards, but then they had to run away because the security guards were chasing them. They ran into a white and silver tent.

It was dark inside the tent. There was creepy violin music. Then the lights turned on, and acrobats were surrounding them. They looked like normal acrobats — they were wearing sparkly silver leotards and no makeup except for jewels on their foreheads. But they were holding knives, and one had a chainsaw. Then, Steve and Joe saw clowns behind the acrobats. They couldn’t recognize Jeff and Bob.

Steve and Joe were shocked. They gasped.

The acrobats said, “Now you and your family will die if you don’t become an acrobat.”

The acrobats put chips in their brains with a microchip gun. Then, Steve’s and Joe’s brains forced them to obey the evil acrobats.

 

CHAPTER THREE

It was a hot and sunny day when Marie and Cooper walked into the circus. They were trying to find Jeff, Bob, Steve, and Joe. Their parents all knew each other, and they all called Marie’s and Cooper’s parents to see if they knew where Jeff, Bob, Steve, and Joe were. Jeff and Bob had been missing for two days, and Steve and Joe had been missing for one day.

Marie was a five foot seven Japanese young woman, and she was fourteen. Cooper was a five foot nine blond guy, and he was thirteen.

They were at the pool when they got the phone call from the parents. They were kind of annoyed about leaving the pool. They were kind of worried and mad at the same time.

The first thing they did when they got to the circus was buy food. They bought buttery popcorn, cotton candy, blueberry funnel cakes, hamburgers, hot dogs, and sodas. They also got a slushy. And that’s all they got.

They started looking for Steve, Joe, Jeff, and Bob. They called their friends, but no one answered. Marie and Cooper went to the big tent where the elephant show was going on. And then they found $300 on the ground. They were lucky! They bought two tickets and took turns watching the show and looking for their friends.

After the show, they still couldn’t find them. But then the SWAT team came, because the money that Marie and Cooper used was fake. The SWAT team went looking for Marie and Cooper, but they raced away. Marie was kind of slow, but then she punched them, and Cooper ran away to a tent that was blue and silver. It was nice outside, but inside the tent it was dark, stormy, and mysterious. And then, the lights turned on.

Marie and Cooper were circled by evil magicians, acrobats, and clowns. They couldn’t recognize Steve, Joe, Bob, or Jeff. Marie and Cooper were shocked. They had no idea what was going on.

So then one magician said, “Your family and you will die if you don’t become evil magicians. HA HA HA HA HA!”

He looked like a wizard. He was kind of ugly. He looked like he was 70, but he was only 40. He had a long, scraggly gray beard.

Marie and Cooper both turned into magicians with a chip inside their brain.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

It was a cold, dreary night at the circus. The clowns, acrobats, and magicians got together to do their really, really, really evil plan. Their plan was that they would attack the human race and rule the world. The plan was to attack the president first, to rule the world, and then they would attack the whole US, then North America, then South America, then the whole world.

They started going to Washington, DC. Then, when they got to the president’s house, they broke in, killed the security guards, and then murdered the president. Then, they took control of the United States, and then every United States citizen had to go to the White House immediately. Then, they turned all the people of the United States into clowns.

Then, they took over Mexico and Canada. Mexico turned into acrobats, and Canada turned into magicians. They took over South America, and they all turned into clowns. Europe turned into acrobats, and Asia turned into magicians. And Australia was the last defense of the human race. Then, they took over Australia, and they all turned into clowns.

But then, there was one more country left. New Zealand. They attacked. Half of them got demolished, but the clowns, acrobats, and magicians still won. Then, the only quest was to take over Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Venus, and the other planets. So, they started creating rockets. Acrobats took over a third of the planets, and magicians took a third, and clowns took one third. But they couldn’t reach Neptune.

But then they all came to Neptune with a powerful rocket. Then, they started to defeat Neptune. The acrobats used their flexibility to catch the people on Neptune, the magicians used their spells to freeze the people, and the clowns used their knives to kill them. Now the Milky Way was called The Haunted Circus. No humans or aliens survived. There were nine million clowns, acrobats, and magicians spread out across the galaxy. They journeyed to each of the hundred billion galaxies. Now they had a billion billion recruits in the Milky Way, and they had about another billion billion in the Sunflower galaxy, and another billion billion in the Whirlpool galaxy, and another billion billion in the Black Eye galaxy. So, they had billions of recruits.

Now the six friends were the leaders of the Evil Haunted Circus, and they ruled the whole universe. They were friends again, because they were leaders, but they didn’t remember their old lives. They didn’t know who their parents were anymore, and their parents became clowns.

The End!

 

Animals

 

Warning: This story contains graphic violence, which may be disturbing to some readers.

 

Chapter One

When midnight came, the zoo started roaring because in this area, everything is a life sentence, for the animals were treated like they were slaves. The zookeepers walked around the zoo. They looked into the animals eyes and hit them. While the zookeepers did that, one animal was in its cage, lonely in the corner, thinking, Why is the world like this? During that time, it was raining. The animal’s name was Robin, and he was an elephant. He always thought that animals should be free in the wild and that they should be able to have freedom as a family and survive in the wild.

For a long time, the animals were enslaved in the zoo for Homo sapiens to see. Also, near there was a circus. The circus tortured animals even more. They would smack them, put them in chains, and rip them apart. They would hypnotize them, shoot them, put them in cages, everything you can imagine, and worst of all, they used elephants.

Oooh, you can’t imagine what people did to those elephants. They would put them in chains and make them dance. They would make them pull things. They would chop up their tusks. They would kill their young. They would put them in cages. They would face paint them. They would make them drink venom. And there was another creature. That creature was a lion. The lion always wanted the circus to be boycotted and thought that animals shouldn’t be treated so awfully.

The elephant and the lion, Alexander, knew each other. Each Sunday evening, they would break out of the zoo, meet up, and try to raise money to help animals go back into the wild. It never worked. A lot of animals suffered.

 

Chapter Two

One evening, the elephant and the lion went to the restaurant.

The elephant said, “How much money did we raise?”

The lion said, “We only raised 35 cents.”

Then, Robin had an idea. The idea was that Alexander and Robin would both go back and tell the animals this plan: the animals all station around town to raise money and if it didn’t work, they would meet back at the zoo, even the circus animals, and get a new plan. So they both set out back to where they came from and told everybody the plan.

All the animals agreed that it was an amazing plan. They set out stations all through town.

 

Chapter Three

All of the animals set out stations in these locations. Two were Times Square, three near the zoo, five near the circus, ten near the Empire State Building, thirty-five in Central Park, and fifty-two in the suburbs. All of them raised a little bit of money each day. They soon had over one thousand dollars. But they still didn’t have enough money to put the animals back in the wild.

While Robin was walking, he met a few humans: Curiosity, Philosophy, and Geography. They all wanted the exact opposite. They wanted all animals to be put back in the zoo and not to be bred. They wanted them to die easily, and they wanted them to cut their flesh for fun. They also wanted to destroy their habitats.

Robin did not like this. He was wondering if they even had brains. He wondered if any of them even grew up as actual animals (because all of the organisms were actually animals).

 

Chapter Four

All of the stations around the city raised over one billion dollars each, and that still wasn’t enough to overthrow the government. The government did not agree with this and wanted more animals to be tortured with an electric chair and a guillotine. They would also tie horses up by all their body parts.

 

Chapter Five

Robin and Alexander thought of a new idea. They would start a rebellion on Sunday evening, in the state park, at five pm, longitude 33 degrees.

 

Chapter Six

Sunday evening, at five pm and longitude 33 degrees, the polar bears broke out of their cages, using little ticks all night, biting in the cages with their little fangs, to open them up. The polar bears banged on the zookeepers and got the keys. The praying mantis killed many bugs and stuck them on the cage like super glue. Since there were five million of them, they pulled back all together and destroyed the cage.

The ants crawled out. The owls used their smarts to use telekinetic powers to open up the bird cages. The zookeepers were knocked, and the seals used them as floats to be able to be on land. The dolphins used little sea sponges to be able to jump on land and walk around. The animals that live in the coral reef jumped into the seals’ little tanks. Also, since the cage had mowers in it, the alligators took all of them and destroyed the cage. The elephants blew the cage down. Now, since the endangered animals all lived in the same cage, they all together got the keys from the polar bears and opened it up. Also, the parrots were able to use human to communicate with the people to open the door. The parakeets were able to text loony tunes and get granny.

Now they all together marched toward the White House. They marched through the door into the president’s office. First, the elephants smacked him the face, poked his eyes out with their tusks, and burned his brain at the stake. They also made his wife wear burning iron heels and had to dance in them for the rest of their life. Then, they took the dead president and buried him in a junkyard.

They came out and broke out and did these things.

 

Chapter Seven

On that day, all of the birds were spinning around and around the White House. They also had heavy balls that had atomic bombs with them, that they had to drop on the people. They threw them on Washington DC and to add on to that destruction, they put on anti-chemical masks, put chemicals in the jars, and banged them on Washington DC. They, too, went back in time with a time machine and took the most radioactive bombs in the world that were supposed to fall on Japan. They took them back to the present and threw them on Washington DC. Then, they also threw in human beings with cancer and the rash. Then, they also threw in computers that could be burned to make the radiation even stronger. Then, they just flew off. The birds also flew over to Florida and sawed it off.

They also sold Manhattan back to the American Indians. They took off the “locks” in the Panama Canal. They also destroyed Nickelodeon studios. They also threw donuts on the people of California. They exploded Columbia College. They shut down Niagara Falls and filled up the Grand Canyon with dirt. They also gave venom to the people of Barnard College. They also went back to Washington DC and went to a pottery studio and made president pottery and threw it into a vat of radiation. Then they started putting kittens everywhere and gave them to the Native Americans. They went back in time and killed Lewis and Clark, sunk the Mayflower, and killed Christopher Columbus. They also killed Teddy Roosevelt.

Then, they went on their phones and started looking at Pinterest. The end.

 

Chapter Eight

They also found out that America has a warship called the Intrepid. They took the Intrepid and sailed to India and bombed it. They sailed back to the circus. The owls flew around the circus people, picked their feathers off, and started poking the people with them. Then, they flew all the way to Kansas and then started collecting tumbleweeds. Then, they went and started throwing tumbleweeds at the people at the zoo. The tumbleweeds had toxins in them which made them fly to the foreign of the galaxy. They also collected twigs and made a fire with them and threw them at the cages to melt them down and make them into little molds.

 

Chapter Nine

As all the marine animals jumped into the water, they started swimming towards Antarctica. There, they met the polar bears, penguins, and sea lions and took them on a trip to Asia, and they went to Russia and invaded Moscow. Then, they started going to the big mosque, and they peeled off the big onion domes and then squeezed them into the ground and cut a door to make them portable homes. Then, they flooded India. After that, they went to Dubai and watched the dancing fountains. But, before they did that, they clogged up the system and made it so that the dancing fountains were like the ones at the Met, which were not inspiring and the people didn’t pay at all and also since they clogged it up, the water just went one inch tall each time it leaped. So the people saw that the fountains weren’t working and started dancing around in the water for no reason.

Then, the marine animals swam to NYC and flooded the subway through the Hudson and the East River. Then, they went up the East River upstate and clogged up every single tube they can see, even the toothpaste in your grandmother’s country home. Then after that, they started going back into the city and climbed up the Empire State Building and started shooting enormous volts of electricity into every single home until everybody in New York State was electrified. Then, they started swimming down the East River, went to Florida, and enjoyed the beach.

 

Chapter Ten: The Land Rover

All the land animals did something too. The first thing they did was go up the Nile River and climb up the Great Pyramid. Then, they started teleporting solar power to every home they saw, which made all of Egypt and almost all of Africa, shake. Then, they took a boat to Europe and started destroying the Colosseum. Then, they knocked down the Tower of Pisa and started destroying the Hoover Dam. Then, they went back to England and arrested the Queen. Then, they went back in time and put an earthquake in Los Angeles. Then they went further ahead in time, and they went to the earthquake of 1906 in California and started putting massive volts of electricity in the ground to make it shake more. They went back in time, and they started climbing up the biggest tower in the world and started throwing bacon at the world even though there was a pig there. Then, they split up and went to every single bank in the world and got the money to overthrow the government.

Then, the whole zoo marched up to the White House in 2018, with all of the money from all over the world, and went into the Oval Office. Since the president was already dead, they had a new president. He had paintings of himself all over the walls. He was even worse than the previous president. He made sure that all the animals in the zoos of the world were smacked in the face each millisecond and that they would pull out the tusks of all the elephants each millisecond. They also forced them to give birth to more elephants to produce more tusks. All the animals marched up to the new president’s desk and put the money on the desk.

Then, they said, “Will we be free of slavery and injustice if we give you this money?”

Then, the new president said, “No, no.”

Then, the animals overthrew the government one last time by marching out and knocking unconscious every single person in the White House and made the new president sign a paper saying all the animals will be released into the wild. The declaration was signed, and all the animals were free in the wild!

 

Sad Life of Peter

Peter was squirting toothpaste as he yelled at his mom for taking away his PS4. As he brushed his teeth, he said to himself, “I could think of a million ways to annoy my mom. I will use my mom’s credit card to buy millions of millions of V-bucks. I will burn her iPhone X. I will call the police and say mom did child abuse. I shall have my revenge.”

Then, he did all of the things he said he was going to do. The game console was important to him because he had every game in it, and all the games cost a fortune, and his mom took it away because he did badly on his test.

Since he had a credit card, he went out to get some McDonalds. He then saw a kid helping his mom, and after he saw that, he wanted his mommie, but she was going to be in prison for 30 years (because of child abuse). Then, he realized his mistakes and started doing chores till he was 16 and had quite a lot of money, but he knew it was not enough, and now he could get a real job, so he could gain enough money. Then later, when his mom was free, she felt proud that Peter changed.

After a while, he and his mom were walking down an alleyway, and a shadowy figure came up to Peter’s mom and said, “Give me all your money or I kill Peter.”

Strange, Peter thought. How did he know my name?

Then, he took Peter in his arms and stuck a gun at him and said, “Give me your money.”

So, his mom gave the figure the money, but he still shot his gun at Peter’s mom, and Peter fell to the ground devastated. In an anguished voice, he yelled “Why!!!”

That day, his mom got murdered.

After that, he worked his butt off and got a new name, Millionaire Peter. Then, he made a superhero base. He was now the M-Man. His superpower was money. He could purchase anything in the world. Then, he fought crime.

He was looking for the enemy that killed his mom. Then, his crime phone rang. Then, there was a crime in the warehouse, and the butler said to be very careful. Then, he entered the warehouse with his best superhero gear, and then he realized this was what he trained for his whole life. It was the same person who killed his mom. He had the same mask on as the time when he killed his mom. So to him, this was the final battle. They both fought, but M-Man took off his mask.

The killer said, “You again.”

Then, they fought to the death, and the killer almost fell off the plane (sorry, forgot to mention before). Then, the killer opened his mask, and he said, “Peter, I am your father.”

“Really???” Peter asked. Then, he said, “How did I know your name. Why did you kill her.”

“Son, I was being mind-controlled by the Man. I tried to fight it as much as possible, but he said he would kill, so I had no choice.” The killer, who was Peter’s dad, said, “Sorry, son.”

Peter gave his father a puzzled look.

 

Life of a Hermit Crab

 

DAY ONE

“Aaah! My eyes! They burn… ” I said. The waves crashed, causing me to fall asleep. But soon enough, one hour later, I was bought! I was finally going to be free at a gigantic house!

“Mom, can I get this crab? The young, blue shelled one so that he lasts long!” said my owner, Lucas.

“Sure, Lucas,” said my owner’s mom. “Whatever you want.”

And at first sight, I saw in his eyes that he was going to love and cherish me for all of my life. But right after he bought me, we had to go in this scary piece of metal that went so fast! And it was so fast, I almost got sick! It had all these bags and coolers in the very back, and that’s where my owner was sitting, all alone! And the worst part is that it took one hour and thirty minutes until we finally stopped! And when we finally did, they left me in the piece of metal! Then finally, one hour later, they came back! But the same thing happened! So for two hours, I had to sit in an uncomfortable cage in an uncomfortable piece of metal that was fast. And I didn’t even get food. And then, we finally came to a stop. For good. That’s when I saw it. A gigantic house! Where were we? We definitely weren’t in Bethany Beach… so where were we?

“Buddy, we’re in Maryland! Chevy Chase!” I stared at him in despair. “Buddy, this is all the peace and quiet you need. Let’s go inside!” said my owner. “This is the office. This is where I sleep. This is also where you sleep. Let me show you my brother’s crab. You guys are gonna have a great time!” said my owner.

So, he showed me my “friend” as he called him. But he was so massive. We both hid from each other, and my owner and his brother started laughing. Humans were idiots sometimes.

“I’ll call you The Flash. You’re so fast,” said my owner.

So after, we went to sleep, but I couldn’t because my owner complained to his mom that I was making too much noise, so she put me in a scary room, and I was up all night.

 

DAY TWO

The next morning, Lucas’ mom wasn’t there to wake him up. His dad was. He fed me, but I didn’t like the smell of the food. So, I didn’t eat it. And then, he put me back in his room. And then he let me exercise for a few minutes, fed me, and then just left the house with his dad. Where did they go to that took so long? He was finally back with his grandma and his brother like… five hours later! Then finally, Lucas went to get me out of my cage and let me exercise. Lucas was a cool dude. I tried to speak to him, but his response was way out of topic.

When I said I needed water, he said, “Looks like you need exercise!”

And then once again, obviously, he brought in my brother’s crab like… two hours later, and he put my face in front of his face. We both ran. That crab was huge!!! I didn’t like him. That crab was annoying. He spoke too much and smelled. He said things about the World Cup, trying to bet me 50 bucks that England was going to win over and over again, and he sang soccer songs, and shouted, “HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE!” Take a shower, dude! I just ignored him, but I didn’t think he had any reason to ignore me… I was just a perfectly normal crab living a normal life. This time, Lucas didn’t get tucked in by his mom again. Where was she? So once again, I expected him to wake up in the middle of the night to my cage rattling and kick me from his room. But this time, he didn’t! So this time, I could finally get some sleep!

But I woke up to him in the middle of the night when he was moving in his bed while he was asleep…  so I said, “Dude! Quiet!” and rattled my cage.

Then, all bad was released. Lucas woke up, angry. This time, he didn’t take me to his parents’ room. He took me to the basement. I couldn’t sleep all night. It was so dark…

 

DAY THREE

I was hungry. I hadn’t eaten in two days. The food was so gross. Seriously, Lucas? Just give me a banana. Lucas was worried for me.

He said to his dad, “Dad! The Flash hasn’t eaten his food in two days. I’m worried… ”

“Don’t worry. I’ll try to get Gabe to get The Flash to eat. It’s going to be fine,” said Lucas’ dad.

Lucas got ready for where he was going and played on his iPad for a bit until he had to go. My water sponge was out of water.

Then, when they were about to leave, Lucas checked my sponge and said to his dad, “Can I quickly give my crab water in his sponge?” and Lucas’ dad hit the wall really hard.

I started to get scared.

His dad screamed at Lucas and said, “YOU SHOULD’VE DONE THAT EARLIER!”

“Well, do you want my crab to die?” said Lucas.

“Sure. Let him die. I am going to kill him!” said his dad angrily.

I started to get so scared… I started crying. “I don’t wanna die!” I said.

But Lucas’ dad didn’t kill me. He didn’t even come upstairs. I calmed down. I stopped crying.

“You need to go to Writopia! I’m going to be late for a ten o’clock meeting in downtown D.C.!”

So that’s where he went every day! What’s Writopia? Well, at least I knew where he went every day. And then, they left. And I heard some shouting outside. So, I just sat and waited for Lucas to come back. When Lucas came back from Writopia, he finally took me out of the basement. He put me up one floor, which was much cosier. Then, he gave me a banana, which I did not eat, but I usually would. Then, he just watched some TV. He let me out of my cage while he was watching TV and let me exercise. I liked Lucas, but sometimes he was scary… like… his hands were colossal. So, as usual, I was expecting to have to go face-to-face with my mortal enemy, The Soccer Dude, and yes, that was what I called the one who shouted, “HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE!” all night long, and I was the only one who could hear it, but no. The happiest day of my life was today. God shined the light on me. Angels watched over me. I did not see The Soccer Dude today!!!

“HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE!”

 

DAY FOUR

The next morning, as usual, he gave me water and went on his iPad for a bit. No questions asked. And I still had a headache from The Soccer Dude shouting Harry Kane all night. Lucas left to Writopia, once again, and I was all alone with a madman singing “Ole.” When Lucas returned, I heard a calm, soothing voice. Apparently, his mom was here! Even I was surprised! One day she was not here, the next she was!

“Mom. Did you bring anything from your business trip?” said Lucas.

“No, sweetie. I’m sorry. Next time I will,” said Lucas’ mom.

“It’s okay, Mom. You didn’t have to,” said Lucas.

Okay. Business trip. So… where did she go for the business trip? So, Lucas just picked me up like it was nothing and held me in his hand. Okay. Imagine this. You have to sit in the palm of a sweaty hand in a hot room for two hours watching a piece of metal that has a screen that projects people kicking a ball and flopping on the floor. Plus, my mortal enemy (The Soccer Dude) was in Lucas’ brother’s hand, cheering for England. That’s what his definition of fun was. At the end of the game, The Soccer Dude wept. The Soccer Dude snapped his pinchers in the air. You see, that’s why I only did normal things that crabs do.

“WHYYY!!! England! Ye lost! How? It’s only Croatia!!! Come ON England ye worthless scrubs! Wahhhhhaahhaahaa,” wept The Soccer Dude.

“Oh, come on, dude! It’s only a game! What’s the meaning of people kicking a ball and flopping on the floor?” I say.

“You really don’t get it, do you?” said The Soccer Dude in a weepy voice. “This is the World Cup. It happens only every four years, and this is very rare! England is way better than nasty ol’ Croatia!” The Soccer Dude pinched me!

“Aaah!” I started to cry. “Lucas!!! Aaah!”

Lucas heard the pinch. He immediately came downstairs. He threw The Soccer Dude on the hard floor. The Soccer Dude was hurt. Yay! Then, he quickly sprinted to me.

“Are you okay?” said Lucas. I was bleeding. It hurt! I frowned.

“Mom!” said Lucas.

“Yes, Lucas?” said Lucas’ Mom.

“The Flash is bleeding!” said Lucas.

“Oh, no!” said Lucas’ Mom. “I’m coming right now!”

“We need to put a tiny piece of folded paint to stop the bleeding,” said Lucas.

“Good idea,” said Lucas’ Mom. She ran upstairs to get toilet paper and put it where I was bleeding. And it stopped after a while.

At night, The Soccer Dude finally stopped yelling “Harry Kane” and singing “Ole.” For the first time, I was not taken to the basement. Instead, I was taken to Lucas’ room where I had to boringly watch Lucas sleep for 11 hours. But still, I loved him. I was growing to be comfortable with this house. And that, my friends, was when I realized Lucas’ family would cherish and protect me forever.

Fin

 

Credits

Lucas Gebrekristose (story idea)

Rita Feinstein (comments/helping/correcting)

Ebony Adkins (comments/helping/correcting)

Marina Cooper (comments/helping/correcting)

Sofia Laguarda (comments/helping/correcting)

Special thanks to my family and my wonderful crab who hold and cherish me, knowing I will do the same for them.

 

Adventure of the Orphanage

There were two teens at an orphanage, and they were twins. The twins were one boy and one girl, and they had to leave the orphanage to a foster family. The boy was named Alex, and the girl was named Artic. Alex was 13, and Artic was 15, and they had to be at least 21 to live alone in their own houses. They didn’t know the truth if their family had been killed or if they were hiding from their kids. The only memory they had was the half of their family’s picture where they see themselves and the body of their parents but, they don’t have a face. Now let’s get back to the teens at the orphanage. They were feeling butterflies in their stomachs. They were feeling that way because they felt like the family was not going to accept them at their house. They met the foster parents, and they felt suspicious about them.

The foster parents were named Cassie (as the mom) and Chris (as the dad). Cassie was 23, and Chris was 24, and they owned a mansion with two other teens that were “their kids.” Alex and Artic met the kids, and they were named Emma and Erick. The oldest was Emma because she was 17, and Erick was 15. The whole foster family had hate for Alex and Artic. The family made their foster teens do their chores (wash the dishes, clean the whole house, and take the trash out, etc.).

Alex and Artic woke up to a strange noise that sounded like someone was screaming in pain at the backyard at 5:00 am, and they went downstairs to check what happened in the backyard. They still heard the noise, then it stopped. They couldn’t believe what they saw. They felt suspense rushing down their blood. They saw the other half of the picture, and they saw a pile of dirt under the half. They connected both halves of the picture and found out that their foster parents found their real parents. Alex insisted that Artic dig the dirt to see what was under. Then, they saw a horrific picture of a dead body.

Alex heard the lights turn on in the house and told Artic, “Get out of here. Someone is awake, so we should go back to sleep.” Before they got caught, they put the pile of dirt back to how it was at the start. They went to the back door of the house and went in.

Alex and Artic went to their parents’ room and snuck under the bed and heard them talking clearly. The parents didn’t notice that Alex and Artic snuck in. They heard them saying, “Alex and Artic are our real children, and Emma and Erick are not our real children. They are villains, and they have superpowers of fire. Alex and Artic have superpowers of ice, but they don’t know it.”

Alex and Artic felt emotional because they finally found their parents, and they couldn’t trust them anymore.

Alex said, “Why would you keep a secret from your kids?”

They got out from under the bed, and it scared their parents.

The parents said, “You were not meant to hear that.”

Alex and Artic stormed out the room, and they went into their room and locked the door. They started sobbing, and finally their parents opened the lock and all had a family hug.

“We tried to keep you safe from them, and sorry for not telling you later that we were your parents and being rude toward you guys. Your siblings Emma and Erick are not actually your siblings. They are villains,’’ said their parents, who were really named Jess and Jessica.

Jessica asked the kids, “Why are you both covered in dirt?”

“We were digging a pile of dirt that was in the backyard because we heard a noise coming from there, and we saw a pile of dirt. Erick told me to help him dig the hole.”

“Did you know that you both have superpowers,” said Jess and Jessica.

They both went upstairs to see their real kids and put the villians back in their prison in a faraway island surrounded by a body of water. Emma and Erick heard the commotion and woke up and saw them in their bedroom. They both knew what was happening, but still got caught and were put in prison on a faraway island.

Artic asked the first question to the enemies. “Why were you playing to be me and my brother?” asked Artic.

“We were playing as you guys because our parents want to have your money for them only and not for us. They are just worried about themselves,” said Emma.

Alex said, “Who are your parents?”

“Our parents are Chloe and Cody,” said Erick.

Alex and Artic trusted Erick and Emma because they looked trustworthy and not like they were lying. Erick and Emma were crying and sobbing and saying that they didn’t belong there.

Alex and Artic both asked at the same time, “How did we both end up in different places that we both don’t belong in?”

“Our parents switched your birth certificates, pictures, and your names,” said Emma.

“Thanks,” said Alex and Artic.

Artic had a thought in her head, We should let them live with us, and there’s no more danger for them. That’s why our parents kept it as a secret.

So she asked them, and they said, “Yes.”

THE END

 

The World’s Smallest Dog

I am the world’s smallest dog. The world is too large and gigantic for me. All these big aliens are taking me by a red rope and naming me Ben, Fred, and Lilly! I can’t take it anymore! So, I run away. I mean, I will be left alone. No more “you’re a cutie pie” or “such an adorable munchkin” for me! So, with my short, stubby legs, I run down the road. I keep running until my small legs cannot take it anymore. I sit down to take a rest.

“Hey, you little doggie.” A big cat comes up on me.

I stand up to run away. My little legs don’t take me very far until the cat comes up to me. He grabs me up and bites me. I start to whimper. He drops me to the ground. Then, he walks away. I wait until he is gone, then I sit up. I have no idea where I am. The trees are swaying, and the wind is making me cold. I am hungry. Where is my soft and sweet doggie food? I am too small to do anything. So, I sit and stare hopelessly at a tree.

In the morning, I am awoken to the sound of chirps and baby birds. I look up. A bird’s nest is above my head. I run away from it. I never have liked birds. They were bigger than me. Anything bigger than me is sure to kill me. I am so small, my legs don’t even take me ten feet from the tree. I hate being so small. I hate it.

I walk as far as the town goes. I turn up onto a pole. There’s a picture of me!! I’m famous! All the world will know about me! For once, something goes well for me! Wait a second. I have seen that word before. I think it is “missing.” Or “massing.” I don’t know. Well, I’m famous. Who cares what it means. I walk down the street with my head held high. I hope people ask for autographs!

 

A few days later…

I am walking through a park with my head still held high. A van! It must be my special ride. I hop over to it and wait for the door to be opened to an inviting doggie food bowl and some doggie hair people to do my messy hair. The door opens with a slam. Not what I was expecting. But still, I’m excited for my new haircut. But a net falls over my head. What is going on here! I start barking. I get pulled by the net and dropped into a cage. Wait, I think I know what’s happening. I think I’m being taken to the pound! What am I supposed to do!!

 

One month later…

The pound is mucky and dirty, and it smells weird. The food is not that good. No one has adopted me yet. One more day in this stupid pound I will die!! Well, here comes another little girl who will pick any dog but the smallest dog in the world. We all have to line up and do tricks. At the end, the girl has to choose who she wants. All the dogs do handshakes and rolling over. The girl comes to me, and I look at her and smile. She smiles back at me. Then, she pets me. “I want this one,” she says.

“But you have not seen all the dogs yet,” the owner says.

“But I just know I want this one,” the girl says. The girl picks me up. She pets me once again. Then, she and her mom go out the door. I love this little girl, and she loves me, because I am the smallest dog in the world!!

The End

 

A Puffy Phenomenon

 

Life isn’t Fair

It’s hard being a rabbit with a disability. Kits look at you and hop behind their mom. Other bunnies hop away in fear. I just had to be chosen to have a disability. It isn’t fair. For the most part, I have a cool home. I find cool parts that humans leave in their shops, where those big machines sometimes come in, and live there for a while. Some say things on them like Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Jeep… I digress. Okay, back to my house. I steal parts from human shops and invent things to make my life easier. So far, I’ve invented a wheel for my missing leg, moving stairs for my house, and a robot to make me carrot cake. The project that I am working on right now is a little carrot mobile, and the wheel is made out of carrot stalks. It’s pretty cool, although my lifelong dream is to invent some sort of a friend, one who plays games with me and laughs with me. Something like that. Or, it could be easier to get a real friend. Much, much easier, but more complicated.

Right, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Puffy Frank, and I am only six years old in human years (assuming this will be read by a human), and I think I am very intelligent for a six-year-old. My parents died saving me from a murderer. The murderer managed to cut one of my legs off, but I escaped and hid away in the sewers. I stayed there and cried for two weeks, because I was only five years old. It was so sad and terrifying at the same time. But I managed to get over it and used my skill of inventing to make myself a wheel for my missing leg. Well, I’m here now, so… I think I’m doing pretty well for a lone orphan, anyway. So, maybe you haven’t noticed, but this is my first long, real writing piece that I’ve written. I’m only six years old, anyways, so…

 

Test-drive

Just in case you were wondering, here is an example day from my life, just to show you how bad it is to be a disabled bunny:

So, I finally finished my carrot mobile, and I decided that maybe taking it out of my bunny hole and test-driving my carrot mobile might help me think of my next idea. So I tugged it out of my bunny hole, got in, and drove around Bugstown. Our village is named after the famous human bunny character, Bugs Bunny. We have pictures of him up all around town.

Anyways, I was driving around town and rabbits started “secretly” pointing at me. Kits stared at me. There was hardly any traffic around me. (Well, I will admit, that’s partly because I’m well… Okay, fine… I’m the only one who owns a car in Bugstown.) Still, the streets that I was on were almost completely empty. I drove on and on, still, rabbits scattering before me. Sometimes, I wondered if that was a good thing. To be feared by other bunnies. Either that’s my bad side, or I’m just trying to make myself feel better about myself. I don’t know. So, anyways, (I really have to get better at staying on one topic!) I was driving to nowhere, and then, I got my idea: a fake leg. I immediately turned around and started to drive back home. I was hungry. Maybe, if I made that fake leg and put on a disguise and made copies of my bunny mobile, I could sell them, and people wouldn’t be scared of me because I would just look like a normal bunny! Of course, my disguise would have to make me look older. (Or else someone would ask who my parents were and then, what would I say? If I told them the truth, they would just report me to the orphanage. And I am horrible at lies.) I think that could be a great plan! I would make enough money to buy myself food and toys, and other essentials. (Yes, I consider toys an essential.) Or I could make robots and program them to make bunny mobiles. Yeah, thats a better plan. I’ll would do that. As soon as I got home, I laid out the blueprint for the robot. All right! Awesome!

 

Perfect

First, I made the fake leg. It was easy. I took some fake rabbit hair and super glued it on to a plastic modeled leg. Then, I made two electrical cords running up from my fake leg to the stump of my real leg. Perfect. I tried to wiggle my fake toes. It worked! Amazing! I tried jumping. Yup! I could jump more gracefully than I had ever been able to in a year. Okay, next part of the plan: robots. In about three days, I finished six robots. Now, I just had to program them to make the bunny mobiles. I’m quite a very advanced bunny, if I say so myself. I quickly built a terminal to key the program in to them. Perfect! Making the program would be easy-peasy. There! Done! I washed my hands quickly to get all the oil off of me. Now, the next part of my plan: the disguise. I spent a lot of time pondering how to make it, walking back and forth, until finally I got it: a mustache and glasses.

It would look just like the human items humans sometimes wear on their face! I quickly made it out of fake rabbit hair and plastic. Perfect! Now, one more thing: a stand to sell bunny cars. I quickly threw together a stand. Perfect. The day was already over, so I went to bed with my fake leg. Wow! I was so excited for tomorrow!

 

Why Should I?

I woke up at 9:00 am. I don’t have to go to school, because I don’t want to. Why should I? No one ever told me to. I groaned, tired from the night before. (I’m a night owl, not a morning bird.) Then, I remembered today was the day to put my plan in action! And, I officially don’t have a missing leg. Hooray! I ran out of my bedroom. (Well, it wasn’t much of a bedroom… ) Yup, there was all my work from the past few days. My robots had made 30 bunny mobiles overnight (five robots each) just for me to sell. I quickly threw together a loooooong chain and a giant cart. I would attach the chain to the original bunny mobile, (which I would drive), and chain each bunny mobile to the chain. Then, at the end of the chain, the cart would be attached, and the stand would be in it. Perfect! Now I just had to find a busy corner. I drove around for a while, and then I found quite a busy corner, that people would pass by on their way to work. I set everything up, unlatched the chain from the original bunny chain, and connected it to the stand. Perfect. Now, the hardest part: waiting. I’ve never been patient. Never. Ever. I looked on the ground to see some parts that humans must of dropped. I picked them up and quickly made a puzzle where there was a big container with a lots of chutes inside, going in every direction. There was also a ball. You had to tilt the giant plastic container in every way to get the ball to go through the chute. I played around with that for a while, until an old man Mini Lop bunny hopped over.

I immediately stood straight up and said, “Hello, mister.”

He looked me up and down and said, “What you selling here?”

He had a long cigar in his mouth and kept moving it from side to side in his mouth.

I immediately said as politely as I could (I wasn’t trained in manners), “This, mister, is a one of a kind machine. If you get in it and press this thing down right here, this contraption will move forward. If you press down that and turn this wheel right, this contraption will turn right. Press down the button down there and turn the wheel left, and this contraption will turn left. If you press the other button down there, this contraption will immediately stop. I call this contraption, the ‘bunny mobile.’”

“Well, that’s certainly a unique contraption,” the old man growled. I held my breath. Then, the old man smiled. “How much for one?” he asked.

Oops. I forgot to make a price for the cars! “500 bunalls,” I blurted out.

The old man sighed. He grumbled, “Well, I guess it’s a new invention… ” He looked up at me. “How many do you have?” he asked.

“Thirty, sir.”

“Okay. I would like five for my whole family.”

I managed not to smile. “That would be 2,500 bunalls, sir,” I told him.

He gladly handed over five 500 bills. I unchained five cars, took another chain, and chained them all together.

“Thank you, sir!” I exclaimed.

“No, thank you,” he responded. He smiled.

Then, he hopped away with the chain of bunny mobiles. I sighed a sigh of pleasure. Business could be so pleasing! Unfortunately, in the next chapter, I learn that business isn’t always pleasing.

 

Unpleasant business

I was very happy. I had just sold five bunny cars! I was still smiling. Then, a pack of five teenager Rex Rabbits came up to me and said, “Haha! Look at this twerp. Selling giant carrots. Ha. He could never make it anywhere.” The teenagers were all smirking.

“Oh yeah?” I responded. “If you were smart, then you would know that these things are special, and I just started selling and already sold five of these things. Besides, even if they were a giant carrot, you wouldn’t have the brain to make one of these beauties.” I smiled.

I thought I had them beat! Unfortunately, I did not. The teenagers’ smiles fell off their faces.

“Well then, let’s see how good this junk really is.” One of the teenagers stepped forward and grabbed me in a bear hug. I squirmed, but it was no use. One of the other teenagers took one of my bunny mobiles. He signaled to all of the other teenagers. The teenager that was hugging me let go of me and dropped me to the ground. The teenager ran away with my bunny mobile, and all the other teenagers followed him. I was enraged. How dare they! I immediately called the police. They immediately came.

The police officer asked me, “Where’s your parents, kit?”

 

I’m a phenomenon

Oh no. Ohhhhhhhhh no. This was bad. I didn’t think ahead, and now they were asking me where my parents were. What was I supposed to say?

 

Flashback happens…

I was snuggled in my mother’s clutch.

“Puffy, I need you to promise something.”

“Anything, Mama,” I responded happily.

“Puffy, this will probably be the only lifelong promise I will make you make.”

“Okay, Mama. What is it?”

“I want you to promise to never, ever, lie to people. Okay?”

“Okay, Mama.”

“Deal?”

“Deal.”

 

Flashback ends.

“Kit! Kit!”

“Huh?”

Where are you parents?”

“Uhhhh… ”

Oh no. What was I going to say? I couldn’t break the one promise that I made. The one thing I have from my parents. But if I didn’t break the promise, my whole life could be in jeopardy if I didn’t lie. I tried to hear my parents like they do in movies, but I couldn’t hear anything. Then, I decided to tell the truth:

“I am an orphan.

I live in the sewers.

I have a missing leg.

My parents were murdered.”

The police gasped. The police who asked me where my parents were gasped. “You’re a phenomenon, kit.”

 

Downgrade

We walked to the orphanage. I looked away from the police. We were almost there. The police didn’t even have to tell me that we were there and to go into the orphanage. I did it myself.

 

Puffy v.2

I walked into the orphanage. The orphanage manager tried to introduce himself, but I ran by before he could. I hid out in my bedroom for most of the day. I was pretty sure I was going to have a horrible life from here. I slept for the whole day, not sure what to do. Then, the orphanage manager knocked on the door. I opened it.

The manager said softly to me, “Someone wants to adopt you, Puffy.”

 

Paperwork

I was sitting at the adoption desk. I stared at the people across from me. Both of them wanted to adopt me. They both were Holland Lops, and both had blue eyes. I gazed at them.

“What’s your name, son?” the man asked.

“Puffy,” I mumbled back.

“Well,” said the Holland Lop woman, “we would like to adopt you, Puffy. We live nearby, and we don’t have any children.”

“Okay,” I mumbled.

“Alright, all the paperwork is done!” the man exploded. “Let’s go see our new house!”

 

Interrupted

This was it, wasn’t it? I was going to leave my home and live in a house. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it. But did it matter how I felt about it? It wouldn’t change anything. Oh well, might as well try to be happy about it anyways. We got to our house, and then — oh! All my bunny cars! What ever happened to them!? Then, the orphanage director ran down to us.

“Excuse me!” the orphanage director called. “I believe this is yours!” Behind him, he was lugging the long chain of bunny cars!

“What in the world is that?” exclaimed both of the Holland Lops.

“Oh yes!” I exclaimed. “This, uhhh… ” The man laughed.

“My name is Bucky, and my wife’s name is Bun. Just call us Mom and Dad, though,” he responded.

“Okay then,” I started again. “This, Mom and — ”

“Can you just take this thing? It’s soooooooooo heavy,” the orphanage director groaned. Ugh, I keep getting interrupted! I thought to myself.

Dad took the chain and responded, “Start again, son.”

“Okay then,” I said. “Once again, this I — ”

“Sorry, but it’s getting cold outside.” Mom shivered.

Augh! I screamed in my head. What I said out loud was, “Okay.” We moved inside the house.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. The house wasn’t a house; it was a mansion! Beautiful! Even the bunny chains could be in the living room, and the living room could still be a ballroom! I dragged the bunny cars in.

“Mom and Dad, maybe you didn’t know, but I am an amazing inventor!”

“Really.” My dad smiled. “Could you invent something for us?”

 

A New Life

Now, my life is amazing. Better than ever before. I have a bedroom three times the size of my house in the sewers, and I learned how to slide down handrails. I‘m famous as the kid inventor, and my family makes a living out of bunny cars. I’m inventing new things every day, and I’ll never stop. I have one close group of friends, and they are all disabled!

Life is beautiful once again.

The end

 

The Canvas Who Wanted to be Loved

One day, before 5:00 a.m. in an art studio in Italy, canvases were waiting to be purchased and painted. That day, an artist came in and was looking for an old, priceless canvas to paint his next masterpiece. When he purchased his very first canvas, he brought it back to his own art shop so he could start painting. That canvas was not just a plain old canvas. It was ancient (who knew how old) and used by other famous artists. It could not talk, but it could do things. This canvas could change paintings if it wanted to. This canvas was magical, not alive. When the artist started painting, the painting started to come alive. The painter was painting a night sky, and the canvas was transformed into the scene.

The canvas saw all the shining lights and the dark blue night sky. The canvas was the scene. The canvas saw the dark mountains in the back, the shining lights of the village. Up in the sky, there were swirls of light from the stars. The canvas was feeling so lucky and colorful that he was the scene. When the painter, Vincent Van Gogh, was done with the painting, he started adding small details of sparks representing the stars. The final touch was the moon, shining and giving light to the village.

When he was finally done, he let the paint dry. The canvas felt lonely and cold. Once he was finally freezing, his artist put it in a room that was much warmer. The canvas saw more paintings and sat there until people came in admiring them. Years went on after his artist died. He was getting more and more admirers. One day, he was put into the MoMA, where even more people came to look at him. He felt loved. One day, it was so crowded, and someone took him. Stole him.

People were chasing him, and he saw the harsh life where all the policemen were chasing him too. He wanted to go back to the museum and not be stolen. He finally got back inside in a cool, chilly place — the thief’s house. When he was stolen, he felt lonely, but he had hope. He knew he was going to be rescued, but he didn’t know that everyone around the world was looking for him. No one loved him anymore — for now. He sat there by himself for at least two years. One day, when his thief died, he was recovered and put back into a safer museum.

People continued visiting him, and one day, because he was loved so much, he was sold. He continued living in a small house, where no one saw him besides his buyer. He didn’t like it. He wanted to go back where everybody got to see him and not just his buyer. He protested and protested. He defended himself by refusing to look good in the light and showing weird images instead of the beautiful blue and black night sky. He did not want to stay in this lonely house.

One day, his buyer had enough of him and sold him back to a different museum. There, he was loved even more and continued to show his beautiful image. No one wanted to buy him because they wanted to share him with the public. He wanted to stay right there and not be sold again.

THE END!!!

 

The British One

 

Intro

“What!” said Jackie. “You’re getting remarried?”

It was Saturday afternoon, and the family was having afternoon tea.

“Well, don’t you want me to be happy?” said Jackie’s mom, sipping her tea.

“Well, of course we do,” said Gabby, giving Jackie a look. “We’re just in shock, that’s all. But yes, we are very happy for you. Just one question: is he moving here, or are we moving to that big house we saw.”

Oh, please make him move here, thought Jackie. Or say that you think this is actually going too fast for you. Please say it’s the second one.

“Well, about that… ” said Jackie’s mom. “Remember the other house that only Gabriela and I saw? Well, we’re moving there.”

“What?!” Jackie screamed, spilling tea all over the table and jumping up. “I’m not moving!”

“Well, you have to,” her mom said.

“No,” said Jackie. “I’m running away.”

 

Two years later…

 

Chapter One

“Do any of them know what ‘on time’ means?” asked Will, cleaning an apple from the dirt on it. “They’re usually not this late.”

Jack and Will were sitting down near the pastry shop, waiting for the rest of their gang.

“They have the poet guy with them, right?” asked Jack, pacing back and forth. “I hope the poet guy won’t forget he’s the oldest out of all of them.”

“Well, how can he forget if he keeps reminding us about it,” said Will, snorting. “But really, if they got caught I’ll kill them before the police get to.”

“Hey!” said Jack suddenly. “It’s the poet guy!”

“Finally!” said Will as the poet guy got closer. “What took so long, Alan?”

“Captured,” said Alan, breathing heavily. “I just ran away from some policemen. They’re going to find us any minute. So move it!”

“I don’t know if this is the right time to point this out, but we have a small problem,” said Jack, looking past Alan and Will.

“You think I haven’t seen that before, British guy?” asked Alan. “I know that all of our group is gone except for me, German guy, and you.”

“No,” said Jack with a worried voice. “There are, like, ten policemen and a really tall guy coming toward us with guns.”

 

Chapter Two

“We could try and run,” said Will. “But whatever happens, Jack, keep your mouth shut. We all know how they hate British people.”

“We can’t run,” said Alan, leaning against the wall and taking a huge bite of the apple Will gave him. “Time to join our friends.”

“Shutting mouth,” said Jack. “Now!”

“What did you want to do with them sir?” asked one of the policemen to the tall man. “You want to take them to your school?”

“Yes, that’s right,” said the man. “And if you don’t mind, I would like to give them a proper hello.”

“Whatever you’d like sir,” said the same policeman.

The tall man came closer to the three of them and then crouched down, so he’d be face to face with them.

“I don’t think I introduced myself,” he said. “My name is Vincent. I am a director of a school for people like you. Your friends are also going to that school, so you won’t be very lonely there. Now may you please introduce yourselves?”

“Yeah sure, whatever,” Alan and Will mumbled. Jack still kept his mouth shut and didn’t dare look up.

“My name is Will,” mumbled Will, also not looking up. “I’m seventeen.”

“Nice to meet you, Will,” said Vincent. “I think that people at the school will call you German guy. Have you ever been called that before?”

Will nodded but still kept his head down.

“My name is Alan, and I’m the oldest of the group. I’m eighteen,” said Alan, picking his head up and looking Vincent straight in the eye. “People call me poet guy.”

“Well nice to meet you too, Alan,” said Vincent. “You like poetry?”
Alan nodded.

“Well, then we’ll get along,” said Vincent. “And what’s your name? You haven’t spoken at all.”

“That’s Jack,” said Alan quickly. “He’s a little shy sometimes.”

“I don’t think he’s shy,” said Vincent. “Say your name, or I’ll tell the policemen to take you away.”

“My name is Jack,” said Jack, trying to hide his British accent. “I’m sixteen.”

“Well, I guess people call you the British one.”

“No,” said Jack quickly. “We only call people ‘one’ if they are very important. They call me British guy.”

“Well, then,” said Vincent. “Poet guy, German guy, and British guy, I hope you’ll like your new school.”

 

Chapter Three

One hour later, Jack, Will, and Alan found themselves walking up to a big building.

All the way they were walking, none of them dared to speak.

Will was too shy to speak. He never liked talking to people he just met. It was different with their gang members.

Alan was too sad to speak. Vincent told them that their other friends refused to go and were now in jail.

And Jack was too scared to speak. The same thought kept running through his head. Her head, actually.

I just agreed to die. I’m a her. Not a he. Why did I agree to this. My foster parents wouldn’t kill me. Wait, thought Jack, I went through like two years without them, and I was perfectly fine. Whoever said I have to stop pretending.

They finally came to a tall building with heads sticking out of the windows.

“The other students like to give new students warm welcomes,” said Vincent. “I hope you’ll like it here.”

The three of them were still mute. None of them even paid attention to what he was saying. They all just kept their eyes forward.

When they got inside the building, they all gasped. Vincent smiled and said, “Welcome to your new home.”

The ceiling was at least ten feet tall, the walls were covered in amazing wallpaper. There was a sofa that took up a quarter of the room, a piano that took up half, and some chairs that took up the last quarter.

“Time to meet your classmates,” said Vincent. “You’ll be with them a lot, so try to be nice. If they try to kill you, either tell me or fight back. It happens here a lot.”
They walked down a long hallway to a room where there were two long tables.“This is where you’ll eat,” said Vincent. “You really don’t have to know where it is because everyone else will be rushing there every morning, afternoon, and night. You’ll memorize this whole place at some point. Now I really must show you were you’ll sleep.”

They walked down the hallway a couple of more minutes (it was really long) until they came to a door where loud sounds were coming from.

Vincent opened the door, and everyone got quiet.

“Students,” he said. “We have three new students today. Their names are Alan who is eighteen, Will who is seventeen, and Jack who is sixteen.”

Everyone was still quiet.

“I’ll leave you to say hello,” said Vincent. Then, he left the room, closing the door behind him.

“You guys have nicknames?” one of the boys asked. “Or should we give you guys one?”

“We have,” said Alan. “Mine’s poet guy.”

“Cool,” said another boy. “What about you?”

“Mine’s German guy,” said Will.

“What about the one that hasn’t spoken yet?” said the boy that first spoke. “What’s your nickname?”

“British guy,” said Jack

“Look at that!” said the boy. Jack saw he had a French accent, and the other boy that also laughed looked like a Romani. “We have a British guy in our room!”

“Well, what are you?” said Jack, not offended at all (he heard that before). “French guy and gypsy guy?”

The two boys looked at him blankly.

Then, the door opened, and Vincent came in.

“From now on, you shall call me by my last name: Mr. Rander,” he said. “Now all of you off to bed. What’s wrong with you guys? Michael? Alex? Hurry up!”

When everyone was in bed, Vincent put out the small candle on the windowsill. Then, he left the room.

The fire was still burning, so you could still see some things.

“Hey,” said the French guy. “British guy? We’re in France! What were your parents thinking of bringing you here after the war?!”

“I don’t have parents,” said Jack. “Besides, it’s easier to just keep your mouth shut and not talk about all the other things you stole if you get caught.”

Someone gave a small laugh.

“Well, in the morning you’ll really see how this room looks,” said the French guy. “It’s not the best room you ever saw.”

“I saw a bed,” said Jack. “That’s the most comfortable thing I ever saw!”

“How about your foster parents?” asked the French guy.

“Made me sleep outside,” said Jack, remembering the memory of him sleeping on the cold ground. “They really didn’t care if I died.”

“Well, now you’re here,” said the French guy. “You ever been to school?”

“Yeah,” Jack said. “I got kicked out all the time for stealing.”

“Well, this is a normal school,” said the French guy.

And that was their first day at that school.

 

Chapter Four

Three weeks later…

The bell rang, like usual, early in the morning.

“Today is telling secrets day!” said Mr. Rander. “We have this day every year. And no lies. So after classes, I want to hear your deepest secret! Now off you go!”

Jack’s eyes grew wide. His deepest secret? It’s that he’s a girl!

Time to die, thought Jack as he went to his first class of the day. Why did I ever agree to do this?

The morning classes got his mind off of things.

“German class is very important to everyone I hope,” said their teacher for German that morning. “And I know that you’re going to tell your secrets today, but you still have to pay attention!

That last part was for the kids in the back who always talked. Jack, Will, and Alan were one of those boys.

“Deutsche Geschichte,” said the German teacher. “Will! Translate that!”

Will stood up and said, “German history. And also, are the teachers going to share their secrets? Mrs. Ahif?”

“Nein!” said Mrs. Ahif. “Jetzt lese deutsche Geschichte in deinen Lehrbuchern!”

Everyone looked at Will for him to translate. He was the only one that could speak German fluently in the class, aside from Mrs. Ahif.

German class went on, and soon the bell rang which meant it was time for French class.

“French guy!” called Jack. “You better translate!”

“Yeah,” the French guy said as he sat next to Alan. “You owe me one.”

“No,” said Will. “I translated for German class, only fair if you translate in French class.”

“Fine,” said the French guy. “And you can call me Alex if you want.”

“Bonjour!” said Mr. Aubin coming into the room. “C’est le jour de l’histoire de France!”

“Today is French history day,” translated Alex. “I’m not helping you with anything else. Only what he’s saying, not what’s in the textbooks!”

“Sure,” said Jack. “The textbooks are in English. I think we all know English.”

“You’re supposed to know French!” said Alex angrily. “You’re in France! Not in America!”

“Is there something wrong in the back, boys?” asked Mr. Aubin.

“Non,” said Alex. “Nous allons travailler maintenant.”

“Good,” said Mr. Aubin and turned back to the boy he was helping

“You’re good at lying to teachers,” whispered Jack. “You said that we’re going to go and work now.”

“Well, I am,” Alex said and opened his book.

Half an hour later, the bell rang, and everyone ran out of the classrooms. Everyone couldn’t wait to hear the secrets of all the boys.

At least those were the only two classes of the day, thought Jack. Now I can live peacefully in a grave once they find out I’m a girl. Even if I don’t say I’m a girl, they’ll find out anyway at some point.

As everyone took their seats at lunch, Mr. Rander stood up and said, “We’ll go by tables, and then everyone will say their deepest secrets! No lying!”

“Last year this started,” said Alex. “I never lie to Mr. Rander. If you do, somehow he’ll find out and kick you out.”

“No lying it is,” said Alan.

Jack saw that Alan, Will, and Alex were also scared. It made Jack feel a tiny bit better.

Mr. Rander starting naming tables, and the boys went around and told their deepest secrets.

At least I’m going last, thought Jack, as a boy told everyone he’s not actually French. I can enjoy life for five more minutes!

Then, it was time for their table.

 

Chapter Five

“Alex,” said Mr. Renard. “Your secret.”

Alex stood up like all the other boys did and said, “My deepest secret is that I almost killed my dad.”

Everyone was quiet, and then Mr. Renard broke the silence.

“Well, I guess something in common with your friend Will over here,” said Mr. Renard. “I’m sure we all saw some anger in you when someone mentioned parents. Will, stand up.”

Will stood up and said, “My deepest secret is the same as Alex. I almost killed my dad.”

Mr. Renard said, “Well, we all get angry at our parents at some point. Alan your turn.”

Alan stood up and said, “I wrote ten poems, and they all were in a newspaper.”

“Well, that’s amazing!” said Mr. Renard. “Jack, your turn.”

Jack stood up slowly and said, “My deepest secret is that my name is actually Jackie, and um… I’m sort of like a girl really, and I’ve been pretending to be a boy for the past two years.”

It was deadly quiet in the room.

The whole room was looking at her with their mouths open.

Then, Will said, “You’re a girl?!”

“Yeah,” said Jackie. “But I can explain.”

So, Jackie told the whole story from beginning to the end.

“Forever this name will be with you… ” said Will. “The British One.”

THE END

 

Thunder the Tiger

Thunder the tiger lived in the jungle, but he wondered what New York City would be like. He lived on the north mountain which was actually very far away. He wondered if he would ever get to New York City because he was so far away.

His mom and dad said, “You can’t walk that far,” but he was confident that he could.

He walked a long distance to get to New York City. He saw an ostrich hiding in the bushes who wanted to kick him. He had to run a far distance, and he realized he was back where he started. He wondered again if he would ever get to New York City because there were so many dangers out there. But he wouldn’t give up. He swung on the vines and found a leopard. That was a real danger! He wondered if he would ever get past the leopard, and he tried and tried. However, the leopard found him again and again. But Thunder wouldn’t give up yet until he got tired. Then finally, he got past the leopard. Then, there was more trouble. He had to go back past the ostrich. He finally got past the ostrich too, and the ostrich tried to kick him.

But Thunder said, “Look, there’s another leopard!”

The ostrich looked, but nothing was there, He looked back, but the tiger was gone. Thunder had tricked him. But Thunder had more obstacles to get to New York City. He had to get past a whole big log pile that was blocking the path to New York. He tried to jump, but he fell down the log pile, so he went around the logs. But he had even more obstacles to do. He wondered if New York City even existed. He was so tired that he had to take a break.

The next morning, he had lots of obstacles to do, so he had to do his best to get to New York City. He had to get past a bunch of rocks that formed a wall. He had to make a hole in the ground and make another hole to get up. He tried and tried, but he couldn’t get past the craziest obstacles in the whole rainforest. He tried to get past the deer, but they were eating, and he knew they would think he was a predator and they were his prey. So he dressed up like a deer secretly and took off his costume when he finally got past the deer. But one of the deer saw him not in disguise, and the mother deer thought it was her baby, but it was just Thunder disguised as a deer. Then, when he took off his costume, the mother deer spotted him, and the deer realized they had been tricked.

The mother deer asked him where he was going, and the tiger said, “I want to leave the rainforest and go to New York City!”

The mother deer said, “Okay, you can go!”

He finally got past all obstacles, but then he realized New York City didn’t have the things he needed. It didn’t have a proper place to live, it just had tall buildings. They didn’t have water in pools on the ground, they only had water in fountains which he couldn’t reach because he was a baby. He realized he had gone this far for nothing, because New York City didn’t have the right things for him. Now he had to go past all the obstacles he had passed before.

The moral of the story is always be thankful for what you have, or else you’ll end up in a place you won’t want to be in ever again.

THE END.

 

The Debate Over the Weirdest Things

             

THE INTRO

(The Potato)

Once there was a world where not only people had the ability to speak, but so did other things…

(The Person)

We wish it was only us who spoke… Every morning, my friend has to wake up to more noise than himself. I’m glad that’s not me. I want to wake up to no noise other than myself.

 

THE BEGINNING

(The Person)

I wake up and feel happy. It’s a Saturday! For me that means that I don’t have to go to work! Yay!!

I go downstairs and make myself breakfast. I can eat in peace. My friend can’t. Too bad for him. At least he said he can’t. I think I’ll go visit my friend! I think. So, I clean up and go brush my teeth before I leave for my friend’s house.

 

(The Potato)

I never knew this would happen, but it did. I ended up leaving them and coming here to a different world from the one that I know, a world where not only I can’t speak, but I hear other voices, other voices that don’t belong to us. I don’t have the courage to talk to the new sounds I hear and the new figures that always seem to move around the room that I stay in, Well actually, I stay in a lot of rooms. Sorry, I don’t know the names of the rooms that I stay in. Okay, I know that I haven’t gotten to the point yet, so here it is: I left my Potato friends and now live with a thing I hear everyone call h-u-m-a-n-s, but I have no idea what they exactly are.

 

(The Person)

As I walk to my friend’s house, I think, How does he do this? This new companion of his?

When I get to the house, I don’t even knock on the door. All I do is push the door open, and wow, it opens!

“Hey yo!” I call into the house that seems pretty empty.

“Who are you?” a voice calls from inside the house.

“It’s me, your friend, Steve.”

“Oh,” says the voice, “you should knock the next time.”

“Well then, why do you leave your door open, huh?” I ask.

I hear some noises, and then my friend (whose name is Frank but we call Frankie when we are not in public) comes to the already opened door.

“How is your new companion doing?” I ask in hope that Frank is not in the mood to show me his new companion.

“Hey, you need to call me before you come to visit. I am not in the mood to show you my new friend or to see you! So you can go, bye bye,” Frank says, and he slams the door in my face. “By the way, I am still having breakfast!” I hear him shout from inside. I guess Frank doesn’t want to see me. Oh well, too bad, I think.

 

(Frankie)

Well, I guess that I’ll start from the beginning of my story:

My story!

There had been rumors about these Potato animals (who came from a place that is unknown to us humans) and how if no one adopted any of them, the government would have to probably do something to them that wouldn’t be so good. I felt bad for them and decided to adopt one and see how that went, so I might get more. I was also most likely one of the only people who decided to adopt any. This first poor Potato was really scared at first. I mean, really scared. He didn’t even want food, or when I put him down on my kitchen floor, he instantly ran for a hiding spot. But now he’s gotten a lot better. We play together, and the most amazing thing is that HE CAN TALK!!! Though he doesn’t talk much, he still talks sometimes. You’d be surprised how little work they are and how much company they keep you if you need it.

My potato’s name is Bob. Yeah, I know it’s a weird name, but he liked it, so that’s what matters. This morning, Bob and I were just starting our breakfast when my, sometimes annoying, friend Steve knocked on the door. Well no, he didn’t knock on the door. He just opened the door and called “Hey, yo!” I had no idea it was him until I asked who he was, and then he told me. Literally, he interrupted my nice Saturday morning breakfast with Bob! So I ended up going to the door and having a short conversation with Steve. Eventually, I got annoyed and told him to go away and slammed the door on him. I did that because, yes, he was annoying me, and two, he doesn’t like Potatoes. He is actually afraid of my Potato! Ha ha!! The good thing is that me and my Potato live happily and peacefully.

 

(Bob)

I was told not to come to the door when Frank went to open it, but I don’t know why he told me not to come.

Frank is a nice person to live with. He isn’t mean to me or anyone that I know (not that I know many h-u-m-a-n-s)! I also have started to figure out the life of h-u-m-a-n-s. Frank’s life seems pretty easy. He doesn’t ever leave the house without telling me. You know what? He never leaves the house. I think he is worried about me. Maybe he has a secret person who does stuff for him if he is with me all the time. I once asked him if I could write a letter to my Potato friends, and he was sooooooooo nice. He said, “Yes of course, Bob!” So here is what I wrote to my friends:

 

Dear Friends,

It’s me, your friend! My new name is Bob. I like it, do you?

Are you with a h-u-m-a-n yet? I am, I’m with a h-u-m-a-n who everyone calls Frank or Frankie. He is nice. I don’t know how I learned to write so well but I think it was Frank (or Frankie) who taught me.

I really hope some h-u-m-a-n takes you in.

All the best your Potato friend

Bob!

 

So now we just have to send the letter, but Frankie is working on that! I like my life with him. It is great!

 

(The Government)

“SILENCE!” Tom Raines shouts to all the important people in the courtroom, which is not being held for court. “What we are here for is to discuss the case of the Potatoes, so listen up everyone!”

“Ahem, sir, you haven’t gotten to the point,” an important man says impatiently.

“What do I care how you feel about time?!” Tom yells. “Okay, here is the point: We are going to vote on who thinks that the Potatoes should go and who thinks the Potatoes should get adopted by us.”

“They should go obviously!” the same important man says loudly, so everyone hears him real well.

“And why is the question!” Tom says.

“Are you on the other side?”

“No, I am a person. LET’S GET TO THE POINT! YOU ARE DISTRACTING ME!!!” Tom shrieks. “Who votes for no more Potatoes?

At first, everyone is silent. Then, a roar of cheers goes up. A lot of people are shouting, “No more live Potatoes on this planet!”

“Okay okay, and who wants Potatoes to stay?”

About half of the people stand up and cheer.

“Okay,” Tom says. “We’ll see what happens… ”

 

(Steve)

Well, I heard about the talk that the government had with important people. I’m never going to be part of that group. They voted, and seriously it was exactly even! I mean that’s not good, but still it’s pretty cool. I don’t know what side I’m on. Is it the good side or the bad side? There is no good side or bad side, is there? I think they are about the same. In a way, I wish the Potatoes weren’t here, but in another way it doesn’t really matter to me. Now I feel kind of sad that I never met Frankie’s Potato. So I decide to call Frankie and see if I can go over and meet the Potato.

 

(Bob)

I am doing my regular things when I hear a ring. Honestly, I don’t know where it came from, but then I hear Frankie groan and say, “Ugh the phone!” So, I go and pick up the phone.

Someone on the other end says, “Hi, Frankie. It’s me, Steve.”

Then, there is no more talking but just a pause. I don’t know how to use the phone, so I say something, “Hi… y-yes Frankie the h-u-m-a-n is h-home.” I am so surprised because there is a loud scream on the other side of the phone.

Frankie comes running into the room. “Who is on the other side of the phone?” he asks.

“Your friend Steve asked if you were home. I said yes.”

“Let me talk to Steve,” Frankie tells me.

“Hi, Steve. This is your friend, Frankie.”

Blah, blah, blah on the other side of the phone.

“Yes, okay. I’ll see if he’s in the mood.”

Blah, blah, blah.

“Yes, maybe see you later. Bye.” And with that last word, Frankie hangs up the phone.

“So, Steve called to ask if you were in the mood to meet him because he wanted to meet you now,” Frankie tells me.

“Umm… sure, but what do I say?” I ask, confused and a bit nervous. It’s the first time that I am ever meeting someone like a friend of Frankie. Of course when people were deciding what to do with us, we kind of met them, so I guess that counts as a person that I met.

“It will be okay. You just have to say: ‘Hi, I am Bob,’” Frankie says.

“Uhh… Okay you can call him and tell him to come if you want,” I say.

After a very little bit, Steve rings the bell. I get ready to say: Hi, my name is Bob. Three… Two… One… Bam! I think of all kinds of excuses to not have to tell Steve my name. I know this is kind of stupid, but I’m scared.

Steve comes through the door and into the room where Frank tells him to go to.

“This is my Potato. Why don’t you introduce yourself?”

“Hi, I-I am B-Bob.”

Steve looks completely freaked out about how I can speak. Rude.

“H-hi, Bob. As you know I am Steve, Frank’s friend.”

The Steve person doesn’t seem freaked out when he talks to me, how strange, only when I talk.

“Do you like Bob?” Frankie asks.

“Yeah, sure.”

I start to get kind of nervous that Steve doesn’t like me, so I start to go to a different room when Frank says, “Where do you think you’re going?” But in a nice way.

“Oh,” is all I can say. This silence feels so awkward.

“Why don’t we go to the living room so we can relax and talk about stuff? Have you heard about the talk the government had with the important people? Come on!” Frank says.

Frank, Steve, and I walk into the living room and sit down on the couch and some chairs. I have to say that Frank has a really big house, at least for me it seems big because I have never been in a house before (just this weird room where these people decided what to do with us, but that room was a lot bigger. Still, I think that Frank’s house is way cooler).

 

(Frankie)

We watch some TV and talk about other cool stuff until it’s time for Steve to leave. Then, he says, “You know what? I like you, Bob!”

“Thanks, Steve,” Bob says.

 

(The Government)

“Uhh well, we have to vote again. Sorry,” Tom Rains says.

“What?!” the annoying but important man demands.

“I’m so sorry, but let’s get to the voting instead of wasting time!” Tom says impatiently. “Raise your hand if you think the Potatoes should stay. Okay. Now raise your hands if you think the Potatoes should go.”

 

(Bob)

Frankie was not very happy the next weeks. He said that he wasn’t happy because something was sad, but he wouldn’t tell me what was sad. I don’t really know much about what is happening in the outside world that is beyond the front or back door of Frankie’s house, but I wish I did.

 

(Steve)

I thought things would turn out much different than they did. Things were so sad and bad and annoying now. I wish I never disliked Potatoes.

 

(Frankie)

It was too much for me. At least I got to keep Bob.

 

(The Government)

Some people were sad, and some were happy. I don’t know what I was. That annoying man was sooooo happy. I think he threw a party for it.

 

(Frankie)

The government almost made me give Bob back, but I insisted to let him stay, and they finally agreed to let him stay. I should have adopted more Potatoes before this. I was an idiot. Now they all have to go! I can’t let them go! I hope Steve is sad. We haven’t spoken at all in the days that the news came. I could actually hear some people cheering and saying bad words about the Potatoes on the street

I felt so sad, but maybe we talk to the government or rather Tom Rains. The next day, I went to Tom and explained to him about 500,000 times that he was not going to send the Potatoes somewhere else without an argument! He didn’t seem to understand that much, but he surprisingly agreed to have a last vote.

 

THE LAST VOTE

(Bob)

We all went to the courtroom, and there were a lot of people. I hope no one would really would notice me because I am a Potato.

Soon enough, everyone had arrived, and Tom spoke a bit. Then came the moment that I had been waiting for.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The last-and-final-no-argument-against vote. Everyone of you has a slip. You will write down which side you vote for, then tomorrow we’ll see who won!”

Everyone wrote something on these slips of paper and gave them to Tom.

 

THE RESULTS

(Steve)

Today was making me soooooooooooooooo nervous! Today is the final announcement of which side won.

I went with my friend and Bob to see what Tom would say about who won. We all entered the same courtroom that we were in yesterday.

Tom seemed happy, but he kept a poker face. He instantly announced the results, though he did welcome us.

“So the results are that,” he paused then continued, “the side that voted for the Potatoes to stay won.

“YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!” I hear Frank shout with all the other people that are super happy.

“WHOO HOO! YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!” I yell.

“LET’S GO!!! YESSSSSSSS!!! WE WON!” Frank and a bunch other people shout. Everyone is cheering. I mean, a lot of people are.

The annoying man is not happy at all.

“WE DID IT!” I shout to Bob. He smiles. I see a lot of people with big smiles on their faces. Then, something unexpected happens. Suddenly, everyone notices Bob.

“Oh my god, there’s a Potato!” Everyone crowds around the Potato.

 

(Frankie)

We all go back to my house and throw up signs and banners for how happy we are.

“Now maybe I can adopt a Potato!” Steve says, and we all laugh.

 

THE END

 

Princess Cat Makes a Friend

One day, Princess Cat was taking her walk, and she saw an orange carrot in the window of a supermarket. A dog raced in front of her and grabbed the carrot. So, Princess Cat followed the dog! She followed it all the way to the dog’s house, but then the dog ate it. So, she went back home.

The next day, she went back to the store. She saw the carrot! But the dog’s owner took it for him to eat. The dog’s owner was Mary. Mary was very responsible. She was twenty. She had long brown hair and blue eyes. She went home with the carrot, and she shared it with the dog. The dog’s name was Ronald. Ronald had white fur and was a poodle.

The next day, Princess Cat meowed and meowed and meowed at her owner until she agreed to get the carrot. Her owner’s name was Rose. Rose had long black hair and purple eyes. Rose went to the wrong grocery market! When she gave it to Princess Cat, the cat hated it! “This is not the right carrot!” she said. “You must go back and get the right carrot. I will go with you there.”

So, they walked back to grocery store. When they walked there, they saw Ronald and Mary walking there too. Ronald saw them too. Princess Cat scratched her owner and pointed to them. Both of them started running. But then, the dog started running faster! The cat caught up, and they both grabbed the carrot at the same time! It snapped in half, but then the dog’s eyes got wide, and he just grabbed the other half.

Then, the cat scratched the dog’s back and grabbed onto him until they got back to the dog’s house. Then, the dog slammed the door and locked it!

(This is a very tragic story.)

The next day, they both ran as fast as they could to get there. But the carrot was gone! They turned to each other and each thought that the other one had stolen the carrot. So, they both ran into each other and just started to tackle each other. They rolled around all the way on the street, tackling each other.

They got to the cat’s house, and the cat’s owner was holding the carrot. Then, the dog and the cat both tackled her because they both wanted the carrot. Then, the owner swiped it out of their paws. The owner ate it. It tasted like glory.

Rose had wanted the carrot all along because she knew that she liked the same things as Princess Cat, and the cat said it looked absolutely delicious, and she would die for it. So, Rose ate it. Princess Cat was furious and sad. She just ran away from her owner. She ran and ran and ran until she got to her secret hideout in the park.

(We can’t see what it looks like, because it is underground and secret.)

Ronald got there just in time to jump into the hole before it closed. Dogs are very perceptive and fast, so he sniffed out where her hideout was, and he got there just in time. Ronald felt very bad for her. He understood how she felt because he was sad when he didn’t get the carrot. He cheered Princess Cat up by giving her a cupcake that he was holding the whole time. It was a strawberry cupcake, her favorite fruit. They stayed in the hideout overnight.

Her owner, Rose, felt very bad for eating the carrot and making Princess Cat upset. And Mary felt very scared because her dog was missing.

The next morning, they ran to get food from the store. This time, the carrot was not there. So, they went home and ate waffles for breakfast. They really enjoyed being friends. Meanwhile, Rose and Mary were racing around the city puting “missing” signs everywhere of Ronald and Princess Cat.

Rose and Mary looked at Princess Cat’s and Ronald’s favorite spots. Rose looked under her couch, in her bed, and behind the TV. Mary looked for Ronald in the park, on a certain spot beside the reservoir. As Rose and Mary were looking, they started to feel scared. “Where are our pets?” they said.

(Back at Princess Cat’s secret hideout, they were playing.)

“I feel bad for eating the carrot,” Rose said.

“It’s all your fault,” said Mary. “Why did you have to eat the carrot?” Mary knew Rose ate the carrot because she walked in as she was taking the second bite. She was so mad she felt like exploding.

Meanwhile, someone else saw the missing sign. It was an eight-year-old girl named Lila. As soon as she saw it, she told her parents. She was really worried because she loved animals. Lila didn’t have any pets, but she always wanted one. Lila had really keen eyesight, so she was good at finding things.

The next day, Lila was walking in the park. Ronald and Princess Cat had been missing for two whole days. Rose and Mary were feeling so scared. They weren’t feeling like giving up though! Suddenly, Lila saw a weird hole come up and down in the ground. She was surprised. Then, she saw it open again. She ran as fast as she could and slid in the hole. She saw a cat and a dog. She was so surprised, she even gasped. “Huuh!”

Then, she remembered the “missing” signs. That’s the dog and cat that are missing! she thought. She grabbed them, and Princess Cat and Ronald were very startled.

“What’s going on?” Princess Cat said. Once again, the dog’s eyes got really big. He tackled Lila!

“Calm down!” said Lila. “I’m trying to save you!” The cat and the dog glared at her.

How are you trying to help us? they thought.

“I’m trying to help you because I saw a ‘missing’ sign and want to bring you back to your owner.” Lila would want to keep them because she wanted a pet but knew it was not right.

Back in Hawaii, the owners had just given up. They decided that Princess Cat and Ronald might have moved to a whole different state, like Hawaii! So, they decided to give it one last shot and go to Hawaii. It was a lot of money! It took them ten hours. When they got there, they looked everywhere in Hawaii, which took twelve hours. They even went in a boat and looked in the water! They went scuba diving and looked under the water. They saw other animals like crabs, fishes, bumble bees, snails, shrimp, lobsters, but luckily no sharks. But no Princess Cat! And no Ronald! They decided to give up and stay in Hawaii because it was too much money to go back.

Meanwhile, back in New York, Princess Cat and Ronald still didn’t trust Lila. Then, she went to their houses with them. They didn’t want to go, but she was strong enough to hold them. She rang their doorbells, and no one answered. Then, she found out that Rose and Mary were in Hawaii! She saw a note to their dog and cat on the door.

 

Dear Princess Cat and Ronald,

We are in Hawaii. We only wrote this note just in case you were here.

 

(It seemed like they were mad at them.) (Because they were.)

Maybe I could keep them! thought Lila. She promised them that she would keep alive and safe. For once in their life, they believed her. They believed her because they got used to her a little more. They had been with her for seven hours! She was very kind to them and to everyone.

They decided they didn’t want to live in their hideout anymore. They went to Lila’s house. Lila’s parents opened the door and saw the animals.

“What’s going on!” said her mom.

“Blehh!” said her dad.

He thought it wasn’t real, so he was trying to wake himself up. But it was real. “These are the missing animals that I saw on the sign, and I checked at their houses to find their owners, but their owners are in Hawaii!” said Lila.

“Fine. We can keep them. But, you have to take care of them,” her parents agreed. Rose and Mary were never going to come back from Hawaii.

The next day, Lila and Ronald and Princess Cat had so much fun together. But then, they remembered the carrot. They ran as fast as they could to the grocery store, but Lila stopped them. “What do you want?” she said. They barked and meowed and barked and meowed and barked and meowed. Them, she realized that they wanted a carrot, because she learned how to speak dog and cat. That day, she had learned how to speak dog and cat because she searched for it on the Internet. Princess Cat and Ronald were a little sad because they missed Rose and Mary, but they still wanted the carrot.

Princess Cat and Ronald decided to go to Hawaii. They knew that Rose and Mary were in Hawaii. They wanted to be with them. They liked Lila, but they really wanted to be with Rose and Mary. So, they asked Lila if she could go with them.

She said, “I will ask my parents if I could come with you.”

So, she went to her parents to ask them if she can go to Hawaii with Princess Cat and Ronald. They said only if she did chores when she got back. Her parents bought her a plane ticket, and she felt happy and sad. She was sad because she was going to miss her parents, but happy because she was going to reunite Princess Cat and Ronald with Rose and Mary.

Lila, Princess Cat, and Ronald packed their suitcases and went to the airport. Princess Cat packed a mirror, a bathing suit, and snorkel gear. Ronald packed a ball, snorkel gear, and a bathing suit. They got food and things to do on the airplane because it was a ten hour flight. They got off the plane. Now, they were in Hawaii. Hawaii felt really hot. They saw coconut trees and pineapples and fish. They found Rose and Mary after all the hard work they did. They ran and ran and ran as fast as they could to get across the streets. They searched for three hours. They can run really fast because they’re a dog and a cat, so Lila rode on Ronald’s back. They searched high, low, and everywhere. They searched in the trees, they searched everywhere. They searched in the ocean. (They saw many sharkies, by the way.) They used their snorkel gear. They loved snorkeling, they were so good at it!

After a while, they finally found them. They found them at a house! They felt weird. The house looked very beautiful. There were many plants, little statues of fishes, and little statues of crabs. It looked like the kind of place where Rose and Mary would live. They rang the doorbell, and they knocked knocked knocked. They finally got in. Mary opened the door! Ronald jumped with joy! And then, Rose walked up too. Princess Cat leaped with pride! They both ran up to them and jumped into their arms.

“We’re so excited to see you!” Rose and Mary said. “Where were you?”

“Meow meow meow meow, meow meow woof woof woof,” they said.

They had no idea what they meant. Luckily, Lila was there to translate.

“Your secret hideout?!” they said. “Well, at least we forgive you for leaving because you came back and found us. We didn’t expect you to do this for us.”

They all decided they wanted to go back to their home. They moved back in with Rose and Mary. Then, Lila wanted to move in too. So then, she took her parents and moved in with Rose and Mary too. And then, they all went to the grocery store and bought the carrot. They all shared it. It tasted like glory!

THE END

 

Falcin’s Pizza

Falcin is a robot that lives in California. Falcin has two yellow arms and two blue legs. His body and his head are green, and he has spikes on his neck and a lot of spikes on his back. He also has a spike on his nose.

Falcin’s friend is having a birthday party, and he is going to give her pizza. (I think that’s funny because no one should get pizza for a present.) Falcin goes to John’s Pizza. There is a long line. When he is at the front of the line, there is only pepperoni, and his friend only likes cheese pizza. So Falcin decides to go home and order from another pizza store. He orders the pizza from Joe’s Pizza, and he goes to the party.

The width of the pizza is 18 feet, and the length of the pizza is one foot long. It smells good! Far away there is a giant basketball who smells the pizza, and he wants some. Falcin is having a lot of fun at the party until the giant basketball bully comes and eats all the pizza and destroys everyone at the party. It is a sad ending.

The End

 

The False Accident

Martha was running in a race. Katie was winning. Martha really wanted to win, so she decided to trip Katie. She ran just a tad bit faster until she was right next to Katie.

She ran next to Katie and when she was ready, she said to Katie, “Hey, Katie! Do you like running?”

Katie said, “Yeah.”

Martha asked, “Well, have you ever fell?”

Katie said, “Why do you ask that?”

Martha stuck out her leg, and Katie tripped over it. She fell and busted her chin. It was bleeding. A second later, Katie started bawling. Martha shaded her eyes and looked away.

“Martha tripped me!” Katie screamed at the top of her lungs.

“No I didn’t,” yelled Martha. “Anna told Lucy to do it so she could win.”

“Did not!” snarled Anna.

“Did too!” shouted Martha.

“Actually,” said Lucy, “Anna did not tell me to trip Katie.”

“She did!” said Martha.

And it went on and on and on like that until the coach said, “Stop! The rest of the race is cancelled. You may all go home. Nobody gets the prize cup for the winner, but there is no winner, and I am saving it for next year. Tomorrow, I want someone to confess and tell me who tripped Katie. If you do not, I will write a letter to your parents telling them that no one told me who tripped Katie and you all, except Katie, will get detention for the rest of the week. The detention will be cleaning the toilets with your toothbrush!!! And while you are doing that, Katie gets some free time.”

They all went home with their parents. Martha thought about what the coach had said. Martha slumped on the couch and turned on the TV. Nevermind, she thought, I am feeling too bad for Katie that I can’t even watch TV. She went in her room and buried her face into her bed full of fluffy and furry pillows. She started to cry. One and a half hours later, her mom entered the room.

“I heard someone crying one and a half hours ago. What happened?” her mom asked. Martha did not know an excuse, so she sighed when she realized she would have to tell her mom.

“I tripped Katie,” she said. “I just wanted to win the race because Dad said that if I don’t win the race, he won’t be proud of me.”

Her mom said, “Well, your dad just loves sports so much. He just wants you to be really good at them. But you will have to tell your dad. You can’t keep it a secret for the rest of your life. Also, you will get detention, but not at the racetrack.”

During dinner, Martha told her dad miserably, “I tripped Katie.”

“Well,” said Martha’s dad, “your mom and I are going to have to think of a consequence, but you are not going to have a consequence from the coach.”

“Yeah,” Martha muttered.

That night, Martha lay awake all night thinking about what she should say to Katie and the coach. Finally, she fell asleep, dreaming nightmares about Katie, Lucy, and Anna turning into monsters and attacking her, pushing her away from the racetrack. At one in the morning, she woke up sweating and still had no idea what she was going to say to Katie. Of course she knew what to say to the coach; she would whisper in his ear, “I tripped Katie because I wanted to win the race.” She was so exhausted, she fell back to sleep.

Six and a half hours later, she woke up at seven-thirty to her alarm, and remembered what she had to tell Katie and the coach. Nervous butterflies swarmed in her stomach as she thought about it. She still didn’t know what to say to Katie. She put her best pants and top on and went downstairs to breakfast.

“Look, Martha,” said her mom as she stepped into the dining room.

“The newspaper said there’s a new movie coming out in theaters, this Friday. It’s called The Diary. It’s about two best friends who moved away from each other, and they figure out a new way to communicate by writing letters to each other. Would you like to come watch it this Friday, Martha? Martha?”

“Yeah sure,” she said, rushing up the stairs to her room. She had a plan of how to tell Katie. She grabbed her journal, ripped out a page, and slammed the door shut.

“Are you okay up there?” her mom shouted from downstairs.

“Yeah!” she yelled back, quickly scribbling a note saying:

 

Hi Katie, sorry I pushed you.

I hope you can forgive me, I was too scared to say it to you in person, so I decided to write a letter to you. Would you write back? I just wanted to win so I tripped you, sorry.

Sincerely, Martha.

P.S. Once again, sorry for tripping you.

 

She then dug around her junk pile and found the best envelope that fit, but it was little torn up, so she had to use tape to fix it.

“Martha! Breakfast is ready!” called her mother from downstairs.

“Coming in a sec!” she yelled back. She closed the envelope and rushed downstairs. She shoved all the breakfast in her mouth and ran to the car with her running equipment. When she was sitting in the car, she took out the pen she had packed in her bag, and she ripped open the envelope. In tiny letters, she wrote what she was going to say to the coach. She ripped that piece out, folded it in the tiny envelope shape, and put it in her bag.

When she got to the racetrack, she snuck into the boys locker room and stuffed the tiny envelope into the coach’s locker. She went into the girls locker room and stuffed the big envelope in Katie’s locker. She put on her running shoes and her sweatpants and jogged to the racetrack.

“Well,” said the coach, “who did it?”

“Look in your locker after class,” said Martha.

“Okay,” said the coach, “only if the thing inside tells me who tripped Katie.”

“It does,” said Martha nervously.

“Then I will,” said the coach. “Okay everybody, listen up. One-hundred laps around the track, Katie’s first, then Lucy, then Anna, then Martha. Martha’s last.”

After class, Katie went to Martha’s locker and said, “I know you just wanted to win,” and she turned and walked away.

Next, the coach came and said, “I’m glad you told me and Katie that you tripped her.”

Martha was smiling all the way home.

THE END

 

Horse Tails

          

HAZEL

The wind blew Jenny’s and Hazel’s hair into their faces. Their laughs mingled with the repetitive sound of the waves gently lapping onto the shore. The horses cantered through the waves, splashing onto their hooves. Hazel was wearing riding pants, with riding boots that had small silver stars on them, and a plain black tee-shirt. Jenny was also wearing riding pants and boots with blue and green patterns on the top. She was wearing a white tee-shirt with a horse on it.

“Race you to the stables!” Hazel said to Jenny. The girls took off in a gallop towards Cedar Ridge Stables. There was a big fence surrounding the paddock and a big building with windows in it. Hay was spread all over the floor. Horses whinnied, and people chatted. Horses were riding out the front gate toward the meadow.

“Come on, Ebony!” Hazel yelled.

“Calypso! Let’s go girl!” Jenny shouted. Jenny and Calypso galloped in front of Ebony and Hazel. Ebony reared, and Hazel lost her balance, almost falling off.

“Hey!” she cried, annoyed.

“Sorry! My bad,” Jenny replied and galloped away.

“Whoa boy,” Hazel murmured and slowed Ebony to a stop in front of the stable gates. She dismounted and looked around for Jenny.

“Jenny!” Hazel called. “Where are you?” She led Ebony around the fences of the paddock. The barn smelled of horse manure and hay bales. Horses whinnied, and people talked. She heard hooves clomping behind her and turned around.

“Told you I’d win,” Jenny giggled.

Hazel laughed and said, “Ebony and I would’ve won if it weren’t for you! Anyways, let’s go meet the others.” They led their horses through the gates where a girl and boy were standing. The boy was wearing an old black jacket and ripped jeans.

“Hi!” Jenny smiled, and Hazel waved to him. He mumbled something and walked away. Hazel glanced at Jenny. Well, he doesn’t seem very friendly, Hazel thought. The girl was wearing fancy riding gear and had light blonde hair with bubble gum pink streaks and was grooming her dappled gray appaloosa.

“Hello! I’m Stephanie, and this is my horse, Quartz. She’s already won nine championships, and I bet we’ll win our tenth. Everyone knows she’s the best dressage horse here. By the way, sorry about Alex, he and his lame horse Onyx are really moody. They share the same personality. I don’t even know how he could afford his horse though! But you’re lucky that I’m here!” the girl told them. She kept talking, but no one listened. She seems kinda snooty, Hazel thought. Ebony whinnied. Hazel nudged Jenny.

“You know what, the horses are getting kind of antsy, we better go,” Jenny said and pulled Hazel with her. “What a brat,” Jenny said once they were out of earshot.

“Yeah. I can’t believe she said that about Alex, but he is kinda moody,” Hazel agreed. A tall man wearing a cowboy hat called them over. He had a mop of messy brown hair and was standing next to his horse, a tan thoroughbred with a dark mane.

“C’mon, let’s go see what he wants,” Jenny said.

“Howdy y’all! I’m Patrick Chapman, the owner of Cedar Ridge stables. I’ll show

you around this place and give you some lessons along with Emily Barton,” he told them.

“That’s my cousin!” Jenny said happily. Her lips curled up into a grin. Emily arrived and chatted with Jenny. Emily was the one who taught Jenny about horses and how to ride! Jenny always looked up to Emily and loved to play with her. This was Emily’s last summer before she went to college, and she wanted to spend it with Jenny.

“So, Hazel and Jenny, today we’ll see your skills!” she said. Jenny and Hazel smiled.

“Perfect! That means we can show everyone how amazing Quartz and I are at dressage! We’ve learned a new move, and my private instructor said that I’m the best rider he’s ever seen.” Stephanie appeared out of nowhere, obviously eavesdropping. Jenny looked at Hazel and rolled her eyes. Stephanie saw Jenny and glared at her. She mounted her horse and trotted over to them and stuck out her tongue at Jenny and Hazel. Then went into the middle of the training area. She turned on music.

“Watch and learn,” Stephanie said and flipped her hair. She started doing some elegant moves that looked really advanced.

“I hate to admit it, but she’s actually pretty good,” Jenny whispered to Hazel.

“I know.” Hazel sighed. “Let’s go get our horses.”

They walked over to their horses stalls, but Calypso and Ebony weren’t there! “The horses! They’re gone!”

 

EBONY

Ebony and Calypso and some other horses were just waiting for their riders in their stalls, when this strange girl approached them. She opened the doors to their stalls. She picked up the reins and led them out. Ebony reared and neighed, but no one came. Another horse, a North Swedish horse named Emberdust, whinnied and said, “Let’s go! We’re free, finally!” Calypso neighed and took off after him.

“Hey! Wait up!” Ebony cried and ran after Calypso.

 

***

 

The majestic mountains towered over the free horses. They looked like they were piercing the sky. “It’s getting dark… We should go home,” Ebony murmured, trotting up to Emberdust and Calypso.

“Aww, come on! Don’t be a party pooper!” Emberdust complained.

“Yeah, it’s fun out here!” Calypso exclaimed and galloped in circles around them.

“We should go stop and graze,” Emberdust suggested. “I’m hungry.” The horses slowed to a stop and bent down for some grass.

“It tastes so sweet!” Calypso said with her mouth full.

“I usually only have hay,” Emberdust said.

“Fine, I’ll have some,” Ebony finally gave in. He bent over and started to graze. “Hey! You’re right!” He neighed, surprised, “It really is better than the stuff at home.”

Emberdust grinned. “That’s the spirit!”

The horses rested for a bit, then started to walk back to the stables. A deep howl echoed through the hills. Ebony’s ears twitched. “Did… Did you hear that?”

“Oh, it was probably the wind or something.” Calypso nervously pawed the dirt with her hoof. “Let’s keep going.”

“I’m so happy we’re free — ” A loud growl interrupted Emberdust.

“What was that?” Calypso asked, looking around. The horses could almost smell the wet, matted fur of the beasts that lurked in the shadow. A cold shiver crawled up Ebony’s spine. He shook it off.

“I don’t like this, guys… We should go back. Now,” Ebony said, walking a little faster now.

“For once, I agree with Ebony,” Emberdust agreed, hurrying to catch up to Ebony.

“Aww, come on guys! This is supposed to be an adventure. I can’t wait to tell Onyx and Quartz what they missed out on!” Calypso neighed.

Suddenly, a large shadow appeared. Ebony reared and yelled, “WOLVES!!!”

 

JENNY

“Where are they?!” Jenny asked anxiously. “They were here before the training!”

“We were only gone for half an hour!” Hazel said. Jenny tried to remember what happened before the horses disappeared.

“We dropped them off, went to the training place, Alex was waiting with us, Stephanie appeared out of nowhere, then we came here,” Jenny said. Then, she looked at Stephanie. “Hazel, can we talk. Privately.” They walked out of the track.

“What is it? Did you figure out who let the horses out?” Hazel asked.

“I think so. Remember Alex was waiting with us for his turn, and then Stephanie came out of nowhere? I heard a faint horse whinny, but I thought it was just the other horses. The only horses that weren’t stolen were Quartz and Onyx, but Onyx never stays in his stall. So that leaves Stephanie,” Jenny explained.

Hazel hesitated for a moment, then said, “She was probably mad that we ignored her. I can’t believe she let the horses free because of that.” Hazel shook her head.

“Let’s go tell Emily,” Jenny said and walked back to where the others were standing. Stephanie was practicing her dressage and talking to her horse.

“Emily, we think we know who let the horses out!” Hazel told her.

“Stephanie! It makes the most sense! She was the one whose horse didn’t go missing, and she doesn’t like us that much,” Jenny said.

Emily nodded. “It does make sense. But we can’t jump to conclusions.”

Jenny sighed. “But… Okay, fine.”

“We’ll go out to find the horses. They can’t have gone far,” Emily reassured them.

“How?!” Jenny cried, “We don’t have any horses! And there’s no way I’m trusting Stephanie around our horses again.”

“Oh! I know!” Hazel piped up. “Alex can do it! He’s a good rider, and he and Onyx know their way around this place better than any of us.”

Emily smiled. “That’s a great idea Hazel! Let’s go get him right now.”

Jenny ran towards the stable, where Alex was taking care of Onyx. “Alex!” Jenny called. He looked around, surprised that someone was talking to him. “I… I know this is a lot to ask, but… Can you please look for Calypso, Ebony, and Emberdust? Somebody,” she glared at Stephanie, “let them out, and we don’t know where they are! Please say you’ll help us!” She begged, bursting out into tears.

“I… Oh, okay, alright… ” Alex answered, getting up onto Onyx.

“Thank you!” Jenny said.

“No problem,” Alex replied, and he galloped away.

“I’m so happy he agreed to find the horses!” Jenny smiled.

“Finally, we’re actually making friends! Unlike at our old school,” Hazel said.

“I wish we could stay here forever!” Jenny laughed and ran to her and Hazel’s favorite place to relax. Beside the lake and under the gigantic weeping willow tree. They could spend hours there.

 

CALYPSO

The shadows formed into living wolves and slowly approached them, their mouths foaming, and teeth reflecting in the light. “RUN!” Calypso shouted. She and Ebony bolted, but Emberdust stayed back.

“My hoof! It’s stuck!” He whinnied. The wolves came closer, their low growls surrounding them.

“Emberdust! Hurry!” Ebony screamed. The wolves pounced.

“EMBERDUST!” Calypso started sobbing. She galloped back to where Emberdust was hiding.

“I’m fine, they missed me. A rabbit distracted them. But my leg, I can’t move it,” Emberdust’s hoarse voice tried to choke out. Ebony galloped over as fast as a he could, as if he were in an intense race. Calypso felt like her heart was going to break her ribs, it was beating so hard. Ebony reared, shouting for help.

Finally, they heard hooves clomping as loud as Calypso’s heart. A jet black horse appeared riding on the hill with a boy with black hair and ripped jeans and a jacket on him. The horse stopped, and the boy dismounted. “We’re here to help, don’t worry.” The horse had a deep voice. He approached Emberdust. “He’s just twisted it, nothing too serious. Did something attack you?”

“Well, it definitely feels serious! It hurts worse than the time I crashed into that tree! We were running from the wolves, but I tripped and got stuck. If I didn’t fall, I could’ve fought the wolves!” Emberdust said. Ebony rolled his eyes.

“I’ll just go talk to Onyx,” Ebony muttered and walked away.

“Emberdust, I’m so glad you feel better! I was so scared!” Calypso cried.

“What’s up with Ebony? Is he still mad we didn’t listen to him?” Emberdust asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe he’s just cranky,” Calypso replied. The boy walked towards where the horses were talking and started to look at Emberdust’s leg.

“You’ll be back on your feet in no time,” he reassured Emberdust. Isn’t he usually really shy? Calypso wondered. The boy wrapped Emberdust’s leg and hoof in a bandage and helped him stand up. He whinnied and tried to rear, but fell over again.

“Forgot I can’t do that with my injury!” Emberdust said and stood up again.

“Come on, I’ll help you,” Calypso offered. “Let’s head back to the stables.”

 

ALEX

Alex mounted Onyx and galloped away to try to find the horses. They went through the forest first, but they couldn’t find anything there. The mountains weren’t very far, so Alex and Onyx went there next. Onyx galloped so fast, the wind almost blew Alex off his horse. It didn’t take long to find them. The horses were whinnying and rearing.

“Whoa. It’s alright, calm down,” he murmured.

He slowly went towards a horse who he remembered was named Emberdust. The horse’s leg was trapped under a rock and was causing it great pain. His whinny sounded almost like a howl. He lay helplessly on the grass A small horse, who he thought was named Calypso, protectively moved in of Emberdust. She reared and neighed. A dark brown Morgan horse who must’ve been Hazel’s horse, Ebony, neighed back at her and started to walk away.

Calypso hesitated and followed him. “Sometimes, it seems as though you guys can talk,” he said, laughing.

Alex got the first aid kit from his saddle bag and found the bandages. He searched in his saddle bag for a bottle of water and some towels, and finally found them. He tried to clean the wound, but Emberdust whinnied and kicked at him. Alex backed away and got some treats.

“Here boy, I know it hurts, but you can do it!” Alex reassured and put on the bandages. “There you go! You’ll get better soon. You’re a strong horse, aren’t you, Emberdust?” Alex reassured him. “When we get back to Cedar Ridge Stables, I’ll make you a splint.” Alex mounted Onyx and held Calypso, Ebony, and Emberdust’s reins.

They had to go slow, so they got back to the stables later than planned. Jenny, Hazel, and Emily were waiting for them.

“Calypso!” Jenny hugged Calypso and took her reins.

Hazel ran up to Ebony and said, “I’ve been so worried!” Jenny and Hazel brought Calypso and Ebony back to their stalls to care for them.

“What happened? Is Emberdust okay?” Emily looked at Emberdust to make sure he wasn’t bleeding.

“Don’t worry, he just trapped his leg under a rock. I’ll make a splint for him, the cut isn’t deep, just long. He’s a strong horse, don’t worry,” Alex reassured her.

“Thank you so much!” Emily cried.

“I-It’s alright,” Alex said, who wasn’t used to all the attention. “I should go now… ” he said, and he and Emberdust galloped off towards the stables. This camp is the best thing that has happened to me! he thought happily.

“Come on, Onyx. Let’s get you back to the stables.”

 

STEPHANIE

Right before training, Stephanie had snuck into the stables. “You can come on out now!” she told the horses, opening the doors to their stalls. The horses hesitated, not sure what to do. “Come on, go!” she yelled. The horses took off, their hooves echoing off the cobblestone path. Ha! That’ll show them, Stephanie thought.

“Come on girl. Let’s go, Quartz,” she said and mounted Quartz. She trotted over to where Hazel, Jenny, and Alex were. She steered Quartz over to the middle of the paddock and stopped. “You can do it girl. Just try your best, that’s all that matters,” she whispered to Quartz, stroking her horse’s neck. Stephanie started off with a passage, keeping in rhythm to the classical music that was playing. She led her horse into a half pass. “Great job Quartz! That’s the first time we did that move perfectly! I’m so proud of you. Just a little bit more,” she told Quartz. Stephanie guided Quartz to the middle, and slowed her to a stop. “It was good, wasn’t it?” She smirked. Without waiting for an answer, she jumped the fence of the paddock and took off into a gallop.

Stephanie rode towards her home on the beach. She couldn’t wait to tell her parents! They would be so proud of her. “Mom! Dad! Guess what?!”

“What is it, honey?” her mother asked.

“I mastered that dressage move I’ve been learning for months!” Stephanie beamed.

“Uh huh, that’s nice,” her mother said, without looking up from her newspaper.

Stephanie’s face fell. “Aren’t you proud of me?”

“Of course I am, but I’m even more proud of your brother. He got into all the schools he applied to!” her mom said proudly, who finally started listening.

“I — That’s great, Mom,” Stephanie choked out, struggling to keep her voice from cracking.

“We’ll throw him a party of course!” her mother went on. “Want to help plan it? I know how much you love that!”

“Yeah, sure,” Stephanie said, trying to keep her tears in before she got out of the

house.

“I-I have to go,” she lied, rushing out of the house just as the first tears started to

fall. “Let’s go, Quartz.” She sniffled and mounted her horse and started her favorite trail, still sobbing.

After a while, she heard hoofbeats behind her and turned around. “Hazel? Jenny? Go away.” Stephanie galloped away, towards the mountains.

 

HAZEL

Hazel and Jenny were going on a trail ride through the forest. The birds were singing, and the fresh nature scent filled their nostrils. They were heading towards their favorite place, the tall weeping willow. The girls had just found the place the day before, but they loved spending time there.

“I love these trail rides. I’ll miss it when camp ends,” Hazel said, bringing Ebony to a trot next to Jenny.

“Yeah, same,” Jenny agreed.

Hazel froze. She could faintly make out a quiet sobbing noise. “Jenny… Did you hear that?” Hazel asked, halting her horse.

Jenny listened for a moment, then nodded. “I’ll go ahead. Stay here, Hazel,” Jenny commanded.

“No!” Hazel yelled, scaring several nearby birds.

Jenny looked at her, “Why not?” Jenny asked, confused.

Hazel bit her lip, not sure what to do. “Just… Please, can I go with you?” she begged.

Jenny sighed. “Fine. Follow me.” Hazel nodded and got behind her.

The sobbing sound got louder the farther in the woods they got. They saw flashes of a white and gray horse through the trees. “Stephanie? Is that you?” Jenny asked.

“No. Go away,” she replied.

“Stephanie, we know it’s you. What’s wrong?” Hazel asked.

“It’s none of your business. Go, away!” Stephanie yelled and galloped towards the mountains. Hazel and Jenny exchanged worried looks. They followed her. The mountains got closer, and Stephanie’s silhouette was at the top of the peak. The clouds were getting darker, and rain threatened to fall. Hazel moved up closer to Jenny, but Ebony tried to move away. “Ebony, why don’t you like Calypso anymore?” Hazel asked. He whinnied and tossed his head. They approached the top of the mountains and looked around for Stephanie. “Stephanie!” Hazel shouted.

“Where are you?” Jenny yelled. Drops of rain fell from the dark clouds. Jenny and Hazel dismounted and ran around, trying to find Stephanie. A silhouette was at the top of the mountain. “That must be Stephanie,” Hazel said and mounted Ebony. Jenny followed her to where the figures were standing, against the cloudy sky. Jenny and Hazel approached Stephanie.

“Stephanie, whatever is wrong, you can tell us,” Hazel gently asked her. Stephanie turned around and wiped her eyes.

“I know we haven’t gotten along very well, but I think we can change that,” Jenny comforted. Stephanie opened her mouth, but didn’t say anything. She turned back towards the darkening sky. Jenny and Hazel got off their horses and walked up next to Quartz and Stephanie.

“It’s okay if you don’t want to tell us, but I think we could help you,” Hazel offered. Jenny put her hand on Stephanie’s arm.

“My — my parents, they never listen!” Stephanie burst into tears again.

“It’s okay, just let it all out,” Hazel said.

“It’s like I don’t even exist!” Stephanie blew her nose on a tissue she had in her pocket. The rain started to fall heavily, but the girls barely noticed. Lightning flashed, and thunder boomed. The horses reared and whinnied. The second clap of thunder sent them running back to the stables.

“Oh no, the horses!” Jenny looked back at where they ran to. Stephanie and Hazel turned to look.

“We better head back,” Stephanie sniffled.

“It’s gonna be a long walk without our horses,” Jenny muttered to herself. They started the path back to the stables.

Finally, they arrived and found the horses hiding behind bales of hay. “Ebony!” Hazel ran to her horse. “It looks like we made a new friend.” She glanced toward Stephanie who was grooming Quartz.

 

EBONY

Emberdust was almost healed, which meant Calypso could now go out and play with him. Whatever, Ebony thought. It’s not like we’re friends anymore. He looked longingly out of the window of the barn and saw Emberdust and Calypso running around together in the paddock. Ebony sighed and started to drink some water. He heard hoof steps behind him and looked around.

“Who’s there?” He neighed, startled. Hazel walked out from behind the wooden door.

“Hey, Ebony, it’s me,” Hazel said, slowly walking towards him. Ebony snorted happily and tossed his head. Hazel mounted him, and steered him out of the barn. Jenny and Calypso were waiting for them outside. At least Emberdust isn’t here, Ebony thought. Hopefully Calypso will notice I exist. Calypso went up ahead, and Hazel pushed Ebony up closer to her. Ebony walked away from Calypso. “Ebony, come closer to Jenny,” Hazel said. He tossed his head in annoyance, but moved towards Calypso.

“Hey, Ebony!” Calypso beamed.

Ebony grinned. “Calypso! I missed you!”

Calypso tilted her head in confusion. “What do you mean, ‘missed me?’”

Ebony looked down at his hooves, embarrassed. “Well… Just… You and Emberdust have spent so much time together, and I… ” His sentence trailed off, not sure what to say.

“Oh… Ebony! I’m so sorry! I didn’t know you felt left out,” Calypso apologized.

Ebony sighed. “It’s okay.”

Hazel halted Ebony. Jenny and Hazel seemed to argue for a bit, and then Hazel guided Ebony into a trot behind Jenny and Calypso. He thought he heard a sound, and he flicked his tail in alarm. “Looks like there’s a storm coming,” Ebony observed. Calypso nodded.

 

JENNY

“I’m so excited for dinner tonight!” Jenny squealed in delight.

“I know it’s gonna be the best!” Hazel jumped up and down with Jenny.

“Barbeque is my favorite!” Stephanie said.

“Same, but I rarely have, because I don’t have a grill,” Jenny agreed. Jenny’s aunt was hosting a barbeque, and Patrick was cooking. Alex, Stephanie, Hazel, and Jenny were all going to dinner together.

“It’s gonna be impossible to wait until six o’clock!” Hazel exclaimed.

Finally, at six o’clock, Jenny and Hazel arrived together. Alex was already there, but Stephanie wasn’t. Jenny and Hazel walked over to the buffet and got some food. The delicious smell of cooking ribs wafted over to the couch they were sitting on. After a few minutes, they heard a car stopping in the driveway. Stephanie stepped out wearing a fancy rose gold dress with flowers. She had her hair in a long braid down her back.

“Wow! Stephanie! You look amazing!” Jenny greeted her and smiled.

Stephanie blushed from the compliment. “Thanks!” Hazel grabbed her hand and showed her around the backyard.

“Be right back, just have to go to the bathroom,” Jenny said and walked inside. She passed through the dining room. She heard voices coming from the kitchen. They sounded like her Aunt Victoria and Patrick Chapman, the stables owner.

“I just don’t know how to tell them,” a worried voice that might have been her aunt said.

“I bet they’ll be fine,” a deeper voice reassured her. They talked a little more a bit, then Jenny ran back outside with a concerned look on her face.

 

My Dogs Baba, Ibiza, and Poppy

I have a puppy named Poppy, and my puppy has brown eyes. Her fur is kind of white but isn’t that white. She is only ten pounds. I got her in 2016 at a family reunion. We went to the mall, and there was a pet store. I had been asking for a puppy for about a year. So, my mother finally said, “Okay, let’s see.”

In the pet store, there were a bunch of puppies. But Poppy was the only one playing but didn’t look happy while doing it. She was so tiny. She was only ten weeks old! I asked the man if I could play with her in the playpen. I asked my mom if we could get her, and she said we had to ask my dad. He said yes. I have had her for about two or three years now, and I love her so much. On a scale from one to ten of how much I love her, I say a 100!!! Sometimes she runs away. It makes me so sad when she does that, but she always comes back. She goes in the corn field, the woods, and even across the street. My brothers don’t like Poppy. I don’t know why. I think she is the best puppy ever. She plays a lot, and she makes friends all the time, and sometimes my mom, my dad, and I go on walks with Poppy and our other two dogs Baba and Ibiza. Sometimes, I watch my iPad, and I go to the couch with my iPad, and my dogs come over to the couch.

Poppy and I are very similar. Poppy and I are both very crazy. I bite my nails, and she has very long nails, and she’s only two, and she tried to bite them off! Then, when that didn’t work, she tried to scrape her nails off with her other paw. I wanted to tell my mom because it was funny. We’re also both very fast runners. When she escapes, she runs away really fast. Poppy can climb and jump, and so can I. We’re not just crazy. We also do crazy things. Poppy and Baba like me more than my brothers. My brothers don’t like Poppy because she runs all the time on them because she’s only two. Their favorite is Baba, and Baba likes us all pretty much equally. Poppy still loves me the most though. Even my brother, Ibi, jokes that Poppy likes him more than me (I think). Ibiza likes my dad the most, even though he’s kind of named after my brother Ibi.

My dog Baba broke his leg after being run over by a car, but is okay now. But he is afraid of almost everything and has a habit of nipping people when he is afraid, but sometimes he just barks or growls. If he’s in a car with all of us together, and he sees other cars, he’s not afraid.

Ibiza is a Mini Australian Shepherd. She loves attention. She will eat anything and steals Baba’s food sometimes. We got her when I was around six years old or younger than that.

When we go on walks, my mom will take one dog, my dad will take another, and I take the third. If I could take my dogs anywhere in the world, I would take them to sleepaway camp. This is my first summer going to sleepaway camp, and it would be so much fun with my dogs there right beside me.

Poppy would love camp because there would be a lot of kids there, and we would run and play and do everything together. If my dogs could talk, I think they would ask a lot of questions and ask for a lot of belly rubs. Baba’s favorite place to get pet is his armpit, and he’d probably ask for armpit pets all the time.

Ibiza would say, “Pet me now! Don’t look at him! Just me.”

I would say in reply, “Okay, in a minute.” She’s very impatient.

If my dogs had superpowers…

Baba would be able to fly, Ibiza would have telekinesis, and Poppy would be able to teleport.

One day, I brought all three of my dogs on a field trip to a lab. In this lab, they make special dog food, and I wanted my dogs to get a sneak peek at the new flavors. The scientist, William, met us at the front door to give us a tour of the dog food lab.

“Hello, Scientist William. These are my dogs Baba, Ibiza, and Poppy. Can we taste some of your dog food,” I said.

“Yes,” Scientist William said. And he gave us a tour. And gave us the dog food. “Don’t open it until you get home!”

“Okay!” I said. Then, we got home. I gave my dogs the dog food, and they ate it really fast. Then, Baba started lifting off the ground. Then, Ibiza looked at something, and it started to float. Poppy all of a sudden was gone and somehow was on the couch. I realized something was off. My dogs got superpowers!

I ran to my mom and dad.

“Mom! Dad! Come look in the kitchen!” I shouted. We went downstairs. My mom and dad didn’t look too worried.

“Calm down! This is kind of a good thing,” they said. “Now, Baba can fly, Ibiza has telekinesis, and Poppy can teleport. Now, we don’t have to walk Baba — we can fly him! Ibiza can pick things up for us, and we can get Poppy to teleport something.”

“Okay, I guess it’s a good thing,” I said. Then, they digested the food, and Poppy couldn’t teleport anymore, Ibiza didn’t have telekinesis anymore, and Baba couldn’t fly anymore.

“Dang it! We’re going back to bed!” my parents said.

The end

 

Baseball Fever

          

One

“I can do it!” I said to myself. “I can do it!”

The ball was coming straight towards me. “STRIKE ONE!” Carter shouted.

“You can do this,” I mumbled to myself. The ball was coming towards me from high.

“STRIKE TWO!” Carter yelled. I breathed in and out. The pitcher was getting ready to throw. I got this. Fling! The ball was at full speed.

“STRIKE THREE, YOU’RE OUT!” Carter hollered.

“Maybe next season,” Coach told me.

“Maybe next season,” I said to myself.

Two

I walked home with confidence. Mom opened the door for me.

“We’ll be having lasagna and spinach. Okay, sweetie?”

“Alright, Mom. That’s fine with me,” I answered. I went upstairs to my room to change into my inside clothes. I came back downstairs to eat dinner with Mom. My older brother was at sleepaway camp, and my dad was running late.

“So how was baseball, Riley?” Mom asked.

“It was okay I guess.”

“Sorry I couldn’t be there.”

“No. It’s okay, Mom,” I said. “Nothing much happened.”

“Okay.”

I was not that kind of person who threw a fit over things, that was more like my older brother. I swallowed down my food and heated up some milk for Mom and me. I took my milk up to my room and started to write in my diary. Next season I’m gonna win that trophy. I closed my diary and gulped down my milk. I went under my sheets feeling proud that I tried.

Three

I started to feel Dad waking me up. “What is it?” I said, annoyed.

“Mom signed you up for extra baseball practice, didn’t she?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay then, wake up!”

I hopped out of bed to the morning sunshine. I did my morning routine and grabbed my cap, my bat, my mitt, and my water bottle. Mom passed me my lunch, and then I headed out. I met Coach at the field and shook his hand.

“You ready for some b-ball, ol’ youngster?” Coach asked.

“Isn’t that for basketball, Coach?” I questioned.

“No, silly goose. I meant baseball!”

“Oh. Okay. I was a little confused there for a second.”

“Alrighty then, let’s start.”

Coach was telling me about my positioning and my focus. I was pretty sure it was my focus that was taking me off track during the game. Maybe now too. It was rush hour, and the road that was closest to the field was a one-way road, which I thought was really stupid. Traffic piled up there the most. All the honking and yelling was making me lose my focus. I breathed in and out, in and out. I tried to bring as much focus as I could, but it was useless. I didn’t holler, I didn’t scream… I just closed my eyes and imagined me winning that trophy. A dream come true.

I closed my eyes and ignored everything around me. Swing. Hit. Run.

Four

Coach threw the ball. “I hit it!” I shouted to Coach. “I hit it!”

Coach was clapping so hard, his hands were turning red. Coach ran for the ball that I hit and tried to throw it at me, but he missed. There was a rumor that I was the fastest kid in the school. I was so fast that the second that he threw it, I was already at homebase. I was crying tears of joy. I did it. For the first time. I did it. Practice was over, and the traffic died down. I drank some of my water and looked up to see the beautiful sunset. I drank some more water and skipped the rest of the way home, excited for the next season. I was going to win that trophy. I came back home, and I noticed that I didn’t eat my lunch. I decided to eat it later, I was too excited to eat now. I had to tell Mom the good news.

“Mom, guess what?”

“What is it, sweetie?”

“Oh, nothing. Maybe just that I made my first swing!”

“That’s amazing!”

“Thanks, Mom.”

“I’m gonna go to the grocery, okay? I need to get supplies.We’re having pizza.”

“Okay.”

I went up to my room and stepped over the piles of dirty clothes. I flopped on my bed and sighed in relief that I did it.

Five

A few months flew by.

Ring ring. My alarm was going off. I just remembered that it was time for the championships for baseball. I got ready as fast as I could. My team was a mix of boys and girls. I alternated spots, so sometimes I was a pitcher, sometimes I was an umpire, and sometimes I was a batter. Mom and Dad still couldn’t be there for the game, but my friend’s dad was videotaping. I grabbed my lunch, and Dad dropped me off.

“Okay, Riley. Break a leg,” Dad shouted.

“Bye,” I shouted back.

I entered the stadium, and Coach was there with the rest of the team.

“Riley.”

“Here.”

“Jess.”

“Here.”

“Alexander.”

“Here.”

Everyone was here. The game was about to start. We named jobs quickly. I was batter. Alexander would be a pitcher in the next game and so on.

The game started.

Six

I was in front of a kid from another team. They named their team after a brand for popcorn. Boom Chicka Pop. I always thought that was a funny name, but I did like that brand of popcorn. The umpire was kind of like a referee. He had to yell really loud because the field was big, and everyone needed to hear him. My ears were ringing, and I was starting to get a headache. I couldn’t focus. Everything seemed so dizzy and shaky. I felt like I was going to topple over. When someone from the other team threw the ball, it looked like it was spinning in all sorts of directions. I still couldn’t see straight. I missed the ball, and the umpire caught it. Dammit. It was kind of funny. No one got mad at me. They said, “You got this. Maybe next time, Riley.” That made me feel really good.

Seven

My team didn’t win, but I still felt good that we tried, that we tried hard enough to feel good about it. There was a celebration after the game. Everyone went to the park and had a barbeque. I didn’t want to eat anything, I just sat in my fold-out chair knowing that I didn’t have to win the trophy. I won everything I needed. Family and friends.

La Fin

 

Shrink

The only bad thing about getting ice cream is probably looking forward to one flavor and finding out it’s not there. But things that you don’t think can happen, happen. I was so excited to go to my favorite frozen yogurt place, 16 Handles. I was looking forward to my favorite flavor, birthday cake. I also love getting a million toppings. It was a nice sunny day on the streets of New York City. I didn’t want to to tell Mom I was getting ice cream. She said, “We could get it tonight after dinner.” I could get it twice without her knowing! Hooray! But at that moment, I tripped over a bottle of Coke.

“Oof,” I said in pain.

I fell onto something that used electricity because I saw a light pop up, and for some reason, I felt like the sun was moving away from me and all the people around me were becoming giants. It was probably just a dream. At that moment, I heard a crack sound, like something was just destroyed. I was in pain.

“Eww,” I shouted.

There was a gigantic rat in front of me. Good thing it didn’t spot me, otherwise I could have been a snack! I didn’t know where I was for some reason. That was so weird. Everything looked bigger. I tried using Google Maps on my phone, but that failed. The cigarettes were the size of me. Maybe I was shrunken. Uh-oh. How would I get home? The crack sound was me destroying the Miniaturizer, and I couldn’t get back to real size. Oh shoot. I needed to get home before it became dark. Mom was going to kill me. There were way too many creatures down on the ground, and it smelled like smoke. Mom was definitely going to kill me. Now it was dark, and I had to sleep in a Coca-Cola bottle.

“Aww, it’s so liquidy and sticky in here,” I said.

At that moment, I saw a weird figure in the distance. It looked like a caterpillar from where I was. It could have been a spider.

“Oof,” I said.

I was being carried on the back of a spider. It was a really small spider, though it was uncomfortable to sit on. I was still in the Coca-Cola. Uh-oh. I was about to become spider snack! And be eaten alive!! I had to make a run for it.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” I started screaming.

“Sssssssssss,” hissed the spider.

I ran for it. The cap to the bottle was on, so I kicked through it. Fresh air. Hallelujah. Oh gosh. There were too many people, and I was about to become as flat as a pancake. I was now as flat as a pancake. I was Flat Stanley! At that moment, something else picked me up. It looked like a hand. It was a hand.

“Hey Mom, can I keep this deflated toy?” asked a little boy.

“Sure,” said the mom.

Uh-oh, I thought.

This was the worst day of my life. On a nearby tree, I saw a missing sign that had a picture of me on it.

“Hey Mom, this toy looks like the dude on the sign,” said the boy.

“Yeah. The toy is probably supposed to look like the kid,” said the mom.

In less than five minutes, we were in an Uber going to a house. We made it. It was on 99th street between 1st and York. We got up to the apartment which was on the 68th floor of the awesome building. They went inside after 30 minutes of trying to open the door. We got in. It was as big as a mansion. Probably just an apartment room.

Let’s see what I knew.

One. I was small.

Two. I was almost killed.

I wanted to go home. I needed to leave. But how? I was now a toy. Dang it!

Maybe in the middle of the night I could sneak out.

It was now nighttime, but I was too tired to escape. I’d sleep in this really annoying toy bin with snoring toy Spider-Man and an ugly toy Superman. I slept through the night. I woke up when something touched me. Here we go again, I thought. Later that day, we went to some random place. I needed to leave now. I was going to make a distraction. I saw two sticks and a rubber band for a catapult, but I needed something to catapult. Like that marble. How would I get to it? I punched the kid holding me.

“Owww, what was that?!” screamed the boy in pain.

I made a jump for it and quickly hid under the nearest chair.

“Where’s my toy?” he asked.

There was no point in getting the marble now, but I did anyway and catapulted it at him on purpose. He started crying as soon as I started laughing. It was awesome. After that, I quickly escaped and walked home. I kept walking for about a week without stopping and eating until I reached 99th street. I was home and just got slobbered by the ugliest dog in the world. Eww. I walked in holding onto someone’s leg. She looked just like my mom. Wait, she was my mom! Free ride home!!! Yay!!! When I finally got home, I didn’t take my shoes off because I needed to make them normal size again too. I had to create a potion tomorrow while Mom was at work. I had eight hours to do it.

Okay. First, I needed to read my book about making people different sizes. I went outside. I found flowers, leaves, bark, and dirt. Perfect! I went back upstairs and threw some bark at the button to press it. I had perfect aim. I got upstairs and got under the hole at the bottom of the door and got back inside. I used the blender to blend up my ingredients, and I had my perfect potion. I also used some other stuff we had because the book wanted me to use that too. I took the potion and drank the whole bottle. I didn’t feel anything happening. I read the book carefully again. It said it took two days to kick in. I went under my bed and stayed there.

When my mom came home, I heard her crying. I saw her walk into my room and fall on my bed. She didn’t see me. I stayed there for two days, and two days later, I felt my body grow. I was finally normal size. I went out before Mom came home. I spied from a bush outside, and when she went upstairs, I went up too. I rang the doorbell, and when I walked in, my mom hugged me so tight I felt like my guts were being squeezed out. I was really happy. I told her the story, and I started eating right away because I was so hungry.

One day later, my mom came up to me and said…

“YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR ONE MONTH!”

 

THE END

 

A Wizard Who Can’t Talk

The wizard always dreamed to talk. He never went to school, that’s why he couldn’t talk. If he never talked, he could never make any spells. He was six years old. The wizard was called Cedric the Sensational. He was not the one who made that name — the wizard’s dad made it. Cedric the Sensational always tried to tell his dad that he hated that name. It was too fancy and too “sensational.” His real name was Potato, but his dad called him Cedric the Sensational because he was embarrassed that his son was called Potato. It was sort of his mom’s fault, because she named him that. He was also a little shy, because his name was Potato. People bullied him. They said, “Why is your name Potato? That’s, like, the worst name I ever heard of. And why are you so fat?”

One day, the wizard, Cedric the Sensational, said, “Now I know why they called me Potato — they thought I was fat. They called me that at school. Now I think I’ll ditch school and be homeschooled. But my mom doesn’t know how to speak English. So now, my mom can talk in the other language that she knows, which is Spanish, and I’ll understand, and I’ll say two or three words in English, and I’ll be like a two-year-old to people who don’t know Spanish. That’s what everyone says at my school — that I can’t talk at all.” He said in Spanish, “pero tú no sabes hablar en español,” which means “You don’t know how to talk in Spanish.” He was a little angry but mostly sad.
And Cedric the Sensational had enormous arm muscles that couldn’t even fit in the stores. He was always working out at his gym because he wanted to be the strongest at his school, so everyone would know that he was cool, but it didn’t work. So when he went in a store, he was knocking down everything, even other people. No one knew what happened to him, he just grew so big, as big as a building. He always wanted to be small again, but he couldn’t talk, and his mom didn’t teach him the spell, so he couldn’t make a spell to make himself small again.

So, his mom was going to do a spell in Spanish because she understood Spanish better than English. So then, Cedric the Sensational became a Spanish sorcerer. He learned lots of alphabets, but only two spell words, because his mom didn’t have any time to spend time with Cedric the Sensational. He really wanted to do spells, but he couldn’t talk, so he couldn’t do anything. He couldn’t cast any spells. He couldn’t walk because he was too fat. He had one finger, two legs, three pairs of arms, and twenty pieces of hair. Cedric the Sensational looked really bad, and everyone called him fat, but he was actually an alien. Everyone looked at him as a wizard.

Cedric the Sensational met a unicorn with a birthmark that was in the shape of a heart, and the unicorn was mad at him. He was growling and baring his teeth, which were a little pointy. Cedric the Sensational had no exact idea why. The unicorn had a blue eye and was staring at him like he didn’t know anything. No one else knew what happened.

The unicorn was another alien, and he thought he looked like a normal, regular unicorn, and in his world, all the unicorns look exactly the same, but the unicorn had a rainbow horn, twenty eyes, one nose, forty-five arms, ninety-nine feet, and forty-nine legs. The unicorn came from their planet. The planet was called Forklimon. It was made out of forks and mon. No one knew what mon was, so that was why the planet was so mysterious. It had talking alligators and really, really long worms the length of buildings. It was a land of candy and pretzels and Goldfish and fruit snacks, and everyone was crying with happiness, and even if they broke their arms, they would still be crying with happiness. Everyone was cool there, but there were only two people who were really cool, as you can see, on the bottom.

“Come with me,” said the unicorn, grinning mysteriously. No one knew where Cedric went.

THE END

 

I Remember

    

I remember the white bunk bed and the smell of tomato and mozzarella

I remember reaching over the bunk bed

I remember falling at my own risk and cracking my head

I remember friend yelling and my mom screaming and crying for help

I remember us calling an ambulance and it taking too long

I remember dropping my friend and brother at the neborgiors apartment and calling a fast cab

I remember the blood on my shirt and my moms shirt

I remember my mom forgetting her wallet and the cab driver giving us a free ride

I remember the ER bringing me right in and being on a rolling bed, people running at my side, feeling like the Queen of the world

I remember the friends mom rushing in

I remember the staple tool and feeling nothing when the staple went in my head

I remember going into the head x ray room thing and the xray of my head

I remember laying in my bed hearing sounds of pain

I remember going home after a few hours to crying of joy and watching tv

I remember eating too cold strawberry ice cream and getting a painful freeze burn

I remember telling everybody at school what happened, being popular for a day and everybody wanting to see the staple

I remember me being only four

 

I Am Mehoko

My name is Mehoko. I live alone in New York City. My family threw me on the last plane here. “You deserve a better life than what you have here. Go, Mehoko, to a world I heard that has more!” My parents’ voices still echo in my ears as I repeat our last moment together. It hurt leaving my home in Quivik, where we always had rice for our meals. Quivik is in a distinct island off of China, and we speak Chinese, but we aren’t as advanced with life as they are. My life was still better, though. It might have been hard eating the leftovers of our old Emperor (who to say was actually quite nice), especially since we had to polish his house 20 times so we could get at least a dime’s worth of money (that’s how they say it in New York), but at least I had something. Here, I am lost and have only a bit of food. My authentic Quivik wear is ripping, and I have sort of started to lose hope, though I did have a decent day today.

I look to get a job, so I can fulfill my family’s wishes. I have run into some people here (by accident), and they were all so lively! I have observed how they speak, walk, and eat. Earlier today, I stopped at a Chinese restaurant and was greeted by two nice ladies, and they said they could possibly hire me.

They gave me a couple of dollars saying, “We few Chinese people need to stay together and watch out for each other.”

I nodded my head, though I am Quiviknese. But besides that, I know that I need to spend the money on food!

 

A few moments later…

I have been watching a little girl and her dad walk into a store that said Grocery Store. I have learned a few things about the language, and I now know a few words and their meanings. Anyways, I keep following them throughout the store without them knowing, picking everything they get and putting it in a crate/bag thingy. (I have never seen these helpful things.) Well, as I am following them, my heart is sinking. They keep playing together like me and my dad had once done. I only just stopped following them because they are now going to the “cash register,” and I can only be in the line. Now that they are leaving, I am desperately trying to put my things down exactly like the kid had.

“That will be $50.25,” the guy is saying, looking at me.

I don’t know the currency rules here, but I am just going to hand him a paper with a 20 on it. “Here.” I want to get out of the store because now there is no one to learn from, so I keep pushing the bill towards him.

“Oh, are you new here because that is only $20, and I need 30 more dollars and 25 cents,” the guy said once again, looking me up and down.

I can only nod because I really am having trouble with what the guy is saying. But he is full of surprises as he reaches for this black thing and dials numbers.

“Hey, boss, we have an Asian girl who looks like an immigrant who doesn’t have enough money… Yes… Okay… So I can give her the discount if she will work here to pay it off… Okay.” He hangs up. “Well, I will let you off the hook if you will work to pay it off.”

I keep nodding and repeating his words “work.” I am so surprised nobody ever leaves Quivik because you can’t work if you aren’t legal, and I learned in school that I could’ve gone to jail! I can’t stop myself from smiling, and he is reaching out his hand, so I will do the same. He continues to shake my hands, and I feel very proud right now. Mom, Dad, I will not fail you. One day, I will retrieve you from Quivik, I am thinking to myself.

I am looking at the shopping list thing that is coming out of this weird machine here. It says: bread, ham, banana, apple, watermelon, tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, crackers, cheese, hamburgers, hotdogs, water, juice, sugar, ice cream, cookies, cake, flour, pasta, lollipops, and gummy worms! My time here will be awesome and delicious! I feel better now that I have worked things out. Tomorrow, I start work, working. I am actually sort of happy I moved! But I will, I will, thank my lucky star, the one that made a difference! Quivik is my Home but New York is my City!

 

THE END!!!

 

Changing Towns

Once upon a time there was a princess named Celestia who was sixteen years old, and she liked colors. She really wanted more people in her town. It was a very lonely town, and she was wearing a black dress today.

So every day, she sat in her throne, and she said to herself, “How can I get more people in our town?”

But one day, on her birthday of turning seventeen, she thought, Maybe I should go and get more people in our town. So she told her parents that she was going to get more people in their town. The king and queen also wanted more people in their town, so they told their daughter Celestia that she could go do it. So, she packed her food, and she set off.

So first, she went to Chicago, and she told all the people there. Then, she went to Greece, and she told all the people there. Then, she went to Florida, and she told all the people there. Some said no, and some said yes in all the countries she went to so far. She convinced them to go to their town because she convinced them that it was a nice town, and there were hot tubs and pools all over it. The people that said no weren’t convinced with what she said.

And then, she went to Hawaii. All the people said yes in Hawaii because it was ten minutes before the volcano erupted in Hawaii, so they all said yes, they took all their stuff, and then they went with Princess Celestia. Once she got the Hawaiian people to safety in their town, the Hawaiian people thanked her for saving them. Then, it was nighttime. They all went to sleep, and Celestia promised herself that she would do some more talking to people tomorrow.

The morning after nighttime, she wore her color dress. The colors that it had were red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink. She had a rainbow dress on! She went to London. Most people there said yes, and some said no, so she took the people that said yes on a boat while she went to a different country or state.

She went to Australia. The cities she went to were Sydney and Melbourne, and all the people in Sydney and Melbourne said yes. So she took them to New York City. They had a great time. Then, she went to New Mexico. New Mexico was a busy town, and there was a gate at the airport before you entered New Mexico, and the gate had a passcode that you had to enter. There was no button that said Change Passcode, so she didn’t know how she would get into New Mexico. So, she tried all the passcodes she knew, but none of them worked because the gate felt your hand if it was New Mexican or American or any other city, state, or country. The gate knew that she didn’t live in New Mexico, so Celestia didn’t know what to do. So, she thought and thought until she came up with an idea.

Good thing she brought a pogo stick in her backpack! She could jump over the fence and no one who was New Mexican knew if she was New Mexican or American. But there were wolves guarding the New Mexican houses because the New Mexicans knew that someone could have a pogo stick from a different state and jump over the fence. So, they put more wolves to guard. The wolves charged at her. She didn’t know what to do. She was surrounded by wolves. She said her name to the wolves, and then they said theirs. Good thing she knew wolf language! She learned wolf language at school where they taught all about wolves. She told the wolves her name in wolf language. She told them that she wanted to be their friend. They said that they would be her friend. So, the wolves let her go into New Mexico, and then the people were astonished of how Celestia got in. Then, they glared at the wolves. The wolves got really scared.

There were only ten children who weren’t glaring at the wolves. Those were Celestia’s friends in New Mexico. She called them, and they came and helped protect the wolves. Now that the wolves were safe, Celestia asked her friends if they wanted to go to New York City with her. They all said yes because they were her best friends in New Mexico! They asked all the people in New Mexico. All the children’s parents that were Celestia’s best friends came with their children to New York City, and then she went to Africa. All the people in Africa said yes, and then she took the people from New Mexico and from Africa to New York City, and they lived happily ever after! The end.

 

Real facts about different countries:

Fact: If it’s July 5th in Australia, and you think it’s also July 5th in America, it’s actually July 4th! It could be with any date. So for example, today in America it is 7/19/18, and in Australian times, it’s 7/20/18. So in Australian times, it’s always one day ahead of American times, and when it’s evening time in Australia, then it’s morning time for America.

Fact: There are lots of animals in Africa, like zebras, and lions, and animals like that. Most of them are tame and will do what a person who owns them says. There are different climates in Africa. There’s the tropical rainforest, and there’s a place where they grow chocolate, and there’s a desert in Africa.

Fact: In Hawaii, there is hula dancing. There are lots of islands. On 7/19/18, a volcano erupted in Hawaii. All of the islands were formed when a volcano erupted underwater.

 

My 20’s Diary

My name is Billy, and I just turned 20, and it feels freaking awesome. I just started my first week at NYU majoring in advanced chemistry and minoring in algebra. It was a perfect choice. My family is very proud of me since I got into a good college but also because I’m Hispanic and I’m in a good college. I will write every year.

-Age 20

 

I woke up with pangs of hunger. That’s when I remembered… today was my family’s monthly brunch. I ran to the fridge where they put their requests. I put my bathrobe on and rushed to the store with the list. I ran to the local plaza. They have everything except… bacon!!! My family was going to kill me. My family was five minutes away. The nearest store was ten minutes away.

My aunt called me and asked, “Where are you?”

“I’m driving home right now.”

“If you’re not back there with all the food, I’m gonna kill you.”

“I’ll call you back, people are staring.”

I ran to the car and drove at sixty miles per hour to the next store. A police officer

stopped me. I thought, I’m dead. I told the police why I was driving so fast, and the police officer understood and let me keep driving. I grabbed the bacon, skipped the line, and threw the money to the cashier. I drove home, and now my family was two minutes away. I took a dangerous shortcut through hunting grounds. Somebody shot the window while aiming at a deer, but I kept driving. I made it home, but I had forgotten that I had to set the table and microwave all the food. I locked the door completely, bolted it shut, closed all the curtains, and turned off all the lights. I shoved all the food in the microwave at once. The bacon went into the oven. My family knocked on the door. I took the food out and set the table. I unlocked the door, opened the curtains, and turned on all the lights. I opened the door, and immediately my grandma slapped me in the face.

“I know when you are lying. I heard your conversation with your aunt, I was in the car. Now give me a hug.”

“Auntie, why do you always have to have Grandma in your car ?” I said while hugging my grandma.

“So I can tell when you are lying.”

I remembered ten-year-old Little John has to make brunch next month while everyone came in. Then I remembered that next month was just a test. Poor me will have to keep making breakfast until John is at least 20… Ugh.

– Age 21

 

It’s my second year in NYU, and my parents say I’m lucky that I got into a good college because other people my color don’t get a good education. This year I have to go to a prom, and it was mandatory. Weirdly, someone asked me already. I’m like, what!!! I asked my friends what I should do.

They said, “Just do it.”

I said, “Okay.”

I had to get ready for the big day. The next day, we gathered in the gym for prom. Our teacher made us go with the person that asked us out. I stood next to Linda. We danced and agreed to see each other again. Three days later, she ghosted me. She used me for grades. I have not focused on brunch.

-Age 22

 

I need to focus. My grades have been dropping. They have mostly been on average B’s since last year. That’s why I’m only writing this much. Until I go back to getting A’s, I will not write.

-Age 23

 

Well, I finally got that A ten times in a row for the end of year test, and it’s summer break. I want to have fun, and I’m ignoring brunch. I’m going to go to Splish Splash for a whole day. I invite my friends over for us to drive there. Since it’s in upstate New York, we have to pack a lot of snacks and jackets in case it rains.

It took a one hour drive, and then we made it. We ate lunch there, which was Subway. We went on every single water slide until six o’clock PM. That was one of the funnest days of my life. My grandmother sent me a text message and gave me the devil mask face. I feel bittersweet. Then my grandmother said, We went to IHOP instead, which was better than your food. I was so offended that this day became sweet. Since my grandmother roasted me, I realized that I didn’t miss making brunch today.

The next day, my friends and I went to Camelback Beach. It took us a four hour drive. It was very exhausting. I went on this huge water slide. When I fell into the pool, it was so fast that I broke my leg. I had to be saved by a lifeguard, and we had to go home right away. After my friends dropped me off, my family brought me to the hospital and sued Camelback. I told them not to, but they did it anyways. We won the case, and we got $100,000. Our lawyer was trash.

I couldn’t do things for a whole three weeks, and I’m definitely not going back on any waterslides soon. So we went camping. We put out food in a tight refrigerator so bears can’t get in it, and we tried to avoid camping in the hunting grounds. We set up a fire on a ridge near a mountain, and it was really exciting. I got third shift to watch the campfire and keep a lookout. We drove back home the next day. I can’t wait for next summer break.

-Age 24

 

This year I graduated, and I’m so excited!!! We’re graduating in Hersheypark Stadium. They do this to make it special. They didn’t want to have it in New York since most of us live in NYC. We all got a certificate, and our valedictorian gave us a wonderful speech and told us to throw our hats in the air. It was a sight to see. When I’m 30, I’m going to start to get my PhD. I’m ignoring brunch.

-Age 25

 

I teach chemistry at Brooklyn Tech. There are a lot of students, and I’m kind of nervous. The students are nice though. I think I should stay at this job until I turn 30. It’s really fun, and we do a lot of experiments. I think being a teacher has really improved my life. I have to focus on teaching.

-Age 26

 

Somebody got me arrested today. When I told the cops, they said, “Save it for the judge.”

 

Five days later…

When they looked for evidence of me at the supposed scene, they found nothing. We had a trial, and they arrested her. That “her” was Linda. The last time I met her was at NYU for prom. My family is glad I didn’t get arrested. We’re going to IHOP for brunch.

-Age 27

 

It’s summer break again, and I have to prepare for my class next year. This year for summer break, I decided to stay inside and catch up on all the shows I missed. Mostly American Ninja Warrior, which is a very funny show and is very awesome. This teacher life is pretty weird. Your summer break is not really a summer break. You are still working! Brunch is off. I invited some of my most interested students to a science fair at my old elementary school. When we were leaving, they said, “That was impressive.” I am ready for next year.

-Age 28

 

In my class, there was a bully. I freed a bunch of people from their lockers. The bully’s name was Alin. He was very cruel, and he never pays attention. I don’t know how he’ll survive in life. I hope he’s able to get over his cruelty. I hope he doesn’t become a criminal. He’s been sent to the principal and the guidance counselor many times. I hope he turns his life around.

-Age 29

 

This year, I went on a date. It went pretty well. Both of us majored in science. We had good conversation. It wasn’t awkward, Her name is Jada. We walked home together because we live in the same apartment building. So we know each other pretty well. Our parents said we can get married. We both were like, “Not yet.”

-Age 30

 

I quit my job and went to graduate school at Northwestern. I got married to Jada. We now live in the same apartment building. I can’t wait for what’s going to happen next. Little John has to make brunch now.

 

Aria’s Story

The only thing Aria had ever wanted to do was to help people. Her mother was the former Queen of Aura. The crown was recently passed down to her despite the fact that she didn’t want it. Her mother was worried that she wouldn’t be a good queen, so she still monitored every decision that Aria made. The law kept them from getting what they wanted. It was Aria’s tenth day as queen, but she still wasn’t used to waking up at the crack of dawn.

“Today is going to be a good day,” Aria whispered to her brand new dog while staring out a window overlooking Coal.

He was a chihuahua that she found in Aura. Her kingdom was split into two parts. One was called Ruby, and the other was called Coal. It was named that because Aura produced many gems on Ruby. Coal was a recently purchased land that her mother bought because it was said to have gold. Of course, her mother had never actually visited Coal. On her first day as queen, Aria visited Coal and had felt so guilty for never helping people before. Aria had never been able to make a decision by herself even though she was twenty-two years old. Her mother had actually attached a camera to her when she was eighteen.

“Good luck,” Maya yelled, who was also on her way to the conference room.

“Thanks,” Aria responded.

As Aria walked into the conference room, she quickly turned around and ran in the opposite direction, until she bumped into her with her mom. On her way to the meeting with her mom, she saw her best friend on the way.

“Good morning, Mother” Aria said, while trying her best not to slouch.

“Good morning,” she responded stiffly.

“Mother, I wanted to ask you if we could give Coal more money.”

“Why?”

“Have you ever been there, Mother.”

“Of course not, I don’t have time for that.”

Aria just rolled her eyes while saying, “I went there the other day, and it was very poor.”

“Aria, don’t be silly. You know that we need to use it to buy food for Ruby.”

“Mother, have you been to the main cellar in Ruby.”

“No.”

“There is a lot of food rotting there.”

They started yelling at each other as the tension started growing between them. Then, Aria left the room feeling defeated.

Aria had to make a speech the next night about her first act as queen. Her mother was telling her to give Ruby more money to make a new spa. Of course, Aria didn’t want to do that, so she spent the remainder of that night thinking about it, while sitting in her favorite spot by the window and constantly looking at the immediate difference between Coal and Ruby. Her mother was breaking the law by trying to make Aria do what she didn’t want, but Aria didn’t know. When she woke up in the morning, she had even more worries when she had to help settle something in court. There was a murder in Coal because of a fight about food. As Aria looked through the rule book for a page about regulations about murder trials, she saw something that was interesting. Before she went to bed, she arranged a meeting with her mother and studied the page that she noticed earlier. The next day, Aria confidently walked into the conference room.

“Mother,” Aria said coldly.

“Aria,” her mother replied anxiously.

“I am giving the money to Coal.”

“You can’t. I forbid you to,” Aria’s mother yelled.

“And I forbid you to break the law,” Aria shot back.

“What are you talking about?”

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

“You can’t tell anyone about this.”

“I don’t intend to.”

“Thank you, sweetheart.”

“Don’t call me that.”

As Aria exited the room, she worried that someone had been listening through the door. It would be very bad for her mother if someone found out. Aria scanned the hallway and saw no one. She went to her room and started preparing her speech for that night. It was very difficult to write a speech, but in the end, she completed it in time for the ceremony. Aria was very excited to announce her first act as queen.

When Aria began her speech, someone in the crowd shouted, “The queen is a criminal.”

Aria was very nervous.

Maya came up to the stage and said, “She forced Aria to do what she wanted.”

Aria’s mother came up to the stage and started denying that she ever did that. The whole room was filled with talking.

“Everybody, shut up,” yelled Aria.

The room suddenly became very quiet. The chief guard came up and arrested Aria’s mom. Aria started fidgeting and started thinking to herself, I will take care of her later.

“Tonight was very exciting, but hopefully it will be even more exciting. I know many of you don’t like that Coal is very poor. Hopefully, that can change. Aura’s money is split among Ruby and Coal, but not equally. Ruby gets 75% of the money, so that leaves Coal with 25% of the money. I am trying to change that so each section gets 50%,” said Aria once everyone calmed down. All of the people started clapping.

“First, I have a favor to ask. I need volunteers throughout the week to clean Coal and help with construction,” added Aria.

Many people raised their hands.

The next morning, Aria woke up in a chair and quickly got ready for a meeting about her mother’s punishment and then a meeting about Coal. As she looked out the window of her room, she saw a large gathering of people working in Coal. Aria pulled her hair into a very messy bun and ran through the halls. She was very tired from staying up all night, but it was worth it. She carried a huge binder with her, full of plans for Coal. Then, Aria realized something, being “Her Royal Highness Queen Aria Allgre of Aura” wasn’t that bad.

 

Twin Towers

        

Chapter One

Emma

“Miss Robinson, the answer? To number four?”

“Huh?” I said drowsily. “What are you talking about?”

“Miss Robinson! The answer! To number four!” Mrs. Stuart clarified, running her hands through her spiky hair. “When are you going to stop sleeping in my class? I wish you were more like your twin sister.”

I gasped, glaring at Mrs. Stuart. My twin, Evelyn, smiled, gave me a thumbs up, and buried her face in her math once more. I took that in a nice way, and looked up at Mrs. Stuart. “You can’t say that I’m worse than my sister to my face. That’s just plain horrible.”

Mrs. Stuart gaped at me, shook her head, then said, “I’ll deal with this later.” Then, she marched up to her “throne.” No, really — it looks like a real throne, one with a big armchair and a billion pillows with intricate design. It took up, like, a fourth of the small room. Mrs. Stuart would be proud of my fraction-math-equation… if she didn’t hate me at the time. I was probably at the verge of getting a C- anytime soon. Not that I wouldn’t without insulting her. I’m sort of a bad student. Oh, well.

Evelyn answered perfectly to the question she was given. Mrs. Stuart seemed to have deleted her bad self when she talked to my sister, but every now and then she shot me a disgusted look in the corner of her eye. Why did she hate me this much? Probably because I hated her as well. Sometimes she told me my homework was wrong, gave me a C, and then told me something had gone askew when she was checking my homework, but it went to my report card, so there was no way to undo it. She was my least favorite teacher, but Evelyn’s favorite. Obviously. Mrs. Stuart was the queen, Evelyn the princess, and I was the piece of mold stuck to the refrigerator door.

 

***

“I don’t know why we have to go to PE,” Evelyn whined, pulling her hair into a ponytail. “It’s useless. Not like I’m going to become a baseball player or anything.

“Well, what if you are going to be a baseball player?”

She gaped at me. “Ugh, I star in physics. How am I going to be a baseball player?”

“Well, ya never know.”

“O-M-G, you are so annoying.”

I grinned. “Well, that’s what twins are for, honestly.”

“Emma, you have to help me. I suck at PE. And you’re amazing at it.”

“Okay… but in return, you have to help me,” I bargained, raising my eyebrows.

“Huh? But Emma, you have it all. You aren’t the favorite of any academic teachers.”

I sighed. “That’s exactly why. I want at least one academic teacher to like me.”

Evelyn laughed. “Wow, ambitious. But deal. Deal?”

“Deal.”

 

Chapter Two

Evelyn

“Okay, the first step to soccer… what is the first step to soccer?” Emma said, uncertain.

“Uh, I’ll look it up.” I pulled my phone out of my pocket. “It means — ”

“The first step to soccer is no cell phones!” Emma shouted in my face, grabbing the device and slamming it down on the table. “The next step is kicking the ball… I think.”

I took my foot and swung it on the ball like Hercules’s club being used for attack. “Argh!” I shouted, but then realized my foot managed to barely nip the ball.

“You’re hopeless!” Emma growled, flopping backwards on the couch. “You can’t even kick a ball!”

You’re hopeless! You can’t teach me how to kick a ball!” I shot back at her.

“Well! Kicking a ball is easier!”

I didn’t know what to say to that. She had too much of a good point. Then, a thought struck me. “Hey! You’d be good at debate class!”

“Excuse me?”

“Debate class!”

“What in the world are you talking about?” Emma snapped. “Are you trying to insult me?”

“Of course you don’t know what debate class is! You only take the mandatory lessons. Well, debate class is when you’re supposed to argue. They have debate teams, and you have to go on about how your side is better. I’m in the class. We could go on the same team, even. It would be like twin bonding time!” I squealed, hopping in the air. But the truth was, I was sort of uncertain about Emma’s unexpected talent. I didn’t exactly have knack for debating, if that’s what you called being horrible at it.

“Well, this debate class seems fun.” Emma smiled. “Thanks for letting me know about it. I’ll def try it out. But… us? On the same team? We disagree on so many things, so have you lost your mind?”

“No, we don’t disagree! Okay, fine we do.” I rolled my eyes. “So now can you teach me how to kick a ball?”

“It’s so hard, I don’t think you should waste your time doing it,” Emma said sarcastically, popping her gum so loudly I thought it might explode on her face.

“Fine.”

“That was a joke! Huh, you didn’t realize that, did you?”

“No, I didn’t, thank you very much. Kicking a ball is actually hard. And don’t judge me.” I glared at Emma, and she stared back at me.

Emma scrunched her face up. “Well, then. What sport do you think you’re good at?”

“Picking up the balls when it’s time to clean up.”

“You’re hopeless. And it’s called shagging the balls.”

“Fine, tennis,” I said reluctantly.

“What? You’re not even good at tennis!”

“You said ‘pick a sport you think you’re good at,’ and now you’re telling me I can’t pick a sport I think I’m good at?”

Emma put her head in her hands. “Never mind. Pick a sport you’re good at.”

“Swimming?”

No!

“Badminton?”

“No.”

“Track?”

“Okay, sure. You’re not bad at running.” Emma sighed.

I hopped up and down. “Great, all I have to do now is run!” I ran out of the apartment door and went down the stairs to the lobby. Emma followed me. Then, I ran out of the building and started jogging next to the river. “Y’know, this isn’t so hard — WOAH!”

I fell flat on my face, and when I looked up, Emma was hooting with laughter.

“It’s not that funny!” I snapped at her. “Is it?”

“Of course it is! You have to look where you’re running. It doesn’t work if you’re running on cement and you trip on an umbrella!”

My cheeks reddened. “That’s what I tripped on?”

“Yes, duh! You thought it was a rock?”

“Um, yeah. I’ll try again.” I started running again, only to trip over my sandals and fall on my face again.

Emma started giggling again. “You forgot to wear sneakers! You need sneakers!”

“Why didn’t you tell me that?” I demanded, walking to where she was standing. “Whatever, I don’t care. I’ll just get my sneakers.”

“Okay, bye.”

As I walked up the stairs to our apartment, I heard Emma call, “You can’t go up to the apartment without your keys!” Emma waved the keys above her head.

“Ugh!” I shouted, circling back to the building porch. I jumped up, grabbed Emma by the shoulders for support, and took the keys dangling above her head.

Emma stared at me. “Wow, how’d you do that? You’re a good jumper.”

“Um, I’m a natural?”

“I think you just developed a talent for gymnastics.”

 

Chapter Three

Emma

“What?” Evelyn shot at me. “Gymnastics?”

I breathed in and out. Gymnastics was my only weakness. I was not a flexible person. “Yeah, gymnastics.” I winced at the word again.

“You’re kidding,” Evelyn said loudly. “It can’t be.” She shook her head mournfully. “I’ll never be.”

I knew what she was thinking, and I felt bad for her. Seven years ago, Evelyn had gone to a gymnastics meet, her first one ever. She was a complete failure (no offense, but it was true) and hated gymnastics from that moment on. Sort of intense, but that’s what happened. Maybe she developed a skill from devoting her physical life (which wasn’t a lot) to ballet.

I thought this over. “Yes, but you are. Sorry. From doing all that ballet, maybe you became more flexible and jumpy than you wanted to.”

“Um, okay.”

I could sense the horror and uncertainty in Evelyn’s voice, and I could also sense it in mine. Evelyn didn’t know that I was horrible at gymnastics. No one did. What if she asked me to teach her?

“Emma, stop bulging your eyes at me like a pufferfish. Now can you teach me or not?”

I backed away. “Uh, I only know the advanced stuff. Maybe it’s best if you get an actual teacher?”

“Okay.” Evelyn let it off easier than I had expected. Maybe it could be okay to tell her a white lie? Whatever.

“Okay, I gotta practice for debate class,” I told her, running up the stairs to our apartment. “I’m going to tell Mom the reasons why I should have more ice cream than usual.”

I could feel Evelyn smile to the back of my head.

Once I reached the top of the stairs, I pushed my key into the lock, and the door swung open. “Mom? Dad?”

Nothing. Guess I would have to wait for some ice cream.

I started up the stairs to my room (we had a double floor apartment) and pulled out my phone, then started texting Scarlett. Hi Scarlett. What are you doing?

She texted back. Hi Emma. I’m not doing anything.

I texted back. Want to come over?

Is Evelyn with ya?

No. She’s practicing gymnastics

I waited a while for her message. Okay I’ll come. She finally texted.

Or maybe I could come to your house. I countered.

This time the text came fast. No I’ll come over to yours.

I had never seen Scarlett’s house. She probably had, like, annoying brothers. Oh well. Okay, see you in fifteen. I texted her.

In exactly fifteen minutes, the doorbell rang. I rushed down the stairs to meet Scarlett. “Who is it?” I asked the door.

Scarlett’s muffled voice said a quiet, “Scarlett.” So, I pulled open the heavy door and saw my best friend with her long silky orange hair messily topped on her head in a bun. She was wearing a pink and yellow tye-dye top and nice sky blue jeans. It was only noon, but Scarlett had already made a sunset explode in my house.

“Like my nails?” she said, showcasing scarlet fingers.

“Yeah, what color is that?”

“Bloodthirsty Vampire,” she informed me, sending prickles up my spine.

What?” I shivered.

“Just kidding. It’s actually called Scarlet Girl, so I thought it was perfect for me. Just wanted to see you panic a little.”

“Right.” I nodded, motioning for her to come in.

About fifteen minutes later, Scarlett went to the bathroom. I patiently waited for Scarlett to arrive, when my phone started ringing with Evelyn’s number.

 

Chapter Four

Evelyn

Emma picked up when I rang her. “Hi, Evelyn!”

“Hi, Emma!” I chirped, a bit happier than I meant to be. “I got an instructor! I called Mom, and she got me one!”

“Cool,” Emma told me. I heard crackling in the line. “Oh, I’m breaking up… I gotta go.”

And she hung up, just like that.

Mom shook me. “Honey, your instructor is going to meet you.”

Mom and I walked to the register. “Hi, my daughter is going to be doing gymnastics. It’s her first lesson.”

The woman at the register nodded. “Oh, hello! Phone number, please?”

“Three four seven,” Mom told her.

The woman repeated it, then typed it up.

“Seven one nine,” Mom continued.

The woman said it over, then started typing it on her computer.

Mom said the last four digits.

The woman clarified, going on her computer again. “Now if you will please tell me your daughter’s first and last name.”

“Evelyn Robinson,” Mom and I both said at the same time.

The woman at the desk smiled. “Well then. You’ll be with Rebecca.”

Where had I heard that name before? The name rung a bell, but I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it. Oh well.

Mom didn’t seem to notice, so I thought maybe a new girl in school?

The woman said she’d be back in a sec, after she checked in with Rebecca.

Mom waited until the woman was gone. “Evelyn, are you sure you want to do gymnastics? I mean, do you really want to?”

I glared at her. “Of course I do! Mom, I’ve never made a bad decision.”

Mom seemed unsure of that. “Are you sure?”

“Mo-om!”

“You’re making a bad decision from saying that in that tone, young lady.”

It would have been an amazing time for the woman to come in with Rebecca trailing behind her, but of course it didn’t. Things never work out that way.

We stood in silence for a couple minutes, when Mom said, “Where is the lunatic woman? She’s been missing for five minutes.”

“Maybe Rebecca’s not sure that she has to teach me, and the woman is telling her that she’s supposed to,” I explained. “It’s possible and logical. Actually, I have very good explanations — ”

“Shhhhh,” Mom hissed. “Did you say Rebecca?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Because Rebecca is — ”

“The coach from when I was seven,” I finished, when the woman and Rebecca walked right in.

 

Chapter Five

Emma

I felt sort of guilty about crushing my fortune cookie wrapper right next to my phone, but I had to because I was busy. No distractions when doing homework! Scarlett and I were drilling each other on math and other academic subjects. If I was going to get my teacher charm on, there was no better way to do it than butter up the teachers with good grades and charmingness.

Surprisingly, Scarlett was really keen on getting to be Mrs. Stuart’s favorite, and I joked that if she were in my class it would be most hard because Evelyn would have taken the princess’s spot and was glued down onto it.

She cocked her head at me, like what are you talking about? And I explained it all.

From the unfairness and the deal and debate class and gymnastics. And she listened. But I didn’t tell Scarlett about being horrible at gymnastics. No one knew, and it was going to stay that way.

But I itched to tell at least someone. But then everyone would know. Word in Manhattan High got around fast, even if I told it to Scarlett. Someone would pick up a clue, start a rumor, and soon there would be lies, buzzing around the entire building. And soon people would make up more things about you, it would get to a teenage reporter, they would put it in a magazine, newspaper or something like that… and kazam! Everyone knows.

Then, completely out of the blue, Scarlett said, “I wish I had a twin.”

I stared at those six words, as if they had popped out of her mouth and were looming above her head like a cloud. Six words that would never go away. Words that were permanent, like a Sharpie on a plastic bottle. Never will be destroyed when you wash them. Will recycle over and over. Hard to cut. I looked at Scarlett again. “Why?”

Scarlett shrugged her shoulders, blushing a bit. “I don’t know, guess I don’t want to be so lonely anymore.”

I could see tears prick at her eyes. She was an only child, and her mom died when she was four. Scarlett’s dad was completely offensive, being rude and cooped up in his office, work, or in his room all the time.

I handed her a glass of water, and she blinked repetitively to make the tears go away. She swatted at her eyes like a gone mad kitten and gulped down the water, patting her lap softly to make her swallow in a more thorough and smooth way.

I elbowed her. “Hey, solve this.” I showed her a problem. “I’ve been stuck on it all day.”

She took the piece of paper from me, biting the tip of her eraser. “Fifty-six thousand, nine hundred forty, four hundred ninety-two.”

“You sure?”

“Yes,” Scarlett said. She etched the number onto the paper.

“Okay,” I said submissively, grabbing some more homework. I showed Scarlett the stack. “I’ll work on these. Like I’m editing Little Women.”

Scarlett snickered at that, focusing on her math once more.

 

Chapter Six

Evelyn

I stared at Rebecca in terror, at her ginger cream hair, big round green eyes, pink smile, rosy cheeks, sparkly nails, and long legs. I hoped she didn’t recognize me.

“Why hello, Evelyn!” Rebecca cried, shaking my hand. “You remind me of someone, but I can’t quite put my finger on who.”

I gulped, knowing that I reminded her of me. And reddish brown hair wasn’t exactly common in this world.

“Well, okay then. Come with me.” Rebecca smiled again, and I wanted to punch her face. Not exactly well, though.

“Is it your first time doing gymnastics?” Rebecca asked me, pushing some equipment out of my way.

“Yes,” I lied, walking with her. “It’s my first time.”

“Okay!” Rebecca squealed. “Let’s start with some fun stuff, then.”

Fun stuff? That couldn’t be soooo bad. “Okay.”

Rebecca showed my a pit full of spongy squares. She stood a meter or two away from the edge, facing the gaping space of cushions. “Now, Evelyn, I want you to stand at the edge, and then face me. Then fall back, yelling ‘timber,’ and try not to move like a tree being cut down. Okay?”

She called that fun? I tried not to be a wimp, so I positioned myself where she told me to stand and yelled timber as I started my descend to the square cushions. I flapped my arms around, but my legs stood straight like they were tied together. I sank into the pit and emerged from it to see Rebecca giggling. When she saw me frowning at her, she blushed a bit but then laughed a little more. She kept on laughing until she was flustered and sweat dripped from her eyebrows. “It’s okay, hon. I wasn’t laughing at you, though. I was laughing at a funny dream. But you’re a beginner, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

She smiled at me, motioning for me to pull myself out of the big pit. I grabbed the handles and pushed up, swinging my right leg over the edge and then my left one. I pushed up to my feet and then walked after Rebecca, and then I started running after her, because wow, she was a fast walker.

“Okay,” Rebecca said, walking in a swift motion. “How ‘bout we go on the trampoline? We could work on some handstands and cartwheels there.”

Handstands? Cartwheels? Uh… no way. And those words are final. But… I had to. I mean, I didn’t want to be a wimp. So, I trekked over to the swimming pool size trampoline and clambered onto it.

Rebecca gave me instructions to do downward dog, push my feet up and swing them over. She also taught me to run forward towards the mat, in a skippy run.

I gulped, but I went to the start of the trampoline (where the red line was) and stood silently at it.

“Whenever you’re ready,” Rebecca said kindly. “Don’t stress yourself.”

I took a deep breath and started running. I pushed on my hands and lifted up my feet. I could feel my back hit the pink mat.

Then, everything went black.

 

Chapter Seven

Emma

“I think we’re good,” Scarlett said, all drowsy after the math. “My brain power needs a recharge.”

I passed her a popsicle without saying anything. She didn’t say anything to me, let alone thank you, but I didn’t really care. She just sucked on the delicious fruity frozen stuff.

I didn’t give her more homework yet, because I knew she would groan and moan and smack the homework out of my hand, which I didn’t want happening.

Scarlett took the homework herself, and muttered a little, “Thanks,” and soon her popsicle was ice because she sucked the flavor out of it. I told her I would gladly eat the ice, but she said no thank you.

An hour later, Scarlett and I were done with the homework. She smiled and said, “I’m meeting Abby in the diner. You want to come?”

“Oh, I can’t. Mom would wonder where I am, even if I call her. I don’t want them to panic. Plus I’m going to lunch with Dad.”

Scarlett nodded. “Okay, then. Bye!”

I waved to her, and she jogged out the door.

When Scarlett disappeared, I locked up behind her. I started up the stairs to my room, flopping backwards on my bed. Then, my eyes fluttered closed, and I started to sleep.

 

***

I woke up to a key opening the door. I yawned happily, trekking down the stairs after I stretched my arms and legs. Mom stood at the doorway with Evelyn, who was pouting greatly. “Hi Mom! Hi… Evelyn… !” I looked at the both of them. Then I asked Evelyn, “How was your gymnastics?”

“Fine,” Evelyn said. “Apparently I aced it, but sort of got dizzy when I did a handstand on the trampoline. But Rebecca said I did everything right.”

“Rebecca?” I asked. I thought I heard that name before. “Isn’t that…”

Evelyn nodded. “Yeah, she is. But I don’t really care. She doesn’t recognize me, so that’s good, I guess.”

I smiled. “Well, welcome to the house. I finished all my homework today.”

Evelyn jumped up and down. “Yipee! Wonderful! This has got you nice and disciplined.”

Mom puzzled over this. “Wait, what’s this?”

“Nothing,” we both answered. “It’s nothing.”

Mom seemed unsure about this. “Is there something I need to know, girls?”

“No, Mom,” we said, giggling all the way up the stairs.

 

Chapter Eight

Evelyn

“Okay, that was close,” I said, giggling again. “Let’s not tell her about the deal, okay?”

“Okay,” Emma agreed submissively, pushing me an ice pop. “Here, take this.”

I smiled. “You’re the best.”

Emma nodded and said, “I know.”

I started licking the popsicle like crazy.

 

***

At school, Emma walked up to Mrs. Stuart. “Mrs. Stuart, I was wondering if I could drop off my homework. There’s quite a lot of it, and I was feeling a little pain in my neck from walking around.”

Mrs. Stuart inspected Emma. I was holding my breath. But Emma seemed entirely confident.

My twin pulled her homework out of her bag. “Where should I put this?”

Mrs. Stuart’s eyes bulged out. “Wh-what? How could you finish all that homework?”

“Just some discipline and a million ice pops.”

I could see Emma was hoping for a laugh after she did a little heh-heh, but she didn’t get it. I popped out of the corner I was hiding in and said, “Emma, let’s get you in electives for debate class, shall we?” I pulled Emma by the T-shirt and contributed to Mrs. Stuart by giving her a bright, busy smile.

At the sign-up, I saw that there was an elective for… gymnastics? Maybe it would be worthwhile so Emma wouldn’t know I was horrible at debate.

“Emma, I’ll sign up for gymnastics,” I told her.

“But what about debate?” Emma seemed a little hurt, but I knew I couldn’t tell her. Could I?

Okay. I had to. “Emma… well, debate class is my weakness. I’m horrible at it! Every time I have to get on stage to fight for my opinion, I get this super blast of stage fright. I get so scared of the audience that’s currently staring at me I cut my script short and stutter a lot.”

Emma raised her eyebrows, then started laughing. Like crazy. I stared at her, upset she was cackling at the situation I had never told anyone.

“Evelyn, seriously? You didn’t tell me this before?” Emma said in between on-and-off laughter. She gasped for some more fresh air. “This is so… unexpected! I thought every time you got on stage you threw up and ran off, or something!” She fell to the floor in little high pitched giggles. “I can’t believe you!”

I gaped at Emma. Was she really laughing? “It’s not funny!”

“It totally is. But I have something to tell you.

I listened in. Emma usually didn’t have anything to tell me.

“I’m terrible at gymnastics.”

I watched in surprise as Emma pushed off the ground. “B-but you told me… you were advanced… !”

Emma apologized, straightening out her denim skirt. “I thought everyone would soon know that I was a fraud.”

I bulged my eyes out at her. “Fraud? No one can be a fraud!”

“I guess you’re right.” Emma said, finishing signing off her name. But when I looked closer, I saw she had written it on the gymnastics sign-up. “C’mon. Let’s go show them.”

And there wouldn’t have been a better place to do that other than walking through the hallway, with my twin sister right next to me.

 

Special Sandwich

One day, Emily went to the doctor. As she entered the tiny room, the smell of fresh air made her feel better after she was sweating. She had bad news. The doctor said she had diabetes and that he recommended a kind of sandwich that involved bread, lettuce, tomato, and potato. He also recommended paper towels in case she made a mess, apples, oranges, 100% juice, and maybe low fat chips as a snack for one week.

“This will make you feel better!” the doctor said, hopeful.

If she didn’t, she would have to stay in the hospital for ten years. She immediately drove to the store and bought all of these for ten dollars in total.

She panicked as she took a blue plastic plate from her drawer at her sleepy home and put 100% whole wheat brown bread on the plate, put cheese on top after, lettuce, tomato, and potato. Emily knew she felt herself sweating, but she realized that she would soon feel better. She slowly got better after about one week and she was beaming afterwards, crying tears of joy. But…

Then, five years later, she went to the doctor and found out she had diabetes again.

Oh no, this can’t be happening! Emily thought. The doctor said there were no more ingredients of that sandwich, and Emily started to panic and sweat.

“Doctor, what should I do?!” Emily cried.

“The only thing you could do now is take grape medicine for four years. Drink ½ cup of medicine every twelve hours,” the doctor said.

And that’s what she did. She made sure she drank the medicine. She even set 2,920 alarms on her phone for each time she had to take it in those four years! The medicine helped her a little bit. And the more she took it, the more she felt better!

 

A New Friend

Once there was a girl named Mary. She had black hair and was in kindergarten. She was five and liked playing games at recess like family. Her best friend was named Mimi. Mimi had glasses, played with Mary 24/7, and was five as well. Their teacher was named Ms. Rendy. All these people had brown eyes.

One day, walking home from school, Mimi asked, “Do you want to go to my house and study for our report on Native Americans?”

So, Mary answered, “Totally!”

After about two hours, they finally found a big, fat, dusty book called All About Native Americans. It seemed liked the perfect book to write a report that was being turned into Sunset Elementary. After 55 chapters full of tiny, hard to read print, (some including clothing and games) they reached the chapter on animals and food. And guess what the first sentence said? It said that Native Americans ate bunnies! This was heartbreaking. Even worse, since Mary loved bunnies, she felt like she had been stabbed.

The next Tuesday, Mary went into the shed in her backyard to get a leash for her dog. But the second she got inside, the little wood structure seemed to begin going downward, but not underground. Kind of like an elevator. The stomach-churning zooming went on for ten minutes. When the door opened, Mary was so surprised by the shockingly beautiful landscape. Her breath was taken away. The grass was greener than anything her small hometown in Wisconsin had to offer, and large, innocent deer darted away from flying arrows. No one seemed to care about the animals. (This was a quiet scene.) Suddenly, Mary felt something warm and fuzzy rubbing against her leg. She looked down and saw it was a bunny!

“Help!” it whimpered. “They’re going to eat me!”

Arrows suddenly began flying into the time machine. The door started to close, but an old cat scampered in.

“Choose your button carefully, or else you shall regret it!”

“Okay?” Mary said curiously.

So, the cat walked calmly out. The buttons on the time elevator were covered in Russian letters. A random one was pressed, and then both the girl and the bunny felt their stomachs turning somersaults. Then finally after five hours, the door opened again. They screamed. A giant T-Rex!!!

“Next time, we should be more careful,” Mary nervously said.

Then, they went back up to present day.

 

No Snooping!

            

September 22, 2018

Tomorrow’s the first day of middle school. I’m nervous, excited and worried! I’m nerworrited! Everyone says Mrs. Grag is mean, and guess what? She’s my teacher!!! I once heard my older sister, Lacey, talking to her friends about how mean Mrs. Grag is. They were saying she gave lots of homework, gave detention easily, and gave at least two tests a week! That doesn’t sound like a nice teacher to me, you?

Another thing I’m disappointed about is both of my best friends are not in my class. This is the first year that they haven’t been in my class, and I don’t know how I am going to get through the year. My best friend Sabina is disappointed about it too. She tried to reassure me about it.

She said, “It’s okay, we can see each other after school,” but it didn’t help. I haven’t talked to my other best friend, Helena, about it yet, but I’m sure she’s not happy about it aeither.

Although, the thing I’m most worried about is the basketball team. I really love basketball, and I hope I can get on the middle school team, but I’m not sure. I know the competition is pretty tough, and there are some pretty good players who are also trying out. I tried to convince Helena and Sabina to try out for the team, but they don’t have any interest in basketball.

Now I have to go to the store to get new books and binders.

Later,

Beatrice (Bea) Malcery

 

September 23, 2018

Today when I woke up, I was still feeling nerworrited. I forgot to set my alarm last night, and it was 8:30 A.M.. I had to be at school in 20 minutes! So, I quickly jumped out of bed, got my clothes on, and shoved my toothbrush into my mouth. I started to run down the stairs, but halfway down I fell.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!” I screamed. “What is wrong with me this morning?!” My leg was bleeding like crazy, and it hurt like I had just fallen down the stairs. Oh wait — I did.

I quickly bandaged up my leg and gulped down my cereal. Finally, I was ready to go. I put my lucky basketball shoes on and grabbed my bike from the garage, put my basketball, binders, and books in the basket, and started riding to school.

When I finally reached school, I was panting and felt nauseous. I walked through the crowded halls of middle school hoping to find my locker, but I was having trouble finding it.

Crash!

I had just bumped into Charlie and dropped my books, my basketball, and my binder. Charlie helped me pick up my stuff and helped me up. Charlie had been in my class since kindergarten, but I had never really talked to him.

 

RIIIIINNNNNGGGGG.

“Oh my goodness, that was the second bell!” I said. “I’m late for my first class. UGGGGGGGGGG!”

I rushed to my English class, but I was late — not a surprise. My English teacher, Mrs. Johnson, gave me detention at 12:30. Luckily, the basketball tryouts were at 11:30. Geometry passed really slowly. It felt like it went on for hours. I started to not listen to Mrs. Johnson, but then she asked me a question, and I didn’t know the answer.

“Beatrice!” said Mrs. Johnson. “I want you to listen to what I’m saying.”

I wasn’t listening because I was thinking so much about the basketball tryouts. I told her I would listen from now on.

When geometry class was finally over, I took my backpack from under my chair and rushed to tryouts. As I arrived at the basketball tryouts, my heart was beating faster than it ever had before. It was finally my turn, and I was shaking all over. I dribbled up to the three-point line, and I shot. As the ball flew through the air, I double crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

“You made it!” I suddenly heard someone shout.

I had been closing my eyes and not looking. The coach told me I had made the team. Thanks to my lucky basketball shoes, I would be playing actual five on five basketball games! There were fifteen people competing, and I was one of the top ten. Yay!

As I left the gym, my heart was filled with joy. This had been my dream since kindergarten. The rest of the day at school went by very quickly. I didn’t even mind that Mrs. Grag (yep, that’s right, my mean homeroom teacher) gave us extra homework. I retrieved my bike from the bike rack outside of the school and started to ride home. I couldn’t believe I had made the basketball team! I was thinking about how proud I was of myself for making the team, but I wasn’t paying attention to what was in front of me.

“AHHHHHH!” I screamed. I had just bumped into a tree. My Band-Aids had fallen off from earlier, and I was super annoyed. “Twice in one day!” Suddenly, Charlie came over to help me up. He told me he had been in the store next door, and he had heard me fall. I told him thank you, and I rode the rest of the way home peacefully. As I was riding home, I started to think that maybe Charlie and I could become friends. I decided tomorrow I would invite him over.

As I opened the door to my house, my parents asked me how my day went.

“I made the basketball team!” I exclaimed.

“Let’s go out for ice cream to celebrate!” my parents said.

“Yay!” I said “Can we play basketball after?”

“Sure!” they responded.

See you,

Bea

 

September 24, 2018

Last night, I made sure to set my alarm so I didn’t have to rush getting out of the house. I got dressed in my most athletic clothes, ready for my first basketball practice. As I walked down the stairs, I made sure not to fall by holding onto the railing. My cut from yesterday was still healing.

I started to eat breakfast, but I heard the back door click open. Both of my parents were still asleep, so I decided to go check it out.

“Lacey, what are you doing?” Lacey was entering the house looking like she had been up all night. She had bags under her eyes, and she looked half asleep.

“Shhhhhhhhhhhh!” Lacey said, and she dragged me up to her room.

“I have been up all night partying with my friends,” Lacey whispered, “but you can’t tell anyone!”

“Mom, Dad!” I started to yell, but Lacey wasn’t taking chances.

“Shut up, Bea!” Lacey was whispering again. “I told you not to tell!”

Lacey said she would get me for this, so at this point I knew she wasn’t kidding, I decided not to tell Mom or Dad. I ran out of her room because I saw she had a jump rope. I wasn’t about to get choked.

While I was eating breakfast, I was thinking when I should invite Charlie over. A few minutes later, my parents woke up. I decided to ask them.

“Mom, Dad,” I said. “I’m inviting a boy over today. What time should I invite him over?”

“Honey, you’re inviting a boy over?” my mom said.

“What’s wrong with that, Marissa?” my dad said to her. “I like that idea. I think it’s good for her to not just be friends with girls.”

“I guess you’re right,” my mom said. “Bea, you can invite him over at five.”

When I got to school, I opened my locker to find a surprise. I had an invitation. It was a blue envelope with white stars, and it said my name on it. I opened it up, and I found a note to me. Here’s what it looked like:

 

Dear Bea,

Would you like to come over to my house for dinner at 5? I would really like to hang out with you and maybe we can play basketball after. If you like this idea, tell me in history.

– Charlie

 

I decided to tell him that I love the idea. I emailed my parents to tell them that Charlie wasn’t coming over after all, and that I was going to his house after school.

Today in math, we got a result on the quiz that we took before school. This quiz was to determine the class and level that we would be put in. I looked at my results, and I found out that I got put in the gifted and talented class. Yay! For the rest of the class, we did fractions and decimals. Boring!!!

When the class was finally over, I headed to history, determined to tell Charlie I would love to come over! Once I reached the class, I steered myself towards Charlie’s desk. I calmed myself down and told myself not to worry. Charlie was sitting at his desk drawing. “Hey, Charlie. I saw the note, and I’d really like to hang out with — ”

“What are you talking about,” Charlie said.

“I thought you invited — ”

Suddenly, Charlie P. walked over. “Hey, I’m the one who gave you that invitation!”

“With the white stars?” I asked.

“Yep!” he responded.

I mean, Charlie P. was a nice guy, but he thought so much of himself. He bragged to everyone at school that he had more than 100 trophies. Such a lie, right?

I could feel my cheeks getting hot. I tried to tell myself everything would turn out fine. How could I have assumed it was that Charlie. It didn’t have to be the Charlie that helped me up from my fall. How could I have been so dumb!!!

“So Beatrice, do you want to come over?” Charlie P. asked.

“Um — ” I started to say something, but Charlie P. interrupted me.

“So, you do want to come over?” he asked.

“I — ”

“It’s settled, you will come over at five,” Charlie P. said.

“Class, class, in your seats!” the history teacher said. “This is history, not playtime!”

“Yes, Mr. Williams,” the class said.

“A long, long time ago bla bla bla bla bla.”

I stopped listening to Mr. Williams because I was too busy thinking about Charlie P.’s house. I was thinking about how miserable I would be there.

“Beatrice!” yelled Mr. Williams. “I want you to listen to me!”

I had not realized it, but I had been daydreaming for 40 minutes. The class was almost over! I was just losing it today!

“I’m so sorry, Mr. Williams,” I said.

“You know what, Beatrice! I’ve heard from your other teachers that you haven’t been listening to them either,” said Mr. Williams. “I’m going to need to talk to your parents about this!”

I was very disappointed about this because I knew my parents would be very mad at me. They might even tell me I couldn’t be on the basketball team anymore. I guess I’ll find out soon.

As I was walking to the cafeteria, I saw Sabina.

“Hey, Sabina,” I said. “How are you doing?”

She looked at me like I was crazy and then walked away. I wondered what that was about. I thought we were really good friends. During lunch, I thought and thought about all the things that had gone wrong with me today. First the incident with the letter, then Mr. Williams getting mad at me, and then Sabina acting weird about me. Was it a coincidence, or were they all connected?

I tried to not think about going to Charlie P.’s house and pretend like it wasn’t going to happen, but eventually it did. Charlie P.’s chauffeur drove us to their house. They had a white limo with a personalized license plate that said, I RICH. I wondered how much fancier this car could get, but I didn’t have to wonder anymore when I got inside. The leather seats had no trace of dirt on them, and they had cupholders on either side. The seats could unfold into a bed, and there were extra pillows in the back. In the back, I also spotted a mini fridge and a mini basketball hoop. I asked the chauffeur if I could use the basketball hoop, and he said yes.

The ride to Charlie P.’s house was a long one, and when I got there, I figured out why. His house was a mansion in a grassy field with a perfectly neat garden in the next town over. This explained why Charlie P. was sometimes late to school.

As I stepped inside the house, I made sure my shoes weren’t muddy. I looked up from the floor and gasped.

“Your house is so beautiful!” I said to Charlie P.

“I know,” he replied.

“Would you like a snack, Beatrice?” Charlie’s mom asked.

“Sure!” I replied. “What do you have?”

“Follow me,” she said. I walked into the beautifully decorated kitchen with a marble floor and white walls. In the middle of the kitchen was an island, and it had two sinks and a bowl of fruit. The fridge was about as big as my bathroom. I opened it and found snacks galore. There were Goldfish, pretzels, cookies, crackers, and all kinds of juice. “That’s not it!” She led me into the bar. I sat down on one of the leather stools of the bar and ordered seltzer with a lemon and crackers from the butler. I wasn’t very hungry. But before I could take my first bite, Charlie pulled me off the stool and led me upstairs.

We entered a room labeled, Charlie’s trophy room. I wondered if the trophy rumor was true.

“C’mon Beatrice!” Charlie said. “I need to show you all my trophies.”

“Call me Bea,” I said.

“Whatever,” he responded.

Charlie’s trophy room was decorated in the most lovely red carpet. Glass cases filled with tons of trophies bordered the room. I started to look at one, but Charlie stopped me.

“Those are the off-limits ones,” stammered Charlie.

“Okay,” I replied. I never realized Charlie P. was this spoiled! As I looked at the trophies, I figured out that most of them were for horseback riding, but occasionally there were some for checkers.

“Sometimes, I stare at these all day!” Charlie said. “I just love looking at what I have accomplished!” I think I heard a bit of sarcasm in his voice, but I’m not sure.

“Yeah… sure… I could look at them all day, too,” I mumbled.

“So, Beatrice, do you want to look at my other trophy room, or do you want to do something else?”

“Yeah, sure,” I said, trying to sound excited. “We can look at your other trophy room.”

This was the most boring experience that I’ve had in my life. Maybe if I was with someone else, like the other Charlie, then this would be so much fun! This house was super cool.

We headed into Charlie’s other trophy room and looked through all the trophies. I checked my watch to see when this would end.

“We could see my other eight trophy rooms if you want,” Charlie said. “But there’s still the medal rooms.”

We hadn’t even finished through the third medal room when Charlie P.’s mom called us for dinner.

“Charlie! Beatrice! Time for dinner!”

Charlie and I headed down the stairs for dinner. Meanwhile, I had a plan. When we got downstairs, we sat in the dining room. The table was the size of my bedroom, and the ceilings were high, decorated with a giant diamond chandelier that hung over the center of the table. The tablecloth just nearly covered the whole table. I don’t have any idea where they found that big of a tablecloth!

“Beatrice, we’re having Scandinavian steak and potatoes, do you like that?” Charlie’s mom said.

“I’ve never had it, but I’m sure I will,” I responded.

“Great, go ahead and sit at the table,” she said. Before I could take my first bite, I heard loud stomping footsteps. The footsteps were Charlie’s dad walking in. I hadn’t realized it before, that Charlie had a dad. I guess I was just too busy thinking about other things, like whether this was going to go well, or whether they were going to have good food for dinner. I just didn’t realize.

As Charlie’s dad sat down at the table, my mind was rushing. Was Charlie’s dad mean, was he nice, or just an average person? I soon learned what he was like. He sat down at the table and banged the table with his fork and knife.

“Where’s dinner?” he exclaimed, frustrated.

“The dinner’s coming, honey,” Charlie’s mom responded, sounding quite annoyed and tired.

Suddenly, I remembered my plan.

“Mrs. Pellock? May I go to the bathroom?” I asked Charlie’s mom.

“Sure!” she said. I wasn’t really going to the bathroom. I was just going up to the trophy room to look at his “off-limits” trophies. I quietly walked up the stairs and entered the trophy room. The trophy room was still as beautiful as before. I guess their maid had cleaned it since we had last been in. I walked to the back of the room to see the off-limits trophies. There they were.

I unlocked the case with my hair clip and took one of the trophies out. Under it, there was a Post-it Note.

It read, Trophy for horseback riding. Reminder: I cheated this one.

“Oh my goodness!” I exclaimed. “He cheated!” But then I guess someone heard me, and booming footsteps came up the stairs. It was Charlie’s dad.

“Beatrice, what are you doing, looking at my son’s off-limits trophies?” he said.

“I just wanted, ummm, to see how amazing — ” I started to say.

“Beatrice, get back down to the table. I want you to eat dinner peacefully, and I’ll send you home after dinner.”

I had made a mistake, and I knew it. Now I was an enemy of the Pellock house. Mrs. Pellock and Mr. Pellock will probably call my parents. I will be in huge trouble. The teachers will call my parents, too. I’ll be in double trouble.

Mr. Pellock took my hand firmly as we walked down the stairs to the dining room.

“Look who I found,” he exclaimed. “Beatrice was up there looking at Charlie’s off-limits trophies.”

“Well, did she see anything? Like, the thing?” Charlie asked.

“I didn’t see anything,” I quickly stammered. “Just trophies.”

I’m just so frustrated, I can’t write anymore. I’ll just have to tell you what happened tomorrow after a good night’s sleep.

See you,

Bea

 

The Monster that Betrayed

There were footsteps. My heart was pounding. I was starting to think that this wasn’t a good idea. There was something looking through the window. It was hard to tell what it was. It was big, with a scar marked across his face, and that’s all I saw.

 

It was a windy night, and we were bored. My friend Sophia came over. We decided to do something fun. We hid behind the gates of a neighbor’s house and started to prank them. While they were away, we covered their house with loads of toilet paper. Then, we started to laugh hysterically. Sophia and I hid in a random closet and waited for them to come home. I could hear their car pull over as it kept on slowing down.

“Madison, I don’t know about this anymore,” Sophia whispered.

“Don’t be such a baby!” I jotted back. We both heard voices that we were blaming on each other. Sophia couldn’t help but to giggle.

“What’s that noise?” one of the neighbors said. All of a sudden, we didn’t know what to do! We had a mini panic in our heads, and suddenly we saw something that didn’t really look like a human. It had hair, or was it fur, all over itself. Its eyes were blue with a glimmer of gold in the middle. Sophia and I didn’t know what it was. Once they approached, something happened, and all I saw were two random people.

“What did you do to our place?!” he screamed out loud. When he was yelling at us for what we did, I wasn’t very focused on him… there was a mark, a mark that was on his neck. I had no idea why it was there and what it meant, but I knew I had to dig deeper and find out.

“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to contact your parents. You are invading our privacy,” he said at last. After everything got sorted out, I was at home grounded, Sophia was home also grounded, we were never allowed to see those neighbors again, and they never had to see us.

In the morning, I snuck a peek at my phone and quickly texted Sophia that I was going back. Before I did, I went on Google to try and find out what that mark was. There was nothing to see. None of them looked like the one I saw. The one I saw had a star that had a cross in the middle of it, and surrounding it was a circle that was carved into his skin. I could tell that it was old because of the color. For some reason, it kind of looked rusty.

 

The next day, I snuck out. I knew it wasn’t a good idea, but I had to. I had already called Sophia if she wanted to come along, but it was no use. She kept on making excuses to make me not go, like she was hiding something. Once I got there, I was going to begin my plan. It was to get in, look around, and try to get out. I knew it wasn’t the best plan, but it’s what I had.

 

Time for step one. I had to get in, but how? I tried to stay undercover, kind of like a spy! Not knowing what to do, I crept behind all the trees in the backyard and silently opened the door. Then, all of a sudden, squeak! That annoying door had to squeak! I was like, just why?! Luckily, no one heard because one of them was taking a shower and one of them was fast asleep. After that, I tiptoed upstairs and went into a room. What room was it? I wasn’t sure.

I quickly heard a voice that said, “Honey? I’m done! Do you mind getting my clothes?” With no one responding, I heard footsteps, getting louder and louder by the second. Then, I heard the door creak open, and all of a sudden it swung open! I ran into the closest thing I could find! And there I was, now stuck in a closet. Now the closet door cracked open, and there was a hand right near my face. I tried my hardest to avoid it, but all I did was make it worse. He was about to grab something, and his hand was pointing towards my face. Did he know I was there? Was he about to take me away? But then, what he did was… take out his clothes! I was soooooo relieved! Thank goodness I was good at hide-and-seek! I heard the door slam again, and that was a good sign. After what just happened, my plan now was to escape! I jumped out of the closet and stormed to the door, then I saw something, something unusual. It was a key. But where did it lead to?

 

It was finally a new day. I needed to discover more about this key. The key was rusty, and it had dust all over. I blew the dust off, and as it was dusting away, there was a symbol. It looked just like the one that was carved into the neighbor’s skin.

Beep, beep, beep! I turned over on my bed and saw my phone ringing, it was Sophia!

“Hey, Sophia! What did you want to talk about?” I said.

Then, she responded, “We need to talk.”

My voice suddenly trailed off, and she hung up.

 

I was going to meet her at our favorite private place to go. Then, she arrived.

“You know,” she said.

“What do you m — ”

Then she interrupted my sentence, “I know that you know You stole our key. I know you did.”

“What do you mean ‘our.’” I screamed back. Then, she looked away, and something happened. Her clothes started ripping into pieces and falling onto the floor. She started to grow fur on her body. Her eyes turned blue with a little bit of gold. She turned back around, and I saw a beast, a monster, a werewolf!

“This is who I really am! And you know your neighbors? They’re actually my parents!” Sophia screamed back.

“I was never your friend either.”

 

Foresta Sparking Chapter One

        

Chapter One: The Fire

Clink. Gavlin tensed. Clink. Clink. He turned to look at his companion, Denarth. Clink. Clink. Clink. Anticipation was painted across Denarth’s face. Clink. Clink. Clink. Gavlin turned back to the massive crater in the side of the ravine. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. His eyes narrowed. The gash began to omit a fiery glow. A shadowy figure appeared, dragging a sword along the stone. It solidified into a humanoid shape, charging at the two warriors, who raised their swords. The monster jumped out of the gaping hole (which was starting to look like a mouth more and more), and plunged its sword down. The blade hit the ground, shaking with power —

“AAAAAHHH!” Miles jumped up in his bed and hit his head on the low ceiling. He rubbed his head, thinking about the nightmare. He had it every night, and as a result, barely got any sleep. But today, he was going to need every last scrap of energy he had. Today, he would finally finish training and become a guard — one step away from being a full-fledged knight. He sighed and tried to fall asleep again. Thirty minutes later, he was still awake.

“Okay,” he whispered to himself, “I’ll go to my cove.”

He could climb to the roof of the bakery he lived in, and from there he could run across the rooftops until he got to his “cove.” The cove was a ledge that jutted out near the top of the local Count Tower. It was originally a window, but it had broken so many times that it had been covered with stone. The windowsill was still there, however, and some of the wet clay they had used to cover up the window had slid down and expanded the windowsill.

Miles rolled out of bed, threw on his squire clothes, and opened his door. It opened into a hallway with stairs at the end, but instead of walking forward, Miles turned to face the wall on the right and started climbing the loose boards. When he reached the top, he jumped to the other (repaired) wall and squeezed through a trapdoor. The night air felt good on his face. He stood on the roof for a moment, his eyes closed, the wind blowing his dark tufts of hair to either side.

He opened his eyes and started running across the roof. He jumped the gap between the roofs but tripped when he landed. As he lay sprawled across the stone roof (which was actually pretty comfortable), he noticed a fire coming from about three blocks away. He leapt to his feet, only to remember all his training gear was a block away in the Gladian Academy. He had a spare in his cove, but that was seven blocks in the other direction, and besides it would take him too long to climb the tower and then descend back to the rooftops. The fire was getting stronger; he didn’t have much time left to make a decision.

And so Miles made the best mistake of his life. He jumped from roof to roof, trying not to think about the hard cobblestone beneath. When he reached the street the fire was on, he swung down into an alleyway, then vaulted a fence and skidded to a stop in front of the inferno. It was a warehouse. The front door had collapsed, but a window on the upper floor was still partially accessible — the only problem being it was on the upper floor. He heard screams for help coming from the basement.

Miles turned around and climbed the storefront opposite the fire. Once he was atop the building, he ran to the back of the roof, and then bolted across it, jumped off the wooden shingles, and cleared the narrow street. He landed on the house next to the blazing warehouse and dropped onto a windowsill. Miles swung sideways and slipped through the semi-open window into a long, narrow wooden hallway. His shoe snagged on a bent board, and while he was bending down to free it, he heard another yell from below.

Miles rushed down the hallway to a stairway at the end, but before he got there the ground below creaked and gave way. A shower of dust and smoke followed him down two floors until he landed painfully on the cellar floor. The first thing he saw was a family tied to the wall: two parents, a girl, and a young boy. Smoke and fire licked at their feet but strangely avoided actually damaging them. The second thing he saw was the reason why.

A fiery beast was staring at him from atop a big keg of ale. It had narrow white slits for eyes and a forked tongue. Miles instinctively grabbed a charred stick of wood and held it defensively. The monster seemed to narrow its eyes even more and then lunged. Miles jumped out of the way and scrambled to his feet. Before the beast could attack again, Miles ran at it and stabbed its claw straight through into the floor. While it was trying to free itself, Miles ran to the family and tried to unhook the chains from the wall.

There was a pole embedded into the wooden wall; the end curved into a lasso-like shape. Five chains were clasped around the loop, running around the group of people and then circling back into the pipe. The chain links were made of pure steel, with veins of bronze running through the metal and clasping the links together. Miles would need a red-hot sword to cut through it, something he most definitely did not have. He could unhook the chains from the pipe, but there was even more steel binding the chains to the loop. The only option he had available to him was to pull the hook from the wall, unless he could magically conjure up a sharpened sword, which wasn’t exactly an option. Miles eyed the pipe. It looked aged, and the wooden wall surrounding it was coming apart. If he could pry the boards away, maybe he could —

SCCREEEEE!

Miles whipped around. The monster had ripped the makeshift spear out of its claw and threw it at Miles. He ducked just in time, and the blazing stick stuck in the wall above the chained family. Miles glanced down at the claw he had injured. Tar colored blood covered it, yet the monster showed no sign of pain. Sweeping his eyes around the room, he saw no other weapon, except — Miles suddenly realized what he had to do.

“Come on, beast. Kill me, or are you too dumb?”

He taunted the monster as he backed up, coming closer and closer to the chains. Finally, it lunged. Miles jumped away just in time, as the monster’s claws cut through the air and came in contact with the chains. Its claws made quick work of the steel, and before the beast had time to realize it, the family was free and running.

The monster roared at them and began to chase them, but before it got very far, it felt something in its back. When the chains had been broken, the force of the impact had yanked the pole out of the wall

Now, Miles had thrust it into the beast’s back. He pushed his shoes into the ground and pushed the pole through the monster. The beast saw the jagged end of the metal thing protruding through its chest and then collapsed on the floor dead. But when it died, it released its grip on the fire it had started, and the blaze kicked up steam.

He started to go for the stairs, but as he was running, some of the cross beams holding up the stairwell crashed down and blocked it off. The only other way out was the same way he got in, the hole in the ceiling. It was too tall to jump, but maybe he could climb the kegs and jump from there. The only problem was the kegs were big round barrels, and Miles didn’t see any place to gain purchase. He would have to climb on something else to get on top of the kegs. There was a rack filled with empty bottles, but it wasn’t nailed to the ground and would be risky.

BAAANNNGGG!!! A section of the wall caved in, almost crushing Miles. He climbed on the rack, balancing ever so carefully. It started to shake, and he lunged for the kegs just as the rack collapsed. He crashed into a keg and tried to regain his breath. He vaguely acknowledged the keg shifting and rolling under his feet. And then, he actually acknowledged the keg shifting and rolling under his feet, and a jolt of fear shot through his spine.

He backed up to the top of the keg, then ran and jumped like his life depended on it — which it did. He just barely managed to grab the edges of the hole and dangled over the raging fire. The wood he was holding was burning, and ash was getting everywhere. He choked on smoke and started to pull himself up. He hoped adrenaline would kick in, but it didn’t, until — “TIMMY! TIIMMY!”

The little boy Miles had freed was crying, and from the direction the sound was coming from, the toddler was near the front door. His plead for help gave Miles the adrenaline he needed. He pulled himself up into the hallway and raced down the hallway, vaulting a chunk of ceiling that had fallen. The stairway had broken, so he jumped out of the window and grabbed the shades from outside. Then, he jumped to a pole and slid down to the little boy. He looked up quizzically at Miles.

“It’s all okay! Just go over to your family!” Miles coaxed.

“NO! I want Timmy the Kitty!”

“Are you a knight?” the boy’s mother asked. “Timmy is our family cat. I thought he escaped with us, but apparently he got trapped in the front hall. And now little Kevin won’t leave. I mean, we all love Timmy, but there is no going back in there.”

Miles eyed the warehouse door. It had collapsed even more, and now most of it was smoldering on the street. He slipped through the opening and looked around. To his right, there was a long hallway that ended in a collapsed doorway, and to his left, there was a cat surrounded by flames. It was unconscious, meowing faintly every so often. He rushed to it, vaulted the flames, jumped back into the hallway, and started to run toward the doorway. However, he had pushed his luck too much.

The roof caved in, and he just managed to get the cat outside when the whole hallway crashed down on him. He was stuck in a tiny alcove, the fire drawing ever nearer… Miles closed his eyes.

 

Talia watched the Count Tower from across the street. She had been waiting over a week to get everything just right, and finally the day was here. It would be an easy job; so why was she so nervous? She had pulled off way more dangerous plans, why was this one so nerve-wracking? Because this is a Count Tower, she told herself. She ignored the fact that this was the third time she had stolen from a Count Tower. Before she could continue down this line of thought, two things happened. (Sort of.) The window opened, and Talia noticed a warehouse burning near Gavlin Street, about ten blocks away.

She glanced back up at the window, but hesitated. Why am I having so much trouble with this job? she thought. Talia took a deep breath and turned away from the Count Tower. She turned away from days of work. She turned away from clues to who she was that would threaten her life if found by the guards. Yet she turned away and raced toward the fire.

In almost no time at all, she was at the fire. There was a family near the front door. It seemed they were trying to pull a young boy away from the warehouse, who was wailing and yelling at the (collapsed) door. Suddenly, a boy about Talia’s age slipped out of a window, swung from the curtains to a pole, and slid down. He was about Talia’s height, with light brown skin and dark hair that he kept at his side. Talia recognized his red and black striped shirt as the Royal Guard colors, but he was too young to be a knight; he must be a squire.

The baby screamed something at the squire, and what appeared to be the toddler’s mother told the squire something that made him turn back to the house, slip through the door, and disappear into the wreckage. Talia watched the door with as much anticipation as the family. After a nerve-wracking minute, a cat sprang through the door, and the family rushed forward.

Suddenly, chariots dashed toward them. Atop the first was Prince Dengar VI, King Goliath’s third born. He was ruling Gladia while the king was sick. And, unfortunately, he wasn’t the nicest person alive. The prince got out of his golden chariot (yes, it really was a golden chariot), and walked over to the family. Talia didn’t want to see what Dengar was doing, and besides the squire was taking too long getting out. She slipped through a window and descended a couple of stairs. Near the door, the roof had collapsed. There were a couple of slits, and Talia could see the unconscious boy. The boards were too hot to touch, but she was a thief. She pulled a knife out of her dark cloak.

Any passerby would have thought the sight of Talia trying to free the squire would of been ridiculous, but any passerby hadn’t been a top-notch thief for almost a decade. She slid the knife between the boards, and within ten seconds, the boy was free. He was unconscious, so Talia kicked him in his ribs. Hard. The squire groaned. Talia rushed away. When she got back on the roof, she saw something she hoped she would never have to see. Prince Dengar was murdering the family.

Miles woke to someone kicking him in his ribs. At first he thought he was back in the roof of his bakery. Then, he remembered everything that had happened.

Am I in hell? he wondered.

It sure wasn’t heaven; his side hurt, his shirt stuck to his side, and he had several splinters in his hand. Screams nearby jolted him back into reality. He was up in a second and at the door in two more seconds. And then Miles, the youngest ever to fight a Flym, learned the truth about Prince Dengar the Sixth.

“What do you want us to do with these ones?” Five knights were with the Prince. Three were holding the family, one was at the chariot keeping the horses, and one was watching the rooftops.

“Kill them! And do it quickly. Dawn’s come early today, and soon Gavlin will be up. If the procession comes through, the whole plan will be for naught. We’ll have to wait another century, and §‡fl€ won’t like that.”

Miles couldn’t understand one of the words, but it sounded like a name. It reminded him of the roars of the monster in the play the castle put on every three months, Goliath the Hero. He wondered who Gavlin was. It rung a faint bell in his mind, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He charged outside, and before the knights registered what was happening, he had kicked the one with the horses in the stomach.

The others yelled, but the prince waved them down. Miles and the knight he had kicked exchanged blows. Miles kicked him in the shin. The knight grabbed Miles’s leg and threw him into the chariot. As Miles struggled to his feet, the knight charged him. Miles ducked under him and slipped the knight’s sword out of his scabbard. He quickly stabbed the knight in the back. Miles expected him to start bleeding, but instead fire spread throughout his body. Miles turned and faced the other knights.

One handed the child he was holding to his companion and drew his sword. He and the one who was watching the rooftops started to circle Miles. He raised his sword protectively. Everyone who was there couldn’t understand how Miles fought back, including him.

He was nervous until one of the knights charged him. Then, something instinctual took over. He parried the knight’s swing with ease. He pivoted in time to dodge a swipe to his legs and slid on the ground, cutting one of the knight’s legs. Like the other, it burst into flames.

But the wound wasn’t fatal. The knight — it — snarled at Miles and started to stab at him violently. Miles jumped to his feet and climbed onto the chariot. He fended off both knights, until the one he had stabbed through the back earlier climbed back to his feet and leapt back into the fray. He surprised Miles and soon had him dead to rights, when an arrow sliced through its head. It stumbled backward, and three more arrows pierced it through the heart. It burst into flames once more, this time burning to ashes.

Talia swung down from the rooftop where she had shot the monster and drew a pair of daggers. Together, she and Miles defeated the remaining guards. And then, piercing screams stung through the air. They turned just in time to see Prince Dengar murder the child, the bodies of the others strewed carelessly on the cobblestones. A burning rage overtook Miles.

“MURDERER!” he shouted, and charged the prince.

But Dengar was stronger, faster, and wiser than Miles. He easily overpowered the squire and would have killed him if not for Talia, who cut the ropes holding the horses to the chariots. The resulting mini-stampede distracted Dengar for enough time to let Talia jump on a horse and grab Miles, pulling him up with her.

Miles looked behind him. Dengar’s eyes switched from their usual dark green to a fiery red. Fire spread through his body; his hands and feet burned and reshaped themselves as claws. The prince became the same type of creature that Miles had just fought, albeit much more powerful — and much more terrifying.

Miles started to slip out of consciousness, slipping off the horse as well. Talia twisted around just in time to grab him, and the last thing Miles saw was Talia’s concerned face as she tied him in place with ropes from the chariot.

 

Pencil

Hey, my name is Bob, and I’m a pencil. I live in a pencil holder in a kindergarten classroom. Every day, I am sick of getting used to write and being sharpened until my eraser. All of my friends die, one after another, because they get sharpened too much and finally die. Our executioners are the 27 little boys and girls in small outfits that squirrels can fit into. These kids are cute, but they are killing my friends, I thought.

“We have to make a run for it,” said my wife, Bobbette.

“Agreed,” I said enthusiastically.

The number one thing I hate about being a pencil is always being bitten by the kids at the end of the day, then just being dropped on the ground. Once, I saw my friend Tim the pencil get stepped on and snapped in half. It was traumatizing.

The day after, we decided to make a plan to escape.

The teacher in the classroom, Ms. Lopez, said, “Hello, class. I’m Ms. Lopez, your substitute teacher. Tomorrow, we will have the one and only Dr. Seuss in our class for show and tell! One lucky student will also get to interview him! The student that won the writing competition is Hudson!”

Ten seconds after, we looked at each other and said, “This is our escape plan.” When Dr. Seuss walks in, we will slip into his bag, and he will take us away from this dungeon.

“But how do we get in the bag?” Bobbette asked.

“We get the kid, Hudson, to put us on Dr. Seuss’ desk,” I said.

“But how do we do that?” Bobbette asked.

“We have to get to Hudson’s desk. He’s that smart kid who always raises his hand. Hudson will get close enough to Dr. Seuss, and we can slip into his bag,” I explained.

“That’s a great plan!” Bobbette said.

“Tonight, we will climb into his desk and take out the other pencils while they sleep, we’ll tape ourselves together, and Hudson will bring us both to the doctor,” I said in great fashion. Bobette agreed.

The next morning, Hudson went up to Dr. Seuss’ desk with us taped to each other. The plan is working, we thought, but we didn’t know what was going to happen next. By the end of the interview, the tape came apart while I flew into his bag, and Bobette went with Hudson. We didn’t see each other ever again.

 

Keep Trying

Mackenzie is at the hospital for two months, because she has been paralyzed on one side of her body since she got in a car crash. Because she was gone for so long after the accident, Mackenzie wasn’t able to pay the rent for her house, so she lost it and became homeless. So to make Mackenzie happy after losing her house due to a car crash, Hayley, her best friend, buys her a house, a teddy bear plush, a drone, Jordan and Nike clothes, high-heeled boots, and 300 dollars from Target.

But while trying to get to the hospital, she realizes she is running out of time to get there, and there is also lots of traffic surrounding her. She also does not live near the hospital that Mackenzie is staying in Sleepy Hill. She lives in Cool Town. She starts to lose hope of getting there in time before Mackenzie wakes up. So, she decides to call the hospital and tells the nurse, “Can you please give Mackenzie a sleeping pill since she has not been sleeping well.”

The nurse responds, “Yes, we can give her one, but you have to give me your information.” Hayley tells her the information the nurse needs. Hayley hangs up.

Hayley then calls Mackenzie’s mother, Miranda. She picks up and says, “Why are you calling me, don’t you have better things to do with your life,” in a scary voice.

Hayley thinks to herself, Why did I bother calling her in the first place? “You should get your attitude together!” she says. “I never did anything to you for you to be rude to me. And if I did, tell me about it.”

Miranda replies, “That is not the way to respond to me, little girl!”

“Okay. I have had enough! I’m trying to help your daughter be happy and surprise her after feeling horrible for two months. I called for you to help me, not to give me an attitude like you always do. That is also probably why your daughter doesn’t like you,” Hayley replies.

“You should respect people that are older than you!” Miranda yells.

“You are nobody to be yelling at me like that!” Hayley yells back. “You’re the worst mother,” she says before hanging up the phone quickly. After hanging up, Hayley realizes that the cars in front of her have moved, and the ones behind her are honking at her. Hayley presses on the gas pedal and continues driving to the hospital.

Hayley makes it to the hospital and gets to Mackenzie’s room and wakes up Mackenzie. “Hey, Hayley. It’s good to see you!” Mackenzie says. “Thank you for coming.” Hayley gives Mackenzie a hug. Mackenzie feels warm in Hayley’s arms.

But all of a sudden, they hear Miranda’s voice. “She won’t be awake for long.” Hayley and Mackenzie get goosebumps down their arms. You are a crazy person! Hayley thinks.

 

Secrets

When I woke up, I saw Mother staring at the TV with a worried face. The channel was the news. I heard the reporter talking.

“Strange sightings of breezes and winds have been popping up lately.”

Mother sighed and turned off the TV.

“Breakfast, please!”

Mother trudged to the fridge and pulled out the milk.

“Cereal,” she said.

“The shadow-spirits, huh?”

She nodded. “Eat!”

When I was done eating, I went upstairs to my room and realized there was a note on my pillow. How had I not noticed that before?

I read the note and put my hand to my heart. This is what it said:

 

Dear Linda and Mary,

You can run, but you can’t hide.

Soon enough, WE WILL GET YOU!!!

– Shadow-spirits

 

I ran downstairs, trembling. I have to admit, I was scared.

“Mom! MOM? Where are you?” I heard the door slam open. I ran to it, in relief. “Oh Mother, the shadow-spirits, they’re coming to get us!”

I heard a quiet reply. I gasped. I knew that voice. It brought back bad memories.

“We know. We’re here, young Mary.”

 

I screamed and screamed. “This is a nightmare. This is a nightmare.”

The shadow-spirit made a movement. I think it was grinning.

“A real nightmare.”
I pinched myself. Ouch!! It was real. I backed away from the shadow-spirits, making sure that I was very far away from them.

“I’m not gonna turn into one of you,” I snapped.

“Will you do it for your family?” one shadow-spirit asked.

I looked at her more closely.

“Hey! Your height, the way you talk, sound, your posture. You remind me of — ”

“Yes, how is our little Mary?” the shadow-spirit next to my grandma asked.

“Grandma? Grandpa? NOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

“It’s not us that wanted to see you. It’s him.” She pointed to the shadow-spirit in the front. I looked at him, and my heart stopped beating. Even though he was a shadow-spirit, I knew who he was.

“GET OUT!!!” I screamed. “All of you!!!” I felt like crying.

I heard Mother’s voice up the path. “Linda, do we have visitors? Don’t be rude.” The door opened, and suddenly I was left alone with Mother.

I felt like my world had fallen. My heart was crushed, and my soul had been destroyed.

My father was a shadow-spirit.

 

Poverty and Hunger in NYC

Homelessness and hunger are very closely related. People who are homeless have a higher chance of being hungry than anyone else. Forty-two percent of New York City households – 2.7 million men, women, and children — lack the income needed to cover basic necessities like food, housing, transportation, and childcare (cityharvest.org). Housing and food are necessities for life, yet they are overpriced. This is one reason why people don’t have a lot of the resources they need. Homelessness and hunger are two very important topics that are hurting our world, and they need to be stopped.

Nineteen point five percent of New York is in poverty. However, in April 2018, there were 62,498 homeless people, including 15,176 homeless families with 22,801 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system. Families make up three-quarters of the homeless shelter population. The government can help, but they aren’t helping. Houses cost so much money, but people need them. Research shows that the primary cause of homelessness, particularly among families, is lack of affordable housing. Surveys of homeless families have identified the following major immediate, triggering causes of homelessness: eviction, doubled-up or severely overcrowded housing, domestic violence, job loss, and hazardous housing conditions.

Research shows that, compared to homeless families, homeless single adults have much higher rates of serious mental illness, addiction disorders, and other severe health problems. Studies show that the large majority of street homeless New Yorkers are people living with mental illness or other severe health problems. African-American and Latino New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Approximately 58 percent of New York City homeless shelter residents are African-American, 31 percent are Latino, 7 percent are white, less than 1 percent are Asian-American, and 3 percent are of unknown race/ethnicity (coalitionforthehomeless.org). Some people with privilege aren’t helping either. Most people feel like it is not their problem. Therefore, people are homeless. Homelessness leads to another important topic: hunger.

Nearly 1.3 million New Yorkers face hunger every year, including close to one in five New York City children. The number of food insecure people in NYC is larger than the population of Dallas, Texas (cityharvest.org). The USDA defines “food insecurity” as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for all household members. One in six children struggle with hunger. One in eight people struggle with hunger. People facing hunger in New York are estimated to report needing $1,242,696,000 per year to meet their food needs. Thirty-four point seven percent of households receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits have children (feedingamerica.org). In 2011, households with children reported a significantly higher food insecurity rate than households without children: 20.6% vs. 12.2%. Forty-nine million Americans struggle to put food on the table. In the US, hunger isn’t caused by a lack of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty (dosomething.org). There is enough food, but people aren’t helping. The government can take action, but they aren’t. A reason people are hungry is because they don’t have money and food is overpriced. Some people with privilege aren’t helping either because they feel like it is not their problem. Therefore, people are hungry.

As you can see, homelessness and hunger are very important topics that are impacting New York and all over the world in a bad way. We need food and housing, yet most people can’t afford them. More people can be helping, yet most aren’t. I hope this essay will encourage people to help people in need or share their resources to the less fortunate. Some people don’t care or don’t think it’s their problem, but I hope they realize it is. Most people with privilege think they are better just because they have money, yet they don’t realize some people don’t have money at all. A lot of people who help don’t have some of the necessities for life and some don’t have any. All in all, we need to help the less fortunate for a better future.

 

Works Cited

Ink, Social. “Facts About Hunger.” City Harvest, www.cityharvest.org/facts-about-hunger/.

“Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City.” Coalition For The Homeless, www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/basic-facts-about-homelessness-new-york-city/.

“New York.” Feeding America, www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/new-york/.

“11 Facts About Hunger in the US.” DoSomething.org | Volunteer for Social Change, www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-hunger-us.

 

The Situation

I have a secret. I know that we’re moving and that Dad has to stay behind because he has cancer, and they can’t take care of him where we are moving. Now, I’m confused about what to do. I’m going to go and break everything to Jake.

 

MAYRA goes to JAKE’s room and knocks on the door.

 

MAYRA: Knock, knock.

JAKE: Come in!!!

MAYRA: Um, Jake, can I talk to you about Dad please?

JAKE: Um, sure. About what, and why are you so serious too? Are you okay? Like, you’re worrying me?

MAYRA: Okay, umm here I go, um um, okay, so um.

JAKE: Mayra, just spill it already! I can’t take the tension!!!

MAYRA: Okay fine, we’re moving, and Dad’s not coming because he has cancer. Oh, and Mom said if you want Chick-fil-A.

JAKE: Whoa, you can’t drop a bomb like that then ask me about Chick-fil-A! So let me get this straight. We’re moving, and Dad can’t come because he has cancer. I am overwhelmed. Wait, when did he get diagnosed, and why did they tell you and not me? I’m the older sibling!!

MAYRA: Okay, Jake. Calm down, deep breath, and they didn’t tell me I wa /

JAKE: / Wait, please don’t tell me you eavesdropped on Mom and Dad again!!!

MAYRA: Okay okay okay okay okay okay okay okay okay okay okay, I didn’t eavesdrop. I just happened to walk by at the right moment, and I heard everything, so I freaked out and came to tell you.

JAKE: I’m going to tell Mom and Dad!

 

JAKE says as he goes downstairs with MAYRA rushing after him, yelling to not tell on her.

 

MAYRA: Noooooo! Do not tell Mom and Dad. They will kill me for telling you and eavesdropping on them and an /

JAKE: / Aha, I knew you were going to eavesdrop. I know you so well.

MOM: Don’t tell Mom and Dad what, and why will we kill you, Mayra? You’re not answering me!

MAYRA: We can’t tell you about the surprise trip we planned to the zoo, and you’d kill me for not telling you ‘cause I know you lovvvvvve penguins.

MOM: Awww, thank you! Let me call your father. Eric!!!

DAD: Yeah, Marilyn?!

MOM: Come down here. Mayra made a surprise for all of us to go to the zoo tomorrow.

 

DAD comes down the stairs and into kitchen where everyone else is.

 

DAD: Oh, well that’s nice but I can’t. Do you remember the “incident?”

MAYRA: What “incident?”

MOM: Oh, nothing.

 

Scene 2: The Zoo (Where MAYRA gets in trouble)

MOM: Alright, everyone get in the car. We’re going to the zoo. Woo hoo!

JAKE: I call shotgun!!!

MAYRA: What, no fair! You always get shotgun! Mom, tell him it’s not fair!!!

MOM: Sweetheart, just let your brother sit here, and coming back you can sit here. Is that okay?

MAYRA: Fine.

JAKE: Ha ha ha. I’m the favorite child, I’m the favorite child, I’m the favori / Ow!!

 

/ MAYRA knocks JAKE in the head.

 

MOM: Mayra!!

MAYRA: What? He was being annoying, and I shut him up.

MOM: Still, that’s not an excuse. Say sorry!

MAYRA: Sorry, uh not fair!

JAKE: Hahahahaha!

DAD: Bye, guys. Love you. Have fun.

 

They get out of the car and go to the seal exhibition.

 

MOM: I appreciate Mayra making the whole trip just for us.

MAYRA: No problem, Mom.

JAKE: I’m going to go buy something to eat. You guys are welcome to come.

 

While they are walking to go get something to eat, they pass by the penguin exhibit.

 

MOM: Look at the penguin, it looks miserable.

JAKE: Oh, yeah, like someone I know.

 

Myra looks at JAKE sternly.

 

Myra: Jake, shut up!

 

MAYRA gives her mom a concerned look.

 

MAYRA: (scratching arm) Mom, I have to tell you something.

MOM: (raising her eyebrow) Yeah, what?

MAYRA: Mom, I overheard you and Dad’s conversations yesterday. I know everything, I know Dad has cancer, and that we’re moving.

MOM: I can’t believe you eavesdropped on our conversation. We’re going home!

JAKE: (mouth full of food) What!? I started eating!

 

End Scene

 

MAYRA is in the hallway and knocks on her mom’s door, concerned and disappointed with her actions.

 

MAYRA: I’m sorry, Mom. I know you’re mad at me, but please just let me explain.

MOM: What? Mayra, I’ve made my decision, and no, I’m not mad. I’m upset! I’m glad you told me that you know, but you are going to have to pay with three weeks of chores.

MAYRA: What!! Three weeks, uh fine, whatever makes you happy.

MOM: Go upstairs, kiddo. Good night.

 

MAYRA runs upstairs and into JAKE’s room while slamming the door.

 

JAKE: What do you want? You cost me my zoo food!

MAYRA: Let’s sneak out to steal a penguin.

JAKE: Okay, I know you’re obsessed with penguins, but this is a whole new type of crazy. Mayra, how do you suppose to keep the penguin cool in a hot house in summer, and how are you going to get there and not get caught?

MAYRA: You have a license, right?

 

JAKE nods and looks at MAYRA very concerned.

 

MAYRA: Looks like I have my getaway car and driver.

JAKE: Oh no, you are not dragging me into this!

MAYRA: Pleasssse. I’ll tell Mom about Brittany!

JAKE: No, you know how Mom hates Brittany’s mom. Fine, I’ll go!

MAYRA: Yay, we’re stealing a penguin!

JAKE: Ssshhhh, we’ll get caught!

MAYRA: Awww, you said “we.” Yay!!

 

End Scene

 

MAYRA and JAKE leave the zoo. They are walking slowly down the corridor towards the parking lot. Myra cups her hands tightly over her mouth in an attempt to cover her devious grin. JAKE rolls his eyes.

 

JAKE: Okay, Mayra, this is your last chance. Are you sure you want to steal this penguin?

MAYRA: Jake, I know you’re worried that we’re gonna get caught, but just trust me.

JAKE: Fine, whatever, but I called backup. We have to pick her up, okay.

MAYRA: Please don’t say it’s Brittany.

JAKE: What do you have against my girlfriend? She’s nice and pretty and really likes me, so please try to be nice to her please.

MAYRA: Fine, whatever.

MAYRA: You know, I don’t want to steal the penguin anymore. I’m going to bed. Good night.

JAKE: I knew it would work. Wow, she really hates Brittany. Eh, at least I don’t have        

to steal a penguin.

MAYRA (to the audience): So in the end, we ended up not moving, and Dad got better which is a win in any way we can get. And Mom is happier than before, but I’m still grounded so…

 

Double-Double

Blake was just a normal fifth grader. He did all the things a fifth grader would do. He would do school, homework, and he worked hard like any student. The only thing that was different about him was at the age of 11, high schools were already asking for him. Ballislife, a famous YouTube channel, was going to his games to film him. He had amazing handles and was great at shooting from anywhere from the half court line. He always got that satisfying sound of swish as the ball sailed through the net.

His dad always pushed him. He was an accountant, so he traveled a lot. At the age of six, Blake got his first phone, so his dad could call him and make sure he was taking 1,000 shots a day. His dad did this to look over how Blake shot the ball and to make sure his form was good. This was because Blake’s dad was a superfan of basketball. His favorite team was the Minnesota Timberwolves. Of course after two days, Blake lost his phone. But give him a break, he was six! So they just got powerful walkie-talkies, which he lost after three days. Blake played in the summer league, winter league, spring league, and fall league for the Radnor league in Springfield. But he had never played on a travel team. A travel team was something that was way more competitive. All his REC leagues were too easy for him. He won every game because of the mercy rule. He would score so much, the other team would just give up.

One day, he picked up the mail. He always hoped he would get something in the mail. But until that day, there was never a letter for him. Until he was looking through today’s, and he saw one addressed to him. He was excited and anxious that there was a letter for him. He quickly ripped it open and saw it was a letter from East Coast Power addressed to 4 Pivite Drive. It said that they were interested in his abilities, and they wanted him to join their team. The last line said, First practice tomorrow.

 

The next day, he went to the practice, which happened to be five minutes away from his house. He saw Lebron’s son, Dwayne Wade’s son, and a lot of other NBA stars’ sons. He was so nervous because he saw the superstars of the NBA sitting on the bleachers.
The kids seemed to know him. They all said it was an honor to play with him. He thought, Wow, I am a prodigy in the making, aren’t I. He was told he was going to be the starting point guard by coach Tim, the head coach of the team.

His dad said, “We are going to start practicing a lot more. You are the starting point guard for the team that has won states 57 years in a row. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on you, Blake.”

“I know Dad, but I also need to focus on school,” said Blake.

“That’s a good way to think, Blake,” said his dad.

Blake’s school was named Radnor Elementary School. He was one of the most popular kids at school. His best friend was Derrick. He just so happened to be Derrick Rose’s son. They always hung out and played basketball. He played for 10U East Coast Power because he was young for his grade. He might have been the best basketball player the school had ever seen. It was between them two, but they never competed or fought about it. It wouldn’t make sense because they were probably both going to play. Everybody knew him from SportsCenter and YouTube. His brother was 18 and was on track to be the greatest Uber driver of all time. He was being tipped a lot of money all the time. His whole family was extremely intelligent because they were really resourceful. Blake himself wanted to go to Duke because they had a good athletics team and a great school community. Blake was a very outgoing guy to people he knew. To unknown people, he was shy. But when it came to basketball, he was the best player on the court. His only problem was when his dad was watching. He got scared. He was still really good, but not as good.

 

The first game was in one week. He was taking 5,000 shots a day. His dad was planning on quitting his job. His mom was thinking about it too. He didn’t want them to, but they said, “It’s best for us. You will be making millions of dollars in just one week.”

That was true as long as he got at least a double-double. There was a 99.9 percent chance he’d get that. He was probably going to get a triple-double. The only problem was his dad was going. He was afraid of his dad. What if he messed everything up? If he did, they would go broke.

 

One week later…

Game time. Blake got on his signature shoes. He was so nervous. What if he let down Dad? If he did, that would be the end of his career.

In the car on the way there, his dad gave him a pep talk. “I know you better than anyone else in the whole world. You can do this,” said Dad.

As they pulled up at the gym, Competitive Edge, Blake was all pumped up. Still nervous, but pumped. The team they were playing wasn’t great. They were called the Sun Devils. The only threat was their point guard, number four on the leaderboard in Minnesota. Blake was one, but it was still a threat. Tipoff Power got the tip. Blake got it. I’ve got this. He passed it to Eric, and he took the three. Swish. One assist on defense, one steal. Five minutes later, subs. He ended with seven points, five assists, and four steals. It was close. Only five assists, one three pointer, and he’d be set in the next half. He came in. He took one three and hit it. He just needed five assists. One, two, three, four, but then he went for a layup and came down the wrong way.

His dad came out on the court. “Come on. Get up, son. I know you can.’’

“I-I-I can’t.”

“It will be okay. You’ll get em’ next time, bud.”

 

Two weeks later…

“Coach said you have one more chance. It’s a better team though, so look out.”

Blake was still recovering, so he would play the next game against an even better team. He had one week. He started practicing more than ever. He went to the gym every single day for eight hours. Then, it was tomorrow. He had practiced 48 hours in the last six days. Tomorrow was the game. He knew he could do it. His shot was on. He made ten out of ten shots. He was sure he’d do it. The only problem was that he was sore from all the work he put in. Next thing you know, he was feeling pain all over his body. He was tired. He went to bed at 6:00 that night.

He woke up at 10:00 in the morning. The game started at six. He went out to Starbucks for an egg sandwich. It was nice and warm, and it consisted of bacon, fried egg, and cheddar cheese, his normal breakfast. The whole day, he felt pretty good. He took a three hour nap. He had thirty minutes to get ready. He got his shoes. He opened his golden case with his signature shoes. He got out his jersey and his basketball shorts. He went to the game. All his friends were there. They asked him if he was good.

He said, “Yeah, still worried though.”

He was excited. He knew he could do it. He started the game with a quick three pointer. He got scored on at the other end. Three minutes later, he had five points, two assists, and one steal. He got taken out after this. He would have ten minutes. His team was down by ten now. He would have to take the win and the double-double. He went in and scored his five points in less than two minutes. He just needed eight assists. He passed the ball so many times. His team was missing a lot. He was at eight assists when Zhaire Wade, Dwyane Wade’s son, was able to dunk. Blake kept passing to him. He kept scoring. There were 20 seconds left. He needed one more assist. Time out. They were down by one. They called pick and roll on Blake and Zhaire. He passed it to Zhaire. He shot. Score!!! They won the game. He did it. He made his dad proud. He finished with 29 points, ten assists, four rebounds, and eight steals.

His dad came out on the court. “You did it, bud. Now you can go to the Apple store and get yourself an iPhone X and go to the candy store, because you are makin’ your own money now!”

Blake went home knowing he was making lots of money.

 

BLAKE WILL BE BACK!

 

A Love For Liberty

          

One

My hands were about to slip. I couldn’t drop it again! If I did, we wouldn’t have anything to eat! It was the first treat I had been able to get my hands on since we were on the street. My hands always got slippery when I stole. My sister, on the other hand, had no problem taking things off other people’s doorstep! I couldn’t even take something that I found on the ground! My bounty was a beautiful, creamy Milky Way bar that Libby would just love. She might even forgive me for taking Lady with me as my guard dog. Not likely though. The only thing she liked more than that scruffy excuse for a dog was maybe my mother. Well, now Lady was the only thing she loved. Because her number one special thing had passed away.

 

I managed to grip the delicate Milky Way until I got to my sister. She wasn’t looking happy. “I woke up to no food, no dog, and no sister! Where have you been?!” Libby looked as though being without an animal had turned her into a wild one.

I held up the fruit of my struggles. “To get this.”

Libby snatched the candy bar out of my hand. “I earned this!” She ripped open the wrapping that had protected the candy from getting covered in dirt. Out of it came the most beautiful sight an 11-year-old and a 14-year-old could want. A smooth, sweet chocolate bar. The beautiful sight soon disappeared. But the smudges of chocolate on my sister’s lips remained.

 

The average day for us wasn’t very active. When you live in New York, you already have all your options laid out in front of you. You can go on one of the subways and beg for money, but that is on Wednesdays. You can steal only on Tuesdays, but my sister usually broke that rule whenever she could. Although I pretended to look down upon it, I was actually grateful; we needed all the supplies we could get in order to leave this place.

 

Two

Ellis. That is what they used to call me. It is what she used to call me. My mother. Most of my school friends call me Ellie or just L. But my mother insisted that I allow her to call me Ellis. It was my proper name. My original name. And according to her, my correct name. But I always think. Is proper and original always correct? That question bounces around in my head from time to time. But today I couldn’t afford to daydream.

 

Today was the day that we needed to pack up. The day we needed to leave no trace. The day the police come to kick us out. I needed to quickly gather my and my sister’s stuff before the authorities arrived. My sister and I didn’t agree on many things, but we both agreed that we wouldn’t be put in an orphanage. We both knew that being in an actual home would just make us more homesick. Even more homesick than we were already. It would be like only seeing the chocolate on my sister’s lips. You can never have that sweetness.

 

Three

I had finally finished packing. I hadn’t seen Libby since I had told her to pack. I was hoping that she had gotten right to it and not put it off. For once I had trusted her, and I hope she didn’t abuse that. I hope…

Oh, what the heck! She’s my little sister! Why would she do anything that I told her to! I rushed over to our tent. Sure enough, she was grooming Lady. Our now pampered pet was loving it. She looked as though she was in a spa, having the time of her life. “Libby, the police are coming in five minutes! How could you! This isn’t a game, This isn’t pretend, it’s real life. And you keep treating it as a joke! Why can’t you just grow up!” I grabbed her wrist. I dragged her over to her stuff that was untouched in a giant mound. I scooped all of it up, and it went right into Libby’s lap. She opened her mouth to reply, probably with a snotty remark about it being a free country. I shut her down quickly with a small remark about how she was lucky I was helping her pack and not on my way.

 

Finally, we finished cramming our things into a bag. We turned to leave, but then I realized I had forgotten something. I turned back only to see the disconcerting lights that alerted me of the police that were so close. But I needed to reach it. I ran through the alley that we had slept in. I ran past the fire escape that we had used as a clothes hanger. I reached the place where I had tucked the package. I managed to stay out of sight of the police. I grabbed the package and dashed away from the scene. My sister and I sprinted away from the alley we had called home. I opened my hand, revealing a dirty handkerchief. And in my world, it was the “most correct” thing that came into my life.

 

Six months earlier…

 

Four

Everything was quiet. It seemed like we would never have a home. Maybe we were meant to be without a home for the rest of our lives. I still remember his last words. “Bring me a gift from the ocean.” Not “I love you” or “you will always have a place in my heart.” I was kind of angry. I admit I wasn’t expecting a request. But it did make sense. Every morning the old man would bring us to a beach and just stare out into the ocean. “It’s perfect,” he would always tell us. Even though it was a complicated request, I was determined to fulfill it. Since Libby, Lady, and I were now homeless once again.

 

Libby and I both knew we were going to do it. We were going to give the old man who had taken us in a gift.

 

Since we were homeless, traveling far had become more complicated. For one thing, we didn’t have any money. No, I mean we didn’t even have a penny. We could either walk to the nearest beach, which was Coney Island, or somehow gather enough money to take the train to Coney Island. We couldn’t walk because in Manhattan the chances are too high of being plucked out of the crowds that flooded the streets. My little sister would refuse to hold my hand, and she would 99.99999% get lost. All this rushed through my head while on the outside tears were running down my face. My hands making tiny fists. I was able to feel two emotions at once. I was able to cry and curl up into a little ball, but at the same time get back up again and stand tall. My sister was right next to me, but if you looked into her eyes, you would realize she was light years away. I needed to get started.

I whispered in my sister’s ear, “Follow me.” I walked out of the room that held the last person who would ever take us in.

 

Five

We walked along the sidewalk. My sister’s hands swaying at her sides. We both felt as alone as we did when we walked away from the police. When they told us we didn’t have a mother. No, we had a giant bottle of liquor. And a glass bottle can’t take care of kids. We only had Lady. And each other. But my sister and I were more distant than your average siblings. We were both reminders for each other that we used to have a real family. Sometimes, we were just objects to each other. Objects that could be hugged. Or yelled at. We weren’t sisters. We weren’t even companions. We helped out each other without talking.

“We need to get a job,” I told Libby.

Libby only nodded. Being at even the beginning of that funeral had softened both of us. “Where do I go?” My sister looked up questioningly.

I had an idea. “You go to a place with shade and start singing. You start getting people to come over and put money in your hat.”

I laid out what she should do by talking and drawing in the dirt. Libby nodded. She never sang. My sister was very self conscious, but that didn’t mean that she wouldn’t do whatever she could to make money. As a toddler she was always coming up with crazy money making ideas to get presents for people. Just because my sister comes across as a mean little sister, she gets beautiful things for the people she loves. This wasn’t going be like the time I told her to pack. She wasn’t doing this for me. She was doing it for the old man that had taken us in. The old man that had given us food. The old man that had taught us to care about other people. The man who showed us the bridges to different worlds.

 

When we came to the old man’s house, he took us to the ocean.

He said, “You need to understand.”

We went along with it because he had just fed us after he caught us looking through his trash. When we got to the beach, he showed us how we could see where the water ended. And that where the water ended was where the bridges to different worlds started. But for most people, the water just ended. The reason was because they hadn’t visited that world yet. My sister and I both knew that the oceans connected the different places in the world. But we thought that it sounded much more foreign to us. The way the old man said it, it seemed like he had visited these places. But we knew that the old man had never left America.

 

I left my sister at the spot she had picked to sing and set off to find a way for me to make money. I wasn’t born with a beautiful mellifluous voice like my sister’s, but I was older, and I expected myself to make more money than her. I could walk dogs. But I doubted anyone would want a 14-year-old girl to take care of their precious dogs. I could shovel snow? If it was winter. Suddenly, I had an idea. I set up a little stand and started to shout like someone at a carnival.

“Step right up, step right up! Get your fortunes right here! Told to you by a dog!”

As a little kid, I took ventriloquist classes. I could speak for our dog, Lady. It was a trick I took up to cheer my sister up in the days where we spent hours in our room. One little girl walked by and asked her mom if she could get her fortune told by a dog. They had a bit of an argument, but the little girl seemed to have the upper hand. They came over and asked how much it cost to get a fortune. I told them the price, and they looked surprised.

“Is there something wrong?” I asked.

“Yes, who told you to ask for that little amount of money?” The woman’s brows furrowed.

When I didn’t answer, she handed me three times as much as I asked her for. “Thank you so much,” I stuttered, shoving the money in my pocket. I would count it later…

 

I Won’t Stop Fighting

       

I am soaring

I am roaring

Protecting my innocence

No I’m not listening

 

I thought I failed

I thought I should bail

But that’s not me

And now I can see

 

I craved the attention

Oh and did I mention

I’m ready to start brand new

No more feeling blue

 

I give my hate to the wind

I’d give to have no more sins

But that’s just not how it goes

You and I both know

 

I’d take away the pain and suffering

My whole life I’ve been wondering

What it would be like without the mad and the sad

Without all of the hate and the bad

 

I dream of a place much simpler than this

A place I would surely miss

All I have to do when it gets too deep

A drift away to a happy sleep

 

I love how people can start to stand tall

How they peep above the wall

To see the other side

All the wonders it would hide

 

It hurts the most when I see it everyday

How they cause havoc with whatever they say

Pushing each other around doing whatever they want

The worst part is, they never caught

 

I fear of what people will become

Because we get judged from where we came from

Or the color of skin

Or whether they’re fat or thin

 

I forget that people could live as one

Because at the end of the day we bleed the same blood

It doesn’t matter where your from or where you go

Or if you’re different anywhere head to toe

 

I forgave the people long ago

Who did horrible things, but they didn’t know

But now it’s not a mystery

Come change the world with me

 

I won’t give up on hope and love

I’ll just wish on the stars above

Hoping for it to be different

But love is significant

 

I will persevere

But everyday, someone sheds a tear

Saving the world will be exciting

But I won’t ever stop fighting

 

The Amazing Aliens

    

Chapter One: The Awesome Idea

“Emily, Emily!” Sasha shouted. “I have the best idea ever. Do you want to hear it?”

“Yes please,” said Emily.

“How about we look for a new planet?” said Sasha.

“What about Kiki? Can she come?” asked Emily.

“Sure,” said Sasha.

“Let’s go to Tooth to get her,” said Emily.

“The planet is called Mint.”

“Woo hoo!” screamed Emily. The two best friends jumped over to Tooth (since Tooth was in close proximity to Cookie). The two friends went searching for Kiki. Within ten minutes, they realized that Kiki was chasing them (not for the spaceship, but as a joke). They were all laughing their heads off for one hour straight. Once they stopped laughing, they entered Sasha’s spaceship and flew around the big star, looking for an awesome planet.

 

Chapter Two: The Planet Mint

In only a few minutes, they reached planet Mint.

“This looks beautiful,” said Emily.

“I don’t know about that,” said Kiki.

“Well, it’s our very own planet, so the both of you should be happy, okay,” said Sasha.

“Now we have to build this planet’s furniture.”

“Okay, it’s a good thing Emily and I packed in advance,” said Sasha.

“Let’s build!” said Kiki.

There were beautiful decorations and purple wood paneling available for use. It took an entire week to build and decorate everything. Sasha wanted to get her old friends back from Cookie land. Sasha and Kiki decided to travel to planet Tooth to pick up Kiki’s friends as well. Emily stayed back to keep an eye out for potential villains. Within a few minutes, the other friends arrived. They had a party planned for that night and stayed up until 3:00 am. They were all incredibly tired but excited for the next upcoming party, which was promised to last until 11:00 pm. Everybody went home at 11:05 pm. Once Sasha, Kiki, and Emily arrived home, they immediately fell asleep. There was a scary creature slithering around the night sky.

It was an evil villain! It was tall in stature. Sasha didn’t see it, but it always came during the evening time. She heard it in the middle of the night. She told Emily and Kiki. They saw it flee before morning.

In the morning, they looked for it. But they were never successful in locating it. They went back to Chocolate Chip, but they still couldn’t find it. They went to Cookie land, and they still couldn’t find it. They went to a different planet called Blob. It looked like a green blob. They saw an evil villain. The creature was trying to go really fast, but Sasha, Emily, and Kiki collectively captured it. The evil villain was an alien snake. It had a long body and ten piercing eyes. It was a terrifying sight.

 

Chapter Three: The Evil Rattlesnake

They realized that the evil snake was actually an evil alien. The creature transformed back into an alien. It was a spitting image of Sasha. It looked similarly to when it was a snake, it was just in an alien form. It had a short body with arms and legs and two eyes, and it wore a shirt and pants. The creature was very cruel. He was continuously punching them. Finally, he decided to reveal his name.

“My name is Steph,” he said.

Steph was living on a planet where there were lots of aliens. Instead of transforming, he said it was just like Halloween every day for him. He apologized for punching them. Steph then went back to his planet. He wasn’t allowed to leave his other planet. He would sneak out every night. He traveled with Sasha, Kiki, and Emily to Space Town.

They arrived at Space Town and hid Steph in their house because he didn’t want to be seen. They went back to Blob, where Steph lived. They had the opportunity to meet his parents.

 

Chapter Four: Ten New Planets

The next morning, Kiki, Emily, Sasha, and Steph went to a bookstore on Chocolate Chip. This was their first time on Chocolate Chip, and it looked like a bookstore. After they got books at Chocolate Chip, they went to school. They had to go to Planet Blob for school. They floated to each planet. It went fast because there was a tunnel. You’re able to go to whatever place you want. Sasha, Emily, Steph, and Kiki were in class Z. Ms. P was the name of the homeroom teacher. In school, they had to have a contest. It was to find as many planets as you possibly could and write them down. If you found the most planets, you got a big prize for each of the aliens on your team.

Emily, Sasha, Kiki, and Steph made a team. They searched for ten planets. They began with Chocolate Chip, the bookstore, and they got to Blob, their town. They went to a camp that was named Clip, and they found another planet for evil people that was called Villains. That place had evil villains on it, and they were just like Steph before he became a friend, so they didn’t go on it for a while. Then, they went to a glass making place called Glass, and they found another place called Planet, and inside Planet there were four more planets that were named Oreo, Juice, Tree, and Jungle. And the last planet was named Pants. The next day, they were going to hand the paper in.

 

Chapter Five: Winners

The next morning, Emily, Sasha, Kiki, and Steph went to school. They gave the paper to Ms. P. Ms. P looked at it for a long time. Ms. P finally said, “Sit down and wait for the other aliens to come back.” They sat for a while. Still, nobody came. The other aliens were still looking for the planets. They finally came back with nothing on their papers.

Ms. P was so disappointed at them. They got detention, and Steph, Emily, Sasha, and Kiki were the winners. They got a huge golden trophy.

“Great job,” said Ms. P.

 

Chapter Six: The Big Secret

Steph went over to Sasha’s house to have a playdate. That’s when Sasha saw something on Steph’s face that looked the same as hers. It was the same ugly scar that she had. They also had the same eye color, a dark brown.

“Steph, what is your last name?” asked Sasha.

“Curry,” Steph replied.

“We might be brother and sister.”

“Why?”

“Because my last name is Curry.”

“What?! That’s awesome.”

“I know!!!”

Sasha and Steph hugged each other, and then Emily, Kiki, Sasha, and Steph all lived together.

 

Moving Away

It’s hard to move to a new house when your parents want to live and see a new place, but it is even harder to move to a new house when you are expecting a baby. Especially when almost all my friends are asking me these questions. They were asking questions like “when are you moving” and “where are you moving to.” It’s really annoying and stressful. Even if your best friend is always telling them that if they wanted to talk to me, they had to talk about something else. One day after Laura had told them what she told every day, they just stood there. I knew that after a few seconds they would burst out. Then when they just stood there, Laura took my hand and led me to the bench in the playground, away from everybody else. I felt a little nervous even though I’d known Laura since we were little kids. I knew Laura would want to talk to me about the new house and didn’t want to talk about the new house at all, but I knew I owed Laura an explanation to my behavior. And all my other friends… why were they acting so nosey and making me nervous and uncomfortable.

“What’s wrong, Aine?” she asked me in a concerned voice. “You seem different. A little bit paler and more quiet.”

“I don’t want to move,” I said. “I’ve lived in my house all my life, and I’m nervous and a bit sad to be leaving it. I’m excited about the baby, but I can’t believe I have to leave all my memories from my old house behind.” I thought about my bedroom and knowing where everything was. I could walk that house with my eyes closed. I was going to miss it. I knew that I had been acting less playful and being more quiet lately. It was only a matter of time that Laura would notice something was up.

“Your new house is going to be great, don’t worry,” Laura said, reassuring me.

“Let’s stop talking about the house,” I said, feeling a bit better. Laura usually gave good advice. I’m grateful for my clever, kind friend. “Maybe we should go on the swings.”

 

to talk with my parents about the move.

“Everybody at school keeps asking me when we are moving and where we are going to move to,” I said to them.

“We will be moving soon, sweetie,” my mom said, rubbing her belly, “and then they will all stop asking you these questions because they will know about it.”

“You know it’s unusual to move in our town,” Dad said.

We were sitting in my bedroom, the bedroom I loved and was soon going to move out of. I started to cry thinking about leaving this room.

My mom looked over at me and said, “Aine, it’s all right. All your furniture will be moved to the new house. We can make the room look the same.”

“But it won’t be the same,” I moaned.

I couldn’t understand why we have to move and see someplace new and have more adventures in the new place. It just wasn’t fair. I knew another person meant that we needed more space, but it all seemed unfair to me. The next day, Laura and I sat on the same bench we sat on yesterday outside of the playground.

I told Laura, “I’m moving in a week. You can tell the others that ‘cause they’ve obviously been wanting to know that for ages.”

I knew that as soon as the group of girls from my school walked by my house last week and saw me packing that they would start asking questions. They told everyone that I was moving, and now everyone was curious about when it would happen. People don’t usually move in our neighborhood, so everyone was curious.

“Don’t talk like that!” Laura said. I felt uneasy like I wanted to run away from that spot, but stayed on that bench in the playground. With Laura.

“Well, it’s true,” I said.

“Yes but even though I know I won’t tell anyone that you are moving in a week. So have you seen the house?”

“Not yet. I’m seeing the new house in two days, on Thursday.”

Ring, ring —

“There’s the bell. We’d better go to class,” Laura said.

“Yeah, let’s go, c’mon.”

 

“This is the first time I’m taking a half day of school, and I’m going to look at my new house,” I said. It was a bright sunny morning. There were very few clouds in the sky, and we were standing outside Green Hill Waldorf School. I was feeling nervous for the first time at my school.

And in my first few classes, I could not concentrate. By lunch I felt a little bit dizzy. And by the time Mom showed up, I felt so dizzy that the door frame seemed to be tipping slightly to the left. Mom definitely noticed something that Laura hadn’t. Mom brought me to the school nurse. She gave some pills to swallow. I felt better after that, but I was still shaking slightly. We got into the car. I waved to Laura. She waved back.

 

We pulled up into the driveway of a beautiful white house with a gabled roof. We got out of the car and walked towards the house. I was feeling nervous. We pushed on the door, and it swung open easily. We walked into the house, and we hadn’t put our furniture in there yet, but I could imagine all of it in place. The first room was a big room with a fireplace. Next to the fireplace there was a wooden door that led into a long narrow room with a sink, an oven, a dishwasher, and a lot of other kitchen supplies. We walked into a room to the left of the kitchen, and there was a set of stairs leading up to the second floor. As we walked up the stairs, we saw a few rooms once we reached the top of the second floor. Almost all of them looked to me, like bedrooms — except one that stood out. It was the smallest room, and it seemed to be a bathroom because it had a sink and toilet and a bathtub. Then, there was the biggest room and two small ones. One for me and one for the baby, I thought. We checked out every room, but outside the sun was setting.

Mom said, “We have to go now,” before it gets too dark. I was surprised by how much I liked the house. It was nice, but this feeling turned bittersweet quickly when I remembered my old house and how much I would miss it.

The next morning, I told Laura all about the house.

She said, “It sounds nice!” trying to support me, “but I understand that you will miss your old house too.”

I felt that same bittersweetness I felt when I left the new house yesterday. Laura saw that something was different, so she didn’t say anymore.

The next morning, I woke up, and I knew it was the big day: moving day. I heard many trucks pulling up to take our things to the new house. I got up quickly, pulled on the first clothes I could find, and ran downstairs full of nervous sadness and excitement. Mom was packing some things to eat for breakfast so that we could go right away and start unpacking. We got our stuff, got into the car, and followed the trucks. I watched my old house out the window as we drove away, and I felt really sad to be leaving it.

I asked Mom who would be moving into our old house, and she replied “We have met them once… they were really nice!”

After a few minutes, she pulled up into our new driveway. We got out, and the truck drivers got out as well. We all started taking stuff into the house, and I began to quickly pick up boxes and move them into the new house. I was both nervous and excited, so I moved quickly. Finally, we had gotten most of the stuff into the house, and only had a few boxes left.

Mom said, “Let’s eat the stuff we packed for breakfast! It’s getting really late, and I am sure we all feel really hungry.”

We agreed. I was starving. We started eating our sandwiches and fruit.

Mom and Dad told me I could explore while they took the rest of the boxes in. I ran all around the house, eager to check out the new space. I saw a ladder going up to the attic that I hadn’t noticed last time. I was curious so decided to go take a look. I quickly climbed up the ladder, and finally, panting, I arrived at the top. When I stood up I saw a door leading to a room in the attic. I walked into the room, and there was just old furniture. In the middle of the room however, there was a creature. It had the body of a horse, the head of a lion, and the wings of an eagle. I was scared. I ran out of the room, slammed the door behind me, and quickly climbed down the ladder.

I didn’t tell my family what I had seen in the attic. I probably will not see it again anyway, I thought to myself. We started unpacking the boxes, even though we knew we wouldn’t finish unpacking it all today. We decided to try anyway. By the end of the day, we had gotten out a couch and a few chairs and put them together, but nothing else. We slept on mats on the floor, and in the morning I woke up feeling sore and still tired.

I tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use. I was too much awake. With everyone else still asleep, and my mind free to wander, I started thinking about the creature I had seen. I thought about how the creature hadn’t harmed me, and I decided to go up again and see it. I needed to get breakfast, but I wanted to go up and see it as soon as possible. I went upstairs and climbed the ladder. I walked to the door, pushed it open, and was welcomed with a huge shock. The room had changed completely, except for the huge creature who still stood in the middle. Instead of old dusty boxes and furniture, it looked exactly like a kitchen. The kitchen did not look like the one in our new house, however, it looked like the kitchen in Laura’s house. I peered past the creature, and there was exactly what I needed: breakfast. Cereal and a jug of milk sat behind him, and so I walked towards it. I tried to get around the creature, but he roared at me with his lion face. Terrified, I ran out of the room and back down the stairs.

When I got downstairs, I saw that it looked like my parents were awake. I asked them for some breakfast, and it came right away. As I ate, I could not stop thinking about the creature, and how the room had changed, and how the room had exactly what I needed. Thinking about the kitchen, I remembered that it was Laura’s kitchen, and Laura was coming over today, and I could show her the creature and the room.

Finally, the doorbell rang. I jumped up and opened the door. There stood Laura and her parents. My parents and Laura’s parents started chatting, and Laura and I slipped upstairs. We climbed up the ladder and walked to the room. As we were walking, I told Laura all about the room, the creature, and how it roared at me. Laura seemed a bit scared by the time we had reached the room. She pushed the door open and gasped as she saw the creature. I looked at the room. This time, it was completely white, and there was nothing behind the creature now.

Laura was really surprised. “There is nothing in the room,” Laura said, “besides this creature!”

“We will come back when the room is more exciting,” I said. “Right now it’s just this creature.”

We walked back out and started helping unpack. I knew by the end of today that we would be finished unpacking.

My room was the last to unpack. We put my bed together, placed the covers on the bed, and put the carpet and the drawer next to my bed and lamp. We filled the room with everything else that was in my old room. Then we had lunch and went outside the house. We rested in some chairs outside my house and talked and played until dinner time. Then, I climbed into my bed. It did not feel the same even though it was the same. Finally, after laying for a while I fell asleep.

Mom was right when she said that everybody was going to stop asking me about the move. Everybody who had been asking me the questions became my friends again, but I still had the creature and the room in my mind. Laura and I spent our days trying to think about how we could get the creature to do what we wanted it to do. All we could think of was to train it like you do to a dog, but we knew that would not work. We had to think every day, and finally one day we were having a sleepover, and we went up to the attic to think. Then it came to me: if the room had whatever you needed, it would have the thing we needed to tame the creature.

“How would we get past the creature, to get the thing?” said Laura.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

We went into the room anyway. The creature seemed more aggressive than ever once we entered. It charged at us the minute that we got into the room. We jumped aside, terrified. The creature backed up and charged again — this time at Laura. I jumped on its back. As soon as I did this, it flew into the air with its eagle wings. It did not seem able to get down while I was on its back. Laura looked at the thing behind the creature. It seemed to be some sort of ball.

She picked up the ball and said, “Come down!” The creature did exactly what she said. We were amazed. I jumped off its back. “Don’t harm us!” she commanded again at the creature. We ran out of the room and hid the ball in my new bedroom. We knew the creature could not get it.

A few weeks passed, and Laura and I didn’t really know or need to use the ball or go visit the creature. That was until one Friday afternoon after a particularly rough day of school. I was finding it hard to focus on school work with all the newness of moving, so when I got my English essay back and saw that I got a C, I was pretty upset. The only thing that comforted me was the thought of Laura coming over later on after school that day. When she got here, she suggested we play ball and that sounded good to me. We went to take the ball outside, and when I walked to the screen door that lead to the backyard and tried to slide it open, it would not budge. I never had any trouble opening the screen door at my old house. We were thinking what to do when we remembered the creature. We ran up to my room and grabbed the glass ball, then hurried up the ladder. We pushed the door to the attic open and stepped inside.

The creature ran at us, but I shouted “Stop!” and held up the glass ball, and the creature froze.

Laura and I asked the creature to help us open the screen door, and he obeyed.

He flew around the house, and finally he got to the screen. We asked him again to open the door. Slowly, so that we could see what he was doing, the creature placed one of his hoofs on the handle, spun it around three times, and then pushed the door open. We ran outside and thanked the creature. We saw the creature fly away and back up to the attic, so we began to play with the ball. When it started to get dark, we had to leave, and my parents came home.

A few days later, I woke up before my parents, hungry for something to eat. I went into the kitchen and yanked on the handle of the cupboard the same way I always did to open it and get some cereal. It did not pull open.

“Oh yeah… different cupboard” I reminded myself.

I crept up to the attic to get the help of the creature. I had the glass ball, and I raised it up as I stepped into the room.

I whispered, “Can you help me open the cupboard drawer?” to him.

The creature flew quietly out of the room and down to the kitchen. I followed quickly and quietly. He put his hoof on the handle of the cupboard and put a lot of weight onto it. It flew open. I thanked the creature and did something I never had done before. I reached out my hand, and I pet the creature on the head and said, “Thanks” one more time. The creature nodded his head at me and flew quietly back to his room in the attic.

As I ate my cereal, I was thinking of what I could name the creature. I wasn’t sure if it was a boy or a girl, so I decided to ask Laura for advice when I went to school. Right before school, I hurried to Laura and told her about what I was thinking. I told Laura to come to my house after school so that we could figure out what to name the creature. That night, we took the glass ball once more and hurried up to the attic. We had our plan all ready. We ran into the room and called into the glass ball before anything else could happen.

“Fly to the top of the room if you are a girl, and stay where you are if you are a boy!” we commanded.

The creature flew into the air until it reached the top of the room.

“Thank you!” we said and then hurried out of the room. Now we knew that the creature was a girl.

“What are you going to name her?” Laura asked, once we got back downstairs.

“I don’t know!” I said. “You have to help me figure it out.” We went to my bedroom and sat on my bed.

“The creature is in your house, Aine,” said Laura.

“Yes, but you helped me get the glass ball,” I said.

“What about ‘Wings?’” said Laura.

“Just because she has wings doesn’t mean we have to call her Wings!” I said.

“… but she looks like a ‘Wings!’” said Laura.

“What about Wither Wings?” I said, offering a compromise. “That way it’s Wings and something else.”

“Okay,” said Laura. “Wither Wings is a nice name.”

 

Two weeks later, I woke up with a fever, and my mom would not let me go to school. All morning, I felt grumpy and bored, so I decided to entertain myself and visit Wither Wings. I grabbed the ball and climbed the ladder into the room. I wondered if I could ever make Wither Wings talk. That was probably impossible even with the ball.

“Hi,” I said to the creature, testing to see if it could speak. Wither Wings did not answer. I guess I had to communicate with Wither Wings by motions, since she couldn’t speak. I waved at Wither Wings, not entirely sure what “want” I had come there to fulfill. She flapped her wings back at me. Mom was about to leave the house, and I decided that maybe I could ride Wither Wings after she left and nobody would know.

Just then, I heard Mom call, “Bye!”

“Bye!” I called back. I heard the door shut, and the noise of car wheels driving down the driveway. I got on Wither Wings and called into the ball which I had brought just in case, “Fly!”

Wither Wings took off. She flew down the stairs and around the living room. I was having a lot of fun. I managed to spin the door knob once, then she zoomed around the room twice, and finally we went past the door knob once more, I spun it one last time and pushed it open. Wither Wings flew out of the door immediately out into the backyard and the open air. She zoomed around the backyard and made to go out on the street, but I turned her back around. Finally, it seemed Wither Wings was getting tired, so I called into the glass ball, “Go back home!” She flew back through the door, up the stairs, up the ladder, and into her room. I waved goodbye, and then I ran back downstairs to get some lunch.

The next day, I was feeling better, and Mom let me go to school. I told Laura all about riding Wither Wings and what an adventure it was. She asked if she could ride Wither Wings one time, and I told her she could if we had enough time when my parents were out and we were in the house alone. We decided to ask our mothers for a sleepover. After school that night, I waited for mom to come home. When she walked through the door, I asked her immediately for the sleepover.

She said, “Tomorrow night?” placing her hand on her belly with a tired look on her face… “Which house?”

“This house!” I said.

She told me she had to think about it.

After dinner, she looked a bit better. “Yes, you can have Laura sleepover tomorrow,” she said, “but your dad and I are going out so you will be here alone.”

“Okay!” I said. We were very excited. The day passed by slowly, but evening finally came. We ran all the way to my new house, and we slammed the screen door behind us. We raced up the stairs and appeared panting in front of the ladder.

“Well,” said Laura, “you go up first!” I climbed up the ladder still taking steady breaths as I climbed, Laura at my heels. When we reached the attic, we could hear the heavy breath of Wither Wings. We stepped into the room.

“We’re back,” I said. Laura swung her leg over Wither Wings. I did the same. “Fly,” I said absentmindedly. Wither Wings, to my surprise, rose into the air. The ball was still in my pocket.

 

The Magic Rhino

        

Chapter One: Hard Things

“It’s snowing!” MAGIC MAN said.

“It’s snowing,” mocked mathemagician.

“It’s snowing great! Snowing is bad. When will you learn your lesson?” said mathemagician.

“Never. Because snowing is good,” said MAGIC MAN.

“No it’s not. It’s bad for the Earth.”

“No it’s not!”

“Yes it is.