A puppy named Rusty was the runt of the litter at the doggy daycare. The other dogs had a white spot by their eye, a brown spot on their tail, and they were mostly blonde and bigger. But Rusty was a tiny, tiny golden retriever with a periwinkle collar that was only as big as a shoe with big, black eyes which made him extra cute. Well, he was cute to me. He was named Rusty for his reddish brown and blonde fur. His ears and tail were white with gold spots which made him very unique.  

Rusty was always getting into accidents like spilling the water or throwing a ball into someone’s face. A lot of the people and other dogs didn’t like him because he was so small and messy. He was also shy. He really hated when people weren’t loving him but he didn’t know how to ask. Even the adults at the doggie daycare didn’t pay enough attention to him. He dreamed of dog biscuits, human food like steak, sleeping on clouds, and not being the runt of the litter anymore but having a family to adopt him. He hoped it was a brother and sister because he could get the play from the brothers and hugs and kisses from the sister. He liked the doggy daycare because he always got the same towel bed and it felt like his own. But, he knew it could be better and he could have a pillow. He was really sad because he had no friends other than a goldfish cracker. He wanted to eat the cracker but he was so lonely he decided to let it just be his friend. But, it wouldn’t do anything so it was boring. He decided to keep it until he found a new friend. Still, nobody in the whole doggy daycare liked him. There was another runt there that was even treated a bit better!

One day, Rusty had noticed a couple was there looking at dogs. They looked at Rusty and shook their head and said, “No, definitely not.” They turned to another dog and said, “Oh, such a cute Shih Tzu! Maybe that one.” Then they walked over to an Australian Shepard puppy and thought, “Ooh, maybe that one. Definitely that one!” The dogs didn’t even notice the people because they knew they’d get adopted someday. They just showed off and had fun. But, Rusty knew he wasn’t going to get adopted. He just sat to the side, sadly.

There was a time where they let the dogs run around. During that time, they had to share toys like a squeaker, a rope, and a plastic tube. Rusty tried to get a bone or a squeaky toy but the other dogs were rude. They tried to pull away the bone. He then tried for the squeaky toy but they did the same thing. In the end, he couldn’t get any toys, and he laid his head on his paws.

On Rusty’s birthday, they only really celebrated by giving him a bone. But, finally, it was his own bone. He wrote his name on it so the other dogs couldn’t just take it and say it was theirs. On that same day, a family came to pick out a dog and a little girl named Mia saw Rusty.

Mia said, “You’re the cutest thing ever!”

She took Rusty in her arms and he wiggled, showering her face with kisses.

“Mommy, Daddy, can we get him?” she asked.

“I don’t know. You ask your mom,” said her dad.

“Can we get this dog named Rusty?” Mia asked her mom with pleading eyes that rivalled Rusty’s eyes.

“If that’s what you really want then sure,” her mom said and smiled.

Rusty heard these words and his ears perked up then his tail wagged.

Mia said, “Look, he’s so happy!”

Mia picked Rusty and held him close to her chest. She twirled around. The other dogs saw this and made crying, angry sounds.

In the car, he was very still because he loved how Mia hugged him. After, they went to the pet store and bought Rusty all the things he needed: dog food, good treats, a water and food bowl, and almost every single toy in the store. And, he didn’t get just a pillow, but a whole doggie bed. He tried out every single one before jumping and deciding on the fuzzy, warm bed that was last. Mia then knew that was the perfect dog bed for him. Rusty got two new collars, a red one with metal dots and an orange one that faded to red. Rusty was so happy after they bought everything. He sat in the back of the car on his new doggy bed playing with all his toys. When Rusty and Mia got home, Mia set the dog bed by her own bed. But, Rusty slept with her that night.

When they woke up, Rusty went on a walk with Mia. They saw another dog that was a German Shepherd. Both of the dogs were enthusiastic and started to play and play and play. Then, another came. It was a humongous dog, a Great Dane! Mia and Rusty were scared and then it turned out the Great Dane wasn’t even friendly. It had mean team that snapped at them. They decided to run home. Mia chased after Rusty because he was running so super fast.

When Rusty and Mia got home, they ran inside. Rusty went straight to his dog bed and whimpered. Mia pet Rusty and gave him a treat. That cheered him up a little bit. He was still afraid of the Great Dane. Luckily, the Great Dane didn’t come to the neighborhood ever again. Mia cuddled Rusty with every hug she had and they fell asleep on her bed. Rusty laid there, warm against Mia, and he realized he hadn’t made a mess since Mia adopted him. He was so happy to feel love.


Vacation Blackberry Crumble


Blackberry Filling:

4 cups blackberries from a gate in Italy

1/4 cup granulated sugar from a Mexico sugar cane truck

2 teaspoons cornstarch from when I first opened my eyes in Israel

1 tablespoon of water from Malibu beach


Crumble Topping:

1 cup oats from a horse ranch

1/2 cup brown sugar from the shore

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon from a national park in Sri Lanka

1/2 cup flour from the Washington snow

1/2 cup butter from a Montana dairy farm


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put a skillet on the stovetop and set the burner to medium high.


Grease the skillet with melted butter and remove from the heat. Pour in the blackberry filling. Then, using your hands, drop the crumbles all over the top. Think about all the places I’ve been.


When covered, place in the oven for 45 minutes. When it’s done, let it cool. Then, have a spoonful, and enjoy my memories.


Melissa and the First Day of School




“Wh-a-t,” she moaned. She dug herself face first into the covers. The covers smelled like lemonade, which she spilled yesterday afternoon. It was the most terrible, horrible, gross first day of school. Melissa is eight. Melissa is frightened because it is third grade, and third grade is a lot of work.

Her mom said, “Get out here! Your breakfast is ready, it’s your favorite breakfast — scrambled eggs and chocolate chip pancakes.”

As Melissa got out of bed, she got the idea that she should get under the bed. But her mom saw her and told her, “Haven’t I told you to not get under the bed? So now you are grounded for a day!”

Melissa stumbled to her dining room and crawled into her chair. Melissa ate her food as slow as a sloth. As she ate, the only thing she could think of was how terrible school would be. She felt like there were ants crawling up her leg. When she finished eating, she begged her mom to stay home, but she had to go to school. She asked before she brushed her teeth and got dressed so that she did not wear her uniform if she did not have to go to school.

“The only time you skip school is if you have a sort of disease,” said Isabel.

“Okay,” said Melissa, slinking out of her chair. “I hate life {zoe in Greek},” said Melissa.

“Stop cursing,” said Isabel.

“I’m not,” said Melissa.

“Oh yes you are,” said Isabel.

No!yelled Melissa.

“Yes too,” said Isabel.

Then Melissa walked to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Melissa was so unhappy that she brushed her teeth too long! Then Melissa stumbled to her room, so she could get dressed. Melissa did not like her school uniform because it’s the most unfit and uncomfortable thing Melissa had ever worn! The school uniform is a shirt, a dress shirt, and a sweater. But she had to wear it to go to school, and Melissa had to go to school. So, Melissa had to wear her school uniform. Melissa was so unhappy. Melissa started to get dressed.

“Why does it have to be me?” asked Melissa.

“Your life is not hard at all,” said Isabel.

“How do you know,” said Melissa.

Melissa was put into a stage of rage. “R-o-a-r!” screamed Melissa.

“What are you doing?” asked Isabel.

“Nothing,” said Melissa.

Melissa’s heart was pounding. She was as frustrated as a squirrel that had no food! Melissa just wanted to stay home. She did not know what school was going be like.

Melissa just went with what she had.



“It’s worse than I thought,” said Melissa. “I will not do school next year.”

The classroom was so tiny that Melissa could not stand it! The classroom also smelled like deodorant. But the desk pattern, that’s what did it, because Melissa hated checkers. Melissa got the idea to act sick and lay on her desk acting sick. This was hard. Too hard! Melissa could not do this for much longer.

“I hate this,” said Melissa. Melissa had to stop! “Ouh-hoo,” breathed Melissa.



“I hate math!” exclaimed Melissa. She had flunked the whole math class! Melissa had said, “2+2=22” and “1+1=11!” Melissa would never go to school ever again!

“Melissa,” her teacher would say.

“Oh g-d,” Melissa would say.

School was very hard for Melissa. Very hard.



It turned out Melissa could not write more than a half a page! Melissa had never written a book before! Why did I even go to school? Melissa would think.



Melissa did not know any history about her ancestors, and that is what she is learning about in social studies.

“What am I going to do?” Melissa would say. Melissa was so frustrated that she was the only one in the class who had no history about her ancestors. Melissa could not do any work for the whole rest of her unit, because her ancestors were from so long ago. Melissa’s social studies was bad for the whole unit, because she could not do any work about her ancestors, because she had no information about her ancestors. But worst of all, she was sad, not that she couldn’t do any social studies in the unit, but because she didn’t know anything about her family years ago.



Melissa was only level A, which was the lowest, lowest level for reading. Melissa did not want to read, because she was embarrassed that most of the time, she couldn’t even read the word “mistake.”

“What am I going to do about this?” exclaimed Melissa.

“Shut your mouth, and get to work,” said the teacher.

“What’s wrong with talking?” asked Melissa. Melissa was so unhappy.



Melissa was beat up at recess. She had a scar on the right side of her face. There was a bully named Tryler in third grade, who was the worst bully ever known in the school. That is why she had a scar on the right side of her face. Tryler beat Melissa up because Melissa had stolen his ball not knowing that it belonged to him. Tryler was so stealthy that he would never get caught doing anything bad unless he wanted to get caught.

Melissa felt like she had a bloody right cheek.

She felt like she was in The Walking Dead. Melissa was terrified to go back to school.

“Why does it always have to be me? What am I going to do?” asked Melissa.



“Worst day ever,” exclaimed Melissa. “It’s getting super late. I hate the world. The grade hates me. Everyone hates me! No one likes me, nothing likes me, the world hates me!”

She was in her room, sitting on her bed trying to get the juice stain out of her bed.

“That means I hate the world,” exclaimed Melissa. “I like no one.” Her goal was to have a successful year, and the first day was not a successful day. Melissa would have to stand up for herself next time she goes to recess. But Melissa had a fear of standing up for herself, because she thought that the bully would tell on her to the teacher.


Next morning…

Melissa woke up at 5:00 in the morning. She was as ready to go to school as she was to play a card game, and she loves card games. She felt excited to go to school, so she could stand up for herself. But it turned out they had to go on vacation that day because of work. So she could not stand up for herself against the bully.

Melissa did not like the location because it was boring, colder, and was bombed a long time ago and was rebuilt.

“Poop to hell,” exclaimed Melissa. “And pee to hell. It’s poopostris!” This was the worst day ever for Melissa. The worst!!!


Two weeks later…

“Worst vaykay ever,” exclaimed Melissa. Melissa wrote in her journal:


Worst vacation in what I had been through. – Melissa Korik




Back at school…

Melissa was feeling as happy as a newborn baby turtle. She was feeling happy because now Melissa could stand up for herself. When she got to school, she said to the bully, “You’re not going to do any bullying today Mr. Bully.”

The bully growled at her. His face looked like he’d been running for two hours in the Olympics, but he just found out he was not even in the Olympics.

“Yes, I am,” said the bully.

Melissa said, “No, no, no, Mr. Bully.”

The bully sighed. “Okay,” said the bully. The bully does not have a lot of friends.

When Melissa got back to her desk, she whispered, “Success!”

Then it was math class. Melissa took out her math book, her dry erase board, and her marker. There was a problem. It was “___ + 10 = 187.” She doesn’t know how to solve that problem! It equals 177.



It was recess. Melissa saw the bully walking up to her. She told him, “No bullying today,” and walked away with her arms crossed. But when she walked away, she let her arms go and felt great. So she went and grabbed a hula hoop. She can hula hoop seventy-five times in a row.


Stood up



Before she knew it, there was a big circle, three rows thick, cheering and screaming and clapping their hands before her.


Always stand up for yourself.


Audio Recordings

This is a series of audio recordings that were uncovered by the FBI while investigating the scene of a crime at Emmie’s house. They subsequently listened to them when they were supposed to be looking for evidence.


Audio recording I

DAD: So, since little Emmie is only three and really wanted to keep a diary like her big sister Rachel, we decided to record this conversation as her diary!

EMMIE: I’m not wittle! I’m big!

DAD: My mistake, Em! Now, start recording your diary!

EMMIE: So, so, so… I don’t know what to say, Dada!

DAD: Maybe you want to start off with what you did today!

EMMIE: Well, I woke up, and Wobby was playing woud music.

DAD: Just for the record, Robert, called Robby by Emmie, is Rachel’s twin and Em’s teenage brother.

EMMIE: Stop talking, Dada. I am talking now! Anyway the music was wots of scweaming. I couldn’t sleep! Then I ate ceweal. Then I went to kidagarten!

DAD: Emmie, you don’t go to kindergarten just yet. You go to Carol Day Care!


DAD: Carol Day Care is really fun! You have lots of friends, like Ashley!




Audio Recording II

MOM: Well, since Martin has completely shied away from this task, I took on the job of supervising Emmie while she does her audio recording diary. So, Emmie, mic to you.

EMMIE: What’s mic to you?

MOM: (sighs) Emmie, me saying mic to you is a way of letting you talk.


MOM: (exasperatedly) So, mic to you.

EMMIE: What’s mic to you?

MOM: (largest sigh yet) Just talk!


MOM: (sighs larger than the boundaries of the universe) I am losing it right now! Emmie, we are recording your diary, as I hope you remember! Although, if you keep pushing my patience, we won’t be recording for much longer!



(footsteps fade)

EMMIE: I’m Cookie Monster! Cookie Monster wants cookies!

(running footsteps fade, then a long period of silence)

(footsteps approach)

ROBERT: Why is this dumb thing blinking green at me? Does that mean it’s on? This is like medieval technology. I dunno how to work this stuff. Why is it here?


ROBERT: Oh yeah, didn’t Mom mention something about Em doing her diary as an audio recording? Must have not gone very well if both Mom and Em left the room, not bothering to turn off this odd contraption. Anyway, I should probably quit this recording… maybe I should turn this switch to “off” instead of “on”? So confusing, this pathetic excuse for tech…



Audio Recording III

RACHEL: Look, I’m only in this for the money. Mom said she would give me five bucks if I did this. (smacks gum) So, like, do your thing, Em.

EMMIE: Wachie, what should I say!

RACHEL: Do whatever you want. Sing your ABC’s if you want to. But make it snappy. I’m due at Allie’s in fifteen minutes. (smacks gum)

EMMIE: A, B, C, E, E, F, E. A, A, A… What comes next, Wachie?

RACHEL: Where are you in the alphabet? You got like five letters wrong.

EMMIE: I don’t know my ABC’s.

RACHEL: Then sing freaking “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Or whatever you want! I don’t have time for this. (smacks gum)

EMMIE: Wachie, you don’t like me!

RACHEL: Yeah, nope. I really don’t.

EMMIE: But, but, but you are not a pwetty, pwetty pwincess anymore!

RACHEL: I do not care whether I am a pretty, pretty princess or the Devil. All I know is that this is dragging on longer than I wanted it to. (smacks gum) I’d better phone Allie to tell her I’ll be late.

EMMIE: (suddenly happy) Could I come to Allie’s?

RACHEL: You know Allie hates you, right?

EMMIE: (sniffles) She does?

RACHEL: (smacks gum) Yup, she does. (tone softens) But, come along anyway.

EMMIE: What? You are so mean to me, like Cora at kidagarten.

RACHEL: (sighs) I’m not going to say anything. (pause) Who is Cora?

EMMIE: Cora always says she has the best Wegos. I only have Duplex Wegos. She has regular Wegos! I want Mommy to get me regular Wegos, but she says no.

RACHEL: She’s right, only Duplo is safe for kids three years old and under. There’s a choking hazard. I wonder if Cora’s mom knows about that?

EMMIE: Could I go to Allie’s house with you, could I? Could I? Could I?

RACHEL: Sure, whatever. Are we done recording this dumb diary thing?

EMMIE: Yay! We’re done! Let’s go!

RACHEL: Now if I can just figure out how to turn this off…



Audio Recording IV

ROBERT: Dad doesn’t want to do it, Mom doesn’t want to do it, Rachel’s at Allie’s house again, so who gets the job? Me, of course!

EMMIE: Hmph. Wachie was nice at least. She took me to Allie’s house.

ROBERT: She should have taken you this time, too.

EMMIE: Wobby! Tell me what to talk about!

ROBERT: Talk about what you did today at Carol Day Care.

EMMIE: No! Kidagarten!

ROBERT: Fine, talk about that.

EMMIE: Say it.

ROBERT: Say what?

EMMIE: Say “talk about what you did today at kidagarten.”

ROBERT: No, that’s ridiculous. You’re not even in kindergarten!



DAD: (calling from upstairs) What’s all the fuss about?

ROBERT: She wants me to acknowledge that she’s in kindergarten, but she’s not!

DAD: Just say she is if you want to avoid a ton of drama.

ROBERT: Absolutely not. I refuse, goodbye.

EMMIE: But Wobby, we didn’t get to finish my diary!


EMMIE: Don’t go!


EMMIE: (calling out) Dada, will you do it?

DAD: (replying from upstairs) No, no, no, absolutely not, and if you didn’t catch the hint, over my dead body!

EMMIE: (whining) But, but, but I want to finish my diary!

DAD: (frantically, still from upstairs) Shh, shh, don’t cry. We’ll call Aunt Jojo and have her come visit from her home in California to help you finish your diary, okay?

EMMIE: Yay! Auntie Jojo!

DAD: Wait, are we still being recorded? Let me come downstairs to turn off the audio recording.

(footsteps growing louder as they come down a set of stairs and approach)



Audio Recording V

AUNT JOJO: I can’t believe this is so easy! It’s a perfect excuse to pull off my evil schemes – sorry, I meant spend time with my lovely niece.

EMMIE: What is skeems?

AUNT JOJO: (in a sickeningly sweet tone) Nothing, honeypie, nothing at all. Now why don’t you talk about, let’s see here, your friends at Carol Day Care? Last time I was here, I met Ashley, a sweet child but much too interested in princesses. Anyway, start talking, Emmie, okay?

EMMIE: (incredulously, or as incredulous as a three-year-old can be) I not go to day care! I go to kidagarten! Everybody make that mistake!

AUNT JOJO: Whatever, kindergarten. Now, honeypie, you keep talking. Auntie Jojo is going to go do some work.

(footsteps fading)

EMMIE: Ashley is friends with Cora now. She doesn’t like me now. They’re cwiquey. Ashley’s mommy is gonna buy her regular Wegos for her birthday. Ashley won’t share with me, and Miss Marsha says sharing is caring!

(footsteps approaching)

AUNT JOJO: Isn’t it sad your friend won’t share with you? How about I take you to a nice place where everybody knows about sharing?

EMMIE: Okay, Auntie Jojo. But can I do my diary there?

AUNT JOJO: (sighing) Fine. Now all you have to do is let me throw this sack over your head and carry you to my stolen car.

(rustling of sack)

EMMIE: (muffled) It’s dark in here. What if there are monsters?

AUNT JOJO: (sighing again) Honeypie, monsters don’t exist. Now let me just turn off this audio recording, and we’ll be off to sunny California!



Chapter One

After hearing these audio recordings, new FBI recruit Stanley Harding was very confused. He thought that they were funny sometimes, but were completely unrelated to the kidnapping crime he was solving. He went back to looking for evidence.

At five PM, he went back to the FBI base with bad news. “Sorry, guys. No evidence today,” he sighed. “I listened to some funny audio recordings I found in the basement though.”

“That could be evidence!” Laura Raskin shouted.

Laura Raskin was a very high-level member of the FBI who had been on the team for much longer than Stanley.

“Nah, I don’t think so,” Stanley said. “All they featured was a little girl doing her diary as an audio recording because she couldn’t write yet. She kept changing supervisors until they finally brought in her Californian aunt. It was hilarious. The end was a bit confusing because the aunt took the girl on a vacation to California without asking the girl’s parents.”

“Stanley, don’t you see?” Laura asked. “The little girl is the one that was kidnapped! Her aunt took her to California! I’m starting to seriously doubt whether you should even be on the FBI with the way you dismiss evidence right in front of your face!”

Stanley Harding was even more confused, but he understood that Laura thought the audio recordings were evidence. So, he took her to Emmie’s house two blocks away, although he got lost on the way, which delayed the process.

Finally, they arrived. Laura quickly said, “Okay, which audio recording is it?”

Stanley counted on his fingers. “Five?” he said questioningly.

Laura listened to the fifth audio recording. Once she finished, she jumped up, sighing at Stanley.

“How did you not get that this was evidence?” Laura said. “Well, no harm done. We just have to fly to California and find Emmeline.”

(Emmeline was Emmie’s full name.)

But when they asked permission from their FBI base leader, Kingsley Maxwell, he said, “Which one of you found this evidence? You see, I am getting old and ready to retire. I’ll promote the person who solves this case to base leader.”

Stanley Harding was not an intelligent man, as you have probably already seen. How he got on the FBI in the first place will forever remain a mystery. But he knew that if he took credit, he would get promoted to base leader.

“I found the evidence,” he said, not exactly lying.

“Okay, then. Stanley. If you solve this case, I’ll promote you,” Kingsley said, a little nervously.

This new recruit hadn’t proven himself very well in the past. He seemed to have difficulty solving even the simplest of cases. But if Stanley had found the

evidence… he must not be as hopeless as Kingsley had thought.

It was nearly night, so Stanley, Laura, and Kingsley retired to their tents. They had set up a temporary camp near Emmie’s house. Stanley and Kingsley went to sleep immediately, but Laura tossed and turned in the women’s tent. Was Stanley even competent enough to help her search for Emmeline in California? When an FBI partnership is working together, each partner has to completely trust the other. Laura knew that Stanley would want to help her, but she didn’t know if he would be able to. She thought she might end up doing all the work, and he would just be a useless tag-along. That would be through no fault of his own, just because of the painful fact that Laura was simply better at investigating, and connecting the dots without any numbers. Stanley wasn’t even aware of that fact, and suddenly Laura felt bad for him.

There was so much going on in Laura’s brain that it tired her out. Suddenly, her eyelids felt heavy, and she soon fell asleep.


Chapter Two

The next morning, Kingsley was shouting, “HARDING! RASKIN! You’re going to California today! Wake up!”

Laura jumped out of bed. Despite her lack of sleep overnight, she was energized and ready for the day. On previous cases, she had had to deal with little sleep (even all-nighters) and still stay focused on her case during the day. She was used to it. She showered, dressed, brushed her teeth, and appeared from behind the tent flap, her naturally frizzy red hair slicked back into a ponytail. Not one hair escaped. A few minutes later, Stanley Harding emerged from the men’s tent in a stained bathrobe, clutching a cup of lukewarm coffee. He rubbed his eyes and mumbled a few curses.

“Get dressed, Harding. Your flight is in three hours!” Kingsley barked.

Stanley disappeared back into the tent, still mumbling curses. Laura drummed her nails on her thigh, then winced. She had forgotten that she had just had an acrylic manicure done. Nail treatments were her one vice. She’d never told anyone about it because it wasn’t very professional for a high-level FBI member.

Kingsley and Laura waited for Stanley, and they waited, and they waited. They waited for a very long time. Finally Kingsley rose.

“I’m going to see what is going on in that tent,” he said, a little angrily.

After all, Stanley was holding up the solving of a case. But Kingsley didn’t need to check in on him, because at that moment, Stanley came out of the tent, dressed but still red-eyed.

“It took you long enough,” Laura called out.

“No matter,” Kingsley said. “Walk five blocks away and call an Uber to JFK from there.”

Laura nodded sharply.

“Why?” Stanley whined. “We can call an Uber from here, you know!”

“To maintain your cover. Just in case.”

Kingsley sent them off. The walk was mostly uneventful. Stanley plodded along, complaining. Laura briskly walked ahead. The Uber was cramped, with ripped seat covers that sent yellow stuffing spilling out and broken seat belts. Laura was anxious to get out. Stanley didn’t seem to notice the poor condition of the car. He was too busy falling asleep on Laura’s shoulder and waking up with a jolt whenever the car went over a bump.

A long time later, they got on the plane. Describing the airport ordeal would be meaningless and time-consuming. You have gone through meaningless, time-consuming processes before. I do not need to describe another one for you.

Both Laura and Stanley fell asleep on the plane. Laura woke briefly only to blurrily see a perky blonde flight attendant whose pin said “Hello! My name is Stefanie!”

Stefanie was holding a basket full of packets of beet chips and almond cookies. Laura fell asleep again while Stefanie was talking to the people across from them.

Laura woke again about forty-five minutes before touchdown, well rested now, and woke Stanley too. Once he had rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, he was awake.

When they got off the plane, Stefanie said goodbye to them.

Laura and Stanley got their luggage from the baggage claim. You might think that they wouldn’t have much luggage, but both of them had packed for two weeks. If this case took longer, they could go to a laundromat and wash their clothes.

“Where are we staying?” asked Stanley.

“At the Marriott Inn. Kingsley has arranged it all for us,” Laura replied.

There was a little confusion in the taxi because the driver thought that they were going to the Maltese Inn, which was a spa, salon, and boarding facility for small dogs. But, eventually, Laura straightened it out.

Their room at the Marriott Inn had only one double bed. Laura phoned the front desk and asked for a rollaway bed for herself. She knew that if Stanley had the rollaway, he would complain all night about the bad springs. They unpacked, and didn’t leave their hotel room for the rest of the day.

The next morning, Laura and Stanley got up, got dressed, and went to start investigating the case.

“On the recording, Emmeline’s father said that the aunt lived in California, so I’ll call the family to ask where the aunt lives,” Laura said.

“Okay,” Stanley said.

Laura phoned the house. “Hello, where does Emmeline’s aunt live?” she asked.

“Who is this?” replied Martin, Emmie’s dad.

“Laura Raskin, FBI, investigating your daughter’s kidnapping.”

“1 Peachy Beachy Road, Sunnytown, California.”

“Okay, thank you,” Laura said sarcastically.

She slammed the phone down with more force than necessary. Peachy Beachy Road? Sunnytown? Martin was either an idiot about where his sister lived or a bad liar, and Laura couldn’t find any reason for him to lie. Didn’t he want to find his daughter faster?

“Stanley, bad news. Emmeline’s father is no help at all. According to him, the aunt lives on 1 Peachy Beachy Road, Sunnytown, California. Seriously?” Laura fumed.

“Well then, let’s go, and look for Peachy Beachy Road in Sunnytown!” Stanley said excitedly. “We have a lead on our case!”

“Stanley. Harding. Do you really think anyone in the world would be lucky enough to have their house number 1, to live in a place called Sunnytown, in California, and to have their road be named Peachy Beachy Road? That sounds like something Emmeline, the three-year-old, would make up. Honestly, Stanley. Wake up.”

“Well, I’m going to look up 1 Peachy Beachy Road on the computer. See if you can stop me,” Stanley replied. “It’s possible. Anything is possible!”

“Fine,” Laura replied. “But I promise you, nothing is going to come out of it.”

A few minutes later, Stanley shouted, “Look!” He turned the computer to face Laura. The Google Maps result read, “1 Peachy Beachy Road, Sunnytown, California.” Most of the results below were Reddit links to users making fun of the road’s name.

Laura sighed. “Okay, let’s go.”

She knew that Emmeline probably wouldn’t be there, but they could search the house for clues as to where she and her aunt were.


Chapter Three

They went out of the hotel. On the way, Laura had to pull Stanley away from three separate people who he was about to blow their cover to – the front desk receptionist with too much hairspray and too much makeup, the tall French waiter with a gelled mustache, and the random brown haired, brown eyed, freckled short woman they passed who looked slightly intimidated by Stanley. But Laura was getting used to Stanley’s mindless, unprofessional slip-ups, and how to deal with them.

Laura caught another Uber to a location five blocks away from 1 Peachy Beachy Road, another walk that Stanley complained about. Emmeline’s aunt’s house was small and nondescript. It looked just like all the others on the block. Laura took a deep breath and raised her hand to knock on the door, but Stanley snatched her hand away.

“I want to do it!” he whined, like a two-year-old.

“Okay, Stanley,” Laura sighed. “You can do it.”

“Yay!” Stanley knocked on the door.

The door opened, and a woman came out. She had a toothpaste-commercial smile, bright blue eyes, and perfectly applied makeup.

“What could this be?” the woman asked kindly.

“Hello. We are FBI members. We have reason to believe that you are hiding a three-year-old child in this house,” Laura said.

“Go away!” the woman said fiercely, her kind demeanor gone.

Laura and Stanley shoved themselves into the house and began searching for Emmeline. It didn’t take long. There was a girl that looked exactly like the photos Emmeline’s parents had given them sitting on a shag rug in the living room, happily sucking on a lollipop and playing a fantasy football video game.

“Hello, Emmeline,” Laura said quietly. “We have come to take you from this horrible house and back to your parents, who love you and miss you very much.”

Emmeline stubbornly popped the lollipop out of her mouth. “But Auntie Jojo gives me wollipops!” she whined. “And I’ve discovered a new passion – funzee football!”

“Fantasy football, dear,” the woman said, looking lovingly at Emmeline.

Laura was dumbstruck. She had never been in a kidnapping situation before where the child being kidnapped was being treated better with the kidnapper than in the child’s normal home. This wasn’t a case crime more than it was a moral dilemma.

“Well?” the woman asked, looking utterly sad and broken. “Go on. Take her away back to her family, whom she hates. She would rather be with me.”

“Laura,” Stanley said seriously. “It doesn’t seem right to take this child away. She seems happier here. From the information we got for this case, and from how she’s being treated here, I think this is a better upbringing environment.”

“I want to stay with Auntie Jojo!” Emmeline cried out.

Laura felt like she was overwhelmed. She had to solve this case because she was an FBI member, but she also had moral difficulties with doing this to Emmeline. And, also, WHEN THE HECK DID STANLEY START TALKING LIKE THAT?!

Laura took a deep breath and left the room.

When she was in the other room, she thought about everything. Being a member of the FBI was about collecting all the knowledge you know and using it to fill in the things you don’t know. So she thought and thought.

Finally, a metaphorical light bulb turned on inside her head, and she had a plan.

“Okay.” Laura came back into the room. “Josefina, you love Emmeline and want to keep her. That’s why you kidnapped her. Correct?”

“Correct,” the woman replied.

“And you seriously doubt the legitimacy of her parents’ guardianship of her. Correct?” Laura waited expectantly.

“Correct,” the woman repeated.

“Did you get to see her all that much before the kidnapping?” Laura asked.

“No, actually, the audio recording session was the first time I’d seen her in about two years,” the woman replied. “Actually, that’s one of the reasons I… you know.”

“Okay, then. Why not move a little closer to the area Emmeline lives in? And have a schedule or something, like her parents have primary guardianship but you get her on weekends, if her parents agree to it. Does that work for you?” Laura asked.

“Actually, yes. Perfect,” The woman brightened.

“You will have to work this all out with a lawyer of course, and if you kidnap any of the children again, you will not be allowed to see them, you know…”

“Yes. I know. If it’s possible, could I also see the older children, Rachel and Robert from time to time?” Emmeline’s aunt asked.

“You’re going to need to work that out with their parents and a lawyer. I’m not the person to ask on this one. And you know that this is all conditional, and it’s only if Emmeline’s parents agree.”

But Laura could see that Josefina’s hopes were up. Boy, she hoped the parents would agree.


Chapter Four

Laura, Stanley, Emmeline and her aunt arrived at the door of Emmeline’s immediate family’s house. Laura rang the doorbell. A woman opened it, and immediately embraced Emmeline.

“Emmie,” the woman cried, sobbing from joy. “Martin! Robert! Rachel! Emmie’s home!”

A man and a teenage girl ran down the stairs. A teenage boy reluctantly followed behind. The man and the teenage girl, who Laura knew as Martin and Rachel respectively, both sobbed over Emmeline. Even the teenage boy, Robert, tousled Emmeline’s wispy blonde hair and admitted, “I’ve missed you, squirt.”

It was a precious moment, and Laura hated to break it up, but professionalism had almost completely replaced her sentimentality. “Excuse me,” she said. “Josefina here, Emmeline’s aunt, has been found as the culprit of your daughter’s kidnapping.”

“You…” Emmeline’s mother, Abigail, straightened up, then turned to Laura. “Look, I know all in-laws suck, but this is the worst case I have ever heard of!”

“Hear me out,” Laura said. “Josefina loves Emmeline. She truly does. She never gets to see her. She just wants to be able to love her. She wants to move closer to you and your family so she can see Emmeline more often. She would really appreciate it if you would allow her to see Emmeline as a part of a schedule. I know this might take time, and you would need to work it out with a lawyer, but -”

“No.” The word from Abigail was sharp.

“What?” Laura was not used to being interrupted. “Just hear me out!”

“I don’t need to hear you out. I know what you want to say.” Abigail crossed her arms. “You’re going to play the whole repentant-sinner shtick, and you expect me to give in. Well, I wasn’t born yesterday. This is my daughter, and I’m not about to willingly place her into the hands of a known kidnapper.”

“Oh.” Laura was speechless.

“Please,” Josefina choked out, teary.

“Oh, Jojo!” Abigail dropped her stern demeanor and ran into Josefina’s arms, which sounded a lot like giving into the repentant-sinner shtick to Laura.

But she didn’t say anything, because she didn’t want to do away with one of the rare times Abigail showed her humanity.

“You are going to have to work this out with a lawyer, so it’s not final…” Laura warned.

But she knew, somehow, that it would turn out right. She usually had a feeling of satisfaction when she solved a case, but this feeling was different. The feeling she had now was that she’d done the right thing.


Chapter Five

A few weeks later, everything was resolved. Josefina, Abigail, and Martin had worked out everything with a lawyer. Josefina had found a house for sale near Emmeline’s family’s house and was planning to move there soon. And Stanley – sigh – was replacing Kingsley Maxwell as FBI base leader.

Laura had forgotten this particular aspect of their case agreement, so it came as a surprise. She had been walking around the FBI base with Stanley, totally content and happy. Then Stanley grinned and said, “Do you remember how Kingsley said I could be base leader if we solved the case? Well, we did!”

Oh, boy, Laura thought automatically. This is not going to be good. Then she reconsidered. Stanley had been acting so much more mature since the day that they had found Emmie. He was more confident, and thought ahead more. Like, when Stanley wanted to invite his college buddies over to the FBI base for beer, an action Laura would not have put past him in the past, he decided not to because he knew they should probably stay inconspicuous. He then excitedly described the whole thought process in detail to Laura, even using the word “inconspicuous,” which was really the game changer for Laura. Small, she knew, but small things like that really prove a person’s maturity. She thought, Maybe he’s ready for this. He’s matured considerably since this case. I think he’s ready.

He was ready. Kingsley thought so, Laura thought so, even Emmeline, who had taken to calling him “Uncle Stanee” thought so. Laura was “Auntie Lauwa.” Well, actually, she was “Scawy Auntie Lauwa,” because of her stern demeanor. But even that was going away. It wasn’t only Stanley who had changed since the case. Laura was more playful and imaginative, and she adored Emmeline. Stanley did too.

Stanley and Laura started out as polar opposites. But through the process of the case, they had grown closer together in personality. Laura and Stanley both had a thing for each other, but it was unsaid until one groundbreaking moment…



It happened on a case. A very important case, one that Stanley and Laura were working on together. A Brazilian cruise company was smuggling endangered animals from the Amazon rainforest, and selling them to Americans for millions. Stanley and Laura were hiding out in a crate on the cruise ship with the extremely rare tulip macaw, who was perched on Laura’s arm and was dirty, wet, and scared. Laura was trying to soothe it.

They were hunched over in this tiny crate, and Stanley whispered, “Laura.”

“Shhh!” Laura hissed angrily.

“Laura,” Stanley repeated.

“Shhh! Do you want us to get caught?” Laura whispered furiously.

“Laura!” Stanley was loud, and Laura’s heart thumped wildly in her chest.

We’re going to get caught, we’re going to get caught, was all she could think. Nothing happened, and her heart rate slowed to normal.

“Will you marry me?” Stanley said.

“Oh. Um. Sure.”

And Stanley kissed Laura. Laura was shocked, but Stanley kept on. Eventually, he released her, both of them embarrassed. There was a moment of silence, and then Laura kissed him back.

“Whuh?” Stanley said.

“I just thought, what the heck,” Laura replied.

They eventually left the FBI and got married. They settled in the same neighborhood as Josefina, Martin, Abigail, Rachel, Robert, and Emmie. They got to watch Emmie grow up, and Josefina, Abigail, and Laura became best friends. Laura and Stanley eventually had two children, Kaia and Ezekiel, but that’s another story.

And they all lived happily ever after.

P.S.: If you want to know, Ashley, Emmie’s former best friend, and Cora, the girl whose mother bought her Legos, never became friends with Emmie again. However, Emmie eventually came to her senses, and became best friends with Kaia, Laura’s daughter.


The End




The cool breeze washing the leaves away

Kids running past piles of snow

And wind pushes against their faces

Wailing to get away from the cold

The ice chipping skates split it

And little pieces of ice scattered against the ground

Snow melting off the tops of houses

And dripping onto the frozen ground

And when night comes the wind washes away the leaves again.


Zeef: Fart Detective

One day at home, Zeef’s family was farting because they ate so many beans. Zeef’s brother, Veef, was six, and he was eight. His sister, Keef, was fourteen.

They were all sitting at the dinner table eating beans, but Zeef hates beans. Really, it was breakfast. And next thing you know, there was a gigantic fart, and then Zeef decided to try to become the fart detective.

Zeef thought, It stinks! It stinks! It stinks! It smells like rotten eggs, poop, rotten tomatoes, and dead rat bodies.

He went around the whole table to sniff everyone’s booties. Keef thought it was a fly and smacked her butt, which was Zeef’s head on her butt. And then she farted again. He fainted.

Zeef said, “Never, ever, ever fart again, and I’m talking to everyone in here.” He wanted to find out who farted and give them the biggest spanking ever, even though they were his family, and he would probably get in trouble.

“If you’re going to be a fart detective, just don’t go around sniffing everyone’s butts,” Keef said.

“Well, that’s the only way I can do it, so you just better get used to it.”

Zeef’s dad said, “You can’t go around sniffing everyone’s butts, so I suggest you either go in the room or eat your beans and start farting like everyone else.” Zeef’s dad was looking really stern, with his legs crossed and arms folded.

Zeef’s mom said, “Exactly.”

Zeef ate some beans and let out a huge stinker. He thought it smelled like roses, but he was kind of embarrassed. He just stayed where he was and tried to hide it.

Then, Veef let out the biggest stinker you’d ever smelled, and it stunk really bad. It was the worst one that you’d ever smelled since the last time your mother farted, which was yesterday.

Veef said, “I’m not going to say excuse me anymore because I think it’s fine to fart at the table and not say excuse me.”

Zeef said, “Well that’s obvious. No one said excuse me, not even me.”

Veef was pulling his hair because he was getting a little tired of the booty talk.

Zeef said, “I’m going to go play with your Legos, Keef.”

“But I thought you were afraid of Legos because they hurt your feet when you step on them,” said Keef.

Zeef didn’t even remember that he was scared of Legos. So Keef reminded him. Zeef couldn’t take it and hide his embarrassment anymore, so he just left, went to his room, and went to sleep.


The End… for now…


Sperm Whale 2: Sperm VS. Squid


Chapter One

Once upon a time, a sperm whale named Jake lived in an ocean village with his friend orca. The orca’s name was Jack. Jake and Jack’s enemy was King Giant Squid.

“How can we defeat King Giant Squid?” said Jack.

“I have a plan,” said Jake. “The plan is we will throw a potion of invisibility on ourselves. We will sneak into the palace and throw a potion of harming on King Giant Squid. We will free all the prisoners.”

King Giant Squid had visited their town and robbed and captured animals. They were Jake’s friends and his parents. It had been one month since he had captured a lot of animals. There were some of the animals left.

Jake wanted to save his parents, and Jack wanted to save his friends. They started their adventure. They were swimming by the ocean temple. The ceiling was made out of glass and bricks. The floor was made out of sand, and the color was bright blue. They went inside and saw a guard. The guard looked like a great white shark.

Jake used water bomb, and Jack used dark bite. Jake created a ball of water with his fin, and he threw it at the guard. The guard blocked it with his fin. Jack bit the guard, and the bite made a dark spot. The guard had a confusion. The guard wiggled and crashed into the wall.

They entered the temple. They found the treasure room, and they got diamonds, gold, and rubies. They needed this stuff to craft powerful weapons. When they were swimming out, they saw three giant squids. The purple one used ink ball. He created a ball of ink with his tentacle. He threw it at Jack. It missed Jack, but it hit Jake. Jack used a bite and tail whip. The purple giant squid was destroyed. Jake was still recovering. One giant squid ran away. A green giant squid used suction cups and stuck them on Jack!!! Another giant squid came. The blue giant squid used ink defense. Ink defense is like ink forming around the giant squid. Jake used water tornado. It washed away all of the giant squids. He opened his mouth and formed a tornado.

“Nice job!” said Jack.

“Thank you! That was cool!”

They got out of the temple and continued their trip. They had to go to the other ocean temple. They ran into five puffer fish. Two puffer fish used puffed up, and Jake used water bomb. He threw it with his fin and destroyed all five puffer fish. When they were swimming, they couldn’t believe who was standing there.


Chapter Two

It was King Giant Squid.

“Well, well, well, well, well, and well,” said King Giant Squid.

“Stop terrorizing our town,” said Jake.

“Never!” yelled King Giant Squid.

Jack used dark bomb, and it hit King Giant Squid. King Giant Squid used ink ball. Jack used fin block. King Giant Squid ran away.

“How are we ever going to catch him,” said Jake.

“Let’s do your plan,” said Jack.

They got to the ocean temple. They saw ten giant squids. Jake used water tornado. And it hit and destroyed six giant squids. They threw in a potion which was made out of liquid in a glass bottle. And when it landed on Jake and Jack, they became invisible.

“CHARGE!!!” yelled Jack.

“DOUBLE CHARGE!!!” yelled Jack again.

“TRIPLE CHARGE!!!” yelled Jack another time.

Jack was charging into the wall. The wall did break. Jake swam into the ocean temple. Jack followed him inside. Jake threw a potion of invisibility on Jack and himself again. Jake did that because he was planning a sneak attack.

He saw King Giant Squid. He threw a potion of harming on King Giant Squid.

“Who threw that?” asked King Giant Squid. He couldn’t see invisible people throwing potions at him.

King Giant Squid used ink ball, and it struck Jack. Jack was destroyed.

“Oh no,” said Jake.

Jack respawned in Jake’s house. Jake’s potion of invisibility wore off, and now King Giant Squid could see Jake.
“Army, capture Jake! Now!”

Jake was trapped in a bedrock room. Meanwhile, Jack was waking up from his bed.

“What happened?” asked Jack.

No one was there to answer him. Jack went to the ocean temple and saw Jake trapped in the bedrock room.

“Help!” yelled Jake.

“I will bust you out,” said Jack.

“Thanks,” said Jake.

Jack busted him out.

“I’m free!” said Jake.

“Thanks, bud,” said Jake.

“No problem,” said Jack.

“Why are the giant squids different colors?” asked Jake.
“I can tell you,” said Jack. “Pink and purple giant squids build, and green and orange giant squids fix things. Yellow and blue giant squids learn to fight. And red and indigo also fix things. And bronze, silver, and gold giant squids are really important to the giant squid army.”

Jack knew this because his great grandpa told him.

An army of giant squids advanced towards Jake and Jack. One of the giant squids used ink ball. It hit Jack. One gold, one silver, and one bronze giant squid used ink ball on both of them. Jake and Jack were destroyed.

“What happened?” asked Jack again.

Now someone was here to answer.

“We got destroyed by King Giant Squid’s army, duh,” said Jake.

“What can we do?” asked Jack.

“We could eat something because we got destroyed. We need to fill up,” Jake said.

King Giant Squid was at the door.


Chapter Three: Battle to the End

Jake and Jack went out the door. King Giant Squid was there, and so was his co-leader Fred. Fred used ink ball. It missed Jake and Jack, but it hit the library.
“Oh no! The librarian is destroyed!” yelled one of the townspeople.

King Giant Squid and Fred left for no reason.
“Why did they leave?” asked Jack.

“I don’t know!” said Jake.

Jake, Jack, and the townspeople battled the giant squids.

“Stop!” yelled Jack. “You think King Giant Squid is the most powerful king in the ocean? We have to live in a peaceful world, not where someone is terrorizing our town. Change your skins.”

The giant squids changed their skins to orcas, great white sharks, and whales. When everybody changed their skins, they lived peacefully for a short time.


The End



I woke up at 5 o’clock to begin my training. I was very nervous, but at the same time, too excited for my own good. I am Adam Owl. I am a unique who, like many others, has spent my entire life at Crescent Academy. I am one of not that many gifted people, and my gifts are super speed, flight, energy projection, and I can teleport people and things, but not myself alone. Today is 11th year exams, and I am up second vs. Miele Males, who is in my training sector. I was nervous because she could manipulate air, and she is a level x unique.

I was in the chamber, and she was just let in, and she immediately flew at me, ready to punch, and I froze up. The punch was about to hit me, and I extended my hand and teleported her away and into the floor where, even though her face was above ground, she could not move. I had won! I had passed! Those who did not pass shall be granted a second chance in the final round against the challenger! Holton Sparrow! The crowd cheered loudly, and I felt a gust of wind blow at my face. I did not turn, because I knew where it was coming from.

I slow-walked away from the stadium, as the guard stopped me and said, “Where are you going? You’re up next!” to which I said nothing. I extended my wings, as I turned to face my new opponent, Gregory Osprey.

I created a sonic boom and a circular hole in the wall that I pushed off of, and slammed Osprey into the wall as I was shocked by his electric gift. But I pushed through the sharp pain, and he pushed me onto the floor as I retracted my wings and started to run in circles, creating a tornado. I launched it off in his direction, but he turned into an Osprey and flew away. He flapped his wings and electricity sparked my way, and I teleported it into the floor.

The principal bellowed, “That’s enough!”

We stopped, and he sent us to our training rooms. I showered, and as the cold water ran down my back, I thought, why did the principal wear that mask with the weird eye? Then I remembered that we were not supposed to question anything he says or does, which I then realized makes him kind of an idiot, because he will definitely make us want to do just that! Then I had a fleeting thought. Maybe there is something he did not want us to see… I wanted to find it out. I stepped out of the shower, put on my suit, and marked it for stealth, which means I cannot make noise and my suit’s normal blue and black coloring is consumed by black.

I stepped out of the room as Gregory said, “Where you goin’? I heard you and I’m coming too. I can read minds you know. Lucky I’m curious.”

We snuck into the principal’s office silently and took his access card. We swiped it to disable the sound lock on his door and left it closed, but we could still hear. He was reciting some kind of mantra, and we saw a flash of light, and I touched him and teleported into our room, and with that, went to sleep. The next morning, we went to intelligence training, and after, went onto the arena. I was against Maximillian Zyper, who had the power to shapeshift into anything. He was a teacher’s pet, and I was waiting to punish him for all those kids he sent to detention, including me of course. I advanced slowly, and so did he. I took two cautious steps to the side, and then he transformed into a dragon. I extracted my wings and powered up my fists with energy, fired them off, and narrowly dodged his fire blast by falling to the floor and flying around in a circle to make a solid ring. Then I launched myself into him, and he was knocked out of his dragon form. I immediately started shooting at him and knocked him out. I won this session. After these four hour long sessions (with breaks every hour in between) I went to my room for a free rest of the day to relax.

While in bed, the principal yelled over the loudspeaker, “Owl, Adam, Blaise, Kaylee, Osprey, Gregory, Holting, Aaron! To my office.”

“Oohs” and “aahs” surrounded me as I got up, put on my training suit, and prepared to fight the figurative dragon. The people who were called started to pool around the cold, dark area surrounding the office.

The principal’s stony voice echoed in the hall, “Owl, come in!”

I grimly stepped forward, looking at my feet. The door creaked open, and I stepped inside, taking care to do it as slowly as possible, so I took up as much time as possible. He spoke and whispered an enchantment “imperium semper.” I could no longer move or see.

When I came to, I saw Aaron, Kaylee, and Greg all fighting the principal. I got up, picked up the principal’s axe, and threw it at him. He exploded in a rush of purple fire.

It was over, and I took a seat in my new chair. I crossed out his name on the label and wrote mine in. When I looked back, his name was gone.


Mittens the Hero

One sunny day, a cat and her kits went out for a walk with their owners. The mom’s name was Clover, and her three kits were named Fuzzy, Mittens, and Tiger. But as they crossed the bridge over the river, Fuzzy fell into the water.

The kit wailed, “Help!”

“I’m coming!” Clover exclaimed.

Their mom leaped into the water and swam to the kit, but Fuzzy floated farther and farther away.

Tiger was the strongest kit in the family, so he raced to his littermate. “I’m coming to save you!”

Mittens thought that she should also try to save Fuzzy. She thought about this because she was the smart one in the family and always fixed problems. But she had to figure it out, and Tiger was trying his best. She wanted to help since Fuzzy was her best friend. She wanted to be the one to save him.

Tiger swam with his mother, and he was faster than his mother, but the waves still pushed the kit out into the river. The owners went to help, but they couldn’t reach Fuzzy. Mittens saw her mother and Tiger swimming near Fuzzy, so she thought she could use them as if they were rocks. She went running down the shore and was able to keep up with her mother. So then Mittens pounced from the ground onto her mother and then Tiger.

“Sorry! I’m trying to reach Fuzzy as fast as I can by leaping onto you guys!”  

“Okay!” said Tiger and her mom.

Tiger swam as fast as he could and reached Fuzzy’s fur, but he wasn’t able to catch him. Clover swam so fast that she couldn’t take it anymore, so she went back onto shore. Mittens pounced over Tiger and was able to reach Fuzzy. She grasped Fuzzy’s paw, and Tiger was able to catch up with her. So, Tiger swam with all of them holding onto his tail.

“Let’s go under the water and walk on the ground!” ordered Mittens.

They took a deep breath and went under the water. Every one minute they had to take another breath of air. Once they reached the shore, they scampered up to their mother. When their mother saw them, she noticed they were very soggy. Clover gasped with joy to see Fuzzy back! The owners jumped with joy!

Mittens was very happy.

“Thank you, Mittens, for saving me,” Fuzzy said.

“You’re welcome.” She learned that she could save members of the family.

So then they continued the walk with their owners and were much more careful. Right before noon, they went back to their home.


The End!


Otto and Max’s Adventure

Once upon a time, a dragon was on a field trip with his class. His name was Otto. He was so excited to be on the field trip that he got distracted by the biggest tree he ever saw. He couldn’t see the top, so he walked backwards to try and see the top. But then, he slipped on a trench, and then he tried climbing up and when he got up, he noticed he was on the other side. He tried to find the end of it. So, he started walking across the trench. But then, he just came upon a volcano. Then, at that moment, the volcano erupted, so then he hid behind a boulder. When the eruption was over, he fell asleep. He finally noticed that he was lost. He didn’t see his class, and he tried to find them by climbing on the volcano to see if he could see them. But, he just ended up falling inside.

“Uh-oh,” he murmured to himself.

He tried climbing up, but he kept sliding down. Then, he tried to dig under and back up to his class, which didn’t work. The floor was made of solid stone. But the walls were made of dirt, so he thought he could dig through that. He tried to fly, but then he remembered he couldn’t. He was too young. His wings were the size of a stick. So, obviously they couldn’t carry him. He tried to dig through. He managed to get out of the volcano, but he was still on the other side of the trench. When he looked over, he saw there was kind of a ramp over the trench. But then, at the end of the ramp, there was still a little gap, but he thought he could jump over it. So, that’s what he did. He got over. But he still remembered it was morning again, so his class must have been in the school. It was a whole day since he got lost. He tried to remember which way he came. He saw the stop sign that the bus stopped at, and he knew he was going the right way. Otto didn’t know how long the ride was because he was sleeping the whole time. He saw the stop sign when he woke up. He started walking in that direction. So, he walked down that way, but then he saw his friend walking the same way, too.

And then he said, “Max, what are you doing here?”

And then his friend said, “What are you doing here?”

“You’re supposed to be with the class.”

“I got lost!”

Then Otto said, “I did too!”

They worked together to try to find a way back. But Max said it was too long to walk.

“That’s all we can do, so just do it,” said Otto.

“We can try to build something,” said Max.

Max and Otto tried to build a hot air balloon, but it popped. They tried it again, and this time they used wood to make the basket instead of grass. It would be stronger if they used the palm leaves for the balloon instead of normal leaves. This time it worked, and they went up.

“Do you even know how to steer a hot air balloon,” Otto said.

Max pulled a rope, and they were going the right way, so he pulled it again and then pulled the left rope. But then, a seagull popped the air balloon with its beak. They fell crashing down at full speed, but they were lucky because they landed on a pile of grass. That was where they slept for the night. In the morning, Otto and Max woke up. Otto went to get food.

Five minutes later, Otto saw a bear and screamed, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh!”

Then, Max noticed a tree shaped like a bear. So he climbed up the tree and found berries. He looked back to the pile of grass, and they kept trying to make the hot air balloon, but it kept popping. So they tried something different. They were next to a stream. Max and Otto tried to build a boat because they thought it was easier. They built the boat and got it on their first try and sailed across the stream but not long after the stream ended. Otto saw a beaver dam, which clogged the river, so they couldn’t go any longer. They saw a beaver walking out from under the water with a stick in its mouth, and he put it on the dam. They decided to ask the beaver which was the way back to the school.

“Do you know the way back to the school?” asked Otto.

“Yes,” the beaver said with boredom.

Otto got all excited and shouted, “What’s the way?! What’s the way?!”

The beaver pointed to the left. They waved to the beaver and started walking that way. It got dark, so they slept under a tree. When Otto was sleeping, he had a dream that he got back home, but then his parents were really mad at him.

In the morning, he thought about it.

Max was awake, and Otto told Max, “So, I have this rule with my parents that I can’t be out of the house for three days straight, or I’ll get in big trouble and not be able to go to my friend’s house for a year. We have to get back today.”

Max was worried too because he wanted to be able to go to Otto’s house and Otto to be able to go to his. At that moment, Max noticed they were sleeping in a monkey tree. And then they asked the monkeys for help to get back to their neighborhood. The monkeys were very nice because they offered them help too, and they said they would trade a banana for a ride to the town. And that’s what they did. They got on the monkeys, and they started climbing. About ten minutes later, a monkey slipped and fell. Max was on the monkey that fell. The monkey was okay, but Max wasn’t. Max hurt his knee, and Otto came down to help him.

“Ouch,” said Max.

He could not get up, even with Otto’s help. The monkeys helped him and asked for another banana. Otto gave them a banana, and they came down to help Max. They went another mile and came to a wall. The monkeys couldn’t climb up, so Max and Otto thanked the monkeys and started climbing the wall. It started to get dark, but they managed to climb the wall. They noticed they were on top of their village dragon town, so they went down the wall and went home.




Angel Wings



Life at home was a mess. Pete was always crying.

Mom was always away, and I hadn’t seen Dad in months.

The day he left isn’t an open subject, and neither was “Him.”


“Him” is the driver of the mysterious car that mom climbs out of some nights. It’s not a taxi; trust me. It’s a blue Mercedes. I’m good with cars. Credit goes to Dad.


School is my escape from all that. And I don’t mean that.

With my friends I can escape. No, no, no. It’s my teacher. My math teacher, to be exact. Ms. Linson.


She’s cheery and bright, and actually makes learning, well, fun. I’m not a straight-A student. I mean I don’t fail, but my grades range from the occasional A to the super rare C, so my grades are mostly B’s.


Don’t get me wrong, I have good friends. Nico and Rick and Kyle and I are all cool, but we’re not all buddy-buddy, like girls. I started skipping to class, only to halt abruptly and question my mental mind. I’m lucky no one saw me. I dribbled my basketball the rest of the way to class, careful to keep myself from skipping again.



Why are people so mean?

Is it a virus?

A chemical in our brains?

Or the result of bad parenting?


Also, why don’t they tease me? People have told me, “You’re pretty and nice; that’s why.”

But then I always say, “Olivia is nice, and she gets bullied.”

After that, people just shake their heads at me. I don’t care; they also do that when I help Olivia up.


I like school. Especially music and math. I play three instruments. Piano, flute, and violin.

Flute’s my favorite, though. My dad calls me Madame Mozart because I love music so much.


But I love math too. I mean, with a teacher like Ms. Linson, it’s impossible to not like math. She’s so nice!

I mean, when I forgot my homework at home last week, she was really nice about it and let it go after I promised to bring it next week.


When I arrived at school, I was happy and excited.

Did you realize I said “was?”



I walked down the hall quickly, head down, hoodie up.

I prayed they wouldn’t see me.


“Hey look, it’s cowgirl!”

Too late, I thought.


Niko and Yanic cornered me.


“What’s wrong? Show your face, come on, don’t be shy,” jeered Yanic.

I had to. If I didn’t, lord knows what would happen to me.

Slowly, I revealed my face. Yanic and Nico showed mock faces of disgust.

“I think she’s gotten uglier since we last saw her!”

“Why do they let cows in school?”

“People, look out! Cow without a bell! Cow on the loose!”

Stop it, stop it, stop it, I thought.

Okay, I know you’re wondering. Let me clear up the mystery. My caramel skin is covered in white blotches. Only on my face though. Unfortunate, isn’t it? Imagine, in all the places it could be, it’s the face. Really, God, why are you punishing me?? Tell me!! I shut my eyes and thought of butterflies. I rehearsed the song my little sister, Layla, taught me. “Butterfly, butterfly, ooh a butter-butter.” A scream erupted my song. Until then, I hadn’t realized the math room had been oddly still. There was a crowd surrounding the now open door. I hurried to get a better look.


I gasped as people said, “Somebody get the nurse!!”; “Is she dead?!”; “Unconscious?”; and “Why are her eyes open??”


Ms. Linson, my favorite teacher, was lying on the ground.

Eyes open.

Face white.

A look of terror plastered on her face.





I was the one who had gotten Mrs. N, the school nurse. As soon as I saw what happened, I ran to get her. I told her what happened. She looked at my face to see if I was kidding, then jumped out of her chair when she realized I wasn’t. She ran down the hall surprisingly fast for a seventy-something year old. When she came to the classroom door, she froze. Then she bent down.

She checked Ms. Linson’s pulse.

She checked it again.

And again.

And again.



Ms. Linson’s first name.

She turned around, face ashen.

She looked at a girl in my class.

“Harper, get the principal.”

“I’m calling 911.”



I sprinted down the hallway to the principal’s office. A few other teachers were in there, and the rest had already come to the scene.

Mr. Thompson, the principal, said, “What’s wrong?!”

I was tired from sprinting down four flights of stairs, so my response was a little delayed.

“Ms. Linson… lying down… not… breathing… Nurse — ”

Before I could finish, the principal was out of the door and racing down the hallway. I ran to catch up with him.


When we came to the scene, he gasped. Several teachers who had already arrived were crying and pale.

Then, the ambulance came.

A tension had been clogging up the room, like a thick, black smoke, and it had been getting really hard to breathe.

All of that disappeared when the ambulance came. Well, almost all of it.

Mr. Thompson rode in the ambulance, and his secretary, Janine (last name unknown) sent out a message to our parents. My dad and my mom picked me up. I could tell my mom had been had been crying, and my dad had been comforting her. Nobody said anything on the way home. We watched a silly movie, Welcome To My World. But as soon as the TV switched on, we started crying.

You wanna know why?

The first thing that appeared on the screen was an animated sun who said, “Don’t worry, and all your worries will go away!!”


Part Two: What a Day!



My grandmother, Hedi, picked me up. On the way home, she didn’t speak, and neither did I. As soon as I got to my room, I turned on the movie I always watch when I feel sad: Welcome To My World. But I turned it off after I heard the opening monologue. \

I flopped down onto my bed and cried. I cried for myself.

I cried for Ms. Linson.

But I cried for myself, mostly.

I heard Hedi come up the stairs and into my room.

“Tell me,” she said in her thick, Russian accent. “Tell me about those… ” (She doesn’t know much English.) “Boihs.”

I laughed a little. Then I told her the story I’ve never told anyone, the one I’m ashamed to speak of, afraid people will call me what they always have: Freak. Weak. But when I finished, my grandmother smiled and said simply, “Strong.”

I knew exactly what she meant.



I rode home on my bicycle. This was Mom’s day to pick up Peter. I put the frozen lasagna in the oven and plopped down on the bean bag chair in my room. I had so many emotions running through me, and it hit me, the reality.

There was no way Ms. Linson was alive. I know I didn’t mention it, but up until then, I had been telling myself, Okay, it’s okay Jack. She probably just fainted or something. That happens, right??

Just then, Mom burst through the door.

“Mom? Where’s Pete?”

“I dropped him off at his friend’s house. I told his parents I needed to spend some time with you for a change.” She smiled.

Mom never smiled anymore. I mean, there have been half smiles, but this was a full-out smile. She hugged me, then burst into tears. I hugged her, And she told me everything. About him, about Dad, about me and Peter. Him was a man she knew from work. His name was Tyson Brown. After Dad disappeared, Tyson had gone out of his way to make sure Mom didn’t get fired for missing so much work. Later, when Mom had kinda, sorta recovered, he started taking her to dinner on a weekly basis. She told him about me and Pete, and he didn’t seem to care… at all. Mom said she was thinking about having him meet Pete and me. But then she realized he wasn’t a good person and dumped him (even though they were never really together). She said she should have known better. When she was done, Pete got dropped off, and we watched Welcome To My World together… as a family. I cried a lot, but it was nice to be together for once.



The next morning, I woke up with my head spinning. I went downstairs for breakfast, though I wasn’t in the mood for talking. I was starving. I once read that hunger will make you do anything for a meal. I guess it’s true. Downstairs, my mom was flipping French toast on the grill, and my dad was reading the paper.

“Good morning, sweetie,” said my mom.

“Mornin’ Madame Mozart,” said Dad. He ruffled my hair.

Mom put down a plate of French toast with strawberries and maple syrup, my favorite. Mom sat down with her cup of coffee, and by the look my parents shared, I knew they were about to tell me something bad. I just stared down at my plate.

“Harper — ”

Maybe I misread their looks, maybe they’re going to tell me something good, like she just fell asleep on the floor?

Oh, who am I kidding??

“Is she alive?? Unconscious??” I asked frantically.

“Harper, princess… ” my dad began.

“Sweetie, she didn’t make it. We’re really sorry, honey,” my mom finished quickly, like ripping off a band-aid.

I lay my head down on the table. It was too much to bear. I cried. I don’t like sad stuff, I like happy stuff!! This definitely would qualify as a sad stuff thing!!

Then, a thought came to me.

“Will… she g-get…” I sniffled, “… a f-funeral?”

“Mozart, she doesn’t have any family left alive, and the PTA is generous enough to raise money to pay for one for her. It’s next Sunday.”

Mom cut in then. “Sweetie, you don’t have to g — ”

“I’ll go!! I need to go there, Mom, Dad.”

They nodded, and we had an agreement.



All weekend I stayed active. Babushka made sure of that. She took me to parks, museums, and a free Shakespearean play that was playing in Oaks Park. She did this to distract me from my sadness. Every time she saw some variation of a frown on me, she would slap me on the face lightly and tell me to snap out of it or she’d slap me on the face harder. That made me laugh. I knew this was to make me forget about Ms. Linson’s death. Regardless, I almost felt better. But, of course, on Monday I had to go back to school. Back to teasing, back to homework, back to bad memories. Actually… maybe not. Babushka had reported to the principal about the teasing (she called it harassment), but I was not sure if I was actually worth being reported. I mean if Nico and Yanic had decided that I was worth teasing through most of sixth grade, there must be something wrong with me… right?


On Monday, half of the kids who attend our school (Oak Academy) did not even show up. Information about how Ms. Linson died had not been released yet, and some parents feared foul play. I could sympathize with the terrified parents. I mean if this were to happen in my child’s school, I would immediately assume the worst as well. Mom and Dad had called and said they would make it home for the funeral, but I highly doubted that. They almost missed their own wedding because of work. Anyway, back to Monday. The whole school seemed gray and empty. I ran to class, literally, hoping to outrun Nico and Yanic, if they were even here.

“Hey!” someone yelled.

I stopped and turned. It was Harper, the girl who helped me up when I fell over my clumsy feet. She looked sad, but did her best to smile. “Nico and Yanic aren’t here today.”


“C’mon, let’s get to class.”

Her friends were frowning at her, and some actually started walking away.

“Why?” It was a stupid question, but I was curious. She was popular, not me.

“Because I want some nice friends for a change.”

I smiled. She smiled.

And we started walking to class.



I think every kid on earth can agree that Mondays suck. But this one in particular really sucked. I mean, I found out my teacher died! But Mom said I had to go to school. I guess it beats watching Pete fail at Mario Kart all day though. I walked into school as usual, but I realized that a lot of kids weren’t even at school! It was kind of creepy. I looked around and saw that Harper was here… walking with Olivia? I knew that Harper was always nice to her, but… then I had a pretty genius idea.


I walked up to them and said, “Hi Harper, Olivia. Can I walk with you guys to class?”

Olivia smiled. Score!

Harper smiled. Double score!!

“Sure,” they said at exactly the same time.

We cracked up at the look of surprise they shared, and then walked to our class.


Harper, Jack, and Olivia

This is what happened the morning before the funeral:

I put on one of my favorite dresses (chosen by me, Olivia, for her to wear) with black lillies (which we figured was appropriate because it was a funeral) and ate oatmeal (yuck) before we left.


I wore my dark, purple skirt and one of Harper’s shirts she lent me (which, by the way, is so pretty). Aw… thanks Liv! Welcome. I had cereal before we left.


Ugh. My mom made me wear these painfully tight jeans and a tie that really itches. Hey, I think they look cool! Do you guys have crushes or something on each other?! Change of subject, please! Okay fine… for now… mwa ha ha!!


Anyway, the funeral was really sad. R.I.P Ms. Linson!! Apparently she died from some sort of really rare bacteria that infests the bodies of people who get sick a lot. And you can’t get medicine for it because there is no medicine for it!! Sad…


Oh, we almost forgot something!!

Eh, people can read it in the author’s note. Wait what?!




Author’s note:

So, you’re probably wondering why I left you off like that, and I’m sorry for that because I absolutely hate it when authors leave me on a cliffhanger at the end of the book. It’s the worst kind of surprise. But I realize that the end of the book should probably be told by the most important character in this story: Ms. Linson.




Courtney Linson

I should have gone to the doctor when I started feeling off-center. I really should have. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to end up sick and alone in a hospital bed like my mother, with no one willing or able to take care of her after she ran off without me at age eight. I didn’t want to leave my students, the children I found my only joy in (through teaching them). So I didn’t. And each day, slowly, I got worse. I could feel it in my bones. Each day, the cramps were worse, the pain was worse. I regret it, I regret it, I regret it.

One morning, I felt particularly awful, and I decided that day after school, I would go to the doctor. But as I was preparing the morning lesson, I fell out of my chair. I felt lightheaded, and I couldn’t get back up. I saw a ray of light poke through the roof of my classroom, and the sky opened up. I felt myself lift up into the air, leaving my body behind. I felt a rush of… alive, that I hadn’t felt in a while. I ascended into the clouds and settled down to watch over my students I knew needed a little extra help. Harper, Olivia, and Jack were three students I had that were a perfect friend match, but they just happened to be in the wrong positions. I pulled a few strings, got them together, and on they day of my funeral I decided to make one final appearance before I would permanently move myself, forever. Destination: Oaks Park. I swooped in, on paper thin angel wings and settled down on my grave. The only people who saw me were my three students, Jack, Olivia, and Harper, who stared at me in awe.

Before I disappeared into the earth forever, I whispered one last sentence, “Remember: You are never alone, you always have your angel wings.”


snow falls

Snow falls.

Snow, white as the dove’s gentle wing. Snow, like the soft fields of cotton. The cold wonder that proves always to be beautiful as it floats to the ground. It travels down lightly, in slow, poetic movements. Landing, it melts slightly, bright white against the gravel trail it falls upon.

Feel it. The white snow, a soft powder. Feel the slight sting of cold it gives you as it falls on your legs, arms, and face.

Now listen: do you hear that? The faraway clanking that becomes louder with every second. The sound of the hooves against wet, hard gravel. The squelch of the slipping snow underneath running feet.

Cup your ear. Alert your senses. There’s more.

The running feet click on the gravel, quickening every time a snap is heard. There’s a voice, too. A deep, aged voice calls out and lets out short yelps. There is another sound behind the shouting voice and the jangling feet. It’s a low sound, coming from the ground. Becomes louder with the noises of the feet. Wheels.


Now look: four horses appear on the trail. Their pelts are various shades of chocolate and the night sky. They’re running quick, leather straps holding them to a large carriage. An elderly man with grayed hair sits outside the carriage on a wooden seat, holding the leather, shouting at the galloping horses. He holds a long, menacing whip, urging the horses to go their fastest. The carriage they haul is a light blue, almost hiding in the snow.

Look closer. Look inside that carriage. Do you see her? The woman? The young adult, sitting peacefully with her long hair drawn up into a braid? Look at her. Don’t take your eyes off her for a second, for something is about to happen.

Now stop. Breath. Take a long, deep breath.

Think. Feel the trail. Feel the horses running, the snow falling. Feel the man shouting and the woman sitting. Be in it.

You think you know all that’s happening this quiet Sunday, as the woman is pulled along the path. You know the snow falls, the horses run, the man shouts, and the woman sits. That is the story. That’s all. Everything, is just the beautiful, snowy trail.

But there is one thing in this story you didn’t get to hear, you didn’t get to see. You don’t know the one thing in this story that changes everything. Do you want to know?

The woman dies. She always dies in this story. No matter what you do, the woman in this snowy scene will die.

But how, is up to you.

Maybe you see the bandits with crimson red bandanas chasing after the carriage, holding menacing daggers, ganging up to the horse. You see them swiftly abandon their horses as they jump onto the carriage’s roof and walls. They sneak their way into it, where the beautiful woman sits, and stab her away.

Maybe you see the sudden slope that appears in the path ahead, though you know it’s too late for the old driver to turn back. The horses’ hooves slip on the icy fault, dragging the carriage dangerously down with them. The woman screams, trying to escape, but it’s too late, for she’s crushed under the toppling carriage.

Maybe you see the gentle snow suddenly attack, growing in speed until it’s impossible to see, for all the white blinds you. The woman gets stuck in the horrible blizzard, unable to run, unable to move. She’s trapped there in the cold, until she no longer feels anything.

Or maybe you see something else entirely, something that’s hidden in the snow, come out for the woman.



Frosty flakes fall from the sky and build up on my windowsill. There’s fog on the window, where the chilly fog has not reached the warmth in my house and the chill outside. So I fly down the stairs in my PJs and have some toast. I bundle up and go to the swing. I brush off magic, white powder and pump my legs. I see the brown trees and pine cones and see the green pine trees. I pump my legs to the snowy, white sky. I jump off the swing and run home to cuddle up with my mom and read a Christmas book. We have Christmas cookies and sip a warm, chocolatey drink. We sip our cocoa while small flakes fall.


Auggie the Awkward Spy

I am a twenty-one-year-old guy named Auggie. And I am a spy on a mission. Something you need to know about me is that I am very clumsy.

I climb into a vent filled with rats that keep chasing me. I am horrified, so I start running and screaming. I am not paying close attention to a hole ahead of me, so I fall into it. There is a dance party going on there, and the funny thing about that is that I fall on the dance floor. I get really humiliated, so I do a dance. I even tell them that I meant to fall down. I hear some people laughing, so I start laughing along even though I am really hurt. I am so embarrassed, so I dance to the door.

I walk down the hall and take the elevator to the first floor.

The guy at the front desk asks me, “What do you need, sir?”

He has curly, light brown hair. He is wearing a tuxedo. He has hazel, brown eyes and an earring on one side of his ear.

“I would like a key for a room at this wonderful hotel,” I respond.

“Oh, I have one question before you leave, why are you wearing all black and a mask on your face?” he says curiously.

“I am just getting ready for Halloween.”

“But it is only May.”

“I’ll just be heading upstairs if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind at all, don’t worry.”

I take the elevator to my room, and I feel shocked because the room is big, and it even has an indoor pool. When I walk into the bathroom, I almost scream because it is the size of a bedroom, and the bedroom is the size of two pools combined. My kitchen isn’t that big, and the living room is a good size, and the dining room is pretty big. Even though this is not vacation, this feels like paradise to me. I have never been in a hotel before because I can’t afford one. That’s why the organization, S.A.S.O. (Super Awesome Spy Organization), let me be in the spy group. I used to live in a beautiful house with my mother and my father until my dad left us two years ago, and I couldn’t pay taxes, so I had to find a job. If I joined cooking, I would have burned the whole restaurant because I’m not good with fire. Fire and I don’t get along because when I was younger, I was sitting by the fireplace, and my feet were really cold, so I put my feet by it, and my baby toe caught on fire. Since that day, I have been scared of fire. Water and I get along well because when I was two months old, my mom and my dad took me to the pool to learn how to swim. When I was floating on the water perfectly, the swimming coach told me I was the best in the class. At least that’s what my parents told me.

I’m at this hotel, so I can take a test to prove that I’m good enough to join the S.A.S.O. The owner of the S.A.S.O., Dylan, sent me here on a mission. I do not really know what I’ll be doing on the mission.

I hear a knock at my door. I ask, “Who is it?”

Somebody responds, “It’s the mailman for the hotel.”

“Come on in.”

The mailman opens the door. He has hair on the sides, and the middle of his head is bald. He puts his glasses on and says with an English accent, “This letter is from Dylan.”

“Thank you very much,” I say in an English accent back to the mailman. The mailman looks at me for a while, and I just say, “Have a good day, sir!”

After the mailman leaves, I start to laugh. I think I’m so funny. Most people say I’m awkward, but I think I’m funny.

I open the mail and say, “Huh, I guess this is important mail from Dylan. Very important. And very serious, because Dylan is a serious man. I can’t wait to open and see this serious stuff.” When I open the envelope I see pictures. All I see is white on the picture. I say, “Hmm, that’s strange.” Then I realize that I have to flip the photo over. When I flip it over, I actually see the picture, and I start cracking up. “Is this seriously a picture of Dylan as a kid wearing underwear on his head?” I call Dylan on my phone and tell him, “Seriously, Dylan? This is important?”

He says, “Yes, it’s very important!”

“How is this important?”

“It’s important because whoever this suspect is might post this picture on the Internet. It’s going to be really embarrassing, and it will stop us from being spies. They’re even going to find out we’re spies!”

Then Dylan starts screaming at me on the phone, and all I can hear is, “Hey you something, something, something, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, so embarrassing!”

“Chill, Dylan! Come on! You don’t have to yell at me.”

“No, I’m not yelling at you. I’m yelling at my nextdoor neighbor. He’s being so loud! He always puts on music in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. It’s so annoying. I’m so rich that I can probably call the cops and pay them to kick him out!”

Rrrriiiinnnngggg!!” I hear a voice say somewhere in the room.

“Dylan, I’ll call you back later,” I say.

“Guess who’s here,” a familiar voice says.

“Seriously, Ignacio?” I say.

“I am definitely not Ignacio,” he says.

“Oh no, do I see Aunty Agatha?” I say, to scare Ignacio.

“Where?” he says, in a scared voice.

Aunt Agatha is our scary aunt.

Ignacio jumps out from behind the couch and lands in my arms. Ignacio is my annoying twin brother.

“So, I heard you say something about spies,” Ignacio says.

“What are you talking about? I didn’t say anything about spies,” I say.

“When you’re nervous your cheeks turn red, and your ears start to move up a bit. That’s how I know you’re lying to me.”

I start to hold my ears down and put my hands over my cheeks and say, “Nothing’s going on, what are you talking about? I’m not a spy, and I’m definitely not nervous.”

“Sure. Now I’m going to keep my eye on you while I stay here with you for a few weeks.”

“Who said you’re staying with me?”

“I have to. Mom kicked me out of the house!”

“But why did Mom kick you out of the house?”

“Well, let’s just say while Mom was cleaning everything up, I was eating popcorn, and there was popcorn all over the couch. So Mom got mad and told me to clean it up. I said, ‘I’m going to do it later,’ but I never did it later. Instead, I was busy playing my video game. And Mom was all like, ‘Fine, if you don’t want to clean, then I’m going to kick you out of my house!’ So then I was all like ‘Mom, you need to chill out, seriously.’ Then Mom was all like ‘I am going to show you you what “seriously” means with my fist in your face, unless you want to leave my house.’ Then I was all like ‘This is technically Auggie’s house because he pays for the rent,’ then Mom pointed her finger at the door, so I just walked out. Ok, that is the end of my story,” Ignacio says.

“Wow, wow. That is all I have to say.”

“And when I try to sneak into the house, Mom always calls Oreo to bite my skin off, and man is Oreo scary. He has red eyes now. You don’t know because you haven’t seen Oreo for eight years.”

“I don’t think this is the right time Ignacio, but Oreo loves me and hates you.”

“Why does Oreo hate me?”

“Oh yeah, you definitely never used to pull on his whiskers, pull on his tail, and put him in the toilet, and you used never, ever, ever, eve — ”

“Okay, okay I get it.”

Knock! Knock!

“Go away Fred! You know today I don’t have cookies for you!” I shout at the door.

“Excuse me, Auggie. Who do you think you’re yelling at. I’m your mother,” my mother says in an angry voice.

My mom pulls on the doorknob slowly and then slams the door open, breaking one of my paintings. She wobbles in slowly with her cane. I pinched Ignacio on his back for a warning that Mom was here. He ran quickly but quietly to hide into the bathroom. My mom didn’t see him, because at that time she took off her glasses and couldn’t see a thing.

“So Mom, why are you here?” I ask.

“I’m here to ask you if you know where Ignacio is,” my mom asks me.

“No, I talked to him on the phone earlier, but he didn’t tell me where he was,” I reply.

“Oh, okay, tell me if you find him because when I find him, he’s gonna get it,” my mom says.

“Okay Mom, goodbye,” I say.

I hear something fall in the bathroom.

My mom asks, “What is that noise?”

I say, “Oh, it’s just me stomping my feet.” And then I start stomping my feet.

She says, “I smell something fishy in this room.”

“Oh, it’s probably because I made fish earlier for me and Ig — Iguana! My cat.”

“I never knew you had a cat.”

“I just got him yesterday, and you cannot see him right now because he is asleep.”

“Oh, really,” she says.

“Yes, really,” I reply.

Then my mom starts walking towards the door until she turns around and says, “Auggie, may I please stay over with you for a little.”

“No, you cannot. Sorry, Mom,” I reply.

“Why can’t I?” she questions.

“Because Ignaci — I mean, Iguana is having a lot of diarrhea, and it will not go away until she dies,” I say to my mother.

“Okay, but before I leave, can I use the bathroom?” my mom asks.

“I am sorry, but you cannot,” I say to my mother.

“You have been a piece of junk lately,” my mother says to me.

“Jeez, Sara, stop being so rude,” I say.

“Excuse me, who do you think you’re calling Sara? You call me Mother, you hear me,” my mom says.

“Yes, Mom,” I reply.

“Okay, good” my mother says.

“Bye, Mother,” I say, waving at her.

“Excuse me, I leave any time I want!” my mom shouts.

“But this my house,” I say.

“I brought you into this world. I can take you right out,” my mother says angrily.

“How mamasita, how?” I ask.

Then, I see my mother walk into the kitchen and walk out with a knife in her hand.

“Who were you calling mamasita? I think I forgot,” she says.

“Okay Mom, I have an idea. If you leave my house, I will buy you an iPhone X,” I say, taking a few steps back with my hands up.

“Okay, fine,” my mom says, while she walks out the door and shuts it closed.

Just to be sure my mom left, I open the door. I see my mom getting into the elevator, and I look out the window to see if she left.

“Ignacio, you can come out now. Mom left,” I call out to Ignacio.

Ignacio quickly hops out of the bathtub and looks left and right to see if his mother is still there.

“Phew, that witch is gone,” says Ignacio.

“I know, right,” I reply.

“But we all know that you are and always will be Mom’s favorite,” Ignacio says, as a tear rolls down his cheek.

“Well you know that Dad likes you the best and always has,” I say, to make Ignacio feel better.

Ignacio reaches over to hug me. We hug, but then suddenly the door swings open and there Dad walks in.

“Dad, is that you?” Ignacio and I say at the same.

I am so surprised. I haven’t seen Dad ever since he divorced and left when I was eight.

“Yes, it is,” our dad says as he gives us a hug.

I am so happy, I could jump on the ceiling, break it through, and bite his head off. I am excited to see my father again. I was trying to keep in contact in with him for years through emails and phone calls.

“Is it okay if I stay for a while?” our dad asks us. “I just got kicked out of my apartment because I couldn’t afford to pay for it, and your mother wouldn’t let me live with her… so… can I?”

“Sure,” we say, simultaneously.

Then, the door swings open again.

“So you let him stay,” our mom says.

“Goodbye, Mom,” I say.

“I just want to be back in the picture,” my dad says to me and Ignacio.

“Speaking of pictures, I have to call my boss and tell him I’m not doing the mission anymore. I want to spend more time with you, Dad,” I say.

“What mission?”


“Hey boss, can I tell you something? I’m quitting being a spy!”

“What?!” my boss says.

“Yeah, you heard me! I’m spending time with my family now!”

“What?! You can’t quit right now! You… you… awkward spy!”

“Actually, it’s Auggie the Awkward Spy!”


The Land of Four Elements


Chapter 1


The long summer break lies in front of me. I have so many things I want to do, but I don’t know which one I should do first. Go bowling, go ice skating, go to the movies… But I have to choose one for tomorrow. The choice lies in front of me like a shadow of doom. I gulp, not knowing what to do the next day, but I want to sleep well and not have all these thoughts dwelling inside my head for now. I push all my thoughts away and go to bed with a clear head. So I get into my coziest pajamas to celebrate the last day of school before the break.

“Night!” I call to my mom.

She still thinks I am like five years old, so she walks into my room every night and gives me a little kiss on my forehead. I sigh a little. It really is annoying and embarrassing for a mom to say good night to a sixth grader.

“Uh,” I sigh to myself, quiet enough so that my mom won’t hear me.

I look up at the ceiling. Mom keeps forgetting to take the glow in the dark stars off my ceiling. She says that they look pretty and that I should keep them there.

I wake up, hearing a rustle from downstairs. Daddy’s home! I jump out of bed and run down the stairs with my puffy, red hair bouncing against my shoulders and my milky, brown eyes sparkling with excitement. I don’t care what time it is. I jump into my dad’s arms. He lifts me up above him. All his bags lie on the floor.

“How are you, sweetie?” he asks me.

“I feel so much better since you’re finally home,” I say.

“It feels like this year has been so long without you,” he tells me.

He always goes on long business trips, but when he is here, he is the best dad ever.

“You should go to bed now,” he instructs me.

“Can I sleep with you, Daddy? Please?!” I ask him, pleadingly.

“No,” he says. “We can play and talk in the morning if you want.”

“Of course,” I say.

Why wouldn’t I want to do that? As I go to bed, I think of all the fun things I will do with my dad tomorrow, not caring about the list of things I had wanted to do. It will be the best day ever. The second my head hits the pillow, I drift off into dreams. Dreams of tomorrow.


Chapter 2


I wake up looking up at my ceiling. The boring, white ceiling stares down at me. What would my playdate bring today? Would it bring a better life or my same, lonely life without a best friend to live with? My friend moved to California last year. I look at the clock. I have never slept this late. It is already 9:00. My “friends” are coming at 9:30. I have half an hour. Wait! I only have ten minutes, I realize as I look at my clock. I jump out of bed. My snowflake pajama pants trail by my feet. I slump over to my dresser. I don’t care about what I want to wear, so I slip into some jeans and a button down, red and black, plaid shirt. I look in the mirror. My hair is in a messy bun since I had never taken it out yesterday. My light, blue eyes stare back at me. I smile. Bring, bring, bring!!! The doorbell rings from downstairs. I rush out the door. I quickly untie my hair and put the rubber band back on my wrist. I open the door. My mom stands next to me now. The first one to come is Grace. I give her a little wave. No response. This is not going well, I think to myself.

“Come in!” I tell her excitedly.

She walks in while rolling her eyes. I gulp. I don’t think this is going to go well, I think to myself.

“You can take off your shoes if you want,” I tell her.

“I don’t feel like getting my feet dirty right now,” she tells me.

A butterfly enters my stomach. We walk into the living room. Dumpling sniffs around her legs.

“Uh, a dog. Do you really like dogs?” she asks me in a sassy voice.

I don’t know what to answer. What should I say? I think to myself. Finally, something saves me. The doorbell rings. I walk over to the door. The first thing I see is her hair. It’s all puffy and red. She’s dressed the opposite of Grace. Her pants are ripped, with holes spread throughout them. Her shirt is a red and white, striped shirt. She smiles at me. I wave back at her. She walks into the kitchen. Kicking off her shoes, they hit a chair.

“Sorry,” she quickly tells me.

I take a deep breath. This won’t go that bad. I hope. I also believe it, though. Amber walks into the living room. She ignores Dumpling sniffing around her feet.

“Amber!” Grace says while at the same time Amber says, “Grace!”

She goes to sit down on the opposite side of the room. I can hear Grace snarling. Why does this playdate keep changing? From bad to good and now back to bad again. The doorbell rings. That means this is the last person on this playdate. Ava. She’s dressed the same as Grace. She has a jean jacket on, a sparkly shirt under that, and her pants are jeans with a flower design going down the side of them. She’s wearing high heels. They are shiny and bright red. This time, I don’t ask if she wants to take them off.

“These people are so lame,” I hear Grace whisper to Ava.

“I know right. My mom made me come here. I didn’t want to go though,” Ava responds.

“We are not lame!” Amber says angrily. Her face turns red.


Chapter 3


I feel like bursting up in flames and throwing fire at Ava and Grace.

“This playdate isn’t even fun. At least not like the ones I go to,” Grace says.

“Well, what do you do then?” I ask her angrily.

“Well, uh. We…” she thinks for a moment. I am about to smile because I won this talk, but she quickly blurts out, “Truth or dare!” Grace smiles. “Want to play with us?”

“Yes. Ocean and I can be on a team and you and Ava can be on one.” I wanted to win this game. I needed to win this. “You can go first,” I tell them. “Try not to make it too easy.”

They whisper amongst themselves. “Okay, we got something,” they say.

I look at Ocean, and she gives me a little smile of worry.

“You have to go to the old warehouse.”

There are rumors about this place… that somebody went in there and never came out, that it is haunted, or something crazy like that.


We walk outside. We had lied to Ocean’s mother that we were just going to the park.

“I still don’t think we should do this,” I hear Ocean mumble.

I ignore her. I need victory between me, Ava, and Grace.

Finally, it’s in front of us. The old warehouse. It is covered in dust and has cracks in some spots of it. They wave their hands in the way of the warehouse. I walk over. There is nothing in the warehouse. Some furniture once in a while.

Ocean whispers to me, “Do you think we can go back now?”

“No!” I tell her a little loudly. “We have to make it to the end. Than we can go back.”

She nods. I want to tell her to toughen up, but I’m not that mean, so I keep quiet. We keep walking. I start to get bored. Then I don’t know what is happening, but it seems like around me is turning blue and the ground is turning green. Ocean also looks confused, but I don’t pay attention. We both keep walking. As we go farther along, we leave the warehouse behind and the world is different. In the distance, there are buildings. Red, blue, green, and I don’t know if I’m hallucinating, but I see houses in the sky. Where are we? I ask myself.

People are in front of me. They have armor all over their body. It reminds me of one you would see in a castle. On their armor, on their helmet, and chest there is a circle split into four parts. In each part a different color: red, blue, green, and white. Above that, it says, “The City of Four Elements.”


Chapter 4


I’m excited now. What is this new place? I walk up to one of the guards.

“Show us your identity,” he tells me, pushing me through a thing that looks like a doorframe.

I feel power surge through me the second I get under the frame. My hands start getting cold, and I am surprised when I see a bolt of water spray to a part of the floor in front of me. The guard nods at me. I walk ahead. That surge of power is still with me. I look at Amber to see what will happen to her. I can see her face and see that she wants some of my power. Then out of nowhere, just to my right, a bolt of fire explodes from her hand. I jump back. Now I am surprised. What is happening to us? Do Grace and Ava also have powers, or is it just us? I now have so many questions bubbling up inside me. Amber’s looking at her hand. For some reason, I am not surprised they’re not burned or something. She’s pushing her hand in front of her like she wants more fire to come out of it. I stare at my hand, too. I push it in front of me. A bubble of water forms in my hand. I want to throw it. And I do. It shoots like lightning in front of me. It lands not too far from me. I smile in amazement. Amber’s face starts getting red. I gulp. Now I am even more scared of her. Now I think that this power is too much for her. I love what I can do, though. I go a little bit aways from the entrance to explore what I just learned about myself.

After I have been exploring a bit, I realize if I focus enough, I can make icicles come out of my hand instead of water. Amber comes up to me. Her face is not as red now, but replaced by that, is a big smile.

“This is so — ” I know she’s going to say something like awesome, but instead I hear something I never thought I would hear from her before. “This is so annoying!”

I never thought she would give up like this. I thought she would be the one to never give up until she reached her expectation but not now. Now she is the one to give up. I am passing a water ball from one hand to the other, while I listen to Amber’s speech of how she wants to be able to make fire appear from her hands any time she wants like I can.


Chapter 5


I am now aggravated that I can’t control my powers, but the second we get to the city, people crowd around us, and the guards that we saw at the entrance are pushing us forward towards a tall building. On it, there is a poster that says, “The Element Tower.” We get pushed into the building and up stairs to the tallest room in the building. I try to fight against the guards, but they are stronger than I expect. We sit down into chairs. I am about to jump up and run, but the chairs are too comfy, and I want to stay for as long as possible. A man walks into the room and sits down across from us. He is dressed in a suit, and his hair is slicked back. On his shirt, it has the same symbol as before and under it, it says, “Name: President James.” His face looks strict and serious. I sit taller, wanting to look stronger.

“We have been waiting for you. Our land is falling apart by the second, and they are coming,” the man says.

Now, I don’t feel strong anymore, and I don’t feel brave anymore, and for the first time in my life, I feel scared.

“You will be leaving in,” he looks at his watch, “around 10 minutes.”

“We don’t know how to use our powers, though.” I mumble, but before he can answer, we get pulled away, again, by guards.

They hand us each a backpack and push us outside into the streets of the city. I look to one side of it. It is blue, and all the houses are floating on water. I turn to one more side. It is red, and the houses are made out of fire. That’s the part that interests me. I walk over to it.

I ask the first person I see, “Do you know a family with the last name, Flame?”

“They died in the collapse two years ago. Don’t you remember?”

I don’t know why, but I start getting emotional. My parents are dead. This world is not where I want to be. I run to where the guards left us. I sit down and wish I could have seen my parents. I wonder, at the same time, what the collapse was.


Chapter 6


I walk over to a land with houses that are floating on water. The houses are collapsing a little. It seems like this land is falling apart. Amber is still in the same spot she was when we got pushed outside. A couple guards follow a few feet behind me. I look around. But two people catch my eyes. The lady looks strong. Her eyes are my blue, and her smile is beautiful. The man looks brave, and his hair is the same color as mine. He looks into my eyes, and I look into his deep, brown eyes.

“Ocean?” they say.

That’s when I know they are my parents. Without thinking about it, I run to them. Water spraying behind me, I’m slipping on the clear sea, and then I feel their arms grasp around me. We stay there for a couple minutes. And then the guards take me away from them. Suddenly I feel the urge to save this world and come back to my family when I’m done. He brings me to the edge of the city. Amber comes a couple minutes after I get there. Her eyes are red, and a tear falls onto the the ground. The guards push us past the edge of the city. Now, darkness surrounds me. But it starts to turn into water, and now I’m in the ocean. In the distance, I see a cave. I can tell that’s where they want us to go, but to get what? I start to walk towards the cave. I don’t know why I feel like I should walk towards a spooky, dark cave, but I know I should do it to help The Land of Four Elements.

After I take a couple more steps, I realize I’m underwater. Why have I not drowned or stopped being able to breathe? That’s when I remember my powers. Wait, Amber! I think. I look across from me. Amber is looking ahead of us, right at the cave. But suddenly, a wave of what seems like nervousness hits her. I look where she is looking. Then it hits me, too. A giant monster is standing in front of us. Two, actually. In their hands are spears with a tip of crystal.

“You take this one,” Amber says, pointing to the one in front of me, “and I’ll take the other.”

I nod in agreement.


Chapter 7


The second I see the monsters, I know that we will fight them. Ocean is next to me, and I wonder how she feels walking on lava. I am fine with it because I have the powers of fire. But her, she has the opposite. The monsters look part-lizard, part-bird. Their eyes are red and filled with anger. Their wings are glinted with silver. Their bodies are silver and blue. I let fire light in my hand. Flames glitter before my eyes, red, yellow, and orange, but mostly blue. For a little test, I throw it at the ground, to show my opponent’s what I can do. Lightning shoots down in front of me, making the lava in front of me sizzle. The monsters’ hands are raised to the sky. They’re ready to fight, too. Ocean’s passing a water ball from one hand to the other.

One moment, we’re standing there, and the next, we’re fighting monsters. Water and fire shoot in every direction. Glints of crystal pass in front me. I have scrapes and bruises all along my body. Then, I don’t think I can take it any longer, so with one last blast of blue fire, the monster explodes.

Not explodes. More like disappears in a wisp of silver smoke. I see Ocean getting ready for her last hit, too. I am about to help her, when a blast of water shoots right at the monster. He whisps away into purple smoke too. I imagine telling my mom, “Mom, I killed my first monster!” We continue walking towards the cave once more, ready to save a world.


Chapter 8


I just killed something, I say to myself, surprised.

Amber’s ahead of me, walking towards the cave. I run up to her.

“That was intense, wasn’t it,” I tell her.

“That was cool,” she says back. “Not scary.”

We walk into the cave. It is pitch black. But I see a light in front of me. It’s bright, or at least brighter than darkness. We both walk forwards, slowly. It is in a case without a top. The bright light is coming from a gem. It’s blue and has silver specks throughout it. Amber takes the gem out of the box. The gem illuminates her hands.

“Let’s take it back to the city,” I tell her.

We walk up the stairs to the office of President James.

“You found it!” he says to us, taking the stone from Amber.

He walks to the back of the room and opens a closet. He takes out a staff and places the stone on the top. A wave of light expands throughout the city bringing it together once more.

Once again, I’m back with my parents in their arms. We have the opportunity to go back to our real life, but I am staying here, and Amber is going home. They say they would erase all memories from everybody in my life. Amber says she would rather go back. Our lives will be happier now.


My Demon Friend

Dear my dearest diary,


Today I had a very weird day. Here’s the story of what happened yesterday.


I was walking with my friend Julian, and I was going to sleep. He likes to pretend that he’s a fortune teller. He’s also my best friend. When I woke up, I was going to say “hi” to Julian, but then I chose to brush my teeth instead. I was thinking about Julian’s prediction: “I am going to turn into a demon, and it’s going to be for one day.” I’d bet him, and I told him that. But then, when I was going to wake him up, I saw a demon instead of my best friend.

Julian?! What has happened to you?!”

Then I saw it all. A demon. I hit him with my dad’s baseball bat when I got a chance. Turns out he always followed me around.

I hit him with the bat at least thirty-four times until he got the confidence to say, “I AM JULIAN, SO STOP HITTING ME WITH THE BAT, OKAY JONAH?!”

Then, I stopped. It did sound like Julian. I trusted he was Julian. But then I remembered, school!! He’s going to fail if he goes to school! He’s going to make the kids pee in their pants just by looking at him with his ruby-colored eyes. I told him to get dressed. But his shirt wasn’t his size. His horn was too thick too to even go in the hole for his head! His armpit hair was too long to stick out. Since I got the responsibility of him, I was the one who had to cut his armpit hair. When I tried to cut his armpit hair, it was as hard as stone. I guess I had to have a hammer and a nail to sculpt his armpit hair into George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. But I still had to cut the hair.

“JOONAHHHH! Your brother’s coming down to go see you!”

Dun… Dun… Duuuuuuun.

“WE ARE GOING TO GET KILLED!!!” screamed Julian.

“No we are not,” I whispered, but I knew that he wasn’t listening.

“Nicholas…” Julian murmured.

I turned around slowly. My brother, Nicholas, was standing right in the middle of the staircase.

“WAY COOL!!!” my brother screamed.

I told him that this was just his dream. I carried my brother away from Julian and locked him in his room. I didn’t care if I got in trouble, but all I had to do was hide Julian until I found something that would cure him. Growl. Growl. Growl. It came from downstairs. Julian was hungry? He ate half of the soup that my mom made, and that’s when he made his — oh my goodness. His prediction was right. I had to pay him $13?! But I had a bigger problem. He’s going to eat my soul!!! But then I heard it.

“I want blood!!”

Huh??? Then I gave him some of the blood that came out of me when my brother bit me when I took him out of my room. Julian slurped it in one second. I at least got his armpit hair nicer. Even though now it looked like Alexander Hamilton and the Statue of Liberty. I didn’t really like George Washington in the first place. I got him dressed, and now I thought the demon thing was wearing off! Well now his armpit hair looked weird. Nicholas came out of his room and left a note.


Dear Jonah,

I’ll help you cover Julian until tomorrow. I heard Julian’s prediction, and he also added that the demon thing is going to wear off by tomorrow. That’s why.

Love your worst brother,


(P.S. Give me $20 in return.)


I hate my brother because it’s always a trade with him. Julian read the note and said it was quite nice. He said that he pretended to get sick and stay at home, and since Nicholas and Julian are the exact same size, and they have the exact same hairstyle, Julian could be Nicholas, and Nicholas could be Julian. It was a terrific plan! So I had to get used to calling Nicholas, Julian and make sure I told Nicholas Julian’s schedule.

“So first, Julian has band, and he plays the guitar…” I started speaking.

“Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Julian plays the guitar? You know that I’m horrible at the guitar. Just one strum, and I sound like a cow. Moo! Moo!” Nicholas started whining.

“Do you want to help Julian or not?” I started saying.

I continued to say Julian’s schedule. It took a while, but I finished. When we got to school, we got in the homeroom. We were in the same class then. After a while, we finished school. We walked home together, and we got dressed again. We went to Nicholas’s room, and we saw Julian! The non-devil Julian!

“I missed you!!” I started stuffing my face into Julian’s stomach.

For some reason, Julian’s always the calm one in the house or out.

“Well the happy time’s over. Give me the you-know-what-now.”

He always gets his things.

But then, Julian pulled me and told me this, “Here.”

And I saw $20 in his hand. He wasn’t thinking of giving me his money. Hehe. Did he? But he was! He gave the money to me, and I handed it to Julian. He put it in his collection, and he looked at me.

“You! Why did you steal my $20 bill? You’ll be very, very sorry.”

And I noticed he wasn’t talking to me. He was talking to Julian! That’s the $20 bill that he gave me! He’s always sneaky. The rest was a little inappropriate, so I won’t tell you. See you soon, diary!


Love your owner,



(P.S. I don’t want to run into any of those demon predictions again!)

(P.P.S. I am sooo impressed that he would notice such a thing!)


I closed my diary and looked out the window. It’s always so calming to do that.

“Jonah! Your dinner’s ready!”

And that’s when the moment disappeared.

“COMING!!!” I shouted.

Then I looked out the window again, and I started my way down the stairs. Then I enjoyed my dinner. I went to sleep until something grabbed my foot. I looked down.

“I can’t get up,” my grandpa said in a croaky voice.

“WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!” I screamed.

Then when I turned my head back to my grandpa from my brother. Grandpa was sleeping.

I slapped my head. “Are you kidding me?”

And now, this is the time I sleep. Good night to the people who are reading this at this very moment. Hope Julian’s prediction isn’t right this time! It’s that we will grow a tail.


The next day…


To be continued…


The Story of the Unfortunate

Once upon a time, there lived a hobbit named Harold Bipins. He was twelve years old and was 2 feet, 4 inches. His dad’s name was Gale Bipins, and he was 4 feet, 3 inches, and his mom’s name was Marisa Bipins, and she was 3 feet, 6 inches. They lived in a hut with four rooms: one bedroom, one kitchen, one bathroom, and one living room. The family was surrounded by a thick, gloomy forest. When it was Harold’s thirteenth birthday, and he was 3 feet, 1 inch, he decided that he was going to get a bike because he really wanted one. So he told his parents that he was setting out on a journey to get a bike. So he packed some cheese and some bread and set off on the journey to get a bike.

First, he went to the village on the mountain top and went to the bank for a loan.

Then, the bank said, “Under one circumstance. You must complete an obstacle course.”

So without a choice, Harold answered, “Fine.”

So the obstacle course started. The first obstacle was an obstacle called the jumper. In the jumper, you had to jump over three things, a roaring fire that is 3 feet high and then a chainsaw that is 3 feet wide and 4 feet high, but for that you get to use a trampoline. Finally, you had to jump over a 200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 foot high elephant. But luckily, the banker made a mistake and got a super trampoline that you could jump up to 2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 feet high, so Harold got past all his obstacles in a flash. Did I mention he is pretty athletic? The next obstacle was called the dragon. This obstacle has a humongous lake full of salmon, so if you fall down, you get sucked into a whirlpool with a bunch of salmons into the underworld. So Harold jumped with all his might and made it across. Then the banker gave Harold a million dollars. Then Harold continued on a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long journey.

Next, he went to a bicycle shop that ran out of bicycles. This surprised Harold so much he fainted for ten hours!

When Harold woke up, he screamed, “Where am I?!”

Then he ran out of the bicycle shop, not knowing that the bicycles were delivered a few seconds ago. (Well too bad for him because he missed his first chance of getting a bicycle.) Well let’s get on with the rest of the story. When Harold left the bike store, he just realized he lost a chance to buy a bike and that the person at the bike store had stole all his money. Well I guess Harold was one of the most unlucky hobbits in the whole universe.

Harold had been guessing that the banker was going to going to come after him, so he went into hiding. He knew that the banker was going to put up flyers to get Harold. So poor Harold had to stay in a small hole feeding on earthworms. (That is disgusting.) Almost a year later, Harold got out of his hole. Then he realized that he was still wanted, so he got back into the hole and stayed there for twenty more years!

P.S. The only reason why he knew he was wanted was because there was a wanted poster right next to him.

He cried and cried until he filled up the hole, so he had to find a hole again.

He found the hole and said, “Yes, I found the hole.”

He lived there, and then he said, “I am done hiding. I’d rather get caught and escape from jail.” So he went to the outside world and said, “Bring me to jail.”

So he was sent to a high security prison in the middle of the desert.

“What have I done?” moaned Harold, as he slumped down onto the chair.

Then he realized what he most wanted was to get out of jail. Then he realized it was his birthday.

He asked the jail guard if he could get a birthday present, and the jail guard said, “Yes.”

Then the jail guard asked what it was, and Harold said, “Bike.”

He missed a chance to escape jail. (He could have said “my present is to get out of jail.”) He started riding the bike up and down and side to side and did a flip. Then, he started to think of a plan to escape the jail.

To be continued…


The Wand

Hi, I am Zax, and I am an enormous, brown, furry teddy bear with one eyeball. Why am I a teddy bear with one eyeball? Well, I’m going to tell you now.

Twenty years ago, my friends, Thomas, James, Jane, and I started going on an adventure to get the Enchanted Wand. We traveled the world together. We explored the deepest depths and the highest heights. We experienced the deadliest deaths and a midlife crisis. It was amazing, well, until they fell asleep in a dragon’s mouth. Yikes! But, before they died, we made a promise that no matter what happened to one another, we would continue to get the Enchanted Wand, so I continued to make my way to the wand. So there I was on a quest to find the Enchanted Wand. The last place I looked in the world (don’t be surprised) was an abandoned castle, and in the last room I looked in, the throne room, I saw that there was a button on the Queen’s throne. As I touched it, a wall started turning. Wow, I thought, I just could not believe that the Queen had this much power. As I looked around, I saw a room with piles and piles of gold. And there it was, in a glass container, the most beautiful thing I ever saw in my life, the Enchanted Wand. (It was even shinier than the pictures in the books of the wand.) I started slowly tiptoeing towards it, but then I remember thinking no one was here because it was an abandoned castle. So instead of tiptoeing, I started walking towards it. Unfortunately, my steps were too loud for this quiet castle, then one of the giant chandeliers broke and almost fell on the wand. As the pieces shattered everywhere, I hid behind a giant shield. When everything stopped moving, a man came out of the dust, and he started scanning the room. As I came closer, he took out a magnet gun. Weyyooooooooo, the magnet gun roared. I had no idea what he was going to do, so I started thinking. I was thinking of all of the metal things or magnetized things on my body, thinking, Sword on my back, my belt, and my helmet. At the last second, when he pulled the trigger, I figured out what he was going to do. He was going to rip my head off. At least I got the wand, and fortunately, the doctors could use the wand to take my soul and put it into an enormous teddy bear with one eyeball. And that’s how I became this pretty terrifying creature.


Color Wars: The Beginning

Once, there was a land named Color World.

There was:

  1. A leader
  2. A blacksmith
  3. A treasurer
  4. A designer
  5. An enchanter
  6. A gardener


And much more!


Blue, the leader, wanted Color World to be safe from the Ghoul Eraser.

The Ghoul Eraser is a giant, black eraser that can wipe colors off the face of Color World.

There is only one color who knows the weakness of the great Ghoul Eraser… White.

Long ago, White set off to destroy the Ghoul Eraser.

He used the biggest sword ever, but the sword was too dull.

White failed, but… White found out the weakness of the Ghoul Eraser.

White heard him say it in his dreams.

He was sneaking into the eraser’s lair to make a sneak attack, but the eraser was taking a nap.


Blue: The leader

Red: The blacksmith

Yellow: The treasurer

Orange: The designer

Purple: The enchanter

and Green: The gardener.

Together, they set off to White’s hut, even though he lived on the other side of Color World.


“Well,” said Blue. “All of our supplies are packed and ready. Purple! Gray!”

Gray, the engineer, who was eating his snack (a sandwich with his favorite drink, gray dye), and Purple, who was meditating, both came to the garage.

“Yes, Blue?” said Gray and Purple.

“Gray, can you build a seven-seat car?” asked Blue.

“Make that eight-seat,” said Gray.

“Why?” asked Blue.

“I can lead you to White. I’m… I’m his brother,” said Gray.

“WHAT?!” said Blue.



“I was one year old. I had just memorized White when he left. It was so sad for me. I cried for a whole year,” said Gray.

“So, you know the Ghoul Eraser’s weakness?” asked Blue.

“No, frankly,” said Gray.

“Aw. It would have saved us a huge amount of ti — ” said Blue.

“I know. I know,” said Gray.

“… ” said Blue.

“The car?” said Gray.

“I almost forgot! You can start. Purple, help him get the pieces, and enchant the car after it’s finished,” said Blue.


“Done!” said Purple and Gray.

“Okay,” said Blue. “Color Clan!” Color Clan! echoed Blue’s voice.

Red, Orange, Yellow, and Green came into the garage.

“Ready?” asked Blue.

“Yes!” said Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Purple, and Gray.

And so, they started the journey of their lifetime.


“Oh no!” said Orange. “It’s the Gorge of Doom!”

“We can build a bridge,” said Blue.

“But how will we get the pieces to the other side?” asked Orange.

“… ” said Blue.

“I know!” said Red. “Purple can use his flying spell!”

And so, they built a bridge and continued their journey.


“A sign!” said Green.

The person who knows the missing quote will help you move ahead. Find Note and have him help you or you’ll lose a head. -Discord,” read Blue.

“Note? Discord? They’re my cousins!” said Gray.

So, Gray led them to Note’s house. Note uses vibrations to speak, and he changes color with his emotions. Gray figured out what Note was saying, and Note joined the crew.

“{({|})},” said Note. Welcome.

Note has his own car, so all was good. And so, they moved on.


“A bridge!” said Blue.

“Note, can you use your vibrations to see if the bridge is stable?” asked Gray.

“{|},” said Note. Yes. Note did his job. “[|] {|||} () {{|}},” said Note. The bridge is stable.

They crossed the bridge, and so, they continued their journey.


“Hot-hot-hot-hot!!” said Red. “A-hot-lava-hot-pit-hot!”

“Ouch,” said Blue. “That looks like it hurts. Purple! Can you freeze the pit?”

“Yes,” said Purple.

Purple froze the pit and so, they continued.



“I see the hut!!” said Green.

Yes! thought Blue. We made it! But… maybe… we should turn back. I mean, someone… could get hurt. Maybe even… He gulped. … Die. Blue’s face twisted into a face of doubt. No. We have to move on. Even if we die, we will die an honorable death. We can’t turn back. Not now. Blue regained his confidence.

And so, they continued.


“We made it!” said Purple.

“Let’s go in!” said Blue.


White couldn’t talk. He was too weak. White gave the weapon and died. Then they set off for the Ghoul Eraser.


“We made it,” said Blue.

“ROOOOAAAAAR!!!” roared the Ghoul Eraser.

“Color Clan! Distract him!” shouted Blue.

Purple froze the Ghoul Eraser, and Blue shot him. The Ghoul Eraser was destroyed.


The Color Clan came back, and there was tons of celebrating. Right after, there was a funeral for White. But, far away, a loud noise was heard. “ROOOOOOAAAAAAAR!!”


The End (for now… )


Elijah Fingerman is eight and a half. He lives in New York, NY.

His hobbies are playing with his baby sister, playing video games, reading, playing with his legos, and watching TV. “Color Wars: The Beginning” is the first book in the Color Wars trilogy.




“I love the content. Very inventive. Reminds me of a story I read in Russian when I was little — Lev Kassi, ‘My dear boys’ (‘Dorogie moi malchishki’).”

-Eugenia Fingerman


“I think it’s very cool.”

-Alexander Fingerman


“Wonderful, imaginative story. I love the obstacles they come up against.”



More Books Like This:


Color Wars: The Ghouls Strike Back

Color Wars: The Elements Awaken


Arresting Criminals

I am a policewoman in New York City. My job is to protect the people of NYC.

Today, I was on patrol outside of the richest bank in Manhattan. That’s when I saw the weirdest man I’d ever seen. He had a suit, jeans, and a top hat on. But that wasn’t the weirdest part. The weirdest part was that he was singing a song that only one person in the USA knew…

He was the criminal that was wanted in fifteen states, Jerry Wooder. I stood at my post knowing that he wanted to rob the bank, and I reached for my walkie talkie, but before I could grab it, Jerry Wooder took out his gun and pointed it at me.

I quickly took out my gun and walkie talkie and called for backup. “This is Officer Lane. I need backup at 43rd Green Street. I have Jerry Wooder.”

I was able to hold him off until backup came, by making him drop his gun and holding him in place. My partner arrived just as I ran out of strength. My partner got him in handcuffs and drove to the police station. We were heroes (well, mostly me), and that is how I ended up arresting a criminal wanted in fifteen states.


The next day…

I arrested a criminal wanted in fifteen states. I became famous. I bought a house near the beach, where I would be patrolling.

Right now, I am running across the beach, trying to catch another criminal. This time, he’s wanted in every state in the USA. Even though I am rich and famous, I am still a police officer, so I am wearing my uniform. The only different thing about my appearance is my hair. I straightened my curly, blond hair.

I am trying to make a plan in my head to catch this criminal. I see him now, getting into his car. I’m going after him. Got him! Calling my partner… going to the police station… and he’s in jail! Just another day for a busy police officer like me.

Some things about me are:

– I love to swim

– I love kittens

– My favorite color is yellow

– My best friend is the mayor of NYC

I’ve got to stop recording this. Mom and Dad are coming to stay tomorrow, and everything needs to be perfect. One more thing about my family, we are part dragon…

Read more about this in Arresting Criminals 2!




What are dreams?

Are they signals?

Are they foretellings of the future?


Do dreams have a meaning or purpose?

Do they do anything for you

or do they just exist?


Are they a world that you can enter where all your troubles

are erased?

Are they glimpses of another life where you can be anyone,

and anything is possible?


Who comes up with the wonderful stories of dreams?

Of the creatures and castles and magic?

Of all the strange and wonderful horrors and delights?

Is it we or someone more powerful?


When you have a nightmare,

Is it a lesson that someone wants you to learn?

Do dreams even have a purpose?

Are they of one mind, of one idea?


Is it a way to forget about your troubles that

You find so many of?

Do many people have the same dreams?

Are dreams ways that we comfort ourselves when we are troubled?


Can dreams have limits?

Or can anything happen?

Is what happens in dreams limited to only what we can understand?

Though, I think that when you dream, there are no boundaries.


The 100 Awesome Rules of How Not to Be Stupid




  1. Don’t die on purpose!


  1. Don’t throw knives!


  1. Don’t juggle more than zero knives!


  1. Don’t look into a hose if the water suddenly turns off!


  1. Don’t throw around money!


  1. Don’t hug a famous guy or girl if they have bodyguards!


  1. Don’t bleed!


  1. Don’t peel off your scabs!


  1. Don’t play tag on a bridge!


  1. Don’t pass a ball to a stranger who is not looking at you!


  1. Don’t punch someone for no reason!


  1. Don’t punch someone that you have never seen before and have never talked to!


  1. Don’t tell a kidnapper that has kidnapped you that you’re gonna run away if you can!


  1. Don’t kick a TV!


  1. Don’t kick an iPad!


  1. Don’t kick a computer!


  1. Don’t punch a TV!


  1. Don’t punch an iPad!


  1. Don’t punch a computer!


  1. Don’t kick a cat!


  1. Don’t rob a bank if you already have a lot of money!


  1. Don’t rob a bank at all!


  1. Don’t think you will get good grades without studying!


  1. Don’t walk into the president’s bathroom!


  1. Don’t use the president’s bathroom!


  1. Don’t call this book stupid.


  1. Don’t call the awesome guy who wrote this book stupid!


  1. Don’t drink all the liquids at someone’s house if you’re visiting!


  1. Don’t eat all the food at someone’s house if you’re visiting!


  1. Don’t sell a car that has three wheels!


  1. Don’t sell a car that has two wheels!


  1. Don’t sell a car that has one wheel!


  1. Don’t sell a car that has zero wheels!


  1. Don’t drive a car under age!


  1. Don’t drive a car that has zero wheels!


  1. Don’t drive a car that has one wheel!


  1. Don’t drive a car that has two wheels!


  1. Don’t drive a car that has three wheels!


  1. Don’t trick or treat when it’s not Halloween!


  1. Don’t shake your booty in public!


  1. Don’t give away your money!


  1. Don’t change your name to “Butt.”


  1. Don’t change your name to “Fart!”


  1. Don’t change your name to “Stupid Guy!”


  1. Don’t take off your clothes in public!


  1. Don’t change your name to “Better-than-you” just so that when you introduce yourself, you can say “Hi, I’m ‘Better-than-you’”!


  1. Don’t name your kid “Butt!”


  1. Don’t name your kid “Fart!”


  1. Don’t name your kid “Stupid Guy!”


  1. Don’t be stupid!


  1. Never say, “I’m a potato, a Kawaii Potato!”


  1. Don’t say everything backwards on Backwards Day!


  1. Don’t poop on the side of the toilet!


  1. Don’t poop on the floor!


  1. Don’t eat stuff you find inside a toilet!


  1. Don’t eat stuff you find on the side of a toilet!


  1. Don’t eat stuff you find in a bathroom!


  1. Don’t step on a snake!


  1. Don’t feed your finger to a bunny!


  1. Don’t feed your finger to a squirrel!


  1. Don’t throw a pencil!


  1. Don’t look up at birds when they are making turds!


  1. Don’t juggle more than zero sticks of dynamite!


  1. Don’t throw dynamite at your pets!


  1. Don’t vote for You-Know-Who!


  1. Don’t throw sharp stuff at strangers!


  1. Don’t throw stuff at strangers!


  1. Don’t throw sharp stuff at people for no reason!


  1. Don’t jump out of an airplane thinking you can walk on clouds!


  1. Don’t walk around in your underpants!


  1. Don’t throw underpants at people!


  1. Don’t throw toilet paper at people!


  1. Don’t break everything in sight!


  1. Don’t make promises you can’t keep!   


  1. Don’t jump into wet cement!


  1. Don’t jump into cement!


  1. Don’t jump out of the window!
  2. Don’t jump out of window onto a person!


  1. Don’t pick your nose while you’re making a sandwich!


  1. Don’t throw full diapers at people!


  1. Don’t throw diapers at people!


  1. Don’t lie to a cop!


  1. Don’t go to school sick!


  1. Don’t tell cheesy jokes!


  1. Don’t go to work sick!


  1. Don’t say the exact thing that someone just said to you if you’re trying to make a comeback!


  1. Don’t say this book only has 100 rules because 100 rules is a lot!


  1. Don’t keep a light on in a house when he don’t need it!


  1. Don’t not buy this book!


  1. Don’t throw scissors!


  1. Don’t run with scissors!


  1. Don’t not call this book awesome!


  1. Don’t not dare your friends to do some of these rules!


  1. Don’t say to a liar that his/her nose is growing like Pinocchio’s!


  1. Don’t break something on purpose if it’s expensive!


  1. Don’t pour water on someone when they’re sleeping!


  1. Don’t play a prank on someone if the prank will make that her/him really mad!


  1. Don’t be stupid!


  1. Don’t pull the trigger of a gun without looking at where you’re pointing the gun!


  1. Don’t go places screaming and making weird noises!!!


The Pebble


I don’t know what to think

I don’t know if I should cringe

I don’t know if I should cry

I don’t know if I should be afraid.

I don’t know.

I don’t know




and why.

All I know is that it happened

and it left people


And that’s that.

Death is like a pebble dropping in a lake.

It’s a small pebble, but it leaves multiple ripples in the water.

Death spreads like ripples in a lake.

One single death can cause so many people to cringe

so many people to cry

so many people to be afraid.

One death can spread like a wildfire.

A wildfire

of tears.

I don’t know whether to laugh

to wonder

to talk

to worry

to be confused



I just know two people died


that’s that.

But the thing about death

is that just like a pebble

it causes ripples in a lake

but eventually the ripples will subside

and the pebble

will sink to the bottom

of the

water and

bury itself beneath the sand and




(An amazing story written by Mbene with a lot of help from Abby Coleman, Danielle Sheeler, Sara Bernstein, and last but not least, all the people in my workshop. Thanks so much!)



Hi, my name is Stephanie Jessica Anderson, and I am twelve. I live in California with my mom and little brother. My mom’s name is Jessica, and my little bro’s name is Luke, and if you are asking, I have a dad, but he died a long time ago. And I was being nosey, and I am embracing it out there so you don’t think I am lying. I think I heard the door shut. Maybe it was my mom. Wait, hold on.


Chapter One: Taken by Surprise

Hi, I am back. My mom just left. I looked all around the house, and I was alone. My little bro went to sleep at his friend’s house, so it was just me. I was going to get a snack.

There I was, standing in front of a guy. He picked me up, and then he put me in his or someone’s car, but I didn’t get to see the license plate. I looked around. I saw so many stolen things, or so I thought. But no people. I guess that there was no one home, but of course I was. Then I started to wonder where my mom was, but I had no idea because I thought today was her day off. I guess not? Then we started to move. I was so scared. Where was I going? What was he going to do to me? Will I ever see my family again? All of these things were all jumbled in my head. I did not feel so good. Then the car stopped. He opened the door. That was all I remember.

I woke up in this weird place, and I must have passed out from nausea. I didn’t know what to do or where I was, but I just knew that he was not in the room. I think I heard his footsteps. I didn’t know what to do. I just tried to get under the bed, but I was chained. I couldn’t believe that this was happening. I was so scared. Then for some reason he gave me the key to unlock me. I did not know what was going to happen, but I just listened to him because I was not trying to make anything worse. Then the weirdest thing happened. He brought me to a really cool room and it had, like, all these swords and things. Then he made me sit down. Then we talked for a little, and then I couldn’t believe I… I… I… I was sitting in front of my… my… my dad.


Chapter Two: The Surprise

I could not believe it. He could not be my dad, could he? No, didn’t my dad die? At least that’s what my mom told me. Then he said my name just the way my dad used to, and we hugged. Next thing I knew, we were going to my house. Then the door opened, and my mom screamed.


Chapter Three: The Big News





After that, my mom said, “Sweetie, before we have this talk, I think I should get Luke. This is too important.”

All of us in one car was so weird. When we picked up my little bro, he asked who the man in the car was, and Mom said we would talk about it went we got home.

We were all in the living room, sitting on the chairs, and I heard my dad mumble, “I remember this place.”

Then Mom started to talk. We all looked around in silence. And as usual, I broke it.

First, I asked Mom, “Why didn’t you tell us this before?”

She said, “What is happening? How did you find him? I didn’t really know how to explain it or tell you before that things were so hard. You were so young.”

I thought in my head that I couldn’t tell her. I didn’t want to get my dad in trouble.

Then Mom said, “Kids, go to sleep. Your dad and I have some things to talk about.”

I said, “Mom? If something goes on, please just wake me up, okay?”

Then Mom said, “Okay sweetie, I will.”

I said, “Good night, Mom.”

But after she looked at me, I knew she thought that I was going to spy on her, but this time I just did not want to. I just didn’t know what would happen or what to do, and then as I got up to leave, I fell. The last thing I remember was my mom screaming.


Chapter Four: Hospital

I did not know what was happening when I awoke, but all I heard was Mom and Dad yelling. And if you wanted to know, yes, it did feel different saying “dad” in a sentence. I looked around, and I was in the hospital, and then my mom said, “Shh, honey are you okay?”

I said, “I’m fine, but where is Luke?”

Then Dad said, “He went to his friend’s house because he did not want to see you hurt, so he said he didn’t want to see you. Sorry.”

I said, “Why am I here again?”

Then my parents looked at each other, and then the doctor came in and said, “Can I talk to you?” and she pointed to my mom. They stepped out for a little, and when they came back, my doctor told me that I have… have…


Chapter Five: The Stay

… have cancer.


Chapter Six: The Wonder

I just came out of the hospital. We took Dad’s car, and my mom told me that Dad was moving in with us.

“It’s been two years, so I’m finally happy Dad’s moving in.”

That night I was reading, and then I just felt the urge to fall asleep and never wake up again. I went to bed. I fell asleep like I had planned and never woke up. In my dreams, I saw my brother getting married and my mom and dad living together happily, and I knew that I would never get to see it. But I just knew it would happen. Like I said before, my name is Stephanie Jessica Anderson, and I am twelve. I live in California with my mom and dad and little bro. This is the story of how I die happily.


The Jungle Is in Danger, and We Should Help Save It

The jungle in the Central Region of Africa has many problems. One problem is that wood is being taken from the trees, and trees are vital to the world. We can stop these wood shortages and other horrible problems. It is important that we save the jungle because of the reasons on this essay and a few more. One reason that we should save the jungle is that there are many cool and interesting animals in Africa, and they are in danger. Another reason is that many natural resources come from the jungle. The final reason that we should stop destroying the jungle is that the jungle is a really interesting place to study and gives zoologists lots of things to study and grow smarter.

We should save the animals in the jungle because there are many interesting animals in the jungle, and they are losing their homes. Monkeys and elephants, for example — we probably all love those animals or at least do not want them to die — so if you help preserve the jungle, the monkeys and elephants will not die as fast. The next reason that we should save the jungle is that most of the cool items (leaves, berries, and animals) come from the jungle. Some of the cool animals that come from the jungle are every species of ape, which evolved into us humans, elephants, and many reptiles, and now we are taking their homes. This is only one reason that we should save the jungle. I personally like these animals because they are cute and friendly.

We should also save the jungle because the jungle holds a lot of knowledge for zoologists and other people who are just interested in the jungle. The jungle is one of the most interesting places in the world. The jungle is interesting because the animals are exotic and only can be found in the jungle, (or the specific breed lives in the jungle). Additionally, the trees are interesting because of the way they layer, and no other environment works that way. Additionally, if there is a problem in the jungle, then if the zoologists know enough about the jungle (by studying the safe and endangered jungle) then they can stop the problem. If we help preserve the jungle, then these scientists can have their fair share of knowledge, just like you need to have.

We should save the natural resources in the jungle because the jungle provides many different and potentially important natural resources. The first example of a natural resource is the carbon dioxide that the trees freshen into oxygen. Also, the natural fruits, vegetables, and other foods that people can make medicines with. These medicines can cure a viper bite, which could really save a life. The jungle provides many resources, and we can use them (just not the wood!). The fruits and vegetables or natural resources are not good to just take in order to exterminate the jungle.

The jungle is in real danger, and we have the power to save it. The first reason is that there are many animals in the jungle, and they are dying. Also, the jungle can give a lot of knowledge to zoologists. Finally, the jungle provides many different natural and vital resources to planet earth. If you live near or have the ability to, save the jungle (do not cut down trees or kill animals, but you should join an organization that donates to save the jungle). I do believe that saving the jungle can help the world, because we know that jungles are vital to our lives and our economy. My school is very much involved in this topic, so they can help with my plan. I for one believe that the jungle is extremely important, so that is why we should save the jungle. Saving the jungle is vital to the human race and the world.


From the Diary of Dinah Arena


Chapter One

The magic beetle is a sacred stone. I know it has a really funny name, but it’s sacred to our town. If the magic beetle is stolen, a ghastly magic will cover our town and everything in it. Once Minna Ginna stole it, everyone started doing bad things. My parents were murdered by their best friends. They regret it, but I hate them. They made me and my family go to an orphanage. Minna Ginna returned the beetle. She got arrested for that. Our priest said no one would do it again. Our Rabbi said what everybody would do and everything that would happen would be bad. The sacred beetle is guarded by four towers. It is said one is there to watch over you, and two are there to pray, and one is there to chase bad things away. I don’t believe that. I mean, how could a tower pray? Or chase bad things away? What the heck? If you don’t know this, my name is Dinah Arena. I think it’s a pretty bad name, you see. We live in the town of Burina in Aspin. Don’t ask me why everybody has weird names. I mean, it’s not my fault. If I have a child, I’ll name them Finnley or Harold. Not Finna Gagina. Or Hinna Bugina. I think I’ll leave the town.

One day, I get great news. Mr. Binna, the head of the orphanage, is letting me stay with a woman named Sarah!!! She is sooooo cool! She has a convertible car, and her last name is Smith!!! Not O’Harra or Marra. She is adopting me and letting me stay in her house until I’m thirteen!!! And I’m only eleven. I am very happy about being adopted. Sarah says she used to have a dog called Beenie. Sarah says she’ll do the best she can to take care of me. Except one thing. She won’t protect me from the beetle’s curse. We are still living in Aspen, in a town called Uttertown near Burina. I won’t be protected from the curse. I thought we would move to, like, Bayridge or Ridgetown. Sarah would be happy to sacrifice herself for me. At least she says so. I told her about the magic beetle. She said she would never kill anybody. Inside my head I thought, When she’s not under the beetle’s curse, no.

I sleep in the bed in the attic. Sarah lives in a four story house. Every morning I wake up, go downstairs, and Sarah teaches me math and to read and write. Then, if I complete my work in an hour’s time, I may discuss the newspaper with Sarah. It only has stupid stuff in it. Like sometimes the headline is, “Former Officer found in front yard naked and is arrested” or “Mayor Sicsalinni of Jasonville found dead in bed, Wife as suspect!!!” Sometimes, under it, it says they had a medical issue. Also sometimes, there is a picture of it under the headline. Today it said, “Former Mayor Diggalier attempts to steal ‘Magic Beetle’ from ‘Four towers.’”

This gets me excited.

“Sarah!” I shout.

Sarah looks up from the second page of the Wednesday newspaper and says, “Dinah, I am working,” which she obviously isn’t because she was just reading the Wednesday newspaper.

“You have to see this, though!” I say.

Sarah gives me a glance and says, “Dinah, you can tell me on Sunday.”

Sarah believes that Sunday is the day to let your feelings and emotions out. I think it is a no work, no post church day. I think Sunday is a stupid day. I know I say “stupid” a lot. It’s because I feel it is a good way to express your feelings. Not on Sunday. On every day. I am used to being Jewish. I sometimes say, “Add Chanukkah to the calendar!” or “We’ll ask the rabbi.”

Sarah corrects me and says, “No, we’ll add Christmas to the calendar” or “No, we’ll ask the priest.”

You see, Sarah is Catholic, and I am Jewish. It is a little strange living with her and celebrating different holidays, but I don’t mind her correcting me. I know Sarah is a good person. She loves me, and I love her. Now, I eat papaya as my main course. I hate papaya. Momma used to let me eat bread and cheese as my main course. Sarah says papaya is better for your lungs and heart. You see, her father died from a lung and heart disease.

I say, “Momma says bread and cheese makes you live longer.”

Sarah says you can eat a host and get that covered. I say that holy water is dirty. Sarah says that is because it is old. I say the bible is all lies. Sarah says you can believe different things. That is how our arguments usually end. But I add one last thing to my journal: How can Jesus be special if we are all sons and daughters of god? Then I erase that and fall asleep.


Chapter Two

The next day is Friday. When I go downstairs and push away my papaya, Sarah says, “Eat.” I gape at her. She never forces me to eat. Sarah says, “You have a long journey ahead, and you will need all of your energy.”

I take a small nibble.

“Does this mean missing church?” I ask.

“No,” Sarah says.

I take another nibble.

“Does this mean I can tell you what I found in the Wednesday newspaper?” I ask.

“I already know,” says Sarah.

I am shocked. She had said just a few days ago she would never make me go on a dangerous journey, especially to save the magic beetle.

Sarah ushers me to her convertible. We drive and drive and drive and drive and drive, until we get to Sarah’s momma’s place for shelter. It is a rickety house in the middle of the woods.

“She divorced my dad and never wanted to see him again,” says Sarah.

“I see,” I say.

Sarah knocks on the door.

“Oww!” she says. “I forgot about this. Mom put splinters on the door so if Dad ever knocked to try to make up, he would get so many splinters he would want to run away. But Dad never came back.”

She seems somber. I decide to make her laugh.

“Your mom sounds crazy.”

Sarah half smiles, but I can tell that that has made her feel worse.

“I secretly think deep inside she wanted him to come. She wanted him to knock on that door, and she would open it. If he wasn’t there, then, well at least she would know that somebody remembered her.”

Sarah knocks on the door and a little softer this time, but the door knocks over. I jump a little. “Doesn’t seem like anyone lives here,” I mumble.

“She keeps herself secret,” says Sarah, hopefully.

Sarah opens a door. It doesn’t fall over like the front one, but I can see it hanging on one hinge. I see an abandoned kitchen with a ton of moldy fruits. I open a fridge. It is warm inside, and it smells ghastly. Sarah opens another door. It has a dusty bed and a dusty nightstand. I worry. What if Sarah’s momma left a long time ago? I hear sobbing. Sarah is not sobbing. She is facing me, and she is searching. I can tell because her eyes are closed, and she’s walking towards the sound. She opens another door. In it is an old woman sobbing.

Malani?” says Sarah.

The old woman looks up.

“Sarah Smith? Is that really you?” Malani says.

“Yes, Malani,” says Sarah.

“Where is my mother?”

“Your mother?” says Malani. “She died back in 1969!”


Chapter Three

Sarah and I have been helping Malani around the house. We dusted the bed and the nightstand, scrubbed the bathroom, fixed the lights and the pipes, painted, refurbished, plastered, and while that all happened, Malani tells stories about Sarah’s momma.

“I helped her around the house,” Malani would say. “I was her maid, but she treated me like a friend.”

When it’s time to go, we are all sad. We fix the hinges on the doors and leave, but when we go outside, we see that the front of the house is very bad and needs care, so we fix that and leave. We are sad to leave Malani, but Malani gives us both a hug and says, “They’re each for luck.”

We get back into the convertible. We drive so much, and I am so hungry I could eat a whole, rotten papaya plus it’s rind. Luckily, Sarah brought a papaya (I thought I’d never say that), and I eat the whole thing right up. Then Sarah gives me bread and butter and host (where did she get that?), and I drink lots of water.

“Is this holy water?” I ask.

“Yes,” Sarah jokes and winks at me.

I spit it out all over her.

“Whoa! I was just joking!”

Then, I drink a whole bottle.

“Tell me about your mother,” I say.

Sarah hesitates and says, “Later, Dinah.”

I am pretty happy when we get to Burina. I shriek with joy when I see my little brothers. “Kiene, Reene, and Geine! I’m here!”

My three brothers turn around, and I bear hug them.

They all shriek, “Dinah!”

And I say, “I have to go.”

That is the last time I see them until I am thirteen. I walk into Sarah’s convertible, and we go to the four towers. When we get there, I see one with eyes, two with mouths, and one with legs. So they do pray, watch over you, and chase bad things away. We knock on a tower door.

“Pick a door,” booms a voice.

I scream. Yikes! I am really scared. I tug on Sarah’s shirtsleeve to indicate that I want to go. Sarah is brave, so she doesn’t budge. I am scared.

“What tower is this?!” Sarah shouts.

“I am the heaven tower!” says the tower

Sarah knocks on the door of the other tower.

The tower stomps, “.– …. — / -.. .- .-. . … / -.-. — — . / …. . .-. . # / .. / .- — / – …. . / – — .– . .-. / — ..-. / …. . .-.. .-..”

Sarah counts her fingers and translates.

“Wrong tower,” says Sarah.

How does she know that stuff? She knocks on the next tower.

It blinks, “.– …. — / -.. .- .-. . … / -.-. — — . / …. . .-. . # / .. / .- — / – …. . / – — .– . .-. / — ..-. / .- .-.. .-.. / … .–. .. .-. .. – …”

Sarah counts again and translates.

“Let us in!” shouts Sarah.

“.–. .- … … .– — .-. -..”

“More Codes.”

The door swings open. Sarah and I walk in.

“Do you know this place?” I ask.

“My mom gave me this info in case I ever needed her, and she wasn’t there,” says Sarah.

“What is it?” I ask.

“I don’t know, but it seems creepy.”

It does seem creepy, and I am scared when I see an angel looking at me.

“Hello,” says the angel.

She is dressed in all white, and she has wrinkles on her face. She has big, round glasses and a bun with two knitting needles in it.

“Hello,” Sarah and I say.

“I am the ghost of Christmas past,” the angel says.

I frown and look at the bookshelf near the angel. It has a book I recognize.

“You’re from a Christmas carol,” Sarah and I say at the same time.

“Yes,” says the ghost of Christmas past. “But today I could be the ghost who will refresh your past.”

“Yes, please,” I say, because I want to see my parents again.

“No,” says the ghost of Christmas past. “I’m talking to her.” Pointing at Sarah, the angel begins to dissolve.

“Wait!” I say, and Sarah begins to dissolve too.

Then I look at my hand and shout. It is not there! I begin to dissolve. It is a strange feeling. Like being sucked into a black hole, except when you get to the other side, you cannot move. It is a horrible experience. Finally, I fall out of nowhere and land on my butt on a piece of land that is next to a mansion. The angel ushers us inside the mansion. We go through a door in the backyard. Inside the mansion is amazing. Sarah seems to know this place. We see a child walk into the room. Sarah and I run to hide behind a barrel. Sarah has a look of horror on her face. The ghost of Christmas past stays where the little girl can see her.

“No person can see us, feel us, hear us, smell us, or taste us,” she says. “Now Sarah, do you recognize this girl?”

“Y-yes,” says Sarah.

I hear a dog barking.

“Run!” says the angel.

We run and run until we reach a garden shack. There is a woman in there. She hears the door slam and turns around but sees nothing. She starts humming. The little girl comes into the garden shack.

“Beenie!” the girl calls.

I figure out at once that that woman is Sarah’s momma. That means that little girl is Sarah.


Chapter Four

After a week of drinking tea and eating pretzels, I start to get sick. The ghost of Christmas past gives us company and tea. Sarah bakes pretzels with bread dough, and they burn to a crisp. I don’t know why the ghost brought us back in time. I’m starting to feel homesick. One night, I’m going to bed, and I hear a noise. Suddenly, a siren goes off.

“Someone is stealing the magic beetle!” shouts the ghost of Christmas past.

We scurry out to protect it. It is Minna Ginna! She laughs when she sees us. She stands still.

“Put your hands up at once!” shouts Sarah. “We’re calling the police,” she whispers to me.

I am scared of the police and the curse. The police come, and they arrest Minna Ginna again. We talk to her at prison.

The way to her cell is a dark hallway. I shield my eyes when we pass by a blazing phoenix. When we get to her cell, there is one single flaming candle.

“Explain yourself,” Sarah says, holding the candlestick as a weapon.

“I will arrest your partners.”

“Never!” shouts Minna Ginna, and she flinches at the chains holding her.

“Sarah,” I whisper, and Sarah says it softer this time.

“Let me start from the beginning,” says Minna.

Sarah nods.

Minna Ginna’s starts telling the story, “I was part of an organization called the yellow bandits. The head was Mayor Diggalier. We were trying to save Burina from eternal doom. In order to do that, we had to steal the magic beetle.”

“But the curse!” I say.

“I’ll get to that,” says Minna Ginna. “The curse was a legend. Only. Sure, the beetle was a sacred stone, but it is set to do something. When it was made, about 350 years ago, it was set to destroy the land in 315 years. I stole it 315 years later, and it is thirty years later now. In five years, it will destroy the land of Burina.”

“The curse,” I reminded Minna.

“The red bandits organization is the opposite of the yellow bandits organization. When I ‘stole’ the beetle, the red bandits pretended they were under a curse. Dinah, you must understand this. Your parents were killed by the heads of the red bandit organization.”



We were now part of the yellow bandits organization. We were having a celebration. There was cake and drinks. We were going to steal the beetle. I wonder how many lives we would save.


The End


The Life of a Totally Average Person


Chapter One

I am a totally average person. I was standing at a cleaning station, watching cars getting cleaned. It was raining outside.

“Hey kid! Whatcha doing out there?”

I jumped. I jumped again. I am very good at jumping. I turned my back and scurried out of the car whatchamacallit and onto the wet pavement.

I did not have an umbrella, but I didn’t mind getting wet. I am wet almost all the time.


Chapter Two

I gingerly removed my sopping, wet sweatshirt and then dumped it in one of those clear garbage bags people use for recycling, along with all of my other clothes. I looked in the mirror. My dark, straight hair was matted with rain water, and my pale, blue eye glared and my green eye twinkled. Freckles dotted my cheeks and smeared against my nose until they had formed one big birthmark. I also had a black mole right at the tip of my nose. It didn’t help that my dad called me “Mouse.”

“Honey, I’m home!”

That must have been my mom. I sighed and ran downstairs.

“Hi, Mom!” I screeched. I ran to give her a big hug.

“Hi, sweetie!” she said and hugged me back. “Why is your hair wet?” she asked me quizzically.

“Oh, I just took a shower.”

I didn’t want to tell her about the car wash because if she found out that I was spending my weekend time doing that, she would probably sign me up for something lame like swimming.


Chapter Three

“I’m going to take a soak in the hot tub. If you need anything, just ask Bertram.”

So I ran upstairs and jumped on my bed (king-sized) until I got dizzy. Then the doorbell rang.

“Honey, I’m home!” called my father. I ran downstairs and leapt into his arms. “Whoa slow down, Mouse!” Just then, my mother came galloping down the stairs. “Hi, honey!” he exclaimed.

“Hi, dear!” my mother cooed.

I ran back upstairs before anything mushy happened.


Chapter Four

Today was the worst day ever! Before I tell you about it, here’s what you need to know. We are rich, and I am not ashamed to say so. Because I am rich, I go to Lady Sandford’s Private School for Girls. My uniform is made up out of a plaid skirt, a white blouse, gray knee high socks, a tie, a sweater or sweater vest, black dress shoes, and a gray coat. Also, I am eleven years old, and my name is Annabeth. At school, there are horrible people, bad people, okay people, and super bad people. The horrible people are Rebeca, Melissa, and Jessie. The bad people are Jane, Suzy, and Magie. The okay people are Molly. That is all. The super bad people are Katie and Phoebe. Anyways, I went to school, and Rebecca, Melissa, and Jessie were waiting for me when I got there.

“Hey!” barked Melissa.

I jumped. They laughed. Long story short, they teased me about a headband that Mommy had given me last night.

“Sorry, I was just trying to fit in,” I mumbled.

“Well guess what!” she bellowed “You never will!”

My parents think that having a journal is stupid. They think I should talk things out with my therapist. So this is my last entry.




The Strawberry Adventure


Chapter One

My name is Grace. I am a miniature girl who lives in a strawberry. I live in a strawberry town with my mom, my dad, my Grandpapa, and my older brother Richie. He calls me Gracie. I don’t like it. He says we both have to have names that end in -ie. I don’t think so. Our strawberry bush is in Portland, Maine. I have a best friend named Rose. She lives in the strawberry next door. One day, something happened. You could call it exciting, but I thought it was a bit scary at first. We felt our house being pulled downwards.

“What is this?” I called.

Richie thought it was a storm. I didn’t think so. We were being pulled downwards. During storms, we were swung side to side.

“We’re being picked,” said old, wise Grandpapa.

Then he went to his room to meditate. I looked out the window. Instead of seeing the usual leaves and part of Rose’s house, I saw the inside of a tan wicker basket. We had been picked! If I looked out of the very top of the window, I could see disappearing strawberry bushes. I would never see them again. On the other side, I could see a house! A real, human house! All strawberry girls and boys had learned what human houses looked like. Our house was moved around some more. Now we were in a see-through crate. Well, I don’t know if you would have been, but I was pretty freaked out. Imagine if your house had been picked off the ground and moved to a different place!

“Richie, what are we going to do?!” I asked.

“We’re going to stay calm,” he said. “We’ll find a way not to get eaten.”

He said it like it’s something that happens every day.

“All right,” I said.

As annoying as he is, Richie is usually right.


Chapter Two

The new crate was moved onto a truck. The truck started to move. Richie and I called a family meeting.

“We have to find a way to get out of here,” I said.

Grandpapa said, “When I got captured, I built a contraption that made my strawberry blow up.”

“Let’s do that!” said Richie.

Of course. Richie likes anything that blows up.

“All right,” my mom said.

“But how, Grandpapa, how?” I asked.

“Oh, you’ll be surprised what supplies are in the store,” replied Grandpapa, mysteriously.

The truck stopped.

“Oh, what now?” my dad complained.

Well, that was weird. My dad never complains. Well, I guess he just did. Our box got picked up and set down again in a colder place. We were outside. More crates and boxes filled with strawberries got piled on top of us. It grew dark. All night we were left out in the cold. This place was a lot colder than our home in Maine. In the morning, we were put into a large store room. Around us we saw lots of different foods. Cans, boxes, tins, and packets were filled with fruits, crackers, cheeses, and sausages. We were put onto a cart with other fruits. Then we were put in the way back of a shelf.

“Good,” said Grandpapa.

“Why is being at the back of the shelf good?” I asked. “It’s dark, and we have to walk farther to get to the front, so we can get supplies!”

“It is good because we will have longer to work out our plan,” said Grandpapa. “No one is going to reach all the way into the back of the shelf just to get strawberries.”

“So what’s the exploding plan?” asked Richie, excitedly.

“Well,” said Grandpapa. “We’ll need something to make some sort of catapult.”

“Cool!” said Richie.

“I’m sorry, my dear Richie,” said Grandpapa. “But it won’t really actually blow up. It will be a lot like that though.”

Richie nodded, sadly.

“So Gracie,” he said.

I growled at the name.

“You wanna go out together and find ourselves some spoons or other things we could use for catapults?”

I nodded, but my mom said, “Wait! You guys can’t just go out there by yourselves! It’s too dangerous!”

“Oh yes they can,” said Grandpapa and my dad together.

“We’ll be careful,” said Richie, earnestly.

“Oh, all right,” my mom said.

Richie and I climbed out of our door, which was slanted sideways, and then went through a hole in the box.


Chapter Three

We made our way to the front of the shelf.

“Look!” said Richie, when we got there. “We’re organic!”

We jumped down from the shelf, which was quite easy. Then we started to walk around. I stayed close to Richie. I was maybe, sort of, kind of, possibly, just a little, tiny bit scared. I didn’t want to get stepped on.

This is what we brought back to our strawberry:

Two plastic bags

At least fifteen pieces of dried and rotten food

Half of and the top of a spoon (what we were looking for so yay!)

Lots of dust (we didn’t actually pick up that much of it because my dad’s allergic)

A few pieces of non-rotten food

We took all the stuff back to our strawberry. But it took a long time. First, we had to find where all the strawberry cartons were. That took a while because Richie kept thinking that we should go to where the rice was. I finally directed him in the right direction. Then, we had to get up to the strawberries. It turns out, going down is a lot easier than going up. We ended up climbing on blueberries, which were right below the strawberries. Then, we had to walk all the way to the back of the shelf. When we got to the right carton, we had to find our strawberry. That wasn’t too hard, because it was the only one with a door and windows. We climbed in through the slanted door and showed our family the things we had found.

“Great!” exclaimed Grandpapa, with the energy of someone much younger.

We started to build. We used some string from our house to tie the spoons to the legs of our table. We decided to use the food as the things we were going to launch. We worked for about one or two days. As we worked, I noticed that it was getting lighter.

“Why is it getting so much lighter?” I asked.

“Strawberry boxes are being pulled from the shelf,” said my mom. “It won’t be long before we’re taken.”

She was right. That afternoon, we were pulled from the shelves. It was perfect timing! We had just finished!

“Quick, get the launchers!” I called to Richie.

We loaded every single one of them onto the spoon top. We heard a beeping noise. We were being scanned! We put our plan into action.


Chapter Four

The box ripped open.

The human lady screamed and called, “Store manager! My strawberry box has exploded!”

I tried not to laugh, as did the rest of my family.

“Now run!” yelled my dad.

As we were running, I thought of something. Why hadn’t we just run away in the first place?

I asked Grandpapa that and he said,”You are a smart little girl, you know that Grace.”

I smiled.

Richie heard us talking and asked, “But why?”

Grandpapa just smiled.

Finally, he said, “I don’t think that would have been as exciting, do you?”

We understood.

“So we could have done that, and you knew it all along, but you didn’t say it?” asked Richie.

Grandpapa nodded. I laughed.

“So where are we going?” I questioned.

“Oh, you’ll see,” said my dad, mysteriously.

He was in the lead, and he seemed to know where he was going. Once we got into the country, we slowed to a walk. We came to some sort of orchard.

“Welcome to the pear orchard!” said my dad, triumphantly.

We shimmied our way up the tree, using little bumps and lumps in the tree to use as grips. When we got fairly high up, my dad cut a hole into a pear for the door and cut smaller holes for windows. Then, he hollowed out the inside. He wouldn’t let anyone use his hollower, which was what he used for hollowing. My mom took the pear bits and threw them down the tree. When it was all ready, we climbed in. There wasn’t any furniture, but there soon would be.

That night, I fell asleep on the soft, fruity ground, thinking about my adventure and all that might happen next.



Six months had come and gone since we had moved in. The pear house was looking a lot like our strawberry house except for one thing — the color. No one really minded though, and life was just as good. One day though, we were pulled downwards.

“We’re being picked!!!”


The Five Amulets

My name is Tyler. I am thirteen. I am in seventh grade with my friends Jay, Lace, and Liz. We live in the big city of New York. My friends told me about these five amulets that are from China that give people the power to do things. They each have their own special power. One gives you shapeshifting abilities, one gives you invisibility, one gives you strength, and one gives you the power to reach to any length. The one my friends and I are going after allows people to run at incredible speed, and if someone wears them all, they will have unspeakable power. My friends and I are trying not to let that happen, so we are going to get all the amulets and make sure that no one dangerous gets them. We are going to try to get them tonight at 10:00 p.m.. Liz told me to go to a sewage on Third Avenue and Union Street. I wondered how she knew the amulets were there, but then she showed me a map that she had and told me she saw it in the garbage can and took it and that’s how we are pretty sure that there are the amulets like it says on the map. In the meantime, I have to go to school. My friends and I will discuss there. Finally, school is over, and I have to go home to get ready for tonight. Okay, I need a flashlight, my wooden sword, my water bottle, and a plastic cup from the sink.

“Everyone ready?”

“Yeah,” all three of them said.

They went over to the bar-like fence and went over it and went closer to the lake-like sewage and split up. Looking around for the amulet, we were surprised that no one was there.

We started feeling suspicious about it, and then Liz yelled, “Look!”

We all ran over to her, and she showed us what she found.

“The amulets, they actually exist, but do they have the powers like the map says,” said Tyler.

“Let’s find out,” said Lace, grabbing it from Liz.

She tried to put it on, but I stopped her and told her we should not put it on. We do not know how powerful it is.

Then, these older kids said, “Give it to us or else.”

They had weapons. I told Jay to get the wooden sword from my bag.

But one of the older guys said, “Where are you going?”

Then Jay stopped and turned around. Three other older boys took Lace’s arm, Jay’s arm, and Liz’s arm. Lace threw the amulet to Liz.

Then, the other, older boy said, “Give me the amulet” to Liz.

Then, she threw it to me and said, “Use it!”

And then, I said, “I don’t know how to use it.”

All three of them said, “Put it on!”

And then, I put it on and thought of saving my friends. Then, I put the amulet on and suddenly my eyes went like lightning, and then I ran at the boys, and in seconds the older boys were down on the floor. They were knocked out. My friends were surprised to see the kids knocked out so fast.

“Is that you?” asked Tyler.

“Yes,” I said.

Jay asked, “How did you do that?”

I shrugged. I pushed the amulet on my chest, and in a flash, my speed was gone, and the amulet was in my hand.

“Guess the amulet does have power,” said Jay.

“That also means we need to get all of them. We should study on this,” said Lace.

“And the other five,” said Liz.

“Okay, we will talk about this tomorrow,” said Tyler.

“We should go back to our homes before anyone finds out we’re out at 11:00 at night. Who should keep the amulet?”

“Tyler should. He knows how to control it, right Tyler?” I said.

“I kind of know how to control it.”

“That’s fair,” said Lace and Jay.

“See you tomorrow,” said Lace.

“See you,” said Liz.

“There is a lot we need to learn about these amulets. We will learn eventually. Till then, I should probably get some rest. I got school tomorrow.”


From Wolf to Dog

How has “the dog” become “man’s best friend”? Today, we see dogs as a very important part of most people’s lives. They are treated like other humans, almost as equals, and sometimes even better than most humans in the world. People used to think that animals were just for guarding and hunting, and they treated them like regular animals. However, this change of public opinion about dogs was caused when people started having them as pets.

Dogs are the oldest pets. People and wolves became close, and humans bred the different types and created dogs. People are so close to dogs because they have been so close for such a long time. They were domesticated at least 30,000 years ago, but it could have been earlier. The species of dogs are estimated to be around 15,000-20,000 years old. Later pets would be sheep and goats, 11,000 years ago, and cats around 10,000 years ago. Humans first began taking in wolf pups, which tamed the wolves because they had taken them in when they were puppies. They first started domesticating them for hunting. Humans gave the wolves food, and the wolves told the humans when strangers or predators approached. When wolves became dogs, they evolved to have smaller skulls, brains, teeth, and paws. They like having a job to do, like herding. The evolutionary advantages of wolves was that they got smaller teeth, paws, etc. Dogs have evolved to eat other stuff besides raw meat. They are omnivores now. There are different kinds of dogs in different cultures. For example, in Alaska, dog sleds are pulled by Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. Afghan hounds are from Afghanistan. There are also many breeds of English dogs. When you take a dog and breed it in a certain place, it may evolve to fit the environment, creating a new breed of dog.

The historical and cultural evolution of the dog in public opinion has changed how people like and view dogs. There have been many famous dogs throughout history that have changed people’s views about dogs. For example, many presidents had dogs like Fala, Franklin Roosevelt’s dog, Bo, Obama’s dog, and Buddy, Bill Clinton’s dog. Fala even has a statue at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. There are also dogs from TV and comics like Snoopy, Scooby Doo, and Pluto.

People have seen dogs as pets for a long time. In different parts of the world, humans have created 339 different dog breeds, not including mixed breeds. Even if someone does not like dogs, there is practically a dog breed for everyone. Short ones, tall ones, big ones, little ones. The 339 breeds are sorted into seven groups, Terrier, Working, Toy, Sporting, Hound, Herding and Non-Sporting. The breeds in the Herding group, for example, are bred to herd. If someone is looking for a certain dog to be a gift, they might pick a Toy dog like a Pug or Pomeranian. When people first started domesticating dogs, it was usually for hunting or as guard dogs. Nowadays, a lot of dogs are for pets and police dogs and for herding on farms. People have dogs as pets today because it makes them happier, and some people just really like dogs. They think that dogs are cute, cool, and most dogs have very good personalities. Most dogs follow their owner around everywhere, and having a dog prevents loneliness. In the past, people may have just thought of dogs as working animals, like they might think about farm animals like horses. People use dogs for other domestic things like therapy and guiding the blind. People started treating dogs better because they were helping them more. They started treating them better and better, until they began to think of them as man’s best friend.

Dogs are arguably the most popular pet. However, in the past, dogs weren’t the most popular pet; they were just working animals. Public opinion has changed because there have become even more types of dogs, and they now are celebrated in pop culture. Now, we love dogs more because they have done more stuff for us, like protecting us, helping us, and just making us feel better. We celebrate them because we have had them for such a long time, and they have been very useful.



List of oldest dogs

  • Saluki
  • Pekingese
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Chow Chow
  • Basenji
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Akita Inu
  • Afghan Hound


Works Cited


The Life that No One Wants

If you are reading this, then you have to be aware of something.

I am not a normal kid. Normal kids don’t wake up in the middle of the night, they don’t start screaming, and they totally don’t hear your thoughts, do they? My point exactly. This is the story of my horrible life, and I hope after you read this you will see that you have a lucky life compared to mine. Now, let’s start with the story.

Let’s start off with my home. I live in England, and at this time, there are many wars going on that this place is part of. My house is in the center of the country. My school is around the block, so I can get there in two minutes. My parents divorced when I was four years old, and then when I was six my mom died, followed by Dad a month later. That put me in the care of my aunt and uncle. My aunt says I’m way too dark, and my uncle says I’m way too skinny.

In school, I’m “the one that has no parents.” People make names for each other, so since I don’t have parents, I’m stuck with that name.

If you don’t have any parents, and people that have parents say they know how you feel, please note that if they have not lost someone important to them, then they have no idea of what the pain feels like. Trust me, I know. A person told me that they know exactly how I feel because they lost their pet fish. It’s not the same to lose a pet unless they have been there for your whole life since they were a small pup and you were a baby. But if the person had only had their pet for a week, that doesn’t really do anything for connections. Anyway, enough with the tour of my home and on with my life!

As any usual morning, my aunt woke me up before my alarm clock could ring. So when I heard a really high-pitched screaming for me to wake up, I knew to get up now or get a bucket of ice cold water dumped on your head, and if you don’t get up, then prepare for a metal bucket to fall on your head! So I got up after feeling the cold water on my head. My aunt is very impatient, so since I didn’t get up in one second, she rushed upstairs to my bedroom and dumped the bucket of cold water on my head.

“Okay!” I said, as I rolled out of bed. “I’m up! You really didn’t have to dump the water on my head!”

“One more word, and then I’ll throw the bucket. I won’t miss this time!” she said, picking up the metal bucket. “Now go down stairs, and go to school.”

“Can I dress up first?” I asked, trying hard not to laugh. “Or do I go in shorts and a t-shirt?”

She slapped me across the face. That’s something that she does when she thinks that I’m annoying.

Don’t play dumb with me!” she said. “Dress up, and go to school!”

That’s what happens every morning. That’s why I tried to put my alarm clock to 5:00 a.m. to see when will she wake me up, and she woke me up at 4:00 a.m. and started screaming at me why I didn’t set my alarm clock to the usual time.

So when I dressed up and put an ice cube that was on my bed to my cheek, I heard a terrible scream.

“What was that?” I asked. “Aunt Mary? Uncle Jose?”

I started to go down the stairs very slowly.

“Is anything wrong?” I asked. “Did I do something?”

My aunt and uncle were sitting at a table and drinking tea. They didn’t notice that I was there. I was about to say something when my uncle began to talk.

“Mary, do you really think that she’s one of them?”

Oh, no. They’ve discovered my secret. Remember how I said that I’m not a normal kid? Well, this is why I’m not normal. Since September 1, 1939 (or the beginning of World War II) people started to see that most kids had become different than other kids. Well those things are sort of like super powers, if that’s how you want to call it. Well, I can do all of those things when I want to, but sometimes you can’t control it, and they just burst out. Like one time, (thank goodness I was alone) I lost control, and I shot out a burst of fire from my eyes.

“Yes, I’m sure I remember seeing a burst of fire out of her mouth, and when I cooked her least favorite food, I was thinking about it. When I came up to get her for dinner, she looked at me with her never blinking eyes, and she said she wasn’t in the mood for her least favorite foods. She was reading my mind!”

I guess I thought I was alone when I did that.

“What should we do?” asked Jose. “Kill her?”

“No,” my aunt said and pointed at the newspaper. “It says here that if you know a person that’s not normal, then you should bring them to this place! Tomorrow, we’ll take her to this place.”

“What happens if she finds out we’re taking her there?”
“Well, we won’t tell her.”
“She can read our minds!”

“We’ll just think of meetings or something, and if she does, then all she will get is who we’re meeting.”

“What happens if her deformation could go even further than what we think?”


I ran to my bed. I didn’t want to hear anymore. My parents left me with my aunt and uncle to be safe, not to be killed!

I had so many questions, but I had to run away first, and then I could think of the questions.

I grabbed all the things I might need, but then I looked outside. I saw that it was almost morning, so I didn’t have time to pack. I had to leave now. I dropped my pack and ran out the door. I saw my friend Jack waiting for me.

“Jack!” I said. “What are you doing here?”

“Well, I’m here for you of course,” he said. “You’re trying to escape just like I am.”

“Escape from what?” I didn’t want to give in right away but first check that we were on the same side.

“From the place that your aunt and uncle were going to try to take you to of course. Why didn’t you read my mind?”

“Okay,” I said. “Now where do I go?”
“With me of course.”
“Number one, stop saying ‘of course.’ Number two, where am I supposed to go with you?”

“Where all of the other kids that escaped go. Of co — ”

“Don’t say it!” I said, feeling fire come in my eyes.

“Wow!” said Jack staring at me. “I never saw anyone have that before.”

“Yes, I have my own power.”

“You can control the weather?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“That’s what I can do. Anyway let’s get going. It’s almost morning, and your aunt and uncle will be looking for you soon.”

Jack started walking. What could I do? I can’t just stay here and hope that my aunt and uncle won’t find me. And Jack is my closest friend, so I guess I can trust him. I decided that I should follow.

“What exactly is the place that they were going to take me?” I asked, as I caught up to Jack. “What do they do there to you?”

“No one who is alive knows,” Jack said coldly. “They took many mutants in, and we never saw them again. We’re trying to stop this thing, but anyone who found out who we were would run away screaming!”

“Last question,” I said. “How did you know that my aunt and uncle were going to take me there?”

“The mutant that can read minds found you,” said Jack, smiling. “Another mutant made this thing of names of every single mutant in the world. But the mutant can read only the most powerful minds because it’s easy. So we could only reach you. Here we are.”

We stopped at a broken-down building.

“Now watch your step because there are many sharp things that you can step on.”

“If they’re pieces of metal, then I can move them,” I said, moving a chunk of metal. “Is the person who can do that here?”

“Yes,” Jack said. “And he does that all the time. But he forgets to put them ba — ”

“I get it,” I said. “I’ll put it back once we move past this place.”

Once we passed the metal thing, I heard people talking. It sounded like only two voices.

“We only found two people that would fight with us. The other ones didn’t think that a war is starting.”

“Well those people are dead,” said a voice. “And now we have to fight for them.”

“Come on Lev, it’s not that bad,” said another voice. “We can just talk to the humans.”

I heard the first voice laugh. “Those are Lev and Bobbi. They don’t get along,” explained Jack. “You’ll see them soon.”

We came to a clearing where many tents were set up.

“Who’s there?” yelled a male voice. “Oh hello, Jack, you found Will? What can she do?”

The boy was about one year older than me. He had black hair, his eyes were dark brown, and he wore similar clothes that I wore: black pants and a black shirt.

“Wow!” said Jack. “Now I can see you fully! You two look so much alike!”

Jack was right. Now the sun was starting to rise, and I could see how Jack looked like. He didn’t look anything like me. He had white pants and a white t-shirt.

“Who came?” asked the second voice I heard. “Oh hello, Jack. Person I don’t know.”

A short and fat girl came out of tent number four.

She had really ugly, brown hair, ugly, brown eyes, and what she wore made me want to run away: she had a really bright pink dress as long as a wedding gown.

“Do we really need her?” she asked. “You have me, and I have the most powerful mind in the universe.”

“Bobbi,” said Jack. “We’ve been over this. She has a more powerful mind than you!”

“What can miss one earring tell us?” she asked. “Probably how unfashionable it is to have one earring!”

“I have one earring!” said Lev, pointing at his left ear.

“You two are like twins!” said Jack. “Both of you like the same things.”

What can she do?” screamed Bobbi. “I want to know now!”

“Okay!” said Jack. “Will, can you please show Bobbi what you can do?”

“Sure,” I said, with a shrug. “What can you do?”

“I can move metal,” said Lev.

“Give me a piece of metal.”

Lev picked up a piece of metal without touching it and set it on the ground.

I focused my eyes on the piece of metal and sent it a secret message through my brain to pick it up. And the piece of metal lifted in the air. Once I put it down, I saw Bobbi, Jack, and Lev staring at me.

“Do you have your own power?” asked Lev.

“Stand back,” I said and again focused on the piece of metal. l felt the fire coming into my eyes. I let out the fire. The metal began to shrivel up.

“Cool!” said Jack. “Can you do anything else?”

“Name it.”

“Put a thought into my head. Make me do something,” said Bobbi.


I focused my eyes on Bobbi and told her mind to go and get another piece of metal. Right away, Bobbi walked to a metal dump and brought it to me.

“Cool!” said Jack,

“That’s not fair!” said Bobbi, as she came back from la-la land. “I’m the only one that’s supposed to have that power!”

“Can we go eat?” asked Lev. “I’m starving!”

“Okay,” said Bobbi and stomped away to where the tables were.

“Lev, can you give Will a tour while I deal with this thing?” asked Jack.

“Sure,” said Lev, shrugging. “I’m not dealing with her.”

“Thought you would say that,” said Jack with a sigh. “She’s never happy!”

Without saying another word, he ran off to find Bobbi.

“Okay,” said Lev. “Let’s start off with where you sleep. Jack sleeps in tent number one, I sleep in tent number two, and Bobbi sleeps in ten number four. You’ll sleep in tent number three because Jack said we all have to be together! Pretty dumb rule if you think about it.”

“Why does Bobbi sleep in tent number four if no one sleeps in tent number three?”

“You know the three main gods in greek myths?” asked Lev. “Well Jack said that we should have that.”

“So because Jack controls the sky, he gets cabin number one and you control metal, you get cabin two? I don’t get it.”

“Jack says it’s just the three most powerful minds. But Bobbi can only control the most powerful minds. You can control any mind. And you can sort of, like, go underground. Which is where Hades lives.”

I put some power into my hands and made the ground tremble.

“Like that,” said Lev. “Next up we have the training place. Here, I made a bunch of dummies, so you can practice on them.”
“Okay,” I said. “Anything else?”

“The kitchen is more of just a fireplace since we don’t have a lot of food. It’s not a really big place, but you can live here. But there are no happy moments here.”

“ATTACK!” I heard a voice yell.

A bullet almost hit Lev, but he turned it around and sent it back where it came from. I sent a huge wave of dust to block us from view.

“WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?” I yelled over the sound of the wind that I was causing.


We ran as fast as we could to the dinner place.

“TURN THE WIND DOWN!” Lev yelled.

I made the wind calm down but kept the big cloud of dust behind us. I saw some figures and another cloud of dust behind them.

“I’m guessing that’s Jack,” I said “Jack!”
The two figures started to run faster.

“A war is coming,” said Jack. “I called many mutants to come here and help.”

“I can try to make the mutants that are trapped get out,” I said, thinking.

“How?” asked Bobbi. “You can only control minds that are powerful like me, not human minds.”

“You’re forgetting something,” I said closing my eyes. “I have all powers ten times stronger.”

I thought of the prison gates and saw where they were kept. I saw only three people standing outside the cells, no weapons, just standing. I tried to get into their minds, but it didn’t work. I thought of the war and how many people will die if no one will come to an agreement. Then I felt myself feel like I was another person, and I could finally control the person.

“Go and unlock the cells. Every single last one,” I said out loud, as I told it to the person.

I felt as if I was walking, and then I started unlocking every cell.

“Go to where Jack lives. A war is coming, and we need your help to win it!”

I saw some mutants stare at me, but then they all started running away. The people standing there still stood there, and then I saw that the they were mannequins. I let myself drift back to earth.

“Well?” asked Jack. “How did it go?”

“Good,” I said. I felt overwound by what I just did. I don’t really like having all the powers. Sometimes, I can’t control one of the powers. They get loose, and I have to take away the memory of the person that saw it.

“Are they coming?” asked Jack, jumping up and down.

“Yes,” I said, rolling my eyes.

Just as I said that, we heard shouting.

“What was that?” asked Bobbi.

“Mutants,” I said, smiling.

“You’re here!” said Jack, running toward them. “She brought you here!”

But as we were saying our hellos, we heard gunshots.

“Why do they bring metal things if they now I can bring it back?” asked Lev.

Then an arrow came. I stopped it just before it hit Lev. Jack sent a wave of dust to where the arrow came from.

“The arrow is really sharp plastic!” I said, as I looked at the arrow. “They know that you can’t control plastic.”

“You can?” said Jack, amazed.

I nodded and said “We have to go and fight.”

Jack sent the cloud of dust down. “You and Lev stay here, and then in about five minutes, then follow. CHARGE!”

I watched how the mutants ran and killed if any person was in their way. Then I saw that all the mutants were kids and all the humans were grown up men. Then I heard a sound of an arrow going into someone.

“Will,” I heard a dying voice.

I turned around and saw Lev laying down with an arrow in his heart.

“Lev!” I screamed. “What happened?”
“I turned around, and then I got hit.”

“You’re going to be okay.”

“No,” he said. “Don’t say that if we both know it’s not true.”

I looked at him. I sat down and put his head in my lap.

“Win the war,” said Lev. “To show me that I didn’t die for nothing.”

He took one last breath, and then he exhaled sharply. I looked at him and felt hatred come into my heart.

“Times out!” I screamed.

I let all my powers out. I felt that even if I try really hard, it still won’t work.

I killed every human.

Then I cried. The first time in my life.

I saw Jack laying down not breathing.

All the mutants were dead.

I looked around and started to cry harder.


Why Paintball Wars Should Be a National Sport

Dear horrible President Donald Trump,

I, Jasper S. Hirt, student of P.S. 58, think that the sport paintball wars should be a national sport or a sport that you can tune into when you’re watching TV. If it were up to me, paintball would have a chance to be in the Olympics. Imagine tuning into a paintball channel, then liking the sport, so you would want to watch more of it, but you can’t because paintball is not a national sport. People who like action stuff, like me and some of my friends, would also like paintball. A couple examples for why paintball fighting should be a national sport are that it can have lots of action, it can be very interesting, and can be very good exercise for you if you want to join.

Paintball fighting has lots of action which is good because action is one of the most watched type of movies. That is important because football, for example, has lots of action and violence just like paintball fighting, so that means that it might get the same amount of attention just as football. My second reason for why paintball should be a national sport is that a lot of people like to see and do action, like me and a couple of my friends. Action movies have a lot of shooting, jumping, running, and hiding, and paintball has all of those things. Last but not least, I have my third reason. Not many sports include action like paintball fighting, so that means that there would be more sports that include action, so people who like action sports have more to watch.

My second reason on why paintball should be a national sport is that it can be very interesting. Paintball can be very interesting because your kids could join, and you really want to see your kid become a champion, don’t you? Plus, you want to vote for your country’s or state’s paintball team. Paintball could represent a country like the U.S., and then you can have it in the Olympics. It could be interesting to watch country fight country, instead of city vs. city or state vs. state. Another reason paintball can be interesting is that if your husband or wife likes to play paintball and gets really good and decides to join the country’s or state’s national team. Paintball fighting is also basically war. Here is the fact that for me, personally, is most important, and it’s that you use weapons. You don’t use weapons in any sport except fencing and archery, but you use practically guns! Well, they’re not real guns. They’re like guns that shoot balls of paint. The paintball guns are actually safer than a compound bow or a recurve bow because paintball guns are not lethal.

My third and last reason on why paintball should be a national sport is that it can be super healthy for you. My first reason why paintball fighting can be good exercise is that if you imagine that your life depends on it, because wouldn’t you do anything for your life, because I totally would. Plus, you have to do a ton of running, and we all know that running is good exercise. Plus, in paintball you can get really stressed and sometimes when you’re stressed out you sweat, and my opinion is that whenever you sweat it’s good for you.

Before the conclusion, I would like to say that my very strong reason on why paintball should be a national sport is that that no other sports include trying to shoot someone. Don’t get me wrong or anything, because that could be positive because shooting and war is one of the most watched type of movie genres so why won’t it be a game. If you don’t get it, what I am trying to say is that people would want to feel like they’re in danger, but they really aren’t. Like seriously, name one sport where you try and shoot someone. Because in archery you shoot at a target and same with BB gun shooting you also shoot a target, but in paintball you are actually trying to shoot someone and try to not get shot yourself. That is my ultimate reason on why paintball should be a national sport, because it would be the only very aggressive sport.

In conclusion, that was why paintball should be a national sport, because it can have lots of action, it can be very interesting, and can be very good exercise for you if you want to join. Plus, like I said earlier, it could be very interesting to watch and tune into on a Sunday morning or something like that. If you don’t like action, then you could think of paintball as a suspenseful game, not as an action sport, and see if that will fit you better.


The reader should read…

I’m writing this because I believe that paintball fighting should be a national sport. Imagine tuning into a paintball channel, then liking the sport you would want to see more of, but you can’t because paintball is not a national sport. Since it’s not a national sport, you can only see it once a year which is not a lot of times in your life. Paintball could represent a country like the U.S., and then you can have it in the Olympics. It could be interesting to watch country fight country instead of city vs. city or state vs. state. Paintball is also very good exercise because you are running around with a fake gun in your hand trying not to get shot or trying to shoot another person, but that person could be better than you. Let’s not forget that running around, hiding, and jumping up and down takes a lot of energy. Can we not forget that paintball fighting has a lot of action. Action is one of the most watched movie genres out of sci-fi, drama, and horror (comedy is first). Action movies have a lot of shooting, jumping, running, and hiding, and paintball has all of those things. Am I right, because paintball is kind of fake war.

P.S. When you finish reading this, I want you to say to yourself and friends, do you like action and want good exercise or even want paintball on TV. Write your own essay, and send it to the president, saying that paintball should be a national sport. Because I think it’s a great idea, and I hope that other people think so too, just like me.


The Boy That Was So Jealous

There was this kid named John, and he was super strong and he’s going to a dance program that I’m going to. By the way, my name is Greg. I am eleven. I am a nerd. I like to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I want to be his friend because he is cool, but I tried, and he didn’t really listen to me, so I want to see if I can do it again. By the way, John is really good at dancing. I want to go and talk to John, but he is next to the bully. I will try to talk to him tomorrow.


The next day…

I thought I found John. So let’s go, I mumbled to myself.

I walked over and said, “Hi.”

He said, “Hi” back.

I didn’t know what to say back, so I just walked away slowly.

But John said, “Hey Greg, you want to be my friend?”

I turned around and said, “Sure,” and in my head I said yes!!!

And when school ended, I told my mom how my day was.


Theater program…

I went to the program. I saw John, and I walked up to him, and I said, “Do you remember me from school?”

He said, “You do look familiar. What’s your name?”

“My name is Greg,” I said. “And your name is John, right?”

“Yes, okay so I guess you are from school after all,” John said.

There was a stage and a professional actor who is famous talking about how it is to act in theater.

The lights turned off. A whole bunch of people came in. I could see the figures walking and I heard feet walking. And the lights came back on. When we looked at the stage, there was a whole bunch of actors about to dance. And then they started dancing.

This program is cool, I thought. One of the dancers was break dancing. Then the program was over.

John said, “It’s cool being in the same program with you, Greg. I hope I see you next Friday.”


The weekend…

My mom and I were watching a movie, and it was called Jumanji 2. We were walking over to the movie theater right now, and I couldn’t wait to watch the movie. I was also thinking on the other side of my brain, What is John doing right now?

So when Jumanji 2 was over, my mom and I were talking about it all the way until we walked to our house. By the way, we went to the movie theater, AMC. That popcorn really messed up my stomach. When I went home, I really needed to go use to bathroom, so I stayed in the bathroom for at least ten minutes. I came out and my stomach felt better. My dad came home.

He said, “How was the movie?”

I said, “It was good. Mom, what’s your opinion?”

Mom said, “It was really good, but I liked the first one better.”

One hour passed. It was bedtime. I really loved my pajamas. They had a whole bunch of penguins on it, and I really loved penguins. I was dreaming a whole bunch about school, and I almost had a nightmare. My nightmare was that one of the teachers was banning recess and all the kids had to fight to get it back.



Today was a chilling day for me. I stayed home and play video games all day. My favorite game was Call of Duty: WWII.

Mom stopped me from playing video games, and she said, “You should go outside and play.”

I said, “Fine, but when I come back, I want to go straight to my video games.”

I think I’m going to go play basketball.


An hour later…

I came back to our house, and I said to Mom, “I made so many three pointers.”

She said, “Great, I have a surprise for you.”

I said, “Really? What is it?

“I’m not telling you.”

Once dinner is ready, we ate dinner. I faked went to go to the bathroom, but I went into my room. I found my present!!! It was a PS4, and I screamed!! So now I could play Call of Duty: WWII on the TV then on the iPad. I gave my mom a big hug. I finished my mashed potatoes and steak and ran into my room and opened the PS4.



The first day of the week. The weekend was so short I felt like Friday should be a weekend day. John and I were in the cafeteria standing next to a garbage can.

I went to John and said, “I got the new PS4.”

John said, “Cool.”

“What kind of games do you have?” I said.

“I have Call of Duty,” John said.

“That’s it?” I said. “I have Call of Duty: WWII, I have NBA 2K, and I have NBA Live. I have Minecraft, Marvel 2, the newest one. And that’s it.”

“Dang, you have a lot.”

The bell rang. John and I left.

“See you at recess.”


A week later…

One day, when I was playing Call of Duty, my mom said to me, “Want to have a playdate with John?”

“Is this the John I go to school with?”

“Hm-hmm,” said my mom. “Did you know that John is your brother?”

I stopped playing Call of Duty.

“Really? Is this true?” I said. My mouth was open, and my eyes were wide.

“How is that possible?” I said.

My mom said, “John is in your grandma’s house. He has been there since you have been three.”

“Well, why haven’t I seen him?” Greg said.

“You guys have not gotten along. For example, when it was Thanksgiving eight years ago, remember the visitor you had, that was John.”

“I remember that, but I didn’t know that I wasn’t getting along with him,” I said.

“You guys were not getting along because you guys were fighting,” Mom said.

“Really?” I said

“Yep it was crazy,” Mom said.

I started to cry.


The next day…

“We wanted to surprise you and also John with a playdate. He will be coming home in a hour with all of his luggage.”

I am cleaning up my room, getting ready for John.





Ryan: Ugh, the school play is tomorrow. What do we have to wear again?

Lydia: You’re not even in the school play. What’s the big rush?

Ryan: I was the understudy for Jason, the main character. Melania, the person playing Jason, got sick and is in the hospital right now.

Lydia: O-M-G! Gosh, so I think Jason is supposed to wear a purple skirt with sparkly necklaces.

Ryan: Sure.

Lydia: No, not kidding.

Ryan: Isn’t Jason a boy?

Lydia: Have you read the script? Jason is a girl!

Ryan: … Darn it, I would have never signed up for this if I knew it.

<End of chat>


Yep. Welcome to my life. Lydia is being annoying right now, so I’m going to call Melania.



<Dial tone>

Melania: Hello?

Ryan: Oh, hey Melania. I was just wondering if you know what Jason’s supposed to wear for the school play.

Melania: She’s supposed to wear a purple skirt with sparkly wristbands.

Ryan: That’s not what I heard from Lydia.

Melania: Lydia? She’s playing the little boy.

Ryan: Hmph, haha. Ok, bye!

Melania: See ya.

<End of call>


I’m so going to kill Lydia for this.


<Connecting to FaceTime with Lydia>

<Ring, ring>

Lydia: Hello? I hope this call is important because I’m applying my makeup right now.

Ryan: So, I heard you’re playing the little boy.

Lydia: Hey, who’s playing Jason, a girl?

Ryan: Ha. What a funny joke.

Lydia: <Screams of despair since she dropped some makeup on her phone>

Ryan: Um?

Lydia: Okay, okay. <Accidently swipes tab and realizes Melania is calling her>


<Dial tone>


Lydia: Yeah, yeah. Buttoned down, blue shirt, jeans, supposed to comb my hair and stuff.

Melania: They changed the plans. You’re supposed to be wearing a mohawk. Bad news, they don’t have wigs.

Ryan: O-M-G, how was I not informed of this?!

Lydia: … Keep out of it, Ryan!

Melania: Well, you better get down to the barber shop.

<Hangs up>

Lydia: Oh, dang it.

Ryan: <Moans while looking at email sent from Ms. Carol, teacher for drama>

This is what it said:



From: Me, Natasha

Hello Ryan,

I just wanted to tell you that we have changed the script. Jason is supposed to have blond, long hair in pigtails, but we don’t have a wig. eBay is selling one for $200! Outrageous, right? Thanks, I knew you would understand. Go down to the barbershop, I attached a coupon.

Ms. Carol




Hanks’ Barber Shop

Best hairstyles, the best trends!

$20 off!

Valid 2/22/18-3/10/18




Ryan: I didn’t even read the script!!!


I mean, I guess I do have sort of long hair. I’ve been keeping it in short tufts, but they always fall into my eyes. Ugh. Hair makeover.

When I get back from the play, I’m destroying whatever I get, even if it ends up getting me to be bald.


Hank: Welcome to Hank’s Barber Shop! What can I do for you?

Ryan: <Holds out coupon>

Hank: Oh, great, what hair style?

Ryan: Pigtails.

<FaceTime with Lydia>

Lydia: Oh, hey… haha. What did you do to your hair?

Ryan: Ugh, don’t ask. Just look at the message Ms. Carol sent me.

<Forwards message>

Lydia: It’s weird all the teachers in our school always have an account in No specific stuff needed.

Ryan: Bah.

Lydia: Illuminati confirmed!!! Do-do-do-do-do-do!

Ryan: ???

Lydia: Whoops, Melania’s here. I’ll add her in the FaceTime.

<Connects Melania to FaceTime>

Melania: Hey… guys. Or should I say… girls?

Ryan: DUDE!!!

Melania: I’m a dudette.

Lydia: L-O-L.

Christmas Carol: You should start doing some last review for the school play. The English spelling bee is tomorrow.

Lydia: Um, who are you?

Christmas Carol: I do not have the information you seek.

Ryan: Your tagline… ‘Somewhere out there?’

Melania: With a world emoji?

Lydia: Yeah…

<Blocks user from FaceTime>

There. Done!

Melania: Whoops, guys, I gotta get back. See you guys later. I gotta get some shots. Tears of despair!


Lydia: By the way, I love your hair.

Ryan: Stick a sock in it, cabbage head.

Lydia: You do know that the play is at 7:00, right? You’ll have to wear that crazy hair style to school!

Ryan: What?

Lydia: Here.

<Forwards message from Ms. Carol>




To: Group



Hello class,

I wanted to inform you that the school play will be at 7:00 on Wednesday. Please keep your costumes, scripts, and other play materials inside your backpacks and change into them before the play starts.


Have fun!

Ms. Carol




Ryan: Another reason you should read the play material BEFORE you sign up.

<Disconnects from FaceTime>

Lydia: No one in the FaceTime. Hello darkness, my old friend!

<Ends FaceTime>


Ms. Carol scolded me so bad for wearing my “wig” to school. I got so bored, so I just started texting Lydia:


Ryan: Boi, Ms. Carol’s trying to roast me here.

Lydia: Serves you right.

Ryan: Argh. What about your hair?

Lydia: Doing it after school, so nobody sees me in my crazy, ugly, disgusting, boyish mohawk.

Ryan: What nice adjectives.

Lydia: I think your hair looks amazing. I would describe it as beautiful, amazing, girlish, fake, rich, ugly, and worth farting for.

Ryan: Wow, love your vocab.

Lydia: I know right? I’m going to rock the spelling bee!!!

Ryan: There’s a spelling bee?

Lydia: Yes. Did you not read Ms. Carol’s email? She’s subbing for English, and there’s a spelling bee today.

Ryan: ANOTHER reason why you should read the play’s email’s before you do stuff.

Lydia: Here.

<Forwards message>




To:Group Chat.Sixth Grade


Hello class,

The English teacher is out today because she is sick. She asked me to remind you that we have a spelling bee today. The vocabulary words are in your notebooks.


Thank you!

Happy studying!

Ms. Carol





Lydia: What is happening right now?


“Ryan?” Huh? Uh-oh. I quickly look up from my phone and at the board. It says ‘Fractions’ in big lettering. Darn it.


“You weren’t listening. Please, Ryan, listen next time.” I nod, face burning. Suddenly Lydia sends a message. I look down. I explode in laughter. It’s a pitbull sucking a lemon, but on the top it says, “The power of lemons!!!” Lydia tries to look serious, but her face looks like she’s sucking on a lemon combined with laughing because someone farted in her face.

We both explode into giggles. Bad news. After class, the math teacher both sends a note home to our parents. This is what it read:


Hello parents,

Your kids, Lydia and Ryan, were fooling around during math class with their phones. They had apparently sent a funny meme to each other via texting, and therefore did not pay attention in class. Please talk to them to get things straight. In the meantime, we would like both of them to join Office Hours for math class.


I can’t help it. I start laughing, so hard, that I have to cough. Lydia looks at me like, “Who farted in your face?” And we both laugh so hard that we have to take a break. Ugh, it’s time for the spelling bee.


Name: Ryan

Spelling Bee


  • Frustrating
  • Ugly
  • Annoying
  • Cwazy
  • Princeippale
  • Loony
  • abseerd


Grade: F-


Later that afternoon, I decide to search up “Christmas Carol” online, just to clarify who the mysterious person is. As I type in the last letter, I click search. A few hundred results pop up. Mostly, it is about the holiday Christmas and the Christmas carol song. Discouraged, I decide to do something more specific.

I type in “Christmas Carol profile” and search. Only a few items pop up. One is linked to “” That’s weird. I click into it. It says:

Christmas Carol


Gender: Male

Tagline: Somewhere out there…

Birthday: Dec. 18, 1990





Ryan: Boi, look at what the principal sent to our parents:

<Attaches picture>

Lydia: That wasn’t even the meme that we sent to each other.

Melania: Haha, what was it?

Lydia: <Attaches meme>

Melania: How do you express laughing in text?

Ryan: Uh, add a poop emoji and a ‘whoops I pooped in my pants.’

Melania: Whoops I pooped in my pants.

Lydia: Did you know that the poop emoji was originally the emoji for chocolate ice cream?

Melania: Really???

Ryan: Poop flavored chocolate ice cream!!!


Melania: LOL

Lydia: Whoops guys.

Melania: Dudettes

Ryan: MELANIA!!!

Lydia: Ha. I gotta go to the barber shop to get my disgusting, boyish, ugly, puky mohawk thing.

Ryan: Can’t wait!!!

Lydia: Dude. Whoops, I forgot, you’re a dudette.

<Disconnects from chat>

Ryan: O-M-G.

Melania: Can’t wait! Call me with FaceTime to see her hair, okay?

Ryan: Yeah, yeah.

<Disconnects from chat>

<Ends chat>


An hour later…


Lydia: Hey guys.

Ryan: Oh, here’s Melania. I’ll set up a FaceTime!

<Melania joins FaceTime>

Melania: Three words: Ha Ha Ha.

Lydia: Are those even words?

Ryan: Love your hair.

Lydia: Argh, and the price was forty dollars!


Melania: Oh, look, Ms. Carol is requesting to join the FaceTime!

<Connects Ms. Carol to Facetime>

Ms. Carol: Hi everybody! Ready for the play? Oh, by the way I love your hair, guys.

Melania: Ahem, dudettes.

Ryan: Boiii!!!

Ms. Carol: I’m not a boy.


Ms. Carol: Oh, hello Melania. Nice to see that you are feeling better!

Melania: Oh, thank you! I’m still in the hospital, they say they won’t let me out until next week!

Ryan: Sucks for you.

Melania: …

Ms. Carol: Oh! It’s time for the play! See you guys!

<Disconnects from FaceTime>

Melania: DUDETTES!!!

<Disconnects from FaceTime>

Ryan: We’ve been over this…

<Disconnects from FaceTime>

Lydia: Oh no, my mohawk is getting soiled!!!

<Ends FaceTime>


I quickly change into the purple skirt and sparkly wristbands and jump up onto the backstage. Lydia is there, wearing a buttoned down blue shirt and a really weird mohawk. Here is the play: I gulp, and I hear Ms. Carol come out and introduce the play:

“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the play ‘A Christmas Carol’!”

A narrator walks out. “Long ago, in the town of Butterfield, there lived two families: the Haymans and the Candlemans. They were rivals, but one day in a Christmas church, the long history was forever changed.”

It’s time for my first act. I walk out. “Oh, John, I wish our family could get together. Christmas is supposed to be a happy time!”

Lydia, playing John the little boy, comes out. “I brought you a present!” She holds out a tissue box wrapped in present paper. I’m supposed to look inside. There’s a fake figurine of Santa and the sleigh inside.

“Oh, what a nice present, John! Thank you!” John nods. Then the scene changes.

Lydia is off stage, and I’m lying on a fake bed. I put the Santa sleigh figurine on the table, and I pretend to sleep on the bed. Then I feel the staff pull away the bed, and the scene changes again.

The people in the back are waving a large poster with Santa and the sleigh, and it is “flying.” People on the balcony drop presents down, and then I feel myself being pulled back on stage. I wake up. Santa and the sleigh are not on the table anymore.

I say, “Where’s the figurine?” in a fake, tired voice. Then the scene ends, and Lydia comes out.

She is holding the figurine. “Oh, Santa, give us all good presents!” And suddenly, people on the balcony activate the confetti sprayers, but instead of confetti, papers fly out. On them say, “Christmas Carol on Sunday! Free admission!” I pick one up on stage.

The next act is here. We are seated on fake chairs. Then the choir of boys comes out and starts singing the Christmas Carol. The people on the balcony drop presents. Then the curtain is pulled back, and the play ends with both families coming out and rejoicing.


I sigh in relief.

Back at home, Ms. Carol is with me and picking me up to go home. She smiles at me. “You did great, Ryan,” she says. I thank her. Then she says, “I tried to encourage you, but you didn’t need any encouraging. I made a new account called Christmas Carol and went into your FaceTime to try to help you.” I look up. She continues, “It was on auto reply, so it was a robot replying. But look at you now!” I smile. The play has ended, and I am happy.

The car slowly drives away, leaving one paper on the ground: “Christmas Carol Sunday! Free admission!” A boy picks it up, smiles, and heads towards the church.


His name is John Candleman. At the church, someone else is there: Jason Hayman. Wink, wink.


The Soccer Game

One time, it was PSG against Monaco. A person named Jeff had never seen a soccer game in his life before. He didn’t want to miss the soccer game; he didn’t go to any soccer game because he couldn’t afford it. He was very poor; he only had 200 dollars, and that was the exact price of the game, but then he couldn’t afford his taxes. Since he is a farmer, he could sell potatoes, tomatoes, salad, blueberries, and raspberries. That will make have enough money to survive, but first he had to work!!!

He started working; he had never worked as hard as that before. At the end of the day, his fields were out of food. He just had to put them in barrels and then lock the barrels in a room. What he feared the most was that he didn’t know if people will buy things from his market. But he had more chances to sell things because the next day was Sunday. The next day he had a plan: when people go to the market and buy a lot of things, he will wake up at five in the morning, so he could sell the most things he can. He put his alarm for five in the morning. He got to bed at 6:00 p.m. to wake up earlier. At 5:00 a.m., he woke up and went to the village. He went with bags full of food. When he was at the village, about nobody was there. Three hours later, the whole village was there. He had about no more food. He gave everything he had, and he had no more food in his bags. He got 1,000 dollars. He was happy to sell the food he had.

When he went back, he could not go in his house. Mice were everywhere. He started thinking about what to do. He came up with an idea. He’ll go to a market and get three packs of products to kill the mice. When he came back, he put all the products in the house. It killed about all the mice. Three were left. He went in his house, and he smashed the mice with a hammer. He had nothing to do, so he headed to his friend’s house. His friend is the richest man in the world. They became friends when they were little kids. The farmer asked the richest man in the world to go to the soccer game. He made him go to the soccer game.

Today was the soccer game. He went to the soccer game, and he gave the 200 dollars. There even were free T-shirts of PSG. He was for PSG, so he took the T-shirts. The tickets said he was on the second floor. He went to the second floor and gave the tickets to the lady. When he arrived to his seat, someone took it. The farmer said it was his seat, but he said it was his. So he went back to the lady and said someone took his seat. The lady went to the boy and kicked him out of the stadium. Now it was perfect. He was impatient. Twenty minutes left. Just before the game, people from the audience went in the stadium and messed up the field and put glass on the field. They did that because they hate soccer.

They had to make the whole stadium go back to their houses and come back tomorrow to watch the game. The farmer was angrier than ever. He had always wanted to watch a soccer game. He was ready for tomorrow. For the whole day, he was dreaming of being a soccer player and that he scored goals and that he sold his T-shirt and that everyone bought it and also that he won a World Cup. It was 10:00 p.m.. He went to sleep dreaming of the next day.

At 7:00 p.m., he went to the soccer stadium. The places were free because of what happened yesterday. Even popcorn, pizza, soda, and all kind of things. He took about every single food, it was a feast. He was ready to see the wonderful, great PSG against Monaco. The game started with PSG!!! Cavani passed to Neymar, who dribbled three persons, and passed to Rabiot. Rabiot tried to pass to Verratti, but Monaco caught it back. Monaco ran the ball up the field, but Silvia caught it and passed to Kurzawa. Kurzawa ran up the field, and just before Monaco stole the ball from him, he passed to Lucas and passed to Neymar who ran up the ball. He passed to Mbappe who passed to Cavani and passed it to Neymar, and he scored a beautiful goal. He shot so hard the goalie ran away from the ball to not get hit. The crowds were yelling with happiness. It was starting great for PSG with a start of 1-0. Monaco got the ball, and they ran up the ball, passed to Falcao, ran with the ball, and dribbled Meunier and Kurzawa. When Silvia was about to get the ball from him, Falcao passed to his teammate and dribbled around the defenders and passed back to Falcao. Falcao shot in the corner and hard, and it went in the goal just before the goalie caught it. The farmer didn’t like this because what Monaco did was really strong. He didn’t know if PSG could keep up for that attack PSG again, and it was 1-1.

Cavani dribbled Falcao and passed to Mbappe. Lemar was on the way to Mbappe but passed to Lucas, who shot but missed the wonderful goal. Lemar started and passed to someone, and he went up the field and passed to Falcao who passed to Lemar and tried to shoot, but he missed. Trapp passed to Silvia and did a wonderful pass up high in the air, but Monaco caught it and passed directly to his teammate. Monaco got to pass the half line and tried to shoot, but Meunier caught it back. He dribbled Sidibe. He did a pass in the air, but Monaco caught it and did a wonderful pass in the air. Just when Kurzawa was going to do a header, he put his hands in the air and touched the ball with his hands. What a sad thing he did, because it was a penalty for Monaco. Monaco was laughing so much that they might miss the penalty. They chose their best player, and he was the wonderful Falcao. Falcao got ready to shoot, and Trapp did not want to do the penalty, so he got out of the field. Areola went on the field, and he prayed to god to catch the penalty. Okay, it was time to shoot, and Falcao shoots a ball that nobody has ever caught. Areola dived and caught it. What a wonderful catch for PSG and what a wonderful shot and what a miss. PSG gathered around Areola and thanked him. They were so happy that PSG won, and Areola was crying of happiness because he saved his first penalty. They knew they needed to get off the field because it was halftime, so they went to their lockers.

The farmer was so happy with the catch that he wanted to get to the PSG’s locker to say how that catch was wonderful, the whole crowd is happy, and they could hear the noise from twenty miles away. But the farmer was more excited than everybody because this was his first soccer game, so he was going crazy. Monaco was saying to Falcao, “How did you miss the shot?” Falcao was not playing well now, so the coach took him out of the field for someone else. Monaco just lost their best player, so everybody thought the coach was crazy. PSG had a plan. Since Falcao was not in the game, they were going to do the passing skill. The reason why they didn’t do the passing skill was because Falcao was the best at intercepting the passes. Okay, the ball was for Monaco. The Monaco goalie passed to Lemar who tried to pass to Sidibe, but Mbappe intercepted the pass and dribbled Lemar. But Sidibe was running on Mbappe, so he just passed to Cavani who did a rainbow on Lemar and then passed to Mbappe who passed to Lemar by accident. But Neymar stole the ball as soon as he got it, and then Neymar passed to Cavani who did a pass to Neymar in the air. Neymar did a bicycle kick in the air, and he scored!!! What a beautiful goal. Monaco was so bad right now. So their coach decided to put Falcao back in the game. Falcao, full with rage, ran the ball and faked everybody, and then when he got to the half line he just stopped, and everybody ran on him. So he did the easiest thing in the history of soccer. He just passed and since everybody was running on him, he passed to Sidibe, and the whole field was to him. Sidibe ran the ball up the field. When he was faced to the goal he stopped, and the goal ran on him. So he just dribbled him out, and then he shot in the goal, and it was a goal!!! The Monaco fans yelled so loud that the PSG coach couldn’t talk to his players. The coach told to PSG that Monaco’s coach did not want Monaco to lose, so the players were doing the best they could. So he told to PSG to annoy them by doing the best they could and make them run around so that they were too tired to run. They got on the field, and they did what their coach said, but there was not enough time because it was halftime. The players got off the field and into their lockers. Their coach told them to make them run until the end of the game. The people got out of their seats, and then they went to take other food. They came back, and there was still thirty-five minutes to wait. The farmer just waited in his seat until the minutes passed.

The game was 2-1 for Monaco, but PSG had a strategy. They were going to put all the players in front of the goal and have some stay in defense and pass to them. The farmer did not feel good. He did not like the idea because there were more players in attack than in defense, so Monaco could easily pass the PSG defense. The farmer was wrong. PSG’s defense dribbled Monaco and got to pass to the attack, and Rabiot reserved the ball. The goalie jumped on him, but Rabiot passed to Neymar, and he scored. Monaco had the ball, and they passed the ball around just when Meunier intercepted it and then passed to Rabiot. Rabiot ran up the field, but he was in front of Sidibe who was in defense for the whole time if someone got the ball. Jeff felt like Rabiot was going to score, but Sidibe got the ball and then passed to Falcao who tried to score, but Kurzawa intercepted it. Thomas Meunier got it, and then Cavani got the pass. Then Mbappe got it who dribbled everybody, and he scored. 2-2! And there were only ten more minutes for the game. And it was only 2-2!!! Monaco and PSG wanted to score, but they knew it is impossible. Monaco had the ball, but PSG easily took it away from them, and they were close to the goal. It was Neymar’s ball, and he shot his most powerful shot, and he scored. There were only two more minutes left. Monaco tried to score, but PSG’S defense was too good. The game was done, and the farmer yelled, and tears of joy streamed down his face. As the farmer was going to talk to his friend, he saw that he was not there. Two days after the game, the farmer went to his best friend’s house.

His best friend said, “Stop talking to me about the soccer game.”

They ate lunch together while the farmer asked his best friend if he liked soccer or not.

The richest man in the world answered, “I never liked soccer.”

The farmer was too sad to hear more of what his best friend said, so he left his best friend’s house, and he went to his house. Three days later, he learned that his best friend was injured, and he had to go to the hospital. The farmer went with him to the hospital. The hospital keepers unfortunately said that he will die in three days, except if they ask Swiss to bring the medicine because they are the only people with the medecine. They called the Swiss. The Swiss were on their way when they got their engine on fire, and they crashed in the woods. Three days passed, and his best friend died. It wasn’t so bad because the farmer took all the money of the richest man in the world.



The Forbidden Sisters

Two girls, one story. One girl has no powers and lives with normal people until she finds out her secret. The other girl lives in luxury because she has powers, but then she goes on a journey to find out her past and why she is so unique.


Chapter One:



One normal day, I go to a poorly funded school early in the morning. My school has brown paint peeling off the walls, stains like everywhere, and teachers who only make like $2 per hour. The elites want us to be poor to level up their social status. I don’t like walking to school because people always make fun of me even though I’m just like them. They shout stuff like “Poor girl” or “We can’t have someone who is adopted around here.” The worst thing they have said to me is “This girl cannot be from here. Look at her hair.” I wish I was like the elites, the ones who have powers like mind control, water, lighting, and even super strength. But I’m just stuck here, no powers, barely any friends, and always being picked on. At least I have one thing people like about me, but sometimes it’s also my downfall, my hair. It’s kind of hard to explain. Well I’m gonna try. My hair is like a cinnamon red with a hint of super dark brown. My parents say I’m lucky because I have this hair. I don’t care about my hair. I just want to be cool like the elites.


5/12/2347: The Second Monday in May


I walk to school in my itchy uniform. I wish my school provided comfy uniforms, but they just had to give girls itchy leggings. My school is really expensive because it’s one of the best schools in Devorah and the world. Well, the whole world is pretty much a wasteland outside of Devorah, the “last protected city in the world.” Normal day at school, still the same marble walls and white paint. I wish my school changed for just one day. Like how about we celebrate some of the old holidays before the world was sucked of almost all of its materials like water or trees. We don’t even have any real, natural trees. We only have moss and some species of flower. One of the only flowers we have left is a lilac, and that’s why my hairs tips are lilac-colored. Just in case the lilac flower dies out, I still have a faint memory of the lilac through my hair. Well, I guess I have to stay in school or else I won’t learn.


Chapter Two:

5/13/2347: Tuesday


Today, in my school, I don’t know if I can even call it a school, we learned about why our city was called Devorah. Apparently, it was the last name of the couple who created Devorah, Jake and Marie Devorah. I think that’s a weird last name, Devorah, ugh. I feel like the elites, a.k.a. gods is what we call them here, used to be nice to people without powers before the world turned into a wasteland. I think the gods turned greedy, selfish, and mean when the world “failed.”


5/13/2347: The Second Tuesday in May


Today, we practiced our powers. Like everyday, people crowd around me because I have a very unique power, fire. After we practiced, we went to class, and I learned that the thing that sets us elites apart from humans is that humans have red blood, while elites have aqua blood. That’s why when a baby is born, just to make sure, the doctors do a blood test to see if the baby has red or aqua blood. The teacher wanted us to find our puncture scar. Most people’s scars were on their palm, but mine was on my ankle. I thought, Hmm how weird. I guess it doesn’t matter that much.


Chapter Three:



No fair, my brother got to go to the inner part of Devorah a.k.a “where the elites live.” He got to meet the queen, Jessica, because he makes spices for the royals. I still have to wait until I’m fifteen to start a job, and right now I’m only thirteen. When someone turns fifteen, the royals choose what job that person “deserves.” Usually, they pick bad jobs for people like wasteland adventurer where they can possibly die. But that was a different case for my brother. Since my mom is a really good cook, she taught us how to cook for ourselves. So the royals wanted my brother to make spices and crush them down for the royal cooks. Sadly for him, only girls can be a royal cook which means I have a chance! Well, at least the parade is this Thursday. I love the parade because we get to skip school.


5/14/2347: The Second Wednesday of May


This week, we get to set up for the parade because it’s this Thursday. There are seven groups of four because there are twenty-eight kids in my class. My group is making desserts! I’m making chocolate ice cream. Sadly, the ice cream is made with artificial dairy because we don’t have cows. My friend Kallie is making snow cones with my other friend Bloom. Lastly, my friend Kassie is making popsicles. I am so excited for the parade!


Chapter Four:

Day of the parade… (before the parade started)


Yay! Finally, today is the day of the parade. I have been waiting all week for this. From 12:00-7:00 p.m. we have a giant parade to celebrate the creation of Devorah in 2047. That was three hundred years ago. We celebrate this holiday every year. This day is the only day people who are “humans” get to live kind of like the elites. Thinking about it makes me fidget in my chair.



Today is the day of the parade! We have to take a thirty minute drive to the parade area to set up. After we set up, we get to party at the parade! While we were in the car, I got to eat a snowcone. So good. We finally got here, and we have all the materials to make our stand, and we are building it right now. Yay! We finished building our stand and putting our tasty treats in. Now, we have to wait for a bit until we get to party!


Chapter Five:

During the parade…


Yay! The parade has started! When the parade was announced by the teachers, all the kids came flushing through the entrance. The parade has speakers and music and a dance floor. It feels like luxury! They have really good food like spaghetti, ice cream, snow cones, and tomato basil soup with meatballs. I love the tomato basil soup with meatballs that they serve because of its creamy goodness! Sadly, we have to use veggies to make meatballs because meat is so expensive. Ugh! I just got into a fight for the last piece of bread with my classmate Ferdinand. Ow, my cheek hurts. Ferdinand slapped it. Ugh!

I scream at Ferdinand, “I will hurt you so much you will regret that you ever messed with me.”

Ferdinand says in a confident voice, “Yeah right, you’re a girl!”

Then I get super angry.

I shout to Ferdinand, “Ughhhh! You will regret messing with… O-M-G I’m flying!”

Yay! I am getting noticed! Everyone is crowding around me. Ow, my hands are burning hot. I feel like they are on fire. Wait, wait, wait, am I an elite? My hands are sprouting fire! HELP!!! My head is super dizzy, what’s happening…



Party time! Woo hoo! Right now is slow dance time. With boys. There was always this guy I have always wanted to ask to the dance, but I never had the nerve to. His name is Giovanni. Ohh, Giovanni! His black hair is so wavy, and his eyes are so dreamy and a blue-grey color. He’s also really smart. I’m gonna ask him to the dance!

I ask Giovanni in a sweet voice, “Do you want to go to the dance Giovanni? I would love to go with you!”

Then I blink a lot.

Giovanni says, “I will never want to date someone like you. You’re so annoying. Also, I already have a girlfriend, so LEAVE me and my sweet girlfriend Sakura ALONE!”

Sakura says, “Yeah, what he said.”

Then, I run to the bathroom, and I sob my heart out for an hour. Tears are everywhere on the floor, on my dress, everywhere. Everyone is crowding around me and laughing except for my closest friends Kallie, Bloom, and Kassie. They are so nice. After that incidence, everyone will think I’m a dork, especially Giovanni and Sakura, the most popular kids in the school! When I come out of the bathroom, I see everyone crowding around someone. I overhear people saying it is a human. Why would people, even elites, be crowding around a human? I walk over to the crowd and see a human girl with a name tag that says “Sarah,” and she is floating! Only elites can do that! How is that possible? Is she an elite taking away from her family? How??? O-M-G her hands are shouting sparks of fire or ember! If she is not an elite, then how does she have a power? More specifically, how does she have the power that only I have in all of the elites?


Chapter Six:

Day after parade…


I just woke up on a hospital bed in one of our makeshift hospitals in my village, The Forgotten Ones. The reason why our village is called that is because it used to be an elite town that was the center of peace, trading, and bonds between the humans and the elites that prosper there. My town used to be funded by the elites at the start of the whole world turning into a wasteland. It used to be a place where humans and elites lived side by side. The humans were the people making stuff for sale and trade, and the elites would fund us humans in return for our precious goods. But all that changed some 150 years ago, when more resources started disappearing and less trades started coming. The elites cut off our funding. And that’s why we are called The Forgotten Ones. I wish I lived and died in the good era of my village because I could have had a good life, but I guess the people in the sky decided something else for me. The hospital has ripped curtains, stained beds, unsanitary gloves, and no place to rinse your hands. If I led a hospital, I would at least wash my hands with our fake water, so the doctors wouldn’t spread bacteria from patient to patient. But this is a poorly funded, makeshift hospital, so of course it won’t have that kind of stuff. The doctors said that I have powers and that I fainted because I never learned to control them, and I did a “Power Overload.” They just need to figure out what causes it, so they can give me treatment.



So let’s talk about last night. First, Giovanni breaks my heart. Wait, also Sakura. Secondly, I missed out on the slow dance. Lastly, I saw a HUMAN flying and sparks of ember or fire. If I told people about any of this, they would believe everything (sadly). EXCEPT A HUMAN FLYING WITH STUFF COMING OUT OF HER HANDS! Even more attention got drawn to her because it was a shadowy, dark night. Her hands showed up as a glimmer of light from a far. It was only a glimmer because so many people were crowding around her, and you could only see the light through the cracks between people’s bodies.


Chapter Seven:

Earlier that day…



I have to get to the bottom of this. How was I able to use powers? I’m a human, not an elite. I think I have an idea to solve this, whenever I bleed, my eyes get blurry, and I go unconscious. That means I have never seen my blood. I’m gonna give myself a paper cut. I’ll make the blood drip onto the paper and then hide the paper so no one knows. Then that will be the true way of knowing if I am an elite or human. If my blood is aqua, then I am an elite. If my blood is red, then I’m a human. I learned this fact because I saw this girl’s journal in the trash during the parade. The next day, it wasn’t in the trash. I guess before the girl left, she got her journal from the trash. When I was reading through, it she seemed like an elite girl, and I think her name is Lark. I got the paper, and I have my finger. I just cut my fi… Okay, I’m awake, now let’s see the paper. It’s under the bed. OH MY GOSH! MY BLOOD IS AQUA! I need to ask my mom if I’m adopted. THIS is life changing! I am an elite. I would never think in a million years I would have powers!


5/17/2347The Third Saturday of May


I can’t deal with these lies anymore! I can’t handle this! I’m going to figure out what happened to me, my origin. I know my blood is aqua. I’ve seen it before, and I have powers. So that rules out being a human. I’m going to the central government office. That place has all the documents about all the people who live in Devorah. The documents start when that person is born and end when that person dies. That’s why each family in Devorah has a document writer who writes documents about all of their family members and themselves, then sends them to the central office. They also have document writers for people who work at any workplace. Like schools, restaurants, and even the office buildings. Then, the editor looks over the documents and edits them. They even have the founding couples documents in there. All I have to do is sneak in there and look at my document, or since today is volunteer work day, I think I’ll just volunteer as an editor. Yeah, that’s a better idea. I don’t wanna go to jail.


Chapter Eight:

Later that day…



I’m gonna ask my mom. I’m walking to the kitchen right now.

I ask my mom, “Mom, am I adopted?”

My mom, Chesa, asks, “Why would you ever say that, Sarah Mahalia Chrysanthemum?!”

Because I am! Look at this piece of paper! It shows the color of my blood!” I say.

Shocked, Chesa looks at the paper, and she sees the paper has aqua blood on it. “You, you were never supposed to find out, honey. How did you know that your blood would mean elite or not, honey?” says Chesa.

“During the party, a girl named Lark threw her journal in the trash. I got interested, so I looked at the journal. There I learned a lot of information, including how elite people’s blood is aqua, and human blood is red. I also think Lark is an elite. But the day after, when I was in the hospital, while you and the doctor were talking, I snuck outside to check if the journal was still in the trash, so I could keep it. But it wasn’t in the trash, so I snuck back into the hospital and made it look like I never moved,” I say.

“Wow okay! Well, let me tell you how you are adopted and the story. So you know your brother, right?” says Chesa.

“Yeah, so?” I say.

“Well, I gave birth to your brother. I didn’t adopt him,” says Chesa.

“Wait, then how am I adopted?” I say.

“Well, I’m about to get there, so can you not talk till I’m done with the story?” says Chesa.

“Okay,” I say.

“Okay, well after I gave birth to your brother, the doctors told me I used all my energy to give birth to your brother, so I couldn’t give birth anymore. So when I heard that an elite couple was having twins and that in the elite world you can’t have twins, they said on a secret telegram ‘I am letting one human family adopt my baby girl because twins are forbidden in the elite world. So can you meet at the alleyway between the elite and human world if you want her. But you cannot tell her she has powers.’ And since I’ve always wanted a daughter, I went there. It was the one of the happiest times of my life,” says Chesa.

One of the happiest times! You don’t love me the most!” I say.

“No, honey, it’s not like that. I love you and your brother equally, but having your brother was also one of my favorite times. Also, I said no interrupting. Anywho, back to the story. We changed your name right when you came home. Your name used to be Lilac, but to protect you, I renamed you Sarah. I thought you were never going to find out till that party where you did a ‘Power Overload.’ I knew you were going to find out. Oh, and your sister is Lark. Just in case, if you wanted to know why they wanted to put you up for adoption, they said they did a game to see who stayed with the couple, and in the end Lark was chosen to stay,” says Chesa.

“Wait, that girl’s journal I found was my sister’s!” I say.

“Yes, Sarah, yes,” says Chesa.

Then we hugged.


3/17/2347The Third Saturday of May


Okay, I was chosen to go help being editor. We are lining up in front of the office. Right now, they’re telling us all the rules. They’ve assigned me to the group where we throw junk mail. They seperate us into partners. One group goes to families, one to work offices, one ‘other stuff,’ and one for illegal. Only the two oldest get to do illegal. I am the second oldest, so I can do illegal. This is where I can see my illegal family documents, if we have any. They are categorized by first name, and since my dad is a document writer, it must be under his first name. “A” where are you? Found you! Now all I have to do is find Andrew Mendoza. Found him! Let’s see the documents. Twin birth! What’s this? Let’s check. This is what the document says: “My wife has just given birth to twins. Names Lilac and Lark. Since twins are forbidden, I must release one of them. Lilac has gone to a nice, human family while Lark stays with us. I wish I could keep both daughters.” Who could be Lilac? Lilac is my sister? I can’t deal with this. I’m going to the human side next week. I need to find my sister.


The End

The story of Lark and Sarah will continue in Forbidden Sisters: The Journey