Short Horror Stories About Random Stuff

AFTER

Leah Charlic was perfectly happy in her old life. She was best friends with Samantha Charles, she had a cat named Ripple, and she even had a butler! But then, Samantha went missing and Ripple disappeared along with her. They had put up missing posters for her cat, but Samantha was really all anybody in Mulberry Commons, California cared about. Leah had heard the adults talking, telling the police that Samantha was last seen in a red dress near the pond, that she was 11 years old with freckles. But that didn’t seem to be helping Samantha, or Ripple. She had heard that they were sending out a search party tonight, and she was determined to go. Leah looked out the window. Strangely enough, she saw her butler, Martin, walking toward the bus station, with a bunch of cats following behind him. She recognized a fluffy white cat as Mittens, who used to play with Ripple. She also saw a short haired, dark, tortoiseshell tom-cat… Ripple! She shook her head and blinked. When she opened her eyes again, all of them were gone. The sun must be playing tricks on my eyes, she thought.

Soon, it was 5:00 at night and after a lot of begging, her mom had allowed her to join the search party. The police weren’t that talkative, so it was a little awkward. They searched the street, but they found nothing. Suddenly, an officer cried out. They rushed to the sound of the voice, but all they found was a trail of blood. The chief of police said if they followed the trail, it might lead them to the officer, and Samantha. So Leah got in one of the police cars and they drove away. The blood led to a dark alleyway, deep in the city. She saw something up ahead. Leah had a sickening feeling that she knew what it was. Sure enough, it was the dead bodies of the officer and Samantha.  

“We’re not too late, we can still catch the culprit,” said the chief. 

“Are you?” said a chillingly familiar voice.

Martin stepped out from behind some boxes. There was a kitten on his shoulder. It said “mew” and started sharpening it’s extremely long claws. Cats flooded from the shadows. Leah realized that Mittens and Ripple were among the crowd.  

“Y-you won’t get away with this!” She shouted, even though it sounded super cliche.

 “Won’t I?” he asked. 

She turned around and saw that there were cats behind her, and they had killed the rest of the party.

 “Say nighty-night!” Martin held up a gun. 

Leah Charlic was never heard from again, but some say if you go into that alley and listen hard you can still hear the meow of cats and the echoes of her scream.

Before

Samantha Charles feels like the most normal kid. And that was scary enough by itself. But when she went to bed last night, something happened. Something terrible. She was just falling asleep around midnight, when she heard something coming from her closet. She would be very stupid to open it, so she squeezed her eyes shut. The sound came again, but this time louder and closer. She opened one of her eyes, just a bit. A figure was moving around in the darkness.

“Mom?” she whispered hopefully. 

“Guess again.” came the reply. 

Samantha recognized the voice as her best friend’s butler, Martin. 

“Wha-” she tried to say, before sharp claws scratched her arm and she fainted from the pain.

When she woke up, she was in the back of a van, her hands were tied and her legs felt like they were paralyzed. They probably were. The van jolted to a stop. The trunk doors opened. Martin picked her up and carried her down to an alleyway. 

“WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY LEGS?!?” Samantha screamed.

“I had them injected with a special concoction in the lab.” He responded. 

Despite the situation, she said, “Concoction? Don’t you think that’s a bit cliche?”

“Oh shut your soup hole!!!” he roared. 

Martin laid her down on the ground. Somehow, he had gotten a hold of a chainsaw.

  “Say nighty-night! Hey that’s pretty good, I should use that as an evil catchphrase!”

Then he brought the chainsaw down. She was then ended.

Dolls

One day, a group of innocent little kids were playing on a beautiful day. Near the spot that they were playing was the old Katter house. They used to collect antique and creepy dolls. But one night, on a red moon, a bright red light flashed through the house and knives flashed. They were never seen again. But that was 13 years ago. Anyway, a little girl named Lucy decided to go inside the Katter house to show that there was nothing to be afraid of. The kids watched as she opened the front door and walked in.

 A couple minutes later she came back out and said,“See nothing to be afraid of!” 

Suddenly, pale gray hands grabbed her and dragged her into the house. The kids convinced themselves she was just playing a prank on them, but they ran away, just in case. The next day, the kids went back to play. Then they saw a little girl. She had pale gray skin, and long, stringy hair, put into braids. Her eyes were all black and seemed to have sunk into her face. Instead of a nose she had 2 holes in the middle of her face. She wore a ripped, old fashioned black dress. She looked a lot like Lucy. Then she started to sing,

 “Do you want to play with me? We’re as happy as can be! You will never hear me lie, because I will make you die.” 

Then she said, “Do you wanna play dollies?” 

The kids ran away in terror. The next day, they came back to play again. The girl was still there. She sang the same song but this time said,

 “Do you wanna play dollies? We’ll play over your dead body.” 

Again, the kids ran away in terror. The day after, the kids came back to the spot. They felt something drawing them back, time and time again. Once again, the doll was there. She sang the same song and said, 

“Do you wanna play dollies? We’ll play over your dead body. Your dolly can have a special accessory.” 

The kids ran away again. The kids were pulled to the spot for the last time. 

The thing that used to be Lucy started her ritual, “Do you want to play with me? We’re as happy as can be! You will never hear me lie, because I will make you DIE! Do you wanna play dollies? We’ll play over your dead body. Your dolly can have a special accessory, it’s called a bloody dagger.” 

Then she attacked. Only two kids got out of there alive. They were named Julie and Marcus. They eventually got married, but they never forgot Lucy. Then one night, on a red moon, they heard a knock on the front door. When they opened it up, they saw…Lucy. “Do you wanna play dollies?” She said, and this time, the couple didn’t make it. 

06-79: A Story of An Experiment and Her Great Escape

PART ONE   

I looked around my cage. I could tell by the tag on the front, even though I couldn’t read, that it said ‘FAILED EXPERIMENT!’ How was I a fail? Well, for example, I had bunny ears that were only pink. They wouldn’t change color like the rest of my fluffy body. Plus, I was also a wolf, with bunny ears! Then the meerkat came back from being experimented on and yelled,

“It’s me! Mario!” 

He had a meerkat body, but now he had a Mario overalls pattern on his fur and a super Mario hat. 

“I bet they’ll get a new meerkat and make it Luigi,” a meerkat (Bartholomew) with a bunch of spikes out its back muttered, looking angry that the scientists made his best friend act like a sicko. 

“Stop whining,” I muttered. 

“Easy for you to say, 06-79! You don’t have any friends!”  Bartholomew squeaked. 

Ugh, I thought as my fur turned blood red with anger, I don’t have any friends because nobody  wants to be friends with a failed experiment. I felt extremely tired of everything. Then a scientist started talking. Another power of mine, to understand human language.

 “Are we going to get more paranormal animals to test on, in that forest that has a hole leading to a whole new forest, by the way?” the female one asked. 

“I’m pretty sure we will,” said the other.  

My ears perked up in hope. Maybe I could go there, I thought happily. All the creatures I could meet. All the fun I could have. I fell asleep that night dreaming of life there and having LOTS of friends. 

The next morning, a scientist pulled me out of my cage with a collar and held an electric whip in the other hand. Probably to make me feel intimidated by him. Then the tests began.
The scientist chained me to the floor.

“Bro! No need to get all aggressive!” I shouted in my best Kevin Hart voice. What? Scientists turned on the TV for us sometimes if we were being impatient. I’m the only one who knows what they’re saying, of course. They say a lot of curse words sometimes. Also, scientists can’t understand what I’m saying. 

The first test for me was beginning. They wanted to see my color reaction to things they do to me. 

First, they dropped my favorite treats in front of me. I turned a bright pink as I feasted. I can’t resist, okay?! Then, one of them zapped me with one of the things called “testing guns.” Humans are rude! They test it on experiments! My color first turned red (for anger) and then a bruise colored purple. Yes, it looked disgusting. 

Then they did nothing and stood there. My fur turned teal. It meant I was feeling normal. I was sorta happy but not. Then they showed a big image of a wolf being chased by a hunter. I turned orange. I was emotional now. Then it showed the wolf dead. I turned a somber blue.

“Ok, 06-79, your first test is over! Time for the second one,” one of the scientists shouted.

For my second one, they put me in a wind thing. They wanted to see how long I could stay up there. The wind would die down by the second.  The scientists were trying to see how much wind could support me if they gave me wings. Yeah, people can do that! 

“Y’all stupidos! I wanna get wings now! So I can soar above your heads and escape!” I shouted at them, as one person gave me a thing I had to wear for it. Wait… why wasn’t I wearing a head-protector? Then, I got pushed off the thing, and I never thought I’d say this, but the scientists have never made me feel so happy in my whole life. I turned a bright, bright pink. The brightest I ever had. My bunny ears didn’t match the rest of my body even though I was pink. I felt the wind getting lower, but I didn’t pay any attention. I had been flying! I had so much joy inside that I could explode! Like explode!!! Then the wind couldn’t support me anymore, so I fell. There were these words in my mind. 

                Falling…..

                          Falling……..

                                    Falling…….. 

PART TWO         

I woke up. In my cage. Bleh. My bowl had slimy stuff inside it. I ate it because I was hungry. Then I saw a scientist pointing at my cage.  

“Mr. Gorista said that 06-79 would be placed in the machine that kills failed experiments tomorrow.”

What?! They were gonna kill me? This was bad! Like really bad!

Then the other one said,  “Me and the team are going to get more paranormal animals from the forest tomorrow. Other people who don’t work in Future Labs will have to deal with a bunch of security.” 

“Where exactly is this forest?” the first guy said. I have been asking that same exact question!

“You dumbo! It’s literally on the other side of the river F. Labs are on!” 

That was all the info I needed. I started chewing on my cage super hard. I kept going. I felt the wire hitting against my teeth. It hurt, but my life depended on it. After a while, the wire broke and I could get out. Then a loud noise broke out. It was a siren. Then a bunch of scientists burst into the room. They were all shouting all at once, and I couldn’t understand. Then I charged through them and went down a bunch of things that I’m pretty sure are called stairs. 

Finally, I went out the door and I was outside. Oh, there were so many things to smell! But I had to concentrate. I ran fast. Quicker than I have ever run. Pretty soon, I got to the river. My only problem: I didn’t know how to swim!

 PART THREE

I tried to remember how to swim, but it was a very long time ago when I had to figure that out. I remembered two things. #1: if you’re going to put your head underwater, hold your breath! #2: Kick with your legs. 

Okay, that was actually helpful. Thank you, memories. Then I leaped into the water. My head plunged down for a second, then I raised it back up. I kicked and kicked hard, fighting the currents. I was almost to the other side! 

“Ya—” 

I began, but a large current swept me down the river. I saw a drop at the end of the river. Waterfall! I clung onto a rock and pulled myself up there. Then I made a far leap. I still landed in water, but I was close enough to get onto shore. Oh, that was close! I panted and rested for a moment, but on the other side of the river, I saw some scientists. 

No breaks yet! I told myself. First get to the forest, then nap! 

Turns out that guy near my cage wasn’t lying. There were a bunch of human guards stationed in the area. I turned black and snuck into where there were less guards. I blended into the shadows. 

        At last! I was in the forest. I just didn’t know I’d feel so lonely. Then a voice came out, “You’re not from around here, are you? I’m Uniko.” 

PART FOUR                                                                                                                                                                 “These are my other siblings: Rose, Thora, Koman, and Gonga.”  Uniko showed me a bunch of wolves who looked like they would give me a serious beating.

They looked exactly like their sister. Except Rose had a pink pearl on her head and Thora had a purple one. Uniko had a blue one. Koman and Gonga were identical, black with no pearls. All of them snarled.

“What is she!?” Rose growled. 

“A science experiment, that’s what!” Koman howled.

“Stop it, guys!” Uniko snarled. “She’s my friend.” 

  The siblings exchanged glances.

“Fine, she can live with us. As long as she causes no trouble.” Thora muttered. 

Uniko gave me a happy smile. When nobody was looking, I turned a happy bright pink and walked right behind them.  

Family, Books, Life

There’s only 3 things in life that actually matter: family, books, and life. In short, I have just managed to keep all of them. Oh. You don’t know. Okay, let’s start from the beginning.

It had been a long day. I, Luna, had gone to school, gotten made fun of with my best friend, Maya, had a swim meet, and belly flopped off the diving board. So naturally, I went home, took a looooong hot shower, read some books (I love reading), and drank some hot cocoa. As I snuggled up tightly in my pajamas, I saw something racing past outside the window. I figured it was probably nothing. I had no idea how wrong I was. That night, I had a really weird dream. Someone was mumbling-no, saying-something. 

I think they were saying, “Go to the pond of scum. Go to the pond of scum. Go to the pond of scum. Go to the pond of scum. Go to the pond of scum.” By that time, I was already awake. My body was aching for some reason, and even though I slept a long time, I was impossibly tired. Even though I was awake, I could still hear the repeating voice in my head. After school, I went to Maya and told her about the dream. With a hint of laughter, she said,

  “Maybe, they are referring to an actual pond? Or a lake!” With a jolt, I realized that the “pond of scum” is the Pond Scum Lake nearby! I quickly texted my mom and dad, then jumped on my bike and rode toward the lake, wondering what awaited me at the “pond of scum.” I should’ve known it was not good. When I got there, I immediately looked around, trying to find someone to tell me what to do. 

I suddenly heard, “she’s here,” in a raspy voice. I did not manage to find the attacker but then, I got kidnapped. When I woke up, I found myself in front of a large red throne with a masked, hooded figure. 

“Ah, good. You’re awake. I want to talk to you at dinner. 9:00 tonight,” they said, laughing, in the same raspy voice I heard at the lake. 

Before I could interrupt, they called, “Soldiers,” suddenly serious. Some guards appeared and took me by the arms. Soon, I found myself in a cell. It was completely closed off except for a food slot. I sat on the bed, quietly wondering what he wanted to talk to me about. 

At exactly 8:47 (I have a clock in my cell), the guards slowly opened the door just a crack, and said, “Dinner time!”

They then put a sack on my head, and dragged me out. When they finally stopped, I tried to take the sack off my head. Didn’t work. They plopped me on the gold seat, and took the sack off my head. I was amazed at the beautiful, lavish spread of food that I saw. As I looked around me, I saw a beautiful gold table with the man from before. This time, they were wearing a red cloak, a red and green mask, and pitch black shoes. I considered escaping, but there were guards on either side of me. I smelled food. I was starving! 

While I was shoveling food down my mouth, they said, “I need your help. The people are in danger!” They slowly took off his red and green mask. 

“Maya,” I exclaimed, with my mouth full, scared. “What on earth are you doing here?”

Kitty’s Big Adventure

Kitty was a happy cat that lived in her royal palace called the kitty palace. The night was coming soon and Kitty wanted to get in bed. She turned off the light and settled cozily in her bed. She heard wild winds outside of her window. Then she heard thunder and balled up under her blanket. 

Kitty was young and was afraid of thunder, so she yelled, “Mom, Dad can you come in here?!” Kitty’s parents came in and they sat in Kitty’s bed until she fell asleep. When Kitty woke up, she was no longer in the palace. She was in a jungle! There were lush green plants and the air was very humid.  “This is very different from the palace!” said Kitty. She saw her cousin, a leopard named Swiper. He got his name because he took a lot of the animal’s belongings. His best friend is a parrot named Feathers. Feathers has magic powers because he was born from a magic waterfall. 

Swiper said, “The palace was moved last night by all of the harsh winds and the thunder. The palace can now be found in the peaceful meadow which is across the river.” 

Kitty said, “Swiper, you should come because you know the way!” Swiper was happy to help out his cousin, so they started towards the peaceful meadow. 

Swiper led the way out of the jungle and the peaceful meadow was in sight! However, there were many miles to cover before they reached the kitty palace. Kitty thought that it would be an easy adventure, but she soon realized that she was wrong. They reached the desert that they would have to cross to get to the kitty palace. Kitty knew that if she wanted to cross the desert, it would take up to five days at least! 

They started the journey. Kitty and Swiper thought that it was getting dark after a little while, so they decided to camp in a clump of sand. When they woke up, they continued on their journey to cross the desert. After four days, they could see the canyon! They kept going and finally, they were out of the desert! Kitty and Swiper were hot and tired, so they took a little nap. When they woke up, they started to go through the canyon.   

“There are a lot of rock avalanches in the canyon, so we have to be very quiet,” said Swiper. Kitty wanted to see if the canyon had an echo, so she quietly said, “Hello!” 

Swiper told her, “Kitty, please be more quiet.” However, Kitty needed to sneeze. She tried to hold it in but she couldn’t! The canyon trembled. Swiper and Kitty started to realize that they were about to experience a rock avalanche! 

“Get on my back!” shouted Swiper. “The end of the canyon isn’t far, so I think that maybe I’ll be able to get through before the avalanche does.”

Kitty hopped on Swiper’s back and they charged through the canyon. They beat the avalanche by a fraction of a second and were both breathing hard. Kitty and Swiper now needed to cross the mountain. They had two options for crossing it: they could go through it in the cave that they could easily get lost in, or they could climb the mountain that they could easily fall off of. Kitty finally said, “We’re going to climb the mountain.” They walked up the icy path for many days. Now Kitty and Swiper were very high up on the mountain. On an icy ledge, Kitty slipped! However, Swiper caught her just in time and put her back on the mountain. One day later, they were off the mountain!  

Swiper said, “We are now crossing into the cave. There are many critters in the cave, but the journey is only about five hours.”  

Kitty and Swiper were hoping to be in and out. There was a map on the wall that listed all the creatures. The list said:  “Here are the creatures that you might encounter: bats, cave crickets, cave newts and spiders. Be safe crossing through these parts” 

“We should go in,” said Kitty. So, they entered the cave. “It is very dark in here,” said Kitty. Fortunately, they didn’t encounter any cave creatures, and they made it out alright. 

“Okay there’s only one thing left to do,” said Swiper. 

“What’s that?”asked Kitty. 

“Cross the rope bridge,” replied Swiper. Kitty was very nervous for this event, because the rope bridge was over water and if there’s one thing cats hate, it’s water. They arrived at the rope bridge and it looked very unstable. 

“Get on my back,” said Swiper. “I can carry you across the bridge!” Kitty got on and Swiper slowly put a paw on the bridge. The wooden board gave way and snapped off the bridge, falling hard into the rushing water. “I know you are afraid of water, but you are the only one who can cross that bridge!,” Swiper shouted over the loud noise of the water. 

“What will happen to you?” asked Kitty. 

“You can come back later and get me, then we can fix the bridge and make it stable. You can do it, Kitty, just don’t look down!” shouted Swiper. 

Kitty slowly started to walk onto the first board. She started walking board after board.  Kitty’s heart started thumping, her body started trembling. Soon, she was at the halfway point! 

“You’re doing great, just keep going and don’t look down,” said Swiper. But Kitty made a big mistake and looked down! She saw the water, the rocks and the waterfall at the end of the river. Kitty collapsed onto the board. “No! Kitty the board will snap! Get back up!!” Swiper yelled. But, Kitty was too late. The board snapped, leaving Kitty hanging by one paw on the rope of the bridge. “Kitty!” Swiper yelled nervously. Swiper called for his jungle friend, Feathers, to teleport over and save Kitty. Feathers had super strength and teleporting powers. Feathers grabbed Kitty just before the board snapped and put her on the side of the bridge leading to the peaceful meadow. Kitty ran to the kitty palace and hugged her parents. She felt so happy that she finally got to the kitty palace. 

“Mom, Dad, I have some things to do before we have dinner,” said Kitty. She grabbed materials and ran to the bridge. She spent many hours there and finally, the bridge was made. It was a beautiful red bridge that had golden railings on the side. There was a sign at the end of the bridge saying: “Welcome to the peaceful meadow! Home of the kitty palace.” Swiper and Feathers were finally allowed across and they decided to stay there for a few days. Kitty’s parents invited Swiper and Feathers over for dinner as a thank you gift. They ate salmon for dinner, and for dessert they had Kitty and Swiper’s personal favorite: chocolate cats! Swiper was about to leave the next day. 

“Come back soon! You know where we are,” said Kitty. 

“I will. There is a train station not far from my place that takes me right to the bridge, but you can come over to my house too,” said Swiper. 

“Okay,” said Kitty. “The only problem is that it’s such a long walk to the jungle.” 

“You can just call Feathers,” said Swiper. “He lives close by.” 

“Okay, I promise that I’ll visit sometime soon,” said Kitty. 

“Here is the code to my house if I ever don’t answer the door or I’m not there,” said Swiper. “It’s 7199.” 

“My code is 3097,” said Kitty. “I’ll see you in a few weeks!” 

“Your birthday is in a few days. I’ll visit then,” said Swiper. 

Feathers went back to his home and so did Kitty and Swiper. A few days later, Swiper and Feathers came over for Kitty’s birthday celebration. They had lots of fun and they played lots of games. Swiper and Feathers left the next day. 

“Bye!” said Kitty. Then, it was back to the palace for Kitty.

THE END!

A New Generation Of Skulls

Jack Birkenhead Jr. was on his dad’s pirate ship. He heard drunken yelling blasted into his ears. His dad came and shut them all up. His dad went down to him. 

“Are you okay?” Captain Jack Birkenhead asked.

“I don’t know if I can be a captain like you. I don’t know if I can command people like you can. I don’t know what I can do,” he said.

“You know that I will stop being their captain in a few days, son.”

“I know… I just don’t know what will happen. Maybe they will hate me.”

“Are you scared?”

“No, I’m not scared, just—” As he was talking, an enemy ship came up to them.

“Fire the cannons!” the captain said.

“Yes sir!” they replied.

Jack stood there, mesmerized at how his dad commanded respect.

“C’mon,” said a fellow pirate.

Jack ran up to the firing area. He grabbed a cannonball and slowly walked over to the cannons. The cannonball was so heavy he didn’t know if he could hold it. He felt it slowly loosening from his grip. He put the cannonball in the cannon and it blasted him back. He felt like every step was him being tied down on an anchor. He had a headache and stumbled back. He felt like thousands of thoughts were racing through his head all asking him for attention. He felt like his throat was closing up. He barely stumbled back to the safe area. 

“Where is my son?” the captain announced. 

“Back at the rooms below deck!” the pirates replied. Jack thought that if he was a captain, he could never have this power.

“NO!” he heard the pirates screaming. He ran above deck (he wanted to think it was dramatic running, but it was really just a slow limp). When he finally got above deck, he saw his dad, the thing he loved most in the world, captured by the enemies.

“Give us the ship and destroy it or we will keep your captain hostage.”

“No, don’t do it-” yelled the captain, but he was cut off when they knocked him unconscious.

“If he dies at their hands then we will fulfill his last wish. Never surrender!” the pirates screamed. The enemy ship sailed away. 

“You are the captain now,” the pirates said to Jack. “I will get him back no matter what.” Jack said. “Let’s do this!”

Jack felt guilty his dad was captured because of him and he was going to get revenge.

“Can we track my dad?” Jack asked his fellow pirates in their meeting room. 

“Yes and no,” answered their chief tracker. “We can track the ship but we can’t track your dad. We just have to hope that they keep him on the ship.”

“Where are they?” Jack asked.

“They are probably in the crystal cavern.”

“Where is that?”

“That’s where they sacrifice.”

“Bring us there NOW!”
They journeyed to the crystal cavern, but while they were adventuring they encountered the pirates again.

“Blood!” the enemy pirates screamed.

“Give me a sword,” Jack said to his fellow pirates. One of them handed him a sword. (Jack was excellent in the art of sword fighting.) Jack then jumped onto the ship.

“Where is my father?” Jack asked the pirates.

“Why would we tell you? You only have a sword. We have 24 people and we can just capture you?” the pirates responded.

“You have left me no choice,” Jack said. He jumped forward and started to attack the pirates one by one. Jack sliced and diced. He didn’t kill anyone, he just cut their weapons in half and knocked them unconscious. When he had defeated everyone except for the captain of this ship, he put his sword blade to the enemy captain’s throat and asked, “Where is my father?” 

“Below dec—” The pirate was cut off when he saw Jack’s pirates on deck.

“WHERE?” Jack yelled.

“Below deck.”

“Thank you,” Jack said as he threw him off board. Jack and his crew went below deck to find one room locked. He sliced the door in half with his sword. He smelled the fragrance of lavender showing that the most important people on the ship lived in this cabin. He saw a painting of a man and a woman together. On the side of the room, he saw two well made beds and two pillows with a lace trim on the side. The roof of the room was a brownish-green and some parts of the roof were broken. The floor was a sage color. At the front of the room was a mantle piece flooded with different trophies and spoils of war. At the very top of the mantle, he found a golden crown which had a different gem on each spike. 

Jack snapped back into reality. He looked in front of him and saw his dad tied up and heavily gagged. Two men with shotguns were standing near him. Jack instinctively threw his sword at the first man. The man reacted, but not fast enough. The sword pierced him and he fell to the ground. The second man, in an instant, aimed his gun at Jack. Jack started to run but before he could do anything, he got shot and fell to the ground. The second man tried to reload, but Jack’s crew brought him away and back to their ship.

Jack’s eyes fluttered open and saw that he was back in his bed in his room on the ship. He couldn’t believe that he was a captain now. 

“Tsk, tsk,” said the doctor. Jack looked up to see their doctor cutting open his leg. He tried to stay calm.

What would my dad do? Jack thought. He would keep calm because he was a captain and ask what was happening.

“What is going on here?” Jack asked.

“Do you not remember? You went on their ship and defeated all their pirates, but when you went to the room, your dad was in it and you froze and got shot.” 

“We need to go back and save him!” Jack screamed. “Because it is my fault that he got captured,” he said quietly.

“You cannot do anything now,” the doctor said. 

“I need to do something—”

“YOU GOT SHOT! You cannot do anything now unless you want to get killed. You need to heal,” the doctor commanded.

Jack waited there and fell asleep. He slept for 16 hours. When he woke up he still had a wound, but they had finished the surgery and he could move. Jack left the operating table and went to the battle meeting room. 

“Where are they now?” Jack asked as he limped into the room. 

“They are in the delta stream and moving to the cavern,” Brokeon, their tracker, said before he saw Jack coming into the room. “You can’t fight them,” Brokeon said to Jack. “You will just get killed. We have lost one captain today and we won’t lose another.”

“How are they already at the delta stream?” Jack asked.

“You have been out for 16 hours,” Brokeon replied.

I can’t be the captain, but I will have to keep this crew alive until I can get the real captain back. I am a temporary replacement for the real thing. I cannot lead them, Jack thought.

“We need to go to the cavern. Take the beta stream, then switch to the Iota, and after 31 km go to the alpha stream.”

“It seems we have a captain after all,” Brokeon said.

After 8 hours, both of the ships were at the mouth of the cave. They started to fire at each other. Jack and Brokeon jumped off and landed into a pool of water. They quickly ran from the water to the entrance of the cavern. Jack looked into the cavern to see his dad tied up at the back of it. He ran forward even though his leg was injured. The cavern looked unreal. On the floor there were brilliant shining blue crystals. There were potholes and in the middle there was a stream with steaming blue water.

“Leave him alone!” Jack screamed at the top of his lungs. Brokeon tried to calm him down, but he couldn’t do anything. He was carrying a long and bent wooden pole from the ship.

“Use it to hop over the boiling water with it and free your dad!” Brokeon said while giving Jack a sword. Jack used it and jumped over. As he flung himself over he heard a crack and snap. Brokeon then used it. 

“So they can’t get back,” he said. Brokeon knew it would crack. He started to jump over, but he thought he would jump over and be safe. As he was jumping over, it snapped. As he was falling instead of saving himself he took out the last piece of it and handed it to Jack. Brokeon fell into the steaming water. Jack fell to his knees, screaming. He then started to run over to the two men and his dad. To any normal person with an injured leg, after being splashed by boiling water and running on crystal they would fall over and die, but not Jack. Jack was fueled by anger and sadness. He was faster than he had ever been, even with a shot leg, and he crossed the 100 meter gap in a matter of a few seconds. Jack was only armed with a sword and piece of wood, but he was going to save his father. The two men next to his father were the same two men that had shotguns before. Behind the two men was a massive chasm and a drop so deep that no one could see the bottom.

“I see you are the person that stabbed me with a sword,” the first man said to Jack. He had a massive patch on his chest that was bandaged up and blood was seeping through. Both of the men were in fancy clothes. 

“I see you are the person who shot me,” Jack said to the second man. As the man was looking at Jack’s leg, Jack swung the piece of wood and got the gun stuck in it. Jack immediately pulled it back and grabbed the gun. He then smacked the first man in the wound with the piece of wood and backed away. The first man fell into the chasm and now Jack had a shotgun and sword. 

“Your shotgun isn’t even loaded,” the second man cackled. “I knew he was going to die.”

Jack looked at the gun and realized it wasn’t just a shotgun, it was a bayonet. With the bayonet, he cut his dad free while keeping his sword pointed at the second man.

“Why haven’t you just shot me?” Jack asked the second man. 

“Because you remind me of my son.” The second man snapped back into reality and aimed his gun at Jack. By this time the captain was free and had the bayonet in his hand. Jack lunged at the man and pushed his gun downwards with Jack’s sword. The captain stabbed the man’s arm with his bayonet. The man screamed and shot the captain, who fell to the ground. Jack rushed to his side. Jack felt that his dad was alive and before he could get up he felt a cold metal circle placed on the side of his head. The gun.

“It’s over, little boy,” the man said. He was about to shoot when Jack stabbed him in the chest. The man fell backwards but he was still alive. Now, Jack had lost his immediate adrenaline and his leg wound was starting to hurt again. With every step forward, he felt a jolting pain in his leg that stretched up to his chest. The man was also in pain, but was able to shoot Jack’s hand. Jack dropped the sword in the chasm and fell down to his dad.

“Now it’s over,” the man said. Before he could shoot Jack, Jack took the bayonet from his dad and stabbed the man who fell into the chasm. Jack carried his dad and they limped back to the river. Jack saw a bridge made by his fellow pirates over the boiling river. All of them were singing in celebration that their captain was saved and mourning that Brokeon had died.They walked across the bridge and the captain muttered something. Both of them dropped a gold coin in the water to commemorate Brokeon, and got back on the boat. As they were on the bow of the ship the captain said, “Remember you were going to take my place? Well now you did, captain.” Jack Senior and his son, the new captain, both smiled.

Things of the Lost River

Shards of glass bottles

fragments of old toys

float and flow

alongside the broken hearts 

discarded dreams 

thoughts and ideas   

cast aside.

The lost river

is made of loss, grief, sorrow

and the image

that the unfixable

is truly unfixable

Alas 

the unfixable is fixable

If only you spark hope

you can bring the dead things 

of the river

back alive

If you can spark the hope

The Lost River

can be found once more

Three Fingers

In an old cottage on Bugsberry Lane lived the Janes. The youngest Jane was Issa. Issa’s seventh year of age was right around the corner. All little Issa Jane wanted was a doll. Any doll: wood or glass, thin or plump, hairy or bald, bonnet or a straw head-dress. But Issa knew that her parents wouldn’t be able to afford a lavish doll. Emporiums and antique shops were too high-priced. In Mum and Pop’s point of view, dolls were just costly rubbish that lasted less than a week. 

But Issa Jane single-mindedly wanted to be gifted any doll there was. So all she could do was to ask her mother one last time. 

“Mum, I would like to be gifted a doll from you and Pop for my natal day present.”

“Issa, I’m sorry but you know that Pop and I are not in a great stage in life, and we will not be able to afford this doll.” 

Issa would try again. “Pop, I would love a doll, any doll… from you and Mum.”

“Dear, Mum and I can not keep spending such money on this rubbish you say you are bound to have.” Little Issa Jane was disappointed once again, but was still determined to receive any lavish doll. Then Issa thought of a quick-witted idea. If Mum and Pop thought that the dolls from emporiums were overly expensively priced, then why couldn’t Pop just craft Issa a doll. All Pop would need would be wood for the doll’s head and body, and old clothing scraps for the bonet and the gown.

Aunt Ethel had gifted Issa a few steelies to fiddle with in her free-time. Steelies would make the perfect replacement for the doll’s eyes. Pop would have to carve the steelies into the wood, then somehow he would attach the body onto the head. Pop should have the things he’d need in the shed. All Issa needed was her steelies. Issa slid the dusty cup-boad open and yanked out her bag of shiny glass steelies. She pulled out two of the shiniest steelies, and rolled them around in her palm.

They were small, smooth, and cold. Perfect for a doll’s eyes. Issa ran to her Pop’s shed, excited to ask her father for her request.

“Pop, because you and Mum won’t be able to buy a doll, would you have time to craft me a doll? Out of wood?”

“Well, do we have everything I’ll need to craft you a doll?”

“Oh yes, Pop! You just need wood, old clothing scraps, and steelies which I have right here.” Issa opened her hand to show Pop her shiny steelies. He nodded and examined the steelies.

“First of all, where would we find wood, and clothing scraps?”

“Hmmm…I know!”  Issa ran to her Mum for clothing scraps. Mum was sewing together an embroidered nightgown for Issa. The velvet fabric had red roses printed on it, perfect for a doll’s bonet and clothes.

  “Mum, may I have the extra velvet fabric you’re holding?”  Mum handed Issa the fabric. It was soft and fluffy.

“Use it wisely, we don’t have much of it.” Issa nodded happily and thanked her mother. And then ran back to the shed to give the velvet fabric to her Father.

“Pop! Look at this. Now you just need wood!”

“Now where do we find wood?”

“Look outside Pop! You could also shave down a tree.” Issa and her Pop found some perfectly smooth wood outside. Now Pop just needed to carve it into a wooden doll. Pop pulled out his chisel and the materials beside him.

“Now Issa Jane, I only have one set of bi-telephones, so you’re just going to have to wait till your doll is finished to come into the shed.”

“Okay Pop, thank you.” In the meantime Issa helped her mother cook and clean. Issa Jane was very eager to meet her new doll. Issa already had started thinking of names for her doll. Barbara Ann, Mary Lee, and Hilda Lynn were her top choices. Pop spent eight days in the shed working. The longer it took the prettier it must be. Finally Pop called Issa out to the shed to meet her new doll.

“Issa Jane, before I show you I thought you should know beforehand that there was not enough wood for five fingers on each hand, so instead of five fingers there are three. So that’ll mean six fingers in total instead of ten.”

“Oh, that’s okay! I’m just so excited to see it!” Pop stood in front of Issa then slowly pulled out her doll. It was beautiful. The velvet fabric was now a bonnet and a gown. The steelies looked perfect as the eyes. Pop had even found water based paint, and painted the doll a soft peach color. The cheeks were rosy pink and the lips also looked perfect. Issa was shocked, for the doll was even prettier than she expected. The fingers were strangely a bit crooked but it’s not like Issa would be staring at the doll’s fingers the whole time.

Issa thanked her dad again, and then realized that none of her planned names suited her doll well. So she decided to call her new doll “Three Fingers” because of the doll’s fingers. Issa Jane took Three Fingers everywhere she went, to the market, to the lake, and even to her day school. This was the best natal day present Issa had ever received. Issa decided that Three Fingers was her new best friend.

“Three Fingers, I’m going to go visit the loo. You stay right here on the sewing table. I’ll only be gone for a couple of minutes.” Issa went to the restroom then skipped out to see Three Fingers. But there was nothing on the sewing table. Issa looked under the table in case Three fingers had fallen. But her doll was not there. Issa’s parents were on a trip to the market for a few ripe potatoes, so Issa knew that one of her parents would not have moved her. Issa started to panic.

“Three Fingers, where are you?! I know I placed you here.” Issa Jane headed to her room where she did her best brainstorming. When Issa walked into her room she saw Three Fingers placed on her bed. The steelies looked especially shiny.

“Th-thr-three F-fingers i did not place you here.” Issa heard the door open.

“Issa, we have arrived.” Issa ran to the door to tell Pop about Three Fingers. But all he said was,

“You must have just forgotten where you placed the doll. Issa Jane, Three Fingers can not move by herself. Why don’t you go to sleep, it is already ten past nine.”

“Okay fine, Pop.” Issa headed up to her room to sleep. Issa laid in her bed with Three Fingers below her bed. Mum and Pop said that Issa shouldn’t put Three Fingers in the bed because the wood could rust the mattress. Issa had decided that she probably went insane this afternoon, because Pop was right, a doll can’t walk, talk, fly or move.

Then Issa’s lamp turned on and the light shone in her eyes. But Issa didn’t turn her lamp on. She was the only person in the room other than Three Fingers. But Issa suspected that the electricity in her cottage was not working well. So she got up, turned off the light and went back to bed.

“Good night, Three Fingers. Sleep well.”  Then Issa’s lamp flickered again. Issa was starting to get annoyed.

“A real ding dong must have set up our electricity.” Then Issa heard a scream coming from the kitchen. Issa ran downstairs to see what the trouble was. Mum was at the counter staring at the cutting knife in front of her.

“Mum, what is the problem?”

“Oh… um… nothing Issa Jane, head back to bed.”  Issa knew that there must be something going wrong. So she hid behind a small bookshelf to spy.

“Arthur, I’m telling you! I placed the knife at the kitchen table then went to clean my hands. And when I returned the knife was back at the cutting board.”

“Margaret, that is impossible! You must be going crazy like Issa was. A knife can not walk, talk, fly or move.”

“I am going to go lie down.”  Issa was confused, since it was just like what had happened to her. She crept back to her bedroom before any of her parents could notice. When Issa walked in, Three Fingers was laying down on Issa’s shaker chair. She started to freak out.

“My eyes must be ill. Surely Three Fingers could not have teleported.” Issa put her doll back under the bed, and tried to get to sleep. Issa turned towards the wall and tried to fall asleep. Then Issa turned to face the door in a more comfortable position. When Issa turned around, Three Fingers was standing up on the edge of the bed. The steelies stared at her.

“A brainless nincompoop must be playing a joke on me.”  Issa shoved Three Fingers deep under her bed and tried to fall asleep. Issa looked at her rusty clock tilted on the wall. twenty five past eleven. 

“Gosh I better get some sleep, hopefully this fool does not wake me up again.” Issa heard arguing from the kitchen. 

“Arthur, why are the lights flickering? Didn’t the electricity man come yestermonth?”   

“The storm this past week must have messed up the electricity. That is the only explanation.”  

“Tomorrow morning I’ll head out to town to fetch the electricity man.” All the cottage lights were turning wonky. There must have been something wrong with the cottage. Issa was halfway asleep when she heard her name being whispered 

“Issa. Issa.” She froze. 

“H-hello?! Who are you?” Then everything went quiet again. It could not have been Mum or Pop, they would not have played such an evil joke on their own daughter. Issa layed back down, covered her ears, and stuck her face in her pillow so she would not hear or see anything. Issa finally fell asleep but only for a couple of hours. 

Issa woke up again and heard a frightening unfamiliar voice that repeated:“Three Fingers, Three Fingers, in this room I linger.” Issa screamed and jumped out of her bed. One solution fell into her head, to tell Pop. Issa ran to the kitchen as fast as she could run. 

   “Mum, Pop!” But no one was in the kitchen. The lights were all off. Issa suspected that her parents must be in their room. So she ran to their room and shoved the door open. But no one was in the room and the lights were all off. Where could they be? It was way too late for them to be in town, and they wouldn’t have left without telling Issa. 

“Mum! Pop! Where have you gone?” But the whole cottage was silent. All Issa could hear was her own voice echoing through the walls. Issa decided to check outside for them. When Issa opened the door Three Fingers was placed lying down on the cottage doorstep. The steelies had a stranger glow to them than usual. The steelies made the doll look alive. The doll’s head slowly tilted to the right then to the left. Three Fingers was haunted.

Then Issa found herself in a dark room. There stood a mirror in the middle of the room,  the only light. Issa looked in the mirror. She was wearing a velvet rose printed bonnet and gown. Her hair was gone and her eyes were all black. Issa looked at her hands, and she only had three fingers. Issa was Three Fingers.

The Tomato Trouble

Hi, I’m Tommy the racoon!

I hope that you will put some food out for me or even just do simple things like leaving your trash can open to give me food. If you do so, I will also bring food for my mom and dad and my 5 pesky sisters. 

But last night at 8, I went out looking for food, and when I was trying to recover some almost ripe and delicious tomatoes I saw a shadow behind me. It was big and shaped like my worst fear. They’re very ugly (compared to this handsome dude) and they’re very complicated. They leave food out for me in these things that are apparently called bird feeders instead of what they should be called—raccoon feeders, but then they’re mad because I eat the stuff inside them. Humans are one head-scratching creature.  

Enough about humans. I scrambled to the bush. 

“Dan, did you eat the heirloom tomatoes from the garden? It’s not funny. I need them for the caprese salad.”

The woman had hair that looked like noodles and eyes that were the color of the sky. The man shook his head. “I don’t want your tommy toes until you add dressing. Why don’t you ask the  neighbors to see if anyone else is experiencing tomato theft.”

“Fine,’’ replied the wife.

To my relief, the woman went inside, but the man just sat there and smoked. Unfortunately the silence didn’t last. Three minutes later the woman came back outside. “Apparently the neighbors have the same problem with their tomatoes.” The woman was talking like she just made a special scientific discovery. Humans are also definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I mean, duh, Sherlock if one’s gone they’ll miss other tomatoes too. I kept listening to their conversation but after a while they went inside. When they were out of sight, I ran to the tomato patch and picked the last tomato which they didn’t see. Another thing about humans, they have bad eyesight. ALL OF THEM. The tomato was one measly yard away and they couldn’t see it. It was now reddish green and hard to miss. I plucked the tomato and ran back home. 

“Where in the world have you been Tommy?” Asked my mother.

 “Out getting breakfast,” said my older sister Olympia. I didn’t answer, I just slowly trudged up the tree past the waking owl and thought about what was happening. I was now afraid that I would get caught. I was not going near those people again and I would warn my family later too.

After some thinking, I decided to take another walk around the neighborhood.  As I was walking around the neighborhood, I stopped at the spot where I always get my food. I heard the woman say “those dumb squirrels”

I looked at my delicious enemy who was trying to get to a bird feeder, even though  to a nearsighted human it looked like it was going at the tomatoes . I thought this whole thing was hilarious and Nutty the squirrel was barely getting away! “What are you laughing at?” Nutty snarled. “ Watch your elders,’’ I said. Nutty dodged the lady and ran.

On Saturday night, I was out hunting for food with my family when a huge truck showed up in front of us. It had the word “exterminator” on it in bright neon orange. I turned and ran, leaving the rest of my family running in different directions. I now live without them in a place that is called NYC which provides a lot of food.

That is the story of how I moved to NYC with no notice whatsoever. 

The Normal Elf

I haven’t been what I pictured for as long as I lived. I always pictured myself talking to people and being perfect. “Miss Lily, are you able to tell us what the square root of 19 is?” Mr. Mad says. I tremble for a second, then my mind starts its work. I see stars and numbers, glances of memories. I go up to the board and write 4.35889894354. Mr. Mad sighs and says, “Very good, but would you please explain.” He knows I hate writing because I can’t speak, and when I try, my head hurts. I write sentences and sentences until I finish. He reads them aloud and says, “Very well, you may go back to your seat.” 

After the heavy ring of the bell, everyone stands up and says, “Thank you, Mr. Mad.” 

Then the other kids rush out at the speed of light. The day ends, and I walk home slowly. Suddenly, I see a girl. I glance again and she disappears. “You know that we, elves, don’t stare.” I turn around and see that girl again. I think in my mind,

What elves, crazy girl? 

“Hey, that is so rude,” she says.

Wait, you can read my mind!?!? I think in my MIND!!

“Yes, all elves speak through their minds,” she sighs.

“Wait, wait, wait, what elf stuff?” I ask.

“I am here to take you to the world of time and life,” she explains.  

“How do you read my mind? I want to think for myself,” I inquire.

“Just look in your brain and say, ‘Time is life.’ Also, my name is Theiry,” she says.

“Neat name! So where are we going in this so-called elf world?”  I ask.

“Follow me, and just do what I say,” Theiry commands.

She takes out a shining necklace and says, “Life has turned, change is made.” A blasting blue light shines in front of us. Theiry takes my hand and squeezes it. I close my eyes and pray. 

I suddenly see trees, fairies, flowers that change colors every minute, and elves. I thought they would have pointy ears, but most of them don’t. I see a bunch of elves. Then I see one that has leaves and vines for hair and tree bark for skin. There is one elf with pointy ears and strands of white hair.  I look all around my hair. I don’t have the strands of white hair. 

A bold voice says in my mind, “Who is this uhh, human?” 

I flash behind me, but I don’t see anyone. I look around and see a gust of wind swarming around Theiry. Somehow, Theiry is talking to the wind. How crazy can this get? Then I hear something that I remember from when I was little. This song called Little Elf. It sings like an angel.

“Little elf, ride and lie

Take the time to stay in your prime

Little elf, hide and guide

Make a choice of left or right

Little elf, kind and fine

Take a chance to stay all the time

Little elf, ride and lie

Take the time to stay in your prime.”

The song strikes me hard in the gut. I follow the music and start singing it in my mind. Then, I feel a person place a hand over my shoulder.  I turn and see Theiry. Amazed, she asks, “How do you know this song?” 

“I heard it sung by someone,” I reply.

“Who are your parents?” Theiry questions me.

“My parents abandoned me as a child,” I snap back.

“Okay, c’mon, we need to get to my house,” Theiry says. 

Theiry and I walk on a path and see a HUGE mansion. I see three people waiting for us. Theiry walks up to a man and whispers to him. The two other people are stunned. I slowly walk toward everyone. I hear, “We will try.” Then a blast of fire shoots at me. I somehow feel all of the power in my body turn into light, go to the fire, and turn it into ash. Everyone stares at me with amazement. 

Then I hear, “All hail princess Lily.” Everyone drops to their knees. I think, 

What the heck is going on??!!!!????

“What happened is that you are the princess who was stolen by humans. They stole you as a child because they wanted us to be even. We kinda killed their president. By accident!” Theiry explains. 

“How do you know I am this ‘missing princess?’” I question her.

“Only the bloodline of rulers can be connected to the sunlight,” Theiry says. 

“Your parents are the rulers of the eleven races,” a deep voice says.

“Lily, this is my dad, Trix,” Theiry says. 

Trix is a tall, brown-haired elf.

“This is Jakknas, and this is Amar.” Theiry introduces me to the other two elves. 

“Hello, this is the arrow and bow from the elven race.” Amar, a blond girl with long hair, slowly pulls out a silver arrow and a bow with trees and flowers.

“Thank you,” I answer. 

“I am sad to say, but the king and queen were assassinated last night,” Trix says in despair. 

“You will have to become the ruler of the elven kingdom.” Amar declares.

I take the bow and arrow and say confidently, “I am ready.”

“When the king and queen died, a poison gas went into the eleven worlds. Only someone from the royal bloodline can go to Nexis and go into the light. Because the poison gas started from the royals, it has to end by a royal death,” Theiry says.

“The assassin knew that; it was their plan all along,” Trix says and puts his fist in the air. 

“I am going to go there,” I say with determination.

“You will have to go to the other side of the world,” Trix says, after calming down.

“I am going to Nexis, whatever happens,” I say bravely.

I walk for weeks and months until I get to Nexis. I find out Theiry, Amar, and Jakkanas followed me; that is just too annoying. Elves do not need to eat food and drink water for years, but I still do.   

Months Later:

I am at the grounds of Nexis. The place where anyone who goes into the light fades into ash. I am looking to Theiry, to Amar, and to Jakkanas. I stare into the light. I am thinking, Should I die and save millions or live and kill millions? I look at my arrow and bow. I give them to Theiry and say, “Take this to my parents’ grave.” I think I am who I pictured. I am who I want to be. I step into the light, I feel a teardrop go down my cheek. I say, “Goodbye.” Then I slowly feel my body turn into ash. I am gone.

Epilogue:

What, where am I? I stand up and see broken cities and dust. I see gray clouds with a beast’s face.

Almost the End

Chapter 1     

“Zeke, Emma, Timea! Wake up! It’s time for breakfast,” Mom said.

“Ok, coming!” said the kids.

The kids ran downstairs. 

“Honey, can you serve them breakfast? I have to go get dressed. Don’t stay in your PJs on the couch all day,” Mom said.

“Fine, but I’m only going to serve them this one time. I have to finish my football game,” Amon said.

He was slumped on the couch, surrounded by empty chip bags and beer bottles. His shirt was stained with boxed mac and cheese.

“Dad, why can’t we go in that room near your bathroom?” said Timea.

“Because I said so. I don’t look in your diary because you have privacy, so don’t look in my stuff either,” said Amon.

“Sorry, Dad,” said Timea.

“Whatever, it’s fine. Mom cooked you guys bacon and eggs. I’m going to sleep, so eat quickly,” Amon said.

“Ok,” said Timea. To her brother and sister, she added, “Guys, we should sneak in. I think Dad is hiding something from us.”

“But if we sneak in, Dad will catch us, and we will get in trouble, AND WE WILL PROBABLY GET GROUNDED, so yeah,” Zeke said. 

“But what if Dad is going to do something bad in the room, and we have to stop it?” said Emma. “Dad goes in that room at night. I saw him once. Let’s get in right now since he’s sleeping.”

“Fine, but if we get caught, it’s not my fault,” said Zeke.

“Ok, but we have to figure out the code for the door to open it,” said Emma.

Chapter 2

“What if the passcode is about us? Like, two of us are ten, and one of us is twelve, so what if it is ten-twelve or twelve-ten?” said Zeke.

“Ok ten-twelve. Let’s try it,’’ said Emma.

“It unlocked. Holy moly! What is this place?” said Timea.

It was a small room with a big desk, a huge world map on the back wall, a big bin with bombs, crystals on the ceiling, and a big window with a hole. 

“No way, bombs! What if they’re going to make the Earth split in half?” said Emma.                                                         

“Or EXPLODE!” said Zeke.

“We have to get out of here now,” said Timea.

“Oh no, the door is locked! What are we going to do?” said Emma. 

“I also hear footsteps. HIDE!” said Zeke.

They ran and hid behind the cabinet. Footsteps echoed in the hall.    

“It’s good to be back in the lab,” said Amon to himself. “It looks like someone has been here… Whatever. It doesn’t matter.”

“I have a plan to get out. When Dad’s head is turned, we can get out. He has the key on the door just in case he forgets the code, so we’re not locked in forever. LET’S DO THIS!” said Zeke.

They ran out.

“We made it,” said Emma.

“Guys, let’s meet here at 6:30 in the morning. Dad will be sleeping and Mom will be at work,” said Timea.

Chapter 3    

Ring, ring, ring went the alarm at 6:30 in the kids’ bedroom.

“Guys, wake up. It’s 6:30. We need to go into Dad’s lab,” said Emma.

“Ugh, fine, but it’s way too early for this,” said Timea.

“Last one there is a rotten egg, but walk so Dad does not wake up,” said Zeke.

Zeke ran.

“I beat you all,’’ said Zeke.

“Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just get this over with,” said Timea. 

“Timea, don’t say that, it’s rude,” said Emma.

“Yeah,” said Zeke.  

“Sorry, I guess,” said Timea. 

“Emma, put in the code for the door so we can get inside,” said Zeke.

Emma typed ten-twelve on the keypad. The door opened.

“Guys, I know this might sound crazy, but Zeke, you love tech and you’re good at it. Can you make Dad’s machine better at picking up the dirt and put it on whatever is under there, just in case it’s something bad? Then we can cover it up and get what’s under there. Emma, I can attach you to a string, and you can climb down to grab what is under there. If it’s something bad, Zeke will instruct you, and I will pull you up. Then, I will open the door a little bit, so I can see when Dad is coming or walking by if he wakes up,” said Timea. 

“Got it,” said Zeke.

“I’m in,” Emma said.   

“Ok, let’s do this,” said Timea.  

Chapter 4

“All I have to do is reroute the system, update it, and code it,” Zeke said. 

“Emma, are you ready to climb down? I’m also going to tie the rope to the pole over there just in case,” said Timea. 

“Guys, the machine is ready. All we need is to grab the dirt and put it on top of what is under there, just in case,” said Zeke.

Emma climbed down. 

“GUYS! I see a bomb with a timer that says we have 5 minutes,” said Emma.

 “Is there a button to stop the timer?” said Zeke. 

“No, there is not,” said Emma         

“Guys, I brought my water bottle. Emma, I’m going to pull you up, and then I’m going to give you the bottle. Pour the water on the bomb. Zeke, put the extra dirt on top,” said Timea. 

Chapter 5 

“Guys, I just remembered something: those types of bombs can still explode when water is poured on them, but we still have to cover it up with dirt so Dad does not dig again and try to explode the Earth,” said Zeke. 

“We have 2 minutes! I’m going to put the water on it now,” said Emma. She poured the water.

“I’m pulling you up right now,” said Timea. 

“Ok,” said Emma. 

Timea pulled Emma up.

“I’m going to put the dirt on it with the machine,” said Zeke. He put the dirt on it.

“According to my calculations, we have 30 seconds left,” said Zeke.

“We have to hide under that desk over there, just in case,” said Timea. 

BOOM! The ground shook.  

“WE DID IT!” said Emma. 

Sirens blared, and the police came.
“What happened here?” said Officer Oui Bucky. 

The kids explained what happened. 

“Where are your Dad and Mom?” said Officer Oui Bucky.

“Our mom is at work, and our dad is sleeping,” said Zeke.

Mom walked in through the door.

“What happened here?!” said Mom.

The police explained it to her.

“Oh my god! I’m so sorry, kids, that you had to go through this. We’re going to move to Paris,” said Mom. 

The police walked over to arrest Amon.

“What-wha… happened? Why are you arresting me?” said Amon.
“Your kids stopped your bomb, and you know why we’re arresting you,” said Officer Oui Bucky.

“Nooo, I didn’t do that!” said Amon.

“I’m sorry, Amon. You’re going to be sentenced to jail for life,” said Officer Oui Bucky.

 The End 

Tails Be Lost

Dear editor and readers:

Tails be lost is about a water dragon that has to go across a spongeing desert and raid a village. Will he succeed? Stay tuned to find out! Dun Dun Dunn! It’s for the readers that read adventure. It’s a story where you read the back cover so yeah you’re gonna have to read it, and if you already read it then read it again, so that if you missed anything then that’s why read it again.

NARRATOR:

Once upon a time in the 1500s, there is Gus. Gus is a water dragon, and there are other dragons, but there’s also the sunlight god, Tarima. If you see him in your village, then you’re a goner. It’s like playing with the Grim Reaper. Get a mile away from him. And he wants to feed on people, but there is a desert that separates him and other water and fire dragons so he will have to leave his cozy home and set off. But first, he would first have to pack. He will have to gather lots of water and more water, because of course water dragons need water, that’s why he needs it, DUH! He needs food. He has some leftovers after a day’s business lunch. He last did a hunt like this a month ago. So, Gus sets off. Gus is so hot and sweaty from a minute of walking in the desert that he is hopeless, but he sees an illusion of the water, an illusion, but he doesn’t know that, so he goes on and on trying to chase the water that is endless and hopeless. He knows that he can’t last long, but he decides to push on. Then he sees the city. It will be spectacular if a far traveler Gus is just bored because he has seen it before, but the difficulty is that the dragon has a weak spot and it is the tail. 

GUS: 

How the humans got this piece of information, I don`t know, but there are these the first time I encountered the holos were when I was 25. I was only just a child. Just so you know, a dragon lives up to 700 years, so anyways, it was my first time hunting a village. My dad got struck down by the holos. Holos are people that have a giant axe and they would patrol a block. Every holo has a block to guard, and they cut off the dragon’s tail.

NARRATOR: 

Gus grabbed a hold of some peasants and a knight. On some nights, rarely, he would eat a king’s bodyguard. The knights are expensive tastes, but they try to put up a fight but Gus thought, I’m just too good and then I can trade it to the dragon market. Oh yeah, I’ll tell you all about that in a second. A big meal is a catapult or a siege tower, but he usually gets hobos and other sorts. Gus stays away from old ladies and grandpas. There is a market where dragons sell humans for dricki. Dricki are the coins that dragons use. And the nearest ones are two miles away. Take it away, narrator! Narrator? Narrator, we need you to come on. We’re waiting for you. 

NARRATOR: 

Okay. Fine, ahem, ahem. So, Gus had a problem. He was not able to cross the desert, so Gus had searched and searched but he had no idea how to cross it. He was about to give up when he spotted something. It was a catapult. Gus had an idea to go back home. First he would gather the fishing nets and wrap it around his feet. It was no hard task to take the people, because the dragon’s feet are the strongest bones in the dragon’s body.

GUS: 

Aahhhhhhhhhh! I want it back, wait a minute that’s actually true, give it! Hey! Ripp!

NARRATOR:

Sorry readers, Gus is having a tantrum. Technical difficulties. Beep!

GUS:

Wahhhhhhhhhhh! I want it back! 

NARRATOR:

Well, whatever, okay.  

WRITER: 

Can you please stop saying stuff, we only have like two pages left and I’m not going to waste it on you two quarreling! Okay! 

BOTH: 

Fine! 

NARRATOR: 

The grill was smoking. Gus invited some friends to his home with a gurg. A gurg is a phone. That is how Bill Gates invented the iPhone. His friends came over and had a great meal. Also, side note, you hear the booms of lightning? It’s actually the dragons bowling, and you know how the air shakes stuff, it’s the rain cloud, yeah, the dragons bowl loudly and fast. The end! 

Epilogue  

NARRATOR: 

Two weeks later, when Gus was walking to the village to get some people, he saw something. He stepped closer to it and it was Tarima, the king of all dragons, otherwise known as the sunlight god. If you see him in your village, then you’re a goner. It’s like playing with the Grim Reaper. Even a mile away from him will do you no good. Once he saved a present life for a secret, and that secret is that the god of sunlight is a human that’s in a robotic costume.

I Said You Said

Preface

“Hello, hello, hello, Beatrizz,”  Bo said, strutting up to his future wife. “Wassup, yo?” These were the good ol’ days when Botros was a decent (mind you, I said decent, not good) person.

“Hi,” said Beatrizz. Suddenly the room went into slow-mo. She gazed at him lovingly.

“Beatrizz, Beatrizz. ‘Tis I, Botros!” Bo’s motto was “go big or go home.”

“Do I know you, ‘cause it feels like I do,” said Beatrizz with love in the air.

“Oh, Beatrizz. We were dating for a while,” Bo said, slightly offended. 

“We were? I wasn’t aware,” Beatrizz responded, “Why did we break up again?”

“Excuse me! You don’t remember dating this package of handsomeness, a splash of kindness, and, uh… ” Bo opened and closed his mouth several times. “What’s another good thing about me? Um, totally unfaithful package. . . you get the memo.”

“What memo? I don’t even have a phone,” Beatrizz said confused.

“The . . . You know what, forget it. All I want to say is,” Bo draped an arm around Beatrizz’s shoulders. “I still looooooooove you.”

“And you know what?” Beatrizz whispered. Then, suddenly a memory broke free. It was weak like it had been tortured. “I love you too.”  

“You do?” Bo asked in his crisped pirate-like accent (that was not real, he just did it to impress the ladies). Bo wriggled his eyebrows, leaving one raised. “You do!” 

“Yes,” Beatrizz said, all the while stealing the spyglass and his sword made of shadows. She knew how to use the sword and immediately teleported away to her brother’s door and dropped the spyglass. And she was back in a blink. Bo, being the idiot that he was, did not even realize that his soon-to-be-wife was gone, sword, and spyglass, because he was testing his breath.

“Uh . . . Bee? Why are you holding my sword? Oh, nevermind.” Bo knelt one knee. “Oh, Beatrizz… what’s your last name? Oh whatever. Oh, Bee, will you be my wife?” 

“Uhhhhh… don’t you think it’s a little early for that?” And as soon as she said that, she dropped his sword and bolted.

“Leaving so soon?” Bo asked. “But you did not even take the… wait, I don’t have a ring… whatever.” Bo bolted after her, and felt in his pockets. If Beatrizz said not to be his wife, she would burn. But he had no spyglass. “You stole it!!” he bellowed. He grabbed the sword from the ground and chucked it at Beatrizz. It hit perfectly in her chest, and snapped her spine in half. “MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!” Bo laughed evilly. 

Three Years Later

“Heeeeeey,” Botros said.

“Hi,” Ablin said, exasperated.

“I need something,” Bo said, sinisterly. “Something you have. Something that was mine.”

“That is it,” replied Ablin.

“Don’t pretend like you don’t know. You do. And your sister stole it. From me.”

“You always want something different each time so it is hard to keep track. Plus, my sister is none of my concern,” Ablin said like he had already so many times.

“She’s dead. I killed her,” Botros declared, an evil glint in his eye. “And now, give me what she stole. Every time I ask for it, your stupid little brain thinks that it’s somthing different. But no. It’s the same thing. It’s mine.” Bo stalked closer to Ablin. “Give it to me.”

“Is it that ring? Because if it is I threw it into a lake, and I want your television. So give it,” Ablin responded, brandishing his obsidian sword.

“Oh, no. Not the ring,” Bo said, unsheathing his sword made of darkness, with an emerald encrusted hilt. “That silly engagement ring that I gave to your sister. She declined. We all saw how that went down for her.”

“Well, if whatever you really want is in the bag, just reach in it and grab it,” said Ablin  with a mischievous smile that was hidden with years of practice. 

“Well, well, well.” Bo slashed the bag open. There inside was a jewel encrusted spyglass. The spyglass. “What do we have here?” He smiled wickedly, and held it to the light. He waited until the grass caught on fire. Then he cackled, and teleported away using his sword. 

“Ha ha ha, my plan worked,” Ablin muttered as he drew back a curtain. He was actually in Bo’s home and he used the old spyglass trick. He got out of there as fast as he could and grabbed the TV on the way out. 

Covid-19

It came out of nowhere and changed many lives. 

We were all living within a lie.

With cases climbing higher and higher.

Masks became most people’s new attire.

We walked outside less and less.

This whole thing was and still is a mess.

The hope still flickered like a weak candle.

Making Covid much easier to handle.

Through thick and thin Humanity made it still.

Humanity has trudged through forest fires and scaled this large hill.

Tales of the Burrow

Part 1: A Brief Introduction to the Burrow

Excerpt from The Traveler’s Book of the Burrow with notes from N. Leo:

What exactly is the burrow?

The burrow is a city on a planet that floats just at the boundaries of a black hole.

It is sometimes on the ground and sometimes in the sky*1.

It can fly and has lots of entrances.

One entrance is the gate.

Most people enter the burrow from the gate.

The gate is a tall arch with lasers that can be sealed like a fence.

On top of the arch are the guard posts that house superheroes*2.

It is a part of a laser wall which encircles the burrow.

Inside people that want to go inside are signed up and inspected to make sure that they are peaceful.

Everyone who is peaceful is allowed in the burrow*3.

The second kind of entrance is multiple ports which only some people may fly into.

There are holes in the laser wall like doors that let ships in when the burrow is airborne and cars when it is not.

They often connect to people’s houses.

Inside the burrow has four sections.

The living section, which is composed of flat laser streets in which people drive in anti-gravity speeders, and houses which are sometimes connected to ports below them.

The trading section is where all people socialize and all the businesses and schools are there.

The burrows gates lead directly there.

The criminal section, otherwise known as the vault, where all the captured supervillains live in laser houses and are served casha for every meal.

And the burrow section, which is dominated by the burrow, is a vast building with 2948 floors, 50*4 of which are known commonly.

20 floors are contributed to guests, or superheroes.

Level 3 and above burrow citizens all have private quarters here.

That is the burrow*5.

Who are notable characters of the burrow? 

Doctor Bunny:

Doctor Bunny is a cunning mad scientist who is one of the four mad scientists of the burrow.

He is the general of the bunny army and has led three bunny crusades.

He is a level 3 burrow citizen and lives at monkey street in the living section.

His house is connected to port 3-A5 A.K.A the Port of the Bunny.

Doctor Wolf:

Doctor Wolf”s personality can be described as radioactive.

He is another one of the four mad scientists of the burrow.

He is obsessed with everything radioactive and is the author of An Ode to Radiation by D. Wolf *6.

He is also the author of many other books including the Famous Guide to Mutants by D. Wolf*6.

He is a level 7 burrow citizen and lives on Beast Street in the living section.

Nice Leo:

Nice Leo is a substitute teacher at Sheep School Elementary.

He is another of the four mad scientists of the burrow.

He loves robots and has a special ability of resurrection.

He is the author of A Day in Sheep School by N. Leo.

He loves reading books and lives on necron street in the living section and is a level 3 citizen.

Rescue:

Rescue is the sole level 6 citizen of the burrow.

She lives in the burrow and leads the four departments.

She has wrote laws 30-40*7 in the burrow book of laws.

The Sheep;

Not much is known about the Sheep.

They were there when the founder of the burrow came and built the burrow.

They are as old as Nice Leo*8.

They live in the burrow.

Their citizen level is unknown.

What are the 7 levels of citizens?

In the burrow, all people who have ever signed up have a level pass.

This shows where they live, what responsibilities they have, and what their authority ID is.

It ranges from 1-7, 1 being the least authority, and 6 being the highest.

1: low level: guest

2: common level: citizen

3: advanced level: active citizen

4: very advanced level: member of the governing of the burrow

5: elite level: high-ranking member of the governing of the burrow

6: supreme level: leader of the burrow.

7: special level: potentially dangerous citizens

The known floors of the burrow (uncompleted)

1=lobby: a huge room with some couches and tables where people wait to be received.

A desk at which a superhero sits and receives people.

An elevator.

A gate (common entrance of the burrow).

2-5=meeting floor: contains 100 meeting rooms in which the inhabitants of the burrow meet.

Details of the rooms vary.

6-10=bunker floor: a large floor made of pure adamantium.

Contains food supplies, self defense weapons, and entertainment for up to a year for 50 people.

11-13=the bedrooms: all level 3 citizens and above have bedrooms here.

Sheep sleeps here.

Rooms serve as storage, temporary to permanent housing, (people’s houses get destroyed a lot).

And many other functions.

All rooms have elevators connected to them.

14=nature floor: a huge room with walls made of towering trees.

Contains a clean grassy area which is perfect for picnics, a rocky slope for rock climbing that has an overlook to a stream coming from the burrow drinking water channel that leads to a pond.

Burrow citizens can swim here with the ducks in clean water.

Level 5 citizens may choose to live in vast tree houses here*9.

Footnotes:

______________________________________________________________________________

1*: that only happened once.

It did not work out very well. (see: the airborne burrow)

2*: not very good ones in my opinion because the burrow gets destroyed 3 days a week.

3*: if necrons and orks are peaceful, everyone is.

4*: actually, at the start of the first bunny crusade, I had an adventure and discovered some more.

5*: some of it at least.

6*: they are good books.

7*: also law 41 which states that all living things in the universe are moose, which I helped make but that statement/law/religion got destroyed after the mooseian heresy.

8*: which he is not in my opinion.

Come on!

He is in 2nd grade!

In sheep school.

9*: when will I be a level 5 citizen!

When!!!

Part 2: When Moose Attack (Short Story)

Nice Leo was walking down the street when this story started. Sheep was walking beside him. Suddenly, Nice Leo saw a huge cinder block falling from the sky right on top of Sheep. Smash!!! Nice Leo gasped. He ran to the nearest superhero.

“Sheep just got crushed by a giant cinder block!”

“Oh my god, we need to tell everybody!” said the superhero. He started running around and telling everyone.

Nice Leo heard: “Moooooooo, mo, mooo!” 

The moose ambassador was standing over the sheep.

Oh no! thought Nice Leo. Sheep is their emperor! (See part 3: bonus information.) Soon, almost half the burrow was in Doctor Monkey’s hospital.

“I — I — I am afraid he has stopped breathing!”

Everyone gasped. Doctor Wolf spoke.

“Sheep has been eaten by zombies, zapped with laser guns, starved, and he never died!”

“How could he be dead now?”

“I am sorry, but he has stopped breathing!” said Doctor Monkey.

“That’s right, he is totally dead so there is no need at all to look at him any more,” Doctor Bunny said with his ears back. Everyone was too busy crying to hear him.

Nice Leo noticed two things.

One, that sheep teacher and no one from sheep school was here, and two, that if the moose admiral found out about this, he might think that the burrow had purposely assassinated the sheep.

Nice Leo’s fears were confirmed as he saw through the security cameras that seven moose marines and the moose admiral were coming into the burrow.

“Hello, what business do you have — boooooooooooooom!!!”

The welcoming superhero had asked that question and was incinerated in a flash of laser power as one of the moose marines shot his firearm at them.

“Meh, meneh, meneeeeeee!” said the moose admiral.

“The moose are attacking!!!!” Nice Leo screamed. Soon everyone was panicking, rushing to their homes or the bunker floor. Nice Leo caught a glimpse of a huge mooseonaght ravaging the burrow defense force. He had to help the burrow defense force! He took a laser cannon and power sword and went to battle against the moose. He ran into a clearing and saw a huge mooseonaght smashing a superhero against a house while three more fired at it, the repulsor beams simply pinging off it.

“Death to the moose!” Nice Leo screamed and shot his laser cannon. The laser cannon had sufficient power to slightly annoy the mooseonaght. It turned its head and Nice Leo threw his power sword at it. Now, it was really annoyed. Nice Leo ran for his life as the mooseonaght chased him. He ran straight into one of the moose marines. He took out his power sword and he and the moose marine engaged in a furious sword duel. Then he saw the lumbering mooseonought behind him and he ran away. Eventually he reached his home. Or what used to be his home. It had been reduced to flaming wreckage. And the sheep class, including Sheep, were standing in front of it.

“B — But you”re dead, Sheep,” said Nice Leo.

“Sheep not dead!” said Sheep.

Sheep teacher spoke. “Um… Nice Leo, we were going on a field trip.”

“But Sheep got crushed by a cinder block!” Nice Leo said.

“Oh yeah, that?” said Doctor Bunny, coming there. “That was my Sheepotron 2000.”  Everyone glared at Doctor Bunny. “What, is it my fault that the moose invaded?        

The end  

Part 3: The Best day Ever (short story)

Excerpt from The Complete Records of the Burrow by D. Wolf:

Doctor Wolf inspected his new mutant.

“Two little tentacles,” he decided, and pressed the “grow tentacles” button. It was weekends like this that he loved. He could just sit in his lab all day, writing books and creating new mutants, and on the best of days, releasing them in the living section. It was very entertaining to watch how they developed. But today was going to be the best day ever! He had finished developing his newest creation, the psy-alpha! He wrote in his diary.

Dear Diary,

Today is going to be the best day ever!

The tentacle and eyeball mutants are developing well and I just can”t wait to release the psy-alpha!

More tomorrow, D. Wolf.

Then he got up and said to himself: “Now it is time to release the psy alpha. How about I release it near Nice Leo’s house? He screams with joy every time he sees one.”

Doctor Wolf brought the cage to Nice Leo’s house, went back to his lab, and opened it digitally.

These sounds in this order came from Nice Leo’s house:

  1. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. SMASH!!
  3. GLORP GLORP!
  4. MUNCH MUNCH!

“He must have loved it!” said Doctor Wolf. A floating brain with one huge glowing eye and lots of green tentacles burst from the roof of Nice Leo’s house. “Shame about his house though,” Doctor Wolf remarked. The burrow alarm sounded and squads of superheroes started firing at the psy-alpha. “Now what are they sounding the alarm for?” Doctor Wolf wondered. The psy-alpha sent a bolt of psychic energy that reduced a squad of superheros to ruin. “Awwww, your first psy-bolt!” Doctor Wolf cooed. Nice Leo came up the steps to Doctor Wolf’s observatory.

“WHAT WERE YOU DOING YOU, LOUSY WOLF?!” Nice Leo bellowed.

“I gave you a present! It’s over there eating a squad of superheros!” Nice Leo took a laser gun and shot at the psy-alpha. Its psy-shield deflected it and it rammed through Nice Leo’s brain. As Nice Leo fell to the floor, Doctor Wolf said: “It does not like when you shoot at it Nice Leo.”

Rescue and five more squads of superheros came directed concentrated fire at the psy-alpha. One of Nice Leo’s surrogate bodies came up the stairs. The psy-alpha vaporized Nice Leo’s house where  a superhero was hiding.

“My poor house!” Nice Leo cried. Finally, the psy-alphas shields failed and it was blasted to pieces.

“Awwwwwwwwwwwwww… ” Doctor Wolf said.

“Maybe Nice Leo doesn’t like mutants. Next week I will release the eyeball monster near Doctor Bunny’s laboratory! He must love mutants.”

Part 4: The Tech Club (short story)

Excerpt from The Complete Records of the Burrow by D. Bunny:

Doctor Bunny checked the time. It’s time for the tech club! he thought. His doorbell rang. Doctor Wolf, the moose ambassador, and Nice Leo were there. Five minutes later, they were all sitting inside.

“Today, we will be playing with dangerous explosive chemicals!” Doctor Bunny announced.

“Mooo, moooo, moo, mooo, Mooooooo, mooooo!” exclaimed the moose ambassador.

“Yes, that is very important, everyone. Do not let fire get anywhere near the chemicals!” Doctor Bunny said. Nice Leo tried to build an explosive charge lobbing cannon.

“And so I put the fire ball next to the explosive chemicals and-” Nice Leo said.

“Don’t do that — ” Kaaaaabooooooom!!! 

“I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT!” Doctor Bunny yelled.

“But it was such a good idea!” Nice Leo said.

“Moooo, moo, mooo!” said the moose ambassador.

“He wants to go next,” Doctor Bunny said. The moose ambassador took out a metal rod.

“Mooo, mooooo, mooooooooooo, moooooo, mooooooooo, moooooooo,” said the moose ambassador. He pressed a button on the rod and two hollow stones filled with the explosive chemical rocketed upwards. Then the rod sent out a plume of flame. The rocks exploded and flaming chemical coated bits of rock rained everywhere.

The first explosion was followed by more as those pieces of rock exploded and rained more. Three minutes later, Doctor Bunny’s living room had been reduced to flaming wreckage. After Doctor Bunny had finished yelling, it was Doctor Wolf’s turn. What looked like a large fleshy balloon with a lighter stuck in it floated into the room.

“This is a miniature homing bomb,” said Doctor Wolf. “It is full of explosive chemicals, it follows its target and when it finds it ignites the lighter stuck into its side which makes it go boom!” 

“That’s cool, um, who is it set to now?” said Doctor Bunny.

“You!” said Doctor Wolf.

Kkkkkkaaaatttthhhhhooomm!!! After Doctor Bunny’s resurrection, they continued. It was Doctor Bunny’s turn.

“I made an explosive sword,” he said. “It is an explosion proof sword that is coated in explosive chemicals. When it hits another weapon, it explodes and destroys the other weapon and anything else in the vicinity. But you are not harmed because it comes with explosion proof power armor!”

Doctor Bunny put the explosion proof power armor and hit Nice Leo’s unsuccessful invention with it. KRACK! Nice Leo’s invention was gone.

After that, they had steak with mushroom salad and caramel cake for dessert. Then, Doctor Bunny said goodbye and everyone left.

“See you next week,” Doctor Bunny said.

That night when Doctor Bunny wanted to douse the fire, he saw a peculiar huge jug of what looked like water, labeled: fire extinguisher. “Hmmmmm, I don’t remember this,” said Doctor Bunny. “Well, I might as well use it to extinguish the fire!”

The last sound that night was the explosion of a jug full of explosive chemicals being poured into a fire.

“That’s what you get for incinerating my house last tech club when we were playing with disintegration beams,” Nice Leo muttered at his house. 

The Count’s Letter

Chapter I

Snowflake, a bunny, lived in the town of Meenlam. She was a postbunny, meaning she ran around the town delivering letters to her fellow townspeople. Snowflake also went to some of the nearby towns, such as Baldis, Rineen, Yoham, and Sarvenos. Snowflake was good at her job, but she was not the best because many of the other bunnies who worked with her were extraordinarily fast. Even when they ran to some of the farthest towns, they could get there in a very speedy three days, because those towns were over twenty kemdos away. Snowflake had heard some bunnies talk about the towns being over fifty miles away, but she had no idea what miles were. 

Snowflake loved baking. When she wasn’t delivering mail, she could often be found in her kitchen, baking something delicious. She often gave half of what she made to her neighbors because she lived alone and couldn’t eat everything before it went stale. Snowflake’s favorite things to bake were chocolate chip cookies because the batter was just as good as the cookies, and chocolate cake, just because chocolate cake is amazing. 

Snowflake also loved going to the beach, but only on cold days when she could be alone. Everybody came on the hot days because they didn’t like the cold water. Snowflake tolerated it better than most bunnies because she did it all the time and she also had a thick coat of fur. Besides, most of the time she just sat on the sand and gazed at the ocean or read. Snowflake liked being alone because she could think without having to hear everyone running around on the beach. 

One cold winter day, Snowflake decided that she should go to the beach, since she hadn’t been in a while. She sat down on the sand and watched the chilly waves rush towards her paws and then fall back into the ocean just before they pierced her boots. After about fifteen minutes of this, Snowflake decided to walk along the beach for a while. She was halfway to the small, abandoned garden of lilacs when she felt her boot thud against something sharp. She lifted her shoe, and she saw a tiny crab scuttling around on the wet ground. It looked lost, so she picked it up and walked it over to the sea. She set it down and the waves escorted it into the murky blue depths. A little bit later, she turned back and walked home. When she was nice and warm by her fire, she slept for an hour or so, and then she got up and made a batch of brownies. 

As she was waiting for the oven to ding, someone knocked on her door. She got up from the couch, and she opened the door. A cold gust of wind swept into the house, moving the fog covering the town to reveal a young bunny sitting on the doorstep. 

“Are you S-S-Snowflake N-Neepim?” the little bunny asked. Snowflake couldn’t tell if he was stuttering because he was cold, or because he stuttered no matter what. 

“Why, yes. I am Snowflake Neepim. What’s your name?” Snowflake replied. 

“B-Benny. Mrs. Evental a-asked me to f-find you a-a-and then to journey w-with you to this place and deliver t-t-this letter with you,” Benny said. 

Snowflake asked, “May I see the letter?”

“Y-yes. The l-letter is v-very important. A-at least, t-t-that’s what Mrs. Evental s-said. Also, s-s-she said it was. . . across the Forest!” Benny squeaked the last part as he handed the letter to Snowflake. He squeaked because the Forest was the most dangerous part of the world. Nobody knew what was past it, but clearly Mrs. Evental knew because she had to get a letter to someone there. Rumors flew around the village whenever someone went in because everyone believed that monsters and carnivorous plants lived there. The last time someone had gone in and come out alive was thousands of years ago when the Forest was new. To Snowflake, it didn’t seem right to risk her life just to deliver a single letter, but she would do it because Benny couldn’t do it alone. She grasped the letter as she looked at the address. 

32084 Grenom St NW

Bartrembos

“Alright. We’ll go across the Forest. We need to pack lots of food for the journey. Do you have any idea why Mrs. Evental wants us to deliver the letter?” Snowflake declared. 

“N-no, Ms. Neepim. Can I search your h-house for good f-f-food to bring?” Benny answered.

“You can, but please, call me Snowflake. I despise being called Ms. Neepim,” Snowflake replied. They walked into her house and started searching the cabinets to find foods that would be easy to bring. They ended up with two backpacks and two sleeping bags, and as they left the house, they waved at a town they might never see again. 

Chapter II

Snowflake and Benny stopped when they reached the Forest. They stared up at the towering trees looming above their heads. Then, with brave glances at the other, they pushed the shrubbery aside and stepped into the Forest. 

They had crossed the river before then, and they were miraculously almost dry. The river was known for being very fast and powerful, and most bunnies were drenched if they tried to cross or go fishing in it. Snowflake was very glad about that, since being wet while trying to cross a dangerous forest would not be good.

The first thing Snowflake noticed was the quiet. Before they went in, she heard the sounds of the river, birds, and the wind. In the Forest, there was nothing. There were no birds, no wind, and no animals of any sort, only the sound of their footsteps, which even now sounded muffled. 

“W-where are the n-n-noises?” Benny asked softly. 

“I don’t kn- aahhhhh!” Snowflake screamed. Benny clung onto Snowflake as a huge snake slithered down from the trees. It stared at them for a minute, and then it glided up the tree. Snowflake and Benny calmed down and continued walking. They came to a huge wall that appeared to be made of ivy, but it was probably stone underneath. They poked around for a while, searching for a door. Benny yelped as he fell through the wall, and Snowflake rushed to him. He had found the door, and he fell through it. Benny stood up and dusted himself off, and they paraded into the place beyond the wall. 

It was a castle that stood behind the wall. It towered above the rest of the Forest, leaving an immense shadow over the trees. Loud chirping noises could be heard anywhere, and the air smelled of royal perfume. Snowflake wondered how she hadn’t noticed it as they were walking, but then she remembered that nothing could penetrate the canopy. As soon as they stepped through, however, a group of guards rushed towards them, and they tied their paws behind their backs. These guards weren’t bunnies, though. They were parrots!

The guards bumped them through the palace and stuck them in a small cell. The only words they said were, “Breakfast is at 7, lunch is at 12, and dinner’s at 6,” and then they left them all alone. 

“W-what just h-happened?” Benny quivered as he spoke. 

“We’re in a castle, and those guards just imprisoned us! We need to get out of here!” Snowflake answered. She frantically searched the cell, but there were only two tiny cots and a toilet. She spied a nail beneath one of the cots, but she couldn’t reach it. 

“Benny, can you get that nail for me? I can’t reach it,” Snowflake asked. Benny nodded and squeezed under the cot. He stayed under there for a moment and then he popped back out, nail in paw. 

“Is t-this the nail y-you wanted?” Benny said. 

“Yes, thank you,”

“You’re w-welcome.”

 Snowflake reached her paw through the bars of the door, and she stuck the nail into the lock. Unfortunately, a parrot guard came down the hall, and Snowflake had to stop. The clock struck noon, and the guard started to unlock the doors. The prisoners trudged out of the cells and they followed the guard to what was probably the dining hall. Snowflake and Benny had no choice but to follow everyone to the hall. 

The parrots serving the food passed out trays, and they spooned a bluish-gray glop to everyone. Benny looked down at his food in disgust, and he spat and pushed it away. As she did the same, Snowflake whispered, “Hey, I’ve got some apples. We can eat those once we go back to our cells. Then we can break out of here!” 

“What’d you do to get in here? I smashed one o’ the windows in King Obb’s palace. You look like some little stupid people, so I’ll tell ya that this is King Obb’s castle,” a gruff voice grumbled. They turned around to see a massive pig with a severe underbite point to a window high up in the hall. Sure enough, it was smashed to bits. 

“I insulted King Obb. This guy did the same,” Snowflake replied. Benny nodded in agreement. Just then, bells rang and all the prisoners stood up and got escorted back to their cells. 

Benny gasped, “They c-cleaned it! Our n-n-nail is gone!” He plopped down on his cot and began to sob. Snowflake dug out her apples and handed one to him. She sat down and they began munching forlornly on the apples. 

“I have earpins!” Snowflake cried. 

“S-s-so?” Benny said. 

“So, we can use them to pick the lock!” Snowflake said joyously. She dug in her bag and she pulled out two earpins. She stuck one in the lock and wiggled it around. The door swung open just as a royal-looking person flew down the hall. Benny jumped up and shut the door. 

“What was that?” King Obb asked. His voice was nasally with a snooty accent, and it sounded wicked. King Obb spun around, and his gaze locked on Snowflake and Benny. 

“Probably one of those little punks bangin’ on the bars,” a parrot guard replied. King Obb didn’t look satisfied with the answer, but he turned around and marched on, the guard trailing behind. As soon as Snowflake could no longer hear their wings beating, she opened the door again and slipped out, backpack and sleeping bag with her. Benny followed her out, but then he whispered, “How w-w-will we get o-out? G-guards will be w-w-watching the exits.” 

“The window that the big pig broke!” Snowflake exclaimed after thinking for a few moments. They ran up as quietly as they could, and then they stopped. The window was too high up for them to reach. They couldn’t get out that way. 

“I know! We can s-stack the t-tables!” Benny exclaimed. They began stacking the tables, one after another, making sure they had a way to get up to the top of the stack. Once the tower was high enough, they crawled through the window and jumped down. Half of the dining hall was below ground and there were some high bushes below, so they weren’t hurt falling down. They ran to the wall, and they climbed up the ivy, and they jumped over. They were free. 

Chapter III

Snowflake and Benny raced away from the castle. They had gone out on the opposite side of where they came in, so they didn’t have to circle all the way around to continue going. They trekked in silence for a while, but they began to talk when the ground beneath them started to pull them in. 

“Why is the ground sinking?” Snowflake asked. 

“I t-think it’s q-q-quicksand!” Benny replied. They screamed as the quicksand swallowed them, but they stopped when they fell into a huge cavern. Floating lights filled the cavern with a warm glow, and dancing bunnies wearing bright dresses were twirling around a stage on the far end of the room. A slow, romantic piece of music was being played by an orchestra that appeared to be in a glass room above the ceiling. Snowflake loved the lights bobbing about. She wanted to hold onto them forever, and she felt herself drop into a dreamlike state. She saw Benny walking slowly towards them, and she felt a very strong urge to do the same. Snowflake walked to the lights, and the last thing she remembered was hugging them, and then everything went black. 

When Snowflake came to, she was still clutching the lights. Benny was muttering something about how he loved the lights so much, he would never let go. Then he woke up. Snowflake saw the lights again and she went over to them. One of them morphed into one of the dancing bunnies, but this one had a wicked grin, and she bent over and kissed Snowflake on her forehead. Snowflake collapsed on the ground, fast asleep. The bunny walked over to Benny, but he batted her away. Now the bunny came flying back and she knocked Benny down! As she stalked over to him, she tripped over her long high heels. Benny used this opportunity to grab a stick and whack her. He hit her until she was unconscious, and then he grabbed her keys and dragged Snowflake out. 

When Snowflake woke up, a massive Venus flytrap was looming over her head. She shrieked and Benny woke up with a start. They had both fallen asleep after they escaped. 

“What’s g-going on?” Benny asked groggily. Then, he noticed the plant and he screamed, too. He jumped up and quickly slashed the Venus flytrap’s stem with a sharp stick, and then he collapsed and he promptly began to snore. He was just tired.  

Snowflake waited an hour before trying to wake Benny again. It had been really early in the morning when they were faced with the Venus flytrap, and they would still get an early start that day. She nudged Benny until he woke, and they ate a quick breakfast before continuing across the Forest. 

For the next three days, they trudged through the Forest, only talking when they had to. It was a very boring journey, especially since nothing else imprisoned them or tried to eat them. 

Snowflake was thinking that the Forest never ended and that Mrs. Evental had just made it up when the Forest suddenly ended and they were standing in a beautiful meadow with flowers in all colors of the rainbow. Snowflake and Benny rushed forward, only to smack into an enormous web and the meadow flickered and disappeared. They tried to move around, but the web was sticky and they couldn’t break free. There was a buzzing noise that sounded like a bee, and a huge firefly loomed over their heads. It lifted Benny off the web with ease, and it made a weird sound that sounded as if it were sniffing him. It tossed Benny to the ground, and it repeated with Snowflake. This time, the firefly must have thought she would taste good, because it lifted her up to its mouth, and it was about to put her head in when Benny swooped down on a vine, grabbed Snowflake, and launched over the web. They tumbled down a small hill and landed in the creek at the bottom. 

“Oof,” Benny groaned from underneath Snowflake. She slowly stood up and grabbed Benny’s paw and helped him stand. 

“I thought… fireflies were… herbivorous,” Snowflake panted. 

“Me t-too. I guess t-that one w-wasn’t,” Benny agreed. They dusted themselves off and they continued walking. They had learned to just keep on moving, even when something was hard. 

They walked for two more days, which made them very, very tired, and then there was light up ahead. Snowflake and Benny glanced at each other, and they ran towards it, despite their legs aching as if they had just stood for a week without sitting once. They pushed through the bushes, and there was a small town sitting there, waiting to be discovered. They were out of the Forest. 

Chapter IV

They raced into the town, and they noticed a sign that said Bartrembos as they frantically searched for the mysterious creature’s house. They ran around for a little while, searching for the house, but it became dark very quickly, so they found an inn called The Four Mugs. Once Snowflake and Benny had checked in and placed their stuff in their room, they sat down at a table in the dining room and began to talk about their mission. 

“So, just to remind you of what we’re doing, Mrs. Evental gave us this letter to give to somebody at this address, and it’s very important that we deliver it because something really important is inside. Also, do you have any idea what’s in the letter?” Snowflake informed Benny. 

“N-no. Mrs. Evental s-said, ‘This letter has s-something very important inside. Please d-d-do not open i-it. Just give it to the c-c-count at this address,’” Benny said, mimicking Mrs. Evental’s voice. 

“Do you think we should open it? Actually, the count would probably notice, so we shouldn’t open it,” Snowflake said. 

“H-how would he k-know?” Benny asked. 

“The seal wouldn’t stick, and it might be broken.”

“Oh. W-what if we got a n-new seal?”

“We don’t have Mrs. Evental’s seal stamp. Look, the name Koria Evental is engraved in the seal. This count probably knows what the seal looks like, so he would know that we opened it,” Snowflake pointed out. A waiter walked over to their table with two lemonades and two bowls of fettuccine alfredo. They ate a delicious meal, and then they went up to bed and got the best night sleep they had had in days. The next morning, Snowflake and Benny ate a quick breakfast and then they left to go and find the count. 

“Scarcem s-street. . . J-jalims street. . . Grenom s-s-street!” Benny read the names of the streets as they passed them. They turned down Grenom Street and they looked for number 32084. 

“There it is!” Snowflake cried when they found it. 32084 Grenom St. was a tall and dark house. It was very neat and nothing looked broken or out of place. A weird smell was coming from the house. It was something like cinnamon combined with molasses. Odd chattering noises came from the back of the house. Snowflake and Benny walked up the steps to the door and they knocked on the door. It swung open to reveal a tall and gaunt bunny. He wore all black, which contrasted his pale white fur. He looked sad, as if he had been living all alone for the past ten years, and he had a very long nose, a thin line for a mouth, a worry crease, and very dark eyes. He gazed at them for a long time, and then he said, “Come in. I am Farmirn Jayis. Why are you here?” 

“We’ve come to deliver a letter from someone in our town named Mrs. Evental. Also, I am Snowflake,” Snowflake answered as she and Benny walked into the house. 

“Was Mrs. Evental’s first name Koria?” the count asked. 

“Y-yes,” Benny said. 

“And what might your name be?” Farmirn inquired. 

“B-benny,” Benny answered. Farmirn gestured for them to sit down in some large armchairs as he got out whatever had made that weird smell earlier. They turned out to be cinnamon spice cookies, and Snowflake and Benny took them gratefully. 

“Now, may I see this letter?” the count requested. Benny handed him the letter, and they peeked over his shoulder as he read it. 

August 7, 1483

Dear Farmirn,

I write to you to warn you of a bunny hungry for power in our village. He knows there is a place beyond the Forest, and he plans on storming Bartrembos and claiming it for himself. I want you to know so that you can protect Bartrembos from this evil bunny. He has black fur, green eyes, and one of his ears is half as long as the other. Please, protect yourself and your town from this bunny. I love Bartrembos, and I would hate for it to be taken over. Oh, I forgot to mention his name. It is Dreim Varlik. He is a powerful bunny in our town, so he will not have trouble recruiting an army and going there. Please stay safe. 

On a lighter note, I received your present. Thank you so much. The sapling was a very thoughtful gift. I still do not know how you can send that in the mail and get it here so quickly. It is a sapling, and that makes it very hard to transport it, especially all the way across the Forest. Thank you again!

Sincerely,

Koria Evental

“So, this b-bunny named Dreim Varlik is coming to take o-o-over Bartrembos just because he can, and w-we have no i-idea for how he learned about this p-p-place, right?” Benny said. 

“Yes. We must go to the Council at once and inform them of this danger!” Farmirn cried. He stood up and bolted out of the front door, letter in hand. Snowflake and Benny rushed after him. They were exhausted and out of breath when they reached the town hall. 

“Councillors! I am sorry for coming without warning, but I have just received a letter from my friend in a town called Meenlam. She informed me that there is a bunny in her town who discovered Bartrembos and they want to come here and take it over! We must pro — ” Farmirn said quickly. 

“Hold on there, Farmirn. Repeat that more slowly,” a councillor, who had the name Councillor Jinlis on his chair, interrupted. 

“I have a friend in a town named Meenlam. She just sent me a letter warning me of a bunny who has discovered Bartrembos, and that bunny is going to come here with an army and take over our town,” Farmirn repeated, much slower this time. 

“Thank you. Do you have any idea of how powerful this bunny is?” A councillor called Councillor Zarina asked. 

“My friend, Koria Evental, said he is very powerful and he will have no trouble recruiting an army and pushing through the Forest,” Farmrin answered. The Councillors turned towards each other and they began talking in hushed voices about how they should stop this threat. Eventually they came to a decision. 

Councillor Barikl said, “Go to the Emnesi. For the two young bunnies, that is where our army resides and trains. Tell them to block the town off and prepare their weapons. We are going to war with these flops for bunnies.”

Chapter V

Snowflake ran straight to the Emnesi after receiving directions from Farmirn on how to get there. 

“Block the town off! Prepare your weapons! A group of bunnies are coming from across the Forest and want to take over Bartrembos!” Snowflake yelled when she got there. 

“Who are you?” one of the soldiers asked. 

“I’m Snowflake Neepim of Meenlam. I came here to deliver a letter from all the way across the Forest, and some bunnies from my town are coming here to take over Bartrembos!” Snowflake cried. The soldiers murmured in discussion. 

Before they could speak, Snowflake called out, “The Council ordered you to do this!” As soon as she said “Council,” they started running about the camp, gathering their weapons and rushing out the door. Snowflake watched as they positioned themselves all around Bartrembos, making sure their weapons worked properly. They waited for hours, but at sundown, loud footsteps started coming from the Forest. A couple minutes later, Dreim Varlik’s army burst out of the Forest. They must have thought the people of Bartrembos would be just going about their normal day, but they found an army instead. Dreim’s army waited for a minute, glancing at each other and appearing to think, How did they know? before they charged at Bartrembos’s army. 

The next hour was filled with the clashing of swords and bows shooting nonstop. Everywhere Snowflake and Benny looked, soldiers were fighting and bodies were lying on the ground. Some moaned and twitched, while others lay still. Bartrembos was winning, but then the other army rolled a huge cannon out of the Forest. Three bunnies had to work to get a single cannonball in, but the balls were weak and they only destroyed a couple houses, which was not much compared to what it had looked like. Snowflake spotted Benny on the edge of the battlefield, and he was creeping towards the giant cannon, a bomb in one of his paws and a box of matches in the other. 

“Benny!” Snowflake shrieked. Benny turned around and put his paw to his mouth, signaling for her to be quiet. He crept up to the cannon, and he began to army-crawl between the bunnies’ legs. He went underneath the cannon, and he stuck the bomb into the hole after lighting it. He jumped up and ran back to Snowflake as the bomb exploded. 

When all the smoke had cleared, Snowflake saw the cannon, but it was completely destroyed. Many more bodies now lay near it, and Snowflake recognized them as the bunnies operating the canon and other warriors. The soldiers from Bartrembos used this opportunity to start fighting again while the others were still in shock. 

“Where did you get that?” Snowflake asked Benny. 

“F-farmirn gave it to m-me just in c-case we needed it,” Benny answered. Shouts came up from the battlefield, and Snowflake and Benny peeked over the wall of the fortress they were on to see the Bartrembos soldiers standing in victory. They had won the battle! 

Chapter VI

Snowflake and Benny were at a massive party. Once the battlefield had been cleared up, it was decorated with streamers and balloons that flew high into the sky. The town bakers had worked hard to make cupcakes, cakes, salads, and more for the celebration. It was so loud, Snowflake and Benny had to scream to hear each other. Near the end of the party, Farmirn got up onto the makeshift stage and quieted everybody. 

“I would like to propose a toast to Snowflake Neepim and Benny Kembi. They delivered a letter to me from Meenlam informing me of the bunnies who attacked us earlier today. If they had not come and given me the letter, we would probably be dead right now. To Snowflake and Benny!” Farmirn called. Everybody raised their glasses of lemonade and said, 

“To Snowflake and Benny!”

After the celebration was over, Snowflake and Benny stayed at Farmirn’s house for the night. The next morning, he took them in his donkey cart, and he drove them all the way back to Meenlam, and it took them only four days to get there. When they got back, they were celebrated as heroes because they saved another town from destruction. They became leaders in the town, and the first thing they did was create a road through the Forest to make it easier to get from one place to another. Snowflake and Benny led very happy lives, and they were written about in history books because they accomplished so many good things, and Snowflake and Benny became the greatest leaders in all of Meenlam history. 

The Story of Sunglass Dude & Pengu the Penguin

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1: LET’S GO!

Chapter 2: Into the Forest

Chapter 3 The Impossible Eating Wall

Chapter 4: Wait, I Have a Great Idea!

Chapter 5: Hurry to the Flight!

Chapter 6: WE GOT THERE, WE’RE GONNA HAVE SUNGLASSES AND A DOG!

———————————————-

Chapter 1: LET’S GO!

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Sunglass Dude and a penguin named Pengu. The penguin and Sunglass Dude were best buds. Anyway, they were about to go on an adventure to go to Hershey Park to get sunglasses for both of them and get a dog.

So they started by getting out of the house and saying, “LET’S GO!”And they were off, with a grapple hook, on their journey walking to their favorite things. 

Chapter 2: Into the Forest 

So then they walked and walked so far that they saw a beautiful forest. The trees were light blue and it was like a miracle. They said, “Whoooooaaaaa!” They were so surprised that they said, “That’s so cool!” They were so happy to go through the forest! They saw birds and squirrels, and even a bald eagle. They played in the forest a lot, and it was the best place to play because the animals were nice to play with. Then they went off to walk off to the unknown, or should I say, the airport. So they went off on the long walk back on their journey. Then they saw a modern mansion. It had a pool and it was shiny and it was so cool! They saw the owner and Pengu, and Sunglass Dude said, “What are you doing in this forest?” 

The owner said, “Well, this is the mage forest, you know that, right?” 

They said, “No.” 

The owner said, “Well, we’re in magic city.” 

They said, “Okay.”

 Between them, they were like, “This is so cool!” 

Pengu and Sunglass Dude said to the owner, “We need to look around the city. Can you show us around?”

 The owner said, “Okay! Come with me!” 

When they were done, Pengu and Sunglass Man asked, “Is there an airport around here?”

The owner said, “Yes. But there is a giant chocolate wall that’s, like, impossible to eat through.” 

Either way they went…

Chapter 3 The Impossible Eating Wall 

… anyway, they went to the wall and started to eat through it. They were eating so long that they needed a rest, so they decided to sleep all day and then they kept eating. Even though they were so tired, they started to climb. But they kept falling on their butts. They said, “Oww!” every single time. Then they went on to keep trying and falling on their butts. 

Sunglass dude said, “I QUIT!” 

Pengu the penguin said, “ME, TOO!” Then they walked away. Suddenly…

Chapter 4: Wait, I Have a Great Idea! 

… Sunglass Dude said, “Wait, I have a great idea! Remember, we have a grapple hook. Let’s grapple over the top of the giant wall!” 

Pengu the penguin said, “Yeah, let’s do it!”

They did it, but they still had a river to cross. They saw the river and it was brown and smelled really good so they started smelling the river again and again. Then finally a person went up and said, “What are you doing?!” 

They said, “Umm nothing. We were about to go to the airport.” 

He said, “Oh okay.”

Pengu and Sunglass Dude got into a boat and began to sail to the airport. While sailing, they saw a bunch of fish, a bunch of swans, two great beard gray herons, and one mythical animal called a kitsune that is so cute and that is a type of fox. Everything was so cool to watch. Then they arrived at the airport. When they got there, they had some money for a ticket so they went and bought their tickets. 

Chapter 5: Hurry to the Flight!

When they got a ticket, first they went to one of the lunch bars because they were hungry. When they started to eat their first bite, they said, “This food is amazing!”

Then they kept eating there so long that they had to hurry to the flight when it was called! They said, “Oh no! We’re about to be late!” 

They both ran so fast that they were able to make it. By the time they got there, they were so tired, they were out of energy! They were so exhausted, that they slept on the plane for four hours. Then they ate some food and it was okay and they were full. They went to the bathroom and after, they were bored that they played some games on the screen in the seat in front of them. Pengu and Sunglass Man played Pac-Man, which made them happy. After they finished playing the virtual game, they were sleepy so they slept again and when the plane landed, they woke up. 

Chapter 6: WE GOT THERE, WE’RE GONNA HAVE SUNGLASSES AND A DOG!

When they got to Hershey Park, they were like, “We GOT HERE YESSSS, LET’S GOOOO!” So then they drove to the city in the car and they went to the bathroom, they were like, “This is so shiny!” They looked all around and got a quick drink. They kept walking and looking everywhere for the dog and sunglasses, and found them! Then they were like, “It’s party time!” So they made a cake and balloons and invited everyone and had fun. That night they played and cuddled with the dog with sunglasses who was very cute.

The end !

Or is it…

From the U.S. to Japan

Chapter 1

 “What time is it?” is the question I have been asking myself as I sit in the backseat of a Tesla. I bet you are wondering how I got into this situation, right? Well, it started right after school let out, when my friend, Sheila, was kidnapped. I don’t know how, or if I will see her again. 

Now it is three days later, I’m in Tokyo, and I am riding in the backseat of a Tesla, marveling at all the fancy controls and other gimmicks that the Tesla has. You see, the US government also wants to know where Sheila is, and has supplied me with an unlimited expense account. 

“Drive faster!” I yell at my chauffeur, Jack. 

“We are already going as fast as we can!” he yells back in his clipped British accent.

We are now in hot pursuit of the people who we think have kidnapped Sheila. I believe that the leader of their organization’s wife recently died and he wants company. Apparently, Sheila was one of his wife’s long lost cousins?

His name is Dr. Ren, and we are chasing his second, #2, who gets down to business! (Hahaha.) We speed down the crowded marketplace, knocking over vendor’s stalls and not stopping at red lights or stop signs. We are not going to let them get away!

I hope that Sheila is okay. She has never handled stressful situations very well. One time, in third grade, we saw a bird fall out of its nest and she didn’t stop crying. Eventually, her mom came to pick her up, and she spent the rest of the day watching movies, so it turned out okay.

Oh! By the way, I’m Amy. Amy Sullivan, and I am 16 years old. My dad is the president of the United States. 

I didn’t realize that I was looking sad. I guess I really, really miss Sheila.

#2 makes a sharp turn down a dead-end alley, but when we turn into it, he is nowhere to be seen. 

“Dang it!” I scream.

“We were very close, Miss Amy.”

I get out of the car to investigate. I check for loose bricks, doorways, anything that could give us a clue as to where Sheila went. I find nothing. Jack also looks around, but it doesn’t look like he is having much luck, either. 

“Amy! I think I found something!” Jack says.

Or not. I walk over to him and see him holding a license plate taped to the wall, behind some boxes. Like somebody wanted us to find it. 

           356 * 1449

As soon as we get back to our hotel, I go on my computer and look up the license plate number. Nothing comes up. It figures — this guy is a major villain. Of course he doesn’t put his license plate on the internet. Or, at least not the license plate that really matters. So I text my dad to see if they have it on any records, even though we are in Japan.

It has been hours since I sent the email and I still have not gotten a response. Suddenly, I hear a ding. I rush over to check my iPhone, and sure enough, there is a text there from dad. It says that the car with that license plate was last seen at Ueno Park. I run down the hall to the room where Jack is staying.

I knock very loudly, not caring if he is asleep or not. It doesn’t matter. He stumbles out bleary-eyed, looking as though he had just gone on a high-speed chase through a Japanese marketplace, which, technically, he had.                                                                                                             

“I have to sleep. We’ll talk in the morning,” he says.

He then (rudely) slams the door in my face, and I trudge back to my room for another night of no sleep and thinking about Sheila.

Chapter 2

The next morning, I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go to Ueno Park. Maybe I can sleep after all, even though my dreams were filled with worry and regret that I could not stop Dr. Ren from kidnapping Sheila.

We drive over there in the (still very cool) Tesla. The drive is an hour and a half long so I have time to think about what I am going to do when I get there. Another thing that has been on my mind is why Dr. Ren chose Sheila over millions of other kids, even if she is somehow related to him.

I decide to ask Jack.

“Jack, why do you think that Dr. Ren chose Sheila?” I ask.

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean!”

“Okay, maybe I do, but I think that you’ll feel better if you figure it out yourself.”

“I’ll feel better if you tell me what you think and then let me grab all the credit for your idea!”

We sit in silence for a few moments. Why does Jack have to be so darn nice? It’s throwing off my style and I don’t like it. Then, after what seems like an eternity, he responds.

“I think that maybe Dr. Ren is using Sheila to get to you. Having the president’s daughter could be used for ransom, trade, slack the next time he gets in trouble with the US. And it was just too convenient that you are friends with somebody who is related to him.”

Wow. I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but now that I am thinking about it, he may be right. I mean, that might just be the last piece of the puzzle. I guess we’ll find out. (Or we might not, based on how things are going so far.)                                                                                           

I guess I just don’t want to fail. When I was a little kid, I always thought it would be so cool to be in a high-stakes mystery like in the movies, but now that I’m living it out for real, it’s scary. 

If Dr. Ren hurts her, it’s going to be my fault, if Jack’s theory is right. Which it probably is, based on how smart he is. I don’t know much about his background but I know that he used to work for the CIA. He is around 25 years old, but has been training with the CIA his whole life. Why, you ask? Because his parents were also with the CIA.

He could have been the leader of the CIA, but he chose not to because he hates meetings and things like that. Even though he would have gotten paid a lot. I guess he thinks that if he wants that job, he can always come back to it. I would definitely want to be head of the CIA. You get to go on cool missions, order people around, and basically just have a good time, fighting animals, people, and ninjas. 

I bet that Dr. Ren is going to have ninjas that I am going to have to fight. I have never fought a real ninja before. I know what you’re thinking. Why am I, the president’s daughter, the girl protected by dozens of secret service agents, going on a dangerous mission mostly by myself? I’ve got two answers for you. 

One, Dad wants me to be able to take care of myself and not become too used to being protected all the time. After all, Dad is not going to be president forever. Before he was president, I used to get picked on by school bullies all the time. He just sees this mission as a learning experience.

Two, because of that, three times a week I go to karate, chemistry, and meditation with the CIA. Karate, so I know how to fight back. Chemistry, so I understand the principles of science and can understand formulas and things like that. And meditation so I can learn to go deep within myself to find the energy I need to fight. It also helps me memorize complex equations and pretty much everything else. 

I have completed all of the training necessary for a normal CIA agent. Right now, as we are driving, I am using my meditation to gather all of my thoughts. This will help me to be more focused later on, when I really need to be. I wish that I could meditate forever and not have to deal with everything that is going on right now. But I know that Sheila needs me, and that is what keeps me going.

I know that she may be hurt or worse, but if I save her, she will probably never be in danger again. I travel even deeper into my thoughts, passing through the good, the bad, and the crazy. It’s like a hurricane in there, everything is swirling around, mixing together. I just wish that everything would make sense. I see swirls of light and Japanese and American flags flying around. I see my dad, and my secret service guard, including my maids and the chef who makes the most amazing lasagna. 

I never thought I would say this, but I think I miss home. The marble floors and hallways of the White House make me feel cozy and safe. I haven’t felt that way since the mission started. My giant room with the pink walls and bed that I hate but still love, because I love it there. Especially all of the stuffed animals from when I was a little kid in their crate next to my bed.

When I’m at home, I always am treated like a little girl, but on this mission, I get to be mostly by myself and take down bad guys. But I think it’s too much. The pressure is getting to me.

Either way, I hope this mission doesn’t take too long, even though I would do almost anything for Sheila. She’s my best friend, and I care about her. Even if I fail this mission, I’m sure there are more trained professionals who will be able to rescue her. I know that if I fail, she won’t be mad at me because I tried.

“Try your best.” That’s what adults always say. 

“You tried your best, and that’s what matters.”

Well, what if my best isn’t good enough? What if nobody can save Sheila? I hope that’s not the case.

“Amy, we’ve arrived,” I hear from the front.

I look out the window and there it is: Ueno Park. Even in the face of everything else, it’s so beautiful. Japan really is a special place. There are red maple trees everywhere, and golden arches and mini waterfalls. This place has everything! I wish I could have come here under happier circumstances.

“So, do you see anything?” Jack asks. 

“No, not yet. But I will,” I respond.

“I think I see something,” Jack says.

I look where he is looking and see a shadowy figure. I can’t really make out the shape, but it does look like a person. Not like it would be an animal. I mean, I guess it’s possible. With a guy like Dr. Ren, you never know.

“Snap out of it, Amy!” Jack yells.

Right. I have to focus on finding whoever the person is. I don’t like that he knew that we would come here. I start creeping towards him, trying my best to hide behind red maples, but they are so small that it probably isn’t working. 

Darn it! I lost him, and now he could be almost anywhere. I’m usually pretty good at hide and seek, but that is in places that I know. I’ve never been here before.

Oh! I see him again. He’s heading towards a huge bonsai. There are a million things that could be going on with that tree. It might even be a secret hideout.

Nope. He keeps walking, seemingly with a purpose, but you never know. Maybe he’s just a random guy. Nope! He looks too much like #2, and with these things, you can’t be too careful. I wish I knew for certain if it was him or not. Then I would have a real lead. 

Well he’s not getting away from me just yet. I break into a sprint, heading in his direction. The thought of Sheila keeps me going. He sees me and starts trying to find a hiding place. He knows I see him. He knew I would, but he would never let me get close to him. I pass the bonsai tree from earlier, and a couple of golden arches with cool writing on them. 

I see him duck down a side path littered with rocks, twigs, and all kinds of other things. It’s practically a minefield, just a very beautiful mindfield. 

There’s a little stream that he tries to jump over but he stumbles a little. Oh! I think I have it. Yup. I do. I know his weakness.           

Chapter 3

It’s been four days since I was flown to Japan by my distant cousin, Ren Tanaka. Ever since, it’s been nothing but fun nonstop. Uncle Ren lives in a huge mansion, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. And it’s like OMG! I love it! LOL. 

You may be like, “Who are you?” Well, I’m Sheila Jones. Best friend of Amy Miller, daughter of President Miller. Yeah that’s right, my best friend is the first, umm… daughter? 

I’m the class flirt and school gossip, and proud of it. There are like, so many cute servants that work for Uncle. I’m so glad that my parents agreed to let me take a few weeks off to relax in peace with Uncle Ren in Japan. It’s like, so pretty.

Today I’m meeting him for lunch in the huge cafeteria.

Alex Armado

Basilisk was not kidding about the Markothies. Right when Alex and Fistinis left the gates, the creatures came right out of the shadows.

Alex and the wizard made their way across a grassland to an old fort called Fort Ranger.

“You go and look around,” Fistinis said. “I’m going to see an old friend… He’s a cyclops. And if there is a shiver down your spine or you see a cloaked figure, run. Leave me. And head towards the mountains about two hills away.”

Alex looked around. He knew he was in enemy territory now.

“Hello,” said a boy. “My name is Will.”

Alex picked up a sword on the ground.

“Will!” he said. “Why are you walking around the castle? Tell me your name and your business!”

“You just said my name and my business,” said Will.

There was a sound. And light getting close to them. 

They hid behind a rock.

They saw three tall cloaked skeletons. They each had two giant swords.

“Their swords are made from Condor blades,” Will said.

They were Markothies.

Space is the Place

Any planet is cool but not “cool”

But the best planet is earth because it has life on it

Cool planets orbit the sun (which is really a star)                                                          

Did you know there are more planets in space

Even more solar systems

Feeling happy makes me think of space because… Space is the place

Giving trees to the earth will make it so so happy

Hot hot sun is the star we orbit around (which makes us cool)

I have nothing else to do but 

Just sit down and think of what earth might look like next

Kenya might look different

Little Rhode Island might look different too

Maybe Rhode Island might actually be an island like Hawaii

Now being an island might be funOver a billion stars are in the universe

Places in space have asteroids

Quintillion planets are in space and some have rings

Rovers might be taking pictures of planets with rings on them

Saturn has rings maybe rovers will take pictures of saturn

The gas giants all have rings

Under the planets are even more stars

Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system so DON’T CHANGE THE SUBJECT

When earth is not a planet we will move to mars

Xtra trees would help earth

You know that 300 billion stars are in space

Zero sound in space because space is the place

1 o’clock

Something is weird today. Today, my bed was dancing with me. 

At six o’clock in the morning, cotton candy with a gentle voice was reading where the sidewalk ends. 

At 10 a clock, a fox was shaking hands with me.

At 11 o’clock, a deer said nice things to me.

At 12 o’clock, a tree gave me a donut and we ate the donut together.

At 1 o’clock, a smile was on a merry-go-round with me

At 2 o’clock, me and a piece of bubble gum were talking about business stuff. 

At 3 o’clock, a toilet was jumping with me.                                                              

At 4 o’clock, an apple saw me toot in the kitchen and I was embarrassed. 

At 5 o’clock, a lady bug watched Johnny Test with me.

Well, I did spill a cotton candy, fox, deer, tree, smile, bubble gum, toilet, apple, lady bug potion on me.

The Marine Biology Specialist

The ocean is a beautiful place and there are so many tropical fish that have not been found yet. In my research, I found so many new fish, and one of them was called the Ecnoctus. It was a three-eyed creature with two tails and eight fins. But there are many more fish I can name, and I can only name a couple right now. Another fish is called the trienathodon. It is a creature with one eye, four fins, and two mouths. One was bright purple and the other one was dark orange, and that is why I love the ocean. But I have to go to the bottom of the ocean and find more animals. 

The Snowy July

Maria was bored. She was bored like she’s never been bored before, all because it was wet and dreary outside. All she could do was play checkers with her grandma because Mia’s parents were on a trip in Argentina where they got bundles of snow!

“Oh, it’s so boring inside. I wish we had snow, don’t you Grandma?!” Maria pouted.

“Yes dear… wait, I remember when I was your age I loved inventing things and I built a snow machine and I think it might be in the attic,” exclaimed Maria’s grandma. Five minutes later, the old snow machine was pumped and ready,

“3…2…1… go!” Maria yelled, and she hit the crank. And so much white, cold, fluffy snow came bursting out!

“This is the life!” said Maria.

“Woah, it still works!” said Maria’s grandma. Then, after they were done lounging in it, those two wanted to put it back. But how would they clean up the snow? “Oh no! Wait… I also remember when I was your age, I made another invention that cleans it all up! I think it’s in the attic!” exclaimed Maria’s grandma. And it was!

Maria turned the crank and four little active snowplows and ten tiny shovels and vacuums spurted out and in one hour, fifteen minutes, and forty-two seconds, the living room was squeaky clean. Then, four hours later, Maria’s parents arrived.

“Hi honey! Did you have fun?” asked Maria’s mother.

“Oh… uh, sure I did?” Maria exclaimed, glancing at her grandma.

“Great!” said Maria’s father.

On the Inside

I see the flowers I see the rock 

The flowers are as beautiful as the rock

The flowers were wilted and the color was fade

The rocks were painted with beautiful colors

And when broken apart have a beautiful mosaic

It’s shiny and white

Then I put them across from each other

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

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


The Unicorn and the Butterfly

Once upon a time, there was a unicorn and a butterfly. They were friends. One time, they met in the forest and brought cookies with them to the forest. The next day, they went to the forest. There was a little girl who saw them. She rode the unicorn. Her parents said finally we found you. The unicorn and butterfly knew that it was not safe in the secret forest anymore. People knew that the secret garden was there so they moved to a different forest and found more unicorns and butterflies. They all became friends and nobody found the garden. 

One time, they ran out of food so they went to go find food. They found mangoes and went home. It took an hour. When they got there, it was hot so they made mango smoothies and went to sleep and had a nice day. 

Unicorns are not the only mythical creatures. There are alicorns and pegasus. An alicorn has pegasus wings and a unicorn horn. A pegasus has wings. Butterflies come in different colors and can do different things. The next day, they went to the music shop and got a violin to play in an orchestra. After the orchestra, they went to get chocolate ice cream. Mmmmmmmm that was tasty. They went home and found a new friend named tweet bird. They had a lot of fun together. The end. 


The Three Princesses

Once upon a time, there lived 3 beautiful princesses and their lovely mother, Selia. They lived in a small house in a far city called Noarmuinia. The 3 princesses all wanted their own palaces. That morning, they were all eating supper together. 

“Dear mother, I think it’s time for the three of us to finally live on our own, you know? Take charge of the world! Don’t you agree?” asked Princess One to Mother Selia.

“My sweet girls, I truly agree. But do you think you’ll make it past the big, bad prince? We all know that he is trying to take over the world!” answered Mother Selia.

Princess Two said: “Mother, you should know we’re all responsible at this age. We’re already twelve! We have to discover the world and go out, right dear, beloved sisters?”

“Yes, certainly true,” said the rest of the sisters. 

Then Mother Selia said, “Oh dear, you do make a good point. Just be careful, OK? And especially remember that I love you!”

“Of course we will! And we will even build our own royal palaces,” Princess Three said. “It will be splendid, dear mother.” 

Mother Selia said, “OK royal dears, go off in the world! And take charge of your life! Just remember I love you!”

So the princesses went out into the world and built separate palaces. The first Princess built her palace out of glass, the second built her palace out of wood, and the third built hers out of brick. Then, one evening, something went wrong at Princess One’s house. 

The big bad boy knocked on the door and said, “Open up! Open up!” 

So Princess One came up to the door and said, “Not by the lace on my royal gowny-gown-gown will I let your stubby self in!” 

The first princess had a glass house. The big bad prince seemed to get super mad, so he said, “I will crack and crush with my stone and break your glass house down! Hiyah!” 

Princess One said, “How truly dreadful, you horrid big, bad boy! You crushed my dearest glass house! I guess I’ll just go to my loving sister’s house.” 

Now Princesses One and Two are at Princess Two’s house. And the big, bad boy returned again and said, “Open up! Open up!” 

So Princess Two said, “Not by the lace on my gowny-gown-gown will I let your scrubby self in!” 

So the big, bad prince got mad—very mad. 

“I will crack and crush your wood house down with my cushioned, red laser car!” said the big, bad, prince. “Vroom, crash!”

“Oh my! Or dear! Or gosh! How dreadful! I guess we’ll just have to live at Princess Three’s palace.” 

Now Princesses One and Two are at Princess Three’s house. And the big, bad prince returned once again and yelled, “Open up! Open up!” 

So Princess Three repeated, “Not by the lace of my gowny-gown-gown will I let your scrubby self in!” 

So the big, bad prince seemed to get mad, very mad. 

“I will crack and crush your brick house with my giant metal hammer!” he yelled. “Hiyah!” 

But the brick house would not even budge. The big, bad prince finally gave up and said, “I am sorry. I just want one friend.” 

So Princess Three said, “Aww, we’re so sorry too. But why did you want to break our houses down?”

“Ummm.. Well I wanted to impress you. Can I please live with you?!” asked the big, bad prince.

“Of course!” said the princesses. And they all lived happily ever after.

The End.


Captain Daddy and the Pied Piper

Captain Daddy was walking to his favorite pie store right after saving a beaver dam from breaking. He got very hungry. He was very weak and tired, slumping forward. He was craving pie. Suddenly he heard a flute, the tune sounded eerie and jumpy. 

He thought: Maybe it’s a bad guy. He followed it. There sat a man made entirely out of pie with a wicked grin and a flute in his hand. He was made from strawberry pie, apple pie, chocolate pie, and more. Delicious scents wafted from him. Suddenly the man gave an evil and quite eerie laugh.

“Soon everybody will want to eat pie and they will be under my control, for I am the Pied Piper.”

“Stop!” shouted Captain Daddy.

“Hello, hello,” said Pied Piper. “You are here and the best superhero, right, Captain Daddy?” 

But Captain Daddy was gone. All that was left was a piece of his red cloak. 

“Ha ha ha, I scared away Captain Daddy! Too bad he always jumps out too soon, he could have gotten me earlier!” he yelled, boasting. 

“Got ya!” yelled a voice. Suddenly, Captain Daddy jumped down from the sky because he could fly and ate the Pied Piper whole. Too bad he smells so delicious, thought Captain Daddy. Makes it easy to track him down. “Yum, it tastes like apple pie, strawberry pie, and all the pies in the world!” he said. 

The End

Sins and Crimes

Chapter I                      

As the mannequin holds me to the ground, blood pours out of my chest through my shirt. I never thought I’d be here.  As I lay helpless on the floor, I think about my life. My misery. My anger. 

I think back to the night my life changed forever. I was fourteen years old at the time. My mother left  me when I was four years old, so as long as I could remember it was just me and my dad. Ever since I was born, my dad strived to give me the best life possible. To him, this just meant getting rich. He thought the most logical way to do this would be to invent something. Every day I returned home from school, my father had decided that he was “onto something” but by the next day he had abandoned the idea. 

 Some of his ideas like a mechanical dish sponge were practical but other things like disposable rain boots were completely ridiculous and stupid. When I was fourteen years old, my dad came up with an idea that he thought he could actually sell. His idea was a self-charging cell phone and I personally thought anybody would benefit from that. He began pitching his idea to many companies. One of the employees named Daniel Ozark from a company called TechToday was developing a similar product and thought my father was trying to sabotage this.

Two nights after my father’s pitch, Ozark knocked on my father’s apartment door claiming  that he had a deal to propose about my father’s product and needed to talk to him about it in the hall. My father and I were overjoyed that TechToday was actually interested in my father’s product. I was about to go out into the hallway to see why the conversation was taking so long, but just as I approached the door I heard a gunshot and saw blood beginning to poor through the crack under the door. I instantly fell to the floor sobbing. Amidst sobbing I heard Ozark’s footsteps as he sprinted away from the scene of the crime. I couldn’t believe it. Daniel Ozark, a seemingly innocent man, had stolen my father’s entire fortune and killed him.  

It’s Ozark’s fault that I’m going to be killed by a mannequin. I never would’ve resorted to crime if it hadn’t been for my father’s death. But I don’t have time to think about this now.  I’m losing blood rapidly and I can feel the life draining out of me. The long elegant diamonds around the mannequin’s neck have punctured deep wounds in my skin allowing for blood to pour out. I try to wiggle my way out from under the mannequin but I feel more stabs from the diamonds pin me down to the ground so all I can do is lie helplessly and hope that I am taken out of my misery. 

I consider calling out for help but if I’m caught robbing the largest jeweler in New York City I’ll spend the rest of my life in prison and odds are it’s too late for me at this point. Then suddenly I feel I sharp stabbing in my chest. I gasp for air and then my vision goes black and I fall completely lifeless.  

Chapter II 

I groggily open my eyes to find myself lying in a warm, neatly made bed, in a small room that looks much like a hotel. I sit up to examine my wounds on my chest from the mannequin but find them to be completely healed. The skin is now shiny and smooth rather than rough and torn apart.  I sit up and examine my surroundings. There is a night table on either side of my bed and each of them are decorated with dazzling and elegant bouquets of flowers. On the walls there are gilded picture frames which have exquisite photos of underwater seascapes and of grand looking waterfalls. There is a large television on the wall directly across from the bed and underneath is a gorgeous honey colored bureau. On top of the bureau there is a wicker basket full of candies, fruits and are two leather backed books. I stand up and bring the basket to my bed. I flop down onto the bed and toss the books out of the basket and begin munching on the sweet delicacies. I may not know where I am but I would never turn down free food.

When my father was shot I was furious that he never gave me the life and the wealth he promised me and so I resorted to crime. It served me well. I had a few close calls but I was never caught and from every casino, bank and jeweler I ever robbed I finally had the life my father meant for me. 

All of a sudden I feel a surge of rage. Why didn’t my father give me a better life? Why did my mother leave me? Why at the age of 38 do I still live alone? I’m too angry to eat any more candies. I grab the first book that I had tossed aside and thrust myself into a pillow. I can feel my hands shaking. I don’t know where I am, or why I’m here.  How come I, Travis Hunter, a criminal, am being granted free food? If I don’t remember finishing the robbery I must have been caught! How did I not see this before? I’m trapped! In an attempt to calm myself, I once again pick up the book. I think the title The Afterlife for Dummies sounds like a great novel and so I open the book and continue reading. 

After flipping through introductions and copyrights I finally reach chapter one. I begin to read: If you are reading this you have reached the land of the dead. Welcome. Please report to the front desk immediately to discuss your housing-Thank You! Me? Dead? This can’t be! I am very much living and breathing. Or am I? Being in the land of the dead simultaneously makes all the sense in the world and no sense at all. 

Of course, just waking up in a completely new location with no wounds does partially justify the fact that I may be in the land of the dead. That being said, there’s no such thing as the afterlife- there just isn’t. If there really was an afterlife my father would’ve come back to Earth. To me. But he didn’t. This all could just be a big prank, so I decide against going down to the front desk. Instead, I turn on the TV, but the TV doesn’t work. I keep pressing buttons but the only thing that shows up is a flashing notification that says, “Please report to the front desk!” So I do. I stand up and walk downstairs to where I assume the desk is. I can’t believe that I had actually given in. I didn’t want to believe that I was in the afterlife. I couldn’t be dead. There was more I needed to do. I needed to finish robbing the jeweler, to find love.  But deep down inside it seemed to be the only logical explanation. 

Chapter III 

“Here you go. Fill these out and bring them back when you are down,” says the receptionist standing at the front desk as she slams a pile of forms as thick as a dictionary onto the desk. I look at her wide eyed. Does she really expect me to do all of this?! 

“Come on, it’s really not that much-now go!” I pick up the stack, using my forearms to support all of the weight. The receptionist was right. It’s really not that much. The first page looks like this: 

Welcome to the Afterlife! 

You, Travis Hunter, died of blood loss yesterday while robbing a jeweler. We want to make your stay in the afterlife, which will last for the rest of eternity, as comfortable as possible. Therefore, you may pick one of the following three choices for the rest of eternity: 

Choice Number One: 

Heaven or Hell

This is the standard choice. Good people will go to Heaven and not so good people will go to Hell. We will inform you if you belong in Heaven or Hell before you make your choice. Please understand that very few people actually go to Hell (criminals,serial killers, etc.) and even if you do we will still try to provide an experience appropriate to your behavior on Earth.

Choice Number Two: 

Community Service on Earth 

Since you are now dead you are technically a ghost and may return to Earth invisibly to help make a positive impact. This choice is our most advised. Here in the afterlife we like to do everything we can to help our neighbors on Earth. 

Choice Number Three: 

Haunting 

This is a very ill advised choice. Choosing to haunt humans can put you in immense danger and possibly throw off or ruin the rest of your time in the afterlife–which is eternity. 

Please contemplate your options and pick a path.

For Choice number 1, go to page 1; for choice number  2, go to page 47; and for choice number 3, go to page 113. 

I know what I’ll do. If I really am dead I’ll make the best of it, and that means making it worse for everyone else.  Choice number three had my name written all over it. I could destroy the life of Daniel Ozark and his family. I could finish robbing the jewelry store I died robbing. I will finish that robbery. I must–I will destroy the lives of everyone who destroyed mine. 

Chapter IV 

 “Sir–you did read this, choice three is a very ill advised choice,” says the receptionist after I turn in my forms. 

“I’ve made my decision, and it is final!” I shout, really losing my cool.

“All right sir,” says the receptionist, shaking her head. “Here are the rest of the forms and information you’ll need.” She says, placing a packet down on the desk. 

“Thanks,” I say sarcastically, and walk away with the forms. They read: 

If you are reading this you have chosen to go back to earth to haunt and complete your “unfinished business.” Please understand that this is a very dangerous choice and may result in many consequences. 

 You will be transported back to Earth 36 hours from now. Before you leave please fill out the following form: 

Name____________  Date of Death________________ 

Date of Transport____________ 

Where on Earth would you like to be transported?_____________

I understand that I will be invisible to all humans and that choice #3 is a very dangerous choice. 

_______________________(your signature) Thank you! Please enjoy your stay in the afterlife! 

After I finish the form I bring it to the receptionist’s desk. 

“New York City, huh?” says the receptionist, her eyebrows jumping up and down. 

“Oh, yeah,” I respond.

“Alright–we’ll call for you in 36 hours.” 

“Thanks,” I say and walk back up to my room. 

Chapter V 

I’m still asleep when I hear a booming voice in my room calling, “Travis Hunter! Our teleportation to Earth leaves in 35 minutes. Please report to the front desk immediately.” 

I look around, baffled, trying to see where the voice is coming from but I don’t see anyone so I decided there must be some hidden speaker. I hurriedly freshen up and head down to the desk for my transport. 

“Hello, Travis,” says a receptionist. 

“Please step into this capsule,” she says, motioning towards a small cabinet next to her desk. I raise my eyebrows at her questioningly. Does she really expect me to fit into that cabinet?                                                                                                                            

“Go on,” she says.

 So I do, and it really isn’t that small. Just as I’m about to open my mouth to ask what she’s going to do I begin to feel myself swirling around in all sorts of crazy loops like a sock in the washing machine. As I begin to feel nauseous, the swirling stops and the capsule opens. I step out to find myself on a dirty New York City amidst many tourists and vendors. I start pacing down the street, noticing how dirty the city has become–so crowded and full of shouting people. 

A large pack of students on a trip begin walking down the block straight towards me–their stares are dark and devious. They’re really out to get me. I run as fast as I can but they’re still tailing me. Just as they’re about to slam into me I shut my eyes, hoping it will somehow help reduce the pain I’ll feel–but then no pain comes. The pack of students seems to walk straight through me. 

Chapter VI 

 Before I knew what a terrible and vile man Daniel Ozark was I was so excited for my father’s pitch with TechToday. Before his pitch he told me all about the company and its employees–including Daniel Ozark. I was able to salvage very few of my father’s belongings but I was able to save an information packet from the convention where he pitched his cell phone to TechToday. The packet included the personal information of many participants in the convention. Including Ozark. In the years following my father’s death I constantly studied the packet, memorizing the addresses and phone numbers of Ozark and his family. This information was all I needed to begin my haunting.

I walk into the first apartment building on the street, bolt up to the front desk, pick up the phone and dial Ozark’s number. 

“Hello?” He answers in a hoarse voice. 

“Daniel Ozark!” I shout with rage. “I’m coming for you!” 

“Hello?” he says again with no emotion. I continue shouting but he can’t hear me and he hangs up. I pick up a pot of plants on the desk and smash it on the floor. I don’t understand–why can’t he hear me? And then it dawns on me: I was dead. I couldn’t be seen, heard, or felt. I felt so much animosity towards Ozark, towards the afterlife, but mostly myself. I felt so senseless and naive. And now I’m stuck attempting to haunt people for the rest of eternity!  If I can’t be seen, heard, or felt the only basic function I can perform and have it noticed is to pick up items, and give the illusion that they’re floating. I’m so angry. There’s only one thing left to do–so I walk up to Daniel Ozarks apartment. 

Chapter VII 

When I enter Ozark’s apartment he is sitting on his couch smoking a cigar and watching TV.  I slam the door and he looks up in alarm. 

“Who’s there?” He shouts with panic. “I know you’re in here! Show yourself!”

 While Daniel continues shouting into space, I creep into the kitchen and grab two butcher’s knives. I hold them up high to create the illusion that they are flying through the air. 

I slowly walk into the living room where Daniel is panicking and begin to approach him with the knives. He cries out so terrified I feel I have already succeeded. He pulls out his phone to call 911. His hands are so shaky he can hardly hold it. I knock the phone out of his hand and throw it out a window across the room and watch as it falls 13 stories and smashes on top of a garbage truck. I throw the first butcher knife across the room so it lands right in the middle of a photo of Daniel hanging on the wall. I expect him to scream out in terror, but rather he just stands in the middle of the room petrified. It’s the perfect opportunity for me–so I strike. I throw the second butcher knife straight into Ozark’s chest, piercing his heart. 

I watch in elation as Ozark begins losing blood. He breathes so heavily–gasping for all the air he can get, and then one second he’s done. He stops breathing. I did it. I killed Daniel Ozark. 

Chapter VIII 

I sit down on Ozark’s couch to review what I’ve just done. I’ve really done it. All for my father. I am so proud and I just sit back on the couch to relax. Just as I am dozing off to sleep I feel a strong burst of air come from above and begin sucking me up like a vacuum machine. I fight and flail to stay on the couch but I can’t control it. I am thrown in crazy loops and turns and when it stops I am back in the hotel where my afterlife experience began. I storm up to the desk–enraged. 

“Excuse me!” I shout. “Why on Earth am I here?” 

“Please follow me, sir,” the receptionist responds. 

“No! I will not follow you until you tell me why I am here!” I respond, still yelling. 

“Sir, your recent actions on Earth have resulted in a dangerous and severe phenomenon and we need you to help reverse your actions. Now please come with me.” 

“No!” I yell back. Before I can continue protesting two guards walk in and drag me away from the desk. They drag me down a long corridor that smells like mildew and into a small dark enclosed room with a table and chairs on each side. The men thrust me into a chair and chain me to it. The taller of the two men exits and the other stays with me. Before long, a tall, intense looking woman wearing a navy blue blazer enters and sits in the chair across from me and motions for the other guard to leave. The guard exits and now I am alone with this mysterious looking woman. 

Chapter IX 

“You, Travis Hunter, murdered a Mr. Daniel Ozark this morning on Earth,” says the woman. I nod and she continues talking. “Every time a dead person or ghost murders a living human, there is a different and dangerous outcome. And I fear that you have created something we may never be able to undo.” 

“What do you mean?” I respond, now very nervous. 

“Travis, when you died, you reached the afterlife and were given 3 choices–correct?” 

I nod. 

“It seems that when you killed Mr. Ozark you disturbed this balance. Ever since your murder, when people die they just rest silently in their coffins.” 

“So what?” I respond.

“So what?!” She exclaims, obviously beginning to lose patience. “Mr. Hunter, you do realize that you’ve just destroyed the afterlife forever!” 

“Well, why is this even a choice if it’s so dangerous?!” I respond. 

“You see, when setting up choices for the afterlife, an angel got to make two decisions and a demon got to make two decisions. The angel chose Heaven and community service and the demon chose Hell and haunting. Understand?” 

I nod. “But I still don’t understand why you need me! What am I supposed to do?” I shout. 

“We have two options as to how to approach this. We can (a) send you directly to sector 13 of Hell which is the most violent and tortuous sector and allow my team and I to try to figure this out. Or you may (b) go back to earth for community service, which may help balance out the bad and evil you recently put into the world and resolve this issue.  And if you do a good amount of community service we may be able to let you into Heaven. What is your pick?” 

I contemplate it for a minute and then respond. “B.” 

“That is your final decision?” asks the woman. I nod. 

“We’ll give you your community service assignment tomorrow morning at 7:00 am sharp and we will send you to Earth directly afterwards. Understand?” 

“Yes, ma’am.” 

“Please return to the room where you slept the day you died. I will see you at the desk tomorrow at 7. Goodbye, Mr. Hunter.” 

Chapter X 

I arrive back in New York at 7:45 with a community service assignment that reads: 

Travis Hunter

Temporary Community Service Assignment: 

You will be stationed in a NYC subway station and your job will be to (a) pick up any litter and throw it away and (b) help return and find stolen items. There will be serious consequences if you disobey this. Thank You for your service and devotion to the afterlife. 

~Marleen Murphy 

Head of Afterlife Operations

I can’t believe it. Community service in a subway! Not only is it boring, it’s vile. But I have to do it–to get into Heaven. I can’t be doomed in Hell forever! I can’t be tortured for the rest of eternity!

Instead of walking to the nearest subway station, I walk five blocks further in order to reach a cleaner one. I sit down on a bench and just watch as people walk by and talk and yell. I find it astounding how much trash people drop and how random the stuff is. One guy drops his license and now I have to chase him through the station to slip it back into his pocket. I pick up so much gross trash, from cigarette butts to food rinds and at the end of the day my hands are completely covered in dirt. I am not coming back to this station tomorrow. It is an absolute waste of time. Besides I bet I’ve already done enough community service to fit into Heaven. I’ll tend to some of my unfinished business instead. 

Chapter XI 

 At 11:30 pm I arrive at the jeweler. I pick the lock and sneak inside with a sack that I hope to fill with diamonds. When I enter, I walk on the opposite side of the store than I did on my first attempted robbery, just to ensure I don’t trip over the mannequin again.  I take out a mallet and begin smashing cases and pulling out pounds of jewelry and throwing it in my sack. I take a small elevator down to a large vault in the basement. The vault is beautiful–full of beautiful diamond sculptures. I pick one up to admire it. It’s carved in the shape of a heart and is absolutely stunning. 

I can’t believe it. I’ve actually done it. I’ve robbed the jeweler. I have my revenge! I start running on my way out, out of pure joy, but then I trip over a piece of shattered glass, fall backwards, and drop the diamond sculpture. It lands on my foot, holding it down to the ground–disabling me from standing up. 

I can’t believe myself. I’ve done it again. I’m stuck. I pull and yank my foot as much as I can but it’s just stuck. I’m not in pain; I just can’t move. But then it strikes me! If I’m a ghost, I can’t feel pain, I can’t die again–so I reach as far as I can and grab my mallet. I heave the mallet back and smash it against my ankle, watching as that gorgeous diamond sculpture shatters into tiny bits and pieces. But I’m free! I watch in awe as the scratches the glass had cut in my skin seal up. I jump up, run back to the vault, grab another sculpture, and race out of the jeweler as fast as I can with my sack of riches. I’m so proud! I’d done it! My father would be so proud. But then a scary thought hits my head. 

What will I do now? I’m dead, what’s the point of money anymore? Where will I keep the riches? I have nowhere to live. 

Chapter XII

I don’t know what I should do with all the riches. They’re worth so much but I have nowhere to hide them. For the moment I decide to take the riches back with me to my old apartment building and hide them in the secret cabinet where my father used to store his inventions. When I get back to my apartment, it’s still completely the same. I look back through old photos and my bedroom. Practically everything I own was stolen. I had never questioned this. Until now. I just completed a masterful heist and yet all the riches seem to be causing more trouble for me than helping me. Maybe if I hadn’t been a criminal I might’ve had a family or might’ve been able to lead a normal life. I probably wouldn’t even be dead. I can’t believe myself. I should’ve seen this before. I sit down on my couch and turn on the TV. Just then I once again feel the vacuum sensation. I restrain as much as I can but once again it just sucks me up and drops me back in the afterlife hotel. 

Chapter XIII 

“Travis Hunter!” I hear a voice scream as the woman in the blue blazer enters the lobby. I look up at her questioningly. 

“Why do you think you are here?” She asks with malice in her eyes. 

“I don’t know, ma’am,” I respond, my voice very nervous and unsteady. 

“Follow me, Travis,” she says in a suddenly calm voice. I begin following her and she leads me back to the room where she had explained the phenomenon I had created. 

“Sit down,” she says–in a very intense voice. I obey. She chains me to the chair and sits across from me on the other side of the table. 

“You, Travis Hunter, have directly disobeyed my instructions and you have jeopardized the function of the afterlife forever!” She shouts. She stands up and opens the door and a middle aged man being held by two guards staggers in. The man reaches towards me and I towards him. I know this man. I love this man. This man is my father. I hadn’t seen him in so long. I had forgotten what happiness felt like. The wonderful sensation of happiness makes me I feel like I’m flying. But then in a matter of seconds it’s taken away from me.  

“Not only did you disappoint me,” says the woman, “you let down your father. You really think your father, who gave everything for you, wanted you to become a criminal?” 

I don’t know what she’s talking about. My father didn’t give me anything. Everything he promised me he lost.  

“No. Your father didn’t want you to become a criminal,” she continues. “You robbed a jeweler when you were supposed to be doing community service! Your father belongs in Heaven where there is no place for you. We are moving you to sector 13 of Hell.” 

I can’t believe it. I let my head fall to the table in distress. I’d destroyed my life. Forever. 

“Effective immediately,” she says. She claps her hands twice and two guards enter. They each pick me up by one arm and begin dragging me away. I flail and fight but they’re too strong for me. I beg for mercy. I just want forgiveness, and my father. I’d waited so long to see him. But it’s too late. The guards drag me out of the room and just before I’m pushed through the dark portal to Hell I get one final glimpse of my father’s tears. 

The End


Lost in the Forest

One day, I started a backpacking trip with my sister and two of her friends. I was stuck with them for the rest of the week. I’m fine with my sister’s friends, but my sister? No thank you. She takes any chance she gets to insult my brown hair and tall appearance. The date was July 23, 2019. It was 7:15, and I could see only the last speck of sun. I found a perfect spot to set up the tent because it was already getting dark, but my sister wanted to keep hiking and find the site that we had planned to set camp at.

“You are so stupid!” I exclaimed, “I am not hiking in the dark, Allison!”

She snapped back. “It won’t be my fault if you die all alone, Amilia.” Although I was hoping it wouldn’t come to that.

I stayed where I was and set up my tent, but my sister and her friends kept going. I felt unsure about staying where I was alone, not knowing how far my sister would be, but I felt more unsure about hiking through the forest in the dark. All I needed to do was to wake up early and find my sister before she left the site, but what if she goes off trail or leaves before I get there? Or what if I’m farther than I thought? As you can tell, I tossed and turned the whole night. In fact, I could only sleep for about 3 hours. 

I woke up a couple minutes ago, and I was already regretting my sleep. It started raining just now, and if I woke up earlier, I would have probably gotten to the site before the rain. I am so stupid. Without another hesitation, I grabbed my poncho and started speed walking along the trail, soaking in my regret and self pity. 

All of a sudden, I stopped in my tracks. There was a fork in the trail. That’s when I realized I didn’t have the map. Though I had held it for the entirety of our first day on the trail, I didn’t remember which way to go. I went with my instinct and went to the path on the left. I was walking for what felt like hours, though it could have just been minutes since I chose the path. I just kept on walking until I was half starved, but I couldn’t stop there, I had to keep walking. I walked and walked until I reached an empty campground, and thought, I must have reached the campground. Allison must have left, but I can eat here!

 I knew which path to take from the campsite. I wasn’t that unfamiliar with the path. I sat down and took out a bar from my backpack and started eating. It tasted so good because I had been walking for 4 hours according to my watch, and I started at 9. After the bar, I took out my trail mix because Allison had all of our real food. After eating, I stood up and started to walk again, this time, faster, because I knew that I didn’t have much farther to walk. 

I walked with intensity, no matter how tired I felt for another two hours before another thought came into mind, what if that was the wrong campsite, and I had really gone the wrong way? I still walked for another three hours until the sun started to set. I had truly given up now. The rain was dripping off of every tree in sight. Everything was soaked. I was terrified, and I realized that I had gone the wrong way. I turned around and walked and walked. There was no space on the trail to set up a tent now, so I had to walk the dark with my flashlight in hand doing exactly what I told my sister I wouldn’t do.

“Hello?!” I screamed, “Anyone there!?”

I was only answered by the sound of rain hitting the leaves and insects living their lives. I walked for another four or so hours before realizing the sun was rising, and I still probably had a long walk to go before even reaching the campsite. My legs felt like if I took another step they would snap, my stomach felt emptier than Hawkins lab, and my giant purple water bottle was emptier that my stomach! Despite how I felt, I kept walking, 

“Allison?” I yelled, “Help me! Help!”

I walked for what felt like weeks before I reached the campsite. By then, my lightheadedness reached a maximum, so I got out my sleeping bag and went to sleep. When I woke up, my lightheadedness had gotten better, but I was dehydrated to a point when I thought my body couldn’t take it anymore. I had one day left before my body would die of dehydration. I needed water. I sat there feeling the rain on my head… the rain! 

It’s water, so I can drink it… Right? It was my only option, so I had to try it. I sat there watching the rain drizzling into the bottle. One fifth of the way full, one fourth, one half, my throat was hurting more and more to a point where I couldn’t take it. At one point, I gave up waiting, snatched up the water bottle and drank. I knew I couldn’t waste time anymore, so I stood up and kept walking.

My legs hurt at every step even though I had rested, but I needed to get home. I walked and walked for another 2 hours until I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I sat down on the trail, drinking the last bit of water out of my water bottle. My eyelids felt like they were 20 pounds, and I sat there for another five minutes going between being awake and asleep. All of a sudden, I couldn’t take it anymore and just took out my sleeping bag and fell asleep. 

I woke up in my bedroom feeling better than ever and I just stood up and went on with my normal life until I felt dripping on my forehead. 

“Mom, the roof is leaking!” I yelled

That’s when I really opened my eyes, and I was still stuck in the forest with water dripping down on me. I sat up and my back ached with pain, and I cried, I cried for hours. I then realized that I couldn’t just sit there. I had to go. My water bottle was still empty, but I kept walking and walking for hours and hours. It was six o’clock when I finally sat down to eat for the first time in two days. The food tasted better than heaven. I ate and I ate until the bag of beef jerky was all gone. After I had eaten the jerky, I was still not ready to walk, but I needed to. My pace going back to the fork in the road was way slower than my pace a few days ago. I was walking much slower than before. Despite everything, I kept walking. 

I walked until 4 in the morning, and I collapsed. I was next to a stream and filled my water bottle, made a fire, and boiled the water. I took out my sleeping bag and went to sleep. My brown hair looked like pom poms stuck on my head. I slept for hours and hours until I woke to the sound of chirping birds. When I opened my eyes, I was in a hospital bed and the birds chirping were actually the beeping of machines. I heard voices. It was the sound of my mother telling the doctors that Allison found me by a stream. What? 

“Oh you’re finally awake, I thought you wouldn’t…” She couldn’t say more.

This is a dream, this is a dream, “This is a dream, this is a dream, THIS IS A DREAM!”

I fought my mother as she tried to hold me on the hospital bed, so I couldn’t get up.

“NO! THIS ISN’T REAL!” I screamed. “WHERE AM I? HOW DID I GET HERE? WHERE IS ALLISON?”

“Wait a second, I’m going to call dad.”

“Hello?” says my dad’s voice, I can see him on my mom’s phone screen. I can also hear a noise in the background, a crying sound.

“She woke up, Burt.”

“Great! Alison and I were just having a chat.”

“What chat?” I asked, trying to sit up

“Lie down Teresa, it’s nothing,” replied my mom.

I watched her screen turn black as she hung up, then my eyes closed, and I fell into a deep sleep.


A Bad Month to be a Turkey

It is generally accepted, not as a problem, but as a fact, that mankind is willing to harm others, who are less powerful than they are for their own selfish desires. Hans the Turkey learned this the hard way when November rolled around. Hans was the son of Peter, a very old turkey who spent nearly all of his time hidden from the farmer, napping, and Barbara, an old, but feisty turkey. 

He and his friends had been living on Fred Ballnaz’s farm for several months before Thanksgiving preparation began.

The fat man must really love animals. After all, he lets us live on his farm without doing any work, Hans thought one day.

Just like the other turkeys, Hans had been feeling festive and truly thankful that he lived on Farmer Ballnaz’s farm, without a care in the world. Then, through the open window, he heard Farmer Ballnaz’s wife, Vivian, having a conversation with her friend Ethel on the telephone. She was sitting in her kitchen, chatting merrilly. The window was open, because Vivian wanted to get some fresh air, so Hans heard every word she said.

“Yes, Ethel, I have very little work to do for Thanksgiving dinner now. The mashed potatoes are all ready, and the stuffing is too. I have prepared the gravy and the corn and cranberry sauce and I’m sure it will all taste wonderful!”

A pause.

“Yes, Ethel, of course we’ll have turkey!” 

Hans gasped. Had he heard wrong? Surely he would not be eaten. He would not. He could not. He was not food, food that would be served on a plate, food that would be eaten. He ate food. How could you eat food, yet also be food?

“Fred will kill the turkeys tomorrow, and he must kill all of them, because we are having so many guests.”

All of them. All of his friends. His sister. His brothers. His parents. Everyone. Everyone he cared about, served on a plate.

Hans needed to hear no more. He silently walked back to a sunny area on the farm where lots of turkeys were talking about how thankful they were that Farmer Ballnaz was so generous.

Hans decided not to spoil their happiness. He sank to the ground and buried his face in his feathers. He could save them, he knew, if only he worked hard enough.

And suddenly, he got a brilliant idea.

***

When Farmer Ballnaz sat down for dinner that evening, he was very hungry, and very tired. It had been a long, hard day. He had chopped wood, milked the cow, picked apples, plowed the field, fed and watered all of the animals, and shoveled manure. The next day would not be any easier. He would have to milk the cow, kill the turkeys, feed and water the animals, pick beans, shovel manure, and help Vivian cook. He sank into his chair.

Hans had his plan ready. He would pull out the farmer’s chair just before he sat on it. Farmer Ballnaz would wind up on the floor. Hans would then call out, “This man is a fool. A fool. A foolish fool,” in human language. While doing this, he would be recording a video of what was happening to the farmer. He would release it to social media, and by morning, Farmer Ballnaz would be ashamed to step out of his house. Hans was all ready. He had even stolen the farmer’s camera.

This is what actually happened: 

Hans took out the camera and, not knowing how to operate a camera, or how to take a video, took a picture. He dropped the camera, smashing the lens, and, not knowing that the camera was broken, that he had taken a picture and not a video, and that Farmer Ballnaz had already sat down, he pulled on the chair. Of course, a turkey is not strong enough to move a large chair with the weight of a human on it, so Hans was groaning and wheezing as he tried to pull the chair. As he did this, Hans tried to cry, “This man is a fool. A fool! A foolish fool!” But Hans had forgotten something very important while making his plan: He could not speak human language. So it sounded more like this: “Bok bok bok bok! Bok bok bok! Bok bok bok bok!”

Farmer Ballnaz looked down at Hans. Hans was large for a turkey, and Farmer Ballnaz was short and fat, but his eyes made Hans feel like he was steadily shrinking. 

“Damn turkey!” bellowed Farmer Ballnaz. He took off his belt. Before Hans knew what was happening, the harsh leather of the belt was cutting through his feathers and stinging his skin.  Hans’s squawk of agony never left his body. He was too shocked. He knew that Farmer Ballnaz was going to kill him, but he had never been hurt like this. He limped out of the house and out to the field. It was already dark out, but some turkeys were still there. Turkeys who would not survive a holiday that was meant for giving thanks. 

Hans lay down and wept.

                                                                            ***

Farmer Ballnaz could not believe what had just happened. Never before in the farm’s 54 – year history had one of his turkeys gotten a whipping from him. His turkeys had never gone in his house, handled (or broken) his camera, or attempted to drag a chair. Could he have imagined this? No, that was not possible. He was not wearing his belt. If he had imagined whipping Hans, he would still be wearing it. Farmer Ballnaz could not manage to feel remorse, though. For when he was just a little boy, he had been taught that animals were inferior to humans, and therefore still believed it. Eating was what the turkeys were for, wasn’t it? It wasn’t his fault that animals were for eating. He should eat them. If he didn’t, he would be ignoring the fact that humans should eat animals. He should do whatever was necessary in order to acknowledge that animals are for eating. Even it meant spanking a turkey.

Vivian sat on a comfortable armchair, reading a book. She couldn’t concentrate on the book, though, not after what had just happened. She didn’t know how to think about what just happened. A turkey being spanked by her husband was a lot to think about. She was slightly less dazed than her husband was, but what she really thinking about was that her husband had cursed. He hardly ever said God’s name in vain, and him swearing about a turkey’s bad behavior was so unlike him. She couldn’t imagine how he was feeling now, but she decided that she could ask him later.

Maybe never.

Hans himself was in misery too deep to describe. I certainly hope that you never feel as miserable as Hans was at that moment, but being a living creature, you probably will. (Unless, of course, you’re a vegetable or mineral, in which case you will probably never feel Hans’s misery. Of course, if you actually are a vegetable or mineral, you probably aren’t reading this story right now, but that’s beyond the point.) Hans needed to save the turkeys from a terrible fate. He needed to save his friends from being murdered when they were supposed to give thanks. He needed to. He needed to. 

And suddenly, Hans got another great idea.

***

It looked as if someone had painted the world black, but Hans the turkey just kept going. He couldn’t stop now; he couldn’t get scared. The farmer was asleep. It sounded as if the whole world was asleep, and Hans was very sleepy himself, but he did not want to sleep forever, and that is what would happen if his plan did not work.

He approached Farmer Ballnaz’s house. After taking a spanking from the farmer, the house seemed larger and more intimidating, but Hans could not stop now. Not if he didn’t want to spend Thanksgiving on a silver platter.

Hans looked at a window. Well, he didn’t really look at the window. He looked through the window. Turkeys cannot see glass, so he didn’t know that there even was a window.

I’ll just run through the hole in the house, he thought.

Hans gave a mighty leap and propelled himself towards the window. He crashed through the window. Shards of glass attached themselves to his body. Hans felt agony wrapping itself around his body, like a python suffocating its prey. His blood poured all over the violet carpet. He tried not to faint. His pain was so strong that he almost forgot why he had leaped through the window in the first place. Then he remembered: He needed to save himself and his fellow turkeys. He needed to execute his plan. 

Hans crept silently across the hall, opening and closing doors. He stomped out of each room, however, bitterly disappointed.  At last, he came to a room that he walked into, grinning despite his pain. 

At last, I have found it, he thought. The fat man’s gun rack.

The gun rack of Fred Ballnaz had very few residents. In fact, his gun rack had only one gun on it. Hans stared at it, smiling madly. Once he had the gun, he would destroy it. Then no turkeys would be killed just for dinner ever again.

Hans grabbed the gun and raced through the hallway. He decided to jump through the window that he had broken last ti-

Bang.

A bullet darted right past Hans and hit one of his feathers, which fell onto the floor. The bullet kept going and eventually hit a leg on a large oaken chair. Terrified, Hans turned around to see who had shot. He was amazed to see Vivian, standing several feet behind him, holding a gun.

“Oh,” she said when she saw Hans. “I thought a burglar had gotten in. I guess not. I won’t need this, then.” She threw her gun to the floor. 

“I really shouldn’t tell Fred. I don’t want to worry him. Of course, he’ll notice when his gun is gone.”

Vivian approached Hans, grabbed the gun, and walked off to put the farmer’s gun back in the gun rack.

Hans could not believe what had just happened. He had been horribly injured by destroying a glass window by jumping through it. He had a feather blasted off by a gun. He had almost been shot. He had been spanked with a belt. And why? Just so that he would be eaten on Thanksgiving day.

Depressed, Hans slunked back to the field and wept.

                                                                           ***

Hans awoke that morning before the last star had vanished and looked around. He had spent the night sleeping in the field while the other turkeys slept in a chicken coop that chickens had not lived in for years.

Just like they always had.

Always. Could anything always happen? He had always been treated kindly by Farmer Ballnaz, before Thanksgiving preparation began.

Always. His plans had always failed, but before they had failed, he had always thought that they wouldn’t.

Hans formed an idea in his mind that wasn’t too extravagant, but might, just might, work.

Hans dashed to the chicken (turkey) coop and awoke Peter from a deep sleep.

“Oh, father, I need something heavy, but not too heavy, not too big, and not noticeable.”

“Why, son, why?”

Hans did not want to tell his father that he was saving himself and everyone else from murder.

“I’ll tell you as soon as I can. First, I need a heavy thing.”

Peter flicked a ball of straw that had been in the chicken coop for no apparent reason since the farm had been owned by Farmer Ballnaz. Hans grabbed it and ran towards the house. This time he ran quickly, fearlessly, lest he be frightened away by the memories of pain and terror.

Hans jumped through the hole in the window, too quickly to consider what he was doing and be scared away.

He silently crept into Farmer Ballnaz’s bedroom and quietly pulled open the farmer’s dresser drawer and found where the shirts were kept. He put the straw ball in the right sleeve of one of the shirts. He then ran to the kitchen and hid in one of the cabinets, hardly daring to breathe.

Soon enough, Farmer Ballnaz came downstairs and poured a drink of whiskey. He poured more than he intended to, due to the weight on his sleeve, but he didn’t notice. He then turned on the TV to the sports channel and began to watch a soccer game. Whenever an athlete got close to scoring a goal, he would stare at the TV, seeming oblivious to anything else, Hans noticed. When one athlete grew very close to scoring, Hans crept out of the cabinet and, very silently, poured over the cup, spilling whiskey everywhere. The fat farmer did not notice until the goal had been scored. After that happened, he did notice, and without even cleaning up the alcohol, he poured more whiskey. But again, due to the fact that there was extra weight on his sleeve, he poured more than he intended to. 

And so it went. By the third glass or so, Farmer Ballnaz looked a bit odd.

By the fifth glass or so, Vivian came downstairs.

By the  seventh glass or so, Vivian noticed that Farmer Ballnaz looked a bit odd.

“Dear, I think you’re having a bit too much whiskey,’’ said Vivian.

“I guess… ” murmured Farmer Ballnaz. 

“I think you better go back to bed until you’re sober,” said Vivian.

“I guess… ” murmured Farmer Ballnaz.

As Farmer Ballnaz dragged himself to bed, Vivian left to shop for marinades.

Marinades that the turkeys would have been cooked with.

Marinades that they would have been cooked with if it wasn’t for Hans.

                                                                      ***

When Hans returned to the chicken (turkey) coop, he considered that he would not have gotten Farmer Ballnaz drunk if his father had not helped him. He had not received help from anyone in his failed attempts to save the turkeys. Maybe getting help once in a while was a good thing. As soon as he got back to the chicken (turkey) coop, He made an announcement. 

“Friends, turkeys, coop mates, lend me your ears.”

“Say what?” said one of the turkeys. Hans ignored him.

“We are not safe on this comfortable farm. Farmer Ballnaz has a desire to kill us for food.          We must flee.”

The turkeys squaked and flailed in surprise.

“He’s batty!” cried one.

“He’s wild!” cried another.

“He’s out of his mind!” cried a third.

“He is not!” cried Peter. “My son knows perfectly well what he’s talking about. Explain it to them, Hans.”

And Hans did. As he discussed what had he had heard through the window, the turkeys began to tremble with fear. When they heard of how Hans had been spanked with a belt, the little ones began to cry. And when they heard of the gun rack, the turkeys needed no more convincing.

“Let’s go!” cried one of the turkeys.

And so they left the horrible farm.

As Hans watched the farm seem smaller and smaller, he smiled. Maybe November was a bad month to be a turkey, but they had survived.

The end


The Moon

The moon is like round pasta 

and a bright bitten cookie 

It’s as starry as can be tonight

The moon is a white ladybug flying 

or a parachute on D-Day


Is the entire universe a giant’s lungs? 

I need space

I’m going to space

A little bit of space 

is a lot of space

An alien space pod is crashing down on the earth and going kaboom-meow! 

The aliens come down and they dance and dance and dance 

They see the United States flag

and wonder if it makes energy

The humans find the space pod and wonder 

if it was aliens

The space pod is put in a museum 

In the year 3019 a boy named Sivolc 

tries 


There’s something in the air

The clouds look like torpedo flying in the air — or a jet


Night in the Grocery Store

Prologue: 1899

Vegetable King Cabbage and Vegetable Queen Onion finally ruled the tomatoes and cucumbers, but not the fruits. The king and queen did not know that whenever they take down another fruit, a hero named Watermeloan sets his sights on the vegetable villains. 

Chapter one: Rise of the Veggies

Time of day: 9:59:68847562756 p.m.

“What a beautiful day! We sold more than four hundred items in this day! Wow, and it’s the record for this month!” The manager of the grocery store yelled with excitement. “Ohh man looks like we need to refill all the vegetables.” 

He looked around and saw the large grocery shop full of empty bins, trash, and with rotten tomatoes and apples lying on the ground. 

“Everything is just so messy.” 

So, he cleaned the floor, swept the trash, and after the giant clean up, the grocery store looked just like new. 

VROOM!!! and the manager drove back home.

“Well! Another war is going to happen today! Ahhh,” sighed Wattermeloan. “Now for the big plan. Where is Cantelope? Where are the apples? Where are the Mangos? C’mon! Let’s BEAT the veggies UP…..”

*

“Get up veggies! We have a lot of work to do today. The fruity poopy are still getting a lot of energy. We need to finish them all.” Cabbage said. 

Onion Rolled  up from her bed and yelled, ”CABBAGE! I 100% 

disagree with you. I believe that the fruits are still asleep!’’

“Well, well, well, whatever, Oni. Let’s prepare for the fight.”

*

Time 12:29:3718352846384937 a.m.

“Another fighting day. We fought the veggies from the 1800’s until today. These stupid veggies. When will they end this dumb war? Ahh! My grandfather was tortured by the stupid veggies. Phh! They’re so guilty and mean and ….they just want to control the whole world….” said Watermeloan.

*

“Mr. Peas, go! Do your job. Go! Quick, quick, quick,” said Onion. Mr. Peas is a spy for the veggies since the cabbage and onion became king and queen. Now he is going to spy again on Watermeloan and the fruits…..

*

1 hour later…

“Ma’am or Ms. Onion? I have spied on Watermeloan and saw the fruits preparing to battle us,” Mr. Peas said. 

“Okay, we will prepare too.” Onion replied. 

And then about fifteen minutes later, both sides had already prepared for the fight. Orange is ready to self-destruct on the side of the veggies. Watermeloan is also ready to throw fruits, like oranges, over like a bomb. And Onion is setting up the peas cannon. And Cabbage is pulling his blade and pointing it at the fruits, meaning to charge at the fruits. Then the fight happens. It was such a mess. Trash was thrown on the ground. Fruits exploded, and juice spread everywhere. Watermeloan was fighting Cabbage in a big brawl. Cabbage pulled out his blade and stabbed it into Watermeloan’s right arm and then Peas tied Watermloan up with a rubber band. Suddenly, all the fruits surrendered because Watermeloan is their leader and  they don’t want to leave him behind

Now all the fruits are in danger. Cabbage took all of the fruits to their palace. Now every fruit will be smashed into pieces by a huge metal hammer. Only Cabbage could lift the hammer up because he has a special power, but just the hammer can’t defeat Watermeloan. Only if you could stab a knife into Watermeloan’s eye would he be defeated. 

BOOM! BOOM! 

Cabbage is smashing the hammer on the ground to test his strength. And then he smashes Strawberry, Orange, and Banana. And now it is Watermeloan’s turn to die. Cabbage tried and tried to pull the strong glasses off of his eyes but he accidently hit his own bottom. It hurt really bad. 

Cabbage called Onion to help him. Onion squeezed herself and then she made use of her stinging smell to make Watermeloan’s nose and eyes burn. Cabbage pulls off Watermeloan’s glasses while he is distracted by the burning scent.

Cabbage was so happy that he could finally kill Watermeloan. So he went to grab his knives. On the way, Tomato was feeling very sad about joining the vegetables. So when Cabbage, Onion, and the other guards went to get the knife to stab it in Watermeloan’s eye, Tomato jumped down from the window above where Watermeloan was being tortured and took in his hands the rubber band that was tying Watermeloan to the ceiling. 

Tomato untied Watermeloan and told him that if you make Onion watch something sad, like a sad commercial, Onion will cry and will eventually peel apart. Watermeloan understood what Tomato was talking about and decided to grab a cellphone and turned the channel to a sad commercial. 

When Onion and Cabbage came back, they saw Watermeloan still hanging, but Watermealoan was faking it. So they grabbed the knife. Just when they tried to stab it into Watermeloan’s eye, Watermeloan jumped to the ground and the phone appeared behind Watermeloan

Then Tomato turned on the phone and turned the channel to a sad commercial, and it started to play, knowing that when an onion is really sad, it peels apart. Onion saw the commercial and her nose fell off first and then her eyes and then her whole body. 

Onion died.

Cabbage was so sad that he ran out of the grocery store. And every veggie surrendered just like the time the fruits surrendered because of their leader Watermeloan. HURRAY!!!

*

Time of day:8:59:999999 a.m.

The manager came in the grocery store. He saw the grocery store looked like a landfill. He yelled, “I THOUGHT I ALREADY CLEANED THE SHOP YESTERDAY, URGH! IT MUST HAVE BEEN A DREAM! WELL……. NEVER MIND I GUESS! I WILL CLEAN IT NOW!”

The End

The Cat World

In a world of cats, humans, and sparrows, a cat named Alice loves the smell of fruit snacks so much that she invents and uses a machine to capture this smell. She begins to sell a perfume called Perfume of the Fruit Snacks. It’s sold everywhere. When the cats put on this perfume, they stay cats because it was made by a cat. It makes them fall in love with the first cat they see while wearing it. All the cats are falling in love with each other! 

But when humans put it on, they turn into cats! Alice didn’t know her perfume would do this. It becomes a cat-only world — except for all the sparrows who aren’t affected and this one human named Jam, who decides to make a perfume out of the smell of chocolate chip cookies. He drops bombs with a MI62 bomber plane. These bombs called 22 panzers were made by the cats. Inside them, there’s the perfume Jam made. 

The sparrows want the world to be normal again, but they can’t do much. The perfume covers all the cats’ bodies and turns them into humans. Alice is arrested and covered with the human perfume. She’s turned into a human and stays in prison. Jam’s awarded the medal of honor! Still, there are millions of cats hiding underground. 

In the future, a human army invades the underground hiding spots. Humans create and drop a cookie perfume atomic bomb… It takes 15 years for the cats to become humans, though. Meanwhile, the humans who were originally cats are having cat children! They speak like cats. Then the governor decides to make every human that was a cat back into a cat. And the world is back to normal again, and the world is in peace. All the cats who should be cats are cats; all the humans who should be humans are humans; and the sparrows are still sparrows, flying above everywhere.


Mirror Life of the Sun Goddess

One day, there was a man called Spiky who had a horrible life. There was a girl called Lola who had a wonderful life. Lola and Spiky had a fight because Spiky slapped Lola for the fun of it. He was an incredibly mean person who wanted to make people part of his army. At the end, Spiky took Lola and trapped her in a mirror. But Lola died in the mirror. So they put candles to show that people loved her. And Spiky went to jail. Spiky got to be a witch. All the people were shocked. 

Then a goddess came. She was as beautiful as the sun. She had long, gold hair and kindness that shined out of her. There were shimmering gold hearts on her dress and red hearts on her gloves. Her long hair was held back by gold heart clips and she was barefoot. The goddess fought Spiky. At the end, the people found out that the goddess was Lola, who got powers from the mirror. Lola killed all the people to make them safe because Spiky had three lives and Lola wanted to save them from his army. One person yelled, then stopped because a knife was showing from his heart. People were yelling and stopped breathing. Lola used all her powers on Spiky. Lola lived happily ever after.


Fighting For Health

I lay crying, in bed, with a body.

That body used to belong to my sister, my pale, thin-skinned, dark-haired sick sister. She was the happiest girl in our town and would help people who were sad or angry. 

My mom was also about to cry. She sat in the corner of the room next to my dad. I wailed and cried until I almost could not breathe. Then, my mom came up to the bed, patted her head, and let a tear out. Then, she left the room. We followed her to the parking lot of the hospital. We drove home, and my parents and I walked into our cold, empty house. I ran to my room. I cried her name again and again: Lauren, Lauren, Lauren! 

Blond, beautiful, fun Lauren.

When I finally stopped crying, my mom came in. 

“I am going to run for Congress, Elizabeth,” she said firmly. 

“Really? That is great. But why?” 

“I am going to run because someone must run against having to pay for healthcare. It is not fair for people who are dying because they do not have enough money to pay for medical insurance to cover a simple checkup.”

I looked at her in surprise.

“Would you mind being a part of my campaign?”

“Sure,” I said hesitantly. 

She gave me a big hug. Then, she went to meet with possible supporters. 

 Later that day, she came home with a sad expression on her face. 

“Hey, Mom, why are you sa –”

“Hi, Rachel, do you want some warm stew for dinner?” my dad cut in.

“That would be wonderful, thank you,” my mom answered, thankful. 

 After we devoured the stew, I put my dishes in the dishwasher and went back to my room, my cold, empty room which was just like the rest of the house.

I could not go to sleep that night since I was thinking about my sister too much. I found myself looking at her soccer posters hung up on the wall and her toys lined up at the end of her bed. Those were the toys she played with before she was sick, before we were sad, before she died. 

I slept in my sister’s bed to remind me of her.

The next day my mom went off to work on the campaign and did the same for the next two days. The third was different. She asked me to come with her and skip school. When we walked over to a small house at the end of my block, I laid my eyes on an old man and a young woman, who had a stack of little cards with my mom’s pictures on it. (She looked really good.)

The photo made me really sad because I realized how much Lauren looked like our mom — her blonde hair, her eyes, and her smile. It also made me sad that she was not here to fight for her health. 

The young woman gave me a stack of little cards and told me that I could give them to people around my neighborhood. When I stepped outside the door, I felt encouraged because we were fighting for a good cause and helping people vote for their rights. 

I stepped up to the front door of a nice, petite, yellow house, which was across the street from our house. I never noticed the house because I was always having so much fun with my sister. A little old lady came up, and I gave her a card.

She looked at the card for what seemed like forever then said, “Young lady, you look a lot like this nice woman in the photo.” 

“Yes that is because she is my mother,” I informed her.

“That makes a lot of sense. You live across the street. Don’t you?” 

“Yes, in that small pink house,” I responded.

“May I bring some muffins near dinnertime for a little gift for you and your family, and your sister. You have a sister, right?” she asked. 

“Yes, but she recently passed away,” I said sadly.

“So sorry for your loss. What is your name?” she asked, eyes full of pity.

“My name is Elizabeth,” I told her. 

“Okay. I will see you later, Elizabeth. And thank you for the card. My vote is going to you and your family,” she said in a sweet and gentle voice. 

I walked away from the house, excited that we at least had one vote. I walked over to the next house. The house was very old with paint chipping and loose boards on the patio, but I still knocked. A man stuck one eye out of a little crack in the door. I offered him a card, but he declined. Instead, he gave me a card with a picture and black letters on it. When I returned to the sidewalk, I stared at the card. After a few minutes, I realized that he was the guy who was running against my mom. 

After I left, when I got to a trash can, I threw the card out so that my mom wouldn’t think I was trying to conspire against her. When the sky darkened, I headed back to the small house, where I met the old man and young woman. When I arrived at the small house, I got inside and saw my mom and the people who were helping with her campaign. When I came in, they all looked at me with a smile. I placed the rest of the cards on the table. My mom said her goodbyes to the people, then I followed her to the house. When we got home, we saw my dad talking with the old lady who lives across the street. They both looked at us, my dad with a face that clearly said, “Help me!” The old lady had a basket that looked filled with muffins. 

“Hello, Elizabeth, and I am guessing this is your mother.”

“Yes, this is my mother. What is your name? I do not think you told me when we met?”

“Oh, yes. Sorry. My name is Harriet.” 

“What a lovely name,” my mom said.

“We have been talking for a long time,” my dad said, with a pinch of annoyance in his voice.

“Yes. It has been very nice talking to you, but I think I must go. Sorry I could not talk for longer. I love your house, and I can help with anything you need. I will be right across the street!” Harriet said.

My mom faced me and said, “Who was that, Elizabeth?”

“Oh, that was the old lady I met while giving out the little cards.”

“And she can talk!” my dad said dramatically.

“Well she does live by herself,” I said.

There was a knock on the door. My mom went to open it and found my aunt Ellen. I was so excited to see her because every time she comes over, she brings gifts! I went to welcome her and before I said anything, she dragged in a big gift. I dragged the big, heavy, pink gift to the living room and opened it. Inside lay a black and blue bicycle! I was so happy because it matched the one my mom had, and my old one was too small! I was so excited. I ran to my parents to show them. They were so happy. Then, they looked at Aunt Ellen with surprised faces. 

“You bought this for her?” my mom said. 

“Yes, of course, I have to keep my record of bringing gifts for my niece.”

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,” my dad and mom laughed sarcastically.

“And I thought it might come in handy.”

“What?” My mom and dad said in unison.

“Ohh, nothing. Nevermind,” she said. “And I will not be able to go to the debate tomorrow.”

“Well, okay. Let us go to the kitchen and talk over some coffee,” Dad said. 

“Great! Sounds good,” Aunt Ellen replied.

And they walked to the kitchen. By the time I finished staring at my bike, trying to ride it in the house, and being yelled at by my parents, it was time to go to sleep. I got ready to sleep and got in bed, but before I went to sleep I prayed. I prayed for my sister’s safety up there. 

When I finally went to sleep, I dreamt that Lauren was still alive and we played and played. When I woke up, I was very sad to end my dream because I was having so much fun. My mom came in the room.

“Sweety, wake up, it is time for the first debate!” my mom said energetically. 

“Okay. Getting up,” I said.

I was so excited that I forgot about the dream. Once we were out in the driveway, we realized that all of our tires were flat! My mom was furious and so was I. After about ten minutes, my mom had an idea. 

“Wait here. I will be right back.”

“Okay.”

A few minutes later, she came out with two matching bikes. They had black and blue stripes. I jumped up and down and praised my mom. Then we got on the bikes and were off to the debate. We finally got there! When we did, we saw John. H. Corel, the guy running against my mom, staring at us in surprise, and Aunt Ellen.

What was she doing here? And with him?

To be continued… 


Funky Fairytales 2: The Galaxy Switch, V. 1

Once upon a time, there lived a happy family that lived in a galaxy called Tangah. Tangah was very mysterious, for it was always night time. The family contained four family members: a king, a queen, and two little girls who were identical twins. Their names were Lily and Molly. They played in the courtyard all day long. They had a maze, a garden, and so much more, but what they loved most in the courtyard was the outdoor library. 

Every day, they read different books together. They even took them to their bedrooms secretly. Then, one day at bedtime, the twins heard murmuring from their parents’ room and overheard something bad. 

Something horrible. 

Their father would be going on a long journey to the twin galaxy and Molly would be going with her father.

“They’re just joking, right? They aren’t separating us!” they said to themselves, but they knew it was true. They felt their stomachs turn. Molly felt like she was drowning. She had to sit down. Lily was also scared because she didn’t want to miss her sister. Molly would be going on a long, dangerous journey to a different galaxy: the twin galaxy.

***

The next morning, the twins woke up to the smell of oatmeal and brown sugar. Molly put her pink and purple gown on, and Lily put on her blue and cranberry gown. They put on their best faces, greeted their parents, and sat down. The parents discussed how they liked their oatmeal, then brought up the galaxy switch. The twins couldn’t help but cry. 

“You, Molly, will go with me to our twin galaxy,” the king said. 

“Lily, you will stay here with me,” said the queen. 

“Spend as much time together as possible today. Tomorrow, Molly and I leave for our galaxy,” the king said. 

“Why do you have to separate us?” Lily asked. 

“Don’t question me,” said the king. 

“Do you want to go to the outdoor library?” Molly asked. 

“Sure,” Lily answered. 

They walked out of the castle and into the sunlight, over the cobblestone bridge. They stopped to look at the maze to their right and the garden to their left. The golden tulips were their favorite flowers in the whole universe and they were in bloom, just like every spring. 

The cobblestone path continued on nearer to a circle of birch trees. Monarch butterflies always gathered there. On a tree were several chrysalises. They wondered when the cocoons would transform into monarchs.

They walked across another bridge to the beautiful outdoor library and into the center of the circle of trees to a little golden bookshelf and cream-colored chairs. A lake was to the right. They took a seat and resumed reading Bob the Beaver and The Ice Family

“Wow! Bob has really changed!” Lily exclaimed. 

“Really? Bob was always their friend!” Molly pointed out.  

“True…” Lily said. 

That night, they had their favorite meal, but the twins didn’t feel better about the galaxy switch just because they were eating food they liked. They stayed up all night, staring at the galaxy painted ceiling. 

“I’m going to miss this place,” Molly said.

 “Yeah, I wonder If we’ll ever see each other again,” Lily said. 

“Molly, what if we forget each other?” Lily asked. 

“Well, remember my 9th birthday I got the royal necklace maker as a present? That came with copper heart-shaped lockets we can make with each other’s picture in it!” Molly exclaimed. 

“You girls better be going to bed. No nighttime reading or anything,” the king said rudely. 

“We can still do the lockets, right?” Lily whispered. 

“Yes, even if father says no,” Molly said boldly. 

“If you say so…” Lily said hesitantly. 

Molly pulled out the royal necklace maker, and they went to work. 

“Molly, what should mine have?” Lily asked.

 “Engrave my name and your name on there like so. Then I’ll show you a really cool thing,” Molly said. 

Lily had made a beautiful copper heart locket with their names engraved and a picture inside of Molly. Molly had the same thing, except Molly’s locket had a picture of Lily inside.

“There’s one more step– the cool thing.”

Molly took out a cauldron and said a magic spell, “Getaran DNA!” 

Then, a poof of blue smoke came pouring out of the pot. Lily soaked the lockets in the blue potion. Then they put the lockets on and felt a strong vibration. Like magic, the lockets lifted into the air and connected to each other. Molly grabbed her locket and disconnected it from Lily’s. 

“What did you do to the potion?” Lily curiously asked.

“I made a potion that has the power to make our necklaces vibrate and connect our necklace as we get closer. Nobody else can wear these necklaces.”

***

The next morning was full of hugs and tears as Molly left their galaxy.

“Bye, Lily!” 

“No! You can’t leave!”

“I’ll be back before you know I’m gone!” 

***

“Dad, how long will I stay in the twin galaxy with you?” 

“Well, it takes 3 years to learn to rule, and you get to rule temporarily for one–”

“So, this is what it was all about? Me preparing to become a queen in a different galaxy? I thought it was about a problem in the twin galaxy!” Molly said.

“Calm down, Molly. It’s your duty to be a queen when you’re old enough. Your mother didn’t get upset or angry at her father when she found out she would be queen,” the king told Molly. Then, Molly didn’t talk to him for the rest of the day.


***

Lily had missed Molly, and she stopped going to outdoor library, due to how sad she was. 

“What would you like to do?” The queen asked Lily.

“See Molly.” Lily said.

“Your father is preparing Molly to be queen in the twin galaxy. She is only gone for four years, Lily,” the queen said.

Lily was so sad, she couldn’t bear to sleep. That night, Lily sang a sad song. “…I can’t wait to see you again, it’s only a matter of time…”

***

The first day of queen training went horribly. Molly decided to send a letter about it through galaxpress mail system. Since they were in different galaxies, it would take four weeks to get to the other galaxy.

12/24/3023

My dearest, Lilian, 

I hope this letter makes you happy, so laugh as much as you need to. 

So first, this letter is about how queen training went. In the morning, I had to hold a porcelain cup with hot chamomile tea with my pinky sticking out, and guess what happened? I spilled it all over my dress and father’s cape. 

Please respond as soon as you get this letter with help!

Love, Molly

***

Eight weeks passed and Lily hadn’t responded. This had made Molly very disappointed and scared. Molly wrote again to Lily, this time asking if she was okay.

2/18/3024

My dearest, Lilian,

You have made me very anxious- what is happening? Please respond as quick as possible. If you don’t, I am calling father for help.

Love, Molly, 

P.S. 

Please respond soon

***

Lily had responded, finally.

4/14/3024

My dearest, Molly,

Mother and I have been locked up in the dungeon in our own castle! An evil dragon is taking over our galaxy. Sorry for the delay- Galaxpress was taking FOREVER. 

I got your letter though! 

Please call father for help!

Love, Lilian 

P.S. 

S.O.L! (save our lives)

Molly called the king for help. 

“You must be kidding.” he said, but Molly showed him the letter, and he still didn’t believe the news. “I’ll have to investigate further,” the king said.

But Molly couldn’t wait. At night, she snuck out of the castle and started her journey to the other galaxy. She started towards the blueish-purple river of stars. She was going to slay the dragon, and save her mom and sister. It was risky, but she knew she could do it. She was brave. 

“Don’t worry, Lily. I’m going to save you,” Molly said, and then she stepped out into the unknown.  

To be continued…


The Wise Old Tree

I watch over my home

Yet am defenseless

To protect the land so rightfully I own,

I have seen my world

Change over time,

Have grown from but

A little sapling,

I have wizened and stretched

This knowledge of mine,

I have watched as my friends

Have perished and died,

Yet through all of this

I have learned my lesson,

I will live through my life

No matter what

Throughout my time

A lesson you shall learn,

My old friend

Through time,

Through time


The Night of The Halloween Fair

One day at school, two kids came to Hamilton Middle School without knowing each other at all. At lunch the new kids, John and Will, met each other and then met Shane. They played football together at recess. Shane approached Will and John because he had no friends, and he wanted to become friends with the new kids. The new kids didn’t know him and how he had messed up in life beforehand, and it’s not often you get to restart with a clean slate. Shane had accidentally lit someone’s report on fire in science class, and he let the turtles out in their classroom. He also ran over all the plants in the garden by accident. Shane was a lonely dude with no friends, so he approached John and Will. They bonded over football and became better friends over the weeks. Shane realized that John was athletic but dumb and Will was smart but lazy, and Shane thought he was athletic and smart.

Three weeks after they met, John wanted to know Will and Shane better, and what better way than going to the Halloween fair? They were middle schoolers, and they thought that they were too old for Halloween.

“Are you guys going to the Halloween fair? My older brother works there, so we can get discounts off of tickets,” John said.

The next day, they told their parents that they were going to go to the Halloween fair which was in two days, but the parents didn’t want them to go because they knew that there were a couple of kids that had gone missing at the fairs, so they wanted to check and make sure it was going to be safe. So they checked it out and saw that it said it was going to be safe and there was going to be lots of security. The next day, they all went to the fair. It was mostly just teenagers. The fair was mostly Halloween stuff, like scary skeletons, grim reapers, zombies, ghosts, and haunted houses. They went to watch a clown movie called It. They were only showing very scary movies because it was Halloween evening. And then they went to go play some fair games, ride some rides, and then they met up with John’s older brother. Then they went to go do games, including dart throw, with John’s older brother and saw some of their classmates and talked with them. They went on a ride called The Fireball, which was a ride that went upside down, and the ride got stuck when they were upside down—though it was only for five minutes, and then they got it back working. 

Shane said, “Okay, we’re not doing another ride.”

Will said, “Yes, we are.”

Then they all went to the bathroom to start puking because all of the stuff that they ate at the fair and just went back out. They felt kind of dizzy, but after throwing up they felt fine. And they went to go grab some funnel cake because all the food left their body. 

At around when it was turning dark, they went to go see when the fair was going to close, and it said it was closing in half an hour, so they started hurrying up and doing more stuff. They won a whole bunch of teddy bears and watched a magic show, and this guy was pulling bunny rabbits out of his hat, then John watched people juggle swords and eat flaming food. They were having a blast. Then they went all into a photo booth, and they took lots and lots of photos, and they didn’t hear that the fair was closing. They walked out, and they didn’t see anybody. 

“Where’d they go?” they all said in unison.

Then they heard some evil cackling, and then they got scared. They wanted to go home, but it was too dark, and they didn’t know where they were supposed to go. Then they saw John’s older brother sweeping, and then they ran to go and ask him where everyone went. He told them that the fair closed ten minutes ago.

And then he said, “You guys should be going home now.”

So they headed to the front gates, but the gates were already closed, and when they tried to tug, there was another tug against them. They tried to open it several times, but a guy wasn’t letting them. They could feel a pull keeping them from opening it. They couldn’t see it, but all they saw were two eyes in the dark. Then they ran for John’s older brother. 

Will said, “John’s older brother, we just saw glowing red two eyes in the dark—I think there’s something, that we’re not alone.”

“First of all, I have a name. My name is Mark. Second of all, we’re not alone because there’s other people that work here. Third of all, you probably just saw the gatekeeper, the person who is watching people leave and getting the tickets from people.” And then they saw the magician, Onzony, who was tall, scary, and dressed in purple. And Mark said, “Hey, Onzony, what’cha doin?”

“I’m being your worst nightmare.” 

Then Mark said, “Wait—so you’re Trump singing?”

“No, I’m here to kill you!”

And then instead of pulling a bunny rabbit out of his hat, he pulled out a chainsaw, and they saw people on stilts cackling and surrounding them. And then they saw a clown on a unicycle going around juggling axes.

And then the clown went right in front of them and said, “Happy Halloween!”

And the clown threw the axes up in the air, and all the axes landed right in front of the four kids. 

“Aaaah!” they all screamed in unison and started running, but they ran into a giant scorpion, and the scorpion put its stinger at them.

Then they all ran into a different direction, and they ran into an inflatable sign saying, Go see the circus! Then a trapeze man walked to the other side of the sign and stabbed a sword right through the sign into Will’s stomach.

“Noooo!” John screamed, and he grabbed the sword and sliced off the trapeze man’s head.

Then they ran away.

“Okay, I think we lost them.”

They went to hide in the photo booth. They sat there for an hour before they realized that they were being carried. When they realized they were being carried, they looked outside the photo booth and realized that they were on a chain hanging three feet above sharks, and they could see sharks snapping at them, trying to jump.

Then a clown said, “They’re really hungry! I think we might need to feed them.” 

“Got it!” said the magician who cut the chain, and they fell into the shark tank.

And they were all swimming frantically and trying to get out while Mark was jumping on top of sharks trying not to get bitten, but then his arm got bitten off, and it was so bloody, and there was blood all over the pool. Then Mark jumped out while whimpering, then John also got out, and everyone got out.

“Release the snakes!” one of the clowns said.

A whole bunch of snakes, including Cobras and boa constrictors, came out of the dirt, and a snake got on Mark and tightened around him and then swallowed him whole! Then John and Shane were so mad and sad that they were speechless, then they ran away and got on the ferris wheel and climbed to the top of it. Then the rest of the fair started climbing up the ferris wheel. Then finally John and Shane reached the top, and they realized they had gotten ahead of the fair. The clowns were climbing up, and they were five feet away from grabbing them.

Then Shane spotted a pool and said, “Okay, on three we jump into the pool.”

“One.”

“Two.”

“Three!”

They all jumped, and then something threw an axe at Shane, and Shane got killed before he hit the pool. John hit the pool, but he didn’t realize that the pool was full of crocodiles, and the crocodiles ate him. All that was left was a pool full of red.

The End.


When You’re Poor and You Still Live In Your Parent’s Basement When You’re Thirty: Enter the Whipped Cream Contest

I was baking day and night, dirty covered in butter and egg, 

and butterscotch, to make my famous whipped

Cream. Then I went to the fair to win the whipped cream contest.

The merry-go-round spins like a bunch of animals jumping in the forest

I smell fried oils and funnel cakes at the concession stands                                                 

I seek what looks like a fortune teller

in a tent who didn’t look like they had a job

I’m going to win the whipped cream contest,

The grand trophy and 10% discount on Safeway food

And 100% off Whole Foods for life. 

On the way home I was as happy as a kid gets when his parents say you can have 10 sundaes tonight. 

Then the heat of the sun makes me so pale

And I burst into flames, and then I think

How do I get home? Home is love.

It’s where your family is. It’s where I live

In my parent’s basement.  And my only family

Is the Xbox.  

2 years later, I become a worldwide celebrity because I gave food to the poor. 

I also became a world-class poker player, but I still live in my parent’s basement 

The reason I still live in my parent’s basement is because I spend so much money on the nice hotels 

And first class on the planes all for poker.

When you’re poor and you still live in your parent’s basement when you’re 30, enter the whipped cream contest.


Far From Home Plate

Chapter One 

James stared at Ryan batting for the Chicago Colts leading 35-7 against the Louisville Colonels. The fastball pitch and… 

“Bam! He hit a homerun! This is the greatest picnic of the season in the history of baseball and it occurred at the West Side Park today when the Colts broke the record by scoring 36 runs on 32 hits for a total of 51 bases,” the commentators exclaimed. 

The crowd roared with excitement. People would remember this day forever. James jumped up and down in his seat. His brown hair flowed as he jumped in the cool June wind on that hot exciting day. James and his dad were sitting in the nosebleed seats high in the air overlooking the field. All the players looked so tiny from high up. No one had a very big expectations for the Chicago Colts because they had lost eight of their previous ten games.

“Wow, Dad, that was a great game!” James gushed loudly over the noise of the crowd.

“I know; this is amazing!” shouted James’ dad. 

The game eventually ended, with the Louisville Colonels not scoring any more runs. From high up James and his dad could see all the Chicago Colts players with their arms around each other, jumping up and down with excitement. June 29, 1897 would be the year that the Chicago Colts broke the record for the most runs in a MLB game. Every person paused to take in what had just happened, while usually the crowd left quickly to get home. Then suddenly everyone flooded out of the stadium pushing against each other at the same time to find the ten year-old James Marcelin lost in the crowd. James had lost his father’s hand by people ripping their hands apart in a hurry to get through. James had to push and shove to get through. He couldn’t even see over all the tall masses pushing him forward. James’ heart was pounding. He was sweaty. He was breathing heavy. Would he ever find his dad again? James saw a woman trying to get through the crowd. 

James went over and asked with a shaky voice, “Excuse me, have you seen my father?” 

She replied, “Well, what does he look like?”

“He is really tall and has a plaid jacket, hazel eyes, and a hat… it’s like a business hat.”

“Oh, sorry, I don’t remember seeing someone like that,” she sighed. 

“Well, thank you for your time,” James said back politely. 

James went over to some other stranger and asked again, “Excuse me, have you seen my father?” But the man just ignored him and kept walking to get out of the rambunctious crowd. 

So instead of asking another stranger, James went to the fence to get out of the rush of people and to try to see his dad. He tried to see over all the tall strangers, but he couldn’t spot his dad. James decided that he would go back to his seat, for maybe his father was waiting there. But when he arrived at his seat, there was no one to be found. Every person had left the stadium. Then, out of nowhere, standing before James was the player for the Chicago Colts, thirty-four year old Jimmy Ryan. James’ eyes flicked to Ryan’s face, who was standing tall in front of him. Was he actually meeting the Jimmy Ryan? His brown, bushy mustache and long face made him easy to recognize and hard to miss. When he spoke his voice was very bold as if he were speaking through a megaphone. Jimmy was wearing a striped cap that covered the brown mop of hair on his head. 

James stuttered,“A..a..are…youu…Jimmy…Rrryan?”

“Who else would it be?” Jimmy said, slapping James heartily on the back.

“I’m… a big fan!” James exclaimed. “I’m trying to find my father, he’s really tall, and he has a plaid jacket, and a business hat on.” 

Jimmy replied, “Well, I haven’t been paying much attention to people passing, but if you want, you could have a tour, and we could look for your father.” 

As James and Jimmy started at the locker rooms, his dad, Charles Marceiln, was rushing through a door from the concession stands to the seats, desperately searching for his son. He felt queasy, like he was about to do a big performance. Once he was through the door, he was suddenly back at the concession stands. But something had changed. He was back in a crowd of people. But they were all carrying a little box that was almost 2-dimensional. Most people also had Cubs caps on. Charles wondered who are the Cubs? As he looked around he saw a shop, but people were sliding odd cards, not paying with paper money.

Instead of just gazing around, Charles asked a man wearing a Cubs hat where they were, and the man snarled, “Where do you think we are? We’re in the Cubs stadium of course.” 

“Who are the cubs?” Charles asked.

“Only the greatest team in baseball history since 1903.” 

“Wait, what’s that date?” 

“1903,” he answered

“Wait, then what’s today? 

“It’s June 29th, 2019,” the stranger said then hurried to get to his seat. 

“… 2019,” Charles said panting.

Then suddenly, Charles’ head spun as if he had been spinning all day and the noise of the crowd slowly got fainter and fainter… until he couldn’t hear or see. Everything went black.


Bird Over Dove

As bird flies over dove,

The sky so icy blue,

As bride pronounces love to groom,

They set sail with the crew,


Snaking down the alleyway,

Watching here and there,

And even if you were to snap,

I’ll stay strong and hold my stare,


Staying strong but lovely,

Staying fierce still chic,

But if you have a surprise,

Can’t promise I won’t peek,


Seeing smiling faces,

The beautiful, shining glow,

Now if something doesn’t go my way,

To put on a smile I know.


Three Fingers

There was a girl named Issa. It was her birthday so her mom went to the store to get her a doll. When the mom found the doll section, she picked out the prettiest doll in the aisle.

And a man that worked at the store walked over. “Are you sure you want that doll, it only has three fingers?”

Her mom was sure she wanted that doll then the man warned her again: “Do not play with the doll in the basement and do not call the doll Three Fingers.”

The mom disbelieved him, and she said, “okay,” and she paid for it.  And then she gave Issa the doll, but the mom forgot to tell Issa the rules about the doll, so she played with Three Fingers in the basement and called it “Three Fingers.”

That night when she was sleeping she heard a noise like this: “my name is Three Fingers. I’m on your door frame.” She woke up and looked on her door frame but the doll wasn’t there.

She couldn’t fall back asleep and then she heard it again: “My name is Three Fingers. I’m on your bed frame.” She looked behind her but the doll wasn’t on her bed frame. Issa got super scared and ran to her parents’ room but her parents’ door was locked shut. She stood in the hallway and her room door was closed and locked too. The doll quietly appeared behind Issa, and the doll tapped her on her head. But she couldn’t see, and then no more Issa and no more doll.


The Plantation

Karen and August were best friends. They did everything together. Their parents were best friends and had known each other since they were in middle school, so Karen and August had known each other pretty much their whole lives. The girls went to the same middle school, they had the same interests, and they even went on vacations with each other, though they were a little different when it came to emotions. August was a bit shy while Karen was super outgoing, but they usually put those differences aside and focused on their friendship. Everyone knew them as the best friends. 

So when Karen got a new beach house, the girls were dying to go together. So they begged their parents and they eventually said yes. The girls were ecstatic! They immediately started packing. Two days went by and the girls were driving to the new beach house. When they got there, they explored the whole house. There was a pool, a deck, and the house was huge! There was a game room, a lovely kitchen with flower wallpaper, and 5 bedrooms!

The girls swam a little bit and caught some crabs. Afterwards, they wanted to explore the neighborhood. They asked their parents, and they said, “Yes, as long as you stick together.” So they went off. 

The girls were really excited when they saw an abandoned plantation. There was a “NO TRESPASSING” sign, but the girls ignored the warning and kept walking. There was a dirt path they went down, and it was an insane sight. There were fields of long grass, a pool, and a huge mansion right in front of them. The pool was murky with leaves floating on the top. The house was all beat down, and there was broken glass scattered around the house. There was a small guest house a little ways out into the fields.

When they stopped staring in awe Karen asked August, “Where do we start?”

“What do you mean?” August asked, confused. She didn’t want to go into the house. She just wanted to look.

“Let’s explore! As long as we stay together we are allowed to!” Karen exclaimed.

“But there was a-” but before she could finish, Karen was already pulling her into the small guest home. As soon as the girls went inside, they felt a cold rush of air that gave them chills.

“What was that?” August asked, looking around, aghast. 

“It was just a breeze. Chill,” Karen said, annoyed.

“Umm, ok,” August said, unsure. She felt like something was watching her, but she brushed it off. The girls walked a little further and they smelled something horrid and moldy. They looked at the ground and saw a rotting mouse moving with maggots. 

“No, no, I’m done! Bye! You have fun exploring a spirit filled maggot dump while I go back to the house!” August shrieked.

“What do you mean spirits? We have to stay together, remember? You can’t leave if I don’t, and there is no such thing as spirits,” Karen said, super aggravated. Why was her best friend being so annoying? Spirits aren’t even real!  

“Fine. Five minutes though, deal?” August said, aggravated as well. Why was her friend being so ignorant? Can’t Karen tell I’m scared?  

Karen took her left hand and put it behind her back. She crossed her fingers and said, 

“Deal.” The girls kept walking while August was clueless of what just happened. The girls walked into the very back of the house and saw a kitchen all burnt up as if there was a fire. Ash scattered all over the ground. Karen thought it was cool, but August thought it was gross. The girls didn’t really want to touch anything so they decided to head upstairs. As soon as they got upstairs, they heard a strange wispy noise that sounded sort of like a whistle. 

“What the heck was that?!” August cried. 

“Um.. It- it was, um, probably the wind. Yeah, the wind,” Karen said, unsure. She definitely heard that noise, and it sounded like a demonic whisper to her, but she didn’t want to leave yet. She wanted to explore the big house, too. So she thought of a plan; she wanted to sound ok so August wouldn’t completely have a heart attack. 

“Listen, we only have 3 minutes left. Let’s go in the mansion, and then we leave,” Karen said.

“No way am I spending another minute on this property!” August exclaimed. 

“You promised, August! Please!” Karen begged.

 “Ugh fine. Only 3 minutes! Wait, what if something happens to us? Like we get hurt?” August asked.

 “We have phones, remember? We can call for help! Now let’s go!” Karen said, pulling August down the stairs and out of the house.

 As they passed through the door frame they still felt that chill, but the girls didn’t say anything. Karen was confused. Why was her friend not flipping out? she thought. They tried opening the front door of the house, but it was locked so then they tried the back door and voila! It opened in a snap. The door creaked open, and they found themselves on an indoor patio. It had some chairs and a recliner, and it looked really dusty and smelled sort of like mold, but the girls quickly left that room and went to a big room that could have once been a living room. Chipped paint flakes covered the ground along with broken glass scattered around. But then Karen saw something that made her shudder. A small finger looking object was lying in the corner with dried blood covering it. 

“O-ok. Um.. let’s leave. Ok?” Karen said.

“Why do you want to leave so soon?” August asked. “I’m finally feeling brave, and I’m starting to think it’s cool in here.”

“It’s been three minutes though! Time to go!” Karen urged.

“Karen, I saw you cross your fingers. I just acted like I didn’t know, to make you happy. We are staying. Like you said, you can’t leave if I don’t. It’s fine. I’m not scared!” August said.

“I’m leaving!” Karen shouted. 

“Fine. See you soon, Karen.” Karen ran to the door and tried turning the door knob, but the door was locked. Karen ran back into the room where August had just been and she wasn’t there. Karen even tried the front of the house, but that door was locked.  Karen turned around and saw a slight shadow of a girl. Karen blinked her eyes and looked again and saw nothing. She could have sworn that she just saw a shadow. Karen looked for any possible exit when she found a piece of August’s skirt lying right in front of the basement door. She took all the courage she had and decided to walk down to the basement. She flicked on a light switch and was horrified by what she saw. Right before her eyes, August was tied to a chair bleeding from everywhere on her body as if she had been slashed. Karen was terrified as she realized August was dead. Immediately, Karen pulled out her phone but there was no signal whatsoever. She tried screaming, but it was no use. When she couldn’t call for help, and there was nothing she could do, she looked closer at August’s body. Blood dripped from the chair, splattering all over the floor, and August’s mouth hung open as if she had been… screaming? How? I couldn’t hear a scr- but Karen couldn’t even finish her thought when the lights flickered. Standing in front of August was… a shadow? 

“August?!” Karen screamed. 

“Told you I would see you soon,” said the shadow. 

The room went black. 


The Tale of Sir Beetle

There once lived a lonely old man named Sir Beetle. He was very rich. He was lonely because no one wanted to marry him. No one wanted to marry him because he was the world’s biggest idiot, at the time. He was very conceited. He had an imaginary wife who was beautiful, kind, and paid for everything he bought. His dream was to make her reality.

***

One morning, Sir Beetle awoke to the sound of kissing. He walked to his bedroom door, swung it open, and there in his hall stood two of his servants kissing. They looked very embarrassed.

“Um, hello sir,” said one of them.

Sir Beetle rolled his eyes and trudged back into his bed. He sighed. He hated the joy of other people. He thought that servants shouldn’t have feelings, or romances. He thought that all servants should never say anything except “Yes, sir” or “Yes, madam.” He thought that they should all dress the same way. He made the male servants wear a thin black shirt, thin black pants, and a gray cap. I do not know what the women wore, simply because no one has ever told me. He thought that servants should only do what they were told to do, and nothing else, and he thought all he should do for the servants was pay them extremely small amounts of money for all their hard work. In other words, he basically wanted his servants to be like golems. And most golems don’t really have a love life.

“Why don’t I have a real wife?” asked Sir Beetle. He obviously hadn’t considered the possibility that maybe it was because he was grumpy, snobbish, idiotic, and would definitely make the worst husband a woman could ask for. Just then, he got an idea. If he died, his servants would be out of work. That was a fact. So, he thought that they would save his life if he was in trouble. And what if a female servant saved his life? Then he could claim that she saved him because she was madly in love with him! He instantly jumped out his bedroom window. He was going to land in the garden. Two female servants were watering the plants. Then, they saw him.

“Sir Beetle is falling!” cried one.

“He’s going to die!” yelled the other.

And then, in unison, they cried “YAY!”

***

Unfortunately, Sir Beetle had not died. He had almost died, but God had taken pity upon him, and he had survived. He had fired the female servants who had not caught him after he had jumped out the window. When he got back to his mansion, he was more determined than ever to get married. Then, he remembered the tale of Cinderella and how the prince found a wife by having a ball. He wrote a letter inviting a girl to his ball:

Dear Elizabeth,

Would you like to go to my Dance ‘n Drink ball? There will be lots of beer and dancing from dawn till dusk!

From,

Sir William Beetle

But Sir Beetle had forgotten one very important thing: he didn’t know any women named Elizabeth. He told his messenger, named Henry Daggerpond, to deliver it to “Elizabeth.” He did not tell his Henry where Elizabeth lived… simply because Elizabeth didn’t exist! Henry Daggerpond got lost in the woods and was eaten by bears. Meanwhile, Sir Beetle had invested heavily in beer for “Dance ‘n Drink” ball. But when Elizabeth never responded, he drank all the beer he had bought. He was drunk. And being drunk, and also being a moron, is not the best way to woo a girl. Not long after he had gotten drunk, Sir Beetle got a letter from the mother of the messenger who he had sent to give the letter to Elizabeth:

Dear Sir Beetle,

The messenger who thou hath sent to deliver your letter was my son. Two hunters found his body next to a bear den. I would like to apologize that your letter was never sent, and I assure you that what happened was not your fault. You were simply sending a letter, and you had no way of knowing that my son would be killed.

Yours truly,

Anne Daggerpond

The idea of being guilty never crossed Sir Beetle’s mind, as it might have crossed the mind of you or I. As he read the letter, he began to think he was a murderer. He thought he was a murderer called Feared Sir Beetle, who was the death of all he could see. As soon as he thought this, he decided to kill anyone who he saw. He would kill all of his servants. He decided that anyone who met Feared Sir Beetle would not live much longer. That night, he told his servants to sleep in his garden. At 1:00 that night, he snuck into his garden. He killed every last one of his servants. Then, he snuck into his barn and killed all his animals. He ran into his house and killed his imaginary wife. He had entirely forgotten about how much he longed for a wife. He ran to an inn. He knew that any decent inn would have many sleeping travelers to kill. He quietly stepped into the inn. Then, he killed everyone in sight. From that day on, he had red eyes.

***

Eleanor of Antique had needed to help her horse’s hoof, which had been infected, all morning. She was not in the mood to judge any trials, but a queen must serve her country, and so that’s why she found herself listening to the story of a wealthy noble who killed dozens of servants and travelers. She was pretty sure he would be guilty, and if she said that he was, then it would be off to the gallows with him. She went to bed thinking about this murderous noble. And as she slept, Feared Sir Beetle killed all he saw…

***

It was still dark outside. The sound of a gavel thumping down on a desk could be heard for miles around. “Order in the court,” boomed Eleanor of Antique’s voice. “Bring in the verdict.” Sir Beetle was kicked into the courtroom by soldiers. He was in chains.

“ROAR!!!” roared Sir Beetle. Then, he looked at Eleanor of Antique. He noticed her dashing red hair. He stared at her dazzling crown.

“Want to go horseback riding after we get out of here?” asked Sir Beetle.

“Are you trying to flirt with me?” demanded the queen.

“Oh, yes,” replied Sir Beetle dreamily.

“I’m already married!” said the queen.

“Well, I am surely better than the man you are with.”

“The man I am with is the king!”

“Not my concern.”

“It should be your concern, because I am going to execute you!” Eleanor of Antique turned to face the court. “The verdict is guilty,” she said sweetly. “Take him to the dungeon,” she said to her guards, who had been standing beside her, looking like giant nutcrackers.

They hustled out of the courtroom, carrying Sir Beetle, who was still in chains. He was brought to a place so gloomy he was reminded of when he was a wealthy noble who had been loved by no one. The windows were very thin and looked as if they were about to fall apart. The most noticeable thing about the dungeon were the rats. They were huge, the size of bulldogs. They scampered and squeaked in a most unwelcoming way. There were no other prisoners in the dungeon; Sir Beetle was alone. This was not an unusual thing for Sir Beetle to be. He had always been alone. But it’s much better to be alone as a rich noble than to be alone as a prisoner in a dungeon. Around midnight, the thin glass windows crashed when hit by a large gust of wind. Not only did shards of glass come into the dungeon at this, but so did several notes. They were all the same thing: ink blotches. And they all ended the same way:

Yours truly,

Anne Daggerpond.

Sir Beetle tried to remember where he had heard that name before. Anne Daggerpond… the name seemed so familiar, but Sir Beetle couldn’t remember where he had heard it before. Anne Daggerpond… he fell asleep thinking about it. He did not know why, but Anne Daggerpond seemed so close by.

***

The day of Sir Beetle’s execution was very cold and rainy. It smelled of wet dog. It was in the courtyard of the Tower of London. Many nobles had come to see Sir Beetle get executed. One of them wore a yellow hoop skirt and had hair the color of a rotten banana. Another wore a blood-red hoop skirt and had hair the color of a dung beetle’s favorite food. They were both gossipping about how ugly Sir Beetle was. Eleanor of Antique was quite eager to get the execution over with. One of her friends, a duchess, was coming to see the execution, so she had decided to come too, but she was really not very fond of watching the lives of outlaws getting ended. The executor was a fat man with a beard that made it look like his face was being attacked by gummy worms. He picked up Sir Beetle with one hand and placed him on a table. He was about to end Sir Beetle’s life when a strong smell filled the air. It was the smell of perfume. Suddenly, a woman stepped onto the courtyard. She had long brown hair and was dressed entirely in purple. She wore a shawl. Her face was covered.

“Hello,” she said. Her voice made everyone feel like they had drunk a bit too much champagne. The executor stopped what he was doing, and so did everyone else.  “I am Anne Daggerpond,” she said. “You must be Sir Beetle.”

“I am, am, amamammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm,” he said sleepily.

Anne Daggerpond pulled a large wristwatch out of her pocket. She began to hum a little tune. She put the pocket watch on her arm. She admired it for a minute, then did a little dance.

“This is a dance that birds do to attract mates,” said Anne Daggerpond. She tore her shawl. She stared dreamily at Sir Beetle. Her dreamy expression made Sir Beetle think of what it had been like to love, to love someone who didn’t love you back. He remembered pretty girls who he wanted to marry. He remembered a particularly pretty girl who didn’t want to marry him.

Sir Beetle had felt like a crumpled up piece of paper. The 85th girl who Sir Beetle had asked to marry him had rejected his marriage proposal. He was sobbing so hard that his shoulders shook.

“If no one recognizes greatness such as I, life is not worth living,” he had cried.

“And I do not think anyone ever will recognize my greatness. They are too dumb.”

He did not think a girl would ever like him. Not even his servants agreed to marry him, and before they started working for him he told them that if they rejected his marriage proposal, he would fire them. He stopped his crying briefly. Then, he howled loudly and began to sob more loudly than he had been before. He had now confirmed that no one would ever like him. Sir Beetle had felt miserable. And now, as he stared into Anne Dagerpond’s eyes, he remembered love. He remembered life before he had felt obliged to kill. Sir Beetle just wanted to kiss Anne. He knew he would soon be killed, and before that happened, he wanted to kiss someone who might, just might, kiss him back. Anne walked towards Sir Beetle, and as she did, the crowd parted.

“I am a widow,” said Anne now. “I would love someone to kiss, and I think you are the perfect person for me to kiss.”

And so Anne kissed Sir Beetle. It is a wonderful feeling to get kissed after people have hated you all your life. But the nobles were not really impressed that Anne had kissed a criminal.

“This is no place for lovebirds!” said Eleanor of Antique.

“Get out of here, please,” she said briskly to Anne.

“Now, it is so sad that a rich, formerly honorable man must be killed, and I hope this sort of thing won’t happen again. But now, this criminal must be killed.”

And so the executor picked up his ax. The crowd of nobles held their breath. Rain was making everyone absolutely drenched. Thunder was so loud that no one could hear anything. Sir Beetle knew that soon his life would end. He wondered what it felt like to die.

And before he knew what had happened, he was dead.

***

Sir Beetle felt as if he had fallen onto a brick floor. He saw color swirling around him. He saw everything that he had ever seen spin by so fast that it was a blur. He was feeling a strange feeling. He felt as if something was leaving his body. It was life, he thought. It had to be life. He felt a pounding feeling in his heart. He felt like he would see Anne again. And now, he felt as though life was slipping through his fingers. He had to hold on, he had to…

***

A tall figure stood before Sir Beetle. He had a long, flowing beard. It was pure white, and just looking at it made Sir Beetle shiver. He had gigantic wings sprouting from his back. They were as white as his beard.

“I am Saint Peter,” said the tall, winged, bearded figure. He smiled. “One might call me the Santa Claus of eternity.” He chuckled. However, his smile quickly vanished.

“I will determine if you will go to heaven or hell by using the Glass Ball Of Fate.”

He vanished for a few seconds, then reappeared holding a golden spector and a glass ball. He tapped the glass ball with the golden spector and screamed, “Sir Beetle!” at it. The glass ball turned blood red and started to scream. The sound was deafening. Saint Peter frowned and tapped the glass ball with his golden spector. The yelling stopped, and the ball turned clear again.

“Hell for you,” said Saint Peter said sadly.

But then the ball turned a bright shade of blue. Harp music came from the glass ball. And then, from the Glass Ball of Fate, came Anne Daggerpond’s voice.

“He’s not that bad,” it said. “He’s really not such a bad man… ”

The voice and the harp music gradually died out. The bright shade of blue faded. Saint Peter’s frown turned into a smile. Sir Beetle wished that Anne was right next to him. Saint Peter looked a bit confused.

“Well, well, well, what will I do with you?” said Saint Peter.

“I don’t know,” said Sir Beetle.

“Well, I could use an assistant,” said Saint Peter. “I need someone who can guard the Gates of Heaven when I’m not. I need someone who will help me in old age. Would you like to be my assistant?”

“I don’t think I’m worthy.”

“Then there is one more option: reincarnation.”

“Reincarnation?”

“Yes, I can take you back to Earth and turn you into an animal of your choice.“

“I like that idea.”

“What animal would you like to be?”

Sir Beetle’s response was instant: “A beetle!”

“Very well, come with me.”

Saint Peter and Sir Beetle dived down to Earth. They dived through clouds. At last, they landed on Earth. Saint Peter pointed his spector at Sir Beetle.

“SCARABÉE!” he roared. There was a blast of light, a rush of sound, and Sir Beetle was a beetle. He turned his head to thank Saint Peter, but by then Saint Peter had vanished.


Forever Standing

        

When someone looks

Down on you

When they laugh

At your differences

When they criticize

Your similarities

When you want it all to end

So you hide away

Tears streaming down your cheeks

Thinking to yourself:

“You don’t deserve to be here”

 

Remember, to see is a gift

To come home to your loved ones and say:

“I love you”

Is a blessing

To stroll on the beach,

Sun shining down on your back

Water lathering your toes

Is a miracle

To have compassion and be able to give back

Love that others have given to you

Is a wealth that cannot be measured

 

When you are looked down upon,

Someone somewhere is looking up and saying,

“Thank you”

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

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

Because maybe, just maybe, you powered through

All the hatred being poured onto your shoulders

Sweat drips down your face in effort

But you are still standing

You will keep standing

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

You can’t

So you will keep standing,

Forever

 

What He’s Become

       

(Warning: This is not for the lighthearted)

 

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

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

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

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

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

“Please… ”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Time is up.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It won’t be for nothing.”

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

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

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

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

 

The Haunted Circus Chronicles

 

CHAPTER ONE

It was a hot and sunny day when Jeff and Bob walked into the circus. The noise was loud, they could hear people laughing, carousel music, and an announcer calling over the loudspeaker, “Last call for a ticket to the Great Juggler’s Show!” Jeff bought a big bag of hot, buttery popcorn, which smelled amazing, and cotton candy. Bob bought a hot dog, and they both bought cold sodas. They walked down the grass eating their food, looking around for something cool. On each side of the grass were tents: white and silver for the acrobats, red and blue for the animal tamers, blue and silver for the magicians, and one more tent for refreshments.

“Do you like school?” asked Jeff, while eating his popcorn.

“Not really,” said Bob. “The teachers are so mean.”

“Yeah,” said Jeff. “Ms. Butterbottom is really strict. She didn’t let you celebrate your birthday! We never have parties for holidays, and we had a lot of homework.”

Jeff and Bob were both thirteen. They were both wearing T-shirts and shorts.

Bob looked up and saw a platform ahead of them. A crowd had gathered. They were watching silently in amazement while a clown juggled on a unicycle. The clown was wearing a red wig, a red nose, big shoes, and a bright yellow and red polka dot shirt.

“I hate clowns,” said Jeff.

“Me too,” said Bob.

“Especially after that movie last night,” said Jeff. They had watched a horror movie, Politics About Clowns.

Jeff and Bob avoided the platform. They saw a path to the left, leading towards the carousel. They kept walking, eating their popcorn, and talking.

To the left of the pathway, there was another tent. It was red and yellow.

“What time should we go home?” asked Jeff.

“Well, I want to invite some friends over for a party tomorrow. We could have a pool party at your house… ”

The clown on the stage did a backflip on his unicycle while juggling ten balls. The crowd looked amazed, cheering and clapping.

Suddenly, Bob and Jeff felt a hand wrapping around their arms and yanking them backwards into the tent. “AHHHHHHHH!” they screamed.

Nobody saw Jeff and Bob — they were too busy watching the clown. Outside the tent, all they could see was a bag of popcorn left on the ground.

 

Jeff and Bob were tied down in wooden chairs inside the tent. The chairs had blood all over them. They saw a whole bunch of clowns in a dark room holding knives.

Everything had happened so fast that Jeff and Bob were confused. “Who are you?” asked Jeff and Bob quietly.

“We are your worst nightmare,” they all said. One of the clowns stepped forward to tighten their ropes. The clown had a freaky face with blood all over it and a lot of white and black makeup. It had red blood all over its white clothes and ruffled collar. It had red hair, ugly teeth, and stitches all over its eyes.

Jeff and Bob were shocked and frightened to death.

The clowns explained their ugly plan. “You must be clowns, or you and your families will die.”

Jeff and Bob didn’t know what to say. There was no escaping the clowns.

“It’s better for only us to get hurt than all our families,” said Jeff.

“Yeah, you’re right,” said Bob.

Jeff and Bob answered. “We want to be clowns,” they said.

“Good,” said the clowns. “And we are killer clowns. So you will have to kill people.”

“We don’t want to be killer clowns!” said Bob. Jeff and Bob were very, very scared.

One of the clowns came up behind Jeff and Bob with a gun. He pointed it at their brains, but Jeff and Bob couldn’t see. Then, the clown put a hole in their brains and put a chip inside.

Jeff and Bob dropped their heads. When they woke up, they had red eyes.

 

CHAPTER TWO

It was a hot and sunny day when Steve and Joe walked into the circus. Steve and Joe were looking for Jeff and Bob at the circus. They had just come home from vacation yesterday. Jeff and Bob had told them they were going to the circus, but they were on the plane, so they couldn’t go.

Bob’s and Jeff’s parents had called Steve’s and Joe’s parents, but they didn’t know where they were. So then, Steve and Joe went to the circus to find them.

When Steve and Joe walked into the circus, they started looking. First, they got food because they were starving. They got strawberry funnel cake with whipped cream and powdered sugar on top. They also got popcorn, hot dogs, and cold sodas.

They started walking around, and they saw a whole bunch of tents. They walked in the first one, and they saw a security guard. The security guard said, “Do you have a ticket?” They said no.

“We spent all our money on food,” Steve said to Joe.

“We have to get in there,” said Joe. “Bob and Jeff could be in there. Maybe they stayed there all night, or maybe they joined the circus!”

Steve used his martial arts karate moves to attack the security guard. He was down in two seconds. And Joe was just standing there. He didn’t know any martial arts.

They looked in the tent, but they couldn’t find Jeff and Bob. Elephants and musicians were doing a show in the middle of the tent. There was a humongous crowd. They loved it! They were amazed!

Steve was feeling proud of himself for taking out a security guard, and Joe was worried about Jeff and Bob.

When they went out of the tent, the security guard woke up with ten other security guards. Steve and Joe knew that the guards were there for them. Steve and Joe tried to punch the guards, but then they had to run away because the security guards were chasing them. They ran into a white and silver tent.

It was dark inside the tent. There was creepy violin music. Then the lights turned on, and acrobats were surrounding them. They looked like normal acrobats — they were wearing sparkly silver leotards and no makeup except for jewels on their foreheads. But they were holding knives, and one had a chainsaw. Then, Steve and Joe saw clowns behind the acrobats. They couldn’t recognize Jeff and Bob.

Steve and Joe were shocked. They gasped.

The acrobats said, “Now you and your family will die if you don’t become an acrobat.”

The acrobats put chips in their brains with a microchip gun. Then, Steve’s and Joe’s brains forced them to obey the evil acrobats.

 

CHAPTER THREE

It was a hot and sunny day when Marie and Cooper walked into the circus. They were trying to find Jeff, Bob, Steve, and Joe. Their parents all knew each other, and they all called Marie’s and Cooper’s parents to see if they knew where Jeff, Bob, Steve, and Joe were. Jeff and Bob had been missing for two days, and Steve and Joe had been missing for one day.

Marie was a five foot seven Japanese young woman, and she was fourteen. Cooper was a five foot nine blond guy, and he was thirteen.

They were at the pool when they got the phone call from the parents. They were kind of annoyed about leaving the pool. They were kind of worried and mad at the same time.

The first thing they did when they got to the circus was buy food. They bought buttery popcorn, cotton candy, blueberry funnel cakes, hamburgers, hot dogs, and sodas. They also got a slushy. And that’s all they got.

They started looking for Steve, Joe, Jeff, and Bob. They called their friends, but no one answered. Marie and Cooper went to the big tent where the elephant show was going on. And then they found $300 on the ground. They were lucky! They bought two tickets and took turns watching the show and looking for their friends.

After the show, they still couldn’t find them. But then the SWAT team came, because the money that Marie and Cooper used was fake. The SWAT team went looking for Marie and Cooper, but they raced away. Marie was kind of slow, but then she punched them, and Cooper ran away to a tent that was blue and silver. It was nice outside, but inside the tent it was dark, stormy, and mysterious. And then, the lights turned on.

Marie and Cooper were circled by evil magicians, acrobats, and clowns. They couldn’t recognize Steve, Joe, Bob, or Jeff. Marie and Cooper were shocked. They had no idea what was going on.

So then one magician said, “Your family and you will die if you don’t become evil magicians. HA HA HA HA HA!”

He looked like a wizard. He was kind of ugly. He looked like he was 70, but he was only 40. He had a long, scraggly gray beard.

Marie and Cooper both turned into magicians with a chip inside their brain.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

It was a cold, dreary night at the circus. The clowns, acrobats, and magicians got together to do their really, really, really evil plan. Their plan was that they would attack the human race and rule the world. The plan was to attack the president first, to rule the world, and then they would attack the whole US, then North America, then South America, then the whole world.

They started going to Washington, DC. Then, when they got to the president’s house, they broke in, killed the security guards, and then murdered the president. Then, they took control of the United States, and then every United States citizen had to go to the White House immediately. Then, they turned all the people of the United States into clowns.

Then, they took over Mexico and Canada. Mexico turned into acrobats, and Canada turned into magicians. They took over South America, and they all turned into clowns. Europe turned into acrobats, and Asia turned into magicians. And Australia was the last defense of the human race. Then, they took over Australia, and they all turned into clowns.

But then, there was one more country left. New Zealand. They attacked. Half of them got demolished, but the clowns, acrobats, and magicians still won. Then, the only quest was to take over Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Venus, and the other planets. So, they started creating rockets. Acrobats took over a third of the planets, and magicians took a third, and clowns took one third. But they couldn’t reach Neptune.

But then they all came to Neptune with a powerful rocket. Then, they started to defeat Neptune. The acrobats used their flexibility to catch the people on Neptune, the magicians used their spells to freeze the people, and the clowns used their knives to kill them. Now the Milky Way was called The Haunted Circus. No humans or aliens survived. There were nine million clowns, acrobats, and magicians spread out across the galaxy. They journeyed to each of the hundred billion galaxies. Now they had a billion billion recruits in the Milky Way, and they had about another billion billion in the Sunflower galaxy, and another billion billion in the Whirlpool galaxy, and another billion billion in the Black Eye galaxy. So, they had billions of recruits.

Now the six friends were the leaders of the Evil Haunted Circus, and they ruled the whole universe. They were friends again, because they were leaders, but they didn’t remember their old lives. They didn’t know who their parents were anymore, and their parents became clowns.

The End!

 

Life of a Hermit Crab

 

DAY ONE

“Aaah! My eyes! They burn… ” I said. The waves crashed, causing me to fall asleep. But soon enough, one hour later, I was bought! I was finally going to be free at a gigantic house!

“Mom, can I get this crab? The young, blue shelled one so that he lasts long!” said my owner, Lucas.

“Sure, Lucas,” said my owner’s mom. “Whatever you want.”

And at first sight, I saw in his eyes that he was going to love and cherish me for all of my life. But right after he bought me, we had to go in this scary piece of metal that went so fast! And it was so fast, I almost got sick! It had all these bags and coolers in the very back, and that’s where my owner was sitting, all alone! And the worst part is that it took one hour and thirty minutes until we finally stopped! And when we finally did, they left me in the piece of metal! Then finally, one hour later, they came back! But the same thing happened! So for two hours, I had to sit in an uncomfortable cage in an uncomfortable piece of metal that was fast. And I didn’t even get food. And then, we finally came to a stop. For good. That’s when I saw it. A gigantic house! Where were we? We definitely weren’t in Bethany Beach… so where were we?

“Buddy, we’re in Maryland! Chevy Chase!” I stared at him in despair. “Buddy, this is all the peace and quiet you need. Let’s go inside!” said my owner. “This is the office. This is where I sleep. This is also where you sleep. Let me show you my brother’s crab. You guys are gonna have a great time!” said my owner.

So, he showed me my “friend” as he called him. But he was so massive. We both hid from each other, and my owner and his brother started laughing. Humans were idiots sometimes.

“I’ll call you The Flash. You’re so fast,” said my owner.

So after, we went to sleep, but I couldn’t because my owner complained to his mom that I was making too much noise, so she put me in a scary room, and I was up all night.

 

DAY TWO

The next morning, Lucas’ mom wasn’t there to wake him up. His dad was. He fed me, but I didn’t like the smell of the food. So, I didn’t eat it. And then, he put me back in his room. And then he let me exercise for a few minutes, fed me, and then just left the house with his dad. Where did they go to that took so long? He was finally back with his grandma and his brother like… five hours later! Then finally, Lucas went to get me out of my cage and let me exercise. Lucas was a cool dude. I tried to speak to him, but his response was way out of topic.

When I said I needed water, he said, “Looks like you need exercise!”

And then once again, obviously, he brought in my brother’s crab like… two hours later, and he put my face in front of his face. We both ran. That crab was huge!!! I didn’t like him. That crab was annoying. He spoke too much and smelled. He said things about the World Cup, trying to bet me 50 bucks that England was going to win over and over again, and he sang soccer songs, and shouted, “HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE!” Take a shower, dude! I just ignored him, but I didn’t think he had any reason to ignore me… I was just a perfectly normal crab living a normal life. This time, Lucas didn’t get tucked in by his mom again. Where was she? So once again, I expected him to wake up in the middle of the night to my cage rattling and kick me from his room. But this time, he didn’t! So this time, I could finally get some sleep!

But I woke up to him in the middle of the night when he was moving in his bed while he was asleep…  so I said, “Dude! Quiet!” and rattled my cage.

Then, all bad was released. Lucas woke up, angry. This time, he didn’t take me to his parents’ room. He took me to the basement. I couldn’t sleep all night. It was so dark…

 

DAY THREE

I was hungry. I hadn’t eaten in two days. The food was so gross. Seriously, Lucas? Just give me a banana. Lucas was worried for me.

He said to his dad, “Dad! The Flash hasn’t eaten his food in two days. I’m worried… ”

“Don’t worry. I’ll try to get Gabe to get The Flash to eat. It’s going to be fine,” said Lucas’ dad.

Lucas got ready for where he was going and played on his iPad for a bit until he had to go. My water sponge was out of water.

Then, when they were about to leave, Lucas checked my sponge and said to his dad, “Can I quickly give my crab water in his sponge?” and Lucas’ dad hit the wall really hard.

I started to get scared.

His dad screamed at Lucas and said, “YOU SHOULD’VE DONE THAT EARLIER!”

“Well, do you want my crab to die?” said Lucas.

“Sure. Let him die. I am going to kill him!” said his dad angrily.

I started to get so scared… I started crying. “I don’t wanna die!” I said.

But Lucas’ dad didn’t kill me. He didn’t even come upstairs. I calmed down. I stopped crying.

“You need to go to Writopia! I’m going to be late for a ten o’clock meeting in downtown D.C.!”

So that’s where he went every day! What’s Writopia? Well, at least I knew where he went every day. And then, they left. And I heard some shouting outside. So, I just sat and waited for Lucas to come back. When Lucas came back from Writopia, he finally took me out of the basement. He put me up one floor, which was much cosier. Then, he gave me a banana, which I did not eat, but I usually would. Then, he just watched some TV. He let me out of my cage while he was watching TV and let me exercise. I liked Lucas, but sometimes he was scary… like… his hands were colossal. So, as usual, I was expecting to have to go face-to-face with my mortal enemy, The Soccer Dude, and yes, that was what I called the one who shouted, “HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE!” all night long, and I was the only one who could hear it, but no. The happiest day of my life was today. God shined the light on me. Angels watched over me. I did not see The Soccer Dude today!!!

“HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE! HARRY KANE!”

 

DAY FOUR

The next morning, as usual, he gave me water and went on his iPad for a bit. No questions asked. And I still had a headache from The Soccer Dude shouting Harry Kane all night. Lucas left to Writopia, once again, and I was all alone with a madman singing “Ole.” When Lucas returned, I heard a calm, soothing voice. Apparently, his mom was here! Even I was surprised! One day she was not here, the next she was!

“Mom. Did you bring anything from your business trip?” said Lucas.

“No, sweetie. I’m sorry. Next time I will,” said Lucas’ mom.

“It’s okay, Mom. You didn’t have to,” said Lucas.

Okay. Business trip. So… where did she go for the business trip? So, Lucas just picked me up like it was nothing and held me in his hand. Okay. Imagine this. You have to sit in the palm of a sweaty hand in a hot room for two hours watching a piece of metal that has a screen that projects people kicking a ball and flopping on the floor. Plus, my mortal enemy (The Soccer Dude) was in Lucas’ brother’s hand, cheering for England. That’s what his definition of fun was. At the end of the game, The Soccer Dude wept. The Soccer Dude snapped his pinchers in the air. You see, that’s why I only did normal things that crabs do.

“WHYYY!!! England! Ye lost! How? It’s only Croatia!!! Come ON England ye worthless scrubs! Wahhhhhaahhaahaa,” wept The Soccer Dude.

“Oh, come on, dude! It’s only a game! What’s the meaning of people kicking a ball and flopping on the floor?” I say.

“You really don’t get it, do you?” said The Soccer Dude in a weepy voice. “This is the World Cup. It happens only every four years, and this is very rare! England is way better than nasty ol’ Croatia!” The Soccer Dude pinched me!

“Aaah!” I started to cry. “Lucas!!! Aaah!”

Lucas heard the pinch. He immediately came downstairs. He threw The Soccer Dude on the hard floor. The Soccer Dude was hurt. Yay! Then, he quickly sprinted to me.

“Are you okay?” said Lucas. I was bleeding. It hurt! I frowned.

“Mom!” said Lucas.

“Yes, Lucas?” said Lucas’ Mom.

“The Flash is bleeding!” said Lucas.

“Oh, no!” said Lucas’ Mom. “I’m coming right now!”

“We need to put a tiny piece of folded paint to stop the bleeding,” said Lucas.

“Good idea,” said Lucas’ Mom. She ran upstairs to get toilet paper and put it where I was bleeding. And it stopped after a while.

At night, The Soccer Dude finally stopped yelling “Harry Kane” and singing “Ole.” For the first time, I was not taken to the basement. Instead, I was taken to Lucas’ room where I had to boringly watch Lucas sleep for 11 hours. But still, I loved him. I was growing to be comfortable with this house. And that, my friends, was when I realized Lucas’ family would cherish and protect me forever.

Fin

 

Credits

Lucas Gebrekristose (story idea)

Rita Feinstein (comments/helping/correcting)

Ebony Adkins (comments/helping/correcting)

Marina Cooper (comments/helping/correcting)

Sofia Laguarda (comments/helping/correcting)

Special thanks to my family and my wonderful crab who hold and cherish me, knowing I will do the same for them.

 

The Adventures of Melissa Momper

            

“Where are you going tonight, honey?” Major Moe Momper asked his wife, taking a sip of coffee.

“I’m going to review this place called The Garlic,” Melissa Momper responded, taking a sip too, but quickly put it down. “I can’t drink too much coffee; I don’t want to fill up.”

“The Garlic? Isn’t that the last place your friend Cathy went before she vanished?” Moe Momper replied, raising his eyebrows.

“Yes,” Melissa answered sadly, “The Garlic’s owner, Jessie Goodwin, told the police Cathy mentioned the idea of moving to Peru. But she never said anything to me. I’m going to ask Jessie about her. I haven’t heard from her in a while.”

“She didn’t tell me anything either. Or anyone, apparently. Her sister, Lila, says she hasn’t heard from her the whole seven months she’s been gone! And what about Sarah and Robert Churchill? Didn’t they vanish after eating there too?” Moe Momper said.

“The police said they moved to Idaho. Everyone’s worried about them, too. No one’s heard a thing from them! Or Cathy, for that matter. That’s weird, actually,” Melissa replied. She paused, then looked at her watch. Her watch said 5:45 PM. “Time to go. Dinner starts at six. I’m all dressed. I’ll be back in no more than two hours, honey!”

Melissa walked out of the room, out of her house, and into her car. Every time she went to work, she would wear her usual: a blue sweater with a white undershirt, white jeans, and blue high heels.

“The restaurant The Garlic is being visited tonight by the famous Melissa Momper!” the radio man exclaimed.

Melissa smirked. She was a famous restaurant critic, so she was always announced on TV, the radio, magazines, and social media. It was a tradition now. She loved being famous! But her smirk quickly changed. There was no one in the parking lot but one lonely SUV. It was black, and the windows were tinted. “That’s funny,” she whispered. She maneuvered her car to a parking spot far away from the SUV.

Sighing nervously, Melissa walked through the doors. There’s probably just no one because I’m here, she thought to herself.

Melissa expected pictures of garlic and many tables with fancy silverware, glasses, and plates. But she was wrong.

It was pitch dark inside, except for one light in the middle of the room. Under that light was a single armchair. No one was sitting there. Melissa frowned.

“I should probably wait here,” Melissa said. “I don’t want to sit there if Jessie is.”

“Don’t worry — it’s all for you,” a slimy voice cooed, coming out from somewhere. “Please, sit.”

Out from the darkness emerged a short lady with short brown hair in a bun. She was wearing a pink dress with a white apron. But the strangest thing was her earrings. They were… vampires’ faces.

“Uh, no thanks! I just… ” Melissa got out her review notebook. “I guess hospitality — check?”

“Don’t worry,” the lady said. “I’m Jessie. Sit down, and I’ll get you some dinner. Chicken?”

“That’d be nice,” Melissa whispered uneasily. “Can it come out fast? I’m in a rush. Moe — my husband — is waiting for me.”

“Don’t be silly,” Jessie purred. “How can Melissa Momper be busy? Any good critic knows it’s one restaurant a night.”

“Yes, that is true,” Melissa mumbled. “Is this it? Is this what happens every night? Just one customer?”

“Oh, sometimes there are more,” Jessie replied. “But we wanted it to be extra special for Melissa Momper.”

“Um… I like your earrings,” Melissa tried, unsure of how to react. “I have similar earrings… clovers?”

Jessie snickered silently. “Sit. I’ll be back soon.” She was gone.

Melissa didn’t feel so sure about sitting, because it might be a trap. But she didn’t want to make Jessie feel bad — even though she wasn’t sure if she would. She daintily walked over and sat. In about twenty minutes of doing nothing (she had a watch), Jessie finally came out with a big, decorated platter with roasted chicken on it. Garlic was sprinkled over the chicken, and there was a lemon on the side of the plate. Mashed potatoes were on the side. It smelled like no other chicken, and just the smell made Melissa’s mouth water. The chicken looked perfect. Jessie placed it on Melissa’s lap.

“Thanks… ” Melissa said. “Looks yummy.” She took a big bite. She stopped chewing. It was the best chicken she’d ever had. It was as if one of the chefs from the show Moe always watched had made it. “This is awesome.” She quickly took another bite.

“Now, while you’re eating, may I tell you a story?” Jessie asked, sitting on an old wood chair that had not previously been there.

“Sure,” Melissa answered, “about what?”

“Do you know Cathy Banks?” Jessie started, and Melissa nodded.

“Yes,” Melissa said. “Do you know any more details about why she left? She was my best friend.”

Jessie ignored this. “Robert and Sarah Churchill?” Melissa nodded again. “They’ve all come here, but I think you should know one thing.”

“That is?”

“Cathy’s not in Peru. The Churchill’s are not in Idaho.” Jessie smiled, and she clasped her hands together.

“Where are they?” Melissa trembled.

“Why don’t you see for yourself?” Jessie asked and lifted the big platter off of Melissa. “Follow me.”

Melissa didn’t want to, but she knew it would be for the better. “Okay.”

Jessie led her to the kitchen, a set of swinging doors that were further back from the chair. Inside was a counter, an oven, a stove, and other appliances. Melissa relaxed.

“Back here, through this door,” Jessie went on, making Melissa tense again. She wanted this to be over with.

Jessie led her through the other door, and in here was a black room. Inside the room were three people sitting on the floor, but Melissa couldn’t tell who because it was dark. As if on cue, Jessie turned on the lights.

“Melissa Momper?” Robert Churchill asked. He stood up. The thing was, he and the two women looked healthy. They were playing cards. “I haven’t seen you in so long!”

“Robert and Sarah?” Melissa whispered. “Wow. Cathy? How have you been? Everyone was worried about you, and they didn’t know where you were and couldn’t contact you!” Melissa sat down with them.

Jessie looked nervous.

“I’ve been good! How have you been?” Cathy said. “Still in the critic business? Would you like to join us for a game of cards?”

“No, she was just eating here, and I was giving her a tour.” The four of them looked up to see Jessie. “Come on, Melissa.”

“Bye, guys!” Melissa reluctantly said, waving to her friends as Jessie pulled her out of the kitchen. And then she was out of the room. “Jessie — that was so weird!”

“I think you should leave now,” Jessie whispered. She had gotten quieter.

“But what are they doing there? I deserve an answer,” Melissa demanded. “Can I go speak to at least Cathy again?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Jessie said and hustled Melissa out of the kitchen. “Why don’t you go write your review?”

“It won’t be a good one if you don’t tell me why they’re there,” Melissa murmured.

“You won’t tell anybody, though,” Jessie said. “You wouldn’t dare, would you?”

“Well, I might,” Melissa threatened, “if I don’t have an answer.”

All of a sudden, Jessie’s face turned bright red. “Why don’t you come with me, Melissa?”

“I think I better get home,” Melissa said, face turning red. “I won’t tell if you let me leave.”

“Just, before you leave, I might want to tell you one thing,” Jessie said, her face flushing now. “I locked you in.”

“What?” Melissa mouth widened. “Can you… unlock it? And why?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Jessie mumbled. “You just have to take a test to get out. But it might be hard.”

“But why can’t you just unlock it?” Melissa asked.

“I can’t.”

“You’re the owner,” Melissa went on. “You own the place. Why can’t you unlock it?”

“I’m not the owner,” Jessie grumbled. “The owner — nevermind. Please. Just take the test.”

“What’s in the test?” Melissa was hyped up, her face getting redder and redder. “Jessie, I’m not a good test taker.”

“Sit here. I will come out with the first test,” Jessie ordered. “In the chair again.”

Out of breath, Melissa sat. A big frown took over her face. “Will this take long?”

“As long as you make it.” And then Jessie disappeared.

A few minutes later, the silence broke when Jessie came back, holding a deck of cards. “I just need you to be the victim of my magic trick.”

“Victim?” Melissa repeated.

Jesse ignored this. She spread out the cards. The backs looked like normal cards, red with a geometric design. “Pick a card — any card,” she demanded.

Melissa frown deepened, but she picked a card near the right end. “I pick this one.”

“Look at it, and follow the order,” Jessie instructed. “I will be back in ten minutes. The more tests you fail, the more you have to do. Oh! I almost forgot. I need your phone. No cheating.” Melissa reluctantly gave her phone to Jessie.

“Jessie? I don’t get it — ” Jessie was gone.

Melissa sighed and read the card.

It read:

 

Yay! You have selected me as your card. Your first challenge is to tie your shoes together and hop across the length of the room. Your time starts now! Good luck!

 

“But I don’t even have anything to tie my shoes!” Melissa cried. “I’m wearing high heels!”

She looked further down the card. There was a picture of rope, and under it said: Pick up the rope! Melissa was very confused. She put her fingers on either side of the tiny rope and pulled. All of a sudden, a real, long rope came out of the card.

“Okay,” Melissa whispered, “I’ll tie it around my ankles. Now where does the room begin?”

She walked to the door where she had come in. “This is so weird,” she said to herself.

She began hopping. This is not so bad, she thought. She had passed the armchair and near the kitchen door when she fell. She quickly got up. “It never said you had to start again at the beginning.” Soon she reached the kitchen door.

“Impressive,” Jessie said, suddenly appearing. “Almost record time. But sorry, you failed.”

“Why?” Melissa was still panting, out of breath. “Was it my fall? It never said anything against it.”

“No, that was fine,” Jessie replied. “You just put the rope around your ankles. It said shoes.”

“But that’s impossible!” Melissa yelled. “I’m wearing high heels! How do you think I’m going to do it? You’re a cheater!”

“Let’s move onto the next test.” Jessie spread out the cards again. “Pick another card.”

Melissa glared as she picked a card on the left side.

“I’ll be back,” Jessie cooed as she turned around and left into the darkness.

This card said:

 

Yipee! You picked me! My challenge is really hard. You have to stack cards, so the top card is a foot above the ground. You have ten minutes. Like always, your time starts now!

 

“Uh, where are the cards?” Melissa asked, then saw the drawing on the bottom of the card. She felt so weird that she was pulling a deck of cards out of a card. “Alright. I’m not that good at stacking. Maybe… ”

She made a teepee with the cards, carefully trying not to tip it over. After balancing a card horizontally on top of that, the teepee fell over.

“This is so hard,” Melissa groaned. She tried again, and it fell over. She wasn’t even close to a foot. She tried again, and again, and again, and again, but every time it still fell over. Finally, the ten minutes was up.

“Melissa, your time is up,” Jessie said. “This test wasn’t really about stacking the cards, but about finding the secret to it. You must have misunderstood the question. All you had to do was put them on top of each other. Even if you had found out the last second, I would’ve given it to you.”

“Well… ”

“Well nothing,” Jessie said. “Pick another card. This will be your last chance.”

Melissa glared at Jessie as she picked a card right in the middle.

 

This card read:

 

I can’t believe it! Another read to add to my record. This is my tenth time being read! Anyway, my challenge to you is to sit still for five minutes straight without thinking about anything. The only thing you’re allowed to do is blink every minute and breathe every three seconds. Clear your mind! Your time starts now!

 

Melissa put down the card. “The only hard part about that is clearing your mind,” she smiled. “But it should be fun. After all, I was the president of the meditation club in college.”

She walked over to the armchair and sat. She took a big breath to start. Her mind cleared. She was aware of her breath patterns.

Five minutes later, Jessie came. “Good job — again, but sorry, you failed,” she informed.

“What?” Melissa shouted. “This is a joke. How? I should have passed! I followed all the rules! I’m going to leave now! If you keep me longer, you will not want to see your review!”

“Shh! Quiet down,” Jessie demanded. “There’s no need to be loud. You failed because of your breathing patterns. You didn’t follow the rules.”

“It’s impossible, then. You try!” Melissa stepped closer to Jessie as Jessie stepped away. “I was president of my meditation club. We did stuff like this all the time! And I got it right!”

“But that wasn’t a test, was it?” Jessie said, turning back to Melissa. “Time for the next test.”

“I don’t want to do another one,” Melissa said.

“Well then you can join Cathy and the Churchills,” Jessie responded. “I would be happy to take you there.”

So that’s how they got there, Melissa thought. “But why did they even come? How did you trick them? They’re smart. They wouldn’t fall for anything.”

“You did.” Jessie remained calm. “And I’d like to think that you’re smart. Do you?”

“You’re messing with my head,” Melissa told Jessie. “You didn’t trick me. It’s part of my job to come here, it’s not part of theirs.” She tightened.

“I told Cathy that there would be a cat convention there,” Jessie went on. “She loves cats. And the day before the Churchill’s anniversary, I told them it would be the perfect place for dinner.”

“How do you know Cathy likes cats?” Melissa pressed. “And the Churchill’s anniversary date? And they didn’t recognize you? And why would they believe it?”

“I told you I’m good at disguises,” Jessie reminded Melissa. “I dressed up like an elderly man and told them what they would like to hear. And I know things.”

“You know things? So do I,” Melissa stated. “But how did you know the little details that make a difference?”

“I know things,” Jessie repeated.

“I want you to go and tell those poor people what you did!”

“I’ll go over there with you,” Jessie responded. “But only one of us is coming back.”

Melissa huffed, but followed Jessie. “At least they’re happy,” she mumbled to herself. “Moe, I’ll try and be back soon.”

“Who’s Moe? Didn’t you say something about him earlier?” Jessie asked.

“Doesn’t matter.” It felt good for Melissa to finally tell Jessie it didn’t matter.

Once they got to the room, Jessie swiftly opened the door.

“Guys, Jessie would like to confess that she lied and tricked you into coming here,” Melissa said sincerely.

“Oh — but she told us,” Robert said, and the others didn’t look fazed. “We know that already.”

Melissa opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She turned to Jessie, but she was grinning.

“Now, will you go in? I have work to do.” Jessie smiled, closing the door on Melissa.

Melissa leaned against the door, but heard nothing except footsteps walking away. Suddenly, she realized something.

“Guys, have you ever tried to open the door?” Melissa asked.

“No; it’s locked,” Cathy said, frowning. “And we’re happy here, just playing cards all day.”

“And why would we want to leave? Jessie would be there,” Sarah agreed.

“But I want to find out what she does when we’re not there,” Robert chimed in. “Don’t you, girls?”

“I suppose,” Sarah said, and Cathy nodded.

“So would I,” added Melissa. “But don’t you realize that the door is unlocked? I didn’t hear anything lock after she walked away. Maybe she forgot.”

Melissa twisted the door knob, and it opened. She went on, whispering, “Let’s find out what she does all day!”

The three followed her out into the kitchen. No one was there. There was a window on the swinging kitchen doors, so they peeked through that. There was Jessie, sitting on the chair, talking to someone. They didn’t see the four.

“That must be the real boss,” Melissa said, and the others nodded. “I’m going to get a closer look.”

Moving angles, Melissa saw a slimy creature as big as her or her husband. The slime was dripping down him, onto the floor, leaving puddles, yet he never was completely out of slime. There were holes where his eyes, nose, and mouth would be, and when he moved his lips, you could clearly see that he was. He had the shape of a normal human body, with a face, arms, legs, and a chest.

“You did a good job today,” he said, his voice slimy. “Keep it up. I haven’t been here in a while, so this is a good welcome. I like this restaurant much better than that warehouse we were in for the past three months. Who are you going to trick next?”

“I don’t know,” Jessie admitted, “but I think someone named Vincent. I saw a picture of him on TV, and he looks like someone who would be quite gullible.”

“Where does he live?” this monster asked, his voice slurring. “He has to be close by.”

“He lives on Acorn Street,” Jessie answered.

Melissa tensed. “I live on Acorn Street,” she told the group. “He’s my neighbor.” She leaned in closer to hear better.

“How are you going to invite him?” the monster questioned, more slime still dripping.

“He apparently likes to bake, so I’m going to tell him that there is a baking contest,” Jessie replied.

“I’ll get to bake when I’m human,” the monster grumbled to himself. “I’ll make cookies.”

“What was that?” Jessie asked.

“Nothing. So back to this Melissa Momper,” the monster said. “What are you going to tell her business? Her family? For her there’s going to be a lot of questions.”

“I’m going to tell them that she decided to become a cook here, and she’s going to stay here,” Jessie responded.

“But won’t her husband come back and ask if she wants to bring clothes?” the monster pressed.

“Yes,” Jessie said. “He loves her and would be worried because of that.”

“I’ll get to feel that emotion when I’m human.”

“I can tell him to drop it off at the restaurant, and I’ll pick it up,” Jessie offered.

“We can’t have him here at the restaurant,” the monster pointed out. “He would suspect something. And wouldn’t he ask to see Melissa?”

“We can say she’s busy,” Jessie went on. “Or we could quickly let her out. I trust her. She seems too fragile to tell anything.”

“She might blab everything,” the monster accused. “And watch out what you say, or I might have your blood next!”

“We could monitor her,” Jessie suggested. “But oh — that would never work out. She could tell her husband. He could tell the police. But we can’t let her go.”

“No we can’t,” the monster agreed. “Oh, did you take the cars away so that they can’t escape?”

“Yes,” Jessie answered.

Melissa flushed. “Guys, have you ever thought that we could leave?” she asked. “They seem so distracted that they would never notice.”

“But what if we’re caught?” Cathy asked. “And they took the cars away.”

“Can we at least try?” Robert questioned.

Melissa smiled. Robert was always on her side. “Sarah? What do you think?”

“I say we give it a go,” she cheered, and Cathy playfully sighed, rolling her eyes.

“Okay,” Cathy gave in, but the other three could tell she was smiling.

“Great.” Slowly but quietly, Melissa cracked the door open. “Follow me.”

The three followed her. Melissa smiled. They were actually listening to her. That meant they believed in her. No one had ever done that before. It felt strange, but also felt nice.

They were lucky it was dark. They managed to stay in the shadows, and soon they passed Jessie in the chair. All was going well, and they were close to the doors, then:

“Do I smell humans?” the slime monster asked. “Jessie — go check on them. I can’t stand the smell.”

“Yes, Zorth,” Jessie replied.

“Zorth?” Melissa mouthed to the other three. “What kind of name is that?”

Robert shrugged.

“We have to get out of here quickly,” Sarah whisper-shouted. “Jessie is coming!”

Melissa nodded. She led the others further.

“STOP!” a voice demanded. The voice was strict and harsh. Quick footsteps approached them. Melissa didn’t want to turn around. “How did you unlock the door? I always lock it!”

“Jesssssie,” Zorth said, stretching out the “s.”

“It was unlocked,” Melissa said, gaining confidence. “I guess you forgot to lock it.”

“But — how?” Jessie stammered, but made the mistake of stopping in shock.

“Go!” Cathy whispered to the others.

They scrambled out of the building. Melissa could hear Zorth the slime monster grumbling inside.

“At least the smell is gone,” he murmured. “When I’m human, I’m going to put on perfume.”

 

“Keep running,” Melissa panted, running fast with the others. “She could catch up.”

“It’s too bad we don’t have a car,” Robert said. “Then we could really get ahead of her.”

“I did.” Melissa slowed. “But where did they put it?”

In the parking lot where Melissa had parked her car (as far away from the black car with tinted windows as she could), there were no cars. Even the black car wasn’t there.

“Oh, well. But we know Jessie took them.”

“Keep running,” Sarah repeated, starting to jog again. “I think I hear Jessie behind us.”

Down the abandoned streets they ran. It was hard to make out things in the darkness, but soon their eyes adjusted. The cobblestones make echoing noises under their feet, and the trees loomed over them like that slime monster, Zorth.

Suddenly, a branch moved. The four all heard it. A head peaked out from among the other branches. “Hello,” the voice said. It was that same strict and harsh voice as before. Jessie.

“Ahh!” Melissa jumped back into Cathy, who fell into Sarah, who collapsed onto Robert.

“Guys, keep running!” Robert ordered, straightening up. “Keep going. Don’t stop!”

They ran for a while, Jessie behind them. How Jessie got there so fast, they didn’t know. Finally, they were completely out of breath and had to stop for a minute.

“Jessie is still coming, but I can’t run anymore,” Cathy whined, holding her chest. “I haven’t run this fast for a while!”

“Oh no! Jessie is about to be here! We’re doomed!” Melissa cried. “What are we going to do?”

“Hide?” Cathy guessed, and shrugged.

Honk, honk!

The four turned. “Moe?” Melissa said. “What are you doing here?”

They all got in the car, and Moe started driving away quickly. “I was looking for you,” he told them. “You were out so late, Melissa. It’s almost midnight. What were you doing? You were supposed to be back by eight at the latest. And Cathy, Sarah, Robert… I see you moved back.”

“We never moved anywhere,” Robert replied, confused.

Moe’s eyes widened. “Why were you running? Melissa, where’s your car?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I parked it in the parking lot, but it just… disappeared. I’m glad we have yours though.”

“So your solution was running home?” Moe asked, slightly laughing. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“I forgot I had my phone,” Melissa lied. She was glad Moe hadn’t noticed Jessie, because that would have been a whole another set of questions.

Wait —

Melissa turned to look in the rear-view mirror, only to see Jessie, standing where they just were, seemingly smirking directly at Melissa. Melissa looked closer and realized Jessie was holding Melissa’s phone.

Le Fin

 

Tacos, Part 1

Once there was a taco named Bill. He was a happy taco until the enchilado army took control of Taco Square Central.

But Bill said, “You can’t just take over Taco Central!”

“I just did,” said Enchilado General 1.

“Move it, Bill,” said Enchilado General 2.

“Fine,” said Bill with a sigh. Bill thought about what just happened. “I know!” said Bill, and he got right to work, and in the morning he had a robot.

Then, he took the robot to the enchilado army, but they killed him. But then, two tacos came out of Bill. Bill just discovered the taco secret.

Then the Enchilado General 1 said, “You’re a freak, so I’ll burn you. Boy you so fat, when you go on an elevator, you have to go down.”

“Don’t you dare say a burn to a taco,” said Bill.

“I just did,” said General 1.

“Robot attack!!” said Bill, and then the robots kicked the enchiladas one by one until only Generals 1 and 2 were left.

And then General 1 said, “That robot’s a freak! Get out of here!”

Then, Bill used the chomp taco secret, and then General 1 got gobbled up by a big chomp of a baby’s mouth. And that shut him up.

General 2 ran away screaming and said, “CHOMP! CHOMP SECRET! TACOS ARE VILLIANS! THEY USED THE CHOMP SECRET.”

Bill walked with his robot back to his house in Taco Central. And when he was walking, some of the enchiladas were running in fear, and some of his best friends were giving him dirty looks. Bill ran straight into his garage, and he dismantled the robot code 1528. Then, he went outside in a disguise. And he went to the enchilada army.

A whole crowd of enchiladas came and said, “I want his skull! Kill him! I got a pitch fork in your head!”

Then, he ran straight back into his house and turned on the robot with the same code he used to turn it off and dismantle it. Bill upgraded it with laser eyes. But he found someone doing a little work on it. He was a baby.

Bill picked up the taco, gave it some milk, and said, “Go inside the machine,” in baby language. “Go inside the robot,” said Bill, and it followed the command.

Then, the robot turned into a baby inside a laser eyes robot.

The baby flew with the robot to the enchilada crowd outside that was getting really angry now and banging up his house. It accidentally used its laser eyes on them, and they turned crisp black into a pile of ashes. And then, the baby cried and wailed because he turned them into a pile of dust. So Bill had to get the baby out of the robot and inside, so he would get him to stop crying in public. His wish came true. The baby taco stopped crying. Bill told the baby everything about what the enchilada army was doing, but then something happened: a portal opened and a donut took him and the baby into the portal and then, in a couple of seconds, they were in Donut Land.

“Where are we?” Bill asked the donut who brought him there.

The donut said, “I live here. This is Donut Land.”

“Can you show me around?” said Bill.

“Okay,” said the donut. Then, they started walking up a hill and into Super Cake Donut Hill.

Bill said, “Can I eat some of it?”

“Only a little bit,” said the donut. “We’re not allowed to eat it.”

“Are you an outcast?” asked Bill.

“Of course,” said the donut. “Some of us are outcasts here. You want to be an outcast? Or be regular?”

“Regular,” said Bill.

 

Godly Mythical War

 

Introduction

Once there was a little boy who lived in Cuba, and a hurricane wiped out his village. He was the only person who survived in his village. He crawled for a couple of hours, but he was a baby, so he couldn’t go that far. Somebody found him and asked what his name was, and he said “James,” and then the person took him to a orphanage. Over the years, he started to hate the caretaker because the caretaker was mean. He made them work day and night! They had to clean toilets and make a TV. James also made some friends, and their names were Adam and Paul.

 

Story

Adam said, “Maybe we should break out of here.”

“Okay,” said James. “But we’ll need a plan.”

So they found some people who didn’t care if they helped, so they told the people the plan, and they did it. So now they got to the bathroom, while the kids asked if they could get more chores. The diversion occupied the caretaker, so then the three boys could go down the big toilet and get outside of the orphanage, and the toilet took them to a forest.

They started walking, and Paul said, “Hallelujah! We got out of that orphanage!”

James said, “I doubt we’ll ever have to go back to that place, we’re in the middle of nowhere. Let’s keep walking.”

But Paul didn’t stop feeling happy, and then the trees started dancing around him.

James and Adam both said, “You are outstanding, Paul.”

Paul said, “I had no idea that I could do that.”

“It’s so cool. Let me try,” said Adam. Adam tried to do what Paul did, but nothing happened.

Then, Paul had a vision of his father, and he saw himself in his father’s arms, and his dad, the earth god, was saying his name, telling him he was his dad and that he was a god.

“You, Paul, are a demigod.”

Then, things went black, and he woke up, and Paul asked James how long he was out.

“You weren’t out at all, Paul,” said James. “Why do you think you were out?”

Paul said, “I had a vision, and it was with my dad, and he said he was a god and I was a demigod.”

“Wo — ” and then an earthquake interrupted Adam. A gigantic chasm opened up in front and in the back, and when you looked into it, it looked like a man laughing.

Then, walls erupted out of the chasm.

Then, a hurricane swept the three kids into the air. It looked like James was standing. Or am I hallucinating? thought Paul.

Then, James used his hands and created another hurricane to fight the other hurricane, and it destroyed the other hurricane, and it also destroyed the wall of rocks.

James, Adam, and Paul ran out of the forest more scared than ever, and they ran and ran until the found a meadow.

Then, they set up camp, and they talked about what just happened.

Paul said, “How did you do it?”

Adam said, “I think I know what’s coming next.” Paul was not correct.

James passed out, and he had a vision. He saw the god that had almost destroyed his dad, and then he felt like he already died because he felt so scared. The god who destroyed his dad identified his dad, identified himself, and said he was the god who destroyed his dad, and he was coming to kill him and his friends.

Then, James woke up, and he asked Adam and Paul if he had been out, and they said yes.

And Paul asked, “What did you see?”

Then James said, “I saw the god who almost destroyed my dad, and he’s coming to kill us! Run!”

Then, with a burst of wind, a man appeared, and he was wearing black robes with a long beard, and his hair as wavy as wind. And he said, “I shall kill you.”

And then, he hurled a hurricane at James, which James stood on, and he did two hurricanes of his own, and they barely did anything to Pumpulus. Then, Pumpulus whipped up an F35 hurricane, and it knocked James a hundred feet away. And then, Paul joined him, helped him up, and then Paul made some trees fall on Pumpulus. And then, Pumpulus made a hurricane barrier around himself to make them bounce off and fly back at Paul. But Paul was quick and dodged both trees, picked up James, and got back to Adam.

And Adam said, “This guy is insanely powerful!”

But then, because of Adam’s anger with Pumpulus, he somehow created a tsunami, and then Adam knew he was a demigod. And then, a tsunami was overflowing the area and racing towards Pumpulus. It got to Pumpulus, got inside his mouth, and he coughed up a bit of water, then he was okay.

James said, “Maybe we should combine what we’re good at.”

And then, they combined hurricane, nature, and a bit of death and tsunamis. And then a humongous wall of all that stuff mixed together was racing towards Pumpulus. And then Pumpulus got hit by it, and he was very badly damaged and hurt. Even his godly healing powers weren’t enough to heal everything.

And then, he retreated back to his home and said, “I’ll be back to kill you, James, Paul, and Adam.”

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

Peace

 

The Prophecy

 

When two blades meet

When two arrows split

When all have met their final resting place

There will be peace

And life will start again

 

Chapter One

Long ago, in ancient northwestern Russia, a man came to exist. The man is only known as the father of civilization. He had nine children in his family. His children split into one group of five and one group of four. As time passed, they came across many disagreements, and they decided to settle them. The father had wisdom and asked them not to fight, but they went on. The group of five had crafted their own style of civilization, and the group of four did too. They decided that the feud would be settled in their father’s home.They split up. The group of five went to the Himalaya mountains, and the group of four went to the region of Arabia. The father was depressed that his children had left and they were fighting. So, he repeated the prophecy and hoped that the feud will be settled. Meanwhile, the siblings left their feud to turn to a battle and to a war as time passed. They trained each generation in their own type of civilization and trained them to fight for their civilization and to train the next generation.

 

Chapter Two

The civilization of four called themselves Aintisariuna, which meant victorious in their language. Their main activity was fighting because they trained so much. They were all training to solve the feud that the two civilizations had. There were levels based on skill and diversity of choice of weapons. The most advanced would train with the rayiys or the masters. All they did was train, eat, sleep, pray, and cook. The training academy was called Esubat Alqatala. The rayiys were of the highest level of the previous generation. More generations passed, and they considered the father of the four who created their civilization. He was considered god. They worshipped him as a god and prayed to him every day to get his grace so their civilization would defeat the other one.

 

Chapter Three

The group of five called themselves Huīhuáng, which meant glorious in their language. They didn’t train as much as the Aintisariuna, but they still trained. The Huīhuáng were better cooks. They couldn’t find much to eat in the Himalayas, but they still made it work and taste very good. They cooked with spices found in caves, which made the meat taste more salty but much more flavorful. They used the fat to cook the meat, and they also used the fat to give the people more energy. They did have to practice fighting at their home with their family. Their training academy was called Yǒngshì liánméng, and they had to work incredibly hard on their fighting. The students’ masters were called Zhus. They had belief in mythical creatures, such as the dragon. The dragon was supposed to mean luck, so they worshipped it. They also worshiped the father of the five who created the Huīhuáng. He was also considered sacred. They prayed to him to get luck for their training.

 

Chapter Four

“Wake up!” said Shajaea’s mom.

“Ughh, do I have to wake up now?” groaned Shajaea.

“Yes, today you learn to use your bow and arrow. Wake up.”

Grudgingly, Shajaea slowly rose from his bed and washed his mouth, got changed, and combed his hair. His mom gave him bread with butter and cheese for breakfast. Then, Shajaea made his way to Esubat Alqatala. When he showed up for class, everyone was there, and he was late. At first they made the students just slap water. Apparently it helped them draw a bow. Then, he had to dry fire a bow. That means to shoot the bow without the arrow. Then, they had to teach them how to load the arrow into the bow within half a second! They couldn’t eat until they finished their day at the academy. Then they fired at the targets.

“Bullseye!” exclaimed Shajaea.

They kept shooting until all of them got all of their five arrows in the bullseye. Shajaea was the first to do that! Then, he got to go home. He got home at mid evening, and his mom had his dinner ready.

Over dinner Shajaea said, “Mom, I was the first to finish shooting bullseyes!”

“That’s great! Do the same tomorrow,” his mom instructed.

Then, he said his prayers and went to bed.

 

Chapter Five

Yǒnggǎn woke up to the whistling sound of the wind. He got ready and had his breakfast, which was sweet rice noodles. Then, he took his sword and went. He was really early to practice, so he trained with the Zhǔs in the meantime. Then, his class arrived. They did one on one training with swords. Nobody was allowed to eat until the class had finished. There was a tournament on who was the best sword fighter in the class, and Yǒnggǎn won!

“Yes, I’m so pleased that I won! My mother will be fascinated and so will my father!”

The class was now dismissed. Yǒnggǎn went home. He arrived at late afternoon.

“Mother, Father, I won the sword fighting tournament today. Isn’t that great?” exclaimed Yǒnggǎn.

“That’s excellent!” said his mother.

“Great job, son!” his father remarked.

Yǒnggǎn had his noodles for dinner, and he said his prayers and went to sleep.

 

Chapter Six

Shajaea woke up bright and early because he didn’t want to be late again. He took his bread, butter, and cheese with him, and he made his way to Esubat Alqatala. He arrived as the earlybird of the class. Shajaea started training with the rayiys, and finally, his class arrived. They started teasing him because they thought he cheated yesterday in archery.

“I didn’t cheat!” said Shajaea.

“Yes you did. How did you get four bullseyes on your first round, then you got all five arrows in the bullseye? You cheated, that’s how,” said his classmate.

“Enough!” said the rayiy. “Let’s get on with training.” The rayiy handed everyone a sword. “Today we will do a round robin tournament with swords.”

You could hear the clanging of the swords and the thumps of when you punched or kicked someone. You could hear the clattering of swords dropping to the ground. Each person in the class had to fight everyone else, but not at the same time. There were twelve children, so everyone had to play eleven matches. It took up almost the entire day. The person who won the round robin would advance a group. Eventually, Shajaea won the round robin and joined the new group.

 

Chapter Seven

Yǒnggǎn woke up late. He quickly got dressed and rushed to the kitchen and grabbed his noodles. He slurped them down quickly and rushed to Yǒngshì liánméng.

“Finally, where have you been?” said the Zhǔ. “Whatever, we must start our lesson.”

The Zhǔ handed everyone a bow, arrows, and a small target. They all placed their targets on the wall and fired from across the room.

“The first one to get all bullseyes will advance to the next group,” said the Zhǔ.

Yǒnggǎn and the others shot for what seemed like forever. He could hear the sounds of arrows whizzing past and puncturing the target. He saw the string vibrate after he released the arrow. Yǒnggǎn could hear the low snap of the bow firing the arrow. Yǒnggǎn shot one bullseye, then the next, then two more. If Yǒnggǎn made this shot into the bullseye, he would advance to the next group. The arrow flew at great speed and went in the exact center of the bullseye.

“Yes, I made it up to the next group!”

That was the end of the day, and Yǒnggǎn started to make his way home.

 

Chapter Eight

Shajaea went home and told his mom the news.

“I moved up to the older group! Isn’t that great?”

“Yes, that is fantastic!” said his mom.

“Well done, I’m so proud of you! Always try your hardest,” exclaimed his dad.

“Thanks, dad,” Shajaea said.

Shajaea and his family had dinner and went to bed. The next morning, Shajaea woke up extra early to be able to bathe in the river. He dried himself after the bath, put on his clothes and went to Esubat Alqatala. Shajaea was still the first one there. He was especially excited for that day because he was meeting his new class! He shot some arrows for a while, and then his class came.

“Today we will be focused on fighting with your fists and your legs. You will normally use this strategy when and if your enemy knocks your weapon out of your hands.”

They all learned techniques and moves, and then they had a mini tournament. Throughout the day, Shajaea could hear the crack of a punch and the whip of a kick. Shajaea saw much more determination and energy in his opponent. The scores didn’t matter, but they needed to learn how to fight. They eventually finished the long day of training.

 

Chapter Nine

Yǒnggǎn reached home, and he was in perfect time for dinner. He shared how he aced archery and he moved up to the next group. And his mother and father seemed pleased. Then, he said his prayers and went to bed. The next morning, Yǒnggǎn woke up extra early to be able to take a bath. He got ready and had his breakfast and went to the river. He had his refreshing bath and went to Yǒngshì liánméng. He was perfectly on time. Yǒnggǎn arrived and met his new Zhǔ, and then his new class arrived.

“Today, we shall continue working on with our hands and feet.”

The fact that the Zhǔ said “continue working” intimidated Yǒnggǎn a little bit. He still participated in the training activity. In fact, Yǒnggǎn was doing better than half the other kids! Eventually, everyone had to practice with everyone. By the end of the day, everyone was exhausted.

 

Chapter Ten

Shajaea walked home and got there in great time for dinner. He ate and said his prayers and went to bed. The next morning, Shajaea woke and got ready on perfect time. He got to Esubat Alqatala right on time and so did the rest of class. The rayiy was standing in front of them all, and he had his hands behind his back and a stern face.

“What’s going on?” asked Shajaea.

“The time has come,” said the rayiy.

“What? What does that mean?”

“It means that you are in the right generation.”

“You’re making no sense, what are you talking about.”

“What I’m saying is that you guys are part of the generation that we want to fight the other civilization. I talked with all the other rayiys about your performance yesterday, and they said that their students also did extremely well. So we decided that we will have you as that generation to settle the feud.”

“Oh,” said the entire class at once.

Shajaea was confused as to if he should be happy to help his civilization or sad that he will actually be in a real battle and he might die.

“Today we will spend your training day on getting ready for battle. Each of you grab weapons. We will fight these exact weapons in the war. We will focus on how to use these weapons effectively together.”

Shajaea chose a bow and arrow, a sword, and a dagger. He hated axes. They are too large and big. Shajaea shot at moving targets while moving. He partnered up with someone else and practiced his sword and dagger. He learned to switch between bow and arrow, sword and dagger in a second. Soon the day was over, and the entire academy was prepared for battle. He was partially nervous, but he felt he was ready.

 

Chapter Eleven

Yǒnggǎn went home, and he was tired, so he quickly ate, prayed and went to sleep. The next morning, he woke, got ready, and ate his noodles. He headed to Yǒngshì liánméng. He got perfectly on time with the rest of his class, and his Zhǔ was pacing around the room with a grim expression.

“Ah, my class. I have news for you.”

“What is it.”

“Well, I’m not quite sure how to explain, but the Zhǔs think that, well, you’ve all been chosen.”

“Chosen for what?” questioned the class.

“Chosen to settle a feud.”

“You mean the feud between the ancient siblings that five of created our civilization?”

“Yes,” the Zhǔ blurted out.

“Oh my god.”

Yǒnggǎn was shocked. He was clueless about if he was nervous or proud to serve his civilization. He may die in the war. All Yǒnggǎn could say he was that he was shocked. Nonetheless, he trained for battle. He picked up his bow and arrow, his sword, and his dagger and learned to switch between them in a second, and he shot at moving targets while moving. And he fought with his sword with a partner, and he practiced his dagger. He practiced long and hard. Eventually, the day was over.

 

Chapter Twelve

 

Shajaea walked home slowly. He wanted time to think about his thoughts on the war. Eventually, he found that he wanted to serve his civilization. He got home and ate his dinner.

“Mom, Dad, I’m fighting to settle the feud.”

“I’m happy that you will serve our civilization, but please be safe,” said his parents.

“It’s war. It’s not safe.”

Then, he said his prayers. After his prayers, he sat a little longer and asked the god, “Why am I chosen to be one of the people in the generation to settle your children’s feud?”

Then, he went to bed hoping for an answer. During his dream, the father of civilization sent him a message.

“You have been chosen because you fight, but you also end.”

Shajaea woke in the morning and had his breakfast. He was still wondering about the message god sent him. Then, he got ready, he sheathed his sword, slung his quiver over his shoulder, and sheathed his dagger and left for Esubat Alqatala. When he got there, he left with his group for northwestern Russia. They went on for three weeks. And finally, they got there.

 

Chapter Thirteen

Yǒnggǎn walked home as slowly as possible. He couldn’t move on without an answer. So he thought and felt like he needed to ask god about this. So during dinner, he informed his parents that he was fighting in the war, and he said his prayers.

After, he asked, “Why am I in this generation? What would happen if i wasn’t in this generation?”

Then, he went to bed.

In his dreams, Yǒnggǎn received a message from god.

“You are in this generation to fight and resolve. If you weren’t in this generation, this feud would never be resolved.”

Soon, Yǒnggǎn woke up, and he had his breakfast. Then, he slung his quiver over his shoulder, sheathed his dagger and sword, and left for Yǒngshì liánméng. He arrived with his class, ready to leave for northwestern Russia. Then, they left.

 

Chapter Fourteen

The first thing Shajaea saw were little heads popping over the horizon. He pointed them out to everyone else, and suddenly someone yelled, “Charge!” and everyone was charging straight toward the little heads.

At first, Shajaea was confused, but within seconds he understood and drew his bow and charged ahead. He shot from about one hundred meters away just to clear the area he was in, and he went on. After his shot, many arrows were coming for him, so ran into the fighting space and rolled up to someone and stabbed them with his dagger. This battle was brutal. Once someone knocked his dagger from his hand. He’d lost his stealth, so he leapt up and flew down with his foot out and kicked an enemy straight in the stomach, and then he grabbed his dagger. He switched to his bow and arrow and shot three enemies approaching him. There were only around fifty people on each side.

 

Chapter Fifteen

Yǒnggǎn was luckily still alive. The sun was now directly above them. He fought three enemies at once with his sword and defeated all of them. He saw one other boy also taking on many attackers at once. He was doing the same thing that Yǒnggǎn did. Yǒnggǎn leapt up in the air and kicked someone in the head and stabbed the nearest enemy to him. There were only about ten people left on either side. They all spread out and fought their opponent. He’d helped the people in his civilization, but they all kept dying, and then Yǒnggǎn defeated them. He shot some of the enemies but so did that same boy, and like Yǒnggǎn, that boy seemed to excel in his training.

Eventually, one of his last enemies yelled, “Shajaea, help me!” and one of Yǒnggǎn’s friends yelled, “Yǒnggǎn, help me!” at the same time, and both fired at the enemy, and the arrow went straight into their enemies’ chests.

 

Chapter Sixteen

They both shot at each other, and the arrows split because they hit each other. They both had no more arrows, so both Shajaea and Yǒnggǎn drew their swords. Every place that one of them struck, the other one blocked. The crashing of swords was a constant sound. They kept fighting and fighting. They tried to stealthily stab the other, but they just blocked it. They fought day and night for eighteen days straight. They kept on fighting in the brutal cold of Russia. They each tried to win for their civilization which some of was still at home. They fought through the cold and through the night. On the nineteenth day, they were smashing their swords together, and they were blunt, and they both took out their daggers and stabbed each other at the exact same time. Then, both fell on the ground dead.

 

Chapter Seventeen

In the air was a large cracking sound, and it flowed through the entire universe. Then, a flash of light. Yǒnggǎn and Shajaea opened their eyes. They got up and so did everyone else. People vaguely remembered the war. They didn’t remember why they were fighting though. They all remembered being killed, and they were extremely confused as to why they were still alive. Every living being that had ever known about the feud had forgotten about it. There was now peace. Everyone went back to their home. The two civilizations were now at peace. They all branched out. Some people went to eastern Europe. Some went to Africa. Some went to southern Asia. Some went to western Asia near the Mediterranean Sea. But there was still peace. They all started their own life where they settled. Their families grew, and then they spread. Eventually, the entire continents of Africa, Europe, and most of Asia were inhabited. Then, there wasn’t any war there for a long time. The next war was still between two civilizations.

 

The End

 

Jake, David, and the Eiffel Tower Adventure

 

Before

 

Have you read Jake, David and the Adventurous Volcano Adventure (Book 1) and/or Jake, David and the Super Bowl Surprise (Book 2) both by Logan Hunter Thomas? Well, whether you have or haven’t, you are lucky. Either way, you should definitely take a look at this before you read the book. The Jake and David series is a group of chapter books that go on adventures. When Jake and David meet each other, they discover that they both love writing books. So they opened up a bookstore so they could write books and get money. Throughout the Jake and David adventures, this series is ready to embark.

 

Chapter One

 

After what the Jones family had now called the Super Bowl Smash Mistake, ten-year-old Jake and David were finally getting to know each other. They decided to try and stay at home for a while. Jake and David worked in their bookstore for eight hours. They decided they wanted to see all the books that they had made with everyone. So the next day, they threw a big Celebration of Writing and Reading Fair. There were games and pizza and prizes and a ceremony to thank Jake and David for the years of books.

After the party, many children brought books to the boys that they made to show more of their appreciation. The very last kid to come was very shy but couldn’t wait to meet Jake and David. His name was John. He had tan hair and was wearing a tie-dye shirt with blue jeans and red Crocs.

“Hi,” he said quietly. His mom Annie came running over with his book from them, All You Need To Know About The Eiffel Tower. Jake didn’t remember making that book. Neither did David.

But instead of telling Annie and John the truth, they said, “Thank you for coming.”

“You’re welcome,” Annie said for John.

As Jake and David walked back to their house, Jake said to David, “Do you still not remember All You Need To Know About The Eiffel Tower.”

“Still don’t,” David replied.

When they got home, Jake and David ran down to the bookstore. They wanted to see if they still had a copy of the book. Under the fifth bookshelf, they both found a copy at the same time. They were fighting over who got the book, until they both saw another copy and both started fighting for that one, and they kept doing that for one hour until they both stopped fighting and got their own copy to read. They decided to go on a nonstop Amtrak train to Paris so they could maybe remember what inspired them to write the book. They bought two tickets for a Paris trip to the Eiffel Tower or in Spanish, la torre Eiffel. The train left at 5:27 A.M. on July 6 and stopped in Paris on July 10 at 4:18 A.M..

On July 6 at 5:45 A.M., David wanted to go upstairs and explore, but Jake was asleep. So David went up but carried Jake in a stroller. Upstairs was a playground that said, NO STROLLERS ALLOWED. David ran down the ramp and removed Jake from the stroller. He then slapped Jake to wake him up. Jake bit David. Jake also started to open his eyes. David pulled his brother up to the TeddyGround Country Train Park. The park was on every train in the world, so they could always use it. As soon as they arrived at the sign, Jake went wild.

“WOO!” Jake exclaimed.

“Incredible,” they both said as if they were hypnotized. They both skipped over to the moon bounce trampoline zone. Later, David climbed The Spooky Scary Dreadful Climbing Wall Where People Get Killed.

 

Chapter Two

 

David was waiting in line when he smelled the wonderful French toast tatter and croissants for breakfast. He tried one of each. They tasted delicious. Jake then got breakfast, and the boys talked about their next book. After their breakfast and hot tub time, David got in line to climb the wall. The line was short because people were nervous. David was second in line. But he didn’t mind. He was a super amazing climber. He had practiced every month at The School For Climbing. He ended up on the wall in less than 50 seconds. It was definitely an experience that Jake didn’t want to risk, but David on the other hand was proud to be doing it alone. David tried to convince Jake to give the climbing wall a “whirl,” but Jake couldn’t get over his fear.

There was fake lava on the sides, and it was in a room with no lights. The climbing wall was 1,004,580 centimeters with harnesses for ages six and under only. You had to go around the real fire and through the ice tunnel. Then you go through the real volcano quickly and if it erupts fake lava while you are in there, you must stay on the train for all eternity! But if you do better on the next level than the first, you are free to leave the train and get a free train ride home if possible, depending on oceans and seas. But if it erupts real marshmallows in a bag, then you can feel free to eat all you want. David made it to the top and got a wonderful trophy made of gold and an invitation to the Professional Teenager Climb Kickoff!

Jake loved the trophy but didn’t have enough bravery to continue. But he didn’t have the heart to quit. So he got in line for for The Spooky Scary Dreadful Possibly Deadly Climbing Wall Where People Get Killed. But he was so scared, he got right back out. Although, it wasn’t very delightful waiting in the dark. But they had to do it to get to the wall. At least for safety reasons, only one person could be on at a time and there were comfy beds on the floor in case you fell. You got two chances per day. When you get a trophy, you do the wall that is twice as scary as The Spooky Scary Dreadful Possibly Deadly Climbing Wall Where People Get Killed (which by the way is not on the TeddyGround Country Train Park). Jake was about to get in line when the train bell rang. That meant they were in Paris, France or Paris, Francia. At least the TeddyGround Country Train Park was on every train in the world. It was 4:18 A.M., so most people were exhausted. But Jake and David wanted to see the tower. They were wide awake!

 

Chapter Three

 

In Paris, Jake and David decided to first take their luggage to their rental house and spend some time there, then later go take a walk to The Eiffel Tower. Jake and David noticed a big pipe in their wall above their bed that read: DO NOT ENTER! Next to it was a pipe that said ENTER IF YOU WISH. The walk was a good ten minutes, but Jake and David got a lot of exercise on their way. At 8:15 A.M., Jake and David arrived at The Eiffel Tower. The tower was enormous! Jake and David had reached their destination. The boys wanted to explore The Eiffel Tower. It had 1,665 stairs and 1,680 levels. But they were tired. So they took the elevator to the 1,680 level. On that floor there was Gustave Eiffel’s Hidden Apartment.

“Do you think we should go in,” Jake said. “It looks kind of spooky.”

“Are you kidding,” David replied. “It’s the perfect time to start exploring, Wonderful Haunted Eiffel Tower.”

“Eek,” squealed Jake.

“I don’t want to go in,” cried Jake.

But David was finding Jake’s whining, crying, and moaning irritating. He was so furious that he grabbed Jake’s shirt, shoved him in the apartment, and locked them both in. David ran in so fast to stop Jake, that the key to unlock the door fell out of his pocket, and David shut the door before noticing. They were in locked in! They both howled for five straight minutes blaming the other person.

“Why’d you shove me in here,” scolded Jake.

“What are you talking about,” said David in a snotty voice. “It’s your fault that you are such a scaredy-cat!

As they were arguing, up from the chandelier came a ghost! It was like the creepy ghost photos on Halloween that babies were scared of, but somehow, it frightened David. Somehow, Jake had the courage to face the ghost, but David started to whine.

“See what scaredy-cat feels like,” teased Jake.

David had just noticed that the key was no longer in his pocket.

“Run!” David yelled.

“No way!” Jake replied.

The ghost was a nightmare to David. But to Jake, the ghost was one of the best parts of his life. They tried everything to open the locked door. Soon, when the fun for Jake was over, Jake had a great idea to leave. Jake and David both searched for a trap or back door. Finally after ten minutes, Jake and David succeeded in shoving the ghost in a bird cage. David found the secret door. Jake noticed that they had pipes like the ones in their hotel. One said DO NOT ENTER and one said ENTER IF YOU WISH. The boys took the secret door that said ENTER IF YOU WISH. It led to a slide. Jake and David rode down the slide. The slide came out of the room, but it didn’t exactly take them in the direction they wished to go in. When the slide ended, they landed in their hotel room.

“So that was what the pipes were for,” said Jake and David again like they were hypnotized.

“Well,” said Jake admittedly. “It’s been a long day, but I think we both learned a lesson.”

“Me too,” said David. They went out to dinner and went home to Paradise Countryside on August 1 at 1:47 P.M. and arrived on August 4 at 5:43 A.M. But Jake and David didn’t mind the length of the trip. They liked long train rides because they could come back with at least 50 newly printed books.

 

The End!

 

Jake’s Friends

Jake’s eight friends are at Logan’s house, and Logan is deciding in his room what they should do. Then finally Logan has an idea.

“Let’s watch some TV.” Then he asks Jake, “What should we watch?”

“Teen Titans Go.”

They watch Teen Titans Go, and in the middle of the show, Jake asks for Logan to get him a snack, so Jake pauses the TV while Logan goes off to get him a snack. They have ice cream, noodles, and crackers with only chocolate in them for snack. They only have two crackers at a time. They all have four crackers because they want a double serving of crackers. This is a special day, because they don’t usually stay at Logan’s house for so long. So when they finish their last cracker, and all their food, the show ends and the friends ask:

“Whaaat should we do?”

Jake says, “Let’s go over to my house! And let’s swim in the pool for about half an hour and then play with my dog, then we can come back to Logan’s house and watch more TV!”

While they get ready to go out the door, Logan says,

“I’m going to go to the store to buy a dog, so I’ll meet you at Jake’s house.”

And then Jake says, “Sure, but don’t be late.”

So Logan goes over to the store while Jake and his friends go to Jake’s house on their skateboards. Logan gets a dog and then remembers on his way that there’s a shorter way to Jake’s house. He goes from the store to Jake’s house fifteen minutes after Jake went to the house and started swimming, and then it was fifteen minutes later when Logan went to the house and met them there. Then Jake says,

“That was quite a long time, we only have fifteen more minutes to go and play in the pool.”

So they have fifteen more minutes in the pool; then they go back inside the house and dry off and then Jake says, “Let’s play with my dog and let’s see two songs that I wanted you guys to see.”

And Logan reminds them, “Wait, I brought my dog over here.”

And they say, “Well let’s play with both dogs, and we need a name for your dog.”

And Jake says, “And since you haven’t met my dog, you need to know his name is Joseph.”

So they name Logan’s dog, and they decide for it to start with an ‘L.’ They decide for it to be “Lake.”

Lake is a blond curly haired dog and bigger than Joseph. The dogs start wrestling with each other and Jake and his friends and Logan watch the wrestling of the dogs and then they start to watch these two songs called “Man’s Not Hot” and “Man’s Not Cold.” Then they see how many subscribers they have in Jake’s house and in Logan’s house; then they watch another episode of Teen Titans Go at Logan’s house. Then they see how many people have subscribed to the “It’s Everyday Bro” remix, and then they see how many have subscribed on “Man’s not Hot,” and then they see how many have subscribed on “Man’s not Cold” with Jake’s eight friends.                                                                                         

 

THE END

 

Christmas is My Favorite Holiday

Christmas is my favorite holiday. This is what we do on Christmas. When my younger brother and I (my older sister sleeps in much later than me and my brother) wake up, the same as we always do, we change our clothes, brush our teeth, and go down to eat breakfast. After we eat breakfast, we wait for our parents. (My dad sometimes is down before me and my brother, but my mom sleeps in late.) After my mom and my sister come down, the hard work begins. My family and I clean, and clean, and clean, and clean, and clean, and clean. After we clean, we all make cookies. After we make cookies, we all take baths. When we are done taking baths, we all put on nice clothes and go downstairs. Then, we wrap our presents that are for the family. After that, we put our presents under the Christmas tree. Then, we do something while we wait. After a little waiting, my sister, my brother, and I have to lock ourselves in a room, while my parents put the kids’ presents under the Christmas tree. They also put the cookies on a table. Then, my older sister, my younger brother, and I can finally come downstairs. Then, we take a lot of pictures. After taking pictures, we… open our presents! Then, we eat chocolate and candy and whatever we want, in front of a fire. We also get to stay up as long as we want. That’s our fantastic Christmas!

 

She’s Dead

        

Long, tangled red hair

Braided with pale purple flowers

A face as pale as death

Makes sense. She’s dead.

 

Braided with pale purple flowers

Petals scattered across a bloody red wound

Makes sense. She’s dead

Wide staring gray eyes, perpetually surprised

 

Petals scattered across a bloody red wound

Pale lavender soaking up the red

Wide staring gray eyes, perpetually surprised

Watching a killer, long gone

 

Pale lavender soaking up the red

Long, tangled red hair

A killer, long gone

A face as pale as death

 

Makes sense.

She’s dead.

 

Emma and the Cat

Ugh, thought Emma as she put in the seventh answer on her spelling bee. She could never get this test done when the beeping printer kept going off. All of a sudden, there was the sound of Emma’s classmates screaming and something else, but she could not put her finger on it. Emma looked up. There was a tabby cat on the floor, and everyone was screaming and running.

“Aw,” said Emma.

Emma loved cats. Then, Emma remembered a secret campfire she made near a river once. That was the best place to put the cat after school. She forgot to tell her father.

After school, Emma went over to her secret place with the cat, and then she heard a sigh of relief. It was Emma’s dad.

“Thank goodness you’re alright,” he said.

“Sorry,” said Emma.

“I forgive you. This is going to be our pet cat,” said Emma’s father. He scooped up the pet cat.

“Her name is Sprinkles,” said Emma.

Then, Emma noticed the boredom on her father’s face. He was so bored that he was rubbing sticks on a rock. They went home. Emma and Sprinkles lived happily ever after.

The End. Really the end of the story.

 

The Haunted Typewriter

Darkness seemed to fill every nook and cranny of the dusty attic as I climbed the rickety stairs, feeling my heart beat like a caged bird’s wings. Dust and memories swirled through the air as I neared a jet-black typewriter quietly click clacking my demise. My life was about to change forever. Tentatively, I reached my hand out to steady the mysterious being and felt a jolt of power surge through my body. This was it. My one chance at eternal glory. With more power than imaginable, I could change the world and at last achieve my vengeance.

Smiling coldly, I pushed a tendril of dark hair behind my ear and pulled my black hood up again, obscuring my vision slightly. Gently, I lifted the writhing creature into my hands, caressing its polished surfaces, and placed the powerful instrument of torture in my arms, murmuring soothingly. With a surge of anticipation, I slowly began to type. When looking down at a writing tool, most didn’t see unimaginable power stirring in their soul. Those people weren’t me. With words as my knives, I could litter the earth with corpses. With paragraphs, I could watch my enemies burn in the passion of my undying hatred. Already I could feel the ancient power awakening and beckoning me to write.

Grinning eerily, I wrote my first message.

“Hello,” I typed slowly.

Stifling the urge to giggle girlishly, I watched as the cruel messages and violent death scenes began to vanish and be replaced with one message. “Who are you?”

I snorted bitterly. No one, no one in years had dared talk to me in any way less than reverent. This writing utensil was beyond brave. Still laughing bitterly, I began to type my next message. “Your new master,” I responded.

The typewriter began its next words, lurching slightly in my hands. “Prove yourself.”

I laughed even harder and began to type my dreams of vengeance. Gasping in horror, I watched as, with every word I typed, blood began to pour out of my body, staining the attic floor. “What are you doing?” I typed furiously, trying not to wince as more cuts appeared across my hands and chest.

If an inanimate object could smile, I swear that was what it did. I stared down at it and felt my face flush with rage at its lack of a message. Cursing under my breath, I continued typing and tried not to whimper as more wounds appeared across my body, this time in more uncomfortable places. Gasping for air and cringing, I watched as blood trickled out of my wounds and turned my fingers crimson. At last, my vows of vengeance faded from the typewriter to unveil one simple message. “Good, I think you and I are going to get along very… nicely.” With a scream, I watched as my body dissolved into the one thing that had broken and haunted me forever: words.

 

Stupid

        

They say that I’m stupid to dream

To think that our love would’ve worked out

They say it’s stupid

I loved you, but they said I couldn’t

 

It was stupid, they chide

To think our love would’ve worked out

It was wrong, weird, gross

I loved you, but they said I couldn’t

 

To think our love could’ve worked out

It was ridiculous, childish, insane

I loved you, but they said I couldn’t

A secret kiss, a burning passion, there and gone

 

It was ridiculous, childish, insane

To think our love could’ve worked out

A secret kiss, a burning passion, there and gone

They say it’s stupid…

 

… to love you the way I did.

 

The 100 Awesome Rules of How Not to Be Stupid

     

THESE ARE 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!!!

 

Chats

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.

 

<301-635-2642>

<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>

<301-635-2642>

<Dial tone>

Melania: LYDIA, WOULD I PLEASE REMIND YOU OF WHAT YOU ARE WEARING ON STAGE?

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:

 

To: Ryan2018@mail.com

From: Me, Natasha Carol@school.org

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 school.org. 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!

<Disconnects>

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 Chat.Band@school.org

From: NatashaCarol@school.org

 

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 2018@school.org

From:NatashaCarol@school.org

 

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

 

***

 

Ryan: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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.

“Uhh…”

“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 “school.org.” That’s weird. I click into it. It says:

Christmas Carol

 

Gender: Male

Tagline: Somewhere out there…

Birthday: Dec. 18, 1990

Circles: School.org

 

Later…

 

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!!!

Lydia: KABOOM

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!

<Ding>

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.

Melania: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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 Chicken Savior

Book One: Weird Happenings and Weird People                                         

Once upon a time, there was a little chick that was super cute and so adorbs. His name was Billy Bob Joe (BBJ for short). As he grew older, he grew really cool. But he also (I’m trying to put this as nicely as possible) wasn’t so cute any more. This was because he saw some weird happenings in the other coops. These happenngs had turned BBJ into a creepy skeptic. He had three suspects of the happenings: mice with rabies, other chickens, and aliens. He really wanted to know what it was. So he decided to find out.

But, he thought, how do I get out of this cage I’m in?

Suddenly, it came to him that he was able to transform into anything. He never knew why! Then, he fell asleep.

***

Once he awoke, he transformed into a tiny fly, flew out of his cage, and transformed back to a chicken. When he looked into the other cages, all the chickens were gone! Then, he decided to go outside to look for them. When he stepped outside, he looked around and saw all the chickens. There were also a bunch of houses down a street. He noticed, though, that they weren’t in the usual, grassy area around the hen house. They were on a planet very far away from Earth! He started to panic because he thought the aliens were going to kill them all for food like the farmer did back on Earth! And he was right. The aliens went running after the chickens with what looked like the average butchering axe, just with electricity running through the metal part. After one of the aliens got a helpless chick called Albert, he screamed “Zoloop!!!” This kept on going until BBJ was the only chicken left there. All the aliens went straight after him. BBJ jumped, spun, and ran.

As BBJ ran further and further from the hen house, he also ran deeper and deeper into the alien village. He heard the aliens call out words like “Goodlac” and “Gozork,” which probably meant “Get him” or “Come on, join the run.” BBJ didn’t stop until he reached a long alleyway, which was blocked off except a small hole that BBJ could just barely slip through, even when he turned himself into a ladybug!

Once BBJ turned back into a chicken, he turned right back into a ladybug because an alien in a golden robe had nearly grabbed BBJ! He had many men around him and BBJ thought, This alien is a very important alien. He also thought that this alien was a very good chickener, like how a cat can be a very good mouser.

Once BBJ got into the castle, where he thought the alien emperor lived, he turned into a pillar and rolled to the top of the castle. He did this because he thought that it wouldn’t have been weird on an alien planet.

Once BBJ got up the stairs (which took a long time due to the unusual shape of the pillar), he ended up in a hallway with many doors that were encased in gold. He did see a door at the end of the hallway, which looked like it was made out of pure diamond. The door was enchanted to have a moving painting of people decapitating chickens! But then, under that, there was a sign that said in big italics: Viewer discrimination advised. And boy, was that sign correct.

After BBJ turned into an alien and opened the door, he saw a very weird sight. The person who was sitting in the throne at the front of the room was not an alien at all!

 

To be continued…

 

The Odd Rock

        

Scene 1

A house in a farmland. It is the year of 2017. MOM is in a big farmhouse kitchen. She

pours smoothies from a blender into a glass on the kitchen table.

 

MOM yells towards the stairs.

 

MOM

Kelly, come on down. You’re going to miss the bus.

 

KELLY’S voice comes from upstairs

 

KELLY

Coming.

 

MOM

I made you a smoothie.

 

KELLY

Thanks.

 

KELLY

Mom, have you seen my backpack?

 

MOM

I brought it down here so I could pack it.

 

KELLY

Thanks.

 

MOM walks upstairs.

 

MOM

Kelly, get out of bed!

 

DAD walks in.

 

DAD

Kelly, what are you doing? The bus is honking outside!!!

 

KELLY

Ughh, again?

 

DAD

Kelly, I can’t drive you to school every day because you miss the bus.

 

KELLY

Please, just one more time.

 

DAD

No, I have a meeting today, and I can’t be late.

 

KELLY

Mom, can you drive me please?

 

MOM

This is the last time. Tomorrow, you have to get up on time.

 

KELLY

Fine.

 

Scene 2

They’re outside. It is 8:00 in the morning, and they’re walking to car.

 

MOM

Get in.

 

KELLY

What time will we be there?

 

MOM

8:30. Why?

 

KELLY

Shoot, my teacher said that if I was late one more time, I would get detention.

 

MOM

But you have been taking the bus for a while.

 

KELLY

Yes, but you give me breakfast, and I am not allowed to eat in the bus, so I hide in the bathroom and eat for an hour.

 

MOM

Why would you do that?

 

KELLY

I don’t want to choke.  

 

MOM

Well, we are here, and you have ate your breakfast. Go straight to your class and give her this note.

 

KELLY

What does it say?

 

MOM

You will see. Now go.

 

KELLY

Kay, bye.

 

MOM

Bye, sweety.

 

KELLY

Mom, you’re embarrassing me. All you have to say is bye.

 

MOM

Sorry.

 

KELLY

Bye.

 

MOM drives away. KELLY walks over to her best friend, ALLY.

 

ALLY

Kelly, you are so lucky. There was a fire drill, and class is starting late today.

 

KELLY

Yes, but I bought a donut, so I need to hide and eat it.

 

ALLY

Can you ever not bring food?!

 

KELLY

NO.

 

ALLY

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly.

 

KELLY

Ally, Ally, Ally.

 

ALLY

What!

 

KELLY

Do you want to ride my horses after school?

 

ALLY

Sure.

 

All the kids go to class, and KELLY goes to the bathroom.

 

TEACHER

Ally, do you know where Kelly went?

 

ALLY

Umm, she is using the bathroom.

 

TEACHER

Really using the bathroom?

 

ALLY

Not really.

 

TEACHER

Then what is she doing?

 

ALLY

She is eating a donut.

 

TEACHER

Thank you for telling the truth, Ally.

 

ALLY

You are welcome.

 

TEACHER

I am going to go get her. Everyone stay put.

 

TEACHER leaves.

 

ALLY

Let’s PARTY!!!

 

TEACHER walks into bathroom.

 

TEACHER

Go to the principal.

 

KELLY tries to talk with a donut in her mouth.

 

KELLY

Mojciusrfbvwgifvgsuvgfukvgfuseagsugybusbgfkusgbfjsdgfkjdsgfkh.

 

TEACHER points, and KELLY runs out.

 

After school in the barn.

 

KELLY

Let’s go to my house.

 

They walk out of the barn, and there are two very shiny rocks in front of the door. They

pick them up, and they are zapped to a backwards place.

 

KELLY

Where are we?

 

GUY walks up to them.

 

GUY

Ereh evil uoy od?

 

KELLY

What in the name of horses did you just say?

 

GUY
Ereh evil uoy od?

 

ALLY

I think he is talking backwards.   

 

KELLY

Good thing I have these.

 

KELLY holds up a thing that goes in your ear so you can tell what GUY is saying. The

gadget translates backwards talk into regular talk. It also translates what KELLY and

ALLY say to the backwards man.

 

ALLY

Where on Earth did you get those?

 

KELLY

In the teacher’s lounge?

 

KELLY

Don’t even ask.

 

They put them in.

 

GUY

I said do you live here?

 

KELLY

No, but can you help us go back to the real world?

 

GUY

Come to dinner with me.  

 

They go to a restaurant, and the waitress ask them what they want backwards. KELLY

holds a menu. It’s backwards. They start with dessert.

 

KELLY

What on Earth does this say?

 

ALLY

Just order something you like.

 

They can’t read the menu.

 

GIRL

Can I get you something?

 

KELLY

Can I have a grill cheese?

 

GIRL

(Through the translation device)

Ugh, we don’t serve grilled cheese. We serve roasted worm, slug, elephant tusks, raw fish heads, and lions’ heads with mane.

 

KELLY

I think I’ll just have a water then.

 

GIRL

We don’t serve water. We have elephant blood, lion’s blood, and worm juice.

 

KELLY

Well, then, I’m okay. I’ll just sit here.

 

GUY raises his hand.

 

GUY

I’ll have all the items and drinks, please.

 

GIRL

Coming right up!

 

KELLY

Ew.

 

GUY

What is so gross?

 

KELLY

You eat this stuff.

 

GUY

Yes, this is what everyone eats.

 

ALLY

Well I think we have to go home now. Right, Kelly?

 

KELLY

But where are we going to sleep?

 

GUY

You can stay at my house.

 

KELLY

Ugh.

 

GUY

Come on. Let’s go to my house. I am finished.

 

KELLY

Really? You ate all that in two minutes?

 

GUY

Yes.

 

GUY

Well, come on. Eating makes me sleepy.

 

KELLY

Where is your house?

 

GUY

Right there.

 

KELLY

Which one?

 

GUY

That big mansion right there.

 

ALLY

Wow, that is a really big house.

 

GUY

Yes, you guys will sleep on the 10th floor. Good night.

 

KELLy and ALLY

Good night.

 

GUY

Good night. Sleep tight.

 

ALLY

See you in the morning.  

 

The next morning.

 

GUY

Good morning, Kelly. Where’s Ally?

 

ALLY

Right behind her. Are you blind or something?

 

GUY
Actually, yes.

 

KELLY

Wait, really?

 

GUY

No, of course not. If I was blind, I would not know where the man you need to see to get to your old world is.

 

KELLY

Really? Where is he?

 

GUY

Right in front of you.

 

To be continued…

 

The Ghost Boy

A strange sound was coming from my basement…

My heart gripped with fear. I slowly opened the door, holding a broom handle in my hand so tightly that my knuckles were white. I pulled the chain, and a dim light bulb flickered to life.

I slowly, oh so slowly, tiptoed down the steep stairs. I fumbled for the flashlight on the only piece of furniture down there, a wooden side table. I turned the flashlight on and shone it in the basement to find…

A boy was standing there, facing the wall, apparently staring at… nothing.

“Uh… what are you doing in my house?” I asked.

Slowly, the boy turned around, and all at once, I realized I could see the wall behind him. Not just behind him. Through him.

“G-g-g-g-ghost!” I shouted and turned toward the stairs that led out of the basement. The door at the top slammed closed, then everything went black…

***

“What just happened?” I asked as my surroundings slowly blinked into sight.

“You passed out,” a doctor told me, peering over my hospital bed…

Wait, the hospital?

“When?” I asked.

“We’re not sure. You were found on the steps to the basement.”

I gasped as everything came flooding back to me.

“T-t-there was a ghost in the basement!” I cried.

“Oh, honey,” the doctor said in a sugar-coated voice, “I think you’re suffering from shock. Don’t worry. It’ll be okay.”

I knew what I had seen, and I knew it wasn’t shock. There was a ghost in the basement.  

 

Grandma’s Garden

Prologue

The Garden of Willows was a verdant, abundant garden. Colorful, glistening fruits grew from the swaying trees. Willow trees shedded their mint-green leaves, speckling the grassy ground. You could smell the scent of lavender, rosemary, and marigold, all leaving their sweet traces in the spring air. You could hear robins chirping, bees buzzing, lily pads creating ripples in the crystal clear waters of the tiny pond.

You could taste the humid air melting onto your tongue like a ray of golden sunshine. When you touched the plants, you would feel a tingle in your fingertips, almost like you were floating on thin air. The luscious, yellow honey that dripped from the beehives gave you a certain hunger as if you had to taste it at that very moment. If you pricked your finger against the thorns of a rose, a sudden pain would be inflicted on your body like a nail digging into your flesh. The sun bestowed warmth upon everything below it, warming your body like wildfire as it spread across your heart in the Garden of Willows.

 

Chapter One

Grace, flimsily, timidly ensconced herself on the colossal, charcoal gray stone, glaring towards the hazy, tangerine-orange horizon as she waited for her grandma.

The Garden of Willows lurched in the honeyed spring breeze, frolicking as if to whisper peaceful words into Grace’s ears. The ferns glimmered with a juniper green sheen.

Grace’s grandma was the finest gardener in all of Everspring. Everyday, villagers would line the timeworn picket fence, woven baskets clasped in their clammy palms, anticipating to clog their baskets ample with the ripest fruits, freshest leaves, tangiest stalks of wheat, most sugared jams, jellies, preserves, and honeys.

Grandma produced medicines, too. She could cure any cough with the blossom of a cucumber plant, fix any rash with a sprinkle of marigold. Her garden, the Garden of Willows, was an enchanted garden. Everything gleamed in the daylight, but midnight bore something much more miraculous — faeries.

The garden faeries crept out of their petals at nighttime when they were sure that no humans were around to frighten them. The garden faeries would sprinkle pixie dust on every crop, and soon all of the wilting plants would rejuvenate. Grace liked to watch the faeries in the happening, from her bedroom window, secretly wishing that she could be like them, with their glimmering wings and ability to flutter across the luminous breeze.

Grandma welcomed Grace to her cottage after Grace’s parents died. Life almost seemed better living with Grandma. Fresh breakfast every morning; homemade orange juice with marmalade and stacks of buttery toast.

Grace couldn’t help but wonder if Grandma knew about the garden faeries. Perhaps not. After all, Grandma went to bed quite early every evening due to her hard work during the daytime.

When Grandma finally hobbled over to Grace on the commodious stone, she beamed and settled beside her but didn’t utter a single word.

“How are you feeling this morning, Grandma?” Grace inquired compassionately, collapsing her delicate hand onto the merlot red hem of her Grandma’s frock.

“As tired as the wings of a bird,” Grandma wheezed drowsily, slumping her head down low. “Grace, you know, there will come a time when I am no longer around. You will have to tend to my garden on your own, my dear.”

“Grandma, I’m afraid that I just don’t know how.” Grace gazed up at her grandmother with weary, caramel-brown eyes. “I’m not roughly as skilled as you are with your garden.”

Grandma chuckled, affectionately lifting up her granddaughter’s chin. “Nobody lives forever, sweetheart. You’ll always be in my heart on heaven and earth. But you don’t worry about that now.”

Grace pondered her grandmother’s words for a moment. She was now certain that Grandma was unaware of the garden faeries. If Grace took over the garden, she would only have to let the faeries do the gardening. But she couldn’t help but worry about her grandmother.

“What about your remedies, Grandma? Can’t you use them to heal yourself?” Grace pleaded apprehensively.

“I wish I could,” Grandma croaked in a melancholy voice, almost as faint and sorrowful as the sound of the wind. “But I don’t have the answers to everything.”

Grandma let out a cough, her voice raspy and tired.

“Grandma, you’ll only get worse staying out here in the cold. Go to bed, okay? I’ll bring up some warm broth and tea,” Grace calmed, tenderly placing her hand on her grandmother’s back to help her rise to her feet.

“Thank you, Grace.” Grandma smiled at her granddaughter with loving eyes. “I know that you’ll make a lovely gardener one day if you care about the plants as much as you care about me.”

Grace observed as her grandmother stumbled inside and couldn’t help but let out a couple of sobs in utter fear. She couldn’t let her grandmother down.

On the opposite side of the garden, Grace traipsed towards the marketplace where several villagers were lined up for their goods.

“I don’t have all day,” one woman was grumbling, miffed, to another man and shaking her head. “I wonder if that old woman is too elderly to garden anymore.”

Grace grinded her teeth, fingers trembling, resisting her sudden urge to scream. Grandma wasn’t too old to garden. She was the best gardener in Everspring.

“How can I help you?” Grace greeted the woman using a synthetically pleasant voice.

The woman sat her basket on the booth table, reciting the goods.

“Certainly,” replied Grace in the same voice. “Grandma is always so delighted when people purchase her strawberry jam,” she continued, tallying up the goods.

“How heartbreaking,” the woman whispered, turning to the man behind her again. “Ethel is hardly nimble enough to sell her own goods anymore. Her poor granddaughter has to do it all.”

Grace pretended not to hear the woman’s hurtful words. It wasn’t Grandma’s fault that she was sick. Couldn’t the woman realize that this transition, from a spirited Grandma to an ill and weary one, was even harder for Grace?

Grace strolled to the storeroom, peeling the door ajar. She clasped a stalk of the earliest harvested celery and planted a bundle of lengthy carrots into her arms. Gazing towards the usually ample crate of eggplants, she scooped up a couple and tossed them into her pile.

The strawberry jams, preserves, jellies, and marmalades were positioned on the second shelf, last row. Grace slid three jams into her skirt, using the fabric as a carrier. Following this action, Grace grasped a bottle of cough elixir, making sure to differentiate it from the rash remedy. She had made that mistake countless times.

“Here you are,” chirped Grace, emptying the woman’s goods into her basket. “Will that be all for today?”

“Indeed.”

The woman grudgingly and reluctantly placed three silver coins on the counter, locking her basket’s handle beneath her arm, then strutted away.

“Have a nice afternoon,” Grace offered, but didn’t receive an answer in return.

She placed each coin into Grandma’s jar, which sat alone on the verge of the booth. The man standing behind the previous customer had fled home due to the long wait, so Grace miserably headed to the garden to begin her chores.

Grandma’s hickory brown shovel was perched sluggishly against the fence of the beautiful garden. Grace clasped it and dug it into a dry patch of the ground.

Grace hoisted her arms upwards to clasp the branches of the eldest willow tree and then swung down to her feet, unaware of the struggles yet to come.

 

Chapter Two

Grace peeped through a miniature crevice in Grandma’s decrepit limestone bookcase, extending her arms to slither some trivial books away. The scent of cinders wafted through her nose as the hearth blazed little ways farther. With torrents of care, Grace hoisted the misplaced book over her shoulder, holding her breath.

The rain was trickling relentlessly outside, promptly speckling each window with a balanced amount of raindrops. Grace remembered the days when she and Grandma would spurt outside in their galoshes when it rained, splashing in puddles like volcanoes beginning to erupt.

How the two of them would splash until their galoshes were ample with muddy water, and then they would strip off their galoshes and splash in their lukewarm socks instead. And when their socks grew wet, they would peel them off and splash with their bare feet. Then, the two of them would gather their belongings and ramble inside for fresh cookies and sweet milk.

How Grace missed those jubilant days. Lost in her thoughts, she delicately planted the book on the old birch table, prodding open the cover.

“Ethel Camelia,” the spine of the book read in inky pen that bled through the unwrinkled fabric. Grace’s grandmother’s name. Grace liked the way it sounded on her tongue.

As Grace flitted through the never-ending pages, she detected a subtitle that caught her eye. “Garden Faeries,” read the page. “Spirits of the deceased. Prone to congregate in gardens and rural areas. Carry magical dust used to revive old plants/dry areas.”

Grace scrutinized the illustration of the garden faeries, enthrallingly analyzing their every detail.

Eyes as fern-green as the meadows encircling mountains. Barefoot, but gentle feet, padding onto petals speckled with dew. Their frocks consisted of silky, pale flower blossoms. Flawless skin was dotted with freckles and fresh morning dewdrops. Transparent wings as graceful as a thousand clouds beckoned you to caress them.

Grace advanced in reading the passage, hunting for a cure for Grandma.

“Immortal. Seasonal appearances, seemingly kind and gentle,” the passage continued on. “Can create healings, remedies, and such. Unable to breathe underwater. If a child becomes a garden faerie, the effect will be temporary and the child will become a human again within a day.”

Grace thought for a moment, gnawing on her tongue. But then it came to her. What if Grace became a garden faerie? She would find a cure for Grandma if she asked the other faeries. She was a child and would become a human again after a day or so, she thought. But if garden faeries were the spirits of the deceased, wouldn’t death be the only way to become a garden faerie?

Grace continued to read until her eyes broadened. “It is possible for creatures in a garden to take on new forms and even to transform into other creatures. If a human wishes to become a garden faerie, these magical abilities may be activated through this chant, ‘to be a faerie is what I desire, so gardening abilities I may acquire. I say these words to be set free, and serve the garden, I shall not flee.’ Once these words have been uttered a single time, the human shall be transformed.”

Grace exhaled, placing her hand on her heart. It was indeed a risk that must be cautiously taken. But she had to save her grandmother, her sun when it rained. The pencil to her paper. Her nutrient and blanket of hope. Grandma was sick and slowly dying.

“To be a faerie is what I desire,” began Grace, stifling sobs. She began to choke up, but wiped her eyes before Grandma heard her. “So gardening abilities I may acquire…”

Grace read the remainder of the chant, murmuring, “I say these words to be set free, and serve the garden, I shall not flee.”

***

Grace’s perception was comprehensively black — obsidian. She could sense sunlight bleaching her complexion, sprinkling her face with rays of happiness. Adapting to the temperature, Grace languidly sprang up, kneading her cedar brown eyes.

Everything was colossal, substantial. The shovel that Grace used for her duties was now hundreds of times larger than she was.  Grace thrusted her arm into the breeze, aware of its puny size. Grace couldn’t help but gasp in bewilderment. So this was what it was like to be small.

“Flora!” cried a voice, evolving into a blaring, shrill sound as the garden faerie grew closer to Grace. “Flora!”

Grace found herself unanticipatedly face-to-face with an alluring, aesthetic garden faerie that bore a gingerbread-tan complexion, with coiled cider tresses and a radiant beam, parallel to her wispy, orange wings and gleaming pearls.

“My name is not Flora,” Grace informed the garden faerie of her name. “My name is Grace.”

The opposing garden faerie giggled breezily, her chuckles like windchimes. “Of course your name is Flora. That’s your name now.”

Before Grace could bafflingly oppose, the vivacious, lively garden faerie clasped her by the palm of her puny hand.

“My name is Maple,” the garden faerie yawped enthusiastically to Grace, dragging her through the leafy, mossy canopy. “Lord Wren commanded me to welcome you to the Garden of Willows.”

“Actually, I’ve lived here all of my life,” Grace replied, a sort of sadness in her voice. “My grandmother owns the Garden of Willows. And she is very, very sick. I transformed into a garden faerie so that you could help me.”

Maple swayed her arm around Grace. “Flora, us garden faeries have remedies for a multitude of illnesses. I’m not sure that we can cure your grandmother, but we can try our best.”

Grace beamed at her new cohort, traipsing behind Maple.

Maple fluttered in advancement towards the overhanging trail of intertwined vines. She angled her knees as she drifted through the woodland.

Garden faeries, male and female, flittered around vigorously, lilting from elongated vines, garnering twigs and such that they identified strewn on the terrain. There had to be thousands.

“Maple,” began Grace graciously, acknowledging her friend, “Would you teach me to fly?”

Before Maple could react, a male garden faerie with lustrous eyes fluttered by Maple, whispering words into her ears.

“What did he say?” Grace inquired, unable to flutter like Maple.

“That was Foxtail,” Maple familiarized the faerie. “He’s very concerned. Your grandmother has not watered the garden for days. The water is the way that we grow. We aren’t very lively these days.”

“This is all my fault.” Grace hung her head remorsefully. “I’ve been so centered on Grandma that I have neglected the garden.”

“Now, now,” soothed Maple, jerking her head blissfully to twist herself downwards. “It isn’t your fault. Why don’t we go train you to use those pretty wings of yours?”

 

Chapter Three

This was the moment when Grace considered her appearance. Boysenberry violet frock with a paisley pattern. A mulberry flower tiara encircling her honey gold locks. Her wings had a glossy, mauve sheen.

“I’d love to,” Grace crooned, following at Maple’s heels.

***

“Maple, are you certain? This seems to be quite an elevated hill.”

What had used to be an anthole now seemed like the rim of a bluff.

“Of course. This is where every faerie determines the use of their wings. Now, I will be right here in case of any crisis, Flora.”

Grace dipped her head in approval, taking a deep breath in apprehension. “I’m ready.”

“Alright. Now, straighten your posture, but bend your knees to an angle perpendicular to that vine,” Maple gestured towards a vine nearby, “and feel free.”

Grace tried her very best to do what she was told. She smiled when Maple told her that she was doing the action well.

“Now, we’ll try a flutter,” Maple tranquilly advised, circling around Grace watchfully. “Would you be able to shift your wings?”

“Perhaps,” Grace returned, attempting to maneuver her wings, orbiting the meager vine.

Unhurriedly, her dainty sandals began to hover above the rich, lukewarm soil.

“You’re doing it!” cried Maple, lingering on her minuscule feet. “You’re fluttering.”

Maple’s tangerine irises twinkled in elation. Grace had never felt so unwithdrawn to the nature surrounding her. She could journey anywhere. Oh, how she wished that Grandma could see her at the very moment, applauding her with jubilation and optimism. This gave her strong reminiscence of what she was supposed to be doing — discovering a cure for Grandma.

“Maple, I’m afraid we must cut this lesson short. I didn’t realize the time. We must find a cure for my grandmother.”

Maple sighed in sorrow, mumbling, “I’m sorry. It was all my fault; I got distracted. Let’s go and find that cure.”

Maple twisted around, thrashing her wings against each other to flutter over a small pond. As the two friends tore through the faerie centre, Maple hesitated when she reached a small cottage.

The classic roof consisted of a fawn-brown acorn, smooth and gentle, atop a lovely door adorned with unfamiliar carvings. Maple leaves dotted the dewed, emerald grass.

“This is my cottage,” Maple whispered sheepishly, shrugging her arms. “It isn’t much, but my task in our land is to find remedies for illnesses. I have many cures.”

“It’s perfect, Maple.” Grace felt a parade of warmth cheering towards her as she ambled inside. “Where shall we begin?”

“Hmm. Is your grandmother ill from weather? Labor?”

Grace pondered this for a moment. “Everyday, she has to garden outside to please the people of the village. It is so tiring for her, I can tell. Through rain, storm, snow, and drought, she has to tend to her garden. Lately, though, I believe that these conditions have been taking negative effect on her.”

Maple nodded, ensconcing herself on a hassock that was placed behind her cluttered desk. “Would you pass me the fern leaves?”

Grace examined the chaotic desk until she found a flask of fern leaves, presenting it to Maple. “Here you go.”

Maple, engrossed in her task, snatched the flask and sprinkled some blossoms into a wooden vial. “Tree sap, please.”

Grace clasped a bottle of syrupy tree sap, placing it beside Maple on her desk. Maple poured a quarter of the bottle into the mixture, stirring it with a twig. This time, she reached for a wisp of squirrel fur herself, plunking it in with the rest of the ingredients.

“Tomato seeds.”

Grace tossed a cluster of tomato seeds into Maple’s palm. “Is that all?”

“Final ingredient,” gritted Maple, feeling everything cluttering her desk to search for pixie dust. She used tweezers to gather one particle.

“One particle?” Grace cried in wonder. “You only need one?”

“Pixie dust is quite valuable in our land, as it is very limited. Some years, we receive three bundles of pixie dust, and on others, we receive none. The amount is spontaneous.”

Grace bowed her head in understanding and awareness. “So that is all? If I give the vial to my grandmother to drink, she will be cured?”

“No,” Maple warned her. “You have to sneak it into her tea or coffee. Otherwise, she will know that you’ve obtained the cure from supernaturals like us; the garden faeries will be revealed.”

“Why are the faeries so secretive? Why are you so frightened of us humans?”

Before Maple could reply, she keeled over, plunging to the wooden floors, letting out a groan in agony and irritation.

“Maple!” Grace wailed, rushing to the floor to haul her friend upwards. “What happened? What’s wrong?”

Fear and angst spread over her body like wildfire.

“Water,” gasped Maple, her voice dry, her mind almost unconscious. “I need water. . .”

Petrified, Grace lugged Maple outdoors, wondering how she hadn’t noticed before. All of the faeries seemed sluggish, due to the lack of water. How could Grace be so careless?

“Faeries!” Grace shrieked in agony. “Maple has collapsed. We have to find water. For her and for the rest of you!”

Faeries began to whisper to one another, voices abuzz in the outdoors. Lord Wren stepped up to a large rock, seeming almost like a podium. “Of my days in the garden, I have seen a human gardening outside. I’ve seen the human curving a faucet from the side of her house. Water cascaded from the faucet, and she used it to fill her watering can. If all of us work together to curve the faucet, we can fill up a container and absorb the water.”

“Good idea!” a faerie named Lilac exclaimed, whispering the plan to her fellow friends.

Grace’s hazel brown eyes hardened with determination. Maple had helped her to save her grandmother. Now Grace had to save Maple.

“Quickly, quickly!” Foxtail screeched, flailing his arms to guide the faeries towards the faucet. “Humans could come out any time now. Come on!”

Grace, still cradling Maple in her arms, zipped towards the faucet, following the other garden faeries.

She grasped hold of the metal faucet, the hotness irritating her fingertips. She now had to hold Maple on her back. Maple’s arms laced around the nape of her neck.

Lord Wren urged the garden faeries, “Pull harder!”

Grace, feeling strangled from the pressure of Maple’s arms around her neck, took a deep breath and pulled harder, hands slightly trembling. As the faucet began to turn to the right, Grace had to try harder not to fall into the grass. Her wings fluttered more laborious than ever before.

All of the garden faeries gasped as a trickle of water poured from the spout. Lord Wren commanded, “Keep going, my faeries. The task is soon to be done!”

More water trickled from the spout. Soon, torrents of water filled the container than Foxtail, Sunlight, and Moonbeam had placed beneath.

“Hooray!” chorused the garden faeries, loosening their cling on the faucet to keel into the water.

Radiant beams of what seemed like happiness glowed from all of the faeries. Grace instantly but calmly placed Maple into the water, allowing her to absorb the freshness.

Maple’s eyes slowly opened, a smile painting itself on her bright face. “Thank you, Grace.”

Grace smiled, suddenly thinking about her grandmother. “Maple, thank you for everything. I’ve never had a best friend before, and,” Grace began to sob, “you’ve been amazing to me. I wouldn’t be able to save Grandma if it weren’t for you.”

Grace unclipped the violet flower from her hair, releasing her tresses to her shoulders. She placed it in Maple’s hand. “To remember me.”

Maple smiled. She pulled a bundle a pixie dust from her pocket. “I grabbed this before I fell. It’s for you. To remember me and your ability to fly.”

“Thank you,” Grace mouthed to her friend, throwing her arms around her for a quick embrace. “I will miss you so much.”

Then, Grace wiped away her tears and began to fly away.

 

Chapter Four

Grace had flown through the wind to the spot where Maple had found her, to the very place where she had left her book.

Flipping through the pages, she once again found the page about garden faeries. Although she knew that her time as a faerie would only last a day, she also knew that she wouldn’t be able to wait so incredibly long.

“Garden Faerie Reverting Spell,” the page read. “To become human once again, one must chant these very words, ‘To be a garden faerie I no longer desire, for I was before in moments prior. Now I wish to be rid of my wings and to see what being human again will bring.”

Grace opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, she heard a voice that sounded quite familiar to her.

“What are you doing, dear?”

Grace whipped around, spotting a faerie that she vaguely recognized. She looked a lot like Grandma, but so much younger. This is crazy, Grace thought to herself. Was she imagining things?

“I’m becoming a human once again,” Grace replied, squinting her eyes to look deeply at the woman. Could it be?

“Grandma, is that you?” Grace asked, placing her hand on the female faerie’s face.

“I’ll be whatever you want me to be,” the garden faerie said soothingly.

Could Grandma have died and become a garden faerie while Grace was away?

“Grandma, please. Is that you?” Grace smiled at the garden faerie, recognizing her.

Grace clasped the garden faerie’s lukewarm hand, their touch seeming to revive every wilting plant in Grandma’s garden.

 

Krispy Kreme

One day, Tristan was eating his morning donut. He went to Krispy Kreme. There was someone who worked at Krispy Kreme named Joe, who was his friend. Joe was not fully trained, so he made the donut wrong. Then he put it in the toilet. He wasn’t fully trained, so he didn’t know where the trash can was (it was right behind him.) He put it in the toilet, and the donut came alive.

The donut ate a customer. When he did, he became big. Tristan had to kill Joe, because he thought his friend did it. He saw a beautiful woman. He fell in love with her, so he asked her out. They ate at his house, but Tristan had a donut in his house because he did not eat it for breakfast.

All of the donuts at his house came alive. Then he got a broom to smack the donuts in the oven so they could die. When they died, he ran for his life because there was the biggest donut in world. It smacked his house, so he had to go in the store to get food. Then, the donut splashed chocolate on him. He got sick, so he passed out, but then there was a big war with a army of donuts versus the S.W.A.T. team and army. The war was for the donuts to die.

***

One of the soldiers jumped because the donut almost shot him.

The donuts combined to make a big, giant beast. When the donut beast came, the beast smacked an army man in the sky. Then, the army man fell in the beast’s mouth. Someone shot the beast, so it came and chopped the army man’s head off! Then, a soldier came and jumped onto the beast, and the beast took the soldier and threw him through ten thousand buildings, which broke his back.

Someone else came to the soldier to pick him up and take him to the hospital. But then, the beast broke the hospital. There were no other hospitals near them, unless they wanted to go to the hospital and die.

The soldiers then threw the biggest bomb in the world at the beast, but they accidently threw it to the whole battlefield. The two soldiers became the only survivors left on the planet.

There were still more donuts. Only one soldier could shoot the donuts because the other guy broke his back. And then, the donuts made another beast. Then, the beast broke down the soldiers’ truck, and then the beast grabbed the truck and added it to its face armor.

The soldiers forgot that there were people in outer space that were in the army. There were 567 people in space. And then, there were the donuts that found a spaceship and went into space. The army men shot the donuts, and the donuts blew up like a big explosion, except for the five-donut beast. Then, the soldiers made five robots that transformed. They had a weapon.

***

It was a battle of robots versus the donut beast. Tristan was on a vacation. Then, he came back because he heard it on the news. Tristan and the robots had to fight the donut beast, and the donut beast smacked the robot in the face. Another robot punched the beast donut out of the world.

After the war was done, the soldier that broke his back went to Florida to go to the hospital.

 

The War That Saved My Life

On a cool breeze in the fall of 6784, on 1204 Winston Churchill Street, America, Steve asked his mom, “Mom, do you wonder how you would feel if you were locked up in a cage like an animal in the zoo?”

Steve’s mother replied, “I would not feel whole hearted because your father was like that in World War One.”

Suddenly a big kaboom came up. Then the police were at the door, pounding with fear. Steve’s baby brother came in and started to wail.

“WAHHH!”

Knock, knock went the door. Steve went to the door and opened it. The police were there holding a sheet of paper.

“Have you seen this man?”

It was a wanted sheet of paper.

“This man has bombed this place,” said the police.

“The bombs were carefully aimed at the stores. All the the stores have been demolished, so you can enter a race to win a truckload of food, a frog, a bone, and back scratcher. So good luck.”

Soon after the police left, Steve told his mother, “Mother, I believe it is a great idea!”

“Certainly not, I can not let you race in the race.”

“Fine,” said Steve.

***

12 years later…

They gave out plenty of food, but the country was under attack. Steve grew into a strong, healthy 15-year-old teenager.

Steve asked his mother, “May I join the Air Force?

His mother said, “You can, but be safe.”

Steve wanted to join the Air Force because he wanted revenge on the Russians that captured his father.

***

At the Air Force

“Sir, can I join the Air Force?” said Steve, to the president of the Air Force.

“Yes, you can, but you need to learn how to fly a plane,” replied the president of the Air Force.

Suddenly a fighter plane came out of the ground, and there was a person in the copilot seat.

***

In the air…

Steve was practicing how to fly a plane when the copilot said, “Steve, fire some bombs… Now!”

Steve pounded the fire button. Then, the bombs went soaring into the sunset.

The copilot said,“Steve, let’s get back to base and get some rest.”

After landing, the president came in with two bags over his shoulder.

“Thank you for joining, and here is $10,000,000 each. You can put it in your bank account,” said the president.

“I’ll put it in my bank,” said Steve.

After, when the sun came down, they were in their bunkers, sound asleep. Suddenly the walls went shaking, and the people went up as fast as a zebra chasing a zebra. The president came in and was pushing a cart full of all sorts of war things.

“Let’s go! We are under attack!”

Steve went running up and grabbed a combat rifle and a combat vest. His copilot, Frank, grabbed the same things.

“Go grab shovels and dig trenches!” yelled the president.

They all grabbed the shovels and headed outside. They started digging. After only two minutes, the trench was finished. They all hopped in and saw the people who were attacking, Russians. There were 1,000,000 Russians in total holding large combat rifles.  

“Fire!” yelled Steve.

In the split second Steve said that, the whole Air Force, quicker than a blink of an eye, fired.

“I’ve been hit!” yelled Frank.

In the split second Frank yelled that, booming was heard from 100 miles away.

“Frank! Can you hear me? Please tell me!” said Steve.

“Go on, you can move on without me!” Frank said weakly.

After 20 seconds, Frank passed away. Steve was determined to get revenge on the Russians, so he took out his sword and his gun. Then, he ran out of the trench and started to slice randomly. Steve was lucky to survive the Russians. Steve was now in the woods, all alone, with no food and no water. Steve was helpless. Steve started to run north with all his energy.

***

After 20 minutes of running…

Steve was exhausted and wanted water. Suddenly he found a large crowd of people that were running from the Russians that were 100 meters away.

“Please help me!” said Steve, but nobody helped him.

So he went against the tide (the crowd), and it took him several days.

***

After three days of walking…

Steve was somehow back home, at his old home, 1204 Winston Churchill Street. He knocked on the door, and a 12-year-old kid open the door.

“Brother?” said Steve.

“Mom!” said the 12-year-old kid.

Steve’s mom came and suddenly said, “Steve!”

“This is your brother, Frank,” said Steve’s mom again.

Tears went into Steve’s eyes like if onions were in your eyes.

“Mom, I had a friend named Frank. He died from an attack,” said Steve.

“The great, big battle of trenches?” said his mom.

“Whatever you called it,” said Steve.

“Anyway, all the stores have been destroyed again from the same man. The race has been called once again, so I will allow you to go in the race,” said Steve’s mother.

Steve burst into happiness. He ran out the door and ran to the bank.

***

At the bank…

“Oh, kind sir, may I take $10,000,000 from my bank?” said Steve.

“Um, sir, you have no money in your bank,” said the banker.

“What? For real?! Can I see my account?” yelled Steve.

Steve went down the hall, and the banker opened a large vault. All that was in there were cobwebs and spiders. Suddenly the alarm went off.

“What was that?” said Steve.

“That is the alarm for people who steal money,” said the banker.

“Arg,” said Steve and went running towards the entrance.

He saw a robber carrying a big, droopy bag.

“Drop the bag!” yelled Steve.

Hearing that, the robber dropped the bag and ran off. Steve went and looked in the bag. It had thousands of dollars!

Steve yelled, “Can you check this bag to see if it’s mine?”

Once he said that, the banker ran over with some device and scanned the bag.

The banker finally said, “It’s yours.”

Steve gave out a sigh.

***

At home…

Steve bought a LFWSSHFLSM (Land, fly, water, space, snow, hover, fighting light speed machine) and waited for 20 hours.

 

20 hours later…

The LWSSHFLSM got to Steve, and once he got it, he turned it to fly mode. The LWSSHFLSM turned into a robot griffin as fast as a blink of the eye and roared with proudness. Steve hopped on, and the robot griffin flew away. The controls were so easy that a fourth grader could fly it! He remembered that the race was on Mount Everest, so he went flying to Mount Everest. On Steve’s way, he met some other competitors, but they were in a large plane lagging behind because he was going too fast. After the trip, he went diving and landed perfectly and saw the hard obstacles in the way. They were land, water, snow, and the sign said: 2,000,000 miles in total. Steve saw the starting position and turned the LWSSHFLSM to land mode, and the LWSSHFLSM turned into a large unicorn! Steve hopped on the unicorn and went walking to the start line.

“Welcome to the race!” said a robot next to him.

“Now, know that you can fight while racing, so be prepared,” said the robot.

“Thanks,” said Steve.

Once he said that, 11 planes arrived and each were the same ones that Steve saw. All of them came out with strange machines.

“Know that you can fight while racing, so everyone be prepared,” said the robot.

All of the others were saying, “yes!” and cheering.

“Take your marks…”

While the robot was saying that, Steve turned it into light speed mode. It didn’t change anything, but on the screen, it said, “Beware: super fast.”

“Go!” said the robot, and all blasted away.

Steve looked behind and saw all of the racers firing at the LWSSHFLSM. Steve pounded the fighting mode button, and then two rapid fire cannons came out of the unicorn’s belly! Once the cannons came out, the cannons started to fire. All of the other racers stopped firing, but Steve didn’t look ahead.

There was the giant sea. When Steve saw that, his fist went on the water mode button and the machine turned into a big, fat orca! The orca was so fast that he finished the water obstacle in 10 seconds. At the time the LWSSHFLSM was at the snow area, Steve pounded the snow mode, and the LWSSHFSLM turned into a white deer! But this mode was slow, so the other racers caught up and started firing and yelling, “Get him!”

All started firing, but the cannons started to fire and once again the firing stopped. Steve turned to icy mode for two hours. After the snow obstacle, he saw the finish line about 100 miles away. He also saw a small boy with an old dog. The dog was pulling the boy on a sled swiftly in the snow. Steve halted to a stop, and the young boy saw him and simply said in a gentle voice, “Hi.”

The split second he said that, one of the racer’s robots ran over the old dog, and the robot halted to a stop.

“Searchlight!” sighed the boy, and had tears on his eyes.

Filled with sadness, Steve grabbed a sword and made a straight line through the snow. When he was doing that, the other racers came and stopped.

Steve gently said, “If you cross this line…”

“What will happen?” asked one of the racers.

“You do not want to know,” said Steve.

Steve said to the young boy, “Go cross the finish line and go back home with all the food, and ride on this.”

Steve pulled out a pen and pushed the button, and the pen turned into a robot dog!

“Keep it,” said Steve.

And the young boy crossed the line with tears in his eyes.

Steve thought, Love is your strength, not fighting. Fighting is your weakness.

 

A Soccer Dream

One early morning, during breakfast, Olivia and her family were talking about signing up for soccer.  Olivia had always wanted to play soccer ever since she moved from Chicago.  

When she lived in Chicago, the school kids would never let Olivia play soccer or almost anything with them.

The girl’s soccer team was very expensive. Olivia’s parents didn’t think it was worth it to pay a lot of money just for soccer. Her parents were still thinking about taking her to soccer.  

One day, after school, she got good news from her dad about soccer.

He said, “Olivia, I’ve got great news for you. I talked to your coach right after I left work, and I told him that you really wanted to sign up.  I said that the amount of money was a problem, so he said he would gladly give you a free session.”  

Olivia got very very excited. On the weekend, her parents took her to the sports store called “Sporting Goods.” The day she’d been waiting for was finally here! When Olivia got to the soccer field, her dad told her to meet her coach because he said it was polite. So she met her coach.

“Olivia, welcome to the team!” Olivia’s coach said, greeting her.

Suddenly, she heard her coach shout, “Practice is starting.”  

Her dad kissed her cheek and said goodbye. Olivia grabbed her ball and joined the group.   

Her coach said, “We’re going to start with 50 laps across the field.”

“50 laps?” Olivia asked, puzzled.

A girl asked, “Don’t you know what 50 laps are?”  

Olivia said, “I’m new, remember?”

But the girl just ignored her.

***

The next day at school, she found out that the girl that went to her soccer practice went to her school! Her name was Maddie. But Maddie was not doing anything very nice.  

She was looking straight at her and talking and talking. Olivia totally knew, but Maddie didn’t realize Olivia was overhearing her gossip.  

Olivia was very hurt. She rushed to the bathroom in tears. When she went on the bus, she noticed everybody starting to laugh at her.

In her head, she was asking, Why are the kids laughing at me? Then she remembered Maddie talking about her. Olivia immediately went to a seat and didn’t notice that another person was sitting there. She was in tears. Olivia felt very bad for that girl.

She asked, “Do you mind if I sit here?”

The girl sniffed. “No,” she said, upset. Then, she said, “Why would you even bother sitting next to me anyways? I’m just a big baby. Like what they call me.”

Olivia answered, ”Because I’ve been in the same situation as you a few minutes ago.”

Then, it came to Olivia’s stop.

Olivia said goodbye and asked, ”What is your name?”

The girl said, ”My name is Zoe.”

Then, Olivia left. When she got home, she told her mom she met a new friend named Zoe.

“Wonderful. Would you like to invite her over sometime?” her mom asked.  

“Really? You’d let me do that?” Olivia asked with excitement.  

Her mom nodded her head.

***

The next morning, Olivia sprang out of her bed to get breakfast. When she got to the table, she noticed the food was set up neatly for her to enjoy.

“Good morning, sweetie. Today, I have to leave early because of an appointment at 8:00 am, so you are going to have to take the bus,” her mom said in a hurry.

She boarded the bus and saw Zoe waving at her to sit with her. When Olivia sat down, she asked Zoe for her number so they could spend time together. So Zoe gave her the number.  The girls didn’t notice Maddie and her friends overhearing their personal things to each other! Maddie immediately told her friends what she was saying. They kept giggling until Olivia found out that they were laughing at them.

She stood up to Maddie and said, “What are you laughing about?”

“Uh… I’m…” Maddie said, trembling.  

Her friends were too shy to stand up for Maddie. So Maddie had to face Olivia and Zoe herself. But she got silent and moved to the front when the bus stopped. For the first time, Olivia saw a smile cross Zoe’s face. Olivia was glad to see that smile.

That was the story of a true friend and a nice teammate.

 

The Land of Atlasai, Book One: Catnapped! (Part Two)

Chapter Ten: Calicon Territory

Pierre tried to put his fur down, but it was no use. There was no trying to deny it. To pass into “Calicon” territory, he bribed the guards with his traveling money. (Tuber told him to carry money.) Almost 2,000,000 cafasas! That was the average six-month salary!

“Calicon” territory (Pierre refused to accept that they had taken it over) looked slightly different now. Before, it had been a lush, green neighborhood, filled with big human-speeders and tall oak trees. The area had smelled of happiness — and money.

Now, the area was less cheerful. The humans seemed the same, but whenever Pierre saw a cat, they had the same haunted eyes, as if they had fought in a terrible war. They were the same eyes that Pierre had had when he returned from service, the horrors of Denvava still shrouded over him.

The area was also crawling with guards, each one with a gun and hawkish eyes. They robotically screened the area, looking for even the slightest bit of resistance.

Pierre ducked behind a wall. This pace would never get him to Salem. He sprinted, taking a shortcut.

***

Some people might have thought it was a game. Pierre thought it was torture.

Finding an area where Salem would logically be kept was impossible! It seemed like there was that infuriating ward leader saying ‘Better find me! Oh, by the way, I can turn invisible.’

Just as he was about to sprint from the old, run-down wall to some other hiding place, he saw it. Eight dogs entered a little, nearly invisible sod hut. They were carrying guns.

Pierre slunk his way to the entrance. He would have to be creative to get into this one. It had one well guarded entrance, with eight trained and armed dogs, and Salem was under lock and key.

Plus, some deafening noise seemed to get closer and closer. It sounds like an army. But why would an army be here?

Although there had been border clashes and fighting, there was no way an army could get this far.

The time was running out. One of the sentries was soon to see him. Pierre struggled. One idea. He needed one idea.

A guard saw him! On top of a rooftop, the guard was about to shout out.

Pierre’s brain raced, looking, looking for anything. The guard was still in shock. Pierre was still in shock. His eyes… They looked like a defector!

AHA!

“DEFECTOR!” Pierre screamed. “DON’T DENY IT, YOU UP THERE, YOU JUST TOOK A POTSHOT AT THE DOG GUARDS! HOW DARE YOU DEFY THE CALICONS!”

Guards surged out of the area! The supposed defector had no chance. And Pierre… had one!

 

Chapter Eleven: Victory Or Death

The tunnel didn’t seem to end. Harrowing and steep, it curled around, lighted by the dreadful torches. Pierre tumbled through, finally reaching a large room.

Salem’s prison.

“There you are,” Pierre breathed.

Salem was still in his cage, with no cat for a guard.

“I’m going to break you out.”

His brain churned with determination. No matter how hard this thing was, no matter how challenging, Salem would go free. He began working on the lock.

Salem’s reply was thin, weak.

“Go fast. I need to be out soon.”

Blood was pounding. The thing that Salem had been dreaming of might just come true. Pierre might get him out, leaping the final hurdle of an impossible journey.

The lock fought, straining the feline’s muscles. An effort from Pierre and the frail Salem made no progress. Then Salem spoke.

“If I survive this, I have something big to tell you.”

But something was happening. The cage was moving, defying laws of physics. Pierre followed it. Its pace picked up. Pierre started to run. His face was showing. He was frightened. Pierre hopped on and began to flip out. He was sweating. The cell accelerated. They were coming to the end of the tunnel.

The cart flew! Careening out of the damp underground, Pierre witnessed a different scene.  A line of soldiers, armed with guns, locked and loaded.

And a ward leader.

 

Chapter Twelve: Final Breaths

Pleasantly surprised, the evil genius strode over to him.

“You see, I told you!” he exclaimed to the crowd. “Poor Pierre! The dimwitted fool had to come after his poor, troubled brother. But now, both can be executed!” He continued on, “Of course I knew the loving idiot would try and rescue him. Why not? But, now we have both of you for execution!”

The rumbling noise grew louder still. Pierre stood calmly. He knew what to do. He started whispering to Salem.

“When the firing squad opens fire, I’ll jump in front of you. But you have to act like you’re already hit so they think you’re dead.”

“What about you?”

“I’ll probably die.”

Pierre turned his attention back to the ward leader, who was still bragging.

“…And now, let it begin! Five… four… what?”

The air was punctured by shouts now. A few cats, far off in the distance, were visible.

Cantercats.

Stunned, the leader of the Calicons turned to one of his deputies.

I thought you said we held the invaders off!

The she-cat shifted her paws.

“Well, not exactly. They swarmed our right flank, and-”

The time was now! Pierre scattered to the ever-enclosing Cantercats, Salem on his heels. A cheer went up! Pierre and Salem were back!

The execution squad and guards formed an army, well-trained and vicious. But the Cantercats had spirit.

The ward leader was ready to kill.

“NO MERCY! AIM FOR PIERRE!”

Pierre took the head. The command on the other side went up.

“Ready… aim…”

Salem was hyperventilating. Why?

“Don’t do this, Pierre. They aren’t all bad-”

“WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR! FIRE!”

Shots rang out, and the battle began.

 

To be continued…

 

The Land of Atlasai, Book One: Catnapped!

Prologue

The small black cat padded down the alley. His coal black fur was indistinguishable from the charcoal sky. This cat held his head high as he walked, showing slight bits of snobbiness. This cat obviously was higher class.

But something was worrying him. He turned his head around a corner. Not a soul in sight.

That was worrisome. Even late at night, some cat should’ve been in this narrow alley of teetering, brick buildings and looming trees. He padded down the street. The next corner was why he was here. To see if the rumors were true.

The cat walked faster. Might as well get this over with, he thought.

He was there now. A rally seemed to be held around the next corner. The noises of shouting were faint, but there. If it was there, it was around that corner. Another twisting corner.

His black-furred head shone with fear. He looked around the corner and gasped with wild panic. The cats were rallying, doing the distinctive Rivercat salute. The bent paw in the air. The dark night muffled it, but there were definitely brown gloves on their paws. The symbol of hate. And finally, the claws going through them… that was new, but more terrifying.    

The snobbiness was gone now. This was pure terror.

He bolted away, leaving dust trails in his wake. He saw something he had been terrified of for seven awful years. He saw a gathering of cats who riled up hate, who tried to destroy and spread rumors. They were shouting and yelling curses, sending all cats running. Something was there. Even though Salem didn’t know it at the time, but the new Rivercats… the Calicons… had risen.

 

Chapter One: Pierre

Pierre yawned and stretched. The rabbit-fur mat twisted with his weight.

Pierre was a dark brown cat with black and gray fur. He also happened to be the mayor. His assistant, Tuber, a tom, walked across the log and stick floor. The work had started for the day. For this term, the Cantercats were in power.

“Good morning, Pierre.”

“Whatever, Tuber. Get on with the search for the foxes.”

Pierre was not in a good mood. The troublemaking Ultra-plant wannabe farmers were protesting again. They wanted Ultra-plants to be legal for spraying on their crops as fertilizer as if Ultra-plants were not being sold and farmed illegally by some of the biggest street gangs in the city-state! As if they weren’t a danger to public health! As if they would actually get their stupid Ultra-plants by kidnapping dangerous foxes and setting them loose!

Ultra-plants caused respiratory problems, possibly even causing lung destruction (cancer to us humans) and there was no way to stop it. The reasons for having Ultra-plants was that they made crops grow like crazy. And the foxes. They were kidnapped, brutally and inhumanly, (violating to the point of destroying the 1956 Fox Sympathy Act, Pierre thought bitterly), and released on the street, leaving cats in critical condition or dead. In Pierre’s and many other cat’s opinions, the farmers that wanted Ultra-plants were terrorists with no moral standards. In the farmer’s opinion, it was a freedom struggle.

However, if one crossed over, he would hear him or her out. Pierre might be an angry fireball, but he wasn’t biased.

Tuber stepped out of the way and let Pierre mentally vent. Pierre headed to the next room and pulled aside Tanters, the head security she-cat.

“Salem has security… right?”

The “right” in that was not a question. It was a snarl. It would be just like Ultra-plant farmers to do something to Salem.

“Your brother is all right.” Tanters looked him calmly in the eye. “He will be fine.”

“Good. I really hope that’s true.” Pierre clearly needed some catnip.

Salem was a black cat and a diplomat. He was traveling into “Ultra-plant farmer” territory to make a speech against Ultra-plants in three days. And that used to be Rivercat territory…

The Rivercats were evil cats who absolutely hated solid gray cats. They loved attacking and killing them. They had ruled just seven years ago.

He pushed that away. He kept walking. He downed a Stick Nut (restricted) and heavily sugared catnip. Breakfast really was the most important meal of the day.

But he couldn’t push one thing away. He had a feeling something would happen, and his gut was never wrong.

 

Chapter Two: What Is This?

Three days later…

Pierre spit his catnip out as he walked into the room of public relations. There was chaos! Cats were running everywhere, some even using the new fangled “telephone.” Things were crashing, and stick pads were flying. Some cats were relaying information to others, and others were frantically running and shouting in and out of the room, seemingly to get new information. Pierre’s eyes widened. What could have happened to cause this?

An official spotted Pierre. “I know what you’re thinking: What is going on? Well, guess what? Some type of… some type of… some type of Ultra-plant rights terrorist group marched in what the humans call ‘the mall.’ Cats are terrified. This hasn’t happened since… (he gulped) the Rivercats were around!”

Pierre forgot about his spilled catnip. He rushed and raced, getting the details as the news cats came in. Tools flew, and cats stumbled. The story slowly pieced together. Somebody had collected known criminals and Ultra-plant wannabes and marched together. But it wasn’t the remaining fragments of the Rivercats. It was something… new. But similar. This group wanted to destroy… democracy? Pierre stared at the news cats. Who would willingly impose dictatorship besides the dictator(s)? Pierre found the answer. They would kill anybody who resisted. Tom, she-cat, or child. They were ruthless.

“Calm down!” Pierre yelled. The room quieted down almost immediately. “Security, I need four of you!”

Four cats scurried into the room. One, the leader, came with a gun. Pierre looked at them thankfully.

“I’m going to the mall.”

Pierre wanted that to be a dramatic line. It didn’t work. When the entire room plunged into chaos again, he left the room.

The bright light stunned Pierre. He was pleasantly surprised by the falling leaves. He turned to one of his guards and said, “Nice leaves, huh? I didn’t know they fell in August.”

“It’s September.”

Pierre continued on, making sure to put his back to the offending guard. The trail was winding and slippery and dotted with human homes. Of course, Pierre could walk through the streets. There had long been a treaty for that with the humans.

Pierre reached the mall. Square and expansive, there was a reason it was called the “heart of Atlasai.” Tall metal buildings soared into the sky, some as old as 2027.

But the buildings didn’t matter. Pierre saw a… ward leader? (Atlasai was split into different sections, called wards.) He was saying something to a crowd. The five cats listened in.

“FEAR THE CALICONS! THEY WILL TAKE YOUR KITTENS AND BURN YOUR HOMES IF YOU OPPOSE THEM!”

The cats listening started walking away. The ward leader scowled and started to dismount from his podium. A few other ward leaders appeared and started to stalk away with the first.

“Hold on,” Pierre told his protectors. “I’m going to follow them. Alone.”

The guards tried to protest, but Pierre silenced them.

What was this?

***

He needed to hurry up or he’d miss this odd meeting of the ward leaders. What were they doing?

Were they trying to help the extremists? How dare they. Or were the mysterious “Calicons” a new political party… one they belonged to? Pierre clawed an imaginary ward leader. He’d literally ran on the platform. I won’t lie to you or exploit your fear.

Pierre found the place where they were going. Tall oak trees dominated the sky, as if they were humongous brown towers. Stone walls surrounded the area. No one can hear us here, he thought. That’s not a good sign.

The ward leaders came into view, all of them old and most of them marmalade orange.

“Hello,” the first one said. His smile was not friendly.

“Let’s get to the point. What is this about?” Pierre replied. His fur began to itch.

“Through some research, we found out that this group that marched into the mall are called the Calicons. They are powerful cats that are extremely ruthless. We (he gestured to his cronies) believe that we should tell the public about them.”

Was this a set up?

“Look, I caught you advocating for the Calicons. You want me to threaten the public! You know how I feel about manipulation.” Pierre was now talking in a low and gravelly tone. He was threatening now.

The leader was undeterred. “So you want to play it the hard way. Fine, we can do that. I, as the leader of the Calicons, demand that you recognize them as a separate state and cede us some territory.”

Pierre practically shot out his last words. “I will never do it, even if my life is at stake!”

At the same time, Tuber broke into the gathering. He was practically sweating his fur off.

“Something’s wrong. We’ve lost contact with Salem.”

“What!” Pierre spun around, shocked. “But how could anything have gone wrong?”

The leader just smiled, rolling in his genius of timing. “You idiots are so easy to manipulate. Of course you would have to go to the mall! Of course you would have to follow me! This was all planned, foxian. Anyway, you have ten days to hand over Atlasai. After that, I invade.” He smirked. “If your life doesn’t concern you, perhaps your brother’s does?”

He pranced away, leaving Pierre stunned in his wake.

 

Chapter Three: Salem

Salem pushed through the crowd. He couldn’t sleep ever since he saw the gathering, and the speech was today.

Another cat ran up to him. “Get away, you little demonizing arsonist!” she snarled.

“Have you seen yourself lately?” Salem swatted the she-cat with his paw.

Who knows how much trouble that would get him in.

Salem kept his head down. I am the brother of the mayor, he repeated over and over. I am the brother of the mayor.

He cleared his throat and walked to the podium. He looked at his bodyguard, with one last check on security.

“Is everything okay?” he projected evidently.

“Don’t worry, sir,” she said. “Everything is alright.”

Salem took a sigh of relief and walked forward to finally begin the speech.

“The idea of using Ultra-plants as conductive fertilizer is preposterous,” he began, “the issues with public safety are terrifying. Statistics from municipalities that do allow this monstrous plant to grow show there is a 9% increase in deaths and severe injuries that have been appropriately linked back to the respiratory problems Ultra-plants cause, not even mentioning unrecorded… what the?”

Who knows how many more ten-dollar words Salem would have thrown around if it weren’t for the whooshing noise made by something rushing past his throat. That something, Salem realized in horror, was an attack on him. Not meant to kill him, but kidnap him. He jumped off the podium and ran, an oddly organized mob chasing him. This is the start of a war, he realized a few minutes before his brother did.

Salem looked back. His heart pulsed. The monster was chasing him, its teeth of human “rifles” firing, pulling ahead.

He kept running. The gap was closing. The monster behind him was closing in, drooling and slobbering and shooting its “rifles” after him. Salem tried to pull out of its reach. He succeeded. He ran free and the monster gave up its chase.

Salem kept going. He bolted, and after an eternity, a familiar wire fence, twisted, barbed and ugly, came into sight. He sighed and rounded the corner.

The monster popped out again. Salem gasped, his fur flying straight up. The animal, albeit smaller, was definitely there. He rounded the corner, a dart sizzling through his fur.

He gasped, another drooling beast in front of him. He was trapped. How could this be? He was the brother of the mayor. He was upper class. How could Salem get out? He pawed at the ground. Asphalt. The droolers advanced, waving nets. No windowsill on the brick wall. He tried a jump. Nothing. This was panic. Terror. A dart sizzled through a muscle. He felt his will drain. A net trapped him. This was it.

His captors were ruthless. He was gone.

 

Chapter Four: Whatever It Takes

Pierre swiveled back to his secretary. “The backstabbing little traitor! The little foxian! Pardon my language.”

The ward leader (Pierre never could remember his name) had never been on chummy-buddy terms with Pierre before (in fact, Pierre mistrusted him slightly) but he had never been an active traitor. He was another addition to the enemy list now, though, not someone you slightly dislike.

Something sank in. This was brother. This cat… he loved him. This was the cat he romped and played with when he was little. This cat was the one who brought him back from the brink when he was broken down, determined he was worthless. When others pushed him, ran him off, denounced him as a foxian… when he was nothing more than a shadow, the lone fighter against the Rivercats… he tried to stop it, but it wasn’t possible… tears spilled out. Everything he was, he owed to Salem, the one who filled the shadow, the one who took his side. He ignored Tuber, choked out everything that he’d worked half his life to confine to the depths of unknown, a secret kept to the grave.

No chance of that now. Pierre kept going. His heart melted, then cooled into hate.

Hate. He felt something surge through him, white, hot, and powerful. It lifted him up, striking a foe. Hate. Hate that pumped through him, causing everything to die or strengthen.

And then he changed again. The hate still lingered, but something new had arrived, just as he thought the hate would never end. Determination. He would do anything. Not a single rock would go unturned.

Pierre faced the sky. The heavens glared down at him, watching with a hawk’s eye. Pierre defied them.

“I’ll do whatever it takes,” he vowed. Whatever it takes.

 

Chapter Five: A Friend Is Precious

The prison was a miserable place. Spiders scurried around the earthen walls, and light was provided from intimidating torches. The sod dripped water, and no one seemed to care. A single, crude cell was in the very center of the room, with maybe enough room to keep a rabbit in. Salem was not going to have a nice stay at Hotel Calicon.

His captor prodded him. “Go on, now,” he said.

Salem obliged. He entered the cage, head spinning. Was this a dream?

A lot had happened in the past few hours. As Salem was knocked out, his captors dragged him through the neighborhood, which Salem would have noticed was now Calicon territory. Nobody even gave them a second glance.

Two other cats entered the room. One of them, obviously a follower of some sort, glanced at Salem.

“Do I have to guard him?” he whined. It was almost comical.

The other snorted. “Of course not, sweetie,” he mimicked. “Of course you do, you dolt! What are you going to whine about next, humans not stopping and stroking you?”

The first cat rose modestly. “Actually, I was planning on guarding him myself. I don’t want the prisoner dying of annoyance because our friend here is complaining about whatever the heck enters his head. That okay?”

The leader-cat snorted. “If you actually want to be here, I’ll let ya do that, but none of your little games, mister. Don’t get drunk and let him out.”

Salem perked his ears. If his guard had drinking issues, then he wanted to know.

“Yes, yes, I know, I know. And I’ve promised my loyalty to the Calicons, I’ll be careful.”

The leader finally relaxed. “Good,” he mumbled, then walked out, the other cat following him.

The other cat actually seemed to stiffen. “Bunch a worrywarts,” he grumbled. He laid back and stretched. “I think I’ll go to sleep.”

“Hold on,” Salem said, his fur returning to its normal position. “Um, why am I here?”

The other cat did something odd. He perked his ears up and looked around, scanning for danger. Nothing in the gloom. He kept his eyes on Salem, the faint torchlight glowing. He took a deep breath.

“We kidnapped you because you are the mayor’s brother,” he began, “and by holding you prisoner will force Pierre to give us control of the city. But there’s one more thing. We want to kill all of the gray cats. They are inferior and deserve to be wiped out. Call us the Rivercat’s successor, call us evil. We will take your city,” he shrugged. “That’s basically what all the big leaders say. Also, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that, so don’t tell anyone!”

Salem gulped. This was what the Rivercats dreamed of.

“But I’m not one of them. I’m part of their other side. The side that wants Ultra-plants for everyone. There is another side, you know.”

He turned around, ready to retire for the night.

“One last thing,” Salem called.

He turned around. “What?”

“What’s your name?”

“Branson. Just Branson. Now go to sleep, will you?”

And with that, he emitted a large yawn and fart that Salem would have preferred not happen.

 

Chapter Six: A Quest Begins

Pierre faced Tuber. “Now what?” It wasn’t a question.

Tuber shook slightly. “Well, we probably should make this known to the press. And the town criers.”

Pierre shook his head. “They probably already know. They know everything from those damn town criers.”

Tuber shook ever so slightly. “Sir, why don’t you send out an official search party? That could help.”

The mayor considered this. “Yes. Please do that. But I will never forgive myself if I don’t go look. Alone.”

Tuber didn’t waver this time. “Pierre, that is an awful idea. I will not let you go.”

Pierre seemed to consider this. Then he looked off in the distance, thinking about something.

“Tuber, have you ever had someone you like, or love, die?” Pierre said quietly.

“No.”

“Well, I have. In Denvava, they would drop like flies, and there was nothing you could do to save them. And I swore to myself after that I would never let a cat die if there was something I could do about it. And I would break that promise if I didn’t go.”

Pierre was lost in the awful memories of unnecessary deaths and cruelty now.

“Now will you let me?”

Tuber said it unhesitatingly. “Yes, and I can do more than that. I know a fox. His name is Ivor, or Ivor Jr. He knows everything about everything, so he might have some dirt on Salem. He’ll, at the very least, give you good information about something.  

Tuber told Pierre the directions, and after a quick thank you, Pierre bounded off.

***

Pierre shivered. It was cold in this part of town. It was also a bit bleak, with soaring metal towers and parked human-transport machines all over the place. Humans scurried and raced all over the place, some talking to floating metal devices. Pierre looked around, but he couldn’t see a single bit of grass. Definitely bleak.

Pierre turned right at the alley Tuber told him to go to. At least there was green in this alley, Pierre thought. It was everything the big street was, just with a trickle of greenish liquid running through the middle of it.

Gingerly stepping on the asphalt, Pierre made his way to the end of the alley, where Ivor, the fox, lived. But here, there was an abundance of trees and grass. The uncharted forest. And right in the middle was a large, log and stick house.

Pierre went right up to it and bravely asked, “Is Ivor home?”

“Did someone call me?” Ivor poked his head out. “Who are you?” He looked quizzically at Pierre. “Are you a peddler or something?”

Pierre got a good look at Ivor. He had darker red fur, almost brown. He had a more masculine face, with a pointed snout and brown eyes. His fur was neatly cleaned, but not immaculate. His eyes showed slight annoyance at being interrupted, but he didn’t look like a cat-hater. Pierre wouldn’t have cared. He’d get it out of him, anyway.

But he also looked like an idiot and a coward. Good, Pierre thought. They normally have the best information because they stick their paws where they don’t belong.

Ivor glanced at him, his eyebrows furrowing. “I think I know you… maybe from the Truce meeting?” (All of the leaders of the animals gathered once every 2 months under a truce to discuss problems of Atlasai.)

Pierre cut him off and got straight to the point. “I don’t know if you know or care, but the Calicons, these ridiculous Rivercat loving dictator-wannabes have staged a coup on almost half of Atlasai, and it succeeded. And my brother has been kidnapped. I have nine days to get him back by giving the Calicons control over Atlasai, which I’ll do when hell freezes over. Please, my friend, Tuber, said you could help. Please!”

Pierre… was begging! Ivor drew back.

“Are you Pierre? Pierre? As in the cat’s mayor of Atlasai?”

His face contorted into puzzlement and awe, then changed into suspicion. “Prove it. I don’t want this falling into the wrong paws.”

He acted like he was being all honorable, but Pierre knew the truth. His eyes said it. He doesn’t want to lose his gossip monopoly, and he knows that politicians have better things to do.

Pierre drew a deep breath. Not everyone knew him on sight, he reminded himself.

“Look at this photo,” he said, shouldering past Ivor to get a random newspaper.

He showed him a photo with the caption: Mayor Pierre appears at opening of completed “telephone” wire.

“Does it look like me?”

Ivor frowned slightly. “I don’t need sarcasm. You need to come inside. I don’t want anyone else to hear.”

“Thank you! A grateful Atlasai gives its thanks to you.”

Ivor peered around the door before ushering the mayor inside. “First of all, I’m sorry to say I don’t know much. Who I do know is someone who has the dirt on anything humans know. He can read and speak man-talk. I’d sooner think dogs would be friendly to cats than him having anything. And you know how we foxes, and now that I think of it, you cats, think of dogs. Anyway, he’s a chicken, and his name is Gold-”

“I wouldn’t bad-mouth dogs if I were you,” said a gravelly voice outside the door.

Ivor jerked his head up and ran for a weapon, but it was hopeless. Ten dogs bursted into the room with guns and their paws on the trigger.

“In fact, I wouldn’t even say anything at all.”

 

Chapter Seven: Captured!

“What?” Ivor sputtered. “What is this?’

The leader grinned. “Lookie here, Ronan. His greatness majesty, Pierre or whatever, and a high ranking fox. The Calicons will like this. Ten thousand bucks for us!”

Then the leader frowned. “Separate them,” he ordered.

Instantly, four dogs surrounded Pierre and escorted him to a cart. Pierre tried to think of a plan. Was this what happened to Salem? He grew desperate as the distant cart grew nearer. Closer. Closer. What would happen if he got there? He decided to run. He prepared. The guards watched him with the eyes of a hawk. Now, Pierre thought. But something hit him in the leg. It was a paper flying machine.

Ivor was barely visible now, but it was obvious that he was saying, read this. Pierre looked down. What he saw lifted his spirits.

Dear Pierre, it said. Make sure you remember this.

The chicken’s name is Goldy. He looks like any other chicken, but you’ll be able to tell it’s him, for sure. Anyway, he is bound to be on the route the dogs are traveling. And yes, I know what you’re thinking. He is the fabled Golden Chicken, the one that lays priceless golden eggs.

He doesn’t know this, however. So this is what you should do. When you see him, run away from the dogs and shout, “I know why they call you the Golden Chicken!” He’ll almost certainly follow you. Good luck!

P.S. He strongly dislikes cats, so you have to be as non-threatening and friendly as possible. Also, DESTROY THIS NOTE!

Best regards, Ivor

 

Pierre sighed. Finally, a way out. Salem would be found and rescued.

But would it work?

 

Chapter Eight: Goldy or Bust

The cart went a long way. As it traveled, the hit dogs talked and laughed. Pierre did neither. He was thinking.

What would happen if this long shot paid off? Would he even get to Goldy?

Pierre suddenly realized how far-fetched this plan was. Goldy might not be there! One of the dogs might shoot him! Goldy might not follow him! But, as Pierre reminded himself bitterly, this was the only plan he had now.

The scenery started to change as the cart traveled into the city. A sunset appeared. This is the eighth day left, Pierre told himself glumly.

The cart slowed. One of the dogs called back, “You’re in our territory now. And in a few feet, you’ll be in our prison.”

Pierre looked at the note from Ivor again. Anyway, he is bound to be on the route the dogs are traveling. So where was he?

Pierre’s eyes scanned the area. Searching. Searching. Soon, a chicken came into view, chatting with a dog. Goldy, he realized. But why was he with a dog? That wasn’t in the plan.

The cart stopped. The dogs ordered him off. Now or never.

Pierre tensed up, feeling his heart rattle like a drum. He had worked this hard, he wasn’t going to get stopped now. He breathed. Salem.

One of the dogs realized something was wrong. “Guys…”

Sucker! Pierre bounded off, feeling the wind in his fur. He veered towards Goldy when a command came out. “Shoot him!”

Pierre had been shot at before. But nothing like this.

Bullets soared through the air. Goldy and the other dog leaped for cover.

“WHO THE HECK ARE THEY SHOOTING AT?” he demanded.

Pierre leaped for joy! He had a chance.

“I KNOW WHY THEY CALL YOU THE GOLDEN CHICKEN!”

Goldy turned to him. He could see his ideas in his eyes. He liked this dog, he mistrusted Pierre… and something else. A… master that betrayed him?

Then something changed. Goldy somehow saw it. He saw the intention.

His eyes softened. But were still kind of… hawkish.

“I’ll go with you… if you do something for me.”

Pierre rejoiced! The world faded away as he connected with Goldy, officially with him now. Dogs screamed and bullets whistled, but he and Goldy were together.

Pierre dusted himself off. He rose up, eyeing Goldy. “What are we waiting for? Let’s do this.”

 

Chapter Nine: Secrets

Pierre shivered. The place that Goldy picked, high in the Rocky Mountains, was cold.

And although he would never admit it, his fur was also crawling with bugs for another reason: Goldy’s demands. His “requests” (yeah, right, Pierre snorted) made him want to curl up and die. He shifted for the millionth time.

Goldy, on the other hand, looked quite comfortable. “Tell me this first. Why am I called the ‘Golden Chicken’?”

He looked so smug, demanding the truth, that Pierre silently cussed. Cheating little foxian, power hungry fool, who calls himself the impossibly infuriating cutesy name Goldy!

He took it back. What on Earth was he thinking, insulting the chicken who was going to get his brother back?

“Well, there’s no real good way to say this. You are the…”

Pierre choked up. He felt as if memories, ancient memories, were drowning him. Goldy began to blur. A cat came to mind.

Ughh…”

***

He awoke to Goldy leaning over him, his face one of concern. His eyes were haunted.

“You were just trying to use me,” Pierre realized. “You were just trying to get what you wanted.”

Goldy didn’t even try to deny it.

“I was determined to get your information,” he said. “I was told that you were evil. I tried to use you.”

Tears bubbled up.

“I was told you were wrong. I was told you were immoral. I was told that you were corrupt. But when you passed out, I saw how helpless you are. Alone in this world, with nobody but Salem.”

Then something remarkable happened. Pierre began to speak.

“I just was determined to get Salem back. No matter the cost, no matter how many lives were trashed or taken.”

“You’re the Golden Chicken.”

“Salem’s at Massachusetts Avenue. Watch out.”

Pierre began to go off, but turned around.

“Thank you, Goldy.”

A couple magical words.

 

Read Part Two here!

 

An Animal War in Heaven: Master’s Secret

Prologue

“Come boy.”

Master shook some bread crumbs in front of me. I followed the trail of bread into the chicken coop.

“Good boy,” Master said as he closed the door shut. “My golden chicken,” he said.

I smiled at Master. He always says this.  

“My golden chicken.”

I didn’t get why he always does. Every time Master said it, I would look at my feathers. I looked just like the others: a brown and red body, and a yellow beak and legs.

Yes, my legs and beak were yellowish, but all the other chickens had yellow legs. That night, I thought about what he said.

“My golden chicken.”

Little did I know what I would encounter…

 

Chapter One: Extra

Night came, and Master came to us and gave all the chickens a pile of bread crumbs. He looked at me and smiled.

“You need to get big,” he said.

He took two handfuls of breadcrumbs and placed them in front of me. What was weird is that he’d always give me an extra pile of breadcrumbs and say, “You have to get bigger,” even though I was as big as all the other chickens.

“Stupid chicken,” Bobby Chicken said to me.

“You don’t even lay any eggs, why does Master give you more food?” Joey Chicken was glaring at me.

“He is special to the master,” Mickey Chicken said. “He is the golden chicken, you owe him your allegiance.”

“Stupid,” said Bobby Chicken under his breath.

I stared at my food, and after a ton of seconds, I kicked one of the piles in front of Mickey Chicken.

“You take it,” I said.

“No,” Mickey said. “These crumbs are for you.”

I stared at him.

He looked at me and said, “You’re the special chicken!”

I ate my food and felt bad for the other chickens.

Why am I getting this, I thought, I don’t even lay eggs. Bobby Chicken is right. I am a stupid chicken.

 

Chapter Two: The Landlord

Bang bang bang. Gunfire rang around as village houses got blown to bits by single bullets. Two kid chicks took a look at their parents, hugged them, and ran. They went past the forest, crossing over miles of plains, hills, and mountains. Chased by the man…

One of the kid chicks was small and was crying on the back of his much older brother. At the town, that was nearing destruction, all the adult chickens gathered together with their hunting bows. The kids’ parents were there too. The bows only caused wounds to the man. The chickens were all killed.

Meanwhile, the two chicks found a big cottage. They hid in it.

Thump. Thump. There was a man at the door…

“Good Morning!” Master yelled. “Time to get up!”

I woke up, relieved. I didn’t want to know what was going to happen next in that nightmare. As usual, Master handed me an extra pile of chicken food.

At noon, I watched as Master put his briefcase into the tractor and walked back into the house.

How weird, I thought. It’s not harvesting time yet.

“Let’s go follow him,” said Bobby Chicken.

“Bad idea, what happens when we get caught?!” yelled Mickey Chicken.

But Bobby Chicken was already gone. I stared at Bobby Chicken, then at Mickey Chicken. I took one last look at Bobby Chicken and couldn’t stand it. I ran into the tractor and hid under the hay. Master returned, whistling. He got in the tractor and drove off.

***

“Where do you think he’s going?” Bobby whispered.

“Don’t know,” I hissed back.

An hour passed, and we were driven into town. Master parked the tractor and walked into a door that had a sign that said “The Landlord of Lakon.”

Master saw another man. They started to talk to each other. Bobby could not understand the man talk. But I could.

“Mr. Canato,” the other man said. “Why have you not turned in your money?!”

“My crops got destroyed in a storm, sir,” Master said.

“That is no excuse, the other farmers have turned in their money!” the other man yelled.

“Just give me three months, and you’ll have your money,” said Master.

“But if you don’t, you will give me the gold.”

“Yes, sir,” said Master.

“I am not so easily convinced!” said the other man.

“I promise. I have to go sir, so I thank you for your kindness. Goodbye,” said Master, and he walked back to the tractor.

***

Master’s expression did not look good. He took off his hat and then started walking back to the house. He stopped and twitched as Bobby Chicken and I hid quickly under the hay.

“I think we can go now,” said Bobby Chicken.

“I don’t think it’s safe,” I said.

“We got into this tractor, we can get out of it too,” Bobby Chicken replied.

Without thinking, Bobby Chicken ran out. The hay fell back on my head, and there was darkness again.
Listen to Mickey Chicken, I thought. He’s the smartest. But Bobby didn’t do what he was supposed to, and he still got into this tractor. No, listen to Mickey, he’s the one to trust. Don’t be a guilty one. Well, how am I supposed to get to the chicken coop without sneaking there?

That was it, I was going.

I prepared myself to jump. You got this, I thought. The sooner, the bet-

“Goldy Chicken!” Master yelled, picking me up. “What mischief have you and Bobby been doing in my tractor?”

He put me in the coop and didn’t give me any food. All the other chickens got two piles, even Bobby Chicken. Master had never been this angry.

Once I came into the house and broke a bunch of plates. Master picked me up and scolded me. But you could obviously see that he wasn’t that angry.  Why would he get angry about this when he didn’t get angry about the dishes?

Maybe it was because I now know about the money? It couldn’t be… why would he care about me doing these things? Does he even know I can understand man talk? How come Bobby is not in trouble? The questions swirl in my mind, and I hid my head as Bobby and Joey teased me continuously. Was it the gold?

 

Chapter Three: The Secret Diary

Master came in with his basket to get the eggs. Of course, some random scientist found a way to make male chickens lay eggs. Bobby had eggs, Joey had eggs, so did Mickey, and I just sat here, stumped.

Weeks slowly passed. For some reason, Master got more and more depressed. I was tired of being this special chicken. It was probably my brother. Yeah, that’s all he cares about, it ain’t me. If it weren’t for him, I bet Master would have me eaten in no time. What happened to my brother? He died of old age, but now I am 10 years older than my brother was when he died. Am I wrong? Is there actually something special about me?

Night came, and I was determined to find out why I was special compared to the other chickens. Master went to sleep in no time. I was ready. I waited for seven hours, and then I went to the house.

Creak! The door slowly opened, and I walked inside. I jumped on the table, and looked at the bookshelf, and walked back and forth, looking for it.

The Fellowship of the Ring

Killer Angels

Little Women

Pride and Prejudice

Harry Potter

To Kill a MockingBird

Then I saw it. The little notebook stuck out from the shelf just a tiny bit. I looked at it. It said “Charles’s Diary.”

I peered into it. There were tons of Master’s writing. The first date was 11/12/2023.

That makes no sense, I thought. It’s the year 2155. Even so, I continued reading. It said:

 

 It’s my 10th birthday! This is my first time writing in this diary that aunt Rebecca just gave me. I’m so glad to have this. Today I got cake and ice cream. It was very fun. All my friends came over, and we played tons of fun games.

 

I got it. This was all of his entries about his life since his tenth birthday. Quickly, I scrolled through the pages and saw an entry that I stopped at.

 

This is my 15th birthday. Mom has given me my first pet: a chicken. I named him Goldy Chicken because he’s very cute. Mom says so, and he is my favorite chicken. We found Goldy and his brother in the barn. They were very afraid of us. When they looked at us, Goldy was crying. Mom said to name him Goldy. When I asked her why, she just said, “It’s Magic.”

 

Magic? I thought, I’m not magic at all! Is it magic that makes me the weak chicken? Is it magic that makes me lay no eggs! IS IT!-

Ring. Ring. Master’s alarm clock buzzed as I heard him yawn very loudly. I hopped off of the desk.

Whump! I quickly ran out of the house and back into the coop. The chickens were still sleeping in the coop when I quickly hopped in and pretended to snooze.

In no time, Master came out and started feeding us.

 

Chapter Four: Tears

It had been three months since I saw Master’s diary. Today Master got into his car and zoomed off. There was no time to get into the car.

“Where do you think Master is going?” said Bobby.

“Dunno,” I said.

When Master came back, he jumped off the car.

“F@#$,” he yelled. “That stupid landlord.”

He kicked the dust and walked into the house.

“What did he say?” asked Bobby.

“Blofer, that stupid landlord,” I said.

“Why would you say that?!” says Bobby.

Night came, and Master came to feed us very late.

Everybody got their pile of food, but Master took me out to the woods and put the sack of chicken food in front of me.

“Whenever you see a man,” Master said, “RUN!”

Tears rolled down Master’s eyes as he started to walk away.

“I always will love you. You’re my golden chicken,” he said as he walked away.

My head started to swirl with thoughts. Tears started to roll down my eyes. Everything in sight turned into an unending blur.

I didn’t eat this night, all I did was sit and think. The trees rustled in the wind. Animals walked through the forest.

My fear was cats. The cats were large predators for us. They would always want birds as their meat. How do I know?

I witnessed it myself. When I was a little kid,  my grandpa was my greatest pal, after, of course, my brother and dad. He took care of my brother and me for a whole year! He did it while my parents were gone. I didn’t know where they went actually. Anyways, one day, a cat came to our village. Grandpa told everyone to hide in the woods. He was the chief. Some legends said that he laid a golden egg once, giving every kid he fathered the ability to lay them too. But, of course, that was all fake. The cat attacked him and killed him before he could negotiate peace.

We attacked. Other chickens got killed. Five chickens were killed before the cat got tired and walked off.

Then I thought, Why did Master free me?

 

Chapter Five: Trapped in Terror

I satt in the forest for two days, not eating a single piece of chicken food. Finally, I felt like it was time. I was going back to Master. It was very hard to decide to, but I knew that there was some predator that wanted to eat me out there.

Late night came, and I was going to walk into the chicken coop and sleep when nobody else saw me. I started walking, imagining the lovely time I spent on the farm. But then I saw a little red glow in the side of the farm.

Fwoom! All of a sudden, the barn was set on fire, burning in a big, red glow. The crops were set on fire as soldiers walked into the house and looted everything. I stared at the terrifying sight, and my beak dropped open.

I heard screaming in the house. I felt the terror fall over me. I couldn’t bear it, and bit my wing, hoping it was just a dream..

It wasn’t. I closed my eyes until the sight was over. By that time, I was asleep.

***

Morning came, and rain came down on the still burning farm. Soldiers stood guard, playing cards. I knew soon I would need to run. The soldiers would soon find me and kill me.

Noon came, and the soldiers walked off. I had to see Master. I had to see if he was alive. I went into the house, hoping Master was still alive. The ashes were still very hot, burning my feet.

I went into the almost gone house, nothing was left. Tears slowly dripped down my face. I navigated myself to the almost gone chicken coop. It was the worst sight I had ever seen.

“Blofer!” I yeledl.

The hot ashes of the other chickens burned my eyes. I walked back into the house.

“I know there is a good man in this world besides Master,” I said. “Show them to me, brother. Show them to me!”

Thump! Thump! Thump! I heard the soldiers as they came back, carrying long sticks that threw iron projectiles.

Should I run? I thought, No, it’s too risky. But how am I ever supposed to get out of here before they search the place and find me?

The men were just turning into the house before I ran upstairs and into the dining room. It was empty too…

 

Chapter Six: Captured

Nights passed, and the soldiers still kept guard, chatting day after day. One night, something I heard made my ear twitch…

“Say, Luke, have you found that gold Sarge wanted?” one soldier said.

“Nope, we’re never going to find that,” another said.

“Sarge said we would get $100,000 if we found that gold,” a third one cut in. “He says each missing day, it’s $10,000 off! We got two days before he gonna start counting. We better find that dumb gold.”

“Your stupid little money isn’t my problem!” the second one said.

The three soldiers started fist fighting, knocking each other with their long, iron projectile throwing sticks. Now was my chance to escape.

I ran down the stairs and climbed up the table, spotted a broken window, and jumped out. I snuck to the edge of the house and looked to see if the way was clear. I ran off, back towards the woods. Suddenly the soldiers stopped fist fighting.

“Hey, look,” one said, “it’s one of the farm animals that we didn’t capture.”

“Yeah, like you ‘accidentally’ burned down all the other chickens,” the third one said.

“Well, we might as well take one of the chickens captive,” the second one said. “Let’s get it!”

Soon the soldiers started chasing after me. I started sprinting so fast, I thought that my legs would fall off. They were almost on top of me. I didn’t think I could run any faster. I ran even faster, but I didn’t think I could for much longer.

Just before my legs fell off, one of the soldiers picked me up. They put me in a jeep and we drove off.  

You’re going to be killed, I thought. It might be worse. You could be tortured till they are done with you and kill you.

Then I stopped. Why think about any of this? There is no use to think about how they’re going to kill you. You might as well spend a good time in the last few hours of your life in the world.

A newspaper was sitting in the Jeep. I was very bored, so I started reading it. The front page was missing from the paper. I looked at the sports section, which was boring. I read an animal page:

 

There has been a cat, named Salem, that has gone missing. It is the brother of Pierre, the mayor of Atlasai. What we do know is that his brother is being held by the Calicons. However, we have not informed Pierre of any of this. The President does not allow it. We will not let you tell. Salem was making a speech on “Ultra Plant territory” when he was shot by a poison dart. He is being held in a underground room in the Rocky Mountains near the Lemhi Pass. The Calicons have paid us $1,000,000 so we don’t tell any cat about the case. Punishment if caught is death without trial.

President: Military Secret Service

 

This sounded good. It looks like a cat’s life is at risk. Then I thought about how the soldiers were probably going to torture me again. I then thought about how they had killed Master, and all the animals.

I tried to get the flash of the barn setting on fire and the soldiers out of my head, but I couldn’t. It just played over and over again. I felt like I was going berserk when the jeep came to a stop.

I looked out. It was the same place that Master had gone. The town of Lakon. I watched the sign that I recognized, it said, “Landlord of Lakon.” I glared at the sight of the same person that met with Master.

He lied to Master, I thought. Reca Milatoo. (A Chicken Boy word… you don’t want to know what it means.)

The soldiers picked me up and brought me into the building, and the landlord stood there, hitting his fingers on a board that had letters drawn on it.

“Mr. Smith,” one of the soldiers said,“we took one of the chickens.”

“Very well, here is your $5,000 bucks,” said the landlord. “Go put him with the others.”

 

Chapter Seven: Langston

The soldiers took me into a room. There were cages and murder machines. I saw a pig missing his tail and one of his legs. The soldiers threw me in a cage.

Days passed, and I felt terror as more and more animals got tortured. I always thought of when I was going to get tortured, but there was a dog that cheered me up. His first name was Langston, but he never told me his last name. He was very smart and kind. The first thing he ever said to me was, “I’ve been looking for you.”

After three days I remembered that there was a rivalry between dogs and cats. So I decided to ask him something I would have never asked…

“Do you know about Pierre?” I asked. “The Mayor of Atlasai?”

Langston looked at me with a frown. “That cat from Atlasai?”

I nodded.

“Yes,” he said. “That was back in the 1900’s. My great-great-great grandfather was there.”

I was puzzled but kept listening.

“We were at war with the cats. They were and still are outlaws. The war once came to his village, and they murdered him when he had his paws up.”

I stared in awe.

On the sixth day, my name was up on the board. So was Langston’s…

Chicken #3: Legs cut off, beak slit, right wing cut off.

Dog #5: Tail cut off, front legs cut off.

I looked at the machines of torture, so did Langston.

“What should we do?” I asked Langston.

“We’re gonna run…” he said.

***

The clock ticked towards 11:00. One hour till my punishment. Now was the time.

Langston and another dog had dug a tunnel from under his cell to mine. The cells connected to the sewer. As the clock hit 11:30, we started. Another dog named Nick was also in the plot. When the guy came in to feed everyone, Nick started to bark as loud as possible. This caused a distraction for the guard. As the guard walked over to Nick, Langston and I made for the tunnels. But then the guard turned around and saw us.

“HEY YOU!!! GET BACK HERE!” he yelled.

He came to Langston’s cage, which had the biggest tunnel. Nick dove into his tunnel and climbed down.

“Over by cell for dog number five,” I heard the guard saying into his walkie talkie.

Langston scratched at the guard and continued down the tunnel. Suddenly more guards came in, carrying the iron throwing sticks. They shot at the cages and rushed down Nick’s and Langston’s tunnel, shooting as they went.  

I ran down my tunnel, iron projectiles whizzing around me. I splashed into the water as the tunnel entered the sewer that was flowing with water. I saw Langston as I peered into the sewer line and followed him to the right.

“Where’s Nick?!” I asked.

“He’s probably way in front of us,” Langston said as we trudged through the water.

Splash! Splosh! Water sprayed all over my face as bullets hit the water and clattered on the iron surface.

“This way!” yelled Langston, and we trudged into a different tunnel.

A ladder stood at the dead end of the sewer. We started to climb. I heard yelling behind us. The guards were on our tail. I got up the ladder and opened the sewage latch. Nothing was in sight of any danger.

“Coast clear,” I whispered. “Go! Go!”

Langston and I jumped out of the sewer system and went into the alley.

“We got to get out of Lakon,” I said, panting.

“I know,” said Langston. “But first, we got to find Nick!”

We took to the streets, chased by the guards. We found ourselves going the wrong direction, towards the center of town. Another sewage system was there. Langston thought that Nick came from that system. We opened the hatch, hoping to see Nick. There was no sign of him. But there was a patch of foot prints that led off from to the sewer.

“Follow them!” yelled Langston, and we followed the footprints, chased by the guards…

 

Chapter Eight: Nick

We got into an open alley, which was completely empty. We reached the end of the alley and turned right. There Nick stood, hiding behind a garbage can.

“The guards are not far behind us,” said Langston. “We’ll all be way past dead if we don’t leave now! You go with Goldy to the left, Nick. I will lead them the other way.”

“You can’t do that! You’ll get killed!” said Nick.

“Well if we stay together, we all ought to die!” yelled Langston.

Whiz! Crack! A bullet flew at the trash.

The guards were back on us. This time they had a huge car with a huge iron projectile throwing stick on it.

Before I could even say, “Run!” I was sprinting off with Nick.

“Down!” yelled Nick.

My feathers blew as a huge, giant iron projectile flew overhead and exploded behind us.

Before us sat a trash can with a button to push, causing all the wheels to move automatically.

“Get in the can!” yelled Nick, and I ran for the can.

Not a second later, Nick dove in, and we started driving off. The bullets only dented the can. The can smelled disgusting, but it provided great cover, and I had only a right to laugh at the guards. Soon we reached the rendezvous point outside of town, west of the Lapondenakomaka Mountains.

“They stopped following us,” Nick said, as we ran into the woods. “Take some rest. We got to wait for Langston.”

Then we stopped. Where was Langston?

***

Nightfall came, and Langston still hadn’t appeared. We gave him directions to the woods at the exact rendezvous point, which had a clearing. Worry spread between Nick and me. He had taken the shorter route and was a faster runner than Nick.

“We need to find him!” said Nick.

“I would not do such a thing,” I said. “If we get caught, we will have an even more severe punishment.”

“I can’t bear this, he could have been captured, and then I don’t know what the guards are going to do to him,” said Nick.

“Nor can I,” I said. “But I know he will make it out. He’s a smart and fast dog.”

Then at that moment, Langston came out. It was not a very good sight to see him. An iron projectile had entered his back.

“Langston, what happened to you?” I asked.

“No time for questions,” said Langston. “We have to get to the City of Snow to meet the chief of Dogs.”

“Where’s that?” I asked.

“Near the Lemhi Pass where the men, Lewis and Clark, passed by,” said Nick.

“That’s a very high elevation. The trip could take months, especially with your wound,” I said. “Let’s get that bandaged up.”

Nick grabbed some pliers out of the trash can and ripped the bullet out. I grabbed a trash bag and tied it to the hole. Then we would continued on our journey through the cold, high mountains…

 

Chapter Nine: The Mountain

Langston and I traveled in the now emptied trash can, while Nick walked on the side to speed up the trip. The mountains were not just any mountains. We were going to a place where the elevation was over 12,000 feet high. We vomited a lot on the trip. The little air that we could breathe was freezing. The mountains were windy and tiring. We had no food.  All we had was each other. Many times we would tell stories to each other. Other times we stayed silent, always on our toes. Sometimes stories made me feel worse about the trip.

“Why me?” I asked on the end of the second day of traveling. “You have shared the little bit of meat you have killed, helped me escape, even though I am slower, and put your lives more at risk.”

“That’s what friends are for,” said Langston, who was cured and back on his feet.

I looked at him, confused. He was only a prison companion, and I am only a chicken.

***

The journey continued for over three days. I heard stories about the Cantercats (a organization that fights against the dogs and the few good cats) and humans, growing my hatred for them.

“Farmers use drugs that make you lay more eggs. But they make you have a shorter life,” said Nick. “You haven’t heard of them?”

I shook my head, looking down, now assuming drugs were why my friends laid so many eggs, and why I did not.

It was the fifth day when I asked them something that I would have never asked before.

“You tell me about the Ultra-Plants. How come I can’t lay eggs?” I asked.

Nick and Langston’s smile turned to a straight, serious face.

“We must bring you to the Great Alpha Dog of the Dog Calicons.” said Langston.

So it was true: The Calicons were real. The brave dog kingdom that fought the Cantercats. They were the Calicons.

***

As the seventh day came to a close, I saw a shiny castle in sight. It was in hot red and glowing through the snow. It looked like it stood as tall as the mountain. Langston, Nick, and I walked to the gate. I was very amazed, but for some reason, Nick and Langston were not. We went up to the gate, and there stood many guards carrying the iron throwing projectiles that Langston called “guns.”

“Name and rank!” one guard said.

I looked at Langston. He took a card out of his pocket that he quickly showed to the guard and shoved it back into his pocket.

“What makes you think that you can break into these walls without your boss?!” yelled the guard.

“I have a guest here. He is of utmost importance to the Alpha Dog,” I overheard Langston whisper to the guard.

Something seemed very wrong. Is there something that makes me special? I thought,  Does nobody like me? They just want me for some reason that I am special? But that was not of much concern to me.

“They are going to take you to your room,” Langston whispered into my ear.

“Where are you going to sleep?” I asked.

“I have my own matters to attend to,” Langston said.

The guards led me to one room as Nick and Langston went the other. I said goodbye while staring at the Tower in the Rockies…

 

Chapter Ten: The Calicons

I looked at the room that I was given. It stood in many colored designs. It had pictures painted all over, a private bathroom, books, and a king sized bed. I stayed for ten days. I had to see Langston again.

“He has his own business to attend to,” the guard said when I asked.

This wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I had heard that one million times already. I wanted to see him. Three months passed, and I was very bored.

“I am tired of this place,” I said. “Nothing has been going on,” I complained to the keeper.

“What do you seek?” he asked. “Your friend, I cannot give to you. But you can get an  adventure.”

“What adventure do you mean?” I asked.

He smiled. “You have much to learn,” he said.

***

The fourth month came. I had been training in the Calicon Brute Force. Being in the Calicon Brute Force was no mere adventure, it was torture. I would have to run 10 miles starting at 3 am on a hilly course with 50 pound equipment. Others had 200 pound packs. There were many other things that were impossible. We had to swim two miles and army crawl through the mud, under barbed wire, with gunfire over us.  

But it was better than sitting in my bed. I knew that one day I might be a hero, slaughtering cats one day. But still, why did the Calicons take me in. Why am I called “Goldy?”

One day, after a long day of work, I was asked to go back into the tower without any arms. I was led into the tower by the Calicon infantry. I expected nothing of any importance. They led me up the stairs. Soon I was higher up than ever. I twitched, something was up my nerve. I had to keep moving.

I went and turned into a large hall. There were many beautiful paintings on the wall: battles fought by the Calicons since the Middle Ages. The very ground I walked on was pure gold.

The soldiers took me to General Murkla, leader of the Calicon infantry.

“We have him,” said one of the soldiers.

I looked at the soldiers, confused.

“Your work is done here,” said General Murkla. “I will take it from here.”

The soldiers walked away. I looked at the general. I was ready for whatever was to come.

***

The general took me to a great hall. There I saw what I would have never seen. The Great Alpha dog leader of the Calicons. I bowed to him and stood up.

“Welcome, Goldy!” said the Alpha Dog. “I am very happy to see you.”

“Your majesty,” I said. “For what reason do you call me to you?”

“Many questions must wait to be answered,” said the Alpha Dog. “Come.”

“Do you know who you are?” he asked.

I stared at him, puzzled. I simply answered him.

“I am Goldy, a chicken. I am now in the Calicon Brute Force and will fight to the death for the Calicons,” I said.

“You still have much to learn,” he said.

“Why did you request for me to be in your kingdom?” I asked.

“You shall figure over time,” he said. “Do you have parents?”

“No,” I said.

“What happened to them?” he asked.

The flashback came to me. A dream that had been haunting me since I had it. The horrible memories played over and over: The Man.

“I don’t know!” I yelled.

“Then who named you!” he said.

“I don’t know,” I said.

Then it came back. The memories of my parents.

“My parents died,” I said. “But I do not know why. I was last with my master on the farm. He got killed. I was captured by the Humans, and Langston and Nick helped me escape here!”

He looked at me and smiled. “If you stay here, you will learn all there is to know, and all the secrets.”

Secrets, I thought. What about Master’s secret? What about My Golden Chicken?

 

The Ultimate Handbook of Greek Gods

Chapter One: Zeus

Okay, so, hi! This is Zeus here. But you’re probably wondering why Zeus is being so nice to you. Yeah, because Zeus is usually a big jerk… (Psst.. That’s because this is not Zeus speaking!!) Because his voice is usually —

Hey! Narrator! Stop this craziness!!! I am not a jerk!!!”

Okay, so, to make this chapter a little bit more interesting, let’s play a game of correcting Zeus’s mistakes in his sentences for him.

“Hi! I’m Zeus and I am very nice!” (Fibber.) “I am a very nice person…” (Actually, it’s the other way around: Gimme a J, an E, a R, and a K! What does that spell? JERK!)

 

Chapter Two: Hera

Yeah… I can’t say much different about Zeus’s wife… Hera… She is also a huge jerk. I mean, like, she doesn’t like demigods, and, yeah. Oh. Scroll down.

Blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, what I’m saying about Hera is that the only reason Zeus and Hera are married… is because they are both total jerks. So, here’s this story about how they met. It is probably dependable? (Notice the question mark there.)

“Hi! I’m Hera!”

“Hi! I’m Zeus!”

“Are you a jerk? Like, do you hate demigods?”

“Yeah!”

“Okay then! I’ve got a perfect wedding gift for you! Chopped up hamburger with demigod bite-sized pieces in them! Yum!” (Oh. Didn’t know that Hera was also a cannibal?!)

 

Chapter Three: Poseidon

Well! Finally! At least we’ve gotten to a good god. Well, actually, not really… Literally, he never communicates with his demigod son. What a jerk. Poseidon is like, “Hi! I’m Poseidon!”

“Hi Poseidon, I’m your son.”

“Oh, okay then… since you’re my son, but I don’t really care about demigods… call me a hundred years later…”

Wait… I think at this rate, the story should be called the Ultimate Handbook Criticizing The Greek Gods… and Poseidon is fuming at me writing this, which is happening right now… Wait! No!!! Poseidon!!! I’m not done reporting how you guys are jerks!!!  –static

 

Chapter Four: Hades

Personally, I don’t really like Hades, because Hades is the god of the underworld. He’s just like, “Hi! I am Hades! I am a god, but I don’t care about being one of the big three!” (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades.) “I only talk to the dead that come to the Underworld, and I like to torture them!”

But, again, I’m going to say that he is a total jerk. Like, I mean… how does he not care for his demigod sons?!

 

Chapter Five: Ares

So… Ares is actually a total jerk. (Now I’m finding it hard to say “jerk” so many times. Like, I mean, my tongue is stuck on that word!)

Ares is like, “I am Ares, and I love to fight! Wanna fight? I love fights! Wah! That was not fair! Rematch! I wanna fight again!”

“You’re just a sore loser,” says the demigod who won. Wooo! Go demigod! Boo Ares!

“Nuh-uh! I just… blah, blah, blah, blah…”

But seriously… –staticstatic– my connection is not good with you… probably because Ares’s glowing, fire eyes are burning my wifi box down… I think the story now should be the Ultimate Handbook of Stories That End With –static-static– because… I don’t know… –static-static-

Oh! Wait! I know why the stories end with static! It’s because of Ares’s fire spreading all over my house, and it is destroying the connection with you!

AHHH!!! FIRE! Fire! Somebody call the Ares extermination service!

Okay, I’ll meet you later after I go to Best Buy to get a new wifi box.

 

Chapter Six: Apollo

Apollo? Okay… seriously, I can’t think of anything bad to do with Apollo. Well, actually,  he’s just like, “Hi Artemis! I don’t care about you! All I care about is being cool-looking in my chariot, and driving around all day, and complaining.”

Seriously, that is how he talks.

“Waiter? Can I get a lemonade with a lime slice on the side of the cup, with extra sugar, and bubbles, and some coke added into it, and extra ice, and iced tea in it, to make it an Arnold Palmer?”

Sigh. Apollo, Apollo, Apollo.

 

Chapter Seven: Hermes

Hermes? Yeah… being the god of thieves and all those… messages… he’s probably like, to the thieves, “Yeah! Now go steal the planet Mars! Perfect! Wooo!!! Now, go hijack one of the NASA spaceships!”

“You are not helping, Hermes,” says a NASA security officer.

And Ares is like, “FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!!!”

Aphrodite’s going, “Ares, my love, did you forget to wear your red makeup to make it look like your face is about to explode?”

Zeus is firing thunderbolts everywhere, and Hades is riding in his black chariot and killing people.

Seriously, now this book is just so out of order. Like, yes, Ares, I’m talking to Y-O-U. (And some other people.) Like, Ares (and some other people) are butting in while it’s Herme’s turn under the spotlight. Really, Ares, (and some other people) I’m telling you, Hermes doesn’t even get any positive feedback anyway! Just like you! Hurray! (Sarcasm.)

Ares: Wahhh!

Me: You deserved it.      

 

Chapter Eight: Artemis

Artemis? More of a, “Ah! Boys have cooties!” kind of person than a goddess. Seriously?

Besides, when I first read Artemis’s name, I thought she was the god of art. You know why? Because her name starts with A-R-T. Wow. Depressing. Her parents must have not known that loophole there. Artemis should really be the goddess of art. Seriously, this is just downright DEPRESSING.

 

Chapter Nine: Athena

Athena? Okay, honestly, I have nothing against her but, a god that is against demigods is just, yeah. The exact same, like a clone. But, again, Athena is the goddess of wisdom. Yeah, Athena, I’m telling you to quit doing your I-HATE-DEMIGODS rally, and listen to me for once. Yeah, I’m expecting you to start saying random wisdom words like, “Hi! I’m Einstein! E=MC2 !”

(Yep, and don’t tell me you invented that, cause you didn’t! Einstein did.)

 

Chapter Ten: Aphrodite

Aphrodite, okay?

“Hi! I love romance and a lot of love!!!” Like that. And, “I love beauty!”

Okay, seriously, Aphrodite, quit doing your makeup and get under the spotlight! I think you know that you’re being interviewed right now, right?

“Ohhh! Don’t I look beautiful? Add some more makeup on my ears!” says Aphrodite.

What?! Has Aphrodite gone crazy! Makeup on ears?!

“Mm-hmm!” says Aphrodite. “Oh, was I supposed to do something other than just put my makeup on?”

Duh. Or, maybe not. If she was in her world, it would be LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, and more LOVE, LOVE, LOVE… okay, you get it.

But, seriously: let’s face the truth, did Aphrodite not know that she was being interviewed?!

 

Chapter Eleven: Demeter

Demeter? Fine. Hello? Demeter? I would like to interview you today. What would you like to say?

“Harvest is going terrible! That titan, stupid Cronos, is ruining my harvest by getting the big, fat, giant Hyperion to stomp on my beautiful crops!!! And, I’m going cray cray, as usual!”

(Yes, we know, Demeter.)

 

Chapter twelve: Hypnos

So… honestly, my sister will love this chapter because she loves sleep!!! So, again, I’m going to interview him. Hypnos. Hypnos? What do you have to say about the world?

“Rrr… snore, snore, snore. The world -snore- needs –snore- more –snore- sleep –snore. By –snore- the end –snore- of this –snore- story.”

Oh, well. I guess Hypnos isn’t in a good mood right now.

Hello! ARE YOU AWAAAAKE???” Ares yells.

“Hey, hey, hey! ” says Zeus, and pushes Ares out of the spotlight.

“Ares! Do you need your death hammer to smash him to death?” Aphrodite says.

 

Chapter Thirteen: Dionysus

Oh! I’m the wine god!

Splash. He spilled it on my camera. Great. That’s a thousand dollars down the drain. Okay, I’m going to ask a seriously tempting question.

“Which wine do you like?”

Dionysus finally looks at me.

“Ohh! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick-”

“LET ME GET A McPICK TWO!!!!” Hermes yells.

Seriously! Hermes, not your turn under the spotlight! Stop stealing McPick Twos! Leave McDonald’s alone!

“Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!”

 

Chapter Fourteen: Hephaestus

No offense, but I had to spell that name a thousand times before I got it right. Okay. Hello. I would like to interview you. What would you like to say?

“Oh my God! I am totally going to smash Cronos on his fat butt!”

Okay. I’ll move out of hammer range for that. Smash! Oh, ow. That felt like a nuclear bomb.

“Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!”

Stop, Dionysus! Seriously! Smash!

Okay, there goes the wine god! Thanks, Hephaestus!

“Pick me! Pick me! Pick-” Kaboom, smash. Oh, ouch.

 

The Grandfather Clock

Once upon a time, there was a mother dragon with a daughter named Luna. Luna is twelve years old with a big heart, and blue scales, and stars on her back. She has a long tail with a star on the end that glows in the dark. Luna lived in a cave, and there was a mountain to her west.

One day, when Luna was taking a stroll up the mountain, she found a big cave. When she stepped inside, there was a big clock. In fact, it was a grandfather clock. When she touched it, her hand went in, and then she stepped inside, and there was a whole new world. There were apple trees, blueberry trees, and other berry trees. There were thousands of mountains and a big stream. There was a spring area where spring animals roamed. There was an autumn area where autumn animals roamed, and there was a winter area where winter animals roamed. There was a summer area where summer animals roamed. But her favorite part was the summer part with the hawk and the sound it made. It sounded like Mozart playing the piano. And it came down, down to her and asked what her name was.

Luna said, “My name is Luna.”

Luna asked,  “What is your name?”

The hawk said, “My name is Chrissa.”

Luna went over to the spring area. There was a little monarch butterfly and it said, “Welcome to the spring area!”

There was also another butterfly beside Luna that said, “Come help!”

Its name was Rose. The dragon followed her to the butterfly home.

Rose said to Luna, “Can you go get that vine, and can you also get a pinecone? Then can you get the glue out of the pinecone and attach it to the top of the vine, some on the bottom, and attach the vine in the two places so the nest will hold?”

Luna did it. And then when she did that Rose said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”  And it gave her a rose that she really liked. It was a red rose, and she put it in her bag that she brought along with her.

Then they went to the winter area. There was a polar bear that said, “You must come help!” Then the polar bear led them to a penguin that was under a branch.

The other penguin said, “You really, really must help because you must be so strong with that tail of yours. You can lift up the branch!”  When she did, she saw no wing on the penguin.

They said, “Oh no! There’s only one person that can help.”

Luna asked, “Who?”

“Ember will,” they replied.

”Can you fly this penguin to Ember?” asked another penguin.

”Why yes!” Luna said.

Another penguin said, “Her cave is in the autumn area, and two big trees are next to the cave.”

When they arrived, Ember was sitting down and she was meditating. Ember was a white wolf, and she was over a thousand years old. She said, “I know you, Luna, we’ll talk about this later. But for now, I’ll take care of the penguin. ”

Ember put a robotic wing on the penguin.

Luna asked, astounded, “How did you make it?”

Ember said, “Magic. You may leave the penguin. There’s a problem. There’s a bad guy taking over the world, and his name is Siro. You must get the red crystal to save the world and Siro will become a good guy again. We’re still trying to find out how he became a bad guy. Pegasus will help you on your quest, and Chrissa, you may go with Luna. Now go. Pegasus is in the summer area.”

When Luna and Chrissa arrived to the summer area, Pegasus was nowhere to be found.

“She must have gone all the way to the spring area!” said Chrissa.

So they went to the spring area, and there she was. Pegasus was walking around sniffing flowers. Luna said to Pegasus, “We need your help!”

Pegasus said, “Oh, shut your mouth! I’m coming.”

They all walked over to a dark, dark corner of the spring area that nobody knew existed except Ember and Pegasus. There, Pegasus said, “There’s going to be a lot of booby traps! So step where I step.”

“Well,” said Luna, “why can’t we just fly?”

“Because then arrows will shoot at you and you might die!” said Pegasus. “There are evil archers hidden in the rocks!”

“Oh, you could have told me that in the first place!”

“I’m sorry, but you have to step where I step.”

“Oh alright!”

They all followed Pegasus. When Chrissa stepped forward, she almost fell into a hole, but she didn’t fall: she flew up, and there were a lot of arrows! Then there was a big, big hole in front of them, and they couldn’t walk! But there was a cabinet right next to them, and written in blood on the front of it were the words: “Please come in.”

It was better than flying and almost dying so they stepped in. There were dead rats on the ground, and inside the cabinet, the walls had more words written in blood: “You must answer the riddle to reach the other side.” The riddle said:

“Our dinner guests howl that we’re evil,

When they notice their place in the meal,

But it’s no big deal why,

We’re just one big happy tribe

And we get really fed up with people!

What are we?”

Chrissa cried, “Cannibals!”

And out of nowhere on the walls another blood sign appeared, saying:

“Yes, you are right!”

The wall then turned into a passageway. When they stepped inside it, they saw three red crystals laid out on a cushion on a tablet.

Above them, there was a fairy. It said, “If you choose the wrong crystal, you will fall into the deep depths of the cave.”

So they chose carefully. They all thought it was the middle one. But the middle one was the wrong one, and the floor disappeared, and they fell into the depths of the cave. Inside the depths of the cave there was a blanket on the floor and a tunnel. Above them, the floors shut. The cave was very narrow, and they were forced to stand in a single line. At the front was Pegasus, then Luna, then Chrissa.

Chrissa looked down at her feet and said, “Look!”

Stitched into the blanket, it said:

“Choose where you step carefully.”

“Where are the guards?” Luna asked.

“That doesn’t matter right now!” Pegasus said. “We have to focus on where we step.”

Then a huge red troll  appeared directly behind Chrissa. It had an ugly hooked nose with tusks for teeth and spiky red hair.

“Guys… th-th-there’s a-” Chrissa said.

“It doesn’t matter right now!” Pegasus interrupted. “We have keep going.”

“But there is a troll…”

“I-I see it too, w-w-we sh-sh-should run,” Luna said.

“What are you talking about? You’re right! There’s a troll!!!”

They ran through the whole maze, and somehow they got out. They were in a deeper part of the cave, and there were dead bodies. Corpses of rats, raccoons, and even a unicorn laid on the floor.

“How did that happen?” Luna said.

“Ugh!” Chrissa said. “I wanna barf because of the smell!”

Chrissa pulled her wings over her beak.

“Guys, we should leave. The troll is coming.” Pegasus said.

A flame bursts out from the walls behind them.

“I think that’s a sign!” Chrissa said.

Then the troll appeared. With a hiss, like a snake with a sore throat, the troll said, “Rise.”

The dead bodies came to life. The newly reanimated corpses’ bones began to assemble, and their various skins and furs began to grow back. Chrissa, Luna, and Pegasus stood, gaping.

“Uhh… what just happened?” Chrissa said.

“I think we should run!” Luna screamed.

A zombie unicorn marched forward, its arms raised, trying to grab them.

“Run!” Pegasus cried.

They began running. Luna turned to the zombie unicorn and said, “Why are you doing this?”

“Siro ordered me to do this!” The troll yelled. “He wants to rule the world forever and the only way he can do that is by killing you! You are the prophecy!”

“Thanks!” Luna yelled back and ran.  

The zombies chased after them, but before they could catch up, a large chunk of the ceiling crashed down and separated them. There was a medium sized hole in the ceiling where the chunk had been. All three girls flew through the hole and into a massive cavernous room. It stunk like rotten fish and even though Chrissa, as a hawk, ate fish, she wanted to barf. Siro sat on a rock hanging off the wall of the cave. Siro was a big tiger with glowing blue eyes and a coarse white mane.

Standing next to him were two henchmen. The first was a black unicorn. Her eyes were blood red, and her horn was a very shiny white.

“I can’t believe it! A dark unicorn? Unicorns are meant to be bright and good!” said Pegasus.  

The second henchmen was an ugly water troll with very sharp teeth wearing a seaweed loincloth.

Siro said in a dark voice, “Looking for this?”

He lifted his paw and revealed the red crystal floating in his palm.

“Wait! You mean none of the crystals back there are the crystal?” Luna said.

“Ha!” Siro laughed maniacally. “It was all a trick!”

Pegasus leapt into the air and launched herself at Siro. Luna wasn’t paying attention. Her eyes were on the crystal which seemed to be staring back at her. The crystal floated out of Siro’s grasp and towards Luna. Suddenly, a big, blue, hypnotizing vortex opened right in front of Luna. Ember stepped out of it, her face impatient.

“Say the magic words, Luna!”

“But what are they?!” Luna yelled back.

“HOLD THE CRYSTAL NICE AND FIRM, KEEP THE CRYSTAL CLOSE WHEREVER YOU ARE,” Ember replied.

“HOLD THE CRYSTAL NICE AND FIRM,” Luna said, “KEEP THE CRYSTAL CLOSE WHEREVER YOU ARE.”

The crystal began to glow red and released a red light that lit up the cave completely. Then it stopped, and the crystal vanished. Siro’s eyes, which had once glowed, were now regular blue. The black unicorn’s fur became pearly white, and her eyes faded to a normal red. The water troll’s teeth shrank back to normal size, and the seaweed loincloth turned into a suit. They all suddenly became good, and his henchmen suddenly became good.

“How did you become evil?” Ember asked.

“Snape is the real bad guy. I have been controlled by him but was saved by the red crystal,” Siro replied.

“Where is he?” Luna asked.

“He’s deep inside the cave,” Siro said.

“UGH! We have to go back in there?” Pegasus groaned.

“Yes,” Ember said. “Yes you do.”

“I will lead you there,” Siro said.

“I’ll come with you.” Ember said.

“Troll, unicorn, come with me,” Siro said.

“Okay,” The troll said in his groaning voice.

“Yay! Another adventure!” The unicorn said, jumping up and down with happiness. They began walking back to the maze.

Chrissa said, “Oh no, that maze! Not those dead bodies again!”

When they reached the fire troll, he said he wanted to come too. They got out of the maze, and there were the fake crystals still sitting on the cushion. And they went out of the cabinet and the hole was mended. Inside the cabinet, the blood signs were still there. When they went outside of the cabinet the hole was mended. As they walked deeper and deeper into the cave, a sword appeared from the cave ceiling. The sword said,

“Use me to kill Snape only. He’s in the door over there!”

The sword floated down to them, and they turned in the direction where he had said there was a door. But when they opened the door, there was another maze. Chrissa groaned. They all went into the cave. Of course, Siro knew where to go because he had been there before. They walked behind Siro who took them to the left, the right, diagonally, vertically, straight and then right again, left again, left again and, then diagonally again, and so on and so on.

When they reached the other side, there was Snape, sitting on the ground surrounded by zombies. Snape was a griffin with white eyes and huge wings bigger than Chrissa’s (and Chrissa’s wings were really big).

Snape had horns and their tail looked like a hand. Ember had never seen anything like Snape. She’d never seen something so scary. Maybe to you it’s not scary, but for them, right in front of them, it was death.

***

The zombies surrounding Snape were all green: one was a pig, a big dark death thing, one was a polar bear, one was a king cobra, and the other-the-the-other was Luna’s friend, the butterfly Rose!

“He’s going to pay for this!” Ember said. She was angry, very angry.

“Ha! You’ll all be turned into bad guys!” Snape said.

“How could you kill someone like that?!” Chrissa said.

I just want to kill him!  The fire troll thought.

But in fact, Snape was a girl. Snape brought out her sword and she said, “Battle! You’ll become a bad guy if I stab you, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”

The good sword said, “Luna! You must fight with me!”

“Okay!” Luna said.

She grabbed the sword with her blue tail. Luna ran up to where Snape was standing. When Luna reached her, they clashed their swords. And the battle began.

Five hours later, they were tired. Snape fainted, exhausted. And that was Luna’s chance. She raised the sword high and stabbed it through Snape’s back and into her heart. Suddenly, the sword floated out of Snape’s heart, out of Luna’s tail, and floated away through the ceiling.

Snape woke up. She looked the same but her expression looked like she had better feelings. No one was scared anymore. All the zombies transformed from green back to normal.

Rose was pink again and squealed, “I’m free!”

Luna and Ember were very confused.

“What happened?” Snape said, like she was waking up from a dream.

“What do you mean? You just made people into zombies! One of my friends, too!” Pegasus screamed.

“Yeah!” Rose said.

“That was just a dream!” Snape said.

But before Pegasus could say anything, Luna said, “Calm down Pegasus, she’s a good guy now.”

Then the cave around them, which was old and chipped, vanished and was replaced with trees, some with snowy parts, some with summer parts. And the summer sun rose in the sky. The ground shifted and moved them to the top of the world where all the animals could see. Every single animal in the world was gaping at such a marvelous sight.

Ember opened a vortex and went home. Chrissa, Pegasus, Rose, Siro, Water troll, Fire troll, the White Unicorn and Snape hunted through the grass, looking for what was left of the crystal. Luna turned to help them. Then saw her mother in the summer area.

“Mom? What are you doing here?” Luna said.

Luna’s mom looked just like Luna but way bigger.

“I also came through the grandfather clock to look for you,” Luna’s mom said. “Where were you?”

“I was here, just having a great adventure.”

“Like what?”

“Well… it’s a long story.”

 

THE END

 

Nick and The Championship Soccer Game

Chapter One: Nick and Anderson

“Good job, Nick. We made the playoffs!”

Nick was eight years old, and he loved to play soccer and was excited about the playoffs. He knew how to play his hardest because he was playing the stars. To win, Nick and his team had to practice a lot, so they were ready for the big game. Their team name was the Crushers. Nick was lucky because he was not playing Anderson. Anderson was a great soccer player and started way before Nick, at the age of five. So, it was possible that he was better than Nick. Anderson’s team name was the Spartans. Nick had played Anderson’s team before and had lost.

In that game, Anderson’s team scored six goals, and Nick’s team had scored three. Nick was not able to defeat Anderson because Anderson was very good with his moves. He did lots of moves like putting the ball inside and outside of his legs. Nick couldn’t do that. Nick was trying to do that. He was still trying to figure out how to put the ball inside and outside of his legs. But Nick knew that a hard team was coming, Uteam. He went to lots of soccer camps and tried his hardest so he could get better and be like Anderson. One day, Nick was asking his dad if his team could someday beat the Spap.

Nick was not scared of the playoffs, but he was scared of the championship because of Anderson’s team. But his dad said kept saying, “try your hardest.’’

’’But Anderson is way too hard!” said Nick.

***

It was one day before the big game, and, lucky crushers, they were ready! The day was here, and the Crushers and the Stars were playing.

‘’Run, Nick!’’ the crowd shouted.

The score was 2 – 2. Ten seconds were remaining. Nick was on the breakaway. He shot  and scored!

’’We made the semi-finals against the Dragons!’’ the coach cheered.  

Seconds were counting… 2… 1… 0… Fans were cheering, hats were flying towards the ground, fans were screaming. The screaming could be heard outside the grounds.

“Nick, nice goal,” said Bryce.

“Thank you,” said Nick.

***

At home, Nick practiced a lot of his shots. His dad burst into the room door.

‘’Nick. Great job. Are you nervous about the semi-finals?’’

“A little bit,” Nick said. “It’s getting harder in levels. I don’t know if I’m up to the level of Anderson. His team has made it to the finals, and they said, ‘we do not care who our opponent is.’’’

“Nick, time for bed,’’ said his mom.

“I thought Dad says it is time for bed,” said Nick.  

“He is very busy,” said his mom.

Nick had been telling his dad, “you don’t have to be millionaire, in the hundreds are fine.” He was on a call, and they could not disturb his dad. Then, Nick went to bed and dreamed about winning the finals.

 

Chapter Two: The Big Game

The semi-finals were three days away, and they did not know how good their opponents were because they had not played them in the regular season, but they saw in the standings that the opponents were in second place. Nick’s team was in third. If the Crushers did not play well, they would lose and not make the finals. That was why Nick and his teammates were practicing a lot. And Nick was trying to do better on his shots. He practiced three hours a day with his teammates and two hours alone.

At the end of three days, his dad said, “Slow down so that you get your shots better. Even if you lose, try your hardest. And make sure to get to sleep early tonight, since your game is tomorrow.”

The big game was here, and the score was 2 – 1. Dragons were winning. Twenty seconds were remaining, and Nick was sweating. Nick dribbled into the Dragon’s zone and shot top shelf. Fans were quiet and watched the ball fly, and Nick scored! The score was tied, and fans were cheering so loudly.

Buzz.

The game had gone to overtime! Teams huddle, and then they started to play. Nick shot from the side and scored! Fans were louder than the city!

“We made the finals!” said the coach.

Nick went home with a shock. He was dripping with sweat, and he could feel his heart pounding at the speed of light.

‘’Nick, I saw you play today. You played awesome,’’ said his dad in an excited mood. ’’Go practice more so you are ready for the finals, and remember, there are three games, and your team has to win two, and you are playing the Spartans,’’ said his dad.

‘’What?!” Nick said.

He was dazed.

 

Chapter Three: What Happened To Nick

Nick was playing soccer in his backyard and shot a goal. Something must have happened because he felt harsh pain in his ankle. Nick screamed a little bit, and then hopped to his mom who was watering the flowers.

“I shot a goal, and I twisted my ankle, and it hurts badly,” Nick said.

His mom took a look at his ankle. The ankle had a blue bruise and was swollen.

“Try moving your foot, and if it hurts, we’ll put an ice pack.”

Nick was trying to move his foot, but it hurt very badly.

Nick said, “It hurts badly. I need the ice pack.”

And Nick hopped to the house and quickly went to the kitchen and got an ice pack from the freezer.  Then he went to the sofa, sat there, and put the ice pack to his foot.

Then his mom said, “How are you going to play in the finals on Saturday? That’s two days from now!”

Later, when Nick was eating his dinner, he asked his mom, “If I don’t play on Saturday, how is my team going to win? I can’t sit at home and just relax while they play!”

“We’ll see if your leg is good on Saturday. But if it’s not, we’ll see if you can play. But I don’t think it’ll be good for your ankle. And your shots won’t be good either.”

When Nick went to bed, he slept with ice pack, and dreamed about losing the finals.

 

Chapter 4: The Finals of Three

The next day, Nick woke up very early so he could practice before the game.

“But what about your ankle?” his mom asked.

“My ankle is fine,” he said, even though it still hurt him.

The swelling had gone down.  

So his mom asked, “Are you sure?”

And Nick said, “I’m sure.”  

Later, the finals were here, and nobody knew who is going to win.The teams were going onto the field, and the Spartans were playing Nick’s team, the Crushers. Just at the ten second mark, Anderson scored for the Spartans! By the middle of the game, the Spartans were leading 2 – 0. Then, the Crusher’s scored when Nick passed to Bryce, and he took a shot from the corner and scored! The rest of the game didn’t go so well because Nick’s ankle was still hurting badly. He couldn’t play that well. It was almost the end of the first game, and the Spartans were leading 3 – 1. Seventeen seconds were remaining, and Nick knew that they were going to lose the first game. The buzzer went off, and the Spartans had won. The team was cheering as loudly as the fans. Anderson tackled the goalie, and they both fell to the ground, screaming with excitement. Nick went home, sad and exhausted. The next game was tomorrow.

The next day, the teams took the field. Nick’s team, the Crushers, were pumped up. Then, the game had started, and the Crusher’s were going hard out. Nick was dribbling into the Spartan’s zone and just shot it from the corner — a top shelf! He scored. The Spartans were surprised when they saw the goal. Then, in the middle of the game, Nick’s team was so happy that they were winning. Then, the Spartans took the ball and shot it very far, almost half field, and it went inside the goal. Thirty seconds remaining, and Anderson and the Spartans were driving it into the Crusher’s zone, and Leo passed it to Anderson, but Nick defended it by kicking it high. The ball flew over the players and landed above the goalie’s hands, into the net. The Crusher’s had scored the final goal of the game! The buzzer blew. This time, the Crusher’s tackled each other, hugging each other.

The coach said, “Great game! We only need one more game to win the series. Get ready for the finals tomorrow.’’

***

The game was here. It was the middle of the game, and the score was 0 – 0.There were nine seconds remaining, and the Crushers were drenched with sweat.The buzzer blew. The game had gone to overtime. The teams huddled. Then they went back on the field. Nick dribbled into the Spartan’s zone. Anderson blocked Nick’s path. Nick shot from the corner and scored! The fans were louder than the city, and the Crusher’s jumped onto the goalie. The fans were screaming so loudly!

‘’Awesome!” said Coach.

“Nick rocks!” the fans shouted.

“Nick, you did awesome,” his parents said. “You won the finals!”

“You put pressure on the Spartans, and then you’ll win it!” said Nick.

“That’s what I was telling you,” his dad said. “Put in your practice, and you’ll get better.”

That night, Nick and his team had a small party that had lot of food and a lot of games, because they deserved it.

 

The  End

 

Ghost Town

Chapter One: Noises

Teddy got into his car and slammed the door super hard. It was only 8:30 AM, and so many things had already gone wrong. First of all, he got fired from his law firm. His boss was very unfair. At least, to Teddy, he was. But Teddy didn’t care. He just wanted to go home.

Finally, he got to the parking garage of his apartment. He went inside and into the elevator. Up, up, up. He went to floor twelve. He stepped out of the elevator and into the corridor. But there was a big sign hung up on the wall. As he read the sign, he heard a loud machine coming from his apartment. He jammed his keys into the lock and slowly opened the door.

He saw three construction workers with drills, taking down his pictures and breaking walls.

“What do you think you are doing on my property?” shouted Teddy over the loud noise of the drill.

“We’re cleaning out this unit,” screamed the construction worker, even though he wasn’t using the drill anymore.

“And why would you be doing that??” questioned Teddy.

“Didn’t you read the sign in the hallway?”

“Well, I was about to when I heard a loud noise coming from my unit!!!” shouted Teddy, frustrated. “Also, stop shouting? You’re about to burst my eardrums!”

“Fine. We’re cleaning out this unit because on this floor, we’re gonna have a restaurant,” said the construction worker.

“A restaurant?! Wouldn’t it be a bit more useful if you gave me a sign?!” said Teddy.

“We did,” the construction worker replied.

“I mean a real sign. Like maybe a letter. Ever heard of that?” said Teddy, literally screeching at this point.

“If you have more complaints, you can take them to your landlord. It’s not my fault that you didn’t know about this.”

“Fine,” said Teddy.

So, he walked to the end of the corridor and rapped on the door.

“Come in,” said the landlord.

“Hi,” said Teddy. “I am here because your construction workers are cleaning out my apartment.”

“Of course they are!” said the landlord. “I told them to.”

“Well, I didn’t know. And looking back at the contract, it says that you can’t make any changes without notifying me personally.”

 

Chapter Two: Landlord

“Fine, fine. How about you have a cup of tea. We can talk about this. Here, I already have some tea ready,” she said as she poured the tea into a cup.

“Here.” she said, placing the cup in front of Teddy.

“No! I don’t want tea!!” Teddy screamed. “I want my property back!”

He flicked the cup off the desk and watched it smash into smithereens.

“That was my great grandmother’s!! Get out!!!” said the landlord. “And don’t come back. Take your things from your apartment and leave the building. Otherwise, I’m going to have to call the authorities…”

Teddy jolted out of the room and back to his unit. He packed everything in a box and carried it out confidently.

“Fine. If she wants me to leave, I will leave. I don’t care,” said Teddy.

He sounded very confident, but he really wasn’t. He was nervous. Where was he going to go? Would he even go anywhere?

 

Chapter Three: Cars

He got into his car and started driving. He didn’t know where he was going, but to him, anywhere was better than the city. Now he had been driving for hours, and he felt like he was going nowhere, but that’s when his car jolted to a stop.

“Ugggh,” he said, slamming on the ignition peddle.

He looked over at the dashboard.

“Oh man!!! I’m out of gas,” said Teddy. “It seems like everything’s going badly today.”

He took his box of stuff out of his trunk and started walking on the side of the road.

 

Chapter Four: Houses

Soon he had passed an abandoned house. He took a long glance at the house. I guess I have no choice. I guess something is better than nothing… He walked to the house.

Creaaak, said the door as Teddy opened it. He walked into the house. Every step he took, the old, dusty  wood creaked, as if it was trying to tell him something. He looked around and hung his coat on the hook. It was late July, and it was raining. That was weird. This strange place had no name. For he was the only person here.

Finally, Teddy made a decision. He would live here from now on. It was perfect. Or so he thought…

 

Chapter Five: Places

No other person dared to live here. It was so cold that your fingers would burn. The houses were so old and dusty, and most of all, the rumors were the thing that made most folks not live there.  For many, many centuries, people had been spreading rumors about the mysterious “ghost town.” Teddy had heard many things about this place. It was always cold, and there was no happiness in the air. But Teddy just thought this was rubbish.

Teddy walked into the kitchen and placed his box on a rickety little table. The table immediately broke into the small wooden pieces it was made up of. Finally, Teddy started to unpack. He took out his welcome mat and unraveled it. He laid it out on the porch. Then he unpacked everything else. Not like there was much else. An old book, a mug, some clothing, and an old alarm clock. After he gathered everything and put it where it belonged, he started making his way upstairs.

 

Chapter Six: Journals

He walked inside one of the rooms. It was small and cozy. He saw an old bed made out of wood, and an old blanket was on top. There was also one big, fat pillow on top. He walked out of the room and into another room. For this room was much bigger and had a bigger bed as well. He looked around. This room had a big, purple blanket covering the bed. Teddy saw a small hump under the blanket. He took off the blanket and found a journal. He opened it. He heard a screeching scream.

“BEWARE… I WILL COME FOR YOU… I WILL HUNT DOWN YOUR SOUL UNTIL YOU ARE NOTHING…” the horrible voice said.

Teddy felt scared. Teddy closed it. He pushed the journals out the window and into the snow.

Thump. The journal fell. Teddy looked at his watch.

“It’s already 10:30!” he said. “I better get to bed now.”

He fell into the bed and fell asleep.

 

Chapter Seven: Alarms

Beep beep beep, said the alarm clock. Teddy slammed his hand on the snooze button.

“Neeed moooore sleeeeep…” he said sleepily.

Finally, he woke up. He made his way downstairs and to the basement. In the basement, the floor creaked even more than the other levels of the house. There were no windows in the basement. It made it feel dark and lonely. Teddy shivered. I think it’s better if I stay upstairs…

Another day went by… and another… and another… then came August… and then September… Teddy put on his worn out shoes, and put on his ripped gloves, and slowly went outside. He heard a loud, screechy sound. He walked around the corner and bumped into a lady in a dark leather winter coat, pushing a baby in an old baby carriage. The baby was bundled up in a blue blanket.

 

Chapter Eight: Mrs.

“Hi!” said the lady. “My name is Marley Keith. Call me Mrs. Keith, honeybun. You must be new around here!” said Mrs. Keith, pinching Teddy’s cheeks.

“Ouch!” said Teddy.

“Yay! Finally. A new neighbor!!!” said Mrs. Keith. “Now, you won’t last a day in this snow with that kind of clothing! Come on, let’s get you warm and toasty!”

“Umm… where are we going?” asked Teddy.

“To my house, of course! Where else?!” said Mrs. Keith.

They walked down to a small, red brick house and walked in. Teddy saw some weird metal machines on the floor.

“What’s that?” said Teddy.

“Oh, nothing,” said Mrs. Keith.

That’s creepy… thought Teddy. They walked into the living room. Mrs. Keith took out a warm batch of cookies from the oven. She placed them on the table, in front of Teddy.

“Now, you stay here while I get my sewing supplies,” said Mrs. Keith.

“Now, might I ask why?” Teddy asked.

“To sew you a new coat of course! Winter’s coming! You won’t stand a single day with that coat!” Mrs. Keith said.

Teddy walked home with his new coat in his hands. By the time he got home, it was already 10:30. He went to bed, like usual. Teddy woke up, sweating. He checked what time it was. It was midnight. Well, that’s if you count 12:01 being midnight… Teddy had a nightmare.

 

Chapter Nine: Dreams

A ghost had taken over his mind, and he had done horrible things. So horrible that he didn’t even want to think about it. Luckily it was only a dream. Teddy got up and went to the bathroom. He splashed water on his face and went back to sleep. It’s just a dream… It’s just a dream… It’s just a dream… It’s just a –

“I WILL COME FOR YOU AND HUNT YOU DOWN!!! I WILL HUNT DOWN YOUR SOUL UNTIL YOU ARE NOTHING!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Teddy jolted his head up. He saw a silhouette, that looked a lot like Mrs. Keith, jump out the window. I’m just imagining things… Teddy said to himself. Mrs. Keith would never do such a thing. Teddy gasped. Maybe it’s not just a dream. I think it’s time to pay a visit to old Mrs. Keith. She might be able to help.

 

Chapter Ten: Late Nights

Teddy carefully walked in the pitch dark night, towards Mrs. Keith’s house. He knocked on the door. Maybe she’s sleeping. I think it’s best if I don’t wake her… Teddy started walking back to his house when Mrs. Keith opened the door.

“Yes,” said Mrs. Keith.

“Hi, Mrs. Keith. Could I come in?” said Teddy.

“Well… might as well since you’re already here…” said Mrs. Keith.

They both sat down in the living room.

“I’m sorry if I woke you up,”  Teddy said.

“No problem…” said Mrs. Keith. “I was just doing some late night gardening…”

It’s obvious that she’s trying to hide something… thought Teddy.

“I don’t exactly know how to explain this, but…” said Teddy.

But Mrs. Keith butted into his sentence.

“The ghosts! Why, yes, I know. Now that machinery you saw the other day, that is ghost gear. Handmade, why I know all sorts of things about ghosts. Where they hunt… where they lurk… and what they do…” said Mrs. Keith.

“Hunt? Lurk?” said Teddy.

“Why yes… I think you should know something, Teddy… Your house is haun….” Mrs. Keith stopped in her own words and started changing the subject. “Go back home. It’s quite late anyway. You must just be imagining things. GO!!!”

Teddy walked home. This just kept getting weirder by the second. She was helping me, then she wasn’t. There’s something’s strange about her. I’m not going back there again…

 

Chapter Eleven: Neighbors

The next day, Teddy felt like taking a walk outside. But this time, he went the opposite way from where Mrs. Keith lived. After a couple of minutes of walking, he saw someone watching a television through a window. Teddy knocked on the door.

“Yes…” the man said weakly. “Come in…”

Teddy turned the knob and went in.

“Hi,” said Teddy.

“Why, hello!” said the old man. “Are you new in town?”

“Well…” said Teddy. “I’ve been here for about two months. So, I’d say that I’m fairly new.”

“Oh,” said the man. “Well it’s nice to meet you. My name is Robert Feldman, but you can call me Bob.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you too. My name is Teddy Rodger.”

 

Chapter Twelve: Grandfather

“Make yourself at home… I’m not used to having neighbors. Oh! And meet Sparkie,” Bob said, pointing to the cocker spaniel that was prancing around the rug.

Teddy looked at up at the wall covered with pictures. He saw a polaroid picture that had old, cursive handwriting on the bottom.

“What does that say?” Teddy asked Bob.

“Oh that?  It says Jimmy Rodger,” Bob said.

“HEY! Jimmy Rodger was my grandfather’s name. Did you happen to know him?” said Teddy, surprised.

“Darn right I knew him! He was my best friend. Up until a couple of years ago when he… passed…. “ said Bob. “An’ I haven’t seen another human being until you show up at my place.”

“Wow,” said Teddy.

“Yup,” said Bob.

“Do you know Mrs. Keith?” asked Teddy.

“You mean Marley Keith?” Bob said.

“Yeah.”

“Oh yes. We went to high school together. Personally, I think she’s quite an odd lady. Always up an’ about. Pushing a baby carriage… I reckon it’s a fake baby. She’s always wanted a baby. But she never found a man. She never has time. She’s always lurking in the shadows. Don’t talk to her. She just might twist your mind,” Bob said sternly. “Here.”

Bob gave Teddy a glass of orange juice. After drinking the juice, Teddy left, remembering what Bob said. But Teddy still couldn’t believe that Bob knew his grandfather! But Bob was like a grandfather to him.

On the way back home, Teddy bumped into Mrs. Keith.

“Hi, honeybun! Long time no see??” she said.

“Yeah. I have to go,” said Teddy.

And without another word, Teddy scurried back home.

 

Chapter Thirteen: News

The next day, Teddy woke up to the sound of chirping birds. He heard the bell ring of the newspaper boy’s bike.

“Good morning…”

The newspaper boy stopped.

“What’s your name?” the boy asked.

“Teddy Rodgers. Call me Teddy.”

“Cool,” he said.

“What’s your name?” Teddy asked.

“My name is Bill Huff,” he said.

“I didn’t know that there was a newspaper boy here. Hardly any people live here. Only three. Unless you count Sparkie,” said Teddy.

“There isn’t one. I’m from the town that neighbors this town. It’s called Canyon Island. Even though it’s not an island, that’s what it was named. I come here just because they need to get their news too. Anyway… Bye!” Bill said, throwing Teddy the newspaper.

Teddy went back inside. He unraveled the newspaper, reading the latest. There was nothing much going on. Just politics, politics, and more politics.

 

Chapter Fourteen: Ghosts

Suddenly, Teddy woke up. He had heard a shriek. He sat up on his bed and looked around. He saw a hooded figure opening drawers and closets, trying to look for something.

“What are you doing?!” screamed Teddy.

“Oh nothing, honeybun. Just go back to bed,” said a voice that Teddy was sure was Mrs. Keith’s voice.

Teddy got out of bed and carefully picked up an old lamp that didn’t work. Teddy held it up over his head as if he was going to hit Mrs. Keith. Mrs. Keith looked back. Now Teddy could see her face.

“I will hit you if you don’t leave. And don’t come back!!!” Teddy raged, his face bright red.

 

Chapter Fifteen: Sickness

Teddy was restless and couldn’t sleep. He went outside and got the journal that he threw down a couple of months back. This time, when he opened it to the first page, it didn’t scream. Teddy read the title page. He read “Ghosts.” Page one said, “How to destroy a ghost.”

What a bunch of baloney… he thought. He flipped to the next page. He read, “How to distract a ghost.” He read the first two pages. This sounds like it could be real. Hmmmmmmm… He closed the book. It was 6:00 in the morning. I’ll show Bob this. He walked in the bright, beautiful, pink sky, to Bob’s place.

He knocked on the door. Nobody answered. He knocked again. Nobody answered. He kept knocking, even though nobody answered. Finally, he slowly opened the door and went inside, trying not to make any noise.

“Hello?” said Teddy.

“I’m upstairs Teddy!” said Bob.

Teddy slipped his shoes off and walked up the stairs. He went inside the room that Bob was in. He was in bed. He looked very sick and weak.

“She-she poisoned me…” said Bob, barely able to speak.

 

Chapter Sixteen: Talks

“Who??” said Teddy, crying light tears.

“M-m-m-marley,” Bob said, stuttering again.

“No!! No!!” screamed Teddy. “Please don’t… Please don’t leave me. No!!!!”

Bob closed his eyes lightly.

“A-all your information you need is in that book. On-only use it in the night. Oth-otherwise it will…” Bob stopped.

He started breathing heavily, and then for a second, he breathed. Then it stopped.

“No!!” screamed Teddy.
He picked up Bob and went to his backyard. He took a rusted, muddy shovel and started digging. He pushed Bob into the large hole. Then he covered it. He walked home, crying, with the book in his hand.

***

Suddenly, he heard a bark. It was Sparkie. She must have followed him back home the day that Bob… It was now 8:30 in the morning, and Bill threw the paper at the door. Teddy opened the door quickly.

“Have a good day, Bill!” said Teddy.

“You too!!” said Bill as the breeze blew in his hair.

Teddy read the latest news. His mouth fell open. It said that the new president made the choice to break down the houses in the Ghost town. It said that, by the end of this month, all the houses would be taken down. He needed to find a new shelter. He would do that tomorrow though. He had an important mission. He needed to destroy the ghosts. And he needed to do it fast.

***

Now the sun had started to set, and the sky was getting darker by the minute. Teddy opened the book to page three. Now he was ready.

 

Chapter Seventeen: Plans

Teddy decided he would go to the basement. He was sure that he would find ghosts there. In the journal, it said that ghosts lurk in large undergrounds and dark, unused spaces. That was a clear definition of the basement. The journal also said that the best way to kill a ghost is by light. And the most important thing is that, once you kill one ghost, it destroys all other ghosts that are active. Nobody has ever killed one, but Teddy was determined to be the first and only. Well, not so much about the only part. He didn’t care about that stuff and the glory. He just wanted to get it over with. He hid in a closet in the basement. Sure enough, he saw a white figure fly down. Suddenly, everything was cold. About 30 more ghosts flew in. And then there was a pause. All the wind, and movement of the ghosts stopped. Then Mrs. Keith walked in. She sat down on an old, wooden chair, but she acted like it was a throne. Teddy quietly opened the closet door and reached for the light switch. Right before Teddy was able to pull up the switch Mrs. Keith screamed, “Capture him!!!!!”

The ghosts carried Teddy and placed him in front of Mrs. Keith.

“Now, now… what shall we do with you?? How about we let you watch our play??” said Mrs. Keith, evilly.

She pulled over a pot and started stirring the potion inside it.

“Now this is a strand of Robert’s hair.” she said, dropping the piece of hair into the potion. “Now, if I stir this for 10 minutes straight, when I drink one glass of this potion, I can become a ghost, and return to my human life whenever I desire. It’s called trickle trop potion.”

 

Chapter Eighteen: Potions

Teddy had read about this potion in the journal. When Mrs. Keith drank the potion and became a ghost, Teddy jumped up and got a flashlight from the closet. He quickly switched it on and shined it on all of them. They all shrieked so loud that Teddy had to cover his ears. He shined it on them once more, but longer this time, and all of them deflated like balloons. Phew, that’s over. He walked back upstairs.

 

Afterword

Teddy packed all of his things back in his box. He walked out the door, holding Sparkie’s leash. They walked to the apartment building, where Teddy used to live. He used his old keys to get in. When he knocked on the landlords office, this time he went in and found a new landlord.

“Hi.” Teddy said. “I was wondering if I could have a new apartment here? I used to live here, but I moved, and now I came back because I realize this is home for me.”

 

Finding the Lost

It was midnight and pitch dark. We had done many things before, but we had never done this. We went into the woods seeking adventure. Everyone said we were a bunch of punks. Even our parents. Me, Evan, Chris, and Mike loved hanging out. Even when we got in trouble. And we got in trouble a lot.

“Boys, bring in the toilet paper rolls,” I said.

Mike, Chris, and Evan jumped over the fence, carrying ten rolls each. My mom, lay in our house, still sleeping. Soon, she would find her beloved woods trashed. We had woods in our backyard, huge woods that my parents would go to all the time. I used to get lost in there, but now, I knew it like the back of my hand. I was mad at them. I was mad at them for fighting all the time and ignoring me. So now, I was trashing their beloved woods.

“Great,” I said with an evil smirk.

In total, we had thirty rolls. Each of the boys had ten rolls, and I couldn’t manage to get any because my parents would notice. Not like they would notice me otherwise. All they cared about was each other, the house, and the woods.

We started to throw the rolls on the trees, kicking dirt as we went. All of a sudden, we heard a long, piercing scream. We jumped, all dropping the rolls. We walked backward. We saw the black outline of a stocky figure coming toward us. We all froze.

“Run!” I yelled.

We skidded over the fence, running at full sprint to my house. By the time we got to the front door, we were all panting and out of breath.

“WWWhat wwwas that?” asked Mike with a quivering voice.

The other boys were too scared to talk, so we just stood there for about a minute in silence.

Finally, Chris said, “Chase. Let’s just go back to our bed in our home.”

I nodded my head, and all the boys departed. I stood there, watching them for a moment. Then I too went up the steps to my house. On my way to my room, I passed my dad who was sleeping on the couch because my mom kicked him out of their room. I went up the stairs, trying to be quiet, so I wouldn’t wake my mom or dad.

As I went to my room, I passed my mom’s room with her door open. I peered inside, leaning my head so I could see the big, old bed with its dusty, dark wood. I didn’t see my mom though. Strange, I thought. I walked into my room and jumped into my bed, with my clothes still on, and stared up at the peeling ceiling.

The next morning, I woke up to the smell of burning food. I went down the stairs to see my mom was in the kitchen, trying to cook, and my dad was still sleeping on the couch.

“Mom,” I said.

She didn’t give any acknowledgment of me being there.

“Can I go play?” I asked.

“Sure,” she said, still not looking up from her black pancakes.

I awkwardly and slowly walked outside, and the door swung on its rusty hinges behind me. I walked all the way to Evan’s house and told him that I wanted to go back to the woods tonight and explore. I told him to meet me at midnight and bring a flashlight.

“I’ll be there,” he said. “And I wasn’t scared of that stupid ghost thing anyway!”

He made ghost noises and moved his arms like a dying octopus’s tentacles. I smiled and laughed. I felt really good. It was the first time I laughed since my parents started fighting. Then I went to Mike and Chris’s house. On the way, I passed the grass field with the old trees that we used to sit on to throw rocks at passing cars. Then midnight came. When I thought that my parents had gone to sleep, I snuck downstairs and out the back door to the woods. As planned, they all met me there with flashlights and their own scare-away items. Evan had his mother’s cross, Chris had garlic, and Mike had an anti-ghost spray bottle. It was one of those stupid things that companies get a lot of money on, even though they never work. I just came with an old flashlight I found in my room. We all smiled and exchanged silly expressions.

“We should all spread out to cover land faster,” Mike suggested.

“No way,” said Chris. “We should stick together. In horror movies, if you spread out ,they pick you off one at a time.”

“So, we should stick together then.”

“I agree,” I said.

So we set off into the woods in a line. I was first, followed by Evan, Mike, then Chris. We had been walking through the woods for about a half hour, and we were getting tired. Just when I was about to tell them that we could go home, we heard a loud moan coming from a parting in the woods. It sent a shiver down my spine. I remember that part of the woods. It was where my mom used to go when she needed space from my dad. I looked at it now, in the darkness of midnight, wondering what horrid creature awaited.

“We sh-should go,” I said.

“No way,” Evan said, “I came to see something cool.”

I smiled at his joking stupidity.

“Fine,” said Mike, “Let’s do this thing.”

Chris just nodded. I could tell he was too scared to speak. We slowly stepped forward, every step making my heart explode out of my chest. The moaning was getting quieter now, but you could hear stifled sobs. What kind of creature cries? We all looked at each other and exchanged questionable looks. I was less scared now. As we got closer, the sobs turned into soft cries of pity and sorrow. I remember those cires. I’ve heard them all my life. I knew who was there. It all made sense now. My mom being so distant. Her loving the woods. My dad getting home so late. Them fighting all the time. I stepped into the shadows of the thick trees.

“Hi, Mom,” I said.

Mike, Evan, and Chris gasped. Mom looked at me and wiped a tear from her eye.

“Chase,” my mom said.

“Well, I’m here now, Mom,” I said.

I hugged Mom, embracing her as tight as I could.

“Things with me and your dad are complicated, sweetie,” she said. “Sometimes things just don’t work out.”

“I know, Mom. I know.”

“Honey, I am so sorry I didn’t pay attention to you, I just-just-just love you, and I don’t want you to turn out like your father because you are a wonderful boy. My little boy.”

“I love you no matter what.” I said, tears now streaming down my face. “Let’s go home,” I finally whispered, after a long minute of silence.

She nodded and stood up, holding my hand. The boys parted, letting us go first, then followed behind. I could tell they to were holding back tears. I was thankful for them always being there for me. We headed back to my house and ate a little food. Even though it was midnight, we were surprisingly hungry. My dad still hadn’t gotten home yet.

After food, drinks, and a lot of silence, my mom finally said, “I’m going to call your parents. You should be heading home,” she said.

After Evan’s, Chris’s, and Mike’s parents came to pick them up, me and my mom went upstairs. I slept in her bed that night. It smelled of dirt and moldy food, but I didn’t care. Things were going to be different now. I knew it.

My mom woke me up in the morning, and we went downstairs. I noticed that for the first time in a while, she changed out of her slippers and put on sneakers. When my dad woke up, my mom sent me upstairs so her and dad could talk. Even though the door was closed, I could hear them yelling at each other. When they stopped yelling, I went downstairs. When I got to the living room, I found my mom staring out the window at the front of the house.

“Things are going to be different now. Different but better,” she said.

I watched Dad get into his old car with all of its dents and dirt.

“I know, Mom,” I said, “but I love you.”

I watched Dad’s car putter off in the distance. Mom gripped my hand and squeezed it very tightly.

“I love you too, sweetie,” she said.  

 

Dreams

Chapter 1

Smash! It was a Saturday night, and I was going back home with my family. It was raining, and the road was slick when a big semi truck came around the bend, out of control! We slipped and hydroplaned as the truck was getting closer and closer to us. The truck was coming at a blazing speed. Then… smash. It all happened right then and there. Now, life is not so great: bullies, chores, and dreams. I’m trying to figure out which ones are shattered and which ones are not.

My name is Dom. I am 11 years old, and I am into hockey even though I’ve got two prosthetic legs from the accident. Sure, you can skip to the end to see if I make it to the Olympics, or you can read the story of my life, but it’s your decision. I also have a very annoying sister named Kelley. She is 13. Hey! That reminds me. The Olympics playoff games are on TV. Round one is tonight! It’s Canada versus Sweden. They’re both very good teams, but I think I will go with Sweden.

“Dom, time for school. You’re going to miss the bus!”

That is my mom. Don’t mind her, she is an engineer. But she is very cool. Also my dad’s a novel writer. Every night, he has a magnificent story to tell me.

School is terrible. There is one kid whose name is Chester, and he is the worst bully ever! He wedgies me, then as if it can’t get any worse, he hangs me on the fence until a teacher comes and finds me, and he trips my best friend, Kim, and I on the bus, then embarasses Kim and I about how Kim hangs out with a kid with prosthetic legs! Then comes the laughs and humiliation. And worst of all, he says I can’t be a hockey player at all.

 

Chapter 2

I have been stuck in a dump with Chester and my classmates for five hours! The last  bell will ring in three… two… one… ! RIIING! I sprint out of the school in less than five seconds! Record time! Yes! Dad’s home, and Mom’s home, too! That never happens, only on special occasions! I walk in.

“Hi, son!” My dad booms. “We are going to Tim Tim’s Pizza!”

“We are?” I say in disbelief.

“Yup. To celebrate my new novel I wrote. I’ve got a good feeling about this one.”

We arrive at our destination, and my mouth already waters. But that changes as soon as I see Chester. Incredibly, he’s at Tim Tim’s with his family too. I ask to use the restroom. Chester must have seen me because when I walk in the restroom, I see fat o’ Chester. I try to sneak past him. He catches me on the spot!

“Hey, lard ball!” He says. “Get over here!”

Faster than you can say lard ball, he shoves me in the stall. I’ve had enough of Chester, so I punch him square the face! I run out of the restroom with Chester on my heels. I run back to the safe zone. The food is waiting in for me, and when I sit down on the table, my heart is beating out of my chest.

 

Chapter 3   

“I‘m stuffed,” I say as we pile in the car.

“Make room for dessert!” says my mom, excitedly.

“What is for dessert?” Kelly asks.

“I hope it’s not Bomb Bombs!” I say in disgust.

“You have no taste, Dom!” Kelly mocks.

“Stop you guys!” explains my mom, sounding a little ticked off.

“Home sweet home!” my dad says as we pull in driveway.

We walk in the door. It smells d-lish. Must be cupcakes. Cupcakes are my favorite dessert ever! I see tons of cupcakes on the table, and we eat them all up. After cupcakes, we all  go to bed. I am so tired after a long day. I can’t believe what I did. A cupcake never tasted sweeter.

The next day, on the bus, Chester is not acting like himself. He’s not mean or nice. He’s acting different. But he picks on little kids. So, I go up to him and… Blam! My vision goes black. Next, I wake up, and kids are circled around me, and Chester is being taken away by a teacher. No more Chester! When I get home, Mom and I talk about being a hockey player, and she thinks I should be a novel writer like my dad.

“But I don’t want to be a novel writer!” I say. “Let me try out for the team at least. Please!”

“Fine!” she says at last.  

 

Chapter 4

Slap! That is the sound of a top shelf snipe slap shot. By me! I thought I did very well in tryouts. The next day, I found out!

“Mom, what team did I make?” I said excitedly.

“Checking now! The A team!” said my mom in response.

“Whooh!” I yelled with great pride.

“Practice is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”

“And dinner time!”

“Coming!”

Kelly, of course, is there first, so she gets dibs on the chair, plate, food, and dessert!

The next day on the bus, my hockey teammates gather around for a talk. Not like a team welcoming thing and stuff like that, but a talk about the rules of being on the team and what to do and what not to do, like being a snitch. It is an easy talk. The dump is in eye range.

After school Kim and I walk home together because Kim is coming over to my house to play on my Xbox 360 490s. Not to brag, but it is the best kind, and it costs a lots of money. And I’ve got lots and lots of games. I have a big den room with a small trampoline and a soft landing spot: beanbags! And outside, I’ve got another trampoline, but it is much larger than the other trampoline. We also have a spa, pool, and pool room to hang out.

 

Chapter 5

On the bus ride to school, it is the same but not with Chester, and not like the past days. I am sitting with Kim and talking about the Xbox 360 490s and about how excellent it was.

Then a kid from my hockey team named Walker says, ”Give up hockey, dweeb!”

“No! I will not! Don’t change me!”

“Fine! Deal with the consequences!”

“Leave!”

“No Leg!”

“Stop!” says Kim.

“Sidekick!”

“We will settle this at practice . No Leg!”

“We’re here!” says Dad.

“Bye.” I say as I get out of the car.

As I walk in, Walker is there, the guy from the argument this morning. I try to avoid him but can’t.

“Hey! No Leg! Come here, No Leg!”

“Ha Ha! No Leg!” says another teammate.

And practice was exactly the same.

***

As I get in the car, I am thinking I should quit hockey. And maybe Walker is right: having no legs is bad.

But right then, my mom asks, “How was practice, honey?”  

“Not good.” I say in response. “Mom, I think I should quit hockey.”

“Quitting is for losers, and are you a loser?”

“No.”

“So don’t quit.”

“Okay.”

 

Chapter 6

Sunday morning is my first hockey game ever! When I get there, people are everywhere, and there is a large deck with all the parents of our hockey team. On the other side of the rink, is the other team’s locker room and deck.

And the game begins with me on the third line aka last, of course! And when I go on, it is  0 – 0. I thought our team was good, but so is this the other team, so I need to step up my game. As I step on, the thoughts raced through my brain. Quitting is for losers, and are you a loser?  

Because of the long shifts, we have one minute left, make that 50 seconds left. I’ve got the puck on a two on one break away. I make the defender fall with 10 seconds left, short right! So now, it’s a one on one with the goalie. I take my best shot. It goes top shelf! The goalie gets very mad and shoves me over, and I don’t care. My teammates are teammates now because they are hugging me and calling me champ! I have scored a perfect first goal! I think I will be an excellent hockey player!

 

Chapter 7 – Nineteen years later.

“Dom Nikson scores the winning goal for USA!”

That is the announcer. I’ve got camera people all around me! This is amazing. I made it, from worst to first! Yup, I made it to the Olympics after all the years of being an underdog. I did it!

 

The End!

 

Presents! Presents! Presents!

A sassy five-year-old girl walked into preschool on a cool winter day. It was the first day of December, and Sandy Mcgriffin was feeling confident. After all, she was perfect. Her pigtails were always done perfectly and rested on her back perfectly, she got anything she wanted, and she was the Queen Bee of the class.

Sandy was super happy because December was Christmas, and Christmas meant she got all the presents she wanted from Santa. And Santa always got her presents. In art class, Ms. Daisy told the class to paint something about Christmas. Sandy drew herself standing on a pile of presents, wearing Santa’s cap. Molly, Sandy’s friend, was drawing a gingerbread man.

“All you get for Christmas presents are gingerbread men?” Sandy asked mockingly.

Molly furrowed her brow. “No. I bake them with Mama.”

Ms. Daisy came over to where the two girls were.

“Excellent picture, Molly,” she said.

“What about mine? What about mine? Isn’t mine BEAUTIFUL?” Sandy piped up, jumping up and down.

“Um, Sandy, you draw the same picture every day in art. Is there anything else you can think of about Christmas?”

“NO!” Sandy shouted. ”Presents! Presents! Presents! Presents! All for me!”

Ms. Daisy looked taken aback and the rest of the class turned. Sandy crossed her arms and grumbled. Then, she continued to add more lopsided boxes to her pile.

Ms. Daisy blinked and then said, “Okay class, it’s time to show our spectacular drawings!”

Molly eyed Sandy nervously as if she would explode with the thought of all her presents. ”Sandy… drawing time is up you know. Sandy?” Molly peeped, but Sandy still continued, and Molly just sighed and turned to the front of the class.

After art, the class was supposed to sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for the preschool’s assembly. All the parents came but ended up having their kids’ voices drowned out by Sandy’s high-pitched babbling song of “Santa Gives Me All the Presents!” Embarrassed, Mr. and Ms. Mcgriffin quietly excused themselves from the crowd.

Finally, it was the day before winter break, and there was going to be a class party for the whole day. Sandy couldn’t keep herself in her seat. Christmas was around the corner and that was when she got the most presents.

“For the party, we will have some relatives coming over to help out; so, everyone, I want you to be extra polite, and we’ll give the families a big thank you at the end, okay?” Ms. Daisy exclaimed to the class when guests started to file in.

“Yes, Ms. Daisy,” the class replied, as Sandy nearly toppled over her seat.

“Sandy!” Ms. Daisy said aghast.

A lot of relatives came for the party, including Sandy’s older brother, Rick, who looked beside himself with boredom and grumbled the whole way. At the end of the party, each of the students got a leaflet that said how Christmas is also about giving and not just taking and left a space for this question: What would you give to someone needy?

Sandy scribbled in lopsided handwriting: PRESENTS.  

On the night of Christmas Eve, Sandy decided to go on an important mission: to track down Santa that night and see him for herself. Sandy crept quietly downstairs, excitement bubbling inside her. She walked to the living room, where a cheerful Christmas tree was set up, with blinking red and green lights. But what she saw, she had not expected: her parents were wrapping up presents to put under the tree. Where was Santa?! Sandy only thought of one reason why Santa was missing.

“You ambushed Santa! You ambushed Santa! What did you do to him? MOMMY!!!” Sandy screamed at the top of her lungs.

“Sandy! Behave yourself! You’re not supposed to be awake right now anyway!” Sandy’s mom said sharply.

“But Santa…” Sandy’s voice broke off. ”Did you kill him?”  

“No, no! Sweetie, darling, we would never do that. No, Santa is fine. We were just… um… helping him… ‘cause he is so busy tonight!” Sandy’s mom said tenderly, and her dad nodded along. Rick, who was staying up late and was listening at the door, broke into hysterical laughter.

Sandy’s bottom lip trembled, and then — “WAAAAAA!!! Santa’s gone!”  

“No, dearest, Santa’s not… Sandy! Please! You’re going to wake the neighbors! Rick! Help us here would you? Comfort your sister before she wakes the whole neighborhood!”

Rick groaned and opened the door. Sandy stopped crying when she saw him. “Where’s Santa?” she shouted.

Rick opened his mouth to speak and then closed it. “Look, Sandy, what is the most important thing to you about Christmas?”  

“Presents!”

“Right, well either way on Christmas, Santa doesn’t guarantee you will always get presents, right? Besides, it was never proven that he is um…”

Rick…” Sandy’s mom warned.

“But she’s got to know!” Rick protested.

“KNOW WHAT?!” Sandy shouted.

“Look, Sandy, Santa doesn’t make up Christmas or presents on Christmas Eve — family does.”

“Really?” Sandy asked, cocking her head to the side.

“Yeah,” Rick continued, “but you see, Christmas is about family more than Santa, ‘cause well, you see, sis…” Rick took a deep breath. “Santa isn’t real.”

For a few moments of solidifying silence, Sandy just blinked, and then… she fainted.

Well, Sandy sure did learn the hard way, but in the end, she was able to find out about the true wonders of Christmas. What she learned actually helped her enjoy the holiday more with family and friends. (Just don’t tell her that we wrote this story about her experience.)

 

THE END

P.S. from Rick: Well, that was a pretty amusing day!

 

TFTFTSTCML (The For the Friendless Texting Service That Changed My Life)

My name is Maddison. People don’t usually think about names that often. People think names are not important. That is the biggest piece of green booger juice I have ever seen. Well, come to think of it, green booger juice does not come in pieces, because it is a liquid, not a solid. But, as Grandmother says, it is an expression, which means, “it is not a literal saying.”

My name is the same name as my mother’s. My name is the one and only gift my mother gave me. Grandmother says I am living memory of my mother, and I am mostly proud to be that. But there is no denying she wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world. We share the same red, curly, frizzy hair, the same too-sharp nose, the same brown eyes that look like the poop emoji and that are too close together, and a forehead that is too big to be humanly possible. Like I said, I don’t mind being the living memory of my mother, but if I could be the living memory of a cross between my mother and Christina Aguilera, I wouldn’t mind.

Then, there is my father. I don’t speak of him much because Grandmother says he is a “two-faced jerk, but your mother didn’t know it yet.” There is no denying, though, he is a right Hugh Jackman. I know this because of one very torn, ripped, folded, and bent picture of him. It was hidden in Grandmother’s underwear drawer, so I’ve only seen it once, because an old lady’s underwear is nothing like looking at Heidi Klum’s lingerie line. Maybe I could have gotten some of my father’s genes, besides the ones that make him a two-faced jerk.

Once my father left my mother, though, you would think she would “pull it together” which, by the way, is another expression, otherwise known as “a not literal thing that has a hidden meaning besides the meaning that is written in the script.” In this context, I mean by “didn’t pull it together” as to have left me in a box at Grandmother’s door, like Harry Potter minus the Dursley’s because Grandmother is quite nice.

I don’t know much about the rest, except my mother ended up as a corpse in “The Pine Ridge Resting Place.” It is a pet cemetery. It was also the only cemetery close enough for Grandmother to visit her weekendly.

The old guy who slumps on the graves everyday says it “is the perfect place for people to waste their money and have their pets go to hell.”

On the brochure it says: The perfect place for the ones who crossed your heart to cross the rainbow bridge.

That is called contrasting ideas.

Friendless is an adjective. More precisely, it is the adjective best used to describe me. I can count my friends on one hand. By friends, I mean friend, because I only have one friend. My one friend is Grandmother, if you count her, but of course you count her. My other friend is Siri, but since she is just a “smart piece of technology,” I am pretty sure she doesn’t count. I have a stuffed horse who is my friend, but she has no heart, so she doesn’t count. I do have one more sort-of friend who does have a heart. She is my older sister Maya, and she is more of an enemy than a friend, which would make her a temporary friend, so I prefer not to count her. Plus, it is useful to have something to retort. That way, when she says something mean, I can just say, “Well, technically you’re just my temporary friend.” It is so satisfying to retort back though, I must admit it, does not have that much of an effect.

Today is my thirteenth birthday, and I don’t have a party because you can’t have a party without friends, as in plural. Grandmother shows me my presents. There are a lot of them. That is called making up for no friends, as in plural. Maya is there, but she is texting her friends, as in plural, under the table. Her lips move while we sing “Happy Birthday,” but not to the right rhythm. If I play close enough attention, I can read what she’s saying. Stupid things, or maybe I’m reading her lips wrong, which is the most probable, as in possible, possibility. Then, she is the Hailey Dunphy, and I’m the Alex.

If I ever had someone to text, I think I would be very smart at it. For instance, I know all the abbreviations used in texting. I have a chart printed out under my bed. Grandmother hands me my first present. It is wrapped in gummy bear wrapping paper with neat edges, which means Maya did it. Speaking of Maya, she is staring at me with laser eyes.

“Open it, Maddison, NOW!” I have never seen Maya so worked up, except when Grandmother caught her kissing a rebel boy, named Rocky, in CHURCH. Strictly disobeying Grandmother, IN CHURCH!

Slowly I open the present. Maya is texting. Under the wrapping, it is a phone. A real live phone, except for the fact that a phone is not living because it has no heart, except for the fact that it is an expression, which means it means something if you read between the lines. In the case of phones, it would be read between the texts. I try to smile, but what good is a phone if you have no one to text? Speaking of texts, I start to cry. Speaking of crying, I run to my room. Speaking of my room, now that I’m thirteen, it is my right to redo it. Or maybe it’s my right to redo myself.

 

Jane

Jane lit the fire as she looked up at the mountain. Her family had been trying for years to get into the village. After they left their old village, they needed to find a new village. The village they were trying to live in had a list of people trying to get in. Her family had been living in a special village outside the real village. The houses were small and made out of logs. The king gave the houses to them to live in while they waited. It may have sounded okay to live there, but you had to make your own food, your own clothes, and everything that you might need. Jane was really happy that her family was next on the list to live in the real village!

“Jane!” her mom came running out of the house.

Jane couldn’t identify her tone of voice. It sounded mad, but sad and happy?

“What?” Jane said as she threw more logs into the fire.

“There is a new family, a rich one, who was too rich for their village and wants to to live here, in this village, and the king of this village wants them to live here. So they are getting boosted to the top of the list,” her mom sighed.

“Oh no! We will never get to live in the village!” Jane complained.

“Now, Jane, you can’t complain. Now, that fire is getting big. You don’t want it to get too big, so put that chicken in the heat!”

Jane did as she was told, and soon, the chicken was ready. Jane put it on a plate and gave it to her mom. Her mom put it on a table, and soon, they were ready to eat. But something was missing.

“Dad! Kiki! Dinner!” Jane called.

Her dad and her two-year-old sister, Kiki, came walking in.

“You don’t have to yell. This is a three-room house. When they built it, he had to make it a small three room house,” Kiki said, falling in her seat.

Kiki was bossy like that.

Jane was tired from her job. But it wasn’t that hard because, like Kiki just said, it was a three room house: the kitchen/dining room, the bathroom, and the bedroom. As their mom told them the bad news, Jane snuck out of the conversation. She did not like hearing it. Besides, she had more important things to do. Namely, talking to the king. She went to her part of the bedroom and got a bandanna and a stick. She gathered some things, like some clothes, then snuck some candy, then snuck back out to the kitchen to gather some food. She tied it all up in the bandanna, then put the stick over her back, and went out to face her family.

“Guys, I have made plans for myself. I shall climb up to the village and talk to the king myself! I will tell him he is no match for my family and that they will have to put that rich family at the bottom of the list!” Jane proudly announced.

And Jane walked right out of that house, but was quickly stopped by Kiki and her parents.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Kiki asked.

Her mom took the bag from her, and her dad sat her down.

“You go up there, and you will be lucky if you get back down. Our whole family will suffer! We would get put at the bottom of the list!” Her dad said, as his face got redder and redder at the thought.

“Well, you won’t stop me!” Jane yelled and walked inside the house.    

That night, Jane took a piece of paper and wrote a note that said, “I will see you in a little bit!”

Jane grabbed her bag and ran out the door. She didn’t think about what her dad said because she hadn’t really been listening.

Jane walked out of the the garden and looked up. She saw the village high up on the mountain. She would have to climb up that high mountain. Jane started to walk up the mountain, but soon realized she couldn’t do it. No one has ever walked up the mountain before.There was a lift, and it was like a ski lift, but it was locked for the night. But maybe she could unlock the lift! No, it was at the top of the mountain.

“Hello?” a young girl’s voice said.

Jane instantly turned around. A little girl, about her age, was standing there.

“Oh, hi. Um, Who are you exactly? Where did you come from?” Jane asked.

“Oh, me? I’m Emily. And, like you asked, I came from my house because I couldn’t sleep with all the snoring,” Emily said. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m trying to get up to the village,” Jane said.

“I’m trying to get into the village too. Because for some reason, they boosted my family to the top of the village list. The thing is, that’s not fair!” Emily said.

Wait, Jane thought, she lives in the rich family! There is no way I can tell her that I’m trying to get the their family back to the bottom of the list, but then, she said it was not fair!

“Yeah, um, I was, or my family, was at the top of the list, and I thought it was not fair, too. So now I thought I would go and tell the king it wasn’t fair, but there is no way I can climb this mountain,” Jane said quickly, hoping Emily would miss a lot of it.

But Emily was silent.

“I’ll come with you up the mountain because I am the seventh child, so there is nothing to do anyway,” Emily said.”It will be interesting,” she continued.

So they headed up the mountain, but it was only five minutes before they got tired.

“Wait,” Emily said, reaching in her pocket,”I think I have some rope.”

Emily tied the rope around her and Jane. And then, she tied a little knot, making a circle, in the rope. She found a ledge and threw the rope up, up, onto the ledge.

“Now, climbing will be easier,” Emily said and started climbing.

Jane started, too, but found it was harder.

“So you said you are the seventh child in your family?” Jane asked.

“Seventh and youngest,” Emily said and kept climbing.

Jane wanted to share about her family, but decided to keep it to herself. Finally, the mountain was in view!

“Almost there!” Jane said, with barely enough breath.

“Yes!” Emily said, and sounded the same, with barely enough breath, too.

The climb was hard. Jane almost slipped on the steep and rocky mountainside, but the rope caught her. Emily got stuck in between two rocks, and then Jane had to pull her up.

When they got to the top, Jane looked out across the village, but it was hard to see.

“What time is it?” Jane asked.

Emily put down the rope that she was now untying.

“2:53,” Emily sighed.

“What?” Jane asked, surprised.

“Yeah, it’s late,” Emily said.

“My parents would have told me to go to bed, let’s see, a few hours ago,” Jane said.

“Come on, let’s go explore the village, and see why in the world we can’t live here,”

Emily started walking without Jane.

“Probably because the village is really small,” Jane said softly.

“Are you kidding me? Look at this!” Emily announced.

“Shhhhhh!” Jane shushed her as she pushed past Emily to look.

The village was huge! Big houses lined the streets. The road seemed to go on forever. The yards were the size of her house, but three times bigger.

“Those look like empty houses,” Emily said, sounding annoyed.

Jane ran over.

“You’re right,” Jane whispered, just in case Emily was wrong.

But it did not look like she was wrong. Cobwebs lined the windows. Ivy ran down the house, out of control. Everything  was dark. Dust was everywhere.

“I’m hungry,” Emily said, out of the blue.

“Here, I got something,” Jane reached into her bag and pulled out a strawberry. “Fresh from our garden.”

The two girls walked through the village. Finally, they reached to castle.

“Knock, Jane,” Emily whispered.

Jane lifted up her hand, and almost knocked.

“Should we wait till morning?” Jane asked.

“Maybe to talk to the king. But we can get a room till morning,” Emily answered.

Emily knocked instead. The sound echoed throughout the castle. Suddenly, the door opened. A tall man was standing in the doorway. His hands looked different. And where were his shoes? Jane realized that his hands were where his feet should be, and his feet were where his hands should be. Emily seemed to notice too.

“What do you want?” He asked.

“Um, we want to talk to the king,” Emily answered shyly.

“Well, go home and come back in the morning, Emily!” he said as he shut the door.

Jane was confused. How did he know Emily’s name?

“No, wait! Jim!” Emily yelled.

Jane couldn’t take it anymore.

“How do you guys know each other?” she yelled.

Emily turned around.

“We met each other when we got a tour of the village,” She calmly explained.

“You got a tour of the village?” Jane asked.

“Yeah. Anyways, please let us stay and talk with the king?” Emily turned back to Jim.

“Well, okay. Come on in. I will get you a room to stay in,” Jim said.

“Thanks!”

“Thanks,” Jane said.

They followed Jim into the place. Marble floors glistened under them.  

“Wow!” Emily exclaimed.

Jane almost slipped as she tried to maneuver past furniture that looked like it came straight from Paris.

“Here are the guest rooms,” Jim said and motioned to some rooms.

“Jane! Did you even realize that we walked up three flights of stairs and down one?” Emily asked.

“No, and I thought that was the whole village!” Jane answered.

A few hours later, Jane woke up. She got out of bed and walked over to Emily’s room.

“Wake up!” she yelled.

Today was the big day. Everything had to be perfect.

“Alright now!” Emily jumped out of bed and ran out the door, leaving Jane to quickly follow.

An hour later, the girls had gotten breakfast and were all dressed. Emily seemed more excited than Jane, even though what it meant for her and her family.

“So, I can do the talking” Emily said.

“But why?” Jane asked.

“Because, he will listen to me more than you, since I come from the Jones family,” Emily answered proudly.

“True, but your last name is Jones?” Jane asked, startled.

“Yes, as in Emily Jones,” Emily answered.

A little while later, they were escorted to see the king.

“Hello!” said a raspy voice.

Emily walked in first.

“Hello, King Palmer Tudor,” Emily said as she curtseyed.

“Oh, hello, Emily Jones! What brings you by?” he asked.

Emily took a deep breath as she said, “So, here is Jane, well, I don’t know her last name, but — ”

“I don’t know mine,” Jane whispered.

“Wh-what do you mean you don’t know you last name?” Emily asked.

“No one knows. We left our last village because our family was accused of a crime we didn’t commit. When we left, or before we did, the leader banned our last name. So no one can say it. Now we don’t have a last name,” Jane explained.

“Go on, Emily.” It was obvious the king did not want to hear Jane speak.

“So Jane was at the top of the list, and then we came along, and well, we are at the top. She is mad, and I am mad,” Emily said.

“What? You are mad? But why? You are the next to come in.” the king asked.

“Because it’s not fair!” Emily yelled.

“Well, if you are mad, I will put you at the bottom of the list.”

The king put down his head.

“Yes!”

“Thanks so much, Emily!”

The girls walked out of the castle. Jane was smiling, but Emily was frowning for some reason.

“What’s wrong?” Jane asked.

“Nothing. I’m happy for you, but after I realized how much you wanted to live in the village, well, I’m going to have to experience it,” Emily said.

“Why don’t you want to live in the village?” Jane asked.

“Because I have a big house, and I don’t really care,” Emily answered.

“Oh. Anyways, I think that’s my mom over there,” Jane frowned, surprised to see her mom in the village.

“And there’s Sadie, and there’s Sarah, and there is Sam, and Sasha and Samantha and Saige,” Emily said.

“Wait, do all of your siblings names start with the letter’S’?” Jane asked.

“Yes, besides being the youngest, I am also the only one with my name with the letter ‘E’,” Emily said.

“Emily!”

“I think that was Sadie,” Emily whispered.

“Jane!”

“And that was Kiki!” Jane whispered.

Jane saw Kiki, her mom, and her dad running to her.

“Where did you go? Why did you go? What happened?” Kiki asked.

“Well I got us back to the top of the list, and I figured out why people get into the village slowly. Everybody here is weird! And the king just wants different people!” Jane said.

“You got us to the top of the list?” Kiki asked.  

“Yes I did,”Jane said.

“Emily! Are we at the bottom of the list?” Emily’s mom asked, pushing through her family.

“Maybe,” Emily said.

“Emily Jones!” her mom yelled.

“Well I could move you back if you want.”

Everyone turned around. The king was there!

“No thanks,” Emily said.

“But Emily! Now we are going to have to wait until everyone in front of us to live in the village!” Sadie complained.

“Well, maybe I could let both you live in the village right now! Together. We have some empty houses!” the king said.

“Well, you obviously have magic. Why don’t you use it to make the village bigger so that everyone, up here and down there, can live here,” Emily suggested.

“Actually, that’s a great idea!” the king said, and everyone agreed.

***

A few years later, the king made an announcement saying, “We have so many poor and not magic people, so we are kicking those people out and preparing for rich and magic people!”

“No! That king! He can never get anything right!” Kiki said.

“We might have to leave,” a worried Jane said.

“Well to be honest, I kind of wanted to leave. The king was acting so weird, I wanted to leave,” her mom said.

“Let’s leave soon!” her dad said.

“But why is he really kicking people out?” Jane asked.

“Well, Emily and Sarah are probably going to stay, and we are going to have to leave. So with Emily and Sarah’s family, we are going to travel and find a new village,” her mom said.

“Are we going to live with Sarah?” Kiki asked.

(She had become friends with Sarah.)

“Maybe. We will be grateful for anything we get, girls, so don’t complain,” her mom said.

“We sure will be grateful,” Kiki murmured.

“What was that, Kiki?”

“Nothing, Mom.”

***

A little while later, four lifts had been filled up. The two families were leaving. The king was sad that the Jones family was leaving, but reminded himself that it was only a matter of time before new rich families would be walking down the street.

“So, are you excited?” Jane asked Emily.

“No, but yes. No because it will be scary, but yes because I can get out of this crazy town!” Emily said.

“Why is it crazy?” Jane asked.

“You don’t know why? Well, the people, the way they act, and well, the king!” Emily said.

When they arrived at the bottom of the mountain, Jane and Emily hopped out.

“Move,” Emily’s sister, Samantha, said as she pushed by them.

“The mean and crude one of the family,” Emily said.

At first, they started walking through the desert, which was outside of the waiting village.

“It’s sooooo hot,” Jane said.

“I know! Mom! How much longer until we leave the desert?” Emily asked.

“I don’t know, honey!” she called back.

Next, they walked through a very snowy and cold area.

“It’s sooooo cold,” Jane said.

“I know! Mom! How much longer until we leave this area?” Emily asked.

“I don’t know, honey!” she called back.

Finally, they left the area, and they wandered onto a place like the desert.

“Let’s turn this way,” Emily said, and pointed to a place that, to Jane, did not look like the right place.

“No, let’s go that way,” Jane said and pointed.

“No, my way is right even though I didn’t study a map. And we always do it your way!” Emily said, frustrated.

The parents let the kids do the finding, but that was a bad idea.

“Always do it my way? Please, Emily. You talked to the king. You made me see the house, and that’s only part of it!” Jane said.

“I asked you if you wanted to look. And, if you had said it, you would still be living in the waiting village,” Emily said.

“Well, yeah, but to be honest, I liked the waiting village better,” Jane said.

“Okay, but still, I am actually smart!” Emily said.

“You’re saying I’m dumb?” Jane asked.

“I’m not, but, it’s just that, well, let’s just go my way,” Emily said.

“You know what? I never should have even worked with you,” Jane said.

“Well, you’re too stubborn,”Emily said.

“No, I’m too brave,” Jane said.

“Well fine, if you’re not too stubborn, let’s go my way,” Emily said.

“Fine. Whatever.”  Jane said.

And it turned out that Emily’s way was right!

“See, I told you!” Emily said.

“Well, we don’t even know where we’re going!” Jane said.

They started walking through the area, which had palm trees and green grass. It was so beautiful, that Emily’s sister, Sadie, thought it was a village.

“But it might just be a village!” she announced.

Since it was getting late, they decided to spend the night there.

“I don’t like this! Emily complained.

“Don’t complain. My family had to do this for years!” Jane said as she frowned.

In the morning, they got up, ate food, and continued walking. Jane didn’t notice Emily emerging from where her family were walking together in a big clump.

“Look, Jane, I’m truly sorry about yesterday. It’s just that-”

“I see what you’re saying,” Jane interrupted.

“Okay. I don’t mean to sound all mushy and stuff, but I’m sorry. Do you forgive me?” Emily asked.

“Sure,” Jane replied.

Finally, they came to something that looked like a village. There were houses and shops.

“Let’s get some help,” Emily’s mom said.

They walked into a restaurant. It was really loud. People were talking, and plates were crashing down on the table.

“Wow,” Jane said.

“Excuse me?” Emily’s mom asked.

“Yes?” somebody said, and turned around.

It was Jim!

“Jim? Why are you here?” Emily’s mom asked.

“I moved here because I couldn’t take it anymore in the village. But please, don’t tell the king. I snuck out with another family,” Jim said.

“Oh. Okay. We left the village too, and we don’t know how to live here,” Emily’s mom said.

“Well, all you have to do is talk to the leader, Mr. Grape,” Jim said.

“Grape?” Emily and Jane asked and burst out laughing.

“How do we get there?” Emily’s mom asked, giving Jane and Emily a dirty look.

“You go to, let’s see, down Pickle road, then turn left on Fig lane. His house is hard to miss,” Jim told them.

“Okay, thanks, Jim!” Emily’s mom thanked him.

They set off, walking down Pickle Road, and Jane and Emily couldn’t help but make fun of Mr. Grape’s name.

“What if Grape was actually his first name, and his last name was juice?” Jane said.

“Hello! I’m Mr. Grape Juice! But since you are my friend, you can call me Grape Juice!” Emily said in a funny voice.

The girls couldn’t stop laughing, and their moms had to come over to hold them still. Jane saw Kiki giving her a dirty look, but that only gave Jane an idea.

Once the moms walked away, Jane said,”What if Kiki’s name was Kiwi?”

Jane and Emily started laughing again.

“And what if Sam’s name was Wham?” Emily said.

Once they started laughing, that was it for Kiki. She was about to grab Jane to tell her to stop, but then Mrs. Jones high pitched voice interrupted that drama.

“We’re here!” she chirped.

Kiki groaned and walked back to Sarah.

“Yes! We’re here!” Emily said and threw her arm in the air.

Jane laughed and looked at the palace. It was purple and looked like a grape. It was hard to miss.

“Okay, guys, we’re going to be quiet when we walk in,” Mrs. Jones said.

“You sound like a teacher!” Samantha shouted out.

“And if I were, you would be in big trouble, missy!” Mrs. Jones said and opened the door.

As they walked inside, Jane was reminded, by the marble floors, that this felt exactly like walking through the king’s palace.

“Hello! Hello! Hello!” a friendly voice called from inside a room. “Who’s there, there, there!” it repeated.

“Is this how they speak? Because I’m pretty sure that’s not an echo,” Jane said as she leaned close to Emily.

“I’m not sure,” she replied.

As they walked into the room that the leader was in, Jane looked around again. It looked exactly like the king’s palace.

“Oh, hello, hello, hello. Why are you here, here, here?” Mr. Grape asked.

“We want to live in the village,” Emily’s mom told him.

“Well, of course you can, can, can. I will give you a house, house, house. But first, you must know our language, language, language. Always say the last word three times, times, times,” he explained.

“But Jim didn’t!”

It came flying out of Jane’s mouth before she could stop it.

Mr. Grape sat up and said, “Well, okay, okay, okay. What do we have here, here, here? A tattletale, that’s what, what, what. Jim’s new, and you can’t expect him to be perfect, perfect, perfect. In fact, you didn’t also, also, also.”

Mr. Grape smirked.

Let’s go, go, go,”  Mrs. Jones said as she tried to push everyone out.

Once they were out, Mrs. Jones stated the obvious.

“We can’t live here.”

Everyone agreed, and they walked off.

A little while later, they came to a new village. This one seemed simple. At the entrance, there was a castle.

“I think that’s where the leader lives,” Jane’s mom said.

Once they had walked inside, Mrs. Jones took the lead.

“Let’s turn here,” she would say, and they would follow her.

Finally, they found the leader. He was inside a game room, and before anyone could get inside the three boys, Sam, Mr. Jones, and Jane’s dad, rushed  through the glass doors.

Everyone quickly followed, but not before the leader had gotten up.

“What is going on in here?” he yelled, but then sucked in his breath to keep from yelling more.

Mrs. Jones smiled, and Jane could tell she liked him better than the king and Mr. Grape.

“Hello, I am Mrs. Bethany Jones,” she said and then shook his hand.

“And I am Helen,” Jane’s mom said.

“Oh, hello. Did you say your last name was ‘Jones’?” he asked.

“Yes,” Mrs. Jones said, her eyes twinkling.

“Well, I did not know you lived in the village. But anyways, I love what your family makes! The deciding-beanbag was my favorite beanbag. It helps me decide things,” the leader said.

“Thank you. Anyways, we don’t live in the village, but we want to. Will you let us in?” Mrs. Jones asked, getting distracted by the gaming in the background.  

“Live in my village? Of course you can! By the way, I’m Mr. Woman,” Mr. Woman, the leader, said.

Jane and Emily laughed, and Kiki shot them a dirty look.

“Thank you very much,” Jane’s mom said.

“Could you show us where we will live?” Mrs. Jones asked.

“Of course. Follow me,” Mr. Woman said and went out the door.

After they had pulled Sam and the dads away from the games, they left the castle and walked down a long road.

“It’s the Jones family!” Jane heard someone yell.

Screams of delight came next, and everyone had to run to get away from it.

“So, Jane, now you know how my life is like,” Emily said as she sighed.

Finally, they reached a row of houses.

“Here you go,” Mr. Woman said.

“Thank you,” Mrs. Jones said.

“Thank you,” Jane’s mom thanked him.

Mr. Woman walked away, which left the family to go in the houses.

“Jane!” her mom called.

Jane snapped out of her thought, which was where would they go to school.

As Jane walked in the house, she was amazed. She had never lived in a house this big before!

“So, Jane. I will sleep in the basement because I am awesome. You will have to sleep upstairs!” Kiki said, and then laughed.

Kiki had never been like this before.

“The stress,” Jane said to herself. “That’s what’s making her like this.”

“What?” Kiki asked.

“Nothing,” Jane responded and started going up the stairs.

When she found her room, she threw herself across the bed.

“Finally,” she whispered to herself. “Our own actual house.”

 

The End

 

The Girl Who Rode The Stuck Elevator

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived with her mother and her father. They lived in New York City. The father worked in the Empire State Building.

So, one day, her mother sent the little girl to the Empire State Building to give her father his lunch. From the little girl’s house to the Empire State Building was ten minutes by walking so, for the little girl, that was very little.

Once she got there, she told her name to the security guard who was standing right in front of her. Her name was Grace, and they let her in to go see her dad. She went into the elevator by herself. The elevator stopped in the middle of two floors and was stuck. She called for emergency services, but no one answered.

Finally, she tried again, and the lobby answered and said, “What’s the matter?”

Grace said, “The elevator is stuck between the third floor and the fourth floor.”

The lobby said, “I’ll get you out of there in five minutes.”

After five minutes, nothing happened. Grace called the lobby, and they said they were riding the other elevator to the fourth floor. She started to think that she would never get out of the elevator, but then she started to think of her dad. She said to herself, daddy will save me. I know he will.

While Grace was on the elevator, she heard a boom and crash. She felt herself falling down. The button on the top said level three. The elevator stopped. The doors opened, and she saw her father.

She ran out of the elevator and hugged her father. He said that he was the one who made all the noise.

Today, he was wearing blue jeans and a yellow shirt. His eyes were blue, and he went to work everyday, even on the weekends. He was six feet tall. And his name was Greg.  

While Grace was walking down the stairs, she bumped into a man. This man said that her mother was sick. But he looked suspicious. His watch was spinning the opposite way non-stop.

After Grace left, she headed to the library, but she found nothing about this sickness.

After Grace left the library, she headed back to her house.

When she got there, Grace entered the house, and there was no one there. She ran all the way back to the Empire State Building. Grace found her father and said that Mom was not at the house.

They raced out of the building and went home in the car. When they got home, they unlocked the door and went in the house. Nobody was there.

The father said to Grace, “I have to tell you something. The person you met on the stairway ate your mother. He could turn into a wolf whenever he wants to.”

So, they went to the Empire State Building, and they found the wolfman.

Grace said, “Where is my mother?!?”

Suddenly, the wolfman burped, and the mother came out of his throat. The wolf man ran down the stairs and left the building and never came back again. He ran away, because he thought that Mom would tell the police.

The mother hugged Grace and the father. Since it was the end of the day, they went home in the car.

When they got home, they had dinner. Grace told her mother about the elevator. And her mother told her about the travel in the wolfman’s stomach. It was very slimy and squishy.

The mother said, “I thought I would never get out, but then I did.”

And dad told them about his day at work. After dinner, they went to bed.

 

The End

 

Ninja Fight

Three hundred years ago, two ninjas got in a fight, one very dumb ninja and a smart and skilled ninja. The dumb ninja, who was named Mighty Sword, challenged the smart and skilled ninja, Legend Speed. The dumb ninja wanted to show Legend Speed that he was better. The dumb ninja thought that weapons were better than skill.

The skilled ninja was trained by the best ninja in the world, and the dumb ninja was trained by the richest and one of the worst ninjas in the world. Mighty Sword’s teacher was from an evil world. The evil teacher taught Mighty Sword an evil power. They were from the same village. The dumb ninja got his diamond sword and practiced his evil power, the power would turn the smart ninja into a frog. The smart ninja got his stone and iron sword. While the ninjas were walking to the arena, the villagers whispered to each other. Most of them thought the dumb ninja would win.

The two doors opened. Both ninjas entered the arena. They looked fiercely at each other. The referee blew the whistle, and the two ninjas charged at each other. Legend Speed obviously got there first and hit him on the arm. The dumb ninja twirled around.

After about three seconds, the dumb ninja stopped spinning and threw his sword at Legend Speed. Legend Speed did a backflip and dodged the sword. Legend Speed got the dumb ninja’s sword and threw it at the dumb ninja. Mighty Sword luckily caught the sword. Mighty Sword put the sword down and got ready to use his evil power.

After a few seconds, Mighty Sword shot a dark purple blast of evil electricity and turned the crowd into frogs so they couldn’t stop him. Then, he shot at Legend Speed, who walked away and then somehow teleported behind Mighty Sword and kicked him onto the arena wall. The reason Legend Speed has powers is because he has hidden powers.

Mighty Sword turned around and saw a fireball coming at his face. He saw the fireball and he jumped to the side. When he got up, he saw the edge of a sword right in front of him.

Mighty Sword slowly stood up and surrendered. Legend Speed told Mighty Sword to turn the crowd back to human. Mighty Sword turned the crowd back and turned himself into a mouse and ran away.

 

The End

 

Sleeping Beauty (by the Evil Fairy)

Once upon a time, there were a king and a queen. The queen was about to have a daughter, the princess. After a while, they had an ugly, spoiled daughter. They decided to have a christening for the princess, hoping that the fairies could change her. Since they only had six gold plates, they only invited six fairies. Obviously, the court could have easily afforded to buy one more set of golden silverware and plates, for the seventh fairy, but the king and queen were too lazy.

After having a delicious dinner it was time for the princess to receive her gifts. The first fairy gave her beauty, so on the outside, she would be a beautiful maiden, but on the inside, she wouldn’t. Of course, the princess, being as horrible as she was, became super vain.

The second gift was wit. The princess misinterpreted it and became so witty, that she knew everything that was going on and if the maids were following her every order.

The third gift was grace, and it made her so dainty that she couldn’t do anything for herself.

Then she received dance. Being an amazing dancer, she could fool any prince to love her and then break his heart.

Then she got the gift of song. She was like the sirens and drew everyone in.

The last fairy gave her goodness, but she did the spell wrong, so the king and queen’s wish wasn’t fulfilled.

The seventh fairy felt horrible for being left out, but being the good fairy she was, she came to give the princess a gift. Since she more powerful than the sixth fairy, she thought she could do the trick to make the princess good.

When she entered, everyone looked at her in awe. She took long strides toward the crib. It rocked back and forth, lulling the baby to sleep. The princess looked beautiful, with one cute tuft of jet black hair. As she peeked over the crib, the baby opened her gray eyes and slapped the good fairy. Then she grabbed the wand from the fairy’s hand. She gripped the wand viciously and cursed herself. The spell she performed made her prick her finger at the age of 16 and fall asleep for 100 years. Of course, no one ever suspected the princess. They all blamed it on the fairy.

The king and queen were very worried about their daughter because of the curse. They sent their daughter to live with three fairy godmothers until a week after she was 16. They also collected all the spinning wheels in the kingdom and burned them until all that was left were ashes. That way, they destroyed the forest that the seventh fairy had created for them to apologize for bringing the wand and letting the princess get cursed. The poor fairy got so angry that it made her  bitter, angry, sad and lonely, and she became an evil fairy with horns, a scepter, and dark robes.

The young princess grew to be a beautiful girl, though she was the most spoiled brat that had ever existed. One day, she met a young prince riding through the woods. She tried to impress him, but the prince had been there at her christening and knew how spoiled she was. In the end, the princess, now named Briar Rose, was almost able to charm him, but he had to ride off to go hunting. That day, the princess was returned to the castle. She wandered around and explored all but one tower. She left that tower for the next day when her parents had to go to do some royal business.

The princess went up to the top of the tower, her dress draping behind her. Sitting in the circular room, there was a woman with a wooden spinning wheel. She motioned for Rose to try. When Rose tried, she pricked her finger and fell asleep. The whole court fell asleep with her, and when the king and queen entered, they also fell asleep.

You may have heard that the seventh fairy kept the prince away from the princess because she was jealous. Actually, the fairy did not let the prince reach the princess because that way, he didn’t have to suffer the fate of marrying the horrible princess. Sadly, she failed.

Of course, the prince didn’t want marry the princess anyway, so he died of depression, died some other way, or murdered himself. But, I know that you readers wouldn’t like that, so I will just say that “THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.”

(Even though I was hated for the rest of eternity.)

 

The End

 

The Kangaroo

Prologue

Hello, my name is John Scott. Today we will be filming and studying one of Australia’s most famous animals, the kangaroos, with world famous nature and animal researcher, Noah Norris.

We will also have an interview with Noah Norris in a segment we call, “Talking with the Nature’s Wildest.” But back to the search.

***

We’re traveling in a car… It’s extremely hot! As we pass some mildly wild koalas, we turn to Noah for information:

“Noah, what can you tell us about these koalas?”

“Well, John, these male koalas are all fighting on the ground to impress the female koala in the tree so one of them can be her mate.”

“Well, Noah, one seems to be ripping apart the two others. Do you think that he is going to win? You must see this all the time.”

“Yes, all the time. One thing for sure, John, is that only the most fit and the most cruel rule the animal kingdom.”

We travel to a waterhole to await the kangaroos…

“Near this waterhole is where we’re going to rest. Keep your eyes peeled for any magnificent kangaroos.”

Two kangaroos approach and scout for any predators. It is nighttime.

“John, John, JOHN!”

“What, what, wuuh?”

John awakens from sleep.

“Observe as two scouts from a troop of kangaroos scout the area for any sneaky predators that might jump or scare them while drinking water.”

“CRIKEY,” says one of the camera crew.

“Quiet down! You might scare one of the scouts.”

One of the scouts perk up its ears but doesn’t locate the crew. They go away.

The next day, the troop of kangaroos approach, but it does not look like they are okay. They are bruised and bloody.

“Noah, why are the kangaroos so hurt?”

“I don’t know, John. This is rare and different. Maybe a predator attack.”

“Noah, on those kangaroos, there are bruises and blood. It does not look like they got bit or scratched or shot by humans or predators.”

“This is so weird. Never in all of my years of study have I seen a troop of kangaroos that were hurt. Not with scratches, shots, or bites.”

The kangaroos hear a rustle in the bushes and scream out, “Get out of those bushes, mate! Our scouts have seen you. No need to hide any more.”

The crew comes out of the bushes and show themselves. Noah comes up to the kangaroo who called them and says, “WHAT? I didn’t know that kangaroos could talk!”

“Well, mate, the whole animal kingdom can talk depending on which country and which accent. We just don’t talk because we’re afraid of humans like you hunting us down to sell us to a circus and get paid some money. I heard that it can be very unpleasant. OH, and my name is Nick.”

“Why do you have bruises and blood?”

“I’ll tell you a story: Once upon a time, we kangaroos were all united to protect each other from you guys, but something terrible happened. One day, the northern kangaroos acquired a lollipop. They made it sacred, and protected it 24/7, but one day, it just simply disappeared!

The northern side declared war on the eastern, western, and southern sides. The northern side has already smashed and crushed the east and west. We have just lost a battle. I fear the worst if we lose this war. Humanity can come to an end!!!”

“I feel your pain. In World War II, a man called Hitler destroyed our forces, but with hope and help, we smashed him and won!”

“This Hitler character may not be as cruel as the leader, Bob!”

Weird and intense music and sound effects start to play.

“He is the one that started the massacre. The evil animal was ignored and hated by his parents. He learned to be tough. He said he looked up to Hitler. Now that you mention him, I heard Hitler was evil, so now I know why he is so cruel.”

“We have to stop him, and with your human technology, we can destroy Bob!”

They ride off to the east, where it is more comfortable and where the Bob is going to live. It is night, and it is nippy. They are at a valley.

“Got the eggs, TP, paintball guns, feathers, flour, goo and fake chickens, Noah.”

“Indubitably.”

“Just say yes.”

“Okay, you got your kangaroos ready to fight, Nick?”

“Yeah.”

“We’re ready.”

At night, our heroes spot Bob and his crew going to their new home.

Nick screams, “ATTACK!”

Kangaroos fight each other. Paintballs hit kangaroos. Fake chickens, TP, and eggs are being thrown.

“No, not pranks. Why can’t you play fairly?” Bob said. “All this over a sacred lollipop relic!!!”

Blood is on the ground…

“Nick, we can do this.”

He jumps on the battlefield with a sword.

“NO, NOAH. DON’T!!!”
Noah gets into a fight with a kangaroo while John, on a helicopter, films it all. Then Bob pushes away the other kangaroo and defeats/kills Noah. Nick sees Noah fall and starts to cry and scream, “NOOO, NOAH. WHYYYY!!!”

Nick, with all his power, smashes Bob’s face into a cactus. Bob does not move, and the northern kangaroos surrender and apologize for their behavior and give the east and west their lands back. All the kangaroos meet up and give the most memorable funeral with Nick, John, the crew, all the kangaroos, and people from all around the world. As a little boat with Noah on it sails away, they shoot a fiery arrow onto the boat.

Nick bursts in tears and whispers, “It didn’t have to end like this.”

P.S. Nick makes a united kangaroo democracy and becomes a fair leader all in name of Noah.

 

 The End

 

The Book of Man Bun

       

Man Bun Goes to Hawaii

One day in Washington, D.C., Mr. Man Bun, the man with eight sideways (∞) money, wanted to spend money, so he thought I’ll go buy useless items. But he already did that, so he said, “I’ll go to a tourist trap.” But nope, he did that already too.

I’ll go to Hawaii, Man Bun thought, so he bought tickets, and bam, 5K gone. He wanted to waste more, so he got a massage. Not enough wasted. He got surf lessons, and everyone knows that surf lessons don’t help you learn. So now finally that he had lost enough money to be happy, so he went back home happily.

 

Man Bun Goes to Best Buy

One day in Washington, D.C., Man Bun wanted to play video games, but he only had the Nintendo Switch, the PS4, the Xbox One S, a Game Boy, a Game Boy Color, and the Nintendo 64 and every single game ever released on every one of those consoles. So Man Bun went to Best Buy, where he first bought the biggest flat screen TV on the market! Next he thought that was such a good dealonly five trillion dollars for one TV. Okay, now Man Bun bought every single game he already had, so he had two of each. Then he bought the whole store, and it took five years, but he owned Best Buy, so he went home and never ever played any video games even though he owned Best Buy.

 

Man Bun in London

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and wanted to spend money again. He thought and thought and found a place: London. So he went in a first class Fly Emirates jumbo jet and lost about 35,000 dollars. Next, he ordered a meet and greet with the Queen and tackled the Queen and took a Bobby’s laser gun and suit and blasted Big Ben, and next he blasted every pod in the London Eye then got tackled and fined ninety-nine trillion dollars. He then bought the Big Ben and the Eye and ordered them to be rebuilt.

 

Man Bun in New York

Man Bun was making profit in Washington with Best Buy, but he wanted to be seen. So he went to New York. First, he went to Times Square. He bought five of the screens and used them to put up pictures of his face, but it was not enough. So he went to the owner of a taxi company and offered 100 quadrillion dollars, and he bought twenty taxis.

 

Man Bun Saves Antarctica

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and wanted to spend money. For 20,000 dollars, he took a first class plane to Antarctica. On this plane, there was no menu. You could just tell them what you wanted and they’d make it.

“Could you make me a burger plain with five burgers in it?” Man Bun said.

“Okay,” the chef replied, and made him a burger.

In Antarctica, Man Bun saw the global warming problem. So he contacted all his friends that were scientists and hired about 20,000 more scientists (actually just random people hired and trained to be scientists). Then Man Bun told them to freeze all of Antarctica in one huge cooler, which would cost three million to make because of all the plastic.

Then he built a mountain out of ice and called it “Man Bun Mountain.” It was shaped like his head, Man Bun and all. Underneath Antarctica, Man Bun had an ice mansion built. It had 28,000 ice skating rinks and double the number of fridges (that’s 56,000 fridges). Afterward, he flew back home in the same plane, spending two million dollars along the way. But not before he bought eleventy-seven planes and filled them with polar bears and sent them to a giant replica of the North Pole (in a giant cooler). It was a polar bear wonderlandcopied and pasted from Antarctica. People loved the idea and started donating money to him, and he became even more rich!

 

Man Bun Goes to the Amazon

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and wanted to spend money. After thinking about Antarctica, Man Bun wanted to do more to save the environment, so he flew to the Amazon. He asked a tree if he could enter the Amazon. It said nothing. So Man Bun went in and immediately got attacked by a tiger, and then sued the tree because it didn’t protect him or warn him of tigers.

 

Man Bun Goes to Writopia Sleepaway Camp

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and wanted to spend money. It was the summer and he wasn’t doing anything, so he figured he’d go to a sleepaway camp. He had gone to Writopia last year. He remembered the picture on the wall of a bunch of people who had gone to the sleepaway camp. They looked happy, so he decided that he’d join them. He helped Writopia by buying them a bigger lake, more canoes, more cabins, and more counselors. People heard about these big improvements. It spread like crazy. Because he contributed so much, Man Bun became the owner of Writopia Sleepaway camp, and people saw this, and he earned large amounts of money because he was so successful.

 

Man Bun Goes to Vegas

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and wanted to spend money.

“What about the casinos out west?” a friend said to him.

He drove out there immediately. First, he tried the slot machines. He kept losing money. In two hours, he was down 10,000 dollars. Next, he almost lost two million, but somehow won the jackpot playing poker. The prize: “Two-thousand-million-trillion dollars!”

So Man Bun went up to the prize counter and said, “Give me my thousand million trillion dollars or I’ll blow up the casino with the laser I stole from the Bobby’s in chapter four.”

“We don’t actually have that money,” the clerk-lady said.

“Well, then I’ll do it.”

“Fine, we’ll give you the casino for free.”

So Man Bun then went home to tell his friend that he owned a casino. His friend asked, “What are you going to do with it?”

“I’m going to have Miley Cyrus destroy it with her wrecking ball.”

 

Man Bun Makes an App

Man Bun was bored one day and decided to make an app to give away money. Customers would buy the app for ninety-nine cents. They’d just press the amount of money they wanted (it would go up to two trillion), and the app would forward money to their credit card.

 

Man Bun vs. Bill Gates

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and wanted to meet another rich man and thought of Bill Gates, so he called Bill Gates on speed dial. They met up and Man Bun wanted to spend money so he said, “Money battlefirst one to run out of money loses.”

So Bill Gates bought a gold plane, boat, car, and train. Man Bun bought twenty billion planets, including one starthe Sun. Bill Gates bought a diamond planet. Man Bun bought twenty diamond planets. Bill Gates was out of money and that is why Bill Gates has no more money. Bill was like, “haaaaaaah.” Man Bun was fine.

 

Man Bun Goes to Paris

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and wanted to spend money, so he took a magic sub to Paris. First, he went to the secret room in the Eiffel Tower, next he got a billion croissants, next Arc de Triomphe, and last he went to the Louvre but that’s normal, so he parachuted from the room in the Eiffel Tower.

 

Route 66

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and was bored, so he took a road tripbut to where? Oh, a water park. He started the road trip and immediately got bored, so he played the license plate game. When he got there, he jumped into the pool with no bathing suit and no clothes so he was naked and fined lots of money. Next he went in the waterslide and did not let anyone through the end of the slide.

 

The Happiest Place on Earth

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and was bored, so he took his private jet to Disney World. Man Bun is afraid of roller coasters, so he wanted to overcome his fear and went on Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain. He screamed and at the end of Space Mountain was pale, but he loved Thunder Mountain. It was relaxing because it was so black and he was now okay with roller coasters. To make himself feel better, he had to sing to himself a lullaby, “Hush little Man Bun, don’t you cry. Momma’s gonna buy you a hundred bucks.”

 

Man Bun: The Movie

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and wanted to spend money, so he took a train to Hollywood. In Hollywood, he went on the set of Percy Jackson to stand there and look at a set. Next, he watched Hamilton for 6000 dollars and later bought a mansion to do nothing with. Man Bun was still in Hollywood and decided to make a movie. It was going to be like La La Land, but about Man Bun’s life. It’d have two perspectives. It’d have Emma Watson, Skylar Astin, Daniel Radcliffe, Anna Kendrick, and Rebel Wilson. Daniel would play Man Bun. Skylar would play the Bobby from when Man Bun went to London and Man Bun’s friend. Anna would play a scientist from Antarctica. Rebel would play Bill Gates. With all the actors and props and shots, the movie cost twenty million to make. Man Bun made all his money back from the people who saw it in theatres, plus two trillion more!

 

Man Bun and the Final Frontier

Man Bun was in Washington, D.C. and wanted to waste money in a big way. To spaaace! So Man Bun got people to make him a rocket ship and it cost about twenty dodecahedrillion. Next he got in and went to space! He owned every star ever, so he was on his property when he got to Neptune. He took his Man Bun hair to protect him, and he liked it there. He stayed for many days watching The Martian and doing the same as Matt Damon. He ate potatoes, and on the last day, when he got in and went back home, he saw Earth destroyed and went back to start a new species on Neptune. The species had Man Buns and were resistant to the cold. They had eight sideways (∞) money and loved animals, and Man Bun was the leader and lived happily ever after.

 

Too Much Missing

Chapter One: Kayak Trip

It was the kayaking trip that ruined everything.

It had started out fine — together me and my best friend, June, eased into our life jackets, splashing each other playfully.

After everyone in our group was settled and ready, our counselor, Kirstin, led us to the icy water. Even though it was summer, the water was still cold, because Maine, where this camp was located, had a very cold spring, and the lake was just starting to melt.

I dipped my fingers in the lake and quickly yanked them out again, my fingers feeling frozen.

Kirstin laughed, “Don’t want to fall in!”

June, two other girls I hardly knew, and I piled into one kayak, and the others kids clambered into theirs. Kirstin pushed the six kayaks off the sandy shore, and I smiled as we glided into the water. I tried to make eye contact with June, but my friend looked away, wiping her cheeks. Something was off about her, but I couldn’t figure out what.

So why was I so scared? Why were my hands sweaty and my heart pounding inside my ribcage? Why did it seem like my stomach was having a butterfly fiesta in there?

June and I had signed up together for Camp Skyglow, the four-week sleepaway camp, and we were going to stay together, as a team.

So why was I worried?

A lot of times, when June was with me, it seemed like she didn’t want to be. She was distant, like her body was here, but her mind was a million miles away.

We were both eleven years old, and I was practically a mirror of her with the same shoulder-length, dirty blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

I looked over at June and saw she was happily chatting with those two girls, entirely oblivious to my silence.

“The skirt… yeah… I asked… and she said no…”

“My mom… yeah. So I was like… c’mon..and she was like… no you already have a million skirts… she turned… I stole a couple bucks from her purse…”

“You… jeez… did she get mad… my mom… have…”

They kept babbling on, but I had tuned them out. Skirts and makeovers and all that were no interest to me. I kept my mind hungry with sports, and schoolwork, and poetry sparks that I wanted to write.

June and I had very different interests in life. Yet, for more than six years, we had been closer than close.

Now… I’m not so sure.

Playfully, I scooped my paddle into the water and splashed a little water on June to get her to laugh and, maybe, to notice that I was still there on the kayak with them.

June whirled around, her eyes ablaze. “Just leave me alone, Adeline! Do I have to be with you every second?! I have a life too, you know!”

I nervously leaned back, as if an invisible hand had pushed me. June had never gotten mad at me before — not like this. Before camp, we’d always hung out, and it was really fun and relaxed. Now it seemed like I was trying to have fun and not succeeding. I felt like I had to earn her laughter and her trust all over again. Now it was the middle of camp, and June was basically pretending I wasn’t there.

She ignored me in our bunk room, and in the Mess Hall, she pretended I was gone. I had tried once more on the kayaking trip, but this was the result. I hated myself for not knowing how to fix it, and I hated June for acting like this.

“Sorry.” I said softly, tears pooling into my eyes. June rolled her eyes and turned back to the other two girls and resumed her babbling.

I turned away from the girls so they wouldn’t see the tears begin to stream down my face.

 

Chapter Two: Coral

As we paddled back to shore, my heart felt like it would drop to my feet. Every couple seconds, I would look at June, hoping to catch her eye and give her a small smile. No such luck. When she talked to those girls, it was like she was in a private nebula tuning out any background noise and, in this setting, me.

Once we got to shore, I climbed quickly out so I could try to sort out the screaming thoughts that whipped around my head like a blender set on full-speed.

Kirstin smiled at me. “You okay, Adeline?” she asked.“Did anything happen on the kayak?”

“No.” I forced a smile that felt like it would run off my face at any second. “I had fun. Promise.”

“You look like you’ve been crying…” Kirstin’s voice trailed off.

“It’s just my seasonal allergies,” I said, my voice cracking, “You know, summer and all.”

Kirstin touched my shoulder. “I think we should talk about thi-”

Before she could finish, I yanked myself out of her grip and started to run to my bunk. Without turning around, I could see everyone’s eyes lasering in on me, probably asking  themselves, Does that freak girl have mental issues?

I practically heard June say, “Immature.”

But I wasn’t trying to be. I wasn’t trying to get all the attention. I wasn’t trying to be a spoiled brat. I wasn’t trying to be dramatic. I just missed June so, so much.

Running always helps me cool down when I’m mad or figuring out how to calm my anger, especially when it’s hot like today with June.

But today, it didn’t help. I choked up on my tears, and a cramp jabbed me in the side. My head throbbed, and my legs felt like noodles.

I suddenly wished my older brother was here with me. He’d calm me down, guide me to breathe deeply, and help me sort out my feelings. But he wasn’t here, and I was alone, and no one was on my side, and everyone was on June’s.

It was unfair. Full of sadness, anger, and who knows what, I opened the door and stepped in. I closed the door, and sank down to the floor, relieved to be alone and able to turn my thoughts over on my own.

Just then, I saw a head poke out of a bed. So much for that. I quietly crept up the ladder, hoping she didn’t see me, and I fiddled with my thoughts alone.

I climbed up to the top bunk that I shared with June. I laid down silently on the pillow and closed my eyes. Gee… that felt good.

“You’re here?” A voice came from below. Uggghhhh. I just wanted time alone. Today was like watching a line of dominoes fall. First, June ignored me in the Mess Hall, then June snapped at me in the kayak and now, right when I wanted to be alone, a girl who might be the biggest chatterbox in the world, wanted to talk. Amazing.

I didn’t answer, hoping the girl would get the hint and shut up. No such luck.

“I know you’re awake,” the girl said, her head poking above the railing. She was standing on the lower bunk, her hands on the railing.

I fought the urge to scream at her, but then I didn’t because I knew it would hurt the girl’s feelings just as much as June had hurt mine.

I sighed. “I am trying to rest, okay? Please leave me alone.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be at kayaking?” The girl rose her eyebrows like I was in court, and she was the judge.

“No. Aren’t you supposed to be at an activity?” I gently nudged her off the bottom bunk, and the girl slid down to the floor.

“I left the camp,” the girl stated.

“Huh?” I wanted to ignore her, but curiosity took over.

“I left the camp. I quit. I would’ve gone home, but my parents are on a trip in Alaska and I have to stay here. But I quit.”

“So what do you do every day? Sleep?”

“Of course not. I write in my journal.” The girl acted like that was the most obvious answer in the world. Maybe I should have known that, but my mind was full of sadness, and it was hard to think straight.

“About what?” I asked. “Your family?”

“Of course not. My family is so boring.”

“So what do you write about?” I asked, climbing down from my bunk.

“Cool facts. You know, about the world, and the atmosphere we live in.” The girl smiled.

“Can I read it?” I asked, forgetting about June for a moment. She seemed very smart.

“Yeah, sure.” The girl fished around a blue and gold duffel bag and then produced a red notebook with white lining. She handed it to me.

“Thanks.”

“I hope you like it.” The girl twisted her shirt in her fingers.

“Bet I will.” I said, opening it.

“Wait!” The girl put her hand up “Before you start to read it, and if we’re going to be friends, I need to know your name.”

All at once I had a flash of memories before my eyes. June and I were friends for so long, and then suddenly not. Her hanging out with others was the pain I felt when I saw that. But I loved June so much that I wouldn’t give up on our friendship yet. Our bond was so strong it should be able to push past this. I felt the lense of heat and anger behind my eyes again, and I narrowed my eyes.

“We are not friends,” I said, in the iciest voice I could manage. I thrust her journal at her chest. “I don’t need your stupid journal, either!” I snapped coldly. “Only nerds write about stuff like that!”

I stormed out as the girl called out, “My name is Coral, by the way!”

 

Chapter Three: A Nasty Prank

I didn’t know how bad this friendship problem was until June did a nasty prank when I was sleeping. When I woke up, I didn’t see anything.

But when I went to comb my hair in the mirror, I saw it was dyed.

“Ahhh!” I yelled, my fingers grazing my sticky, red hair. I screamed and ran to the bathroom. It wasn’t all colored, but I didn’t have my brown, silky hair. Instead, I had hair sprayed an ugly red. I looked like a cherry head. I sucked in a deep breath, forcing myself to be calm.

I didn’t know what to do, so I headed over to Coral’s bunk, leaned over, and shook her body

“Wake up, Coral! Wake up!”

Coral opened one eye. “Go away, I’m tryi — ahh!” Coral sat up so fast that I thought she was sitting on a hot pan.

“Your hair!” Coral gasped.

“I know,” I whined “Does it look that bad?”

“Yup.” Coral replied honestly, as she climbed out of bed. She added hastily, “But I think we can fix it!”

“Who do you think did it?” I asked. “I want revenge!”

Coral was thinking a bit more logically. “Well… to dye your hair, they’d have to have a crayon sort of dye. So maybe we should look for a dye packet or something and, whoever it’s closest to, we could add as a suspicion.” Coral headed to her golden blue duffel and pulled out her notebook.

“What do you need that for?” I asked.

“To write down suspicions and narrow it down until we find the victim.”

“That’s a good idea. You’re a good detective.” I said, trying to make up for the unkindness I had acted toward her yesterday.

If she remembered, she decided to ignore it. “Thanks. My dad is Sherlock Holmes. It runs in the family.”

I laughed for maybe the first time in days. “You’re really funny.”

“Oh, forgot to tell you, my uncle is Adam Sandler. It’s in my genes.” Coral said, with no hint of a smile. I grinned.

Coral opened her journal, flipped to the first open page, took a pencil from the spiral bound wire, and wrote at the top: SUSPICIONS For The Hair dyEing cULPRIT?

Coral and I scanned the room, looking for red hair dye packets. After a few minutes, Coral stopped short. “Adeline! Look! A red packet!” She pointed her finger toward June’s bunk. I followed her gaze and, sure enough, a ripped open red packet, stuck out of the blue and white starred sleeping bag.

I sucked in a breath and raced over to June’s bed. I slapped June hard on the back, and her eyes immediately opened.

She burst out laughing. “Your hair!”

My face was contorted with fury. “I can’t believe you did it!”

“Well… duh! You are so annoying and mean!” June rolled her eyes. I was still stunned that the same girl who was my best friend just three weeks ago could now be my worst enemy.

Coral stormed up to June. “You’re the mean one!” she yelled.

June smirked. “I beg your pardon, Squeaky. I can’t hear your pathetic voice.”

Coral looked at me “Were you seriously friends with this girl?”

I nodded weakly.

“Geez, you’ve got bad taste. She is such a jerk!” Coral said loudly. June didn’t reply.

I stared coldly at June. “She wasn’t a jerk three weeks ago. But Coral, I agree, now she is.”

“I’m not being a jerk!” June protested. “I was just hanging out with new friends!”

“Puh. Excuses, excuses. Only pathetic people make those.” Coral sounded amused.

I climbed up on my bed and that’s when I saw a piece of green paper poking out of my pillow. I picked it up and read it:

Get the hint.

We are not friends.   

                        -June

I sighed and handed the note down to Coral. She read it, paused, then stared icily at June.

“Where’s the trash can?” She asked.

I laid back and smiled slightly.

“You’re looking right at it.” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw June flinch. That felt good.

“I’m gonna go see Skye,” June said, backing away. “Adios, dorks.” June walked out the door then turned. “Wait… you won’t tell a counselor, right?”

Coral looked smug. “Try me.”

“Please?” June looked desperate.

“Nope.”

“Adeline?” June asked hopefully.

“Fine.”

“Thank — ” June began.

“Bye,” I said, pointing to the door and June hurried out.

“She wishes,” I said. Coral and I exploded into giggles.

“Now, let’s get down to business.” Coral clapped her hands “Let’s wash that ugly red out of your hair. June has a really bad taste of color.”

“No kidding,” I said. We walked to the sink, and turned on the faucet, and I dipped my head under the cool stream of water.

“Is it coming off?” I asked.

“Hardly,” Coral said, her fingers pressing against my sticky, strands of hair. Her voice grew urgent. “It’s not coming… never mind! It’s rubbing off. Slowly, but it is!”

I breathed a sigh of relief. A question nagged at me: Would June be cruel enough to use permanent dye? And did June know she would do this prank before she came to camp, because who would give her the dye?

Before I left for Maine, Dad said this camp would be awesome. So far, I couldn’t really describe Camp Skyglow as awesome, but meeting Coral was definitely a plus. I smiled to myself. I had certainly learned a lot about June and myself, and I had made a friend along the way.

Maybe I just had to take the good with the bad and be okay with that.

And as I thought about Coral, and the fun activities I loved, and all I learned about myself, it was.

 

Chapter Four: Campfire Night

As I walked up to the campfire, I overheard June talking to one of the kayaking girls that I think was named Skye.

I stopped to listen. I didn’t feel bad about it; June would have done the same thing to me.

“I can’t believe Adeline is so annoying. And babyish,” I heard a voice say.

A lump formed in my throat as I hoped beyond hope that was what Skye said, not June. But no.

“I can’t believe you were ever friends. She is so weird,” Skye said, her voice full of disgust. I sucked in my breath, trying to channel my anger and sadness.

“I know. I don’t know how I ever could be friends with her in the first place. She’s so clingy and strange.” June’s voice. They kept talking, but my mind was stuck on those words just spoken from June’s mouth.

I don’t know how I could ever be friends her in the first place. She’s so clingy and strange.

The words echoed in my ears over and over like I was in a tunnel and couldn’t get out.

After the Camp Skyglow chant, we had to play a game called Two Truths and a Lie. As I sat down on the stone hedge around the fire, I rested my hand on the spot next to me to save it for Coral.

As Coral passed by, I tugged her hand.

“Here,” I said, forcing a smile. “I saved you a spot.”

Coral smiled so big that I thought her face would burst. “Thanks.”

“I should be thanking you,” I told her. “You really helped me with the prank drama.”

“I’m sorry about what’s happening to you and your friend.” Coral’s voice was soft.

“I can’t believe she did that prank.” I paused. “Well, actually I can. She’s been a real jerk, lately.”

“Oh.” Coral seemed at a loss for words.

I looked at her and gave her a hug. “You’re a better friend then June will ever be. I’m glad you didn’t leave; I needed you.”

Kirstin came over and sat down next to me. “Can I sit with you?”  

I shrugged. “Sure”

Another counselor, Michael, clapped his hands to get everyone’s attention. “Now we’ll play Two Truths and a Lie. Everyone knows how to play, right?” Everyone nodded.

Michael smiled. “Who would like to start?”

I had an idea. I shot my hand up with many others, but Michael spotted me first. “How about you start, Adeline?”

I didn’t even need to think about mine. “Number one… June Windstyle is a jerk and she is such a traitor.” I snuck a look at June. Her mouth was open wide, and her eyes were pleading. Perfect. Who cares if I’m being mean? She did the exact same thing to me. “Number two… she is scared of the dark and has to sleep with a night light which is so babyish…” People laughed. I was enjoying this. “And number three… she — ”

“Adeline!!!” Kirstin cut in sharply “That is inappropriate camp behavior. What has gotten into you?”

I shrugged.

“If you and June are in an argument, you can privately talk about it later. Not at a campfire game. Apologize to June right now.” Kirstin’s voice was stern.

Mine was colder. “I’m not sorry.”

The campers all sucked in their breaths. I was going to get it now. I tried to hide my fear of what would happen, but I was really scared.

“Okay, enough with the attitude! Let’s go to the office,” Michael said.

I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. I was frozen in my spot.

“C’mon,” Kirstin urged. “All behavior has its consequences. Now go follow Michael.”

“No, don’t make her go!” A voice called out. Confused, I spun around. At first, I thought it was Coral. But… no. I knew that voice way too well.

“June?” I looked at her through the flames, and she smiled sheepishly at me.

“She has to leave, June,” Michael said.

“She has very unkind behavior that is not acceptable at this camp.” Kirstin added.

I was the one with unkind behavior!” June cut in. “It’s not her fault; it’s mine!”

I was shocked. Was this the same June who had ignored me constantly, who had snapped at me many times, who had played a nasty trick on me? This same June was trying stand up to me. Was this the same June who had done all those things?

“June…” I started, but I didn’t know what to say so I didn’t finish.

“I was being so mean to her at the kayaking trip — ” June began to say but was interrupted by Kirstin. “Campers, keep on playing. June, Adeline, come with me.” As June and I walked away with the counselor, I cast a look at Coral. She gave me a thumbs up and I smiled back at her.

Kirstin walked further from the campfire area, then knelt down and gazed into me and June’s eyes. “What is up with you two? I thought you two were friends.”

“We used to be,” I said, looking icily into June’s eyes. She looked away.

“What’s changed?” Kirstin asked quietly.

“Let’s see,” I said sarcastically. “Nothing much, only June has now officially blocked me out of her life.” I shrugged.

“That’s not true.” June spoke up.

“Oh, yeah?” I challenged “Can you explain the kayaking trip, or the Mess Hall, or the prank?!”

“What prank?” Kirstin asked, her eyes narrowing.

“I think June should explain.” I crossed my arms and glared at her.

June didn’t reply, just kept staring at the same spot on the ground.

“June, what prank?” Kirstin’s voice got louder.

June still didn’t answer.

I rolled my eyes and sighed. “Oh, for heaven sake, we don’t have all day! Kirstin, June dyed my hair. When I was asleep. In the middle of the night. With a red dye packet.”

Kirstin was stunned. “June? You seriously did that?”

June nodded meekly.

“A punishment is going to be needed. Maybe even you leaving the camp.”

“I think that’s a good idea,” I said loudly. “June, all behavior has it’s consequences.”

“Are you and Coral friends?” June asked.

“Yeah.” I paused “So?”

“Just asking.” June shifted uncomfortably.

“I’ll leave,” Kirstin stood up. “You two talk.”

“Why do you hate me?” June asked, once Kirstin and walked away.

“Huh?” I was confused.

“I overheard you speaking with Coral about me.”

“I overheard you speaking with Skye about me,” I shot back.

“Sorry,” June said. I didn’t reply.

June continued “I thought that when you spoke with Coral, you were saying mean things about me, and I kind of flared. I was actually going to use the red hair dye for me, but when I heard you and Coral talking, I used it for you instead.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Really.”

“Oh.” Suddenly, I wasn’t sure what to say. There was an awkward silence, but then I thought of something.

“Wait, but even before I met Coral, you were mad at me in the kayak.” I said “How come?”

“I was homesick and — ”

“Wait, what?” I was surprised. “You never get homesick.”

“Well, I did. I was homesick and I missed my family, and then in the morning that day, I got a letter from my mom, and she said that Jack had gotten severely hurt.”

“Wait, what? How? Is he okay?” I was shocked, then scared. Her thirteen-year-old brother was awesome. I had been to her house enough times to know it. He was fun to play with and laughed a lot. He was pretty much the dream sibling. Him and June were closer than close. I knew it must have been a big blow to June and her parents.

June sniffled. “He was riding his bike with a friend, and a big truck turned, and he didn’t see it, and it hit him. His friend didn’t get hurt, but he did and now he’s in the hospital and I don’t know if he’s okay… ” June’s face crumpled, and tears started to stream down her face. I wanted to hug her, but I wasn’t sure how and I knew it would be awkward, so I just patted her on the back.

June wiped her eyes. “I wrote six letters back asking if he was okay, but she hasn’t responded. And when we went to the kayak, I wanted to be alone, but then when Skye and Annabelle started talking to me, I thought it would take my mind off of things, but it didn’t. I’m really sorry and please forgive me.”

“I want to forgive you, June,” I said. “I really do. But why didn’t you tell about your brother before so I’d know why you were being all mean and cold toward me?”

“I was just really sad.”

“We can be friends, but maybe not close, okay? We are friends, but not like before. I think our relationship has changed.”

“Okay,” June nodded, her face hopeful. I could tell June was thinking we would just patch up this fight and move on. I wish I could tell her it wouldn’t happen, but I didn’t want to push it.

June stuck out her hand “Friends?”

I nodded and shook it. “Friends.” We both knew that neither of us was ready for a hug.

It will never be like before, I thought, a bit wistful.

We glanced at each other for a long moment, and then, together, we headed to the fire.

 

Bailey, Harley, and the Dead Bear

      

BAILEY

Do you want to play outside?

 

HARLEY

Sure.

 

BAILEY

What do you want to play?

 

HARLEY

We could play basketball.

 

BAILEY

Okay.

 

HARLEY

The first person to get 18 points wins.

 

BAILEY

Did you see that?

 

HARLEY

WHAT?

 

BAILEY

HA, I win! Let’s go to the park and play on the monkey bars.

 

HARLEY

Okay, that sounds really fun, and we can go on the swings.

 

BAILEY

Mom, can we go to the park?

 

MOM

Okay. Be back by three.

 

HARLEY

Okay, bye!

 

BAILEY

Last one to the swings is a rotten egg!

 

HARLEY

I win!

 

BAILEY

Did you see that in the woods?

 

HARLEY

What?

 

BAILEY

Something moved in the bushes!

 

HARLEY

Let’s go follow it.

 

BAILEY

But what if it’s dangerous?

 

HARLEY

But what if it’s not?

 

BAILEY

I guess we can go.

 

HARLEY

Let’s bring our phones so we have a flashlight just in case it is dark.

 

BAILEY

AHAHAHAHAH, there’s a bear!

 

HARLEY

RRRRRRRRRRRUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNN!

 

BAILEY

AH! The bear grabbed us! He’s gonna eat us!

 

HARLEY

Goodbye, Bailey.

 

BAILEY

Goodbye, Harley.

 

BEAR

(Swallows)

 

HARLEY

I think I have a paper clip. What if we cut open the bear?

 

BAILEY

Okay, hand me it. I’m almost done… got it!

 

HARLEY

I think we killed it.

 

BAILEY’S MOM

Harley, Bailey, want me to give you a ride home?

 

BAILEY

Let’s go. My mom is here.

 

HARLEY

We should go play more basketball at my house.

 

The Adventures of a Young Girl

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Riley, and she went for a walk in the woods on her way home from school. After about ten minutes, she walked into a wire fence, stretching between two gigantic trees. At first, she thought, That’s funny, last time I was here, those trees were tiny! But then, she realized she hadn’t been there since she was two, and she was already twelve. At first, she ran to the right, but found that there were four even bigger trees blocking her way. She looked to the left, past the fence and found that, again, there were four jumbo trees. She walked back to the fence and realized she could just climb over. Riley climbed over and went running off towards a clearing.

Riley knew that the clearing led straight onto a horse farm. What she did not know was that there was a horse coming her way, and she put her right foot out before she saw the horse and immediately stepped back, her heart racing. After a few minutes, Riley realized that she could no longer get out onto the horse farm, at least not from the clearing because she would get kicked. She chose to walk out into the more wooded area, and a huge frog jumped out in front of her. Riley looked past the frog and realized it had jumped in front of a fallen tree. The tree was so big that she could not get around it! She walked back to the clearing and kept going the other direction. She turned towards the farm and found more gigantic trees, too close to get through. She walked back to the clearing and sat down on a rock and looked out onto the farm. Wait! I can see the farm! That means the horse isn’t there! That also means I can get out, she thought. She checked that the coast was clear and ran onto the farm.

Riley kept running until she got to the gate and started to unlock it, but a really cute, orange kitten climbed on top, and she felt the need to pet it. The kitten jumped off of the fence and started rubbing against her legs. She could not stop petting the kitten! The kitten walked toward the farm’s owner, and Riley still could not stop!

She assumed the cat was the farm’s (there was no collar) and told the farmer, “I love the kitten! It is so friendly! I wish I could keep it!”

“Why can’t you keep it?” the farmer asked her.

“What do you mean? Isn’t it yours?” Riley replied.

“No, it is a stray,” the farmer said.

“Really?!” Riley said, “AWESOME! I’m going to name it Alphie!”

Riley picked up Alphie and left to go home.

To get home, Riley went through a park three blocks from her house. She stopped for water, and Alphie jumped out of her arms and ran up a tree. She slowly followed and got to the top of the tree and realized she couldn’t get down with Alphie. She climbed back down without Alphie. She grabbed her grocery bag and brought it up on her arm. Once she got up, she put Alphie in and climbed back down. She ran back home.

Riley reached for the door handle and, as she did so, it thundered. Luckily, I’m about to go inside, she thought. She turned the handle, but the door didn’t budge. She looked in her bag and realized she didn’t have her key. Her heart started racing. She was so scared that she couldn’t think of when her parents said they would get back, much less that her neighbors had a key to get in.

“Slow down, Riley, think,” she told herself. “Slow down. Wait, I have a bell in my bag, and I learned a mindfulness strategy at school today, so now I can use the strategy!” She pulled out the bell and rung it. She kept a steady breath until the sound seemed to disappear.

Suddenly, she remembered her parents would be back at 5:30 p.m., and her brother would be with them, but she knew the storm would have ended by then. Riley walked over to her neighbor’s house, knowing that they would let her in until the storm ended. When she got to their house, she sat down and explained to them how she couldn’t get into her house.

“We have your key,” the neighbor said, “so if you want, you can use it. But you can also stay if you want.”

“Can I please use the key?”

“Sure. Let me go get it for you.”

Riley’s neighbor left the room. While she was getting the key, Riley realized she didn’t know where Alphie was. Hopefully she’s okay, Riley worried. After a few minutes, her neighbor came back with the key.

“Thank you so much!” Riley exclaimed gratefully. She took the key and ran back home. When she got home, she found Alphie sitting just outside of the door. She unlocked the door and ran inside with Alphie.

***

Riley’s parents came home at 5:30, and Riley told them the story of getting home.

“Aww, I am so glad you got home safe!” her mom replied.

Her brother kept commenting, “Fun!” at the scary parts, until the end where he said, “I love this kitten!” and her dad said one word at the end.

“Cool!”

“Well, if we’re going to keep the kitten, we should probably get some food, toys, and treats,” Riley’s mom said, “Who’s coming with me?”

“I am!” Riley’s brother replied.

“Me too!” Riley said.

“Okay, let’s go.”

Th