The Amber Ring

by Josie Levin, age 9
The Amber Ring Josie is nine years old, and she lives in Brooklyn. She has one older sister named Maia. She really loves dogs. And she really liked learning about zinemaking and filmmaking at Writopia. She worked really hard on her book, and she hopes readers enjoy it!

“Recap: Ben and I were normal kids, or at least we thought we were. Our mom owned a ring that we always thought was beautiful, but now we know it was dangerous. Inside this ring was a very dangerous specimen, whatever that means.”

Chapter 1


Right now, I am running for my life along with my faithful sibling who is holding the amber ring that we must hide, even though I am only 12.

“To the slope quickly!” Ben yelled. 

Though the villains chasing us had ideas of their own… You must be very confused, but I promise it will all be explained when I am not being chased by 2 people who can kill. 

Oh good, we’re here. The amber ring cave. Now that we’re safe, let’s begin. 

Recap: Ben and I were normal kids, or at least we thought we were. Our mom owned a ring that we always thought was beautiful, but now we know it was dangerous. Inside this ring was a very dangerous specimen, whatever that means. That’s all Mom ever said about it. Oh, I forgot. The people who were chasing us were the leaders of the other side of the fight.

 They wanted the ring because they wanted us dead. 

Chapter 2


“Oh wow, that was fun,” I said sarcastically. 

“That wasn’t fun,” Sharpay said, clearly sarcasm was not in her vocabulary. Or readily understood. 

Tomorrow is my birthday, and the biggest gift I can get is being alive and safely having the ring. I remember when we used to throw a big party in the backyard with sprinklers, the yummy cake that Mom always made, and the bouncy house that Dad put together. I miss them. Even though they are just a few miles away, it feels like I will never see them again. 

“Ben, Ben, Ben! What are you writing?” 

“Nothing.” I quickly covered the book. My sister could be so annoying sometimes. Suddenly, we heard buzzing. 

“They’re back!” 

We climbed into the secret hole that was hidden at the base of the cave.

“Sharpay! Quickly!” 

We both jumped into the porthole towards the underground secret base. I quickly started to close the hatch.

“Wait!” Sharpay yelled, “My hair bow!”

Our mom gave each of us a present before we left for the secret mission. I got the journal (but I share it with Sharpay) and she got the hair bow. 

“Come on Sharpay!” 

She grabbed the bow and jumped into the hatch. I was waiting, ready to catch her. 

We ran, even though no one was chasing us. First mission complete. 

Chapter 3


We just arrived at the heart of the busy tunnels. There, our cousin, Will, was waiting for us. 

“Quickly!” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because they tracked me down.”

My heart was racing. My brother was arguing with Will. All I heard were scraps of the ongoing conversation. 

“I told you to be careful.” 

“I tried.” 

“You’re so much smarter than them.” 

“But they have the amber ring.” 

“No, we have it!” 

“Okay, whatever.” 

I stayed silent. I didn’t want Ben yelling at me. But I knew I had to say something, so I did. 

“How did they track you down?” I said quietly. 

Maybe I shouldn’t have asked this question, I thought to myself. Will looked upset. Then he told us a story that I will never forget. 

He got captured, and the villains said they would track down everyone and release the amber ring once they had it. So he had no choice but to reveal his location. 

“It’s fine,” Ben said. “We have many other bases.” 

“Okay,” said Will, reassured. 

Meanwhile I keep thinking about the sparkle I saw when I left the cave. I screamed! 

“What was that about?” Ben asked. “You’re going to make my eardrums bleed.” 

“We lost the amber ring!” I said, trembling, 

“No, we didn’t, it is in my backpack. Look!” 

It wasn’t there. Without thinking, I ran back to the cave. I only stopped for as much as a breath of air. I didn’t look back. I tried to block the noises of Ben’s screaming. Finally, I made it to the amber ring cave. 

Suddenly, strong arms grabbed me, and then darkness. 

Chapter 4


I couldn’t believe Sharpay. She made us go through so much trouble. Tracing and retracing my footsteps over and over again. We finally arrived at the palace that the villains lived in. Somehow, I thought that she would be here. I don’t know what brought me here, fate or coincidence, but out of some magic, I knew she was here. Thank god, the villains weren’t home. 


  1. Go to the back door, and then use rope to hoist ourselves onto the roof. 
  2. Pound a hole through the roof, tie the rope and lower ourselves down.
  3. Find a good hiding place. 
  4. Um, uh, think of a number 4. 
  5. Search the house for Sharpay and look for any breadcrumbs 
  6. Find Sharpay (hopefully) 
  7. Hoist ourselves back up through the roof and down to safety.



I couldn’t let this happen to my little sister. She could be annoying at times, but I made a promise to keep her safe. 

“Don’t worry. Nothing will go wrong,” Will said.

“About a thousand things could go wrong.” 

“At least it’s not a thousand and one!” 

I rolled my eyes. “We don’t have much time, let’s go.”

Will and I crawled through the grass to the back of the house.

“Rope,” I said, holding my hand out.

“Check,” Will said.

They had a chimney, so step 2 wasn’t needed. I picked up all the rope and dropped it down the chimney. Then I tied the rope around my waist and jumped. Immediately, I saw that Sharpay untied her bow and placed it on the floor. 

“Why can’t I come?” Will called from above.

“You need to keep a lookout!” I yelled back.

I followed the bow, which had been unfurled, towards the bookshelf, where there was a 


You must go where the rare orchids grow

then go below where there is no foe                                    

then to the maze where the young does graze

You are in a daze to be amazed                                                                                 

And there you will find me – Sharpay

 Chapter 5


I untied my ribbon and led it to a certain bookshelf, then wrote a small note and placed it within a book. I moved quickly and secretly before the villains noticed. 

“Move on quickly, or else I’ll slap you.”

I moved at a fast pace, hoping to keep up with my captors. I heard them talking to one another. 

“We’re gonna have to leave to search for the ring. Hope the girl doesn’t escape.”

One of the men opened a secret passage. I knew about the secret passage, of course. That’s why I mentioned it in my poem. Mom had been in a similar situation as I was, and if she could escape, then I could too. Even though I knew Ben would come to rescue me, I still wanted to find a way to escape on my own. 

In the secret passage, orchids lined the walls, or at least I thought they did. I was pretty sure they were orchids. I brought my nose towards the bright purple flowers. 

“Get a move on, girl! Get in here and do not make a noise,” the villains said.

I did as I was told. I nodded silently as I was getting pushed and dragged into a cage. I looked out one of the small windows in the cage, I saw a bird and felt a ray of hope. But then, the door clanged shut behind me. I was trapped! At least I had the amber ring. But I hoped Ben would know where to go and would bring his lock picks.

I studied the cage to find a secret code, but instead of finding a code, I found a key! Hidden in the dirt was a silver, curved key. Suddenly, I had a thought. Maybe mom knew I might be captured one day and left a key for me! I smiled, thinking of my clever parents. I opened the door and ran outside. Only to bump into to a horrified Ben!                             



Giggling, I fell to the floor.

“Guess I didn’t need to find you,” Ben said sheepishly.

“Guess not.” I smiled.

Chapter 6


I almost wanted to kill Sharpay, but she had been kidnapped, so I’d wait to yell.

“I miss Mom and Dad,” Sharpay said sadly.

I did too, but I didn’t dare tell Sharpay. 

“Come on, let’s go!” I said to Sharpay, 

I was not mad but I was scared because the villains could come back any second now. We ran, hopefully to never come back to this horrible place. Sharpay and I ran up the stairs to where we entered the fortress. 

“Will, come on!” I yelled up through the chimney. 

“I’ll meet you outside,” Will responded with a loud echo. 

What does he have, a microphone? I thought to myself. 

Sharpay and I ran outside through the main door. This was easier than the way we came in. Why didn’t we just do this?

 Will… When outside, we saw Will with an ice cream cone. 

“Where’d you get that?!” Sharpay yelled. 

“I got bored, then a little hungry, so I raided the kitchen for something sweet. Then I found this! I really hope it’s not poisoned.” 

“Why did you eat that!” I said.

“I was hungry! This flavor is worth getting poisoned for.” 

Sharpay rolled her eyes with a little smile. 

“Come on, let’s go to the stream. There’s a rowboat there. We can use it to escape,” I said. 

Little Tip from Will: 

If you are on a secret mission, going to a top-secret place, avoid the road and always take nature path. Be careful of poison ivy! 

P.S. always bring snacks. 

We walked towards an abandoned treehouse. We used it as our secret base. Sharpay went up to grab a map. She handed it to me and then we were off! Following Will’s long complaints about how we had no snacks besides peanut butter and apples. After a while, Will was satisfied. 


Chapter 7


After we made it to the rowboat, Ben lifted it up and then dropped it again! 

“What’s wrong Ben?” I said.

“There’s writing on the bottom!” 

“What type of writing?” 

“It looks like mostly gibberish.” 

“Look again, maybe it’s a code!” Will said. 

“Will, can I use your notebook?” Ben asked. 

“It’s mostly just doodles of burgers and fries!” Will exclaimed. 

“Can you spare us one page?” 

“But, it’s my french fries and burger collection.” 


Ben flipped the boat over and examined the code. 

“Look at it,” he said.

“Sharpay, remember when Mom taught us to crack different codes?”

“Yeah. I remember my favourite one was to cross out all the even numbers,” I reply. 

“Okay, let’s try that.” 





N X D 3 D 3 A 3 D


Chapter 8


“Sharpay, do you still remember the way to Tunnel Bee?”

“Yes, we just have to go north for 16 miles, east for 7 miles, and then north for 2 more miles, then we go underground.” 

“Will, how long would it take to go 16 miles north?” 

“About an hour and a half.” 

“Only!?” Sharpay said. 


“It’ll take a lot longer than an hour and a half, if we don’t go,” I said.

We rowed for a while. I was glad Will doesn’t complain as much about food as before. Suddenly, Sharpay got quiet. 

“What is it?” I asked. 

“That,” Sharpay said, pointing into the distance. 

In the distance, there was a black sky with angry thunder and waves taller than our house. Which was pretty tall. 

“Sharpay! Find the nearest island or place to dock.” I yelled through the wind, but it was too late. Sharpay grabbed me as a massive wave went over the boat. I saw Sharpay drop the amber ring. 

“Thank you,” I mouthed through the wind.

Our boat split into two! I held onto the front of the boat with one hand. With the other, I grabbed Sharpay as tightly as I could. I wanted to say that everything was going to be alright, but I don’t like to lie. Black waves sloshed all around us. Finally, I couldn’t hold on any longer. I let go of the boat, and Sharpay and I were flooded by darkness. Even though I couldn’t see anything, I made sure that my grip on Sharpay remained strong. 

Chapter 9


In the morning, I woke up on a sand dune. I reached into my pocket and took out the hair bow. I was glad it wasn’t lost in the storm. Just a few inches away, Ben was sitting down, writing in his journal. 

“Morning Ben.” 

“You’re already awake?”

“Where’s Will?”

“I don’t know where he is, maybe he’s—” 

“Look! I have a piña colada.” Will said, holding up a large coconut with a weed straw. Ben glared at Will. I tried to hold back a small giggle, but it still came out. I avoided looking at Ben, because he would probably glare at me too. 

“Where did you find the coconuts?” Ben asked. 

“You mean, piña colada.” 

“No trust me, I mean coconuts.” 

“No, I’m pretty sure you mean piña coladas.”

“Sharpay, what do you think?” 

“Sorry, Ben, but I’m going to say piña coladas.”

“Okay, fine. I’ll show you where the piña coladas are.”

“Since we’re gonna be stuck on this island, palm trees might make a good fort, and coconuts come from palm trees, so we can eat and sleep,” Ben stated, clearly annoyed by the piña colada incident. 

“I can build a fire,” I said.

“Fine with me,” Ben said.

“Will, come chop wood with me.” 

“Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,” Will said. “Can I continue collecting more piña coladas?”

“No,” Ben said. “Now c’mon.” 

Will followed him, dragging his steps. 

“Phew,” I said. I hate chopping wood. 

Will tossed me his lighter. “Good luck,” he mouthed. This should be easy. How hard could it be? Soon, I had a fire burning brightly. A few minutes later, Ben came holding a mound of wood. Will came back holding a handful of berries. I rolled my eyes. We all helped Ben build the walls in the hut. 

Soon, I found that my stomach was rumbling. 

As if Ben read my mind. “There’s a lot of coconuts if anyone’s hungry.” 

“Piña coladas,” Will said. 

“Piña coladas,” Ben said, whispering to himself. 

Soon, my eyes started to close. “Goodnight,” I murmured, and fell into a dreary sleep. 

Chapter 10


I shook Sharpay awake. A small boat was pulling up and inside was—

“Mom, Dad!”

Sharpay and I ran up to our parents, hugging them long and hard.

“I thought you would never come back,” Sharpay said, tears streaming down her eyes.

Dad turned to me as if I had something to say. I was speechless. I felt a tear well up my cheek. I ran into their arms.

“I missed you so much,” I said. 

I climbed into their small boat. 

“Will!” Mom said. “Your parents are waiting for you at your house. Come with us.”

“My parents?” Will said and happily climbed into the boat. 

We all sailed away happily.

Will tip:

Family is the best! 


Ben and Sharpay

When Ben and Sharpay get home, they celebrate Ben’s birthday party. Their mom makes a yummy cake, and their dad puts together a bouncy castle. Soon, the family got used to being home again. 

I know that this is not a fairytale, but they did live happily ever after. 

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