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					“The Egyptian Princess”

  by Amanda Kovats
Chapter 1


   “What do you want to play today?” asked my best
friend Sasha.
   “Emperor and Princess of course!” I screamed.
   My best friend Sasha and I live in Egypt and
everyday we come to the pyramids and play games.
There are big fences around the pyramids to keep all the
tourists from getting close to the pyramids, but us local
kids are brave enough to climb over them. Emperor and
Princess is my favourite game. We run all around the
pyramids pretending we are wealthier and more


                            2
important than we actually are. I always play the
princess.
   Sasha and I were having so much fun and the game
was going really wonderfully until some older kids
showed up. We tried to pretend that we weren’t afraid,
but we are just two small girls and they are older boys.
They said they were Emperors from another nation and
they had come to steal our land.
   “That’s not fair!” screamed Sasha.
   “Then why don’t you protect your land,” said the
scariest, smelliest boy.
   Sasha and I decided to dig a big moat to protect our
families pyramid. We dug and dug and dug. Just when
we thought we had made the moat deep enough my
hands brushed something cold and metal. I reached
down to pull it out and found a beautiful gold ring.
   It is the most beautiful piece of treasure I have ever
seen. It is a gold ring with a big silver crystal that shines
brighter than the sun. I imagine it used to be worn by a
beautiful princess, not someone ordinary like me. I
knew that it had to be important so I put it carefully in


                              3
my pocket and rushed home to hide it in my treasure
box.
   “We have to come back first thing tomorrow to see
if we can find anymore treasure,” I told Sasha.
   Sasha wants to walk home at the normal pace we
usually do, but I am much too eager for that. I can’t
help but run, I need to get my new beautiful ring
somewhere safe. I’m a much faster runner than Sasha so
I have to keep waiting for her, which annoys me, but I
finally get home. I can’t wait to get to my backyard so I
run through the house without taking my shoes off. My
parents will be mad.
   In my backyard is a box where I keep all my treasure.
In it are all the foreign coins I find at the tourist
attractions downtown, all the old jewellery my sister no
longer wants, and any other shiny, sparkly things I find.
I carefully place my beautiful ring safe inside my box
and count all my other treasure I’ve collected. I have so
much now I might need a bigger box! 37, 38, 39, 40,
41….




                            4
    “Adella, your father wants to speak with you,”
screamed my mother from the kitchen. Now I’ve gone and
lost count.
    “Coming Mom!” I yell back.
    I quickly hide the treasure that I had been counting
underneath the tree in my yard and run into my house
to see what my father wants. Through the window I see
him pacing with rage as I get closer to the house. I
should have taken my shoes off.
    “Adella why is there mud all over the floor?” asks
my father. I don’t know what to say, so I don’t say
anything.
    “Adella, why is there mud all over the floor? Your
mother washed just this morning!”
     “I am sorry, Dad. I was just so excited when I got
home to play in the yard I forgot to take my shoes off.”
He gives me a very disappointed look and sends me off
to bed without supper.
    I sit in my room feeling very frustrated. He doesn’t
know who I am. He thinks he is sending an ordinary
farm girl to bed without supper. No one cares if an


                           5
ordinary farm girl is hungry. What he doesn’t know is he
is actually sending a beautiful princess to bed without
supper. A princess so loved by her people that if they
knew she was hungry they would offer her the food
from their very own plates.




                              6
Chapter 2


I awoke bright and early, eager to get back to the
pyramids. I ran downstairs to the kitchen to grab a
quick breakfast. It was very early in the morning so I
wasn’t expecting anyone to be up, but my mother was
sitting at the kitchen table. She was crying. I didn’t really
know what to do. I’ve only seen my mother cry a couple
times, but dad always comforts her. I thought about
going to get him, but instead I just sat down at the table




                              7
across from her. She didn’t say anything, she just kept
crying.
   “What’s wrong Mom?” I asked.
   “I’m……I’m…..so sorry,” she said. She tried to say
more but she couldn’t through all the tears.
   “What are you sorry about Mom?” I asked.
   Through even more tears she told me “Some very
mean men came by the house this morning. They work
for a very rich man who just bought the land we live on.
He wants to build a tourist hotel here. We have until the
end of the week to leave”. I didn’t understand what she
was saying.
   “But Mom, where are we going to live?” I asked.
   “I don’t know honey, I don’t know,” she said. With
that there was a knock on the door. I went to open it. It
was Sasha. Sasha saw my mom crying and gave me a
really awkward look. She didn’t know what to do either.
The way Sasha looked at my mom made me angry. I
was angry at my mother for making me embarrassed.
I’m a princess. The mothers of princesses don’t cry;
they are too good for crying. Crying is for common


                            8
people, for ordinary people. I guided Sasha out of my
house and slammed my kitchen door without looking
back. Sasha and I were princesses. We only cared about
pretty things, things that sparkled. Crying isn’t pretty.




                             9
Chapter 3


The second Sasha and I had left my yard we started to
run. We were so excited to get back to the pyramids and
play. We jumped over the fences and rushed to the
bottom of the biggest pyramid.
   “What do you want to play today?” asked Sasha.
   “Let’s play Princess and Emperor!” I said excitedly.
   “No, we play that every day. It’s starting to get
boring,” said Sasha.




                           10
   “Boring? Being a princess is the most amazing,
wonderful thing you can be. How is it boring?” I asked.
   “It’s fun sometimes but there are so many other
exciting things to be,” replied Sasha.
   “Like what?” I asked
   “We could be explorers! We could dig for ancient
Egyptian artefacts,” said Sasha.
   “I guess. But can we play princesses after?” I asked.
   “Sure,” said Sasha. With that we went off and played
explorers. We found an old piece of cloth and made it
into explorer hats. We drew maps with the markers we
had brought from home. We decided to expand the
hole we dug yesterday; in hopes there might be other
treasure.
   We dug for some time, and just when I was getting
bored and ready to quit, Sasha found something! Out of
the huge hole we dug Sasha pulled out a small stone
box. It was stunningly beautiful and very intricate. We
tried to open it but it had some kind of lock. It looked
like it needed a key to be opened. In fact the key hole
was in the shape of a ring.


                              11
   “I think your ring opens the box!” said Sasha.
   I took the beautiful ring from my pocket and twisted
it into its place in the box. Suddenly the box swung
open and revealed the most beautiful light I had ever
seen. The light was so captivating Sasha and I couldn’t
take our eyes off of it. We were so taken by the boxes
light we found ourselves feeling like part of the box.
The light kept getting brighter and brighter and the
world around us kept getting dimmer and dimmer.
Before we knew it, just we and the box were the only
things that existed in the world. Everything else was
black. Then just moments after, the light went out and
the world became visible again.
   However, something was different about the world
now. There were people everywhere, when before we
had been the only people around. The fences blocking
the pyramids had gone and there were people off in the
distance building pyramids that just moments ago have
already existed!
   “What happened?” I asked Sasha.




                           12
   “I…I…don’t know,” she said. We didn’t know what
to do. We were so confused. Just then a big man carry
heavy stones knocked into us.
   “Watch it kids. You almost made me drop my
stones. King Huni wouldn’t be happy if I dropped these
stones,” he said.
   King Huni, that name sounded familiar to me.
Where had I heard it before? Just then it hit me I had
learned about King Huni in history class. He was an
Egyptian king that ruled thousands of years ago. He was
responsible for building many of the great pyramids.
   “Sasha I think we’ve traveled back in time!”




                           13
Chapter 4


Sasha and I were scared to be in such a strange place
but we were also really excited. We had always dreamt
of what the world must have been like when the
pyramids were being built and now we were really here!
This was the time period when true princesses existed.
   “Sasha, do you think we will meet a real princess
while we are here?” I asked.
   Sasha was about to answer when we heard a loud
noise off in the distance. It sounded like some kind of


                           14
horn. The crowds of people started spreading out,
creating a long passageway between them. Through the
passageway of people came the most beautiful carriage.
It was made of entirely gold and was carried by four
strong men. There were four red silk curtains that
draped from each side. This carriage had to belong to
someone very important, maybe someone royal!
   One of the curtains opened slightly and the most
elegant hand I had ever seen came out. The hand waved
to the people like a feather floats through air. I watched
that beautiful waving hand as it passed through the
crowds. Then suddenly the carriage stopped moving.
The men placed it on the ground and parted the red
curtains. Out came the most beautiful women I had
ever seen. She glowed like the sun and wore elaborate,
sparkling clothing. She looked straight at Sasha and me.
   “I am Princess Naisi and I demand to know who
you are?” she said.
    A real princess! At first I didn’t know she was
talking to us. Then Sasha nudged me.




                            15
   “What do you mean?” I said. What a stupid reply I
thought.
   “Who are you? You look strange. You have unusual
clothing on,” she said.
   I didn’t know what to tell her. I definitely couldn’t
tell her we were from the future. She would think we
were crazy. Just then Sasha saved me.
   “We went sent here,” said Sasha
   “I don’t understand,” said the Princess. I didn’t
understand what Sasha was talking about either.
   “We were sent to you from the Gods,” said Sasha.
We were? I thought.
   When Sasha said that, the beautiful woman’s face
went very pale. No one said anything. Then after some
time her face changed into a big smile.
   “I will accept any gift from the gods with open
arms,” she said. She then ushered us into her carriage.
   “I will take you pack to my palace where you will
stay with me,” she said. I couldn’t believe it. Sasha and I
were going to be real princesses!




                            16
Chapter 5


The journey in the carriage was long, but I didn’t mind
because it was the most elegant thing I had ever
experienced. Being carried made me feel like true
royalty. I did wish the men who were carrying us would
hold the carriage more sturdily though. All the rocking
was making me sea sick.
   After what seemed like centuries we finally arrived at
the palace. The palace was everything I had ever
dreamed of and more. Everything was gold and shiny.


                           17
Jewels decorated the ceiling. There were halls upon halls
of all my favourite foods. Servants were everywhere
ready to please us.
   “I’m not exactly sure what to do with the two of
you. I’ll have to ask my father, the King,” said the
Princess.
   “Madam the King is away on business. He won’t be
back until the end of the week,” said one of the
Princess’ servants.
   “No worries, you two will just have to be my
honoured guests until he returns,” said the Princess.
   She showed us to the royal bedrooms and told us we
could pick any one we wanted, except her and her
parents of course. Sasha picked a modest room. I asked
her why and she said she wasn’t comfortable with all the
excess in the palace. It didn’t feel right. This didn’t make
any sense to me. I choose the largest room possible and
demanded all the closets be stuffed with the finest
clothing Egypt had to offer.
   After the most marvellous sleep I had ever had on
the most marvellous bed I had ever had, Sasha and I


                             18
went invited to have breakfast with the Princess. There
were all kinds of foreign foods I had never heard of but
everything smelt delicious.
   “How was your sleep girls?” asked the princess.
   I quickly assured the princess it was wonderful using
every adjective I could think of.
   “I found it hard to sleep,” said Sasha.
   “Why?” asked the princess.
   “My bed at home is lumpy and thin but I’m used to
it. I find it comforting. This bed was strange and hurt
my neck,” replied Sasha. I nudged Sasha and told her
not to be so impolite. I couldn’t believe she would say
that what if the Princess threw is out!
   We finished eating our food and I thought the meal
was over, but then the Princess announced that we
would be having a second course. A second course of
breakfast how wonderful! One of the Princess’ many
servants brought in our food and was about to leave but
then the Princess stopped her.
   “Stop!” screamed the Princess.




                              19
   “Yes…,” said the servant in a very low voice. I guess
they weren’t used to being spoken to.
   “What have you got in your pockets?” asked the
Princess. The servant didn’t say anything.
   “You’ve stolen a loaf of bread from my table,
haven’t you?” demanded the Princess. Then she reached
into the servants pockets and produced a piece of bread.
   “How dare you steal from me!” screamed the
Princess.
   “I…..I….I thought you could spare just one loaf of
bread. My family is very poor and I cannot afford to
feed my children. Do you know what it is like to not be
able to feed your children? To have to leave your
children crying from hunger every morning to go and
feed a family with more food than they can eat?” said
the servant more assertively than before.
   “I do not tolerate thieves in my house. You must be
punished, but how shall I punish you? Girls what do
you think would be a suitable punishment for these
insolent servant?” the Princess asked us.




                           20
   “She should be fired immediately and forced to pay a
fire for the food she must have stolen in the past,” I
said.
   “That is ridiculous,” said Sasha. “If you fire this
woman she will not be able to find another job, and
making her pay a fine will only starve her children more.
You should examine why she feels she needs to steal.
Perhaps if you raised her wage she wouldn’t feel like she
needs to steal.”
   The Princess was outraged.
   “Get out of my sight! Both of you!” said the
Princess.
   I didn’t understand what had just happened. Why
was Sasha being so rude to the Princess?
   “Why don’t you like it here?” I asked Sasha.
   “It is not that I don not like it. It is just that I cannot
enjoy myself when so many around me are not as
fortunate. We used to be poor. Our parents are
servants. We have no right to mistreat people who are
just like us. I miss my family. I want to go home,”
replied Sasha.


                             21
   “Being a Princess is better than having a family,” I
said.




                          22
Chapter 6


Before I knew it a week had passed and it was time to
meet the Princess’ father. Sasha and I were both
worried about what he was going to say. The princess
presented us to her father in the throne room.
   “Father, these two girls were sent to us from the
gods. They are very different from us and have very
strange custom. I have let them live here for the past
week while waiting for your advice as what to do with
them,” said the Princess to her father. The King looked


                           23
at us very strangely. There was silence in the throne
room. Then in a big grand voice he spoke.
   “Tell me girls, have you enjoyed your time in the
palace?” he asked.
   “Yes, of course!” I said. “It is the most wonderful
place on earth.” The King seemed pleased with this
answer.
   “What about you, young lady? Do you enjoy the
palace as much as your friend?” the King asked Sasha.
   “Sir, it is very beautiful but I cannot enjoy myself.
You servants are treated very badly and should not have
to work as hard as they do. This lifestyle just isn’t for
me,” replied Sasha. With this the King was equally as
outraged as his daughter had been the previous day.
   “Guards have this ungrateful girl removed from my
sight at once! Have her thrown in the dungeon where
she can reflect on how she should be grateful!”
screamed the King.
   On no, I thought. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Sasha wasn’t supposed to be thrown in the dungeon!




                           24
Chapter 7


The King told me that I could stay in the palace and
continue to live as their honoured guest. I was worried
about Sasha but I was very happy to hear this. I spent
the next couple days in the same wonderful fashion as
before, living in complete luxury.
   One night as I was trying to fall asleep, in my
extremely comfortable bed, I heard sobbing coming
from the other room. I got out of bed to investigate.
The sobbing was coming from the Princess’s room. I


                            25
opened the door and there she was sobbing. She didn’t
look as pretty as she usually does, with tears running
down her cheeks. I went and sat beside her.
   “What’s wrong Princess?” I asked.
   “My father wants me to marry a horrible man. He is
fat and old and smells like a pig. I told him I didn’t want
to and he said he would throw me out of the palace if I
didn’t do what he said. Why doesn’t my father love me?
Do your parents love you?” asked the Princess.
   This was strange question. I had never really thought
about whether or not my parents love me. They did
love me, they loved me lots, so I never really had to
think about it.
   “Yes my parents love me,” I said.
   “You are so lucky. I would trade everything for
parents that love me,” said the Princess.
   I was lucky? I had never considered myself lucky
before I moved into the palace. I had always been mad
at my parents for being poor, for not having beautiful
things around, or living a beautiful life. My parents did




                            26
love me though and as I thought about this I started to
miss them.
   A few days later the King forced the Princess to
marry the man he had chosen for her. She was
miserable and soon moved out of the palace. I then was
alone in the palace. I still had all the beautiful things to
play with, but I didn’t have any friends. I felt terrible for
Sasha and missed the loving hugs my mother used to
give me. I couldn’t hug my new toys.
   I told the King I needed a friend and he had one of
the servant children play with me. The girl was excited
to be my friend because it meant she didn’t have to do
any of the chores she wanted. We had lots of fun during
the day, but she always got sad when she had to go
home because it meant she had to leave the palace and
go back to being ordinary. I saw myself in this girl and it
scared me.
   Being a Princess was starting to feel less beautiful
ever day. I wanted to go home. I still had my ring and
box and I figure if I joined them together again I could




                             27
get home. I put the ring and box in my pocket and told
one of the servants I had to visit Sasha in the dungeon.
   Sasha was furious with me. She didn’t even want to
look at me. She said that I was a terrible friend for
leaving her in the dungeon for so long. I told her I
wanted to go home and she of course agreed with me.
We put the ring in the lock and that bright light
appeared again. Suddenly we were back at the bottom
of the pyramids at the exact same time we had left. We
were home again!




                           28
Chapter 8


As we walked back to our houses Sasha didn’t say one
word to me and I didn’t blame her. I was terrible to her
and didn’t deserve her friendship. I just wanted her to
know how sorry I was. Her house was closer than mine
to the pyramids so we got there first. She went in
without even looking back.
   I opened my kitchen door to find both my parents
crying. My mother was still at the kitchen table and my




                             29
father was holding her hand. I still didn’t know what to
say to them.
   Suddenly there was a knock on my door. It was
Sasha! Without thinking I threw my arms around her
and told her over and over how sorry I was. I started to
cry and then she started to cry.
   We hugged for a very long time. I didn’t want to let
go. She then asked my parents why they were crying and
they told her we were losing the house and we had no
where to live. This made all of us cry even more.
   This time I was not mad at my parents for crying; I
was not embarrassed. I was just so happy to with them.
The four of us cried and cried. Our faces were soaked
with tears.
   We looked terrible and we were poor, but I was
happy because we were together and they loved me and
it was beautiful.




                            30
“Jeremy’s Birthday Wish”

   by Emily Kostelnik
Chapter 1: A Birthday Wish


Jeremy Isaac is seven years old, but will be eight in one
week and three days. He likes a lot of things like
painting, drawing, cooking and playing video games. He
likes to play sports, go skating and play guitar. He also
likes cats, dogs, hamsters and his fish, Gregory. But one
thing he does not like at all is that he doesn’t have a
little sister.
    He lives with his mum and dad who love each other
a lot. It’s always been the three of them living together
in their big house in the middle of the city.


                             2
   When Mum got him his fish Gregory for his seventh
birthday, he was very happy! Jeremy thought he looked
like a black goldfish with big poofy eyes.
   He liked taking care of him because it made him feel
like a grown up. He feeds him twice a day and cleans his
bowl with Dad every Sunday night.
   He thought that if he had a little sister he would be
the best big brother ever. He would play with her, teach
her to read and protect her when she is scared. He
hadn’t told his mom and dad that he wanted a little
sister yet, but will tell them at dinner that night. He
knew they’d be just as excited as he is.


   “I have an announcement!” he said in his grown up
voice. “I want a little sister.”
   When he said this, Mum and Dad didn’t look excited
at all! They looked sad! Jeremy thought they would be
happy because he wanted to be grown up.
   “Honey, we can’t give you a little sister, I’m sorry.”
Mum said. “We tried to give you one a year after you




                               3
were born, but our family is just going to be you, your
father, Gregory and myself.”
   That made Jeremy sad. He knew that their family
was just the three of them; he just wished things would
change.


   Jeremy and his mum started to walk to school the
next morning.
   “You know, Jeremy,” she said, “as an eight year old
you’ll have many more duties!”
   “Like what?” Jeremy said excitedly.
   “Well, you will get to go to bed at 8:30pm instead of
8:00pm, you can sleep over at your friend Charlie’s
house and maybe even walk to school on your own!”
   Jeremy’s family lived down the street from his
school.
   “Do you think Charlie could sleep over here too,
sometimes?” he asked.
   “Sure honey, if Charlie’s dad is okay with that.”
   Jeremy was very excited about all the new things he
would be able to do as an eight year old.


                            4
   Tomorrow, there will be only one week and two
days left until Jeremy turns eight. He thought maybe
he’d get to have two fish instead of just one! If I did, he
would want to name him Oscar.
   He thought that just maybe, as a special gift for his
birthday, Mum and Dad would decide to let their family
have one more person. Maybe Jeremy would have a
little sister in one week and two days. With that thought,
he fell asleep.




                             5
Chapter 2: Siblings


The next morning, Jeremy woke up and knew it was
going to be a good day.
   He walked to school with Mum and they saw two
dogs along the way. Before school started, he played
with his best friends Charlie and Ellie. The three of
them always have a lot of fun together!
   In class that day, they learned about different kinds
of families. Ellie lives with her Mum and big sister in an




                            6
apartment building. Her dad doesn’t live with them, but
they’re still a family.
   Then they started talking about siblings— that’s a
special word for brothers and sisters, but Jeremy didn’t
know that before that class. His teacher asked how
many kids in my class had siblings and almost everyone
raised their hands!
   Jeremy decided to be brave and raised his hand.
   “I don’t have a little sister,” he said, “but I will in
one week and two days.”
   His teacher simply looked at him and said, “That’s
very nice, Jeremy,” and kept talking! He didn’t know
why she wasn’t more excited.
   The bell rang for lunch and Jeremy went to the
lunchroom with Charlie.
   “When we get to your house, can we play on our
skateboards outside?” asked Jeremy.
   “Yeah! I have new green wheels for mine! They glow
in the dark!”




                            7
   “Wow!” Jeremy had never heard of such a thing
before. “Maybe we can also play with your new game
box! Mine broke!”
   “Okay. But we have to be quiet. My younger sister
will be taking a nap!”
   Jeremy wished she wouldn’t be sleeping when they
went to Charlie’s house. He wanted to play with her!
   After lunch and afternoon classes, Charlie’s mum
picked the both of them up and they went to his house.
   When they got there, Charlie’s little sister was
sleeping in her crib.
   “Can I wake her up to play?” asked Jeremy
   “I’m sorry, but she is very little and needs lots of
sleep to grow big and strong like you boys!” his mom
said very quietly, making sure not to wake the baby.
   Of course Jeremy was disappointed, but he decided
to have fun with Charlie anyway.
   The boys played for nearly two hours until Jeremy’s
mum came to pick him up.
   “Bye, Charlie!” said Jeremy. Then they got in the car
and headed home.


                            8
   “Mum! Charlie has a little sister, and she was
sleeping, and I wanted to play with her but she needed
sleep.” Jeremy said excitedly. “But that’s okay. I can play
with my own little sister on my birthday!”
   “What, Jeremy?” Mum said, looking at Jeremy.
“Who said you were going to get a little sister for your
birthday?” She looked a little angry. That upset me.
   “No one…” I told her, “but I thought maybe you
and Dad would change your minds as a special present
for my birthday.” She still looked upset.
   “Jeremy, you’re not going to get a little sister for
your birthday, I’m sorry.” she said.
   After that Jeremy didn’t want to talk. He felt angry
because all he really wanted for his birthday was a little
sister, but it seemed that his mum and dad weren’t
going to get one for him. “Keep trying,” he thought to
himself. “Keep trying.”
   When they got home, Jeremy went straight to his
room and decided that he would find another way to
have a little sister.




                             9
   “Some way I will get one,” he said to Gregory. “I
just have to look a little harder, that’s all!”
   Tomorrow, Jeremy would start his new plan to get a
little sister. He would need a bucket, a broom and some
lipstick.




                              10
Chapter 3: Making a Sister


The next morning, Jeremy woke up extra early because
he was going to find a way to have a little sister.
Saturday was the perfect time to do this.
   First he got a broom and a pale and made a body out
of them. Then he took his mum’s lipstick and drew a
face on it. He brought it to his room and tried playing
cards with it but nothing happened. This made him sad.
   Jeremy had a big stuffed teddy bear that he got for
Christmas last year from his Auntie Joan. He put a wig


                            11
on it and pretended it was his sister, but she wasn’t
much fun to play with either.
   Lastly, he got a small baby doll to hold in his arms. It
was nice for a while because she was sleeping, but she
never woke up so he got bored and looked for
something else to be his new little sister.
   Jeremy looked out of his window in his bedroom
and saw some kids playing across the street at the park.
They were all one family! He counted seven kids that all
belonged to one Mother!
   They looked like they were having fun, and that
made Jeremy even sadder.


   Jeremy and his mum were at the grocery store and it
was his job to get the soup off the shelf. They got
mushroom soup, his favorite. Then they got some rice,
another favorite!
   When they got to the ice cream aisle, Jeremy’s mum
let him pick out two kinds of ice cream for his birthday
party! He chose chocolate and strawberry.




                             12
   When they went to pay, Jeremy suddenly saw Ellie
with her mum! He ran over to her, but his mum didn’t
like that he went somewhere without telling her.
   Ellie’s dad and Jeremy’s mum talked to each other
while they talked.
   “My mum just let me pick out ice cream for my
party in one week and one day!” he said to Ellie.
   “Whoa! What kinds? I like strawberry” she said.
   “Strawberry and chocolate!” he told her. “So, Ellie?
You know how Charlie has a little sister, and I want a
little sister too?”
   “Yes,” she said.
   “Well, I was thinking, we’re friends, and you’re three
months and two days younger than me…” he didn’t
know how to ask her politely so he just came out and
said, “Will you be my little sister?”
   Ellie smiled because she was happy, but knew she
couldn’t be his little sister.
   “But Jeremy,” she said, “I already am a little sister! I
have a big sister! Sorry, but didn’t you say you’d get one
for your birthday?” she asked.


                                 13
   “Yeah… yeah!” he said. Since it was his last hope,
Jeremy decided to look forward to his birthday more
than anything. “I will get one for my birthday!” he said.
   He ran off to his mom after saying goodbye to Ellie
and her dad.
   The whole drive home he was quiet, but secretly was
really excited! He was looking forward to his birthday
more than ever now! Only one week and one day left!
   But Jeremy’s faith in his birthday still left his mum a
little nervous. She didn’t want to disappoint Jeremy, but
maybe there would be no other choice.




                            14
Chapter 4: Party Prep


One week had passed since Jeremy went to the grocery
store with his mum. His birthday was only in one day
and he couldn’t wait!
   “Gregory! Gregory! Only one more day until I turn
eight!” he said as he jumped out of bed that Sunday
morning.
   Perhaps it was just his imagination, but he thought
Gregory looked more excited than usual.




                          15
   “Today, Mum and I are making my birthday cake! It
will be chocolate cake with vanilla icing and be shaped
like a skateboard!”
   Gregory just swam around and tried to eat a pebble
from the bottom of his tank, but Jeremy knew he was
listening.
   “There’s no time to lose!” Jeremy shouted as he ran
downstairs to the kitchen.
   His mum was already there, getting everything ready.
She had cake mix, pots, a pan and a blender to mix the
cake batter.
   “Finally you’re up, sleepy head!” she said, handing
him the cake mix.
   Jeremy loved baking. He loved that when you mix so
many different things together and put them in the
oven, they turn into something delicious! But more than
that, he loved eating what he baked!
   Jeremy and his mum mixed the batter and put it in
the oven for fifteen minutes. When it was finished, they
let it cool down so they didn’t get burned and took it
out of its specially shaped pan.


                             16
   “Wow!” said Jeremy as he looked at the cake. “It
looks just like a skateboard!”
   “Why don’t we decorate it with the vanilla icing now,
Jeremy?”
   He liked that idea.


   That afternoon after Jeremy and his mum iced the
cake, they went to the park to spend time with his
friends.
   Jeremy made invitations to give to the people he was
inviting to his birthday party.
   When he got to the park, he saw Charlie and Ellie at
the swings.
   “Hi Charlie, hi, Ellie!” he said as he ran over to
them. “Here are your invitations to my birthday party!”
   “Wow!” They both said, and took them.
   “I still have four more to pass out. It’s going to be so
much fun! We’ll play games, eat cake and open
presents!”
   “What do you think you’ll get for your birthday?”
Charlie asked.


                             17
   “I don’t know… but I do know one thing! I will be
getting a new little sister! It’s going to be the best
birthday ever!”


   That night after Jeremy’s mum tucked him into bed,
he couldn’t fall asleep.
   “Oh, Gregory,” he said as he looked over to the fish
tank, which was lit by the tank’s light. “I am so excited!
I wonder if I’ll ever fall asleep.”
   Gregory swam around happily in his fresh water.
Jeremy and his dad had just cleaned the tank that
evening.
   “I’m excited for the party, my friends, the games,
pizza and cake… but I’m most excited for the
presents.”
   Gregory swam into the little plastic castle in his tank,
ready to go to sleep.
   “That’s a good idea,” he said. “If I want it to be the
best birthday ever, I can’t be tired at the party!
Goodnight, Gregory.”




                              18
   And with that, Jeremy went to sleep and dreamt of
the day to come.




                         19
Chapter 5: Jeremy’s Party


Jeremy opened his eyes as he woke up to the smell of
pancakes—his favorite breakfast. He ran downstairs
into the kitchen where his mum and dad were waiting
for him.
   “Happy eighth Birthday, Jeremy!” they said to him.
   Jeremy ate three big pancakes with maple syrup and
got ready for school.
   When he got there, all of his friends and teachers
wished him a happy birthday—they even sung in class!


                          20
   “All right Jeremy,” said his teacher in front of the
class. “Here’s your birthday cupcake!”
   She brought out a chocolate cupcake with chocolate
frosting and a candle on top. He got to eat it in class! So
far this was a very good day, but Jeremy knew it would
get better.


   After school, Jeremy and six of his friends all drove
to his house. When they got there, they saw that
Jeremy’s dad had decorated the house when he was at
school! There were green and blue balloons, streamers
and a sign that read ‘Happy Birthday!’ This made Jeremy
very happy.
   “Time for games!” said his mum.
   “Let’s play drop the clothes pin, first!” said Jeremy.
   He stood on a chair with a clothespin and looked
straight down, trying to drop the pin exactly in the jar
below. Everyone played, but Ellie got the most
clothespins in.
   After they played more games like musical chairs and
pin the tail on the donkey, everyone was very hungry.


                            21
   Jeremy’s mum brought out two different kinds of
pizza and everyone dug in.
   “I am going to eat until I explode!” Charlie said.
   “Don’t do that!” said Jeremy’s dad. “Then you can’t
have any cake!”
   Charlie wanted cake, so he decided not to eat until he
exploded.
   Everyone ate a piece of the skateboard shaped cake
and it was delicious! But Jeremy knew it would be— he
and his mum always make the best cakes.
   “Present time!” said Jeremy’s mum.
   Everyone gathered around Jeremy who sat in the big
chair in the living room.
   Jeremy opened the first present, which was from
Ellie. “Wow, a robot action figure! Thanks, Ellie!”
   After Jeremy had opened all his presents from his
friends, they were picked up by their parents and went
home.
   Now it was time for Jeremy to open the presents
from his parents! He sat down at the table of wrapped
gifts and took one to open.


                              22
   “A new guitar song book!” Jeremy wanted to get
better at guitar, so he liked this gift a lot.
   He continued to open the gifts he got every year:
socks, a book, and a sweater… but no little sister.
   Jeremy was disappointed, but didn’t want to make
his mum and dad feel bad. After all, they just put on a
great party for him! It was getting late, and he wanted to
go to bed.
   There was nothing else to look forward to now, and
this made Jeremy very sad.
   He laid in bed thinking of this, and slowly fell asleep
with a sad feeling.




                               23
Chapter 6: A Final Family


For the next few days, Jeremy was still feeling
disappointed. He didn’t like upsetting people so he tried
not to seem sad.
   At school he wrote in his journal about his birthday
party, but did not write about not getting a little sister.
   “Jeremy,” his teacher said. “What did you get for
your birthday?”




                             24
   “Well… I got socks… and a book… and a sweater
from Auntie Joan…” he stopped talking and looked
down at his hands.
   “Jeremy? Is everything okay?” she said.
   “No. No they are certainly not okay. I was going to
have a new little sister as a birthday present, but I
didn’t!”
   “Oh, Jeremy. I’m sorry. But maybe you can
concentrate on the things you did get, and the nice
birthday party you had instead of the fact that you
didn’t get a little sister.”
   “I guess so.” Jeremy said.
   That’s what he was going to do. Today he got to
walk home alone because he’s eight. His mum still
walked him in the morning to make sure he was ready.


   After school he got his bag and left. Walking home
alone was very different than he thought it would be.
He had no one to talk to, and found that he was lonely.
   After a sad day, Jeremy wasn’t happy that the walk
home wasn’t all he thought it would be.


                               25
   “Hello my big eight year old boy!” his mum said as
he walked in the door.
   “Hi Mum.” He said.
   “How was your first day walking home alone?”
   “It was great!” Jeremy lied.
   “Well I’m glad,” she said, “because your father and I
have something that will make you even happier.”
   Jeremy was very interested. She handed him a letter
that was for him and his family.
   He opened it and there was a picture of a little girl
with her family.
   Jeremy looked at his mum.
   “Who is this?” he asked.
   “Well Jeremy, this is Aluna. She is a girl who lives in
Kenya, that’s a place all the way in Africa. She three
years old and doesn’t have any siblings, but we are
sending money to her and her family so they can have a
good life. So in a way, she is your little sister.”
   She had short black hair, chubby cheeks and a little
nose that turned up at the end.




                              26
   “Well, Jeremy?” his mum asked. “What do you
think?”
   “I love her already!” Jeremy said, still looking at the
picture.
   Jeremy was so happy he felt like his heart was going
to explode!
   “I’m glad that you enjoy walking to school alone!”
   “Oh, yeah, its fun…” he said. “Well actually, I’m
lonely without you, Mum.”
   His mum smiled and hugged him.
   “Why don’t we walk to school together again? Just
because you’re a year older doesn’t mean you have to
grow up all at once,” she said.
   “Okay, Mum. Thanks.” He hugged her again.
   Jeremy was very happy about everything that had
happened. And he wouldn’t be lonely on the way to
school anymore! He couldn’t wait until tomorrow.


   Jeremy and his mum headed out to school the next
morning. And as they walked, Jeremy thought about his
little sister and her family in Kenya.


                             27
   He held his mum’s hand the whole way there, and
knew that his eighth birthday would be one that he
would remember his whole life.




                         28
“Annika and the El Dorodo Carousel”

        by Micah Bucholtz
Chapter 1: Jasper


Annika Grange was nine years old. She liked gardening
with her mother because it got her nice and dirty and
she loved to stomp in rain puddles and most of all
Annika loved going to the carnival. Annika lived in a
small house on a street that was so rowdy with children
in the summertime; it was hard for her to hear herself
think.
   On one particular day in June, Annika was just
trembling with excitement, for she had a secret. She was
going to Coney Island, the most amazing carnival in the


                           2
world and it was going to be great because she was
taking her very best friend, Ronald, and they were going
to ride the new roller coaster there.
   It was a hot and sticky Sunday afternoon and Annika
couldn’t wait for the smell of Feltman’s red-hot hot
dogs to reach her nose as they passed Surf Avenue.
   She could imagine the cool nickel pressed in her
palm as she gave it to the man in the pinstripe hat for a
stick of cotton candy. That buzzy, sugary feeling that
she would get after eating that good stuff was almost
too amazing to think about.
   She lay on the living room floor, watching the
grandfather clock go tick, tick, tick. Was it just her or
was the minute hand ticking backwards? It would never be
two o’clock, Annika thought.
   Annika’s mother swooped into the room, carrying
her sticky-faced little brother, Billy. Annika’s mother
was called Lillian and Annika thought that was the
loveliest name in the entire world because after all,
Lillian was taking her and Ronald to Coney Island.




                               3
   Annika didn’t think Billy was very lovely. He was
messy and smelly and loud and besides, Billy was too
young and silly to count. Her mother sat Billy down in
his playpen and wiped her hands on her apron.
   “Bad news Annie. Ronald’s mother telephoned me
this morning and told me that Ronald is sick today, so it
will just be you and Jasper. But don’t worry, I’m sure
you two will have a swell time!”
   “Jasper… great…,” Annika moaned. She had
forgotten about Jasper, her wimpy cousin from
Wisconsin, who was staying at their house for the
summer holidays.
   “But Mother, he’ll never go on the roller coaster
with me. Jasper gets afraid when his shoelace comes
untied! I hate Scaredy-Cats!”
   “We all have to make sacrifices, Annika. Be glad, you
are going to Coney Island at all. It will be a lot of fun, I
promise. I have to go and make us some sandwiches to
bring for lunch.”
   How am I supposed to have fun now? Annika thought. My
day is ruined! She rolled over onto her back and covered


                             4
her face with her hands in despair. Just then, Jasper
came down the stairs, all prim and proper. He was
wearing pants and a collared shirt with a sweater vest.
He looked through his glasses at her, expectantly.
   “Why are you lying on the floor in your pyjamas?”
he wheezed. Jasper was an az-ma-tic.
   “I haven’t thought about getting dressed yet” Annika
replied, simply.
   “Mother says I must be dressed properly by nine
o’clock every morning.”
   “That’s baloney. It’s summer and you must be
sweltering.”
   “Mother says there is nothing better than a fresh-
pressed shirt on a summer day.”
   “Jee-whiz. You’re looney.”
   “All right, kids,” Lillian called from the kitchen, “It’s
time to go!”
   Jee-whiz, Annika thought. In all that time she had
forgotten to look at the clock. Time sure did fly by
when you were stuck in a room with Jasper.




                             5
Chapter 2: The Carousel


Annika, Jasper, Lillian and Billy all boarded the
whistling, screeching subway train and got off at the
most beautiful, wonderful place in the world. Coney
Island was just like she remembered it.
   There was a Ferris wheel and a fun house and so
many delicious smells and sounds. There was the beach
that was so crowded with people, they all looked like
little ants, swarming over the sand.




                            6
   Rosy-cheeked children squealed at a man walking on
stilts and there was the distant roar of lions from the
traveling circus. Annika’s heart was just pounding with
joy. She was finally here!
   Annika’s mother pressed a nickel into each of their
hands, just like Annika had imagined, and told them to
pick a ride while she found a spot on the beach. Annika
grabbed Jasper’s hot hand and plunged into the thick
crowd in search of the roller coaster. A man in a bow tie
and jacket with a sweaty forehead was hollering at the
top of his voice about the excitement of the Loop-O-
Plane Thrill Ride.
   “Only five cent’s, folks! Be prepared to defy gravity
and fly like a bird in this fantastic escape machine. Only
five cents, folks! Five cents!”
   This is even better than a roller coaster! Annika thought
excitedly, and she began to pull Jasper in that direction.
As soon as Jasper realized where he was going, he dug
in his heels.
   “I am not going on that dumb thing,” he flatly
refused. “No way, no way!”


                              7
   “Come on! It’ll be fun!”
   “Mother says on account of my—”
   “Oh never mind,” Annika grumbled.
   This would be so much more fun with Ronald, she thought.
He would do anything.
   Jasper was afraid of the roller coaster, the bumper
cars and the Ferris wheel. He was afraid of the clowns
that made balloon dogs and he was even afraid of the
acrobats who stood on their hands. Frustrated, the two
of them trudged back to Annika’s mother, who was
sitting on the sand with Billy. After lunch, Annika’s
mother suggested a swim, but Jasper didn’t know how.
   Annika may have thought that Jasper was a real bore
but Jasper did want to have some fun. He looked around
for a ride that was suitable. Then he saw it: The El
Dorado Carousel. It was perfect, the horses weren’t real
and it was not too fast.
   “How about that?” he suggested.
   “That? That’s namby-pamby. It’s a baby ride!”
Annika squawked, “Not that. And besides, Mean Ol’
Barney Gill operates that ride.”


                              8
   “So!” Jasper said and pulled her towards the ride and
gave Mean Ol’ Barney his nickel. “Why is he called
mean?” he whispered.
   “Because he’s a grump that’s why,” Annika
whispered back.
   In fact, Barney Gill was perhaps the grumpiest,
gloomiest man in all of Coney Island. He slouched and
muttered and sputtered and complained. All day he
slouched in his booth, muttering and sputtering, while
the organ music played on and on.
   “Who’s calling me a grump?” he growled at Annika.
   “Not me, sir, never me!” Annika mumbled and
slowly climbed up onto the leaping horse, wishing she
were on the Loop-O-Plane.
   “Oh aren’t these nice horses, Annie?” Jasper
commented, stroking a carved golden mane. Annika
rolled her eyes. Jasper was such a bother.
   Jasper climbed up onto a prancing horse and the ride
began. At first it spun slowly, round and round, up and
down. Annika leaned her head up against the pole,
bored out of her mind.


                            9
   “This was a bad idea, Jasper. This is namby-pamby.
What a waste of a nickel. I could have gotten half a hot
dog with that! Or a ticket to the House of Weird
Wonders or…or….” Then she felt a shudder and a
quiver and saw that the mane of her horse was flowing
in the wind.
   “What’s happening?” she yelled to Jasper over the
organ music. But Jasper was too busy trying to control
his horse, which was bucking wildly. Annika looked
around for help but none of the other children on the
ride seemed to notice. All she could hear were the
squeals and giggles of delighted five-year-olds but she
could feel nothing but terror.
   The carousel rose and fell to the swell of the organ
music and began to spin faster and faster. Annika felt
very afraid, and clung tightly to her horse’s mane. The
horse tossed his head and snorted loudly and with one
mighty kick broke free of the carousel and galloped high
into the sky.




                            10
Chapter 3: Far From Coney Island


Annika and Jasper charged onwards, up through the
clouds until the beach was dotted with little umbrellas
that looked like peppermint candies, and the Ferris
wheel looked like the pin-wheel in Annika’s garden.
   “Where are they taking us?” Annika cried to Jasper.
Her horse whirled its head around.
   “Our land is in great trouble. We are taking you to
our master. It is up to you to save our kingdom.”




                           11
   Annika turned to Jasper in fright. “Mother’s not
going to like this.”
   Time passed and as the children rode on their
horses’ backs, they watched as the sky turned from blue
to pink to indigo, and the stars dotted the sky.
   Suddenly, the clouds below them cleared and a small
village could be seen way below. Annika felt her
stomach rise to her chest as the horses began to go
down. They landed with a thump into a blanket of
snow.
   Jasper turned to Annika and his lips turning blue.
Annika looked down at her play dress and began to
wish she had worn Jasper’s sweater vest. This was not
the right time to be wearing summer clothes. She
shivered from cold and fear as the horses led them to an
old cottage, nestled into the hills.
   An old woman dressed in ragged furs approached
them. Her face was like old leather, and her hair was
bundled up into a colourful turban.
   “We aren’t in Coney Island anymore, Jasper,”
Annika whispered.


                             12
   The woman smiled and led them to her fireplace
where they could get warm. She gave them fur coats
and colourful wool clothes and sat them down.
   “Thank you for bringing back my horses,” the old
woman croaked, “I was getting terribly lonely.”
   Annika turned to Jasper in disbelief. She spoke
slowly and confidently.
   “I’m sorry but Jasper and I here really need to go
home. Thank you for the clothes and everything, but we
just need to go now.”
   The old woman’s wise blue eyes softened and a small
smile grew at her lips. She shrugged helplessly.
   “I’m afraid I don’t know how to get you home. The
only people who know how to do that are the Royal
Family.”
   “Well that’s all right. We’ll just find them, won’t we
Jasper?”
   “Sure.” He didn’t sound very convinced. In fact he
didn’t look very sure of anything at that moment.
   “Right. Could you tell us were the Royal Family is
then?” Annika said decidedly.


                            13
   “Oh they won’t be much help to you now.”
   “Well why not? You said yourself that they were the
only people who know how to get us home. Why can’t
they help us? It’s not that they’re trapped under the
sea,” Annika laughed at her own joke, but the old
woman just smiled.
   “Actually, they are trapped… in the very highest
tower of their castle. It is a very sad situation.”
   Annika and Jasper found this very intriguing.
Neither of them had been trapped inside a tall tower. It
was just like a fairy tale! How romantic, Annika thought
dreamily.
   “Well, why are they trapped? Did they lose the key?”
   “Would you like me to tell you about it? All right.
There was once a great King who ruled this land and he
had a wife and two children, Ronald and Celia.”
   “Ronald! Like my best friend!” Annika cried. The
woman smiled and continued her story.
   “The land was filled with wonderful music and
everything was at peace. But the King’s evil brother,
Count Barnabas, hated music—”


                              14
   “Hated music!” Annika cried. “How can someone
hate music? I just love listening to the radio at home
and…,” Annika lowered her voice, in her special it’s-
time-to-tell-a-secret voice, “I know that Jasper likes it
too, because sometimes when he thinks that no ones
watching, I’ve seen him practice the jitterbug. Boy oh
boy, does he look silly!”
   Jasper glared at Annika so hard that Annika wasn’t
sure if her joke had made him feel bad or not.
   “It was just a joke, Jas. It is nothing to be ashamed
of. I like the jitterbug too. But you are a much better
dancer than I am.”
   Jasper continued to glare at her and Annika shifted
uncomfortably. She decided to play it nice from then
on. The old woman smiled at them, paused until she
was absolutely sure that they were finished and she
continued.
   “Well now, where was I? Oh yes. Count Barnabas
hated music so much, that he locked the King and his
family in a tower. He then took all the music from the




                            15
land and put it into a magic music box and hid it some
where in that forest.”
   The old woman pointed to a dark and scary forest
that bordered her cottage.
   “And no one in the land has been able to find it. We
still have our instruments but they don’t have any
sound. We’ve spent years with no music and we
desperately want it back.”
   She paused again to stir her supper, which hung in a
pot over the fire.
   “I’m afraid you’ll have to find the music box and
free the Royal Family. Only then will you be able to go
home.”
   “A land with no music? How awful,” Annika said
and Jasper nodded his head in approval. “All right. We’ll
help you.”
   The woman handed them a sack of food and a
lantern and sent them on their way. The forest was
indeed very scary with trees with twisted branches that
looked like arms and bumpy roots that looked like
snakes. Annika and Jasper were very afraid.


                             16
Chapter 4: A Missing Shoe


   “This is a very bad idea, Annika. A bad, bad idea!”
Jasper shook snow off his shoe miserably. They walked
together into the mouth of the scary forest. It was dark
and owls and other animals hooted and howled.
   “Do you suppose we’ll find a wolf? Wolves are
supposed to eat people and steal their money and
they’re never, ever nice. I’ll be really scared if we happen
to meet one.”




                             17
   “Wolves are actually very scared of people,” Jasper
said in his annoying, matter-of-fact voice. “I read it in a
book once.”
   “Well…I’ll still be scared,” Annika confirmed in her
it’s-time-to-tell-a-secret voice. “And Jasper? I’m sorry I
told that old lady about you doing the Jitterbug. I know
it’s mean to snoop. It just slips out sometimes.”
   Not to long after they entered the forest, they came
across a white rabbit with a bandaged paw. It had a
purple collar around its neck and on the collar was the
shape of a harp.
   “Please help me. Can you dig up my garden for my
dancing shoe? I can’t dig with my paw and I lost it in
there while I was looking for carrots and cabbage. I
can’t dance without my dancing shoe. Please, will you
help?”
   He looked so helpless and sad, sitting there in the
snow. He was a very sorry-looking rabbit.
   Taking pity, Annika and Jasper followed it into its
hollow where there was a patch of warm dark earth and
they began to dig. They found a tiny satin shoe and the


                            18
rabbit slipped it on to his foot. He began to dance
around his hollow with delight.
   “How do you dance without any music?” asked
Jasper, as he watched the large white rabbit twirl and
bunny hop and pirouette around the hollow.
   “I try and hear music in my head. If I really try hard,
I can remember enough music for a good dance around
the room. But it’s just not the same. I really, really want
my harp back! The spiders used come in and play for
me.” The white rabbit gestured sadly at the harp in the
corner. Silvery cobwebs hung from the tightly pulled
strings. Annika shyly plucked one of the strings.
   “Nothing,” she said.
   The rabbit’s shoulders slumped in sadness.
   “Oh how I wish for music to fill this room. Just
imagine! The cupboards would sing and the dishes
would dance and everything would be happy again.”
   This made both Annika and Jasper surer than ever to
help this poor rabbit and all the other creatures restore
music to the land again.
   “What can we do?” Jasper asked.


                            19
   “Well you’ll have to get the Music Box. The humans
don’t know where it is. But we do—we just can’t get to
it. You see Count Barnabas put a spell over my friend
the Singing Frog so he has to guard the Music Box. The
spell also made him very greedy.” The rabbit stopped
and gave them a scroll of gold paper.
   “You helped me and so now I will help you.
Complete these tasks and find the Singing Frog. If you
give these items to the Singing Frog, he might just give
you the Music Box in return.”
   The poor rabbit looked down at the floor and said
humbly, “Thank you for bringing music back to this
land. I can’t wait until that sound reaches my ears.
Good luck.”




                           20
Chapter 5: Whispers of War


   Thwap!
   Jasper landed heavily on his back in the snow, his
great fur coat ballooning around him.
   “That branch! That stupid branch! It hit me across
the face,” he said. He lay his head back in the snow, his
eyes spinning. Annika fought back the urge to giggle.
   “You look like a clumsy grizzly bear,” she said very
seriously, “Now get up or you’ll be soaked through!”




                           21
   “Oh don’t be so motherly,” Jasper sneered as he
dusted snow off his arms. He looked around the dark
forest and yanked the lantern from Annika, holding it
up to get a better look.
   “Admit it, Annika,” he said, “We’re lost.”
   “We aren’t! We just need to keep moving, that’s all.”
Annika started to walk again. Jasper scowled.
   “Didn’t your mother ever tell you to always stay put
when you’re lost?”
   “And freeze? No thank you, Jasper,” Annika sighed,
“Ronald had scout-training. I bet he could get us out of
this mess and back home in no time.”
   “Well I’m sorry I don’t have scout-training. I’m good
at chess, not hiking,” he wheezed. “Although, I know
that if we don’t find some sort of shelter soon, we will
be in big trouble.”
   The two grumbled and moped at each other,
trudging along until they came across a hollowed out
tree. It was just big enough for the two of them.
   “Perfect,” said Annika.




                             22
    “I’m not sleeping in a tree, no way. That’s not
possible!”
    Jasper was such a baby!
    “Come on Jas, it’s just like playing hide-and-go-
seek.”
    “Well, I would like to seek better accommodations.”
    Annika’s eyes narrowed. I hate it when Jasper uses big
words. He thinks he’s so much better because he’s eleven. We’ll
just see about that!
    “Besides, there are spiders and termites and slugs in
tree trunks.”
    “Fine! Sleep in the snow. See if I care.”
    Annika climbed up into the tree trunk and made a
cocoon out of her fur coat. As much as Annika thought
she was right, being in a tree trunk by herself was
terribly lonely…and she did think she felt a creepy-
crawly amble across her leg.
    “Jas!” she hissed, “You cold?”
    “No…,” Jasper shivered. His teeth were clearly
chattering.
    “Me neither. I ain’t cold.”


                              23
   “No siree,” Jasper added.
   “Nope….”
   It was definitely a lot warmer with the two of them
cosily tucked into the tree trunk, and it was a lot less
scary. Jasper managed to get over his fear of bugs long
enough to fall into a deep, snoring sleep.
   Annika stayed wide-awake exhausted, listening to
every owl hoot, every leaf rustle and every twig snap.
The trees that surrounded them were black and dense.
There was an open space in the trees, where the stars
shone through, blinking coldly. Annika couldn’t help
but feel like they were two small mice lost in a very large
foxhole.
   The next morning dawned pale and cold. Yellow
light streaked the white winter sky and the smoke from
the children’s breakfast fire curled into the trees. Jasper
stood over the fire poking away at the coals. Annika sat
on a fallen log, grimly stuffing bland food into her
mouth.




                            24
   “Jas…,” she said, “the night before we left for
Coney Island, I snuck downstairs while Mother was
listening to the radio—”
   “You shouldn’t have done that,” Jasper looked at
her uneasily. Annika could tell that Jasper knew
something she didn’t and for that moment she wished
with all her might that she could have been eleven too.
   “I heard that the government was sending over more
air force to Europe help fight in the War.”
   “I’m sure that won’t be for a while yet,” Jasper
assured her.
   “But my father’s a pilot…. What if they send him
away before we get back?”
   Annika began to cry. Jasper was shocked. His feisty
little cousin, who was always so brave, was crying. He
wrapped his arm around her small shoulders.
   “I just want to go home Jasper. I miss Father and
Mother and even Billy.”
   Jasper paused. “Well, the faster we get these tasks
done, the faster we can go home. Now what’s first on
the list?”


                            25
   Annika unrolled the golden scroll and looked at the
untidy writing.
   “It’s a poem,” she began.


                    An emerald to brighten my hat
                   Some silver to dance at my sleeve.
                  If you find these things on the map,
                  I will give you more than you need.


   “That doesn’t make any sense at all!”
   The children were puzzled, and decided to take a
look around, hoping that some sort of clue would pop
out at them.
   They walked deeper and deeper into the forest.
Jasper lifted the food sack higher onto his back to ease
the weight. Annika was determined to find this emerald,
but Jasper lagged behind, being the impossible eleven-
year-old that he was.
   “Well, come on Jasper. You dawdling won’t help in
finding the emerald.”




                                26
   “We won’t find it anyway,” scoffed Jasper,
“Emeralds aren’t just lying around in the snow. They’re
found in caves. Big, dark caves.”
   “How are we supposed to find one then?”
   Jasper was about to say I don’t know but just then,
Annika looked really sad, so he thought better of it.
   “Let’s skip that for now. What’s next?”
   “Silver, I think. Isn’t that also really hard to find?”
Annika hurried to retrieve the scroll.
   “Yes. Both of those things wouldn’t be in this
forest.”
   “Oh this is impossible!” Annika slumped down in
the snow. “How on earth are we going to get home?”
   Jasper helped her up and they continued walking.
Soon they came to a river, which sparkled in the
morning sun. Ice laced the riverbank on both sides.
   On the other side of the river, was a single tree. It
looked twisted and old and it spread its large branches
into the light. Because it was winter, all of the other
trees had no leaves, but this was a magic tree. It must




                            27
have been for on each branch there was a single silver
leaf.
    “What an odd tree,” Jasper said softly.
    “That’s it! What if the poem didn’t mean actual
silver? What if it was just referring to something that
looked like silver? Look at those leaves!” Annika
squealed with delight.
    She rushed across a fallen log to the other side of
the river and began to climb the great silver tree.
    Annika held her breath as she carefully plucked the
first silver leaf from its branch. As soon as a goofy smile
had spread across her face, the leaf crumbled to dust.
Annika turned crest-fallen to Jasper for an answer.
    “Keep climbing!” Jasper called through cupped
hands, “Perhaps that leaf was just old.”
    With a gentle tug, a new leaf came free and Annika
allowed herself a brief moment of happiness before the
leaf crumbled. Each leaf was reduced to dust the
moment it came off the branch.
    Annika became discouraged, but Jasper told her to
keep going. Usually, his nagging would have annoyed


                            28
her but if this was the only way to get home, she tried
not to let it bother her. She kept going up and up and
up.
      Finally she reached the topmost leaf on the highest
branch. The wind shook the tree so hard that Annika
felt like she was going to fall. She took a deep breath
and closed her eyes.




                             29
Chapter 6: The Peacock Chase


   It’s just like climbing trees at home, just like at home with
Ronald.
   Her hand closed around the leaf and instead of
feeling like paper it felt cold and solid. When she
plucked it from its branch, it made a soft clink and it was
free.
   She had done it. The solid silver leaf rested in her
woollen mitten.




                              30
   “Jasper! Jasper I did it!” she cried, and clambered
down the tree. Once she had reached the base of the
tree, Annika began to run. She ran into an open field,
with the wind blowing in her hair and the comforting
heaviness of the silver leaf clutched in her hand. She
was so happy.
   This much closer to home, she thought.
   It startled Annika when she heard Jasper shout,
“Wait up! Wait up!”
   She looked around and realized that they were no
longer in the forest. In fact they were in a large pasture,
crowded with large birds that milled around eating and
squawking. They were very odd birds with blue heads
and shocking long green tails.
   “Jasper! What type of birds are those?”
   “Dunno. I never seen those before.”
   “Ain’t their feathers pretty Jas? They’re so green.”
   As soon as those words left Annika’s mouth, the
children looked at each other and smiled.
   Emerald green.




                             31
   With a silent nod, the two circled around a bird that
was scratching the frozen ground for insects. Then they
both leapt at the bird, their arms enclosed on air and
they fell to the ground. The startled bird pranced away,
flapping its blue wings. It began to run, with Annika and
Jasper close behind.
   It ran into a shadowy area of the field and ducked
behind a clump of dark trees. Annika took one flying
leap and landed in a crumple on the ground. The bird
stalked angrily away.
   Jasper couldn’t help but laugh as Annika spat out
mud and leaves. She then unclenched her arm and held
in her muddy fist two bright green feathers. They were
huge with great yellow and black whirls in the center.
   “I’ve never seen a feather like that,” Annika
breathed, “It’s so beautiful. Do you think they’re magic
too?”
   “Maybe.”
   The air suddenly became very warm and sticky. The
children looked up and saw what was in front of them.
Riddled with mud and snaking with vines, sat a solid


                           32
gold throne, surrounded by a great pool of churning
black water.
    Lounging on the throne was a huge bullfrog, draped
in jewels. He held up a gilded mirror and inspected
himself. His eyes wandered past the mirror and onto
Annika and Jasper. He smiled a croaky, vain smile.
   “Come in children. Now what have you brought
me?”
   Annika and Jasper gulped. Never had they seen a
frog that big!
   “Hello…er…um…Sir.”
   “Quit with the introductions! What have you
brought me? Come here. Be quick!”
   “Oh!” said Annika, shyly. “All… right.”
   She stepped gingerly out onto a lily pad, half
expecting to collapse under her, but to her surprise, it
was quite strong. Jasper followed her quietly.
   She showed the Singing Frog the golden scroll.
   “I see the Dancing Rabbit has found one of my
Wish Lists. I must have dropped it when he last paid a
visit. I was putting on a concert for him, you see, to


                            33
showcase my vocal talent but I’m afraid his poor ears
couldn’t handle the loveliness of my voice and he
bounded away… Say! Would you like to hear me sing?”
   “How can you sing, if you don’t have any music?”
Jasper asked.
   “Oh but I do.”
   The Singing Frog heaved himself off him golden
throne and led them down three steep steps into an
underground room.
   On one side was a full-length mirror and in the
center stood a large black rock with white scrapes across
it. On the other side of the room under a pile of robes
and treasure chests sat the Music Box.




                           34
Chapter 7: The Froggy Treasure Seeker


It shone like a thousand suns. It sparkled and glittered
and Annika couldn’t take her eyes off of it.
   “Golly. Is that it? Is that what we’re looking for,
Jasper?”
   “It must be.”
   The Frog lumbered over to the black rock and
flicked out his long nails.
   “I didn’t know frogs had nails,” Annika whispered.
Jasper shrugged.


                              35
   The Frog opened his mouth and began to bellow a
low, froggy sound, while dragging his nails across the
black rock. It was the most terrible music in the entire
world. Annika clapped her hands over her ears and
grimaced. Jasper gritted his teeth.
   Finally the Frog finished his song and the room was
filled with echoing screeches.
   “Why don’t you use the Music Box?” Jasper gasped.
   The Frog laughed. “Now why would I do a thing
like that? It sounds awful. I like my music much better.
Besides, I just like that crummy old box because it has a
nice sparkle. That’s all.”
   “Well…,” Annika began slowly, “if you don’t like it
all that much, would you be willing to trade it? For
something else, of course.”
   The Frog’s eyes narrowed. “Like what?”
   Annika pulled the silver leaf and the emerald
feathers out of her coat and showed him.
   The Frog’s yellow eyes bulged. He licked his lips and
giggled.




                              36
   “Oh you have found them. You have found them!
You completed the Wish List. Oh yes, yes! I want
these,” he scrambled forward.
   “Let me just…find the key for you. I think I left it
on my chair. Oh…yes…that must be where I left it.”
    His eyes sparkled greedily, and he gathered his
treasured items and the Music Box into his arms and
climbed the three steps back to his throne.
   Annika and Jasper followed him out and saw as he
settled himself down into his throne again. A spider
spun down on its silken thread and he handed it the
silver leaf.
   “Sew this to my jacket sleeve, along with the other
leaves,” he instructed and the spider disappeared. He
found a maroon fedora and stuck the two feathers in
the brim and tried it on for size. All the while, the Music
Box sat untouched on the throne’s armrest.
   “How does it look?” the Frog chuckled with delight.
   “It looks good on you.”
   “Could we have the Music Box please?”
   “It’s very important,” Jasper added.


                             37
   The Frog looked at them with twinkling eyes and
ever so slightly… he nudged the Music Box off the
armrest… and kerplunk!
   The Music Box landed in the black lake, and
disappeared from sight.
   “Whoops…,” the Frog whispered, “My finger
slipped.”
   “Oh no!” Annika cried.
   “Why’d you do that?” Jasper said.
   “We have to go get it Jasper!”
   Jasper studied the lake, suspiciously. He began to
wheeze. “But I can’t swim, Annie!”
   “Do you want to be stuck with him?” Annika
gestured to the huge frog, “Come on, it’s our only way
to get home.”
   Annika looked into Jasper’s frightened eyes and
squeezed his hand. “You can do it, I know you can.”
   They took a deep breath and plunged into the icy
black water. Down below it was oddly quiet. Jasper
floundered for a bit, doing a doggy-paddle, before




                            38
Annika took his hand again and pulled them both down
to the lake’s swampy floor.




                              39
Chapter 8: The Potion Maker


Nestled in the weeds, sat a cauldron, bubbling and
frothing with a molten red liquid. Jasper gathered the
sunken Music Box into his arms, and the children
looked around, and saw nothing but the eerie green
water in front of them.
   Annika peered over the cauldron of bubbling liquid.
I wonder what it’s for?
   Suddenly she could see the massive head of a fish
rise up from behind the cauldron. It had a huge gaping


                          40
empty mouth and two eye sockets where his eyes
should have been. It whirled around and flashed its
great orange tail at them angrily. Then it swam back up
to the cauldron and hovered there, guarding it.
    Oh please, don’t let it swallow us whole. Oh please, please,
please!
    Jasper backed up, terrified and tripped over a large,
smooth shell. The Music Box fell from his grasp and
opened, spilling lovely musical notes like marbles all
over the lake’s floor. The large shell opened up to the
music and revealed two glistening white pearls.
    The blind fish surged forward at the shell, trying to
knock the pearls out, but the shell slammed shut and
refused to budge. The fish turned away, miserably.
    Perhaps he wants the pearls….
    Annika opened the music box again and the shell
opened. Carefully, she reached inside, and with nimble
fingers she snatched the pearls from their soft pink bed.
    Trembling, Jasper looked up at Annika, and his
mouth went square in a scream. Annika looked behind




                               41
her and there was the fish again, the blind, scary fish,
wanting his pearls.
   Annika outstretched her hand and the fish swung his
head up and down, saying yes!
   With help from Jasper, the two children set the
pearls into the eye sockets of the fish. As soon as they
were in place, the fish’s scales turned from a muddy
gray to a magnificent purple. The fish swam a couple
loops of joy before settling in front of the cauldron.
   The liquid began to boil and from within the
cauldron the fish pulled out a key. Annika smiled.
   The key to rescue the Royal Family!
   Annika felt a tug on her clothes and turned around.
Jasper was frantically gesturing at the surface. Just then,
Annika also felt the tightness in her chest and throat.
They were running out of breath.
   Annika tucked the key into the folds of her clothes
and looked around for the fastest way to the surface.
The pressure in her chest was near bursting. Jasper
turned and wrapped his arms around her in fright. They
would never make it in time.


                              42
Chapter 9: Promises of a Musical


Just when the children thought there was no hope in the
world of them ever returning home, they felt themselves
rising with the bubbles, and saw that the bubbling
cauldron was shrinking below them.
   The fish was carrying them! They broke the surface
and gasped for air. Lying like drowned rats on the
shore; Annika crawled over to Jasper, who was
breathing heavily in the dirty snow.
   “You swam Jasper. You really did. You were great!”


                            43
   “Thanks. But I am never swimming down that deep
ever again!”
   “But you did. And that’s all that matters.”
   Across the bird pasture, a white castle stood on a
hill, and a tall spindly tower rose high above the rest.
   “I suppose that’s where they are.”
   “We’re so close to going home.”
   “What are we waiting for? Let’s go!”
   The castle gates seemed to reach high into the sky,
higher than the birds flew. Annika and Jasper looked up
at the massive gates, just a tad overwhelmed.
   “Well how do we get in?” Annika wondered.
   “Knock?”
   Annika knocked softly and the gates swung open
with ease. They walked into a small courtyard filled with
statues and fountains that were frozen over. The castle
doors were heavy blocks of wood that were studded
with iron nails.
    Annika didn’t exactly want to knock on that.




                             44
   But she didn’t have to for a tall spindly man with a
hooked nose and black beady eyes swooshed down on
them from a high window ledge.
   Jasper screamed in surprise and the tall man
chuckled good-naturedly.
   “My apologies young friends. Did I startle you? I’m
sorry. Where are you from, you look like you have been
travelling for a long time.”
   “We have,” Annika explained, “We have to rescue
the Royal Family from the evil Count Barnabas. The
Family is trapped in the highest tower of this castle.”
   “Are they?”
   “Yes. Are you their gardener?
   “Fortunately not.”
   “Their servant?”
   “I don’t like washing dishes.”
   “Their dog-walker?”
   “I’m allergic to dogs.”
   “Oh,” Annika said. She was very confused. Who was
this man?




                               45
   “Please forgive me. I’m being very rude. Would you
like to come in and have a drink and something to eat?”
   “Oh no. I think we should just get right to saving the
Royal Family. We have to go home you know.”
   “Well,” the man smiled, “you won’t get very far if
you don’t have something to eat.”
   “I am starving, Jasper.”
   “But he’s a stranger, Annie. My mother always told
me never to trust strangers,” Jasper whispered.
   “Well we have to trust him if he’s going to let us
inside. How else are we going to get to the Royal
Family? And besides, he looks sort of familiar. Hey, he
looks like Mean Ol’ Barney Gill from the Carnival!”
   “I guess your right…”
   “Please,” the man crooned, “right this way.”
   I’ve got a bad feeling about this, Jasper thought.
   The man led them to a spacious dining room, which
was laden with fine china and silver goblets. They took
off their coats, and sat down exhausted and cold.
   Not feeling right about the situation, Jasper hid the
music box in the folds of his coat.


                               46
   “You what brings you here?”
   “Well this little old lady told us that this land was
cursed. It has no music. Did you know about that?”
Annika said.
   “I’m afraid I didn’t,” replied the man.
   “Well it does and it is our job to restore the music in
the land so that we can rescue the Royal Family and
finally be able to go home.”
   “I see,” said the man. His eyes flicked over them and
for just a split second, Jasper thought he saw the
beginnings of a cruel smile lurch at the man’s lips.
Annika saw this too and regarded the man, uneasily for
the first time.
   “And how are you planning on restoring this music
to the land, may I ask?”
   “Well…” Annika began, but Jasper kicked her hard
in the shins and she had to stop.
   “We are a…a musical dance troupe from… a far
away land,” Jasper said.
   “Yes,” added Annika, “we specialize in… in the
Jitterbug.” Jasper nodded.


                             47
   The man looked at them carefully and then smiled.
They were no threat to him.
   “Well you must show me this Jitterbug of yours. It
sounds quite interesting. Here. I’ll clear away some of
these chairs and you can dance right here.”
   Jasper went chalk white. Dance in front of people. I don’t
want to do that!
   Annika looked at him, expectantly. “Come on
Jasper. Show him your Jitterbug.”
   So Jasper took a deep breath and imagined himself
alone in the living room of Annika’s house, in front of
the radio and he began to dance. He slid and shimmied
and skipped and swung around. As he was dancing
Annika opened the Music Box and ragtime music filled
the hall. Jasper began to enjoy himself and he kicked up
his heels and waggled his fingers, a huge grin replacing
the scared scowl on his face.
   The man leapt up from his spot on the table. He
crouched low and covered his ears.
   “Stop!” he yelled, “You must stop. There is no
music allowed in this castle. No! No music!”


                             48
   He ran around the castle hall, flailing his arms in
outrage and all the while, Jasper danced. Annika joined
in and they both spun around and waggled their fingers
to the beat of the music.
   “NO!” the man screamed, “I Count Barnabas order
you to stop!”
   The children kept on dancing, but their eyes had
turned to Count Barnabas who, with one shriek, had
melted into a puddle on the floor.




                            49
Chapter 10: Back to Coney Island


   “How gross,” Annika said.
   Annika and Jasper had quite the adventure finding
the lock that fit the key. There were so many doors and
staircases in the castle. With the help of the music
drifting up the stairs with them, Annika and Jasper were
able to hear urgent knocking on a door at the very top.
   Once the door was open, four warm bodies crashed
into them, desperate to get out.




                           50
   There was a portly King and Queen, with soft
graying hair, a scrawny gawking Prince Ronald and an
elegant Princess Celia. The Royal Family all crowded
around the Music Box, which was now playing a
soothing piece, and they all wept with happiness.
   The family hugged the children and thanked them.
Princess Celia flung her arms around Jasper and kissed
him on the cheek. Annika giggled as Jasper’s ears
flushed a bright red.
   The King set the Music Box on the windowsill of
the small garret and let the music spill out into the land.
The trees seemed to sparkle with ice and the wind blew
a flurry of snow up into the air.
   Sounds of delighted animals and people could be
heard in joyous celebration throughout the forest and
rising just above all was the beautiful sound of the
Dancing Rabbit’s harp.
   The King and Queen turned to Annika and Jasper
with tears in their eyes.
   “Thank you ever so much. Is their anything we can
do for you in return?”


                            51
   “If it’s not too much to ask… could you maybe…
send us home?”
   The Royal Family laughed and Prince Ronald
opened the Music Box as far as it would go.
   “Step inside and you’ll go home.”
   “Will we be able to fit?” asked Jasper worriedly.
Annika, who was so desperate to get home, had already
plunged into the Music Box, answering Jasper’s
question.
   Once the two of them were safely inside, Prince
Ronald shut the lid securely. The sounds of the Carnival
filled the Music Box. Then, without much warning, the
Music Box opened and Annika and Jasper spilled out
onto sand. Coughing and spluttering, the two looked up
and they were sitting on the beach next to Surf Avenue.
They were back in their summer clothes and back on
Coney Island.
   The two stood shakily in the sand, still damp from
their adventure in the lake. They looked at each other in
relief and hugged. They were back!




                           52
   Annika and Jasper waded through the crowds of
people, wondering how much time had past, when out
of no where, a hand yanked them out of the crowd. It
was Lillian. Annika almost bowled her over in
happiness.
   “I was looking for you two! I thought you’d be over
by the Loop-O-Plane or the Roller Coaster.
   “We went on the Carousel instead.”
   “Did you?”
   Annika and Jasper nodded.
   “Was it fun?”
   “Well it’s definitely not a baby ride, if that’s what you
mean,” Annika said seriously.
   Lillian shifted Billy from one hip to the other.
   “Well,” she said, “we’re going to have to mosey on
home soon if we’re ever going to get some supper into
you two. Father will be home late tonight.”
   “He hasn’t gone away?” Annika cried.
   “Gone away? If you mean go away to the office for
some catch up work, then yes, but he’ll be back.”
   Lillian studied Annika and Jasper carefully.


                            53
   “Are you two all right?”
   “Yes, we’re fine…” Annika breathed, a lopsided
over-the-moon happy smile spreading across her face.
   “Okay you sillies, let’s get going.” Lillian smiled and
took Annika’s hand and led them to the exit gates of the
Carnival.
   “Did you enjoy Coney Island Jasper?” Lillian asked.
   “I think ‘enjoy’ is the wrong word,” Jasper said,
“Maybe ‘experience’ is a better fit.”
   They all laughed and entered the subway, the
Carousel organ music wafting up through the crowds.
   A couple days later, Mean Ol’ Barney Gill received a
package at the post office. He grumbled and groaned
about receiving silly trinkets from his sister, but the
package wasn’t from her. Inside the small box was a
hand written note saying?


              We know you don’t like the Carousel
            Music but don’t worry, we have a solution!
                   From two Carousel riders,
                  Annika and Jasper Grange.


                              54
   Barney withdrew two little stubs of wax earplugs.
After that, Barney happily went to work each day that
summer, with the El Dorado Carousel more packed
than ever.
   As the organ music started up and the excited
shrieks from the riders filled the area, Barney showed
his toothy grin to the little boys and girls, not hearing a
thing at all.




                             55
56
“Martha Mouthpiece: Macaroni,
   Maths and Makeovers”

     by Jasmine Melrose
Chapter 1: Big old bricks


My name is Martha Mouthpiece and I am a blatantly
obvious fashion expert. I always wear my hair in an up-
do or a down-do, which is very stylish. Plus, a pair of
sparkly earrings, a fluffy top that is cute, an absolutely
adorable little French hat, and a bubble skirt. But no
pants. Those are for boys. On gym days I’ll wear a
hockey jersey with my bubble skirt, but no one’s going
to make me wear shorts!
   Today is the very firstest day at my brand new
school and I can’t even decide if I’m happy or mad


                            2
about it. My feelings are all mixed up. It feels like they
got all jumbled in the washing machine with my freshly
washed ensembles.
   All these thoughts were bouncing around in my
noggin as I strolled down the cold, hard sidewalk on my
way to school. Oh, and always being extra careful to
watch out for those nasty cracks, ‘cause I don’t ever
want to step on them and break my momma’s back. I
don’t reckon she would be too thrilled about that!
   Finally the sidewalk ended with a halt ‘cause I had
reached my destination. My new school was a big old
brick place that didn’t excite me too much. It was the
dullest color of brown I ever saw. I can almost say it
was insulting! As I creped towards the school my one
red shoe sank, slowly like quicksand into the brown
muddy patches of the schoolyard. Then my one little
white shoe plopped onto the wet green grass. A rhythm
of slooshy, sloshes came right from my shoes ‘cause
they were all wet. Oh, and I always wear two different
color shoes ‘cause I can’t ever figure out which is more
excellent.


                            3
   I was a real nervous wreck just about now. Even my
tummy was grumbly, with lots of butterflies and other
bugs in it. That’s ‘cause I’ve got a big worry to worry
about. I don’t even have a new best friend here in this
brick school, and this is a real huge problem. I really
need a new best friend ‘cause I am just too cute and fun
not to have one. I would even share my fashion
knowledge with them. That way I can make some room
in my noggin for some grade 3 maths and digits.
   I even planned out exactly what I am going to say to
my newest best friend when I meet her. Here’s what I
am going to tell that kid. My most favourite lunch snack
is grapefruit and cucumber. Except, I don’t even have a
little clue as to why it is called a “grapefruit.” It doesn’t
even look anything like a grape! It just looks like an
orange. My favorite season of the months is spring
‘cause it’s just perfect. The winter is much too cold and
it makes my teeth chatter. I must jump around like a
jack-in-the-box to stay toasty. The summer is much too
hot and it makes my skin all sticky!
   Aside from my excellent talent in fashion I am also a


                              4
perfect ar-tiste who can paint and draw quite excellently.
Real ar-tistes even wear little French hats, which
delights me tons. My bestest friend better like this stuff
too!
   So this is it. I snatched that big steel knob on the
door with both hands. I twisted it real hard like I was
squeezing drops of water out of a wet towel. Just like I
did when I dropped it into the tub that one time.
   I swung open the heavy door and hopped inside. I
knew just what I had to do: find my bestest brand
newest best friend. I’m just hoping this mission won’t
be impossible.




                            5
Chapter 2: Mushy maths


My brand new maths class is dark like an old, crummy
basement, with cracked up floors and a low grey ceiling.
The air is chilly, filled with chalky dust flying around
me. My bum is all numb and sleepy ‘cause these school
chairs are so hard. They don’t even have cushions!
That’s all I’m asking for, a comfy cushion to do my
maths and digits on.
   Just then all the awfulness I was thinking about in
my math class was interrupted by a loud click. The rusty


                           6
doorknob was turning slowly so I leaned forward in my
stupid chair that didn’t have a cushion. The anticipation
was building so high I thought my noggin might even
explode. My new teacher is about to make an entrance
and I need to see her. She should be beautiful, perfect
and want to talk to me all the time about fashion. I
know that right away she will see how good I am at
making ensembles and ask me to make her some. She
might even find me a nice puffy cushion to sit my tired
bum on! She should have black shiny hair and blue eyes.
She should be tall and have a nice voice so I won’t even
mind if she talks all about boring school stuff like digits
and things.
   Then the door creaked open all slowly and scary.
   “Good morning class. My name is Ms. Bosley and I
am your new teacher,” she announced.
   OH NO! This will not do at all! I hope she doesn’t
notice my mouth hanging open so much that I could
catch flies in it like a big wart toad or something. I can’t
close it even if I tried very, real hard.
   Ms. Bosley has blonde hair that looks like a wet


                               7
noodle in a messy up-do, which in this particular case is
not fashionable. She has mud brown eyes, mustard
yellow teeth, and a big ugly soup dress! I call it a soup
dress ‘cause it’s all lumpy and has a bunch of rotten,
gross colors mixed together all over it. She even smells
like soup. Not the nice chicken noodle soup you get
when you’re sick but the chunky, mushy ones with all
the vegetables no one likes all squished in it!
   This teacher is not what I had in mind. I think this
might not be a class I want to go to very often. I think I
will call Ms. Bosley Ms. Bossy ‘cause I don’t like her too
much. This is ‘cause she looks like an evil dungeon
keeper who wears horrible ensembles!
   It is so sad that some people don’t have gifts like I
do. Like when I can look in the closet and match stuff
so good together. Poor Ms. Bossy and her soup dress,
life can be so tough for some people I reckoned.




                             8
Chapter 3: Bad clothes Bony


So far my new school has me down in the dumps ‘cause
it’s no fun at all. I’ve had to sit all by myself in a
crummy desk with bad chewing gum that already got
chewed on it. It didn’t even have that cushion I wanted.
I even listened to Ms. Bossy blab on about those digits
that I don’t like. Plus, she didn’t even ask me about my
ensembles! My special mission is looking more and
more impossible. I thought it would be easy. Just like
eating chocolate cake, ‘cause that’s a real breeze for me.


                             9
   A strong, stinky smell filled up my nostrils as I
approached the cafeteria. I am starting to think that this
is going to be the worst part of my day. Standing here
with no cafeteria table and a heavy tray in my fingers
that smells like some mysterious bad stuff. I reckon it’s
not even tasty or edible. Nope. I don’t reckon it is. I
didn’t even remember to bring my favourite special
lunch snack: grapefruit and cucumbers. This did not
delight me a whole lot.
   “Hey over here. There’s an empty seat next to me,”
yelled some girl.
   Great, now there’s some kid waving at me and I
guess I have to go over there ‘cause no one else is
waving. I even thought the whole room would be.
   So I sat down with the waving kid.
   “So, who are you?” I asked this real forceful. “You
have to tell me ‘cause you were waving at me and all”.
   “Oh, I’m Bony Macaroni, are you new here?” Then
my head got all confused.
   “Ya,    but      wait.   Your   NAME      is   BONY
MACARONI!” I exclaimed. “What were your parents


                             10
thinking when you were born?”
   “No, that’s not my real name, that’s just what
everyone calls me. I thought you would have heard
about it already,” said Bony.
   “Well no, I didn’t. I’m sure of it. That’s ‘cause it’s a
pretty silly name and if someone had told me I would
have remembered and laughed about it. How did you
get a name like that?” I asked with extreme curiousness.
   “My name is Bella Marconi, I only eat one kind of
food and that’s Pasta. Elbow pasta to be exact”. Then
my head got less confused ‘cause Bony started making
some sense.
   “Well that explains it. You have bony, knobby knees
and all you eat is macaroni. That name is sticking to you
like the chewy chewing gum on my desk. That should
have been a no brainer! And I see that I am going to
have to teach you a thing or two about fashion, being
your new best friend and all. We got to hide those knees
of yours.” This I said real proud ‘cause I thought of this
great idea in my noggin.
   “Hey, who said you were going to be my new best


                            11
friend. We just met,” said Bony. She looked at me like
she was mad ‘cause I passed my confused head on to
her.
   “Well, judging by your name and that you’re sitting
alone I’m guessing that no one else is lining up. Besides
I think this will be the beginning of a great friendship.”
I announced this news with a big smile.
   So, that ended up being the good part of my day I
guess. I have found the perfect friend, and she has bad
clothes. Good thing she has me around now.
   Finally someone at this school who will appreciate
my knowing of all things fashionable!




                            12
Chapter 4: Plain sandwiches and macaroni carpets


Bony’s room was quite obviously her room. Even if she
had never even told me it was hers, I could have
guessed it! It was tiny, and as plain as a slice of bread
without any jams on it. Her bed was lumpy and mushy
and it wasn’t even great for jumping. This disappointed
me a whole lot.
   I wandered around the place inspecting with my eyes
and fingers. All while being extra careful not to step on
the dried up macaroni bits sitting on the carpet. That’s


                           13
the real big giveaway making Bony’s room obviously
hers, ‘cause only Bony would have macaroni carpets in
her room.
   After finding an excellent spot to stand on, free of
macaronis, I decided to begin my newest mission. And
that’s to give Bony Macaroni a makeover.
   “Let me take a look at this closet Bony. I need to see
what I’m working with here.” I yanked open the closet
door with all my might and to my unexpected surprise
Bony’s clothes attacked! Piles of pants pounced on me
like a pack of animals.
   “AHHH Bony! Help, what’s with all the pants?
Those are for boys don’t you know?” This I said with
lots of gumptions, plus a real mad voice ‘cause that’s an
extreme importance of a question.
   “Oh, um I don’t know, I”-
   “Actually, I guess they will be good at covering up
those knees of yours. Adding a bow or two will just
have to do”. I interrupted Bony ‘cause I had other
important stuff to say.
   So I tugged, snipped, folded, rolled and did any


                           14
other fashion stuff to Bony’s clothes I could think of to
do. Then I threw down my scissors.
   “TADA! Now that’s an ensemble Bony. Take a good
look.” I felt real proud just then. I pointed Bony
towards her mirror for an inspection.
   “Wow, it’s really different,” said Bony awkwardly,
tugging at the ensemble.
   “What do ya mean different Bony? Different just
means not the same. You look stramendous!” I said,
flailing my arms and pointing at Bony’s reflection.
   I took a big step backwards to admire the ensemble I
had made. Bony had a perfect down-do, which is my
personal favorite; spaghetti straps on her top ‘cause
Bony loves everything to do with pasta, girl pants ‘cause
I made an exception to my no pants rule just specially
for Bony to cover her macaroni legs. It was pure genius
I thought.
   “I guess it is pretty nice. I really like the spaghetti
straps. Imagine what the rest of the school would look
like if you gave everyone a “Martha Makeover”. Um,
maybe you could, oh I don’t know, make a fashion


                            15
show like the real one’s on TV,” Bony said real fidgety.
   “That’s the most perfect, genius thing I ever heard
Bony!” I shouted, giving that kid the biggest hug I could
give. I squeezed her like a lemon that I wanted to make
juices out of.
   “Well, I gotta get shuffling outta here Bony. I can’t
wait to get to school tomorrow and show everyone that
I am the best fashion person ever,” I said, leaving Bony
by her mirror.
   Maybe even Ms. Bossy will ask for a “Martha
Makeover,” I thought.
   I ran to the door real quick and speeded right out of
there. I had a pile of preparing to do for my big TV
fashion show. The girls at school should be lining up to
get some of my ensembles ‘cause they are so cute. I will
even take appointments from them. I must remind
myself to buy a special appointment book for that.




                           16
Chapter 5: TV fashions shows and disappearing
acts


   “Here thee Here thee,” I shouted real loud in the
middle of the hallway. Every head in that place whipped
turned to look right at me.
   “Step right up and get your “Martha Makeovers”.
Come on, who wants to be on my very own TV fashion
show that I made up?”




                              17
I cleared the hall up to make some room ‘cause the
crowd was building up real big. My TV fashion show
was already getting real busy.
   “Here let me help you. Um I can hold this or -”
   “Hush Bony! I need you to stand way over there. It’s
too clammy over here with all these people and I need
space to work.” I made my finger pointy to show Bony
exactly where to go.
   I was in the middle of brushing hair and snipping
stuff when I noticed that something was missing. I had
all my supplies and I had this whole fashion show
planned out real good in my noggin.
   That’s it! Bony! She was missing. I craned my head
around and around searching for that kid. Then I
spotted her running down the hall.
   “Bony, wait come back!” I yelled real loud.
   “BONY!” But she didn’t even do what I was yelling
about. She just sneaked out the door, closing it with a
bang and a click.
   What’s up with her? Well, maybe she needed to go
somewhere, get some fresh air or something. I would


                            18
deal with that later. First I had to finish working my
magic. I had far too many mountains of makeovers to
do.




                          19
Chapter 6: Extra “correctulars”


I reckon that this weekend is going to be the busiest one
I ever had. That’s ‘cause Bony and me have to find an
extra-“correctular” activity for my TV fashion show. My
show needs to have tons of guests to make it super
exciting.
   Unfortunately for me, my allowance is absent ‘cause
I spent it all. So I have decided that we will just have to
be the entertainment ourselves.




                            20
   Our “correctulars” must be absolutely fun and
perfect. This is necessary ‘cause if it were not perfect it
wouldn’t be “correctular” now would it?
   I even found the perfect “correctular” activity that is
just right! We are going to be ballerina girls. That way I
can still wear pink, and ballerina girls know all about
fashion stuff too! They even title their special dance
moves after fashion names. “Pas De Beret” is a ballerina
move that means “not with a hat”, a French hat! Except
I am always itching to tell people that they are saying it
all wrong. They say “Pas De Bourree” and that’s wrong.
I mean, what could “Bourree” possibly mean?
   So, now I’m off to find Bony at her home ‘cause I
couldn’t find her at school yesterday. This makes my life
kinda a pain in my bum.
   I skipped right up to her big wooden door and gave
a great big knock on that thing.
   “Hey Bony. We gotta get moving. We’ve got a
ballerina class to get to and we need to be professionals
by tomorrow,” I said.




                            21
   The door swung open real fast in my face and then
Bony got real scary.
   “GO AWAY! I’m not coming. Find someone else to
be a ballerina with because I am not your friend any
more!” she yelled.
   “What do ya mean Bony? Why are you acting
strange? Are you sick or something?” I asked real
confused.
   “No I am just sick of you bossing me around all the
time and I’m sick of you stealing my ideas. It was my
idea to make the TV fashion show and you wouldn’t let
me do anything! You’re a stealer! Now GO AWAY!”
said Bony, slamming the door real hard in my face.
   Oh, so I was right I thought. She did say she was
sick. I guess she’s not feeling well and I will just have to
attend the ballerina class on my own.
   You see how my life is so full of important stuff to
do. I can’t even wait for Bony not to be sick. Hopefully
she will get better real speedy ‘cause I’ve got another
new extra “correctular” activity for Bony and me that’s




                             22
stuffed right up my sleeve. It has been hiding up there
all this time. We are going to be professional ar-tistes!
   Being an ar-tiste is just perfect in every way. I am
excellent at drawing, painting, designing fashion stuff
and even crafting. Oh, and having a little French hat on
at all times is a mandatory piece of criteria. I never even
saw an art-iste without a little French hat. Not ever in
my life.
   Now, it’s important that I am prepared with
equipment like brushes, and easels and things. No
appointment books for me this time around, just little
French hats, ensembles with stripes on them, and some
long stick bread. The French call ‘em Baguettes I
reckon.




                             23
Chapter 7: Cough drops and pointy fingers


I was right back in my maths class, sitting in my
cushion-less chair when I decided to plan some stuff
with Bony.
   “Hey Bony. So, I was thinking for my TV fashion
show today”- I shuffled right up close next to Bony as
my desk screeched along the dirty floor.
   “I told you I’m not talking to you,” Bony said. She
screeched her desk along the dirty floor too but she
shuffled herself away from me instead.


                           24
   “Bony, are you still sick?” I was real concerned at
this point ‘cause I hate having a cold.
   “Do you need some of my cough drops?” I asked.
Bony whip turned her head at me. Her face looked like
a great big tomato that was mad.
   “For the last time, I’m not sick. I’m just sick of you!
I am mad at you,” she said forcefully.
   Just then I jumped up and stood real tall (just to be
extra scary) and made my finger pointy at that kid.
   “Well how was I supposed to know you were mad
and not sick? I got all confused when you”-
   “Martha Mouthpiece, sit down right now young
lady,” said Ms. Bossy. She was real excellent at being
bossy.
   Just then my heart jumped and bumped in my chest
‘cause I got real startled. The bell rang and Ms. Bossy
made her finger pointy at me to come see her. Bony
grabbed her bag and her books and shuffled right out
the door.
   I scooted up to Ms. Bossy‘s desk. It was big and tall,
right at the very front of the class. I reckon she made it


                            25
like that so us kids would listen to her better. I grabbed
on to her desk with my fingers and plopped my chin
down on the edge.
   “Yes Ms. Bosley,” I said real quiet.
   “Martha, you were behaving very inappropriately in
class today and I couldn’t teach my lesson with you
yelling and making such a scene. Is there a problem that
you want to talk to me about?” she asked.
   I huffed at Ms. Bossy ‘cause I didn’t really want to
talk to her much, but I guess I kinda have to. My chin is
just sitting on her desk and she’s waiting for my mouth
to talk.
   “Well you see, me and Bony- I mean Bella are in a
fight I think. She made me real confused ‘cause she said
she was sick but she doesn’t even need any cough
drops.”
   “Is there anything else?” Ms. Bossy asked curiously.
One of her furry eyebrows floated up and her head
tilted all the way sideways. She was still staring at me
with her eyeballs, waiting for me to continue.
   “Why is Bella mad? Did you do anything to upset


                            26
her?” she asked.
   I thought about this real hard, even stroking my chin
in order to think even harder.
   “Well, she stormed away from me when I was doing
my TV fashion show and she didn’t even want to be a
professional ballerina or an art-iste with me.”
   “Did you include Bella in your TV show? Maybe she
felt left out,” said Ms. Bossy. I got real shocked by this.
   “Ya, that is a possibility to consider. She did say that
I didn’t let her do anything, that I was being too
controlling, and that I was being very mean. So, I guess
she is mad at me. What do you know!” I replied
excitedly.
   “And what do you think you should do about this
problem?” asked Ms. Bossy. I stared at her with wide
eyes ‘cause I wanted her to answer that question for me.
   “You really don’t know Martha? You don’t know
how you and Bella can become friends again?” I stared
at her for an even longer time, stretching my bulging
bug eyes bigger and bigger until they got all twitchy and
water came out of them. That didn’t even help one bit.


                             27
My noggin was still blank, empty, and full of fluffs I
think. That’s ‘cause it wasn’t working. It didn’t even
make a single little idea to help me get my newest best
friend back.
   “Well, Martha. I suggest that you go home and think
about this. Think very hard and I hope that you will
figure out the solution to this problem,” said Ms. Bossy.
   “Ok then. That is something that I am considering
doing,” I said. I slowly peeled my bug eyes away from
her and shuffled out the door.
   I strolled down the long hall shaking my noggin a
whole lot, trying to get that thing to work. Nope. Still
nothing. Not even one idea, just a bunch of fluffs and
dust animals.




                           28
Chapter 8: Meany me


   “Huffff”
   I let a big huff escape from my mouth as I plopped
onto my puffy bed. My bed was bouncy and great for
jumping, not like Bony’s macaroni bed. I kicked off my
red shoe and yanked off my white one and slapped my
hands right on my noggin that wouldn’t work.
   “Whatever am I going to do?” I yelled real mad. My
skin was getting toasty and my fingers real clenchy
(‘cause that’s what happens when I’m mad sometimes).


                          29
I need to think about a great idea to get Bony to like me
again, even Ms. Bossy said that’s what I gotta do!
   So I jumped up off my bouncy bed and stomped
over to my mirror. I took a good hard look at myself. I
noticed how excellent my ensemble was right away and
then my noggin turned on a light bulb ‘cause it was
working.
   “The TV fashion show!” I exclaimed real loud.
   “Bony is mad at me ‘cause I stole her idea like a
robber and I didn’t even let her make any ensembles.” I
said this out loud ‘cause it was much too exciting to stay
inside me.
   Suddenly, the girl looking through the mirror back at
me looked like a real meany. Bony must hate me I
thought. This is the very worst idea my noggin ever felt.
I must apologize and say I am very sorry to Bony at
school tomorrow. This is a real importance ‘cause I
could even lose my bestest friend. That would ruin my
whole day and maybe even the next one after that. I
smiled at myself in the mirror ‘cause I didn’t look like
such a meany anymore. Plus, I still couldn’t even get


                            30
over my ensemble.
   So I sorted out my plan and got straight into bed
‘cause I had a big day tomorrow. My mission: to get my
bestest friend Bony back and save our bestest
friendship. I knew just what I was going to do.




                           31
Chapter 9: Library wind


I flung open the door and ran down the hall. My new
mission was starting and I knew exactly where Bony was
hiding: the library. That’s ‘cause when Bony’s not mad
and not yelling she’s a real shy and quiet kid you know.
   So I ripped open the door real forceful and a gust of
library wind flew right in my face.
   “Bony!” I yelled. “Bony!”
   “SHHH.” A pile of heads whip turned at me. They
all had their fingertips on their lips. Then I saw the


                            32
“QUIET” signs on the walls and I thought that I
shouldn’t have yelled like that.
   I walked down the aisles of chapter books and found
Bony sitting on a beanie bag chair in the corner.
   “Bony…!” I whisper-shouted. “Before you talk I
need to say something real necessary and I’m not even
being bossy or controlling it’s just a real importance. I’m
sorry for being such a meany. The TV fashion show was
your idea and it is very excellent. That’s even why I stole
it! I promise with my whole heart to be nicer and not a
meany and to let you do stuff and talk and do fashion
and”-
   “Stop, Martha. Its ok,” said Bony. “I forgive you”.
   “You do?” I questioned. I stared at her with my
biggest bug eyes ‘cause I was shocked.
   “Yes. Can we just get out of here? We have a TV
fashion show to do,” said Bony. I smiled and gave that
kid a big hug.
   Then we ran right out of that place ‘cause our show
was about to begin.
   “Hey Bony, guess what,” I announced.


                            33
   “Um what,” she said.
   “I even renamed the TV fashion show. Its brand
newest name is the Bony and Martha TV Fashion Show!
Isn’t that just excellent? See, I even put your name first
‘cause I’m not even controlling anymore!”
   “Thanks. That’s perfect,” said Bony.
   So we skipped down the hall real jolly ‘cause we are
just perfect best friends. I looped my arm with hers and
smiled to myself. – I was real happy just then.




                            34
Chapter 10: Mission accomplished


So, I’ve had some real big ventures lately. This brand
new school is a real doozy! But, most importantly I
completed my extra special mission just like a secret
agent: to find myself a bestest friend of my very own
and she is just perfect!
   Bony and me are an excellent team. Our TV fashion
show is the biggest success I ever saw. I even learned
some stuff that’s a real importance from that kid and
that’s not to be bossy. I have a lot to say but sometimes


                           35
I need to keep my mouth clamped and my lips and teeth
attached and let Bony talk too. That way I won’t be
controlling and no one will even get mad or sick like
Bony did.
   I reckon Bony is pretty pleased with my new attitude
‘cause she gets to talk more and I don’t even get a sore
throat from using my voice too much. Now, when Bony
uses her voice I discovered that she has some real
interesting stuff to say.
   I reckon my absolutely excellent personality rubbed
off on her.




                            36
“Miles’ Adventure”

  by Asha Bruce
Chapter 1


Easter was my absolutely favouritest holiday. Only Mrs.
Wilson keeps telling me favouritest isn’t a word. She’s
my teacher, and her husband, Mr. Wilson owns the
store we always go to in town.
   That was where we were going today, me and my
mum. We don’t live in the town, which is pretty small
anyways. My dad’s a coastguard, so we have to live right
on the edge by the ocean. It’s scary sometimes, but I
like to listen to the waves. We’re very high up, on a cliff
away from the ocean.


                             2
   So anyways, it was Easter, which by the way is the
best day of the year ‘cause these people called
Mummers come to visit and do a play and then we all
have lots of food and it’s very fun. Mum says they travel
around and put on plays all spring. They always have
crazy looking clothes and hats. I asked mum if I could
have a hat like one of them, all tall and huge and made
out of sticks. But she said no and looked at me funny.
   I always love the plays they put on. They’re all about
adventures and dragons and mean kings and very nice
princes with very pretty wives.
   When we walked into the square we went straight to
Mr. Wilson’s shop. There were people setting up tables
and chairs for the Mummers – that’s another funny
thing they do. They go to the inn and then when they’re
done sleeping on them, they take the tables outside, put
them all together and then stand up and do their play on
them!
   I asked one of them why they did that last year. I got
to go up and ask him myself. He wore a lot of makeup.




                            3
But he said it was so that everyone could see them
properly, which I guess makes sense.




                           4
Chapter 2


The town was really busy today, ‘cause everyone’s going
about getting ready and stuff. Mum dragged me to the
store, even though I was looking around for Jacob, my
best friend. We’ve been friends ever since we met,
which was when we were five. That means we’ve been
best friends for two whole years. Well, more like one
and a half, but we say two.
   So I couldn’t find him and ended up in Mr. Wilson’s
store anyways, even though I don’t like shopping one


                              5
bit. Mum always inspects the groceries, and I don’t
know why; it’s embarrassing. Then she goes “hmmmm”
and puts whatever she’s looking at back. She’ll do it for
hours if I don’t tell her she’s being picky again.
   Anyways, I wasn’t in the store long, because Jacob
ran in about a minute later and we went outside. He was
really glad to see me.
   “Miles, Miles! I was wondering when you were going
to get here, you slowpoke. My mum’s been making me
help her clean the house. We’re having a party after the
play.” He beamed.
   “I’m not a slowpoke,” I said.
   “Yes you are,” Jacob told me, pulling his hat onto
his head. Jacob’s hat is a hand-me-down from his big
brother. Everything Jacob owns is a hand-me-down
from one big brother or another. None of it fits, but
especially the hat. I have a very nice hat. It’s warm with
earflaps and nice plaid wool. It’s my favourite.
   “No I’m not,” I insisted. I wasn’t a slowpoke. Jacob
just liked to run everywhere.




                             6
   “Are too.” He stuck out his tongue and dragged me
down the street. “Anyways, you’re gonna come to my
house tonight, right?”
   “I dunno,” I said.
   “You are a superbly, indecisive person,” Jacob told
me. “Anyways, let’s go. I want to get a good seat.”
   We weren’t sitting there for very long until someone
snuck up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I
wasn’t expecting it, and I jumped about five feet in the
air. Jacob always tells me I’m jumpy, but I had a reason
to be surprised, really I did! They snuck up on me!
   Anyways, they turned out to be a boy and a girl. The
boy was taller than us, with short brown hair and a very
big shirt. He looked kind of like Jacob’s second-oldest
brother. Only, he wasn’t that old.
   Then his friend, the girl, said, “Is this where the
play’s supposed to be?” She was short. Very short, with
freckles and red hair and a dress that didn’t fit her
properly either.
   “Who’re you?” Jacob asked.




                            7
   “Yes,” I said. The girl smiled at me. Then she looked
at Jacob.
   “Well who’re you?”
   “I’m Jacob,” he said. Then he pointed at me. “And
this is Miles.”
   “I’m Simon,” the boy said. “This is—”
   “Mary,” the girl cut him off.
   “I was going to introduce you!” Simon scowled at
her.
   “Well I wanted to introduce myself!” she folded her
arms.
   Simon shook his head and looked at us. “Don’t pay
attention to her. She’s only five and a half.”
   Jacob and I beamed. “We’re six and a half,” I told
him.
   “I’m seven,” said Simon.
   The girl pointed a grubby finger in his face. “Just
‘cause I’m five doesn’t mean I’m not smarter than you!”
   Simon ignored her. “You guys live here, right?” he
pointed back at the town.
   “Yep,” Jacob grinned. “Where are you from?”


                             8
   “How’d you get here?” I added.
    “We walked all the way here to see the play!” Mary
was very excited about this. I don’t think she’d ever
seen one before. “It took ages. But we got here.”
   “It’s very good,” I told her.
   “Have you seen it already?” Her face fell, and she
looked at Simon sadly. “I told you we were going to
miss it!”
   He shook his head. “We haven’t. My mum said the
play started late.”
   “It starts at five,” Jacob told them. “They’re just
setting up, see?”




                             9
Chapter 3


One of the best things about the play is that Mr. Wilson
gives us all free peanuts while we watch it. Mary and I
came up with a strategy to get the most possible peanuts
we could. She’d hide some in her skirt, and then I’d go
up and say we hadn’t got any, and then she’d hide them
and five minutes later Simon would go up, and the next
five minutes later Jacob would go, and we took it in
turns till people started noticing her sitting there with
her skirt all folded up carefully in her lap. Peanuts are


                           10
my favourite, mostly ‘cause we’re not allowed to take
them to school, so my mum never gets them.
   The play began at five. It started with this big dragon
head coming up from behind the table and dragging
away one of the Mummers to its lair. It was very scary.
All the people hid in this big house whenever it came
by, and one lady told us about her husband who’d gone
off travelling the world to find a way to save them from
the evil dragon.
   The dragon was stomping about and we were almost
done our peanut supply, when a man came running up
onstage and pointed a sword right at its mouth. The
dragon hissed and stomped at him.
   “Go away!” said the man.
   The dragon hissed some more and then clawed at
him. Then they had a swordfight, and the traveller man
chopped off the dragon’s head. That part was my
favourite.
   By then it was almost dark out, so we all lit a big fire
in the middle of the square and the Mummers danced
and played music and told stories.


                            11
   “I’m bored,” Jacob tugged on my sleeve, finishing
the last of the peanuts.
   “That’s only ‘cause there’s no more food left,” I said.
   Simon grinned. “I don’t see why. I liked it.”
   “The play?” Jacob said. “Yeah. The traveller guy was
awesome. But now it’s over and there aren’t any more
peanuts.”
   “I liked that lady best,” Mary said.
   “You would. I liked the dragon.” Simon sighed. “I
wish there were dragons and castles and stuff here.
Here’s boring.”
   Jacob grinned, looking like he’d thought of
something. “I know where there’s a castle.”
   Oh no.




                            12
Chapter 4


Jacob insisted I would love wherever we were going,
though I have to say I didn't have a good feeling about
it. We kept walking along this really muddy path, and
the edges of my pants got all soggy. There were lots of
trees and things, and I hoped Jacob knew where he was
going.
   Then we got to the bridge. Mum told me not to
cross the bridge, ‘cause there were monsters under it
who’d eat me up. And besides, even if I did get across it


                           13
there was the Great Unknown out there, and everybody
says the Great Unknown was dangerous. We stopped at
the bridge.
    “What are you waiting for?” Jacob asked me.
    “I don’t wanna cross the bridge.”
    “Why not? Are you scared?” he taunted, dancing up
and down in the middle of the bridge. I mean, I knew
there wasn’t actually anything under it. But I still didn’t
like it.
    “Well, we don’t want to get lost, or something,” I
told him.
    “We won’t. I know where we’re going. I found this
place when I went berry picking with my cousins,”
Jacob said. He lived with most of his family: his three
older brothers, his little sister, his father, his mother, his
aunt, his grandmother, his cousins and a niece. His
house was very crowded. Someone was always
threatening to chase someone else with a rolling pin.
    Mary and Simon had scampered up to join him and
were looking at me expectantly. I sighed, really not




                              14
wanting to cross the bridge, but followed them up
anyways.
   We kept walking across this field, which was even
muddier than the path, and Mary and I were lagging
behind. It wasn’t very nice of Simon and Jacob; we were
shorter and they could have slowed down. But I knew
what the problem was: Jacob didn’t like girls much.
   I’d never really talked to a girl; neither of us had.
They were weird. Mary was giving me a very odd look.
Then, she smiled.
   “I like your hat.”
   I was very happy about this. No one had ever said
they liked my hat before, and it was my favourite.
   “Thank you.” I felt like I should say something
about her hat, but she didn’t have one. I told her this.
   “I know,” she laughed.
   “Aren’t you cold?”
   “Nope. I don’t like hats. I had one once, and it made
my hair messy,” she said, sticking her chin out.
   “Your hair is messy,” I said.




                            15
   She shrugged. “I know. Why is your friend avoiding
us?”
   I looked around for a way to avoid the question, and
muttered. “He doesn’t like girls much. He thinks they’re
boring.”
   She raised an eyebrow. “I think he’s boring.”
   “You’ve never met him before!”
   “He’s never met me before!” She stuck her tongue
out at Jacob. “What’s that?”
   I looked ahead to the clearing in front of us. There
was a big stone building, half hidden by trees. It looked
like a scarily real version of the Mummer’s castle. I
shuddered.
   “I don’t like it,” I told her. I would have told Jacob
we were going back, but he would laugh at me.
   Mary smiled. “I do. I wonder what it is.”
   She grabbed my arm and dragged me to where
Simon and Jacob were a few metres ahead of us,
running so fast we practically barrelled into them.
   Jacob yelped. “What are you doing?”




                            16
   “What does it look like?” Mary beamed. “We want
to know where we’re going.”
   “Here’s where were going.” He scowled at her.
   “Well, what is it?” She scowled right back. “It looks
like that castle in the play. Are there any dragons in it?”
   “It’s a house, I think. Look, it’s got gate posts.” He
pointed to two big stone pillars guarding the road.
   She looked at it sceptically. “Well then, where’s the
gate?”
   Jacob shrugged, a little annoyed, and I could tell it
was because he hadn’t thought of that. “I don’t know,
and what does it matter, anyway?”
   “It doesn’t.” Mary smiled. “I was just curious.”


   We wandered around the huge stone place for a long
time. Mary and Jacob bickered for a while, until I was
assured they would be quite good friends in the end,
and then we set to exploring. Mary wanted to find a
prince, or a mysterious traveller like in the play, but
Simon told her she was just being silly.




                             17
   The place had huge windows, and was full of vines
and plants. I wondered how old it was. Then I
wondered if there were ghosts. I didn’t like it. The place
was creepy with some rooms out in the open, and some
were still linked together covered and dark. I didn’t like
those most of all; they were dark and they smelt like
something rotting. After a while, I looked around and
decided that whatever they said I was going back.
   “Guys, I think we should go. It’s getting pretty
dark.”
   Mary and Simon shrugged, looking from me to
Jacob. “We can stay for a little longer,” he said.
   “But I want to go back,” I told him.
   “You’re just being a scaredy cat.” Jacob said, looking
at Simon and Mary. “Isn’t he?”
   Simon just shrugged again, but Mary wasn’t paying
any attention. Instead she said. “I think I heard
something.”
   “Really?” Jacob looked around.
   “You probably just thought you did,” Simon said.




                             18
   “Guys, really, let’s go. I want to go back.” I grabbed
Mary’s sleeve.
   “Well, it wasn’t a scary noise, if it helps any.”
   I scowled. “I still want to go.”
   “I want to find out what it is.” Jacob scowled back.
   “We’ll just look around a little, alright?” Simon
looked at the both of us.
   “I heard it again,” Mary said. “I think it’s from over
there.” She pointed at what looked like it had once been
a wall. “Let’s look around a little, it sounded sad.”
   “Er...I think this is a very bad idea.” I told them,
making one last try. “When we get in trouble ‘cause
we’re late, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
   “We won’t.” Jacob shook his head.




                             19
Chapter 5


We ended up at the edge of a really creepy looking
forest. It was very dark, and all brambly. I tripped a lot
getting there, and my jacket got caught on a branch,
which was just about the last straw, I can tell you. I got
it back, but it scratched the sleeve so there was a hole.
Mum would be angry.
   The noise was coming from inside the darker spot of
trees, and it sounded kind of worried. I didn’t like it; it




                            20
wasn’t scary, exactly, but it sounded scared, which was
kind of worse when you thought about it.
   It was getting dark out and I was sure we were going
to be late, but nobody else seemed to care much.
   “Come on, we’ve looked around. Let’s go back.” I
insisted, once Mary and I had caught up.
   “I want to look around some more,” Simon said.
   “Same here,” Jacob looked around.
   I looked at Mary. “Don’t tell me you want to go
wandering around in there, too?”
   She didn’t seem very happy about being here either,
but she nodded. “I want to find out what it is.”
   “But there are things in there! That eat things like us!”
I protested.
   “Like people, you mean?” Simon asked me.
   “Yeah!”
   “Well, they won’t eat us,” Jacob said, folding his
arms and making a face. “We’ll scare them off!”
   Mary copied him. “Don’t be a twit. Of course they’d
eat us. But we’ll just avoid them.”




                            21
   “That won’t work even worse!” Simon told her.
“They’d sniff you out!”
   “Well, in that case I’d just point at you and they’ll eat
you ‘cause you’re bigger ‘n me,” she told him.
   Simon scowled at her. “No they won’t.”
   “Yes they will.”
   “No they won’t.”
   “Yes they will.”
   “No.”
   “Yes”
   “No.”
   “Yes.”
   “Are we going to have a look around or not?” Jacob
asked angrily.
   “I’d rather we didn’t.” I mumbled. I could see a few
stars out; it was almost definitely night-time, and we
were almost definitely going to be late…if we weren’t
eaten by something first.
   “Yes, we are. As long as little Missy over there stops
being so loud.” Simon said.




                            22
   “I wasn’t being loud! And don’t you call me Missy!”
Mary brandished a finger at him.
   “Missy! Missy!”
   “I’ll bite you!”
   “I’d like to see you try! Missy!”
   She bit him.
   “OUCH!” he yelped, grabbing his hand back, and
when he did there was a ring of bright white tooth
marks in his finger. “What’d you do that for!?”
   She brushed herself off, looking very proud of
herself. “I told you I would. Didn’t I?”
   Jacob and I nodded rather shocked.
   “Well?” She looked around. “Are we going, or not?”
And with that, she skipped off into the trees.




                            23
Chapter 6


We walked for a while more until I realized that no one
knew where we were anymore; it was so dark. We could
still here the noise if we were quiet. It was getting louder
the more lost we got.
   “Hello?” Mary called out. “Hey, is there anybody
around?”
   “Be quiet! You’ll give us away!” Simon told her.




                             24
   “Give us away to what?” She looked at him. “I
thought we’d agreed whatever they were they’d eat you
first, in which case I’m only giving you away.”
   Simon just rolled his eyes.
   “Heloooooo?” Mary called, just as she seemed to
trip and stub her toe on something. “Oh. There you
are.”
   There was a man sitting leaning against the tree. He
was wearing a big gray coat and looked very old—older
than Dad even, and Dad has a grey beard and
everything.
   He grunted. “Who’re you?”
   “I’m Mary. This is Simon and Jacob and that one is
Miles.” She pointed at each of us.
   Simon elbowed her. “You’re not supposed to talk to
strangers.”
   “Well, we did go looking for him, didn’t we?” she
asked. I nodded. She had a point. Then I realized how
mad Mum was going to be when I got back. My clothes
were all torn up, and it was almost definitely dark out.




                            25
   “We heard you from all the way out there.” She
pointed at the trees, and I realized that we couldn’t see
the light part of the clearing anymore. It was dark, and
all there was were trees, and trees, and more trees.
   “Who are you?” Jacob asked.
   “I’m a traveller. I was walking through on that path
for the festival when I hurt my ankle. I tried to walk, but
I couldn’t get far. Would you help me?”
   Mary raised an eyebrow. “What’s your name?”
   “James.”
   “Alright.” She knelt down. “Does your ankle still
hurt?” She peered at it, and gasped, “Ew!”
   We all stared. It was bent, certainly broken, and a
   little bloody. I gulped. “We could carry him back if
   he leaned on our shoulders, I think.”
   “He’s too tall.” Mary pointed out.
   “What if we found a stick he could walk with?”
Simon asked.
   Jacob scampered off to find one. “I think there’s one
over there.”
   Mary ran after him. “Careful! Don’t get lost!”


                            26
   “You sound like my mom!” Jacob told her, ignoring
the advice.
   “Worry wart,” Simon muttered under his breath, and
went in search of a stick too. He soon came back with
one big enough to be a log, dragging another, smaller
one behind him.
   “Here.” He handed them to the man. Mary and I
helped him up. His hands were very cold and quite
dirty.
   “How long have you been sitting here?”
   “Almost a day,” he told us, propping himself up
between the two lopsided sticks.
   “Aren’t you hungry?” I asked. “You can come to my
house if you want. I bet you’re frozen.”
   “Alright. I think you’d have to ask your family first.
Where’s your friend gone?” James said.
   We all looked at each other. “Jacob?”
   “Yes, him.”
   “I’ll go look for him.” Mary said.
   “Well, I’m going with you.” Simon said. “We’ll all go
together.”


                           27
   “I might slow you down.”
   “We’ll help.” Mary told him. “Simon, you help him.
You’re tallest.”
   “Don’t you tell me what to do.” He scowled but
helped James anyways.
   “Mary,” I said as I grabbed her arm, “I don’t want to
go.”
   “Well, what do you want to do, just stay here?”
   “No...”
   “Well, we’ll find Jacob fast then and get out of here.
I don’t like it either.” She looked around at the big trees,
which just made me more worried that we were lost.
   “Guys, guys!” Jacob tore through the trees almost
right in front of us, and nearly ran me over. Mary and I
screamed.
   “What are you doing!?” I yelled at him.
   “There’s a bear over there!”
   “What?” I squeaked.
   “What?” Mary yelled.
   “Shhhhh! You’ll get its attention!” Jacob yelled back,
just as loudly.


                             28
   “What, like a real bear kind of bear?” Simon stared
at him.
   “Yeah! With fur and everything! I don’t think it saw
me, though.” Jacob was having a fit.
   James limped closer to us. “Don’t worry about it.
We’re just going to be very quiet and get back to the
path, alright?”
   “We can’t do that,” Simon said. “The path’s really
far. I was paying attention to where we were going. If
we walk that way we’ll get out, so long as we stay in a
straight line.” He pointed to a clump of trees I vaguely
recognised from walking here. How could he remember
that?
   James nodded. “Well, that’s good too.”
   “Are we going now?” I asked, very relieved.
   “Yes,” Jacob sighed.
   “I told you it was a bad idea. And look, you went
and got half ate by a bear,” I told him, feeling very
smug.




                           29
   “I did not get half ate by a bear! I didn't get even a
quarter ate by it!” he protested. But I knew he was really
happy to be going home, too.




                            30
Chapter 7


By the time we got back it was pitch dark out and we
could hardly see where we were walking. I hoped the
bear hadn’t followed us, and I kept looking over my
shoulder just in case, even though I couldn’t really see
anything. Mostly everyone was still up sitting around the
fire, and we tried to edge our way in sneakily without
anyone noticing we’d been gone. It didn’t work.
   “Miles! Miles Winter! Where were you?” I saw my
mother running over to us looking very mad. Jacob and


                           31
I looked at each other worriedly. We were in trouble
now, believe me.
   “They were helping me.” James told my mother,
who looked very worried.
   “We heard him in the woods. His ankle’s all twisted
and he can’t walk, so we helped him get here,” I told
her, talking very fast and hoping she wouldn’t yell at me.
“He’s a traveller and he was coming to see the play too,
but he got hurt or something. I’m really sorry.”
   “I was worried sick about you!” She hugged me.
“But I’m glad you’re safe. Who are these two?” She
looked at Mary and Simon. They introduced themselves.
   “And this is James.” Mary introduced him.
   “Can he stay with us today, Mum?” I asked.
   She looked at him. “For dinner, I suppose. But then
we can talk to Mrs. Richards about letting him stay at
the inn, alright? What are your friends doing?”
   “We were going to go back,” Simon explained, “on
the mail cart. That’s how we got here.”
   “Do your parents know where you are?” Mum asked
them.


                            32
   “Yep.” Mary grinned. “They let me go anywhere as
long as I’m with Simon.”
   “And mine say taking care of her keeps me out of
trouble.” Simon said.
   “I see. Are you two brother and sister?” Mum
smiled.
   “Nope,” Mary told her. “My brother’s name is
Thomas. He’s too little to come here, though.”
   “I see.” Mum looked from her to Simon. “Do you
two want to stay with us until the mail cart comes
tomorrow morning, then?”
   Simon looked at me. “Do you mind?”
   I grinned. “Not at all! Can Jacob come over too,
Mum? Pleeease?”
   “You just disappeared for about four hours without
my knowing where you were, Miles, and you expect me
to let you have a sleepover?”
   “Well...” I stared at my feet. “I said I was sorry, and
they’re coming over anyways...”
   “Well, I suppose so then; yes, you can.” She looked
at the five of us, including James. “You’re all covered in


                            33
muck. Let’s get home before you freeze to death, shall
we?”




                          34
 “A Small Trip”

by Wesley Clarke
Chapter 1: The Errand


Tom Butanan was not an adventurous boy. He liked to
go to new places and see new things, but he felt much
safer with someone else leading the way. And he was a
little nervous when his mother approached him one
August morning.
   “Tom,” she said, “I have an errand for you.” Tom
looked up at her quietly. “I need you to go buy some
cheese from the little store on the corner.” There was a
pause
   “Do I have to?” Tom asked finally.


                           2
   His mother sighed. “Yes, Tom. I can’t be with you
all the time. The store is not even a block away. You’ll
be back before you know it.”
   Tom was not thrilled by his task, but his mother was
right, it would only take a few minutes and he had to
face his fear sometime.
   Tom’s mother gave him a few dollars and walked on
to the front porch with him.
   “There’s the store right down there.” She pointed to
a charming little store on the corner of the street.
   “Okay.” Tom nodded determinedly, and with that he
stepped off his porch and began walking toward the
store.
   Within one minute of stepping off his porch he
heard someone call to him.
   “Hey! Hey! Wait!”
   The voice came from a boy who was running across
the street waving at Tom. Tom stopped and stared at
the boy. He wore plain enough cloths, but he looked as
if he had been rolling in dirt all morning. Tom almost




                             3
thought he could see a cloud of dust trailing behind the
boy as he ran to meet him.
   “Phew!” wheezed the boy as he reached Tom and
began to catch his breath. “I’m glad I caught you.”
   The two stood quietly for a moment; Tom trying to
figure out what was going on, and the other boy
panting.
   “Hi,” said Tom finally.
   “Hi!” replied the other boy, a little louder than Tom
would have liked. “I’m Eddie, what’s your name?”
   “I’m Tom.”
   “I haven’t seen you around here before. Did you just
move here?”
   Tom nodded.
   “Well, Paris is the coolest city in the whole world;
you’ll like it here.”
   “I do so far,” replied Tom very truthfully.
   “So your name’s Tom, huh?”
   Tom nodded.




                             4
   “That’s a great name! You know I used to know a
cat named Tommy; he had grey fur and black stripes
and big greenish eyes. Is he your cat?”
   “No.”
   “Oh. Well that makes sense. There are lots of Toms;
in fact, I used to know a kid named Tom. He had big
ears and whacky hair. Is he your brother?”
   “No.”
   “Well what about Tomette? I used to know this
girl—
   “Excuse me, sorry, but I have to go to the store and
buy some cheese.” Tom interrupted. He did not want to
make his errand last longer than it had to.
   “Oh great!” said Eddie. “I know where you can get
the best cheese in the whole city!”




                            5
Chapter 2: The Trip (Part 1)


Before Tom could object Eddie had grabbed him by the
wrist and was leading him down the street. Tom looked
helplessly at the store his mother had pointed to, and
before long they had passed it. Eventually, Eddie
slowed down and the two boys where walking at a
normal pace.
   “Okay, it’s a little farther than I remembered, so we
can’t run the whole way, but I promise you won’t regret
coming once you taste this cheese.”


                           6
   “Okay.”
   “Sorry I kind of dragged you, but it really is that
good.”
   “That’s alright; I’m excited to see the city anyways,”
said Tom. And it was true; Tom had not seen very
much of his new home yet, and this was an interesting
way to do it.
   The two boys walked for a long time, and Eddie
must have talked the whole way.
   “Do you like magic?” Eddie asked.
   “What?” asked Tom.
   “You know, magic, like magicians. Harry Potter,
Gandalf, Abra Kadaver?”
   “Well, I guess I like it. It’s not real though, is it?”
   “Not real? Are you joking? It is completely real, and
I can prove it to you!” Eddie spun around and looked
Tom straight in the face. “Watch closely,” said Eddie
quietly as he pulled a shiny coin out of his pocket.
   “So you see this coin, right?”
   Tom nodded.




                              7
   “Now watch this.” Eddie put the coin into his
pocket and began saying strange words.
   “Ala Katra Zama Yum!” he said and then plunged
his hand into his other pocket. “Get ready.” Tom heard
jingling noises as Eddie rummaged around in his
pocket. Finally Eddie pulled out his hand.
   “Ta-da!” he yelled enthusiastically. He had a handful
of coins in his hand.
   “What?” asked Tom as politely as he could.
   “What do you mean what? It’s pretty clear. Not only
did I teleport the coin from one pocket to the other, I
also made a whole bunch of copies of it!”
   Tom looked at Eddie blankly for a moment. “That’s
neat,” he said finally.
   “I’ll Say!” Eddie beamed a huge grin at Tom. The
two stood awkwardly for a moment. Tom was unsure of
how to react and Eddie was thrilled with his trick.
   “Should we keep going?” Tom asked finally.
   “Oh, sure.” And Eddie once again led the way.
   It did not take long, however, for Eddie to spark up
a conversation again.


                            8
   “So where did you live before anyways?” he asked,
genuinely interested.
   “Well I actually just lived in a little house by the sea.”
   “Oh, really? That is so cool. You know, I hear the
sea is really beautiful this time of year. Actually, I hear
it’s really beautiful all times of year. Is it really that
beautiful?”
   “Yea, it is really nice. I think I’ll miss it, but I like it
here too.”
   “You know what I heard? I heard that the sea is a
really good backdrop for all kinds of shows, especially
magic shows. And if you are a really skilled magician
you can tame sea monsters and ride them all around the
world!”
   Tom thought about this for a moment. “To be
honest, I have never heard that. I’ve never seen a sea
monster either.” Tom narrowed his eyes. “But I know
they’re out there.”




                              9
Chapter 3: The Market


Tom followed Eddie for what must have been half of
forever, mostly through alleyways with Eddie’s constant
commentary. Tom did not know where they were going,
but Eddie seemed to and Tom was glad to follow.
   “Here we are!” Eddie announced finally as he put his
hands on his hips and stood proudly. They were
standing at the entrance to a huge market. It was an
intricate maze of stalls full of fresh fruits, vegetables,
cheeses, fish, and meats.


                            10
   “This is my favorite place in the whole city.” Eddie
said as he grabbed Tom’s wrist and began to drag him
through the crowd.
   “This guy has the greatest pears in the whole city!”
said Eddie as he pointed to a round man with a red face,
“And this one has the best carrots I’ve ever tasted!” He
pointed to a woman with huge purple glasses. At this
Eddie stopped and looked Tom in the eyes. “And
believe me, I know carrots. Over there is the most
fantastic lamb, and man those bananas are delicious. I
can’t get enough of those tomatoes!”
   After Eddie had exhausted himself raving about all
the fabulous foods in the market Tom found a nice
cheese      stall    and        bought—on        Eddie’s
recommendation—a nice wedge of cheese with the
money his mother had gotten him. Before Tom could
think of what to do next, Eddie perked up and stared
Tom right in the eyes.
   “What’s wrong?” asked Tom. For a moment he was
afraid something terrible had happened, but Eddie only
lifted his finger and pointed to a stall in front of him.


                           11
Behind the little counter a man with a bald head, round
glasses, and a bristly moustache waved at them.
   “You have not lived until you have eaten this
celery,” Eddie whispered. Tom waited for a moment
expecting Eddie to say something else or keep moving,
but he stood still pointing.
   “I like celery,” Tom said, not sure what would
happen next.
   “I don’t think you understand what I’m saying. You
have never eaten celery. You’ve never even been alive.
Not yet.” And with those words Eddie pulled Tom over
to the celery stand.
   “Well, hey there Eddie,” said the man behind the
counter with a smile. “I see you’ve brought a friend
today.”
   “Hello Phil. This is Tom.”
   “And how do you do Tom?” But before Tom could
tell Phil how exactly he was Eddie interrupted loudly.
   “This is no time for pleasantries. This boy needs
some celery!” Phil looked rather shocked at this and
handed each of them a big stalk of celery. Tom did not


                               12
know what to do with a full stalk of celery, but Eddie
started munching on his right away, and his huge smile
returned to his face.
   “Sorry to scare you like that Phil, but it was serious.”
Phil smiled.
   Eddie turned back to Tom with a mouthful of celery
and looked as if none of the problems in the world
existed. And with that encouraging look, Tom took a
huge bite of celery.




                            13
Chapter 4: The Trip Part 2


The two boys stood rather awkwardly, Eddie munching
his celery happily and Tom not sure of what he should
do.
      “Umm, Eddie?” Tom said tapping his friend on the
shoulder.
      “Hmm?” Eddie replied, barely able to pull himself
away from his celery.
      “What should we do now?” asked Tom.




                            14
   “Oh, well…,” Eddie wolfed down the rest of his
celery, “now there are about ten million things we could
do.” He thought for a moment. “Although, several of
them can’t be done with cheese so maybe there’s only
five million. But that’s still plenty of millions!”
   “Is there a good park around somewhere?” Tom
asked, trying to help Eddie think of somewhere neat
they could go. Then Eddie snapped his fingers.
   “I’ve got it!” he said excitedly. “I know exactly where
we can go.”
   The two boys started walking, although not as
quickly as before. It was getting late and the boys where
getting a little tired. Eddie’s vocal chords, however, had
not lost any steam.
   “You know, I’ve been thinking about my future,”
said Eddie thoughtfully
   “Oh?”
   “Yea, I’ve been thinking that when I grow up I
should be famous, but I can’t decide how.”
   “Most of the famous people I know are actors. Can
you act Eddie?”


                              15
   “Can I act?” Eddie sounded shocked. “I’m only the
best actor in my house!” Eddie jumped in front of Tom
and put his hands out signalling a stop. “Why do you
wear that stupid bunny suit?” Eddie whispered in a
funny voice. Then he jumped to the other side of Tom
to show that he was a different character. “Why do you
wear that stupid man suit?” he said in a more normal
voice. “How was that?” Eddie said, more as a statement
than a question.
   “Bravo!” Tom said as he clapped. “You could
definitely be a movie star.”
   Eddie started walking again. “Yea, I could, but I
don’t know if I would want to.”
   “What would you be instead?” asked Tom as he
followed Eddie again.
   “I could be a magician I think. Magicians can be
famous.”
   “Can accountants be famous? My mom’s an
accountant and people call her all the time.”
   “Accountants can probably be famous. Oh…!”
Eddie clapped once, he had had an idea. “I could be the


                               16
world’s greatest celery farmer! People would come from
all over the world to eat my celery, and I could eat it all
the time! That would be fantastic!” Tom did not
completely understand Eddie’s love of celery, but he
decided it was best to be supportive.
   “That sounds like a good idea.”
   “Can farmers do magic though?”
   “Sure. Actually, my mom says farming is magic. She
tried to grow turnips in our yard once and they were
smaller than my toes.”
   “But I couldn’t travel and do shows.” Eddied
crossed his arms. “Hmm, I can never make up my mind
about anything.” Eddie paused. “Actually, I can! I’m
going to do everything!”
   “That is a good idea,” said Tom.




                            17
Chapter 5: The Tower


After much more walking, and much more talking
(mostly form Eddie), Eddie announced that they had
arrived.
   “Here we are!” They had arrived at a huge building
that reached way up into the sky. It was surrounded by
people admiring its height. “Welcome to the Great
Tower of Eddie the Great!”
   “Why is it called that?” asked Tom.




                          18
   “Well, I built it you see. And not too long ago
either.”
   “Really?”
    “Really.”
   “I don’t believe you.”
   “You should.” Eddie looked slyly at Tom. Tom
found this logic hard to dispute. “It’s really neat when
you go all the way up. You can see the whole city from
up there.” Eddie pondered for a moment. “Probably the
whole world actually.”
   “Let’s go!” said Tom excitedly.
    The two boys approached the entrance to the tower,
but before they could begin the climb a man in a shiny
uniform stopped them.
   “Do you kids have tickets?”
   “Tickets?” Eddie asked, sounding shocked.
   “Yes, you need a ticket to go up the tower.” The
man in the uniform pointed to a ticket booth with a line
that must have gone halfway across the city.
   “Well, we don’t have any tickets.”




                            19
   “I know that,” said the man shortly. The three of
them stood quietly for a moment before the man spoke
again. “I’m sorry, you boys can’t go up.”
   Tom and Eddie shuffled away from the tower
slowly, a little disappointed.
   “That’s ridiculous! Doesn’t that man know who I
am?” Eddie said. “The architect should always be
allowed in his own building for free!”
   “That’s true.” Tom said, nodding his head. The two
boys walked quietly for a moment.
   “You know, I would understand if I was just a
regular person, but I’m the architect! Have you ever
heard of an architect not getting into his own building?”
   “I have never heard of that.” Eddie was very upset
about the incident at the tower. Tom did not exactly
know why, but he thought it best to be supportive of
his friend. So as Eddie went on about architecture and
uniforms and municipal law, Tom walked quietly beside
him, only speaking when Eddie asked for his agreement.
   Finally Eddie wore himself out.




                             20
   “I’m just going to have to write a letter to the
mayor.”
   Tom nodded.
   “And that’s the end of that.”
   Tom nodded again.
   The boys kept walking for a moment before Eddie
spoke again. “Where are we?”
   Tom looked around. The houses were all different
than the ones they had seen before. They were shorter
and closer together.
   “I thought you knew where we were going.”
   “I was so upset about the tower I wasn’t even
watching where we were going.”
   “Oh dear.”
   Tom and Eddie stood together on the corner of a
sidewalk. They did not know what to do. They were
frightened.
   “Tom?” Eddie said quietly.
   “Yea?”
   “I didn’t build the Eiffel tower.”
   “Okay.”


                            21
Chapter 6: The Rescue


   “What should we do?” asked Tom nervously.
   “I don’t know. I usually know, but not right now.”
   “Should we sit still or should we keep walking?”
   “I hear both are good.” Eddie thought for a
moment. “What if we walked back the way we came?”
   “Did we walk straight?” Tom hadn’t been paying
much attention to where they had been walking either.
   “Mostly, I think. I hope.”




                           22
   It was getting late. The sun was turning orange and
the two boys walked back the way they had come—
mostly. They were not as chatty as they had been
before. They were tired and not entirely sure that they
were walking in the right direction. Their feet slapped
the pavement over and over and their feet ached.
   “You know, once I wore pancakes for shoes,” said
Eddie quietly.
   “I have never done that,” was Tom’s completely
honest reply.
   “It wasn’t as good as it sounds.”
   As the boys walked longer and longer, they grew
more tired and less hopeful. The sun was almost all the
way down. The yellow street lamps had come alive and
they added a dull buzz to the walk. But then, just as the
boys were starting to get really worried they saw
something. Something they thought was quite grand.
Sitting on the corner of a street they were approaching
sat a black and white police car, and leaning up against
the car were a man and a woman wearing blue
uniforms. They were police officers!


                           23
   “Hey! Hey!” Eddie called, running towards them
with Tom on his heels. The police officers straightened
up, surprised by the boys.
   “Oh thank God we found you!” yelled Eddie much
louder than was necessary as he reached them.
   “Can we help you?” asked the policewoman, as kind
as she could in her confusion.
   “Well, you see, we fine young men have misplaced
ourselves and we were simply inquiring if you could
help guide us to our homes,” said Eddie charismatically.
    The police officers smiled at Eddie’s flowery
language. “We can help them, can’t we Sally?” said the
policeman to the policewoman.
   “Of course,” she said. “Go on in,” she said to Tom
and Eddie as she opened the back door of the car. The
boys got in and the police officers got in the front seat.
   “Wow!” said Tom. “I’ve never been in a police car
before. It’s neat.”
   “I have,” said Eddie shortly.
   “So where do you kids live?” asked the policeman
kindly.


                             24
   “We live on Vinti street,” said Eddie. “I live at
number twenty and Tom lives across the street.”
   “Alright then,” chimed the police officers in
mysterious unison.
   On the car ride home Eddie had regained his
chattiness. “Do you guys like being police guys? I hear
some people don’t like it.”
   “We like it okay.”
   “Well, that’s good. That’s what counts, you know.
Hey, how do you guys feel about the treatment of
architects in this city?”
   “I think they’re pretty cool,” said the policeman.
   “They do good work,” said the other.
   “Yea, they do,” Eddie nodded.
   Tom decided that cars where much faster than
people because the whole day of walking took almost
no time at all in the car to undo. The police officers
dropped Tom and Eddie off right in front of Eddie’s
house.
   “Bye, bye!” said Eddie to the police.




                              25
   “Thank you,” said Tom politely. And with that the
police car drove off into the night.
   “Well, I sure had a lot of fun today,” Eddie said as
he beamed at Tom.
   “It was an experience.”
   “You still have your cheese don’t you?”
   “Oh…,” Tom had nearly forgotten, “yea, I’ve still
got it.”
   “Well, I’ll see you around—maybe tomorrow.
There’s a whole lot more things to see in this town.”
   “That sounds great.”
   And with those parting words the two boys went
home.




                             26
     “Lucidity”

by Laysla DeOliveira
Chapter 1: Magical Arrival


Hi, my name is Joshua Smith and I have a best friend
named Orlando. Orlando lives in Brie Land. It’s not on
Earth you see it’s in a planet called Imaginville.
Everything in Imaginville is lime green and orange and
tastes like cotton candy bubble gum. Practically
everything is edible there except for the people in Brie
Land of course.
   A couple of years ago there was a famine in Brie
Land and everyone started eating the land. Orlando was
the only one who could feed off his imagination. He


                           2
just imagined the food and ate it! It’s quite amazing if
you ask me.
    Ever since the famine, Orlando was hired by Prince
Cornopolopolus to work in his castle and take care of
Imaginville’s people. Orlando taught many people in
Brie Land to use their imagination in order to feed
themselves. He even won a badge for it!
    Orlando is one of my biggest heroes. He came to me
last year he hasn’t left me since.
    “Gooooood morning Joshua!” he yelled.
    “Orlando!” I yelled back with excitement
    “You seem so blue! Yuck! I hate blue!” Orlando said
as he made a sour face.
    I laughed because it was obvious that Orlando hated
blue. Everyone in Brie Land was lime green and orange
after all!
    “Maybe I should become more orange?” I suggested.
    “Or lime green!” he added, and we laughed together.
    “Hey Joshua, what do you say we play—”
    “Hide and go seek?!” I shouted enthusiastically. That
was our favourite game.


                             3
   You see it wasn’t any old form of hide and go seek.
It was Imaginville’s hide and go seek. This meant that
both Orlando and I escaped to Brie Land while Mom
did something or other in the kitchen. Mom never
found out about my hide and go seek adventures with
Orlando. It was a secret I could keep from her and a
place I could go without her plastering me with
smooches.
   “Alrighty! 10, 9, 8, 5, 2, 1!” Orlando counted.
   Orlando’s so silly! He always skips numbers on the
countdown. It makes me unprepared for the Cloud
Nine Fall. You might be wondering what on earth The
Cloud Nine Fall is. Well basically the only way one can
get to Brie Land is by going through a series of levels.
The first level is Cloud Nine.
   Cloud Nine is a cloud shaped like a nine of course.
After Orlando does the countdown, we fall at the tip of
the nine which triggers two summersaults and a tuck.
Then we fall right through the whole of the nine and go
to the next level.




                            4
   The next level is filled with floating leaves,
hippopotamuses and rhinoceroses. It’s so cool! You
basically have to jump from one floating leaf to the
next. Being careful is absolutely essential though
because if you miss a leaf you’ll fall and the fall takes
you to Lumpus’s land, which the land of evil.
   Once you jump through all the floating leaves you
have to wait for a double horned rhinoceros. The single
horned ones are no good. There’s not enough support
for you to hold on to them. Rhinoceroses run like crazy
you see, and these ones take you to the hippopotamuses
so you have to be secure.
   Once you arrive at the hippo stop the Rhinoceroses
chuck their back leg like a horse while the
hippopotamus opens its mouth. Now this is the real
scary part! The chuck makes you land right inside the
hippopotamus’s mouth and once the hippo feels you
sitting on its tongue it closes it mouth. Boy oh boy is it
dark inside a hippopotamus’s mouth! Good thing
Orlando glows in the dark! The hippopotamus ride




                            5
takes about five minutes. Then it opens his mouth and
TADAAAA! You arrive in Brie.




                          6
Chapter 2: The Non-Believer


   “What is it, Mom?”
   “You haven’t had anything to eat Joshua! You’re
going to starve yourself!”
   “Mom, I don’t want anything to eat thank you very
much.”
   “Joshua Smith! Open the door RIGHT NOW!”
   I had to open the door. When Mom says my full
name, she means business.
   “What is it Mom?” I repeated.


                             7
   She handed me a tray of food. My favourite: Kraft
Dinner.
   “EAT!” she demanded.
   Truth is I was kind of hungry but I was really upset
with Mom. You see, I used to live in Vancouver where
there are plenty of trees and mountains and the air is
always so nice and humid. But Mom had just got a job
here in Toronto. Now we live in an apartment building
on Bloor and Spadina where there aren’t any mountains
and its smelly and the air is sharp and dry. I was so
angry with the move we had just made that I was being
stubborn with Mom. I didn’t want to give in to any of
her demands.
   “Have you made any friends yet?” Mom questioned.
   “None like Joshua and Margaret,” I replied.
   “What about the girl that was here for the book
report project?” she questioned me once more.
   “Her name is Alana. Call her Al. She likes it better,”
I responded dryly.
   “I know her name Joshua. I am asking you if she’s a
good friend.”


                           8
   The thing is, Mom didn’t know Al and I had gotten
along from the start. She was reading Charlotte’s Web
when I walked into my new classroom so I decided I’d
go and sit beside her since Charlotte’s Web is one of my
favourite books as well. Al asked me a few questions, I
answered her a few and BAM: we were friends just like
that. That day Mr. Rigburn, our English teacher,
decided to give us a book report project. Since Al and I
were fond of the same book, we decided to pair up and
use Charlotte’s Web for our project.
   Al came over and we began to work. Everything was
going terrifically well until Al told me she didn’t believe
in Orlando.




                             9
Chapter 3: One of Those


Now, I had never told anyone about Orlando before.
He was my secret, the only thing that belonged entirely
to me. However, when Al and I were spending some
time together on the book report project, she began to
grow on me. I quickly discovered that not only did we
like the same books, we liked the same music, movies,
and TV shows. I liked enjoying things with Al.
Especially because Jack and Margaret, my two bestest
friends from Vancouver, were so far away.


                          10
   “Hey you wanna hear something cool?” I asked her.
   “What?” she responded.
   “I have a friend who lives on another planet!” I told
Al excitingly.
   “You do?” she asked as if she were thinking of
something.
   “Yeah!” I replied.
   “Daddy has always told me there’s a lot more in this
world than just human beings.
   What does your friend look like?” Al asked.
   “Lime green and orange.” I flashed a smile as I said
this. I had a feeling she would like this fact.
   “Hmmmm very very interesting.” Al said, wrinkling
her nose.
   “He came to me—”
   “Wow, hold on. He came to you?” Al rudely
interrupted me.
   “Uhuh” I replied.
   “Aliens can’t come to you. They can’t breathe on
Earth,” she said as if she were the smartest person in
the world.


                             11
       “He’s not an alien; he’s an actual person!” I yelled at
her.
       “Has anyone ever seen him before?” she asked.
       “No,” I replied.
       “Why not?” she asked once more, as if trying to
prove something.
       “He’s just my friend,” I explained.
       “Ohhhhhhhh. He’s one of those,” she said raising
her eyebrows.
       “What do you mean one of those?” I asked, a little
confused.
       “Imaginary friends. Some of us go through that faze.
Luckily enough, I have been blessed with my father’s
lucidity,” she responded with her chin stuck up to the
air.
       I didn’t like what she was saying. She looked snobby
and it was making me extremely angry.
       “He’s so not imaginary! And I don’t even know
what lucidity means!” I yelled at her.
       “It comes from the word lucid meaning you have
the ability to think clearly,” she explained with a smirk.


                                12
   “I am lucid!” I exclaimed.
   “You have an imaginary friend!” she shouted back at
me.
   “He’s not imaginary!” I yelled, trying to top her
voice.
   “Oh yeah? Then let’s see him!” she said.
   Usually    Orlando     appears     unexpectedly,   but
whenever I really truly desperately needed him I could
call Orlando and he would come. However, there was a
distinct process of doing so. In order for Orlando to
fully hear me, I would have to yell his name three times.
On the third time, I’d have to say his name backwards
for him to fully hear my calling.
   “ Orlando, Orlando, Orlando!” I called.
   Just then I saw the magical Brie dust. Orlando
appeared like a shooting comet. There was Orange and
Lime Green dust particles everywhere!
   “ You see! I told you he was real! There he is!” I said
to Al as I pointed to Orlando’s magical figure.
   “Where?” she asked.
   “There! Right there!” I pointed.


                            13
   “Sorry Josh. I actually can’t see anything,” she
replied.
   I couldn’t believe it. Al was being serious. She could
not see Orlando. Could this mean the she was right?
After all these years, could this mean that Orlando had
just been a fruit of my imagination?




                           14
Chapter 4: Back to the Start


After dinner, I sat on my bed all day long and waited for
Orlando to appear. I was actually almost falling asleep
when I saw the magical Brie dust.
   “Good morning Joshua!” he yelled.
   “Hi,” I responded.
   “Feeling blue again? I hate blue. YUCK!”
   I said nothing.
   “Maybe you should turn orange?”
   I continued to stay silent.


                            15
   “Or lime green,” he suggested.
    The thing is I didn’t want to bring anything up with
Orlando. Maybe he had forgotten about the whole thing
with Al on Saturday. After all, I didn’t want t hurt his
feelings. I don’t think I’d be so happy myself is
someone couldn't see me.
   “Let’s go to Brie Land,” I suggested.
   “That’s the best thing you’ve said all day long!” he
replied
   “ Alrighty! 10, 9, 8, 5, 2, 1!” Orlando counted.
   We went through all the levels and continued where
we had left off; the bouncy cotton flowers. Orlando
then bounced off a flower and said, “Come on! Let’s go
to Prince Cornopolopolus’s castle! He’s having a feast
there and has invited tons of people, including you!”
   I was super excited! Ever since I have known
Orlando, the Prince has never invited me to one of his
gatherings. He doesn’t usually let people from other
planets in his castle. I had visited the castle once
though. I snuck in with Orlando while Prince




                            16
Cornopolopolus was having a party. This time I was
actually being invited! How cool was that?!
   Orlando and I took the Chocolate Way to the castle.
You probably don’t know this, but The Chocolate Way
is a chocolate boat one rides across a marshmallow river
in order to get to the castle. Prince Cornopolopolus’s
castle is just across the river you see.
   Now, after the famine had hit Brie Land, nobody
was allowed to eat anything in the land so it was real
hard for me not to have a taste of the river or boat.
Orlando kept assuring me there would be plenty of
yummy food at the castle. That made it a lot easier for
me.
   When we arrived at the Prince’s castle there were
Gorbits everywhere. Gorbits are the giants of Brie
Land. They have to stay outside because they don’t fit
inside the castle or any other closed space. The Gorbits
entertained everyone with their ability to spit fire! After
staring at them in awe, I walked into the castle.
   There was food everywhere! Cupcakes, ice cream,
pies, you name it! Everything Mom didn’t allow me to


                              17
eat constantly was in that room. I was just about to try a
piece of the bubble gum cupcake when I heard a “Hey
Joshua! You have a visitor!”
   Those simple little words and that simple little voice,
once again, made everything disappear like little sparkles
of dust.




                            18
Chapter 5: Explanations


   “Who is it, Mom?” I asked a bit irritated.
   “Al, sweetie,” she replied.
   The only thing I could say was “Oh.” Then I heard a
different voice.
   “Hey Josh, could you please let me in?”
   “Fine,” I answered as I opened the door
    Mom decided to give us some alone time and ran
off to the kitchen.
   “Hey,” Al said.


                            19
   “Hey,” I responded.
   “Look, I am sorry if I hurt your feelings on Saturday.
I really didn’t mean to,” she told me.
   “He’s not imaginary,” I said.
   She looked at me for a minute then said,
“Okay…well…close your eyes.”
   I wasn’t sure what Al was getting to, but I decided to
do as she said.
   “Do you see Wilburt in his barn?” she asked.
   “Huh?” I replied a little confused.
   “Look closer! Do you see Wilburt in his barn?” she
asked again.
   I began too look closer. Surprisingly Wilburt did
appear to me! His nose was wet and pink just like I had
pictured it to be. Hhis oink sounded really silly.
   “Now look even closer. Right at the corner of his
barn. Do you see Charlotte?” she asked.
   I did see Charlette! She was spinning her web
extremely fast. “What a talented spider!” I thought.
   “This is so cool Al!” I exclaimed.
   “Now open your eyes,” she said.


                             20
   “Wow Al! I didn’t know you could go into Charlotte’s
Web world!” I told her.
   “I didn’t go into it,” she replied with a serious face.
   “Yes you did! You brought me with you!” I
exclaimed.
   “I didn’t Joshua. We imagined it.”
   This couldn’t be! This couldn’t be! I decided I’d get
this all figured out. I would go to Brie Land by myself.
It had never been done before but I needed
explanations!
   “Hey Al, could you wait right here for me. I need to
get something in my mom’s room,” I told her.
   “Sure thing,” she replied.
   I quickly ran into Mom’s room. If I was going to get
things sorted out I needed to do it fast! Al wasn’t going
to wait in my room forever. I wasn’t sure how this was
going to turn out, but one thing I was sure of. I wasn’t
going to leave Brie Land without explanations.




                            21
Chapter 6: Reality


Going through the levels without Orlando seemed
extremely weird. Suddenly Cloud Nine felt like old
cotton candy. The one they sell right at the corner street
near my house. The leaves in the next level looked ugly.
Kind of like the plastic ones Mom decorated the kitchen
with. The Rhinoceroses and Hippopotamuses looked
like my old teddy bears from when I was a baby... gross!
I took the Chocolate Way. Neither the lake nor the boat
looked yummy. They just looked like old toys I kept in


                            22
my bathtub. After crossing the Chocolate Way I saw
Orlando almost immediately.
   “JOSHUAAAAA!” Orlando shouted excitingly.
“Where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for
you?” he asked.
   “I had to leave for a bit but I am here now,” I
responded with a faint smile.
   “You cam back by yourself?” he asked.
   “Mhmm,” I murmured.
   A faint “Uh oh,” escaped from his lips.
   I didn’t really want to ask this next question but I
had to. I took a deep breath and built up enough
courage to say,
   “Hey Orlando, are you just part of my imagination?”
   “Uh oh uh oh uh oh!” he responded.
   Just then, the party stopped. Everyone turned
around to look at me. I saw Prince Cornopolopolus
from the corner of my eye.
   “Orlando! You convinced me that this was not going
to happen!” the Prince yelled at him.




                             23
   I was really confused. “That what would not
happen?” I asked.
   “You said the forbidden word,” Orlando explained.
   “What? Imagination?” I asked.
   Everyone gasped and I began to notice something.
Every time I said the forbidden word, Brie Land
became darker and its people began to fade. I loved
Orlando and Brie Land and everything that came with
it, but could it be that Al was right? Had I been using
my imagination to comfort me?
   I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. As I
opened them again I said, “I am sorry Orlando.” It was
almost as if he knew what I was going to do.
   “It’s okay, Kiddo. You’re not the first. Every kid
soon comes to the realization of what we really are. You
know something? Our land always changes to suit a
child’s thoughts. Your…you know…thoughts were one
of the best ones Joshua. I just want you to know that. I
had lots of fun with you. Bye,” he replied.
   I smiled at him then began to repeat the most
dreaded words of Brie Land. “Imagination, imagination,


                            24
imagination,” I said until everything faded away and all I
saw was black. This wasn’t a scary black however. It was
a black one saw when they closed their eyes. I opened
my eyes and I was still in my mom’s room. I had never
left.
    I walked back into my room where Al had patiently
been waiting. As I walked back I felt like a different
person, like I had grown up, like I had experienced
something special—something a lot of people wouldn’t
be able to experience in a lifetime.
    As I walked back into my room Al looked at me and
asked, “So what did you go get in your mom’s room?”
    “Lucidity,” I replied. And we both laughed together.




                            25
26
“Adventures of Cremusla”

 by Zenna Davis-Jones
Chapter 1: Run Away


It was a bright, sunny, Friday afternoon. Jake and his
little brother Todd had just arrived home from school.
And what better way to celebrate this beautiful Friday
than by playing video games. Jake always played first, he
was twelve now and therefore, as he liked to point out,
two years older than his brother. He felt he deserved
this privilege.
   “You can’t always go first!” yelled Todd.
   After a couple minutes of yelling who should go first
and one or two hits with a pillow it was decided Jake,


                            2
once again, was to go first. But just as the game was
loading they heard their mother’s angry voice from
downstairs.
   “Jake, Todd, get down here!”
   “Yes Mommy,” They mumbled as they slumped to
the stairs.
   It had been about four days since Jake and Todd had
gotten in trouble, “about time we got in trouble again,”
joked Jake.
   “Ok boys sit!”
   They hated when their mother told them to sit on
that big, red couch. It meant they were in trouble,
always. The red curtain had been drawn in front of the
big window giving their mother a red-demon-like glare
as she stood towering over them.
   “You boys have been playing video games too
much!” She yelled as she menacingly pointing of her
figure.
   “Jake, you’re twelve years old now and big enough to
know when you have other things to do.”




                           3
   Jake looked at his twelve year old feet, dangling
helplessly off the couch. I would look so much bigger if my
feet could only touch the floor. Jake thought to himself.
   “When was the last time you practiced baseball?
How are they going to win if their pitcher doesn’t even
practice? And don’t think you’re off the hook Mr.!” She
yelled as she turned all her wrath and anger towards
Todd.
   “Todd, I know you’re not as big as Jake but
nonetheless you’re ten years old now!” She said as her
voice softened a little, she knew that Todd hated being
younger.
   “But I know you like math and I know you’re good
at it, so why has your math homework been left
untouched on the table for two days now?”
   “Um…well…it’s just that I don’t know if…” Jake
decided because he was older, it was his duty to try and
talk to his mother. But he soon found his words failed
him and Mom took over the conversation again.
   “Jake the top ten reasons why video games are
important is not a good enough excuse. Now the main


                               4
reason I called you down here is because your kitten,
the one you two begged for, has not been walked in
three days! Go find Rex’s leash and please just take him
for a walk…you too Todd!”
   “Okay Mommy,” they moaned as they went to the
front room, discovering the leashes underneath a pile of
winter coats that hadn’t been used for six months.
   Rex had been a really cute kitten. He was still quite
young but was at a distinguished sized that he no longer
classified as the little kitten he once was. Counting his
orange, white, and grey stripes distributed evenly around
his body made for the passing time Todd had until it
was his turn to play video games. And his green, liquid-
like eyes mesmerized anyone who looked into them. So
as mad as Jake and Todd were about having to walk
Rex, his eyes, oh those eyes, made it impossible for
them to stay angry, at least at Rex.
   “I don’t understand why we walk a cat. Don’t people
just walk dogs?” Todd said as they walked down the five
concrete steps that led into their front yard. Rex fussed
a little, trying to pull Todd more quickly than Todd


                             5
wanted to walk. But after a couple tugs on the leash Rex
slowed down and they exited their five-by-five-foot
lawn and turned left at the street.
   Fortunately the weather was still nice. Jake looked up
and not a cloud was in the sky to cover the dazzling sun.
Neighbors were out watering their lawns, cars ceased to
drive on the road because today, people preferred to
walk.
   “Yeah, I think Mommy just wanted us to go outside
for a bit. It’s not that bad though and Rex seems to like
it, look at him!”
   Rex strutted down the street looking as if he were
the king of the world. His strut and star-like manner
were only interpreted when he decided to, as usual,
clean himself.
   “Stop licking your butt Rex. That’s gross!” Todd said
putting his hand in front of his eyes to block the view.
   “At least it’s warm out today. It was so rainy before.
I hate when it—”
   “Jake, look at Rex again,” Todd said with an urgency
that told Jake he had to look.


                             6
   Rex was sitting straighter and stiller than they had
ever seen him. He was so transfixed it was almost as if
he were a statue. As they followed his eyes, they realized
he was staring intently at a dark, gloomy forest to their
left. A small field stood in-between them and this
depressing place, but nonetheless they felt its shadow
cast over them.
   “Why is he staring at the forest?” Todd said.
   “I don’t know. Wait…a forest? Am I crazy or were
those trees not there yesterday?” Jake said.
   “I’m…I’m not sure. Hey, wait Rex. Don’t do that.
Rex stop!” Todd said.
   The more Rex ran around the harder it became for
Todd to hold the leash. Rex ran so much that Todd
dropped it and before they could catch him Rex
zoomed off into the forest.
   “Oh no, lets go get him Todd!” Jake said.
   “But Jake it’s so dark in there! It’s scary! I...I can’t go
in there!” Todd cried.
   “We don’t have a choice Todd, Rex is in there! What
if he gets lost or hurt?” Jake said.


                              7
   Todd knew the longer they waited the farther Rex
would get but looking at that Forest that looked like it
may swallow them, didn’t look too inviting.
   “Todd, please.” Jake begged.
   Jake had never sounded so desperate before. It was
this desperation in his voice that forced Todd to gather
all his courage. With a deep breath he stood up straight
and decided that they must go.
   “Ok fine let’s go…but please can we hurry!” Despite
his full-hearted attempt to be brave he decided that it’d
be best to get this venture over with as fast as possible.
   And with that, the boys descended into the forest; a
forest so scary they only imagined it in their nightmares.




                             8
Chapter 2: Terrible Trees


   “Rex! Where are you? Rex!”
   Both the boys shouted at the top of their lungs as
they plunged deeper and deeper into the shadowy, dark
path between the trees. The only other sound to be
heard was the occasional cracking of dead leaves from
other animals and a faint murmur of the bugs hidden in
the trees and bushes.




                            9
   “We’re never going to find him!” said Todd,
stopping for the first time since they had entered the
forest.
   “Don’t worry; I’m sure if we just walk a little deeper
we’ll find him. He has to be here somewhere,” Jake said.
Jake had no intension of quitting now. He knew his
mother would be devastated if they lost Rex. Not to
mention he would miss Rex more than he wanted to
imagine. Despite Todd’s discouraging words, Jake
continued onward.
   “But Jake…it’s so dark and scary…did you hear
that!” Todd said chasing after Jake.
   Todd looked around quickly. He swore he heard a
growling noise coming from behind him. But it was so
dark he couldn’t tell the difference between the tree
stumps and open space. He decided to keep following
Jake.
   “It’s nothing! Just hurry the faster we are the faster
we’ll find him!” Jake said as he began to pick up his
pace.




                            10
   “Wait, Jake! Look how…weird the trees look,” Todd
said.
   “What are you talking about? Oh my…what’s
happening?”
   Jake and Todd stopped to look around. There
seemed to be lighter around them. And all the trees had
begun to look as if they were molding together. They
slowly continued to walk and as they did, the trees
started to all blend into one, a white light enveloping
everything became brighter until the trees lost all their
color. Eventually they were in nothing but a bright,
white tunnel.
   “Should we…go back?” Todd asked.
   “We can’t go back now, look how cool this is!” Jake
said. His eyes were holding so much excitement you
would think he just saw his favorite super hero.
   “But Jake!” Todd tried to argue with him, but it was
no use. Jake was determined to keep on going.
   “Look Todd! There’s something down at the other
end, let’s go!”




                           11
   They ran at full speed. The white tunnel became
brighter and brighter, so much so they were running
with their hands over their eyes until there was a new
light. It seemed to have color. They looked up to see
what was changing the tone around them only to find a
giant hole that looked like it contained some sort of
well…world!
   “What’s in there? Are those trees?” Todd said. Todd
didn’t know what to do. He knew they shouldn’t have
entered the forest! Stupid, stupid, stupid! Todd thought to
himself.
   “I don’t know but let’s go! Follow me!” Jake said.
   Jake seemed more excited about the whole thing
then what Todd thought possible.
With that they both ran through the end of the tunnel.
   “Where are we?” Todd said looking around.
   “I…I don’t know,” Jake said.
   They were looking onto a huge valley with the
greenest grass they had ever seen, the bluest sky with no
cloud and all the flowers were so rich in colors of red,
purple, yellow, and pink that they had to stop and stare


                            12
for a minute before they could look away. Far in the
distance blue-grey mountains stood guarding over them
making the world they had just entered, seem as if it
could go on forever. Running water could be heard in
the distance, along with the slightest sounds of birds
singing. That was until Todd interrupted.
   “Umm Jake…JAKE!”
   Standing four feet in front of them was a green,
scaly, enormous dragon!




                           13
Chapter 3: Help or Not


Before they could stop themselves they screamed
causing the dragon to turn around.
   “Ah!” They both yelled fiercely.
   But there was another voice that yelled with them. It
was too deep and strong to be one of their voices. They
crouched covering themselves with their arms in hopes
they would not get burned but after a minute had
passed it seemed unlikely they would be burnt at all.
Slowly they looked over at the terrifying dragon but saw


                           14
he was doing something strange. He was crouched
almost in the same way they were, way bigger but
nonetheless crouched.
   “Is he shaking?” Todd whispered.
   “I…I’m not sure,” replied Jake.
   The dragon was shaking; in fact, he looked more
terrified then them! All of the sudden the dragon
peeped through a gap in-between his knobby arms and
yelped a yell that resembled a puppy’s plead.
   “Please don’t hurt me!” Dragon said with a voice too
high-pitched to be intimidating. “I’m…I’m only one
hundred and fifty, too young to die! Please I only
thought that Rex would—”
   “Wait, you know where Rex is?” Todd said.
   “Don’t talk to him Todd!” Jake demanded. “What if
he hurts us? Stupid.”
   “Me hurt you? I would never!” The dragon replied
moving his had over his heart as though he had been
deeply offended by such a remark. He slowly stopped
shaking and began to stand up straight. “Will you hurt
me?” He asked timidly.


                           15
   “Us? Of course not!” they both replied in shock.
   “Hmm…well, I’m glad we got that straightened
out,” Dragon said followed by a snort-filled laugh.
   He took a Kleenex from what appeared to be his
back pocket and blue his nose with a fierceness that
could blow a pig’s house down.
   “How do you know Rex?” Jake demanded. “And
who are you?”
   The sun was high in the sky and the boys could see
that the dragon was a lime-green with purple spots;
almost like the ones they drew at school. He had a small
head but a big belly, though the thing that shocked
them most about the dragon was that his wings were
smaller than his arms! How he flew they had no idea.
   “My name is Cat. I am a dragon here in Cremusla,
the valley of abandoned creatures. Not abandoned so
much as creatures that just couldn’t get along with you
humans! So close-minded you were. Or so I’m told.
Anyways we came here, and here we stay.”




                           16
   Jake and Todd looked around but they could only
see the faint outline of a bird flying in the sky, perhaps
all the creatures were sleeping?
   “Please tell us where Rex is!” Jake pleaded.
    He didn’t care where the other creatures were. He
wanted to find Rex and leave before something bad
happened. Besides both the boys were really tired by
now and knew their mother would soon be looking for
them if they did not hurry.
   “Rex is a good friend of mine,” Cat said. “He comes
here often. He was here a few days ago actually. He
mentioned that you might be able to help us.”
   “Help you! How can we help you? You’re a dragon!
Can’t you do everything!” Todd said.
   “Well…,” Cat replied with a chuckle, “I’m not your
typical   dragon.   I’m…well       really   I’m   afraid   of
everything…I can’t even blow fire. But I don’t want to
talk about it. Will you help us or not?”
   “I’m sorry Cat we’d really love to help, but our
mother will be looking for us. We have to go home. We
really only came here to find Rex,” Jake said.


                              17
   “Rex? He’s not here! He’s already with our King,
which is where I need to take you.”
   “Rex isn’t here! Oh no we are in serious trouble!”
Todd said. “Jake what do we do? We can’t leave without
Rex, Mommy will get so mad at us!”
   Todd looked at Jake helplessly. This was not a good
thing!
   “Is there a way you can make him come here?” Jake
asked.
   “Only by going across there,” Dragon said as he
motioned his head towards a bridge not too far from
them, covered in a haunting mist.
   “If we help you, will you help us get Rex?” Jake
asked.
   “Of course, why Rex is where we need to be!” Cat
replied excitingly.
   “How can we help you?” Todd said.
   “Our king is sick.” Cat said with a drop of his head.
“He has been sick for some time. We have tried
everything. A wizard recently came to inspect him and




                           18
said that only an item immediately taken from a child’s
pocket can help our King restore his health.”
   “But all I have is…an eraser,” Jake said.
   “And all I have is some bubble gum,” Todd said.
   The boys had reached into their pockets, turning
them inside out. How would they ever help with such
pointless things?
   “Both of those things will be perfect…now we must
hurry,” Cat said as he turned and began to walk towards
the misty bridge.
   “Where are we going?” Jake yelled as they started to
run after Cat.
   “The Bridge of Wonders of course! It’s the only
thing that will get us to the King’s castle!”
   With that, the boys looked up to see the dark,
haunting bridge coming closer and closer. All the light
seemed to avoid the bridge; even the sun was blocked
out. It was so misty they soon lost sight of dragon. With
one look at each other and a big gulp of air Jake and
Todd walked into the Bridge of Wonders.




                             19
Chapter 4: Monkey Business


The mist was so thick seeing their hands in front of
them became a difficult task, but slowly they pressed
forward. It was a thick mist, one that clogged your
throat as you walk; it wasn’t soon until Todd started to
cough.
   “Are you ok? Please be careful!” Cat said, “You
never know what you’ll find in here, this one time I was
walking and…Ahhhh!”




                           20
   Cat had been taking the lead in the group when
suddenly he gave out a yelled and that became quieter
and quieter as he descended downwards. Unable to see
the fall Cat had just taken both Jake and Todd were
unable to stop and before they new it, they had fallen
down the hole as well. Darkness surrounded them but
within three seconds they felt themselves hit the
ground.
   “What happened?” Jake asked as he used his hands
to try and stand up straight.
   “Cat? Cat where are you?” Todd asked looking
curiously around.
   It suddenly became very clear that they weren’t in
the midst anymore, they were in a clearing surrounded
by a jungle. The tops of the trees were so high; vines
upon vines seemed to be coming from nowhere. The
faint sound of chuckling was surrounding them but
from the looks of it no one was insight.
   “Guys watch out!” Cat yelled only to be quickly
muted.




                            21
   The boys turned around fully to see where Cat had
called from only to find him tied in a hundred vines
held and guarded by dancing monkeys.
   “You will not get away. No, no, no, you’re here to
stay!” The monkeys sang as they danced around Cat.
   “Hey let him go!” Jake yelled talking a step forward
on the hard mud ground.
   The monkeys stopped their dancing and turned to
face the boys. They had been so concentrated on the
dragon they had just captured that the fall of the
children hadn’t been heard. For a minute no one dared
to move. Suddenly they heard a voice approaching from
the forest.
   “Who dare enter our home?” A deep menacing
voice yelled.
   “A dragon master! And worse...much worse…vile
one could say; human boys!” one of the monkeys
replied.
   “Human boys? What are they doing here?” The
voice was closer now and within a moment the King
Monkey approached from between the trees.


                          22
   The King Monkey was slightly bigger than the rest.
He also had more fur unlike the tamed fur of his less-
superiors. He further made his status clear by carrying a
golden staff that matched the golden crown he wore on
his head, but just like the other monkeys, he was naked.
   “Who are you? And why have you come!” the King
Monkey demanded.
   “We...well…It was a mistake! If we could just take
our dragon, we’ll be on our way,” Jake said as he edged
Todd to run and grab Cat.
   “Hold on a second!” the King Monkey stated as he
slammed his staff into the ground. “You come into our
home, uninvited and you want to leave so soon? I don’t
think so. We haven’t had company in some time now.
Tie them up,” the King monkey said with a wave of his
hand and with his head held high, turned to go back
into the forest.
   “Wait!” Jake yelled as the monkeys carrying knives,
spears, and vines began to enclose around them.
“You’re just afraid of some competition aren’t you?”




                            23
   Jake didn’t really know what he meant as he taunted
the King Monkey, but how ever the King Monkey
interpreted it seemed to cause a stir in him. For right
after Jake said this King Monkey stopped in his tracks
and slowly turned back to face them.
   “What did you just say? Us afraid? How dare you,”
the King Monkey said in almost a whisper.
   “Well, it sure looks like it. Just tying us up, and not
even giving us a chance to get free! Seems boring
really,” Jake said.
   He decided it best suited to fake a yawn, and boy did
he fake the best yawn he had made in his life. The
monkeys did not stop coming closer to them through all
this speech until the King Monkey told them so.
   “Stop monkeys! The boy has a point. A game could
be fun. What did you have in mind?” the King Monkey
questioned.
   The     monkeys    surrounding    the   boys   looked
disappointed at the thought of not tying them up and
twitched impatiently at the sight of the boys freely
standing there. But the King took no notice.


                           24
    “Well umm…,” Jake said.
   He feverishly looked around for some sort of
competition and when suddenly he found it! Over to his
left stood a pile of unopened bananas and about twenty
feet farther at the edge of the forest, stood a giant, flat,
rock.
   “Those bananas!” he yelled as he pointed to them.
“I’m sure you think you’re the masters when it comes to
bananas but I’ll have you know I am even more skilled
with them then you are!”
   The crowed of monkeys gasped. How dare he say he
was greater than them at using bananas, they were in
fact the clan of monkeys. Nobody could achieve the
greatness with bananas that they managed!
   “Oh really?” The King Monkey sneered and a green
slowly spread across his face showing his razor sharp
teeth. “And what do you propose we do with those
bananas?”
   “Where I come from we throw them! The person
with the best aim and farthest throw is always
considered the master of bananas! A throwing


                             25
competition      is   what we need!             The first one
to…um…hit that rock at the edge of the forest wins!
    The monkeys seemed to like this idea, they started
jumping and dancing as if they had won the lottery.
    “If we win you let us and the dragon go,” Jake yelled
over all the noise. “And if we lose….”
    “What if you lose?” The King monkey’s eyes shined
like the light of a thousand flames as he asked.
    “Then we’ll stay here forever,” Jake mumbled.
    “Jake! Don’t—” Todd tried to stop him but it was
no use.
    “Don’t worry Todd. I’ll throw. Just remember—
baseball,” Jake said as his hand twitched with
anticipation.
    Todd then knew what Jake had intended. He was an
amazing baseball player. Of course he could hit the
rock! The only problem was he hadn’t practiced in a
couple days, as his mother had angrily reminded him.
    You can do it Jake! Todd thought to himself. Just stay
calm, arms straight, legs bent. Everything your coach tells you!




                                 26
   The monkeys opened a gap in the circle around the
boys and allowed Jake to pass through. The King
demanded his best warrior to go up against him. He
didn’t look like much, but from the reaction of the
crowed Jake could only assume he meant business.
   “When I say three,” the King Monkey announced,
“you will both try and hit the rock, the first one to hit it
wins. One…Two…Three!”
   And so it began. Jake was so nervous he could
hardly pick up a banana. What if he lost? The monkey
warrior threw his first, second, and was about to
through his third when Jake finally threw his first. Jake’s
flew through the air and hit the Monkeys banana,
changing its course. He picked up his second, found his
aim and WHAAM, the monkey warrior hit Jake at the
side! Jake went flying through the air, but he wouldn’t
give up. As he reached the peak of his flight Jake threw
the banana, he threw with more force and more focus
than ever before. With a smack he hit the ground. His
body ached, he couldn’t move. He heard voices of




                             27
cheering and his heart sank, he was afraid to look, he
had lost.
   Maybe I should just wait here until they decide to tie me up,
thought Jake.
   And so he waited, but no monkeys came to get him.
The shouting continued and slowly he looked up. It
wasn’t the monkeys cheering at all! It was Todd and Cat
cheering! He looked over and the rock and realized he
had hit it! The banana thrown in the air had actually hit
the rock!
   “I am disappointed in you warrior,” the King
Monkey said. “But a promise is a promise, you are free
to go.”
   They untied Cat and were quickly brought up vines
on the monkey’s backs and before they knew it they
were back in the mist.
   “That was so awesome!” Todd yelled. “I had no idea
you were that good at throwing!”
   “Neither did I,” Jake replied. “Good thing mom
made me practice my pitching the other day.”




                              28
   The mist seemed to have thickened during their time
in the monkeys cave. Todd began to worry that they
would never get out, and yet they continued.
   “Thank you for saving me,” Cat said as his voice
cracked. “I wouldn’t have been able to leave if it hadn’t
been for you; they’ve wanted to catch a Dragon
forever.”
   “Don’t worry about it. I needed to….”
   Before Jake could finish his sentence a small
explosion of purple color cut him off to his right. It set
off like a firecracker and lit the whole sky, if only for a
moment.
   “What was that?” Todd said.
   “Don’t move!” Cat replied. “I forgot about this!”
   “Forgot about what, Cat? About what? Where are
we Cat?” Jake demanded.
   “The yard of fire crackers.”




                            29
Chapter 5: Fire Surprise


   “I think we can go a little father without worrying.
Let’s try,” Dragon said.
   With this, they slowly tip-toed forward. They had
taken a total of three steps and almost as quickly as it
had appeared, the mist cleared up and in front of them
stood a bare tiled floor, resembling that of a chessboard.
   “There is a riddle that comes with crossing, but it
has rarely been answered,” Cat warned. “I believe it
goes like this: I’m double the width then I stand alone. Add


                             30
myself plus one I’ll be overthrown. To add two more and minus
three, I’ll be back to my place I stood originally. And just
remember to know what to do, you’ll be safe by starting with you.”
   When Cat finished he looked around for some reply.
Both Jake and Todd stood staring at Cat with their
mouths open. They seemed to have reached an
understanding that none of them could answer it.
   “This is terrible! Now we’ll never get across. How
could anyone ever do that?” Jake exclaimed.
   He looked around hoping for some sort of answer,
but there were no walls; only the mist gathering around
the edges of the board-like floor. He then took a big
breath-in and started to turn around.
   “We can’t help you anymore Cat! I’m sorry; it’s just
too hard. We need to leave,” Jake said.
   “Wait a minute!” Todd said as his eyes flickered with
excitement. “It’s a math question! Tell me it again Cat!”
   Cat repeated it a second time, this time slower and
with more enthusiasm than before, maybe there was
hope for them after all.




                                31
   “I’ll be back to the place I was originally…the
answer is two!” Todd exclaimed. “It has to be! And the
final line says that we’ll be safe by starting where we are,
no one move until I say!”
   Todd was in his prime. Finally he got to prove to his
brother that he wasn’t so little after all and that he could
do stuff. Quickly Todd led the way skipping every two
steps. Jake, not used to following his brother, was
hesitant at first but when Todd made it easily half way,
Jake followed, along with Cat, until they had safely
reached the other side.
   “I’m so happy you’re good at math Todd!” Jake said.
   “I’m so happy Mom told me to do that math
homework sheet a few nights ago, it was all about
riddles like these!”
   The mist had once again taken its place and so they
slowly   traveled      through    it.   Suddenly   the   mist
disappeared and standing forty feet about them was the
largest castle, and only castle, they had ever seen! It had
golden gates guarding it and was made of a sky blue
color with clouds pasted on it. Had the mist not been


                             32
determining the outline of the castle, no one would ever
know it was there.
   “Welcome,” said Cat, “to the Castle of Cremusla.”




                           33
Chapter 6: Crystallized Victory


Cat hit his tail towards the ground causing the golden
gates to open. Inside was an even stranger than the
outside. Everything was pink or white and the weirdest
part was that the maids and butlers were cartoon ducks!
They carried on their normal business happily and
calmly but never the less it was the weirdest thing the
boys had ever seen!




                          34
   “Excuse me!” Cat shouted to get everyone’s
attention. “I have here with me the children to help our
Majesty!”
   Everyone in the castle cheered. It was a very happy
thing for them all to hear, they loved their King very
much and had been so worried knowing he was ill. They
boys and Cat were quickly brought up the stairs
occupying the center of the room, down a pink hallway
and towards two big brown oak doors. With three
knocks on the door it opened and slowly they entered.
   “Your Majesty!” Cat said with a boy of his head.
   Both Jake and Todd imitated Cat’s movement before
looking at the King. Ok, they changed their minds. The
workers weren’t the weirdest thing about the Palace, the
King was! He just so happened to be a giant…yes
human-sized, caterpillar! And at the moment he was
lying in bed with an icepack on his head and a
thermometer in his mouth!
   The room itself was a circular room, more high than
it was wide. It was piled with so many books, it gave the
illusion the ceiling didn’t even exist, and for all they


                            35
knew, maybe it didn’t. The only furniture that could fit
in the room was the red velvet couch the King was
currently on and two wooden dressers, one on each side
of the doors they had just entered.
   “You have come! Oh I am so pleased!” the King
said with a tired, strained voice. “Rex has told me all
about you two; Jake and Todd. Unfortunately he had
become extremely hungry. He is so picky and hates the
food here, he went home. But you’ll be with him
shortly, no need to fret.”
   The King had a music-like voice that was as
endearing as it was fragile.
   “Um…your Highness…” Jake said timidly, “We
have been told we can help you but…the thing is…we
really don’t have that much. I have an eraser and my
brother Todd only has a piece of lent.”
   Both boys were disappointed. They had fought so
hard to get here and now it seemed they would never
succeed.
   “I understand that these things you talk of are worth
nothing in your world, but you see, here in Cremusla


                               36
everything touched by a child is always valuable! If I
could only eat what you have brought I would be back
to perfect health.”
   Eat it? Gross! thought Jake and Todd. But
nonetheless they gave up the little they had. Almost as
soon as they had given the gifts to the King, he began to
change. But this couldn’t be right! The King was
shrinking! A terribly feeling of dread washed over both
Jake and Todd. What if they had killed the King? He
shrunk and shrunk and shrunk until he was the size of a
normal caterpillar.
   “Oh no! What have we done?” Todd cried.
   “Do not worry!” a voice shouted over them. “I am
actually the proper size now boys! I was as big as I was
due to the fungus within me, but thanks to you I am
restored,” the King said.
   The smaller the King became the stronger his voice
seemed to grow until it echoed off the walls when he
finished speaking.
   “I will never forget your bravery and kindness, thank
you for helping to restore me back to good health.


                            37
Please take this crystal, it will allow you come back
whenever you wish. And if you would be so kind as to
rub it now, it will take you home.”
   Jake and Todd were overjoyed. They couldn’t
believe it; they had actually succeeded! After all that,
they had actually saved the King! Just as they were
about to leave they heard a small whimper. As they
turned to see the source of the noise they realized it was
Cat…well…crying like a baby!
   “Aw Cat please don’t cry! We’ll be back soon!” Jake
promised.
   “I hope so. I’m going to miss you boys. Thank you
so much for everything you’ve done for us. Now go,
have a safe trip home, and tell Rex I say thank you!”
   With a final wave, the boys rubbed the crystal and
with the sound of a small pop they were back home.
   Opening their eyes they found they were back in
their room!
   “What just happened?” Todd exclaimed.
   “I’m…I …well…I don’t really             know,” Jake
answered.


                            38
   Jake drew the blue curtain hanging in his room back
and discovered that it was dark out.
   “Whoa it’s dark. What time is it?”
   After searching around for one of their watches they
found it on the floor under the bed. It told them it was
eleven fifteen.
   “Eleven fifteen! It’s late Jake. We should go to
sleep.”
   “I think we should go say thank you, and I think you
know to who,” Jake replied.
   With a nod of agreement, the two boys quietly tip-
toed down their short hallway to their mother’s room.
   “Mommy! Mommy, psssst!” Todd said as he poked
his mom in the arm with his figure.
   “Wha…what is it?” Their mother opened her eyes
slightly. “Oh, hey boys. Are you okay?”
   “Yes Mommy we’re great. We just saved a world!”
Jake exclaimed. “And well, we just wanted to say thank
you for making us practice things. It really helped us—
more than you could imagine!”




                           39
   As Jake spoke their mother rustled in her covers.
No, she was not fully awake, but this would do. They
didn’t want to be too lame and tell their mom she was
right during the day anyways! So with that they both
climbed into her bed for a victory cuddle.
   “Wow, sounds cool guys! Go to sleep now. Love
you,” their mother murmured.
   “Love you Ma,” they said together.
   And not a few minutes after one final wink at each
other, Jake and Todd fell asleep.




                            40
“Tyler and the Case of the Lunchtime Bully”

               by CJ Sharpe
Chapter 1: The New Kid


When people find out Tyler used to live in Miami,
they’re usually jealous. Nobody in his class can even
believe he’s never worn snow pants nor had mittens
pinned to his winter jacket. Tyler even knows
celebrities. Lots of them.
   Well, he doesn’t actually know them, but he’s seen
them at the mall. He was surrounded by superstars his
whole life. No wonder Tyler was so naturally talented.
He even starred in his school’s Thanksgiving play.
   Well, he didn’t star in it. He was a blueberry bush.


                             2
    But Miami is where he belonged. Then how come
all this talent was packed into a car and sent to live fifty
thousand miles away in Toronto?
   His mom is a paralegal, which is a fancy way of
saying she helps lawyers. At the beginning of summer,
Tyler’s mom told him they had to move to Toronto for
her work. At first, Tyler was angry. This was his home!
He didn’t want to live in Canada. Canada was cold and
everyone lived in igloos.
   Soon, the idea of moving was exciting for Tyler. He
would be able to impress a whole bunch of new kids.
And in Canada, they probably had different TV shows,
comic book heroes, and games to play at recess.
Toronto would be a whole new adventure.
   His new school was called              Garden Grove
Elementary. He was in grade five. He met his teacher,
Mrs. Smits. Mrs. Smits was the pits. She dressed like an
old lady—an old lady who was blind. Her dress was the
colour of puke.
   The only good part of the day was lunch. He saw an
open spot at a table, so he sat down. At the table, there


                             3
was a small boy with huge glasses, and a dark-haired girl
in a bright red dress. They both looked at him but said
nothing. The boy spoke up first.
   “Is it true you’re from Miami?” said the boy
nervously.
   “Yep,” said Tyler.
   “See, I told you!” said the boy to the girl. “She didn’t
believe me. I’m Carl.” Tyler put out his hand. “Sorry, I
don’t shake hands,” said Carl. “Germs.”
   “Don’t take it personally,” said the girl. “He’s
germaphobic, which means he’s afraid of germs and
being dirty. He washes his hands ten times before
recess. Welcome to Garden Grove. I’m Millicent
Maples.”
   “I’m Tyler.” They shook hands. Tyler thought girls
were totally gross, but Millicent wasn’t horrible. There
was something different about her. She didn’t
completely make Tyler want to hurl.
   As the three kids ate lunch, Tyler told Millicent and
Carl stories about Miami, and they told him stories
about Toronto.


                            4
   At the end of lunch, Tyler started to eat some
chocolate chip cookies his mother had packed for him.
Millicent and Carl both froze.
   “What?” asked Tyler. “Is there something in my
teeth?”
   “You...you have a treat...in your lunch?” the two said
together. They seemed very surprised.
   “Yeah. Is that weird?”
   “Well, it’s just...,” Millicent began, “we haven’t had
treats in our lunches in a long time.”
   “Why not?” said Tyler. “How do you do trades at
lunch?”
   “We don’t trade. We just don’t have treats, okay?
And if you’re not careful, you could lose your junk food
too,” said Carl in a whisper.
   Just as Tyler was going to ask another question, Mrs.
Smits stopped the conversation. Lunch was over. The
class got ready for a math lesson, and Tyler was left
without answers.
   Something was going on here. Tyler knew Toronto
was weird, but even in Canada there must be lunch


                                5
trades. Something was wrong at Garden Grove, and
Tyler was going to find out what.




                           6
Chapter 2: The Proof Is In The Pudding


The next day, Carl was acting funny. He was fidgeting.
He couldn’t sit still, and Ms. Smits yelled at him because
he wouldn’t complete his grammar exercise. He barely
talked to Tyler or Millicent, and he kept looking around
the room like someone was watching him. At recess, he
didn’t want to play dodge ball, but just sat in the
sandpit.
   “What’s going on?” asked Millicent. She and Tyler
stood over Carl, who sat in a ball. The kindergarteners


                            7
were the only ones who played in the sand pit. They
crawled around Carl’s legs like he was an ant hill.
   “I’m not telling,” he said. “I’m just going to stay here
forever. After recess. After math class. I’m going to live
in this sand pit!”
   “Hey Carl, did you know that several billion bacteria
can live on just a single grain of sand?” Millicent said.
   Carl screamed and jumped up from the sand pit,
launching sand everywhere.
   “Now what’s up with you today?” she asked again.
   “Okay, I’ll tell you. But you have to promise that
you’ll tell no one.”
   Millicent and Tyler both had to pinkie swear that
they would keep Carl’s secret. Except they couldn’t
actually pinkie swear because of Carl’s germaphobia.
   “My mom packed a chocolate pudding in my lunch.”
   “Oh no,” whispered Millicent. “Maybe you can go
home sick,” she said. Carl was trembling and Millicent
was holding him in her arms. “Talk to the office, Carl.
Or maybe you should just throw the pudding away
now.”


                             8
   “I don’t get it. What’s the big deal?” asked Tyler.
   “Stay out of this, Miami boy,” snapped Millicent.
“You wouldn’t understand this.”
   Even though Millicent was just a dumb girl who was
dumb, Tyler was hurt.
   “I should just give up now! It’s hopeless!” wailed
Carl. He started sobbing like a little baby.
   Mrs. Smits rang the bell. Recess was over, and after
recess was lunch.
   “Don’t make me go in there! Please Millicent, don’t
make me go inside for lunch!” said Carl.
   “It’ll be okay, Carl. Just stay confident,” said
Millicent, pushing him towards the door. Carl and
Millicent walked bravely indoors, like a funeral march.
   The three ate their lunches in total silence. Millicent
and Carl were tense, and ate their food so slowly. Tyler
was about to open his cookies, but he thought better of
it. He didn’t want to make his friends any more upset.
Carl suddenly stood up.
   “I’m going to do it,” he said firmly. He picked up his
chocolate pudding.


                             9
   Millicent and Tyler watched, holding their breath.
Tyler could sense the danger and fear in the air. Carl
opened the pudding, and dug his spoon into the brown,
gooey goodness. Tyler and Millicent sat forward in
suspense. He lifted the spoon to his lips, and took his
first bite. As he swallowed, his face turned from fear to
excitement. He took another bite. Nothing happened.
Millicent and Tyler both breathed a sigh of relief.
   “I guess I’m safe,” said Carl. As he began to sit
down, a shadow appeared behind him that covered the
whole table.




                            10
Chapter 3: Garbage Can Carl


   “What do you got there, wormbait?”
   A loud voice thundered behind them. It sounded
like a monster that had just been dragged out of the
lake. The three kids turned around, and Tyler saw the
scariest thing he had ever seen.
   A huge kid towered over them. His skin was green
like mould. He was as tall as Godzilla, and as fat as King
Kong. His hair was greasy like bacon, and he stank like
a pile of wet garbage. His nose was running, and he


                            11
wiped the snot away with his bare arms. It flew across
the room. Then he smiled. His teeth were yellow and
covered in old food, and his breath was so strong you
could see it.
   “I said what you got there, wormbait?”
   “Oh     this...It’s   nothing.   It’s   just...my   asthma
medication. Please, don’t take it!” Carl squealed.
   Before Carl could say anything more, the boy
grabbed the pudding with one hand, and grabbed Carl
with the other. He ate the pudding all in one bite.
   “That was pretty tasty for asthma medication,”
snickered the boy. “I think you were lying to me,” he
said, poking Carl in the belly. “And you know what we
do with liars, don’t you?”
   He suddenly lifted Carl over his head, spun him
around, and threw him into the garbage bin. Carl must
have flown ten feet in the air before landing squarely
into the trash. Then, the boy tossed the empty pudding
container on top.
   The boy started to laugh as he turned to leave. As he
walked away, he turned to look at Carl.


                              12
   “Don’t ever try something like that again, wormbait.
I’m the king around here, and don’t you forget it




                           13
Chapter 4: Secrets Revealed


In Miami, there were no bullies. Everyone was friends.
Everyone was too laid-back to fight all the time.
   Tyler quickly learned that at Garden Grove
Elementary, the bullies ruled everything. No one could
make a move for fear of the bullies. They were big,
scary, smelly and mean. They pushed kids right off of
the swing set. They chased kids right off of the baseball
diamond. Even the teachers were afraid of them.




                            14
   There was one bully in particular that ruled with an
iron fist.
   His name was Rufus Bruter. He was the biggest,
baddest, ugliest bully known to man.
   He had failed the sixth grade six times. Some people
said his parents were gorillas. Some people said that
when he was first born, he bullied the nurses into
buying him a soda. By first grade, he was already
stealing comic books from fourth graders. He was a
menace to the school and the whole entire world.
   And there was nothing Rufus liked more than a
dessert at lunch time.
   “For years now, we’ve been going without treats in
our lunch,” explained Millicent. She picked Carl out of
the garbage bin. “Every time we try to enjoy our snack,
Rufus finds us, steals it, and stuffs us into the trash.”
   Carl got to his feet and dusted himself off.
   “Yeah. That’s why I was so afraid to eat that
pudding. What you saw was actually tame for him.
Once, he cut off a girl’s braids.”




                             15
   “We don’t even bring snacks anymore,” added
Millicent. “Our lunches are terrible. We always get food
we don’t like, and we can’t trade anymore. We have
nothing to trade.”
   “You guys just take this? You’re just going to let
someone push you around?” asked Tyler.
   He couldn’t imagine living on the commands of
some bully. It’s not like Rufus was a parent or a teacher.
He was just another kid.
   “He’s just too big,” said Millicent. “Any time
someone tries to stand up to him, he always wins
because he’s so much more powerful. We girls tried to
eat our snacks in the washroom, but he came in even
though he’s not allowed. He’s ruthless.”
   Tyler couldn’t believe this. Living without lunch
desserts would be like living without recess or Saturday
morning cartoons. No one could take away that right!
   Tyler knew he could end this injustice. Then he
would be the most popular kid at Garden Grove. He
would be the star. Just like how he was the star of his
school’s Thanksgiving play.


                              16
   Okay, he wasn’t the star. He was just the blueberry
bush. The point was he knew he had to stop Rufus.




                          17
Chapter 5: No Plan, No Help, No Way


The rest of the day, Tyler could barely sit still. In
geometry, all he could think about was big, fat Rufus
stuffed into a garbage can. All music class, Tyler barely
played a note on his triangle. All he could think about
was the praise he would receive once he stopped
Rufus’s rein of terror once and for all.
   Tyler thought that defeating Rufus would be easy
enough. In fact, Tyler barely thought of how he was




                            18
going to do it at all. He just assumed he would tell
Rufus off and Rufus would listen.
   “Just imagine Rufus covered in stinky garbage after
I’m done with him!” Tyler said to Millicent. It was
reading time, and Millicent turned away from her book
to face Tyler.
   “What are going to do to him? What’s your plan?”
she asked.
   “I don’t know. I’m just going to talk to him, and
maybe force him into the garbage if I can!” Tyler
responded.
   “You don’t even know what you’re going to do?
You can’t just go into this with no idea. Rufus is a tough
bully to beat. Have you ever stopped a bully before?”
she asked.
   “Well, no, but I imagine it would be easy,” Tyler
said. Why was Millicent so doubtful of him, Tyler
wondered. He knew Rufus was no match for him.
   “I can’t believe you! Don’t you think we’ve tried to
talk to Rufus before? The result is always the same. You
think you can just go up to him, totally unprepared, and


                            19
make him listen? Why do you think you’re so special?
Just because you’re the new kid, doesn’t mean you’re
smarter or better than any of us! You are so stupid!”
Millicent shouted.
   She picked up her book and moved to the other end
of the room. She wouldn’t talk to Tyler for the rest of
the day.
   The final bell rang. It was the end of school. Tyler
took a deep breath. It was now or never. He was ready
to make Rufus give up his bullying ways, whatever the
cost.
   Tyler saw Rufus in his usual after school hang out
spot, the bike racks. He liked to stand there and yell
insults at kids, pop the tires in their bikes, or see if there
were any after school snacks he could steal.
   Tyler walked towards the bike racks with Carl by his
side. Millicent refused to come, but Tyler saw her and a
few other kids watching them from a few feet away.
   “What are we doing here? Why do we have to stand
up to him? You’ll get used to no lunch treats. It’s not
that bad, really. Besides, these bike racks are probably


                              20
just crawling with Salmonella, a very dangerous
bacteria,” said Carl.
   “No,” Tyler said. “We have to stop him. What Rufus
is doing is unfair”
   Just then, a big shadow covered the sun behind the
two boys.
   “What’s that you said wormbait?” Rufus asked. If
possible, his breath was even worse than it was at lunch.
   “I said,” Tyler shouted confidently, “that what
you’re doing to us is unfair, and we’re here to stop you!”
   “A new kid with attitude, eh?” Rufus said. “Well,
you know what I like to do with attitude? I like to
stomp it out, and throw it in the trash!”
   Rufus charged forward. Tyler didn’t know what to
do. He hadn’t prepared for this kind of reaction. He
hadn’t exactly prepared for any kind of reaction.
   Suddenly, Tyler wasn’t so confident anymore. He
screamed and ran, with his hands over his head. Rufus
was so much bigger than Tyler, and could run faster. He
caught up with Tyler is a second. He picked up Tyler




                            21
with one hand, and held him like a soda can, squeezing
him around the stomach.
   “Are you ready to give up, wormbait?” Rufus asked.
   “Never,” said Tyler, as Rufus took the breath from
his belly. Inside, Tyler was not feeling so good. Now he
understood what Millicent was saying. Tyler couldn’t
stand up to Rufus alone, without a plan.
   “You’ll never learn, will you?” asked Rufus. “Maybe
this will teach you!” Rufus put Tyler up over his head
and twirled him around in the air. Then, he shoved
Tyler straight into the garbage can.
   “Hope you learned your lesson, wormbait. No one
messes with me,” Rufus said, as he stalked off.
   The crowd of kids began to separate. Millicent,
forgetting her anger, helped Tyler out of the trash can.
   “I’m sorry that happened,” said Millicent, whipping a
banana peel of his shoulder.
   “No, you were right. I should have been prepared,”
Tyler said.
   He was so upset. He would never be praised for
being a bully-crushing hero. All the kids had just seen


                            22
his cowardly actions. Feeling defeated, Tyler rushed
home, cursing the bullies that lived here in Canada.




                           23
Chapter 6: Mom’s Advice


Tyler’s mom was surprised to hear the front door slam
so loudly. She almost jumped at the noise. She knew it
must be Tyler. He was late coming home from school,
and he hadn’t even called. She got up from the kitchen
table, where she was enjoying a nice cup of tea, to greet
her son.
   Tyler’s mom was shocked when she saw him. Tyler
was covered from head to toe in stinky, rotting garbage!




                           24
   “What happened to you honey?” she said, as she ran
forward to hug her son.
   What a smelly hug it was!
   “I don’t want to talk about it,” said Tyler, squirming
under his mother’s embrace. He didn’t want her to see
him like this. He tried to make a quick escape to his
room, but his mom stopped him before he could get to
the stairs. None of his escapes were going very well
today.
   “Now hang on there mister,” she said, with her
hands on her hips. “What’s going on here? Why are you
covered in garbage? Is something going wrong at
school?”
   Yes, everything is going wrong, thought Tyler. He
thought Toronto was going to be filled with new games
to play and friends to make, but instead Toronto was
only bullies and fear, and no lunchtime snacks.
   “It’s nothing,” said Tyler. He didn’t want his mom
to worry. Rufus was his problem.




                           25
   “Tyler,” his mother said sternly. “You can tell me
about whatever is going on. I’m here to help you, and I
only want the best for you. You can trust me.”
   Tyler knew this was true, even though he didn’t want
to admit it. She was smart, and could probably help him
develop a plan to stop Rufus. Tyler wanted to handle
this alone. Mostly, because he wanted the glory. He was
beginning to see that it might take a lot of people,
parents included, to take down this serious bully.
   “Well, there’s this boy named Rufus,” Tyler began.
“He likes to take everyone’s lunch snacks. It’s horrible!
No chocolate pudding, or chips or salt water taffy. He’s
big and mean and scary, and there’s nothing we can do
about him. I tried to talk to him today, and I ended up
like this!”
   “He managed to throw a bunch of you kids into
garbage?” his mother asked.
   “Well,     not   exactly,” said   Tyler.   “I decided
to…well…I decided to just talk to him myself. Alone.”
   “Come here Tyler,” his mother said.




                            26
   He was afraid. Tyler knew that voice she was using.
He had done something wrong, and she was going to
tell him. She led him into the kitchen.
   “Sit down,” she said, and Tyler took a seat at the
wide kitchen table. “Do you want a cup of tea?” she
asked. Tyler nodded. His mom poured him some hot
tea from a painted clay teapot.
   “Tyler, when dealing with a big, bad bully like that,
you need the help of many. United, people can make
change. But when divided, usually nothing happens at
all. It’s okay to ask for help, and it’s okay to need help.
What if you got hurt fighting with Rufus? It could have
been worse than being stuffed in the garbage bin. You
could have scrapped your knee or lost a tooth!” his
mother said.
   “I know,” said Tyler. “I should have had a plan, and
I should have asked for help. I couldn’t handle this
challenge on my own.” Tyler sipped his tea. “I think I
was just being selfish. I wanted all the kids to look up to
me. I wanted to be the hero.”




                            27
   “You can still be the hero. You can be the kid who
organized everyone to stop the bully. But trying to be a
tough guy all alone doesn’t make you a hero,” said his
mom.
   Tyler finished his tea quickly. He was feeling
defeated   before,   but   now    Tyler    had   renewed
confidence. He still could teach Rufus a lesson, as long
as he had a plan, and some help. He got up from the
table and gave his mom a big hug.
   “Thanks, Mom,” he said. “I know I can get lunch
snacks for these kids, with the help of my friends.”
   “No problem honey,” said his mom. “I know you
can do it too!”
   Tyler dashed out of the kitchen and started running
up the stairs to his room. He was ready.
   It was now or never. Rufus was going down for sure,
if Tyler had anything to say about it. He had a plan. He
would have to call Millicent and Carl, to get their help.
The gears in Tyler’s head were spinning. Rufus’s power
was coming to an end.




                            28
   “And Tyler!” yelled his mom up the stairs. “Make
sure you take a bath tonight–you smell disgusting!




                           29
Chapter 7: Heavy Backpacks


Millicent and Carl waited nervously by the bike racks.
Tyler had called both of them late last night and told
them to meet him there at eight forty-five. Now it was
almost ten to nine. Carl’s backpack was starting to feel
heavy on his shoulders, so he took it off and let it rest
of the pavement.
   “Why did Tyler want me to bring all of this?” Carl
said, as he unzipped his bag. Inside, there were dozens




                           30
of chocolate puddings. “Carrying all of this stuff is
giving me a backache!”
   “Put that away!” ordered Millicent. “I don’t know
what Tyler’s plan is, but I hope it works. He’s already
late. Rufus is going to arrive any minute now!”
   As Millicent was talking, a few kids slowly
approached her and Carl. They also had huge, heavy
backpacks strapped to their shoulders.
   “Is this where we’re supposed to be to meet Tyler?”
one girl whispered.
   “Yes,” said Millicent.
   The girl waved to a few more kids, and soon
children were jumping out of cars, school buses, and
out of bushes. All of them had backpacks that bulged
and sank with their weight.
   “Where did all these kids come from? Every kid
from grade one to grade six must be here!” said Carl.
   “It was all Tyler. He called and organized all of these
people. I can’t believe he’s still not here!” said Millicent.
    Just at that moment, Tyler appeared from behind
Millicent, almost making her shriek from surprise. He


                              31
carried two large backpacks, filled so much they looked
like they could burst. He could barely carry them both.
   “You said my name?” said Tyler, with a sly smile.
   “Now is no time for joking!” said Millicent. “Now
get up there and address your people! They’re waiting
for you!”
   Tyler stood on a bench. Looking out at the crowd of
kids, he became slightly nervous. Can I really do this, he
thought. If this didn’t work, Tyler was all out of ideas. If
this plan didn’t work, Rufus would have won. Tyler
took a deep breathe.
   “Okay,” he said. “Are you guys sick of never having
anything good to eat at lunch?” The kids cheered.
“Aren’t you sick of bullies who never treat you fairly?”
Tyler asked. The kids cheered again. “Good, because
today, we are going to put an end to Rufus once and for
all. Too long have we suffered in silence! We will take in
no more! Today is the day Rufus will regret ever
messing around with us!”
   With this final proclamation, the children gave a
loud roar.


                             32
   “Now,” Tyler said “did everyone bring what I
asked?”
   “Yes!” the kids cheered once more.
   “Then let’s see what you’ve got!” Tyler announced.
    Around the block, the sound of many zippers could
be heard as the children opened their bags. Tyler got
down off the bench and took a look around. Inside the
bags, there was enough candy to feed a small country!
   There was pudding and animal crackers and home
made cookies. Some kids brought gummy bears, candy
corn, chocolate bars, chips, popcorn or cans of soda.
One girl even had a bag full of baklava, which is a sweet
Greek pastry.
   Tyler was so impressed by the amount of goodies all
these children brought with them. Everyone was in a
great mood and prepared to stop this bully. Kids
laughed and joked and fantasized about life after
Rufus’s demise.
   The light air of the kids soon turned dark. The sky,
which had been a clear blue moments ago, turned a
dismal shade of grey.


                           33
Chapter 8: Just Desserts


Lumbering towards the crowd of children was Rufus.
There were stink waves wafting from his body. Birds,
insects and small woodland creatures crawled out of his
hair. He looked particularly mean this morning. Tyler
got ready for action.
   “Carl, pass me a pudding, quick!” he yelled.
   Carl tossed him a pudding. Tyler caught it and took
out a spoon. Just as he took the first bite of the gooey




                           34
mush, Tyler could hear Rufus’s big boots crashing down
in front of him.
   “What’s that you got there, wormbait?” Rufus asked,
letting out a horrible garlic-and-tuna flavoured breath
that ripped the leaves from the tress.
   “It’s a pudding, Rufus,” said Tyler confidently,
taking a bite. “Yum, it tastes great.”
   “What are you doing here, wormbait?”
   “Oh, how rude of me! Do you want some candy too,
Rufus?” asked Tyler innocently.
   “Yeah, give me that!” said Rufus, grabbing the
pudding cup from Tyler’s hands.
   “But Rufus, why have one when you can have
many?” Tyler said.
   With that, every kid opened up their backpacks.
Rufus saw all the goodies hidden within. “How about
some pixie sticks? What about some rice crispy squares?
Why don’t you try some cheese Danish?” Tyler asked
with a smile.
   Rufus was astounded. So many treats, and they were
all his for the taking! He couldn’t help himself. His


                             35
selfishness took the best of him. He tore knapsacks
right out of kids’ hands, and dumped out the treats
directly into his mouth. He ripped bags off of arms, and
threw the empty contents of the bag onto the dusty
pavement.
   Rufus stalked through the crowd, flinging his sticky
hands into the air. He charged through the kids, making
sure he had eaten every last drop of sugar.
   Once all the candy had been demolished, he let out a
large, terrible cry. Then, Rufus started to stumble. He
fell onto the bench and groaned, with his hand on his
belly.
   “What’s the matter big guy?” asked Tyler, his voice
dripping with fake happiness. “Too much to eat?”
   “I don’t feel so good,” said Rufus with a moan. “It’s
all this candy...it’s given me a stomach ache!”
   “Well, Rufus, if you keep up your bullying ways,
we’ll make sure to bring this many snacks to school
every single day,” said Tyler.




                            36
   “No! No! I couldn’t eat another lunch treat as long
as I live!” Rufus cried. “I’ll never intimidate and bully in
this school again!”
   The kids cheered as Rufus continued to moan on the
bench. They ran forward and surrounded him.
Together, the kids of Garden Grove Elementary picked
up Rufus, and shoved his big fat body into the trash
can.
   “Looks like Rufus has received his just desserts!”
announced Tyler, and the children let out one last,
fantastic cheer. In the glory of this moment, Tyler knew
he had saved this school.
   Later that day at lunch, Tyler couldn’t believe how
much things had changed. Kids enjoyed their lunch
snacks in total peace. Kids traded their yucky carrots for
gummy worms and cheddar popcorn.
   Rufus even brought a chocolate bar to school, and
traded it for a tuna fish sandwich! He was off sweets for
good.




                             37
   Tyler sat alone, enjoying an ice cream sandwich.
Millicent came up beside him, and sat down next to
him. She had an unusual smile on her face.
   “What you did was really brave, Tyler. It took guts,”
she said.
   “Thanks,” said Tyler. “But it wasn’t just me.
Everyone helped. We all worked together. And you
were right. I should have had a plan from the
beginning.”
   “Well, we couldn’t have done it without you,”
Millicent said. “You know, you’re not too bad, for a
new kid.” With that last kind word, Millicent kissed
Tyler on the cheek, and walked away.
   Girls are weird, thought Tyler. But Millicent wasn’t
that bad. On the whole, she did not make him want to
hurl. He even kind of...liked that kiss. No, thought
Tyler, on second thought, girls are gross.
   Tyler was really happy. He had stopped the Rufus’s
rein of terror, and returned treats to children big and
small. He proved himself to the kids of Toronto, and




                            38
managed to be the star of the show, just like he was the
star in the school play.
   Okay, he wasn’t the star of the school play. He was
just the blueberry bush.
   But that wasn’t the point. The point was, Tyler had
stopped a lunchtime bully, and that was something any
blueberry bush could be proud of.




                           39
40
 “My Glasses”

by Florence Tang
Chapter 1: Blind as a Bat


My name is Pat, and I’m ten years old. Today is Sunday.
I was supposed to go out to the park and play basketball
with my friends but I hurt myself today. I tried covering
the red bump on my head with my hair but my bangs
are too short. I didn’t want my mom to see it, but she
did. But thinking back at it now, this never would’ve
happened if I saw it. But I didn’t, and I couldn’t.
   “What happened?” She asked me.
   I told her, “I tripped and fell outside.” She shook her
head in worry.


                             2
   “You need to be more careful, Pat.”
   I told her I was sorry and she brought a bag of ice to
make my head feel better and told me I had to stay
home because I was hurt. If you want to know the
truth, I didn’t really trip and fall. I actually bumped into
a pole outside of our house. I couldn’t tell her that
though. Why? Because she would know about my
problem and she would do something about it. She’s my
mom.
   The real truth is that I’m as blind as a bat, maybe
blinder. If she knew how blind I really was, then she
would make me get glasses, and then everyone will
laugh at me. I’ve seen it happen before to other kids.
   Last year, there was that one kid. I forgot his name,
it was so long ago but when he walked in the school
with his new thick pair of glasses, everyone just laughed.
I think I did too. Now I feel bad about it.
   “Hahaha! Look at those things!” yelled a kid as the
hallways roared with laughter.
   “They’re so thick!” yelled another. “Like my
grandmother’s!”


                             3
   I remember the kid running to class, and I think I
saw him put his head down on his desk after that. It
must have gone on for weeks. One day, he just stopped
showing up. I don’t want to be laughed at and I really
don’t want to disappear one day. I don’t want to be that
kid.
   But that’s not the worst of it—there’s my older
brother too, Sil, who makes fun of me for everything. I
don’t want to be his joke anymore.
   When I sat there, soothing the pain, Sil walked
through the hallways. He almost passed the living room
until he saw me and the red bump on my forehead.
   “What did you do?” he asked me. I was surprised he
even commented.
   “I tripped and fell,” I told him, the second person I
lied to that day.
   “Well, that’s stupid,” he said. “But I guess no one
can really expect much from you.”
   I was silent. I didn’t expect much from him either. I
put the ice back on my head and he came closer. I
backed away from him.


                           4
   “Hold on, you’re doing it all wrong, you’re not
supposed to put it on like that.” He came closer,
approaching me. “Here, let me help you.” I didn’t let
my guard down.
   “Pat, I’m trying to help you, give me the ice.”
   I waited, staring at him, until finally letting him help
me. But he really didn’t help me at all.
   “Ow!” I yelped in pain, “What was that for?”
   He ended up poking my head, right on the injury. I
covered my head right away; it hurt more than actually
bumping into the pole itself. He chuckled, the way he
usually did when he annoyed me.
   “I just wanted to see how much it hurt,” he said,
while smirking.
   My mom suddenly came in, she was probably
wondering about all the yelling.
   “Boys, what’s with all the commotion?” she asked,
as she looked confused while crossing her arms.
   “Nothing Ma,” Sil answered right away. “I was just
trying to help Pat with his head, but he wouldn’t stop
moving so he ended up hurting himself again.”


                             5
   My mom believed his story. To her, Sil was the
nicest boy on the block, the perfect role model for a
younger brother. She took the ice and put it on my
head.
   “Just hold it like that for five minutes.” She patted
my head, and patted Sil on the back, smiling at him.
   When she left the room, I frowned with anger at my
jerk brother, as he walked away, smiling slyly like the
way he does when he gets away with being how he is.
What a jerk. I could’ve said something, but I’m no rat.
In the long run, it wouldn’t really help me even if I did.
It would just mean more countless attacks from him. All
in all, I’m just happy that no one knows about my
problem, especially Sil, so I should be okay.




                            6
Chapter 2: Scribbles on the board


Today is Monday. I’m back at school. I walked in class
with my hair covering my red bump on my head. I
didn’t want anyone asking me questions and no one did.
Good thing no one saw.
   I’m learning new words for the spelling test coming
up. It’s my best subject; I always got the best mark in
the class. I won the school spelling bee three times won
thirty dollars last year. I used it for a better basketball.
It’s my most favourite sport, game, hobby, ever.


                             7
   “Everyone knows that you’re going to get perfect,”
said Mick, my best friend.
   It wasn’t just him; everyone assumed it. All the kids
nodded their heads as if they knew for sure but then
again I won three spelling bees in a row. Despite my
past victories, I had a gut feeling something wasn’t
going to go right.
   “I hope so,” I answered back at Mick, half
confidently, half not. I was worried because Mrs. Jule,
my teacher, made a new seating plan for the class. I use
to sit in the front—now I sit in the back. I tried to do
something about it.
   “Mrs. Jule?” I said, as I tapped her on the arm. She
looked down on me smiling,
   “Yes, Pat?” She answered.
   “I don’t want to move from my seat,” I told her,
shyly hesitating in between each word.
   “But we do this every month Pat, and you’ve been
sitting in the front all year,” she answered back. “It
wouldn’t be fair if you got to keep your spot, while
everyone else has to make a change, would it?” I


                             8
scratched the back of my head, knowing I wasn’t going
to win.
   “I guess not,” I said, conceding. I sat back down at
the spot that I hated.
   “Okay class,” called out Mrs. Jule, quieting the class
from their talking. “Today we’re going to be writing
down these words for the spelling test next week.”
   I looked at what she wrote on the board and only
saw blurry white lines, kind of like as if she had
smudged them with a dirty chalk eraser. As I picked up
my pencil, getting ready to write what I saw, Mrs. Jule
called on me.
   “Pat, can you read the first word for the class?”
   The whole class turned their heads at me, and I
looked down, getting redder by the second.
   “Pat, is everything okay?” Mrs. Jule asked.
   ”Yes, everything’s okay,” I replied back.
   I tried separating the letters from each other as I
pushed my head forward. I saw an M, I saw an A but I
really didn’t know if that’s what it was. I thought of the
first thing that came to my mind that started with an M


                            9
and stuttered it out, it felt like an hour had been wasted
through my mouth.
   “M-Maverick…”
   And after a second of silence, the whole class
laughed and I slapped my head, shaking it at my stupid
mistake.
   “Ow!” I yelled out. I forgot about the bump on my
head. It still hurt like yesterday. Stupid Sil, it felt like he
had poked me again.
   “All right, that’s enough children,” ordered Mrs.
Jule, stopping the class from laughter. “The word is
Mattress. M-A-T-T-R-E-S-S, Mattress.”
   As all the other kids wrote the word down without
hesitation, I sat in my chair, still red, still embarrassed.




                              10
Chapter 3: Gym Class


It was Gym class now and my teacher, Mr. Chase, was
picking the class out for teams. We were playing dodge
ball and he was splitting the class into two teams, the
red team and the blue team. As he pointed one kid after
another and told them which team they were on, Mick
talked to me.
   “Maverick?” he asked, “How did you read that from
M-A-T?”




                          11
   “I don’t know. I just did.” I answered back. I didn’t
want to talk about it.
Mr. Chase came up to me after that,
   “Okay, you’re on the red team,” he told me. “Walk
on over to left end.” I got up slowly and walked over to
where I saw blurred people in red vests.
   “Pat, don’t forget your vest,” Mr. Chase said,
throwing it over to me. I missed catching it.
   “It’s over there Pat,” he told me, “by the bleachers.”
   I felt like I was literally a blind person getting
directions. I picked it up and put it on, and walked over
to my team, who gave me odd stares.
   “What’s wrong with you today?” said someone. I
didn’t know whom, and I didn’t look or answer.
   When the teams were in place, Mr. Chase blew the
whistle. The game started. Balls were shooting all over
the air, one person out after another. It looked like there
were ten of them in the air. I tried avoiding them; in
fact, I tried avoiding the game.
   “Pat! Get into it, you’re suppose to be with your
team!” called out Mr. Chase. I walked in the battlefield


                            12
of flying balls. And then suddenly, two came at me at
once. Mr. Chase blew the whistle.
   “Stop the game!”
   I fell to the floor, in my own blood. The ball hit my
nose hard. I tried holding back the tears. Around me, I
heard Oohs and Ahhs from the whole class while lying
on the floor, glued to it.
   All the kids surrounded me, watching me hold the
blood so that it wouldn’t escape my nose anymore. Mr.
Chase told all the students to go sit on the bleachers. He
eventually came up to me and reached for my hand,
helping me up.
   “Come on Pat,” he said, “you’re going to the nurse’s
office.”




                             13
Chapter 4: The Confession


They told me I was being sent home early after that.
The nurse said, “Rest at home and you’ll be better
tomorrow.”
   I left the nurse’s office and waited in the main office.
I held ice against the top of my nose, to bring down the
swelling. My mom came in the office not too long after
that.




                            14
   “Are you okay?” she asked me. I took off the ice so
she could see my face easier. “Oh my, were you
bleeding?”
   “A little bit,” I replied back. Mr. Chase came in the
office.
   “Hi, I’m Mr. Chase, his gym teacher,” he introduced,
shaking hands. “He had an accident while the class was
playing dodge ball, but the nurse said he should be fine,
he just needs to rest at home.”
   “Oh, all right,” she said, relieved that it hadn’t been
anything serious.
   “I’m a bit worried about his state of mind though,”
Mr. Chase said, continuing on. I pretended I wasn’t
listening, but I listened to every word.
   “He seems very distracted. The accident shouldn’t
have happened. It was almost as if he didn’t see the ball
coming at him.” He said.
   “I see.” said my mom; she looked at me right after
that.
   “Well, just a thought is all; these things do happen at
times. Anyway, take care.”


                             15
   My mom drove me home, quiet all the way through
the drive. When we got there, she started talking again.
   “Honey, come here,” she said. I walked over to her.
“Sit down.” I felt a talk coming. “I’m concerned about
you. Are you seeing okay?” she asked me.
   “I’m seeing fine Mom,” I told her, lying through my
teeth.
   “It’s just that you’ve had two accidents in one day,
and they seem to be related to your sight,” she told me.
“Just tell me this.” She pointed at the poster at the other
side of the living room.
   “What does that say?” she asked. I didn’t answer.
That said enough to her.
   “Can you see what it says?”
   “Not really…” I honestly told her. I couldn’t see it at
all actually. Guessing wouldn’t have helped me; it
would’ve proved my problem. I had finally confessed in
my own way, and she knew it. She picked up the
telephone and called the optometrist, booking an
appointment, changing my life.




                            16
Chapter 5: The Optometrist


I sat on the black chair of doom. It was a Saturday
afternoon at the Optometrist’s office. My mom was
sitting in the waiting room for me.
   “Just sit still and relax, Pat,” said the man in the
white robe. He was the eye doctor. “You look tense, are
you nervous?”
   I didn’t answer.
   “I can tell you are, not to worry, this will all be over
before you know it.”


                            17
   He picked up a clipboard with a piece of paper on it,
and began writing stuff on it. I’m pretty sure it’s stuff
about me.
   “Look over at the wall please,” he told me.
   I looked at the wall of blurred nonsense, trying to
read out each fuzzy letter in my mind.
   “Try not to squint please,” he said. “Now can you
read what’s on the board for me please?”
   The more I guessed each letter, the more I felt the
frames circling around my eyes. I was doomed. This felt
like a spelling test, and I failed. After I finished reading
the wall, he wrote down more stuff on his clipboard.
   “Okay, we’re done now.” He pulled out a jar from
the back of the room and opened it up in front of me.
“Pick your favourite,” he said.
   It was a jar filled with different kinds of candy. I
picked out the red lollipop.
   “Just sit here for a minute, and I’ll be right back.”
   When he left the room, he took the clipboard with
him. I had a feeling what was on there, and I was right.


                               18
When I was finally done, I walked out of there with a
new pair of large, thick-framed glasses. The day was
clear, but I didn’t want it to see me.
   “I hate these things. Do I have to wear them all the
time?” I asked my mom, hoping she would let me take
them off.
   “They aren’t that bad, and yes, you have to wear
them all the time,” she answered back at me. It wasn’t
what I wanted to hear.
   “But all the kids are going to make fun of me at
school.” When I said that, I meant my brother Sil more
than anyone. But I wouldn’t say his name.
   “Honey, people wear glasses all the time. It’s just
something you’re going to have to get use to.”
   I should’ve expected her to say something like that.
She is my mom. She took me to the ice cream parlour,
where she bought me two scoops of double chocolate,
sprinkled with extra chocolate chips, my favourite. I ate
it slowly. I didn’t want to go home so soon—my
brother was going to be there.




                             19
Chapter 6: The Fight


I walked upstairs as fast as I could to my room, so that
my brother wouldn’t have the chance to see me in my
new glasses. It didn’t work though; the loud thumping
steps of my fast feet caught his attention.
   “Why are you running for?” Sil asked me, as I held
the door shut with my back.
   “Nothing, go away,” I told him. Hiding and telling
him off didn’t help at all; it just got his attention even
more.


                            20
   “Don’t come in here!” I demanded.
   “No, I wanna see!” he said.
   He pushed harder while I tried to hold the door. But
I didn’t last long after that. He was bigger, stronger, and
two years older than me. I couldn’t hold the door any
longer and finally let go. I hid at the corner so he
couldn’t see my face.
   “Turn around, Pat!” he commanded.
   He pulled me up and looked straight at me in the
face, and looked through the layers of glass clearing
through my eyes. He couldn’t talk, because he couldn’t
breathe. He couldn’t breathe, because he couldn’t stop
laughing.
   “Get out!” I screamed, as loud as I could. It was so
loud, Mom got involved.
   “At least I can actually go out; those are the ugliest
things I’ve ever seen.” he taunted. Right before mom
came in.
   “What’s with all the yelling?” she asked. “I will not
tolerate fighting in this house.”




                             21
   “Nothing Ma,” Sil explained. “I just wanted to see
Pat’s new glasses.”
   “No you didn’t. You were making fun of me!” I
yelled at him.
   “I was not, you baby.” Sil taunted again, in front of
Mom this time.
   I lost it. I pushed him to the wall with all my energy,
and he pushed me back. It kept going on, back and
forth, until it reached smacks and then kicks.
   “Pat! Sil! Enough!” Mom scolded. It was the first
time I saw her really yell. We were both scared. We
stopped immediately
   “I will not accept fighting in this house, from the
both of you,” she said in a serious tone. She ordered Sil
to his room and he had nothing else to say. We glared at
each other, eye to eye as he left.
   “We don’t hit in this house,” she said as she pointed
her finger to my face.
   I looked down. “I’m sorry.” I said.




                             22
   She knew I was sorry, and I really was. She could tell
just by the look on my face. I may have been sorry, but
I was still mad and she knew that too.
I shut the door tightly after she left. I did not go outside
once on that bright Saturday afternoon, even when
Mick called.
   “Hey Pat, come outside to the park, we’re playing
basketball,” he said on the telephone.
   “I’m not feeling good. We’ll hang out another day,”
I said. It’s true I wasn’t lying. I didn’t feel good at all.
   “All right, see you Monday,” said Mick.
   I hung up the phone, and spent my day looking
outside at the sunny day but closed the shutters so I
would stop feeling jealous. I didn’t leave the house all
weekend, even though Mom asked me to more than
once to leave the house and have fun. I was surprised
she even wanted me to go out after the fight with Sil.
   “Pat, you’ve been cooped up in your room all
weekend,” she said, while standing outside my doorway.
I didn’t speak so maybe she would’ve thought that I was
asleep. It didn’t work.


                               23
   “I know you’re up,” she obviously stated, “go
outside and have some fun honey.”
   I curled up on my bed after that; I wouldn’t leave
even if she tried to drag me out. “I have a headache,” I
told her. “I don’t feel well.” At least I only half lied.
   She sighed, but she believed me. She had to. I
bumped into a pole one day, and the next day a ball
bumped onto me.
   “Well all right,” she disappointingly said.
   I hated disappointing her, but she didn’t understand.




                              24
Chapter 7: The Big Gang of Jerks


My mom dropped Sil and I at my school; it was fifteen
minutes before the bell and I still shivered in terror. Sil
left the car instantly, with nothing to worry about, while
I still sat in the car, terrified.
    “Did you remember to put your lunch in your bag?”
she asked me. I couldn’t hear what she was saying. All I
was thinking about was the coke-bottled lenses sitting
on my nose.
    “Please don’t make me go in there,” I begged.


                                 25
   “It isn’t the end of the world Pat, no one’s going to
say anything about your glasses. They look absolutely
fine.”
   I opened the door with fear, uneasy about my long
day at school.
   “Be good.” She kissed me on my forehead and just
when she was about to leave, she tapped me on the
shoulder.
   “Don’t forget your ball,” she reminded me. She
handed me my polished thirty-dollar ball and drove
away while I cuddled it tightly, feeling scared.
   The world was clear; it was so clear I already saw
people’s hands covering their whispers so that only their
friends would hear what they said, and I already had
started seeing snickering. I walked up to Mick, and the
others.
   “Hey,” I said, shyly, as if I had never met them
before. They turned their head sideways and squinted,
as if they had never even seen me before.
   “Hey, you got new glasses,” Mick pointed out,
noticing it later than I thought he would.


                             26
       “Yeah. I do,” I said. I waited for them to laugh and
turn on me but within a couple of seconds, they
stopped noticing, or caring. They didn’t even laugh. I
felt better.
       “So you wanna play ball? We got five minutes left,”
he offered.
       “Yeah, sure,” I replied.
       We went to the court, and played hoops for five
minutes. I was feeling better. I thought no one cared,
and that’s what I wanted, but after five minutes of
basketball, someone did. In fact, a group of people
did—a gang of grade sevens.
       “Hey you!” they called out.
       Mick and I looked at each other turned around at
them as they were coming near.
       “Was he talking to me?” Mick wondered.
       “No, we’re not talking to you. Get lost!” He pushed
Mick to the floor. They surrounded me, as if I was an
enemy of theirs, but I didn’t know either one of them at
all.




                                  27
   “We don’t take kindly to your type around here,”
one of them said, they all looked the same. They were
all tall, they were all wearing clothes that looked the
same, and they were all jerks.
   “My type?” I asked. I was feeling scared. I cuddled
my ball even harder.
   “Yes, your type. You and your glasses don’t belong
here.”
   As they came closer, I started sheltering myself
more.
   “Get his ball!” yelled one of them. He grabbed it
from my arms and the rest of them pushed me down on
the floor.
   “Get off me, please!” I called out. I couldn’t move.
Not an inch, not a centimetre.
   “We’re keeping this ball!” he said. “And we’ll get off
   if we feel like it.”
   “Please! You can keep it, just get off of me,” I
begged them. I felt my whole body getting tighter, to
the point where I couldn’t do anything. The only thing I
could do was seeing. When I looked up, I saw someone


                            28
running towards us. I thought it was probably another
member of the group, but it wasn’t. It was Sil.
   “Hey!” he called out. “Leave my brother alone!”
   Sil pulled them up, one by one, shoving them off
me. Their looks of terror soon looked like mine a
couple of seconds ago. They backed away slowly and he
helped me up off the ground. I knew why they would
back away; he was bigger than all of them.
   “If you guys mess with him, you mess with me,” he
said in a calm but intimidating voice. He didn’t need to
try to scare them; they just knew he was serious.
   “Let go of the ball, and get out of here,” he said to
them, scaring them one by one. They looked at each
other, not wanting to actually fight. They didn’t have it
in them, not one bit. They walked away, defeated.
   “You guys all right?” he asked us.
   “Yeah, we’re good,” I replied back. “Thanks, Sil.”
   “If they bother you again, just tell me, okay.”
   We all left the court, and after that, I never heard
about my glasses again, but now that I think about it, I
never had to care about my glasses again. Sure, there


                            29
was snickering, but that would always be there, it
happens to everyone. It didn’t matter anymore. I was
playing ball, and winning spelling bees.




                            30
“Ella, Martin and the Case
 of the Missing Cookies”

    by Kaya Quinsey
Chapter 1: The Magnifying Glass


It’s Ella here! Ella Wickham, for those of you who don’t
know. Today is a cloudy, unpleasant day. Guess what
else? It is raining outside! That means that when Martin
comes over in a little while, we cannot even play
outside. At least I will get to show him my new
magnifying glass! I got it this afternoon. Daddy took me
to the shopping mall to pick up groceries. Groceries are
what fill you up at dinnertime! Anyways, while I was
running through the aisles, I saw something wonderful.
Guess what it was? A brand-new, shiny magnifying


                           2
glass! Daddy said that it had my name written all over it.
I didn’t see anything written on it. So I have been sitting
here in my room, looking at this beautiful new item of
mine. Now I am just waiting for Martin to get here, so I
can show off this cool, new thing.
   We cannot even go outside to play with it though,
because it is raining! I can hear the rain tapping against
my window. Tap, tap, tap! We have to stay inside now.
Daddy says that we will have just as much fun inside,
but I am not so sure. He is making dinner for us right
now, so he cannot even entertain me until Martin gets
here!
   Ding-dong!
   “Ella! The doorbell! Martin must be here!” shouted
Daddy up the stairs to me. I got off my bed, ran down
the stairs, and quickly ran over to Martin, who was shyly
standing in the doorway. His red hair was dripping onto
the carpet a little bit, and his cheeks were even more
rosy than usual.
   “Hello Martin! How are you today? I am fine. Only
we have a bit of a dilemma on our hands, I believe. It is


                             3
raining. Now we cannot even play with my new
magnifying glass outside and play detective! Only maybe
we could play it inside, but that does not sound as
thrilling.” I looked at him eagerly, waiting for him to
respond.
   “A magnifying glass? Whoa! Cool! Can I see it?”
Martin’s face lit up a bit as he said this. I was about to
ask Daddy if he minded if we went upstairs, but he was
talking to Martin’s mother. I call her Mrs. Martin. She
probably has another name too. I like Mrs. Martin
though.
   Martin and I quickly ducked and ran away from the
parents. We ran up the stairs, around the corner and
into my room. I ran speedy quick over to my bed where
I had carefully placed my magnifying glass. I held it up
to the sunlight. Martin’s eyes almost popped out of his
head when he saw that thing!
   “Wow! Ella, that is so cool! Can I hold it?” asked
Martin sheepishly. I smiled really big at that guy.
   “Sure Martin. Sure, you can hold it!” I carefully
placed my new object in his hands. We both stared at


                             4
that thing for awhile. I carefully picked it up and peered
at Martin through the magnifying glass. Martin looked
at me strangely.
   “Look Martin! Look—I am examining everything,” I
said.
   “You look like a detective!” said Martin. Before I
could respond, Daddy yelled up to us from downstairs.
   “Hey you guys, would either of you be interested in
baking some cookies? It’s a rainy day, so I thought this
might cheer you up!” Before I knew it, Martin was half-
way out of my bedroom, out the door and then
barrelling down the stairs to the kitchen. I was following
closely behind. After all, who doesn’t love to bake
cookies?




                            5
Chapter 2: Baking Cookies


Martin and I stood in the doorway to the kitchen.
Daddy was sitting down by the counter, with his reading
glasses on. He was busy while flipping through his
book. He looked up at us when Martin gave a little
cough.
   “There you two are! Here—” said Daddy, as he put
a big mixing bowl onto the counter. “Martin, why don’t
you be in charge of mixing? Ella, how about you can




                           6
take the ingredients out of the cupboards and pass them
to me, so I can measure them?”
   “Sure!” we said, together. Martin stood on a stool so
that he could be tall enough to reach the mixing bowl
on top of the counter. Daddy handed him a big wooden
mixing spoon.
   “I cannot wait to mix everything together!” said
Martin, with a huge smile on his face. He looked very
happy to have been given such an important job. I went
to the refrigerator to get the ingredients that Daddy
wanted. Eggs? Check! Milk? Check! Butter? Check! I
carefully placed the ingredients onto the kitchen
counter. Next, I walked over to another cupboard.
Inside I found more stuff for our delicious cookies.
Flour? Check! Chocolate chips? Check! Sugar? Check!
Finally, after putting even more ingredients onto the
counter, we were ready to begin. I passed Daddy all of
the things he asked for. First it was flour, then milk.
After it was some sugar and eggs. Martin mixed it all
together in his big mixing bowl. He stuck his finger into
the batter.


                            7
   “Mmmm!” he said, as he licked his finger. “These
are going to taste great!” Daddy looked at him with a
funny expression on his face. Martin stirred and stirred
everything that Daddy passed him. As I walked over to
the refrigerator to make sure I hadn’t forgotten
anything, I tripped on something furry.
   “Spike!” I exclaimed. “I haven’t seen you all day.” I
bent down and hugged our basset-hounds old neck. He
sneezed on me.
   “Bless you,” I said to Spike. He rolled over and
shook his floppy ears all around. “Not now Spike. I am
very busy making cookies. We will play later!” When I
turned around to check up with Daddy and Martin, they
were busy sticking a big cooking tray into the oven.
   “Wow that went by quickly!” I said.
   “Time flies when you’re having fun,” replied Daddy.
He peered at the cookies through the glass oven door.
“The cooking is going to take awhile. Why don’t you
kids go upstairs and play? You have that new
magnifying glass that you could show Martin,” Daddy
suggested. Before he knew it, we had bolted out of the


                            8
kitchen and up the stairs. After all, Daddy always has
good suggestions.




                          9
Chapter 3: Where did they go?


As we went upstairs to get the magnifying glass, I felt a
sense of relief. “I’m happy that today hasn’t been
boring, even though it is raining outside!” I said.
   “Yeah, me too—although things are never boring
with you, Ella!” said Martin, blushing slightly. I smiled
to myself. I grabbed the magnifying glass off of my bed.
I picked it up and examined it carefully. Examining is
when you check something to see if it is okay. Good
news: it was okay.


                             10
   “Looks fine to me,” said Martin, with a shrug. I
nodded at him.
   “Yes Martin, you are correct! It does look fine.
Thankfully we got here just in time,” I said. All of a
sudden, the smell of freshly baked, homemade cookies
filled the room. My mouth felt all drooly and I had to
swallow. Maybe having a few more cookies wouldn’t be
such a bad idea!
   “Hey Martin,” I started, “how about finishing off
some more of those cookies, huh?” It didn’t take Martin
very long to reply.
   “Sure!” he said, so loudly that I jumped back a little
bit. “I had almost forgotten about them.” He smiled at
the idea of eating more cookies. I smiled back. I held
my magnifying glass tightly in the palm of my hand.
   “Last one down the stairs is a rotten egg!” I said, as I
ran out of my bedroom and down the stairs.
   “No fair! Wait for me!” said Martin, right behind me.
We ran, step by step, closer to the cookies. I could
almost taste them! Finally we got to the kitchen. I was
panting a little bit from all of the racing.


                              11
   “Well that was fun,” I started, but then stopped.
Right before my eyes was something I couldn’t believe.
I started so hard it felt like my eyes were bulging out of
my head. Daddy walked in from the living room just
then. His eyes followed where we were both staring.
   “Wow! It didn’t take you two very long to finish
those. I’m impressed!” he said. I slowly shook my head.
Guess why? The cookies had vanished!




                            12
Chapter 4: Detective Ella


Martin and I stood there looking at where the cookies
should have been. Daddy looked concerned at our
expressions.
   “How could this have happened?” I asked, letting
my magnifying glass fall onto the floor.
   “Well…hmm…umm…I’m not quite sure what to
tell you kids,” stuttered Daddy. Martin looked confused
and upset. I felt sickish in my stomach. Who would
have done such a thing? I can say for sure that it wasn’t


                            13
me! Could it have been Daddy? No. Since he wouldn’t
do something like that could it have been Martin? No,
because he was with me the whole time.
   “What a mystery,” I said to myself under my breath.
   “M-m-maybe this is a chance to use your magnifying
glass?” said Martin, with a stutter. Just then a
fantastic, marvellous and amazing idea popped into my
head.
   “Hey Martin, I think you’re right! Maybe you and I
could play detectives and solve this mystery for
ourselves?” I suggested. Martin’s face lit up like a light
bulb at that idea! I quickly picked up my magnifying
glass off of the floor.
   “Well I guess that this is a job for detective Ella and
detective Martin—solving the mystery of the missing
cookie!” said Daddy with a chuckle. I smiled from ear to
ear.
   “That is an excellent idea Daddy! On account of we
need to find out who committed the crime of eating all
of the cookies,” I said. Martin nodded vigorously. He
seemed very pleased by the idea of being a detective.


                            14
   “Okay, so just to be clear, it’s safe to say that you
didn’t eat the cookies?” I asked Daddy while peering at
him through the magnifying glass.
   “No Ella, I did not eat the cookies,” Daddy replied
while rolling his eyes slightly.
   “And you Martin—you didn’t eat the cookies, did
you?” I asked, this time moving my magnifying glass
over to him. Martin looked nervous.
   “No Ella! I was playing upstairs with you,
remember?” replied Martin.
   “Oh yeah,” I said. “I just wanted to clarify that with
everyone. Now we can get down to business!” I said. I
was still just as confused as ever. The mystery had
begun.




                              15
Chapter 5: Cookie Crumbs


Who knew what had happened to the cookies! There
were so many possibilities, my head felt cloudy. I could
feel my lower lip trembling. Daddy put his arm around
me.
   “There, there Ella! You don’t have to worry. We will
get to the bottom of this,” he said. I sighed. My head
drooped until I was looking at the floor. There was
something fishy about it. The beige carpeting under the
table was littered with crumbs. I bent down to inspect


                           16
the situation. Martin came up behind me and peered
over my shoulder. He gasped.
   “Cookie crumbs?” he said. “This mystery keeps
leading to new things!” I sighed.
   “I’ll go get out the vacuum,” said Daddy, hastily.
   “No!” yelled Martin and I together.
   “I mean…not yet! We have a mystery to solve. Why
don’t you wait a little while?” I suggested. Daddy
chuckled.
   “Well, I suppose if it’s that important to you!” he
said. Martin and I nodded and smiled. This was going to
be fun.
   “Yes Daddy, it certainly does,” I responded. I peered
even harder at those crumbs. There was actually a trail
of crumbs leading away from the table and into the
dining room!
   “Looks like a case for detective Ella and detective
Martin!” said Martin with a sigh. I smiled even bigger.
   “You couldn’t be more right, partner,” I replied.
“Let’s go solve a mystery!”




                              17
   I held my magnifying glass tightly in my hand. I used
it to follow the crumbs. Martin and I followed the trail
very carefully. We walked all over the room, swirling,
curling and looping wherever the crumbs lead us. We
wandered out of the kitchen, and into the dining room.
Crumb by crumb, we walked slowly and carefully. We
walked passed the couch, past the lamp, past the table
and past the mirror. Finally, we had reached a crucial
point—the cookie crumb trail had stopped! Martin and
I gasped.
   “What will we do?” I asked. Who knew?




                           18
Chapter 6: Hopes and Dreams


I had never been so confused in my whole entire life.
After all, how many times does a kid have their cookies
stolen?
   “Should we give up?” asked Martin. I gasped. What
an idea!
   “No way!” I said. “We will never give up. Not in a
million years. Not in a trillion years. Not in a gazillion,
billion, zillion—”




                            19
   “Okay, okay I get the picture!” said Martin, rolling
his eyes and giggling slightly. I exhaled sharply.
   “All I am saying is that there is someone to be
blamed for this! We will surely find out who did it,” I
said suspiciously. Just then, my kitty cat, Minky, jumped
off of the table and started to curl her self around my
leg. She was getting her fluffy white hair all over my
pants.
   “Minky!” I exclaimed. “My pants are covered in hair
now.” Minky paid no attention to what I said, as she
continued to curl and rub against my leg. She was
purring loudly. Martin walked over and cautiously bent
down to pet Minky. She happily purred and pressed
herself into Martin’s outstretched hand.
   “She seems happy!” said Martin, still busy petting the
cat. I thought about that for a second. Then it came to
me!
   “Minky must have eaten the cookies!” I shouted
excitedly. So excitedly, in fact, that Minky ran away
from the volume of my voice. I guess it scared her.
Martin looked at me sceptically.


                             20
   “I don’t know Ella,” he started.
   “Well who else could it have been?” I asked. Just
then Daddy popped into the room.
   “Nice try, kiddo—but Minky was in the kitchen with
me the whole time. I just fed her and I watched her
eat!” he said. All of my hopes and dreams were crushed
at that moment. I guess it wasn’t Minky who ate the
cookies. Who was it?
   “Well I guess we’re back where we started,” said
Martin.
   “I think you’re right,” I answered. Who knew what
to do, who knew?




                           21
Chapter 7: Crunch


Martin and I stood in the dining room very confused.
This was not how we expected the mystery to turn out.
We let out a sigh.
   “What happened to the cookie crumb trail?” asked
Martin.
   I shrugged. “I don’t know, Martin. I just don’t know.
I wish I did though,” I added, hopefully. We didn’t
know what to do. After all, how do you solve a mystery
when you have run out of clues?


                          22
   “Maybe we should just forget about the cookies,”
said Martin.
   “Maybe,” I said. I didn’t want to forget about the
cookies though. I wanted to find the culprit! I was just
far too curious.
   “Let’s go find something else to do,” suggested
Martin, eyeing the television the living room. I didn’t
want to find something else to do though.
   “I am not giving up!” I said. “I will find the cookie
culprit if it’s the last thing I do.” Martin laughed.
   “Okay, okay! If you want to so badly, let’s finish the
mystery,” he said. I held m magnifying glass in front of
my face again. I leaned over, really close to the carpet so
that I could see every crumb. Martin followed me as I
walked, hunched over, following the specs of crumbs.
The crumbs were very tiny, but luckily I had my trusty
magnifying glass to help me along the way.
   “We’re getting closer. I know it!” I said.
   “Yeah—I can smell it!” said Martin. He was right—
you could smell cookies. It was coming from the
kitchen. I forgot about the crumb trail as Martin and I


                             23
raced into the kitchen to see what was going on. When
we got there, we saw Daddy putting a whole new tray of
cookies into the oven!
   “Hey guys! I’m baking a fresh batch of cookies. They
will ready soon!” he said, smiling. Martin and I were
smiling, too. The thought of fresh cookies was so
wonderful; I could hardly contain my ear-to-ear smile. I
ran to give that guy a big hug.
   “Thank you, Daddy! Thank you so much!” I said.
Martin joined in on the hug.
   “Thank you very much!” said Martin. Daddy
chuckled.
   “It was my pleasure,” he said. We all broke out of
our hug as soon as we heard a crunching sound. Crunch,
smack, crunch!   It was coming from behind the sofa.
Martin and I ran closer to inspect the situation.
   “This might be dangerous. I’ll go first,” I said.
Martin closely followed me as we tiptoed over. It took
both of our strength, as well as a little help from Daddy,
to push back the sofa.




                            24
   “Ella, I think it’s best if you let me check it out
first,” Daddy insisted. I reluctantly agreed. Martin and I
stood back as Daddy peered behind the sofa. All of
sudden he started laughing a cheery sort of laugh—the
kind of laugh when something is really funny.
   “What Daddy? What is it?” I asked. Martin and I
pushed forward to see what it was.
   “Take a look for yourself!” said Daddy, while still
chuckling. We looked behind the sofa. Behind it was
Spike, with his tongue dangling from his smiling mouth.
Beside him was the plate of cookies! Martin and I
started laughing and smiling in delight.
   “It was you who stole the cookies,” I said to Spike
with a smile. He was wearing a mischievous grin. I
laughed. “I guess we solved the case of the missing
cookies!” I said aloud to Daddy and Martin. They
laughed.
   “I guess you did. Why don’t we leave Spike to his
cookies, and we’ll have some freshly baked ones. Now
how does that sound?” asked Daddy.
   “That sounds great!” said Martin and I, in unison.


                            25
   That, my friends, is the mysterious story of the case
of the missing cookies. It started off dimly, and ended
quite well. Not even one soul was put under a spell! Our
tummies were full and our afternoon’s fun, all were left
quite happy, all except one. Poor Spike, with his whole
plate of cookies, freshly baked, resulted in quite the
large stomach ache!




                           26
    “The Locket”

by Rachel Vandezande
Chapter 1: In which Alan Meets the House


   “Will it make a difference if I say one last time that I
don’t want to move?” Alan asked as he shoved the last
cardboard box into the back of the station wagon.
   “You know it won’t, honey. I know it’s hard, but I
need this job. We need this job. There isn’t much work
anywhere these days, and after the clinic got closed,
well, I was lucky that this school needed a new nurse.”
   Cora, Alan’s mom, looked up at him through the
few strands of fiery hair that always managed to escape
from her bun.


                            2
   “It is just a town away from the family house. It’s
our chance, probably the best one were going to get.”
   Alan sighed. “Yeah, I know.”
   He did know. He had known for the past three
weeks since she had come home with the news.
Knowing didn’t make it any easier.
   Alan’s mom put an arm around his shoulders.
“Besides,” she said, “you’re going to love the house. It’s
an old Victorian, full to the brim of all the history you
would ever want. Come on, the sooner we get in the
car, the sooner we can get out.”
   Cora popped open the driver’s door and slid in
behind the wheel. Alan stole one last glance over his
shoulder at their neighbourhood. At least what used to
be their neighbourhood.
   He got in to the passenger seat and pulled the door
closed behind him. She put the car into drive and
pulled away from their old life.
   Hours later, Alan was awakened by the crunch of
gravel under tires. He felt the car stop. His mom gently
shook him and said quietly, “Honey, we’re here.”


                            3
   Alan sat up and stumbled out of the car, his legs
numb from the long ride. His mom walked up next to
him, saying, “We can leave most things in the car
tonight. We’ll just grab the sleeping bags for now and
deal with everything else in the morning. Okay?”
   Alan nodded at her and shuffled to the backseat of
the car. He grabbed the two sleeping bags they had
hastily shoved there and tossed one to his mom.
   A brick walkway led them through trees to a front
porch. While his mother fumbled with the keys, Alan
glanced around the grounds.
   The house was perched on top of rocky bluffs that
fell straight down to the Atlantic Ocean below. As he
stared at the water washing over the beach, he felt a
chill run up his spine. Startled, he looked around. It felt
as if someone was watching them, as if they were
anticipated.
   “Aha!” his mother cried in triumph.
   There was a muffled pop as the lock was slid back.
They crept inside and felt along the walls for a light
switch. Cora finally flipped an ancient looking switch


                             4
and the parlour across the hall was lit by a dusty
chandelier. None of the lights upstairs seemed to work,
and neither of them wanted to explore up there while it
was pitch black.
    They decided to sleep together in the living room,
the one room that still had daylight, and deal with
everything else in the morning. As they settled down to
sleep, Alan thought of what he had felt on the porch.
    Must have been my imagination, Alan thought. A side
effect of too little sleep and a long car ride.
    With that comforting though in his head Alan
drifted into a dreamless sleep.




                                    5
Chapter 2: Where Alan forgets how to eat a
sandwich and his mother worries


Alan opened the fridge and shoved the last of the
groceries next to the milk.
   “Hey honey,” his mother said, “while you’re in there
you want to grab a couple apples?”
   Alan nodded and bent down towards the vegetable
crisper. They had just returned from a morning spent
finding the bare necessities for the house. In a way, it
was good that they had kept so busy on the first day. It


                              6
kept him from thinking about what he would have been
doing at home.
    When he stood again, Alan’s mother was just sliding
a grilled cheese sandwich onto a plate for him.
    “Here.” She handed him the plate. “Why don’t you
go get started. I’ll just cut up some apple to go with it.”
    Again Alan nodded and walked to the kitchen table,
sitting down and staring at his sandwich for a few
seconds before remembering what it was that he was
supposed to do with it. It had been a long morning,
after a night without much sleep.
    When Alan stood to get the ketchup, he met his
mom juggling a second sandwich, the apple and the
ketchup bottle. He smiled and snatched up the bowl full
of apple before she hurt herself. They both sat at the
table and set to lunch with a will. After their initial
hunger had been satisfied, Cora cleared her throat and
looked up expectantly at Alan.
    Oh no, he thought. She’s going to try to gauge how I’m
adjusting. How can I have adjusted yet? This is the first day we’ve
been here.


                                7
   Cora opened her mouth to say something motherly
and overprotective, and Alan quickly decided to try for
a distraction tactic.
   “When is your first day at the school?” he asked.
   She frowned and eyed him. Obviously, he hadn’t
been as subtle as he had hoped. However, he did
succeed in sidetracking her, for now at least.
   She took another bite of sandwich before saying,
“Actually, I have to go in tomorrow to set up my office
and see if they are fully stocked. You could come if you
want. Or you could stay here, whichever you would
prefer. I’ll only be gone two hours—tops.”
   Alan imagined having to sit in his mom’s office for
two hours while she unpacked even more boxes.
   “I think I’ll stay here, if that’s okay,” he replied.
   “Yeah I thought you might prefer that. I’ll leave the
number for the school in the kitchen. You can call me if
you need anything.”
   Cora stood up and took Alan’s empty plate, heading
toward the kitchen. Alan got up as well, following with
the now empty bowl of apples and the ketchup. When


                              8
they had finished cleaning up, his mom turned to him
with a determined gleam in her eyes.
   “Come on. Let’s go tackle the boxes for the living
room. I bet if we work at it we can have that room
finished by dinner.”




                           9
Chapter 3: In which the wind is falsely accused and
Aleah makes her entrance


Sun lit the kitchen table while Alan crunched away on
his cereal. His mom had just left for her office. In front
of him next to the milk sat the number that she had
hastily scrawled before leaving.
   He was starting to get used to the house. He had to
admit that it was an interesting place. He looked around
the kitchen. His mom was right; there was a lot of




                            10
history here. He slurped up the last bit of milk and set
his bowl in the sink. He had the afternoon to himself.
   Might as well explore, he thought.
   The first level was pretty ordinary. There was the
kitchen, the living room, which they had managed to
unpack last night, and the master bedroom, which his
mother had already claimed.
   Alan headed upstairs, ignoring the door on the right.
He was pretty familiar with that room, since he had
chosen it for his own bedroom. Three other doors lead
off the main hallway. The first two turned out to be
another smaller bedroom and a gloomy washroom. The
third room, however, opened onto what seemed to be a
study. Alan stepped into the room for a better look.
   An old roll-top desk was in the far corner. Next to
the desk, a window overlooked the bluffs. The room
was empty of anything else except a thick layer of dust.
   Alan took another step and then another, feeling like
his feet were not his own. They led him directly to the
desk. With shaking hands he raised the lid. At first
glance he thought the desk was empty, but then he


                             11
noticed in the back, almost out of sight, an old framed
painting. He picked it up and walked over to the
window. The picture showed a woman of around
twenty years old in an eighteenth-century dress, posing
somewhat gloomily by the fireplace he had seen in the
living room.
    Who is that, Alan thought.
    Suddenly there was a creak and loud bang. Alan
turned to find the desktop closed. His heart pounding,
he tried to open the desk again, only to find it locked
tight. His heart galloping, Alan quickly retraced his steps
and stumbled down the stairs out the front door and
into the soothing warmth of the afternoon sun. He sat
down on the front porch, his mind whirling for an
explanation.
    The wind! Of course, it could have been the wind. It had to
have been the wind. Right?
    Alan looked at his hands and to his surprise found
that he still clutched the picture of the young woman.
    Who are you? he wondered again. Did you live in this
house? Was the rest of your life as happy as this picture?


                                 12
   Alan wasn’t sure how long he sat on the porch,
trying to reason out what had just happened to him.
Eventually though, he stood up and slowly ambled back
inside.
   Might as well finish unpacking my room, he thought.
   When his mom returned, he would ask if she knew
who the girl was. There was something about her that
seemed familiar somehow. One thing was sure: this
house definitely had plenty of history!




                             13
Chapter 4: In Which Alan finds himself talking to a
mirror and finds what it has to say surprisingly
interesting


He was getting close. She could feel it. He had found
the picture and that evening had asked the woman
about her.
   Maybe it was time for her to have a talk with him
herself. She didn’t want to scare him off but she was
running out of time. She was fading. Where
manifestation was easy for her in the years immediately


                          14
following her death, now she could only manage to
appear partially, and then only with the help of a
medium.
    She would talk to him tonight, after his mother had
gone to bed. It was her last chance. If he didn’t listen to
her now, well, she didn’t want to think about that.
   Alan stood in front of the bathroom mirror brushing
his teeth. His mom had gone to bed a few hours before,
exhausted after a long day of working and unpacking.
That evening at dinner, he had asked about the girl in
the photo.
   “Do you recognize her at all?” he had asked
hopefully.
   Alan didn’t know why, but he felt that it was
important that he find out as much as he could about
the girl.
   His mother studied the painting closely. “I’m not
sure,” she began, “but it could be…what was her
name…Aleah, I think. There were one or two old
family portraits left to me by your grandmother, and I
think that your girl was in one of them.”


                            15
   That was all Cora had known about her. She
remembered asking Grandma about who she was, but
all that was said was that she had drowned in her early
twenties. That was all.
   What was her portrait doing in that desk? Alan thought to
himself, as he leaned over the sink to spit.
   He stood wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.
He was just about to pull open the door to head back to
his bedroom when all of a sudden a gust of wind
wrenched the door out of his hands. In that same
instant, the overhead light flickered twice and died.
Cloaking the room in an envelope of darkness Alan
froze not knowing what to do. Slowly out of the black a
faint glow arose. Silvery white light was creeping up and
around the bathroom mirror.
   Alan turned towards the light and desperately tried
to stop his heart from leaping from his chest. As he
watched, the glow began to solidify. First a nose, then a
mouth, and eventually two eyes could be seen peering
out from behind the glass. A whispery voice that




                            16
reminded him of the crash of waves on the rocks below
reached his ears.
   “Hello Alan,” it said, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
   Alan, who was momentarily at loss for words gargled
something incomprehensible.
   The voice giggled. The face smiled. Alan still hadn’t
mastered sound, when all of a sudden he recognised
her.
   “Aleah?” he asked.
   The face nodded, still smiling. “I’m sorry if I
frightened you,” she said. “However, I desperately
needed to speak with you.”
   Alan looked at the glowing face confused.
   “Why?” he asked.
   She looked at him with a slight frown and sighed. “I
think,” she said, “it would be best if we started at the
beginning.”




                             17
Chapter 5: In which Aleah tells her tale


   “It all began when my father passed. He was a very
generous man and saw no need to hoard his money.
However, as it turned out his generosity far outweighed
his income. When he left us, he left us with nothing but
the house, the clothes on our backs and our good
name.”
   “Mother had always held that good name in very
high esteem. There was no way she was going to have it
known that the Owens needed to ask for charity.


                           18
Mother decided that the best way to prevent this was
for me to marry a rich, single social climber. That way
they could benefit from the family name, while we
benefited from their estate.”
   “I was not consulted when she decided this, but at
the time I didn’t particularly mind. Marriage to me then
was just something that it was my duty to do. I
supposed that eventually I would come to at least
tolerate any man my mother chose. However,
everything changed when I met Eli—kind, strong,
gentle Eli.”
   “I had gone to the market one day to buy the fish
for that evening’s supper. Momma had long ago given
up paying the servants to run such errands, saving
money any way she could. Just as I was placing my
purchase into my basket, I overheard an argument that
the fish seller was having with a young man around my
own age.”
   “At first I paid little attention to what they were
arguing about. It didn’t have anything to do with me.
But as I overheard more of what the argument was


                            19
about I found myself passionately on the side of the
young man. It was obvious that the stall owner had
originally promised a higher price than he was now
willing to pay, and was trying to blame it on the quality
of the fish that the young man had brought him. Before
I knew it, I was jumping into the argument myself. I
couldn’t help it.”
    “That’s not fair, I yelled. You should pay the originally
agreed upon price. I can see myself that the fish he has brought you
is just as good as anything else you sell here.”
    “They both looked up in surprise. I realised what I
had     done       and     promptly        turned    pink     with
embarrassment. I felt the stall owner scowl at me and
quickly began to back away. As I turned back towards
the road to my own house, I heard the stall owner
handing over the full amount. I grinned despite myself.”
    “At least I had shamed him into doing the right thing, I
thought.”
    “I began the walk back to my house when I heard
footsteps behind me. I turned to see the young man
running to catch up with me.”


                                  20
   “Please miss, he called. At least let me carry your basket for
you. It’s the least I can do for someone who fought so well on my
behalf.”
   “I nodded my assent, and he scooped my full basket
from my already tired arm. Before I knew it we were
talking as if we had known each other all our lives. His
name was Eli; he worked on a fishing boat that had
recently come to our port. He only hauled in the nets
and sold some at markets now, but he was saving to buy
his own ship someday.
   “We talked all the way to my back door. As I
reluctantly turned to enter my house, Eli stopped me
with a light touch on my arm.
   “Do you always go to market at around this time? he
asked.”
   “I nodded, smiling. He grinned back at me.”
   “Well then, I suppose I’ll see you around. And with that he
set off down the hill whistling happily under his
breath.”
   “The next few weeks were the happiest I had ever
known. Eli always met me to carry my groceries up the


                               21
hill and he always seemed to know just what to say to
make the world bright and full of joy. Everything was
right with the world.”
   “It only took a month for Eli and me to realize that
we wanted to marry. He knew my father had passed,
and so he wanted to ask my mother for my hand. I
knew that there was no way that my mother would
consent. Not with so much depending on me marrying
a rich bachelor.”
   “I tried to explain the situation to him, but he
insisted. He did not want to sneak off with his tail
between his legs, feeling as if he had stolen me.”
   “The last time he carried my basket for me he caught
my hand before I went inside. I felt something hard
pressed into it, and looked down to find a locket sitting
in the palm of my hand.”
   “So that you never forget me, he said.”
   “My mother did not take the news well. I was up in
my bedroom when he came. Her shouting echoed
through the house, and I heard the crash of a plate as
she unloaded whatever was nearest to her at his head.”


                              22
    “Eli’s booted footsteps headed for the door and I
rushed out to the landing to speak to him. To assure
him that I didn’t care what my mother thought. But my
mother was one step ahead of me. She stood at the
bottom of the stairs barring the way to the front door.”
    “You are not to see him again, she hissed. Do you
understand me? Do you want to ruin this family? You are our
last chance, and you want to throw your life away on some boy too
stupid to recognize that you are out of his class!”
    “I rushed down the stairs anyways, hoping to break
through, but I stepped on the hem of my gown. I
tumbled down the last few steps, landing in a crumpled
heap at my mother’s feet.”
    “Her face turned white with outrage as she stared
down at me. I didn’t realize until I looked down. Eli’s
locket had fallen out of the front of my dress. My
mother grabbed my arm, hauling me up. Grasping the
chain, she yanked the locket from my neck.”
    “He gave you this, didn’t he? A token of his undying love, no
doubt. Well, we’ll just see about that.”




                                  23
   “She released my arm and marched back into the
kitchen. Eli’s locket swung back and forth in time to her
stride. Not knowing what else to do, I found my way
back to my bedroom and sat despondently on the bed.”
   “How long I sat there I couldn’t tell you. The next
thing I remember was a sharp rapping sound coming
from my window. I stood and looked out upon the
yard. There below, throwing rocks to catch my attention
stood Eli. I opened the window to let his voice travel up
to me, hoarse with the need for secrecy.”
   “Tonight, he whispered, meet me on the beach two a mile
from your house. I’ve arranged for the boat to be anchored there at
ten o‘clock. Will you come?”
   “That simple question struck me. He wasn’t
assuming. This was a big leap and he knew it. I looked
down at him, seeing in his face the fear that I would
refuse.
   “Yes, I whispered. I will.”
   “The moon lit my passage that night. I had snuck
out of the house with relative ease. My mother was dead
to the world inside her bedroom. Before leaving, I had


                                24
searched high and low for Eli’s locket, but it was not to
be found. It broke my heart to leave it, but in the end I
didn’t have a choice.”
   “I was meant to meet Eli down the beach about half
a mile. He was to be waiting a ways out in one of the
longboats. I was to signal him and he would come and
fetch me. We were to be married on the ship. Captains
can do that, you know.”
   “I suppose that we should have picked a safer part
of beach, but neither one of us was thinking straight at
the time. We were too excited by the prospect of finally
being together.”
   “As he rowed his way towards the beach to get me, I
impatiently stepped into the tide, intending to meet him
halfway. Suddenly, a vicious undertow swept me
under.”
   “My dress, the height of modesty at the time, was
made with several yards of fabric. I fought to what I
thought was the surface, only to scrape my hand against
the gritty surface of the ocean floor.”




                            25
   “From above me I heard a cry, and then a splash. Eli
had dived to my rescue, but he was too late. In my last
waking moments I felt his hand reach for mine and
then…blackness.”




                          26
Chapter 6: In which Alan commits himself to help


Alan sat in the bathroom for moment, caught up in the
world Aleah’s story had created. It took him a second to
realize that she was finished speaking.
   Alan looked up at the image in the mirror and asked
the one thing that had stayed in his mind throughout
the story, the one thing that she had failed to answer.
   “Why are you still here?”
   She looked down at him sadly.




                            27
   “I couldn’t bear to leave the locket behind again,”
she said. “I left it once and that was hard enough, but to
leave it for an eternity…I don’t know if I could bear it.”
She turned to him expectantly. “That is why I need your
help. I cannot find the locket. Part of me believes that it
is no longer even in the house.”
   Suddenly Aleah’s reflection in the mirror, already
blurry, began to flicker. Her face twisted in a mask of
despair.
   “I cannot stay much longer. Already I have used
almost all my strength. I will not be able to speak with
you so freely again. Please find me Eli’s locket so I can
be at peace.”
   Alan stood rubbing his eyes. It was definitely past his
bedtime.
   He looked at Aleah. She looked at him with barely
concealed hope. How could he refuse?
   “Of course I’ll help,” Alan said.
   Her face cleared relief shone in her eyes, “Thank
you,” she said. And then she was gone.




                            28
   Alan turned to the bathroom door and opened it.
Then tiptoeing to his room so as not to wake his
mother, Alan climbed into his bed. His eyes closed as
soon as his head hit the pillow.




                            29
Chapter 7: In which Alan rifles through parts of his
family’s past


The next morning dawned bright and cheerful, exactly
how Alan did not feel. He swung his feet over the edge
of the bed and shuffled to the washroom to clean
himself up. When Alan stumbled down to the kitchen,
his mom already sat at the kitchen sipping a steaming
mug of tea.
   “You look as if you didn’t sleep a wink!” she
exclaimed.


                          30
   Alan just nodded sleepily and tried to focus on what
went into his cereal first, the milk or the cereal. After a
minute he decided a bowl would probably be a good
start. He sat down and started crunching away. After a
minute, he looked up and saw his mom still looking at
him as if she wasn’t quite sure whether to be amused or
worried.
   “Don’t worry, Mom. I just had trouble sleeping,
that’s all. I’ll be fine after I wake up a bit.”
   His mom looked at him sceptically, but she nodded.
They spent the morning unpacking yet more boxes.
Alan still felt as if his head was spinning. Part of him
couldn’t believe that any of what he saw the prior night
was real, and yet he couldn’t help but keep his eye open
for the lost locket. When they took a break for lunch,
Alan’s mom carried a box into the kitchen with her.
   “I thought you might want to look at this stuff,” she
said. “It’s those old portraits I was talking about and
some other stuff that was passed down to me with the
house.”




                               31
   Alan looked at the box. I guess it would be interesting to
see more pictures of Aleah, he thought.
   Alan rifled through the box while his mom finished
making lunch. There were indeed old photographs of
Aleah. One showed her with an older couple—her
parents he supposed. Even in the picture, it looked like
her father had been a generous man, while her mother
looked as if the whole world was beneath her, even the
people she currently deigned to pose with.
   He moved on to look at the rest of the box. In it
were a few trinkets, family heirlooms and the like. Alan
kept his eyes peeled for jewellery, but there were only a
few pieces of cheap costume jewellery. One carved of
wood had had its chain broken and had been passed
onto a dollar store key chain so as not to be lost, but
nothing that could have meant so much to Aleah.
   At the bottom of the box, Alan couldn’t help but
feel a little disappointed. Part of him had hoped that
this would be it. Now all that was left at the bottom of
the box were some rolled up sheets of paper. Curious,




                              32
Alan grabbed the bundles, and moving the lunch dishes,
rolled them out onto the table.
   They were the original blueprints of the house! A bit
stained by age, but still perfectly readable. Alan couldn’t
help himself—this was amazing! Alan pored over the
drawings for several minutes, absorbing every detail of
every room of the house they now lived in.
   His mother chuckled at the sight and cleared the
dishes from the table so Alan would have more room.
She knew that look. He had always loved history.
   That same look had been on his face the first time
she took him to the museum as a small child. She took
one last look at him scrutinizing the blueprints and went
to the sink to wash up.
   Alan was halfway through examining the master
bedroom when a little box in the corner of the room
caught his eye. There was a small drawing of what
looked like a panel opening from one of the walls. Next
to a box was an arrow pointing to the wall nearest the
door. Studying this for a second, Alan realized that it
must be a secret compartment built to hide valuables in


                            33
case of a robbery. Alan knew that if he were Aleah’s
mother that is exactly where he would have put her
locket.
   Well, he thought, unfortunately Mom has that room now,
and I can’t really go sneaking around and tapping on walls while
she’s at home. If she asks what I’m doing what am I supposed to
tell her? That our long lost relative has appeared to me in the
bathroom mirror and asked me to find her missing jewellery? I’ll
just have to wait until she goes to work tomorrow. I’ll look in her
room then.
   That decided, Alan rolled up the blueprints and put
them back in the box. Then he stood to help his mom
clean up lunch. Both he and Aleah would have to be
patient a little longer.




                                34
Chapter 8: In which a secret compartment is
discovered with surprising ease


Alan grasped the antique door handle that led to his
mother’s bedroom. The door was a bit touchy from age
and required a good shove to open. A muffled pop
announced the doorway letting go and Alan took a step
into the room.
   His mother had made it her own almost as soon as
they had moved in. Colourful curtains hung from the
windows, and a few dozen knick knacks were placed on


                         35
the available surfaces. The room smelled faintly of
lemon from the thorough dusting Cora had given the
furniture just the day before.
   Alan knelt on his mother’s rug and unrolled the
blueprints in front of him. According to the faded
drawings, the secret compartment should be just to the
left of the closet.
   It was noted to be unlocked by pressing a concealed
switch inside the closet doorway. Alan stood and
padded to his mother’s closet.
   The door was ajar from his mother’s rushed
morning. She had awakened late and had fairly sprinted
through her routine to get to work on time. Alan
shoved the door the rest of the way open and felt along
the edge of doorframe. The button was so small that he
had made three passes before the tips of his fingers
found a faint line that didn’t fit with the grain of the
wood.
   Alan pressed down and heard a faint click to his
right. Moulding edged the wall and the floor the length




                            36
of the room and a small portion of it had popped open
a fraction of an inch.
   Alan knelt and grasped the opening; there wasn’t
even the squeak of hinges as the door opened to reveal
a shallow compartment. The inside was dark, but Alan
had thought to bring a flashlight along for just that
reason. He flicked it on and pointed the beam towards
the wall.
   He couldn’t believe it! The search had been so easy.
Now Aleah could rest in peace. Alan peered into the
compartment expectantly, waiting to see a glint of silver
at any moment. But none came. Alan shone the light
into every cranny of the small opening. Nothing! In
desperation, Alan reached in his hand, his fingers
groping for something that his eyes had missed. Still
nothing.
   Alan sat back on his heels. He didn’t understand.
What had gone wrong? He had been so sure.
   He closed the secret compartment and gathered up
the old blueprints of the house. Closing the door to his
mother’s bedroom, he tried to reason out where the


                           37
locket could be. Maybe Aleah was right, he thought.
Maybe it was no longer in the house.
   Feeling helpless, Alan wondered up to his bedroom
with the intention of reading until his mom returned
from work. He found that he couldn’t concentrate on a
book though. Instead he lay on his bed looking at the
ceiling, willing himself to see what he was missing.




                            38
Chapter 9: In which Alan discovers the vast
resources of the internet and finds what he is
looking for


The next morning, watching Alan at the kitchen table
chasing the last of his cereal around the bowl, Cora
looked up from her coffee with a worried expression.
   “Ok,” she said, “what’s up?”
   “You’ve been moping around the house since I got
home yesterday. I know that school starts in a few days,
but even that shouldn’t put you in this bad of a mood.”


                           39
   Alan sat at the table with the same distracted look
that seemed to have planted roots in his face the prior
day. His mother leaned over and pulled Alan’s chin up
with her fingers so that he was looking into her eyes.
   “You know you can talk to me about anything,” she
said.
   Alan looked at his mother. He knew that as far as
moms went, she was a good one. She trusted him and
explained to him why she did what she did. But no
matter how tempting it was to tell her everything, Alan
couldn’t quite bring himself to do it. After all, this was
not her problem. Aleah had trusted Alan to find the
locket.
   Not wanting to worry his mother any further, he
tried to manage a smile. “I’m just nervous about the
new school, that’s all,” he said. “You know, the whole
new kid thing and all.”
   She peered at him intently, trying to see if that was
truly everything she should be fretting about. With a
sigh, Cora stood up from the table and gave Alan a
quick peck on the cheek.


                            40
   “You’ll do fine dear,” she said. “Just remember to be
yourself, and don’t forget how much I love that same
self. Okay?”
   Alan nodded and stood to rinse his bowl in the sink.
   After only a few more minutes Alan heard his
mother head out to work again. She had only to oversee
a few more hours of set-up and then she would be
home again.
   He had decided to spend the day on the computer
doing research on the eighteenth century. He figured
that if he learned more about the time when Aleah had
lived, maybe he could find some clue that he had
missed.
   Cora had converted the smallest bedroom on the
second floor into a study room and library of sorts.
Alan was thankful that it wasn’t the same room where
he had found Aleah’s picture. He didn’t think that he
would be able to concentrate in there without feeling
creeped out.
   In his mother’s little offce, Alan pushed the button
that caused the computer to reawaken and he waited for


                           41
the screen to flicker to life. When the background finally
appeared, Alan opened up the internet and, not
knowing where to start, searched “Eighteenth Century
Canada”.
   He watched, overwhelmed, as over a million options
flooded his screen. This was going to be a long
morning.
   Hours later, Alan still sat at the computer, aimlessly
scrolling through page after page of information. He
had read more than he ever thought possible about
eighteenth century life.
   He knew what the women wore, what the men wore,
what they ate, and where they worked. Anything he
could think of, Alan had read about. Not that it was
being very helpful. Alan was just about to give up when
he came across an article on jewellery typically worn by
women.
   Alan read that jewellery was not common among
average women. It would be expensive and impractical.
Jewellery was not widespread, and so its use was an




                            42
even more striking show of wealth in eighteenth century
society than it is today.
   Immediately Alan thought back to the box in which
he had found the blueprints. There had been jewellery
in the box, but he had discounted it because none of it
looked like it would have been valuable enough to be a
keepsake.
   Alan stood up quickly from the computer, stumbling
as he fell over his tingling feet, the cost of sitting for
several hours. He rushed down the stairs and into the
kitchen where he had last seen the box. It was right
where he had left it. His mother had asked him to move
it to the attic but he had not gotten around to it yet.
   Alan pulled open the cardboard flaps and carefully
emptied the box of all its contents. Blueprints, miniature
portraits, and the jumble of beads and knick-knacks
Alan had dismissed previously. He picked up the pile
and set it on the table, looking through it for something
that could be described as a locket.
   Alan noticed a wooden disc that had been secured
onto a keychain. He extracted it from the pile and laid it


                             43
out in his palm. A thick seam ran all the way round the
edge of the disk. He slid his thumbnail into the crack it
popped open without a sound.
   He saw that something was painted inside, but
couldn’t quite make it out. He angled it towards the
kitchen light. Inside was a painting of a man with kind
eyes, the exact color of the sea.
   Hello Eli, thought Alan.
   He felt a chill run through his spine and a cool
breeze wafted through kitchen. In a flash of inspiration,
he knew what to do. He walked steadily into front hall
and out the front door.
   He did not rush as he made his way through the
garden and down a small path towards the beach. He
walked through the sinking sand to the edge of the
ocean, stopping just as he felt the cold water wash over
his sneakers. Pulling back his arm, Alan flung the locket
as far as he could into the ocean. Watching it bob once
and then disappear.
   Immediately the wind picked up plucking at his
clothes, the roar of the ocean invaded his ears, growing


                              44
louder with every passing moment until…it stopped.
The wind died and the ocean resumed its soothing
rumble.
   Alan looked out over the vast expanse of blue and
sighed. He had done what Aleah asked of him. Now he
could only hope that she was content.
   He turned to trudge back up to the house. His mom
would be back soon. Maybe—just maybe—they could
finally finish unpacking those last boxes.




                            45
46
“Adventures in Third Grade”

      by Kyle Renner
Chapter 1: The Contest


What I’m about to tell you is only going to be based off
of the facts—what happened, nothing else. I suppose I
could lie and try to make myself look better to whoever
reads this, but I do believe that I’ve done enough
deceiving to last me a good while. I should probably
introduce myself. My name is Tomas, and I just ended
the third grade.
   You’re probably wondering what kind of kid I am,
what with the lying and all that. Well, it’s not something
that runs in the family I can tell you. My parents aren’t


                            2
like those dysfunctional ones that you sometimes hear
about in the news. No, they’re pretty much the exact
opposite of dysfunctional.
   The neighbourhood that I live and go to school in is
very nice as well: multicultural, good people, and nice
houses. I’d have to really rack my brains to come up
with a single complaint about where I live.
   Seeing as I’m rambling a little bit, I ought to get back
on track with the story itself. It was a beautiful Autumn
day when I first heard of the fundraising contest. It was
actually only about ten minutes before we were going to
be let out of school, and it was Friday. Naturally, my
head was full of the weekend’s potential, and my
teacher’s voice jerked me out of my reverie.
   Mrs. Schweinbraten was a rather shrewish woman
with a reputation for having a bit of a mean streak. In
previous years, we used to run away whenever we saw
her coming down the hall. Being in her class was
tougher then I had imagined. She worked us hard,
sometimes ruthlessly so.




                             3
   Mrs. Schweinbraten looked across the room to make
sure that people were paying. “As you all might’ve
heard, our school is having a fundraiser in order to
renovate our gymnasium and library,” she said. “We
thought that you, the students, could help raise the
money      by     selling    chocolates      through        the
neighbourhood. I think that you should all consider this
as an assignment of sorts. By that, I mean that this is
something that should be considered mandatory.”
   At these words a hubbub broke out amidst the
classroom. Mrs. Schweinbraten, to restore order, rapped
her yardstick against her desk, until silence fell again.
   “Mr. Langley has already brought this idea up at the
parent-teacher night, and all of your parents seem to
think it’s a great idea.” Mrs. Schweinbraten smirked
slightly, before continuing. “We will have a prize for the
student who raises the amount of $200 in one week.
Consider the prize your motivation to do this right.”
   “What’s the prize, Mrs. Schweinbraten?” asked
Jacob, the teacher’s pet.




                              4
   Mrs. Schweinbraten grimaced, as if she had a bitter
taste in her mouth. “Whoever makes the $200 in the
shortest amount of time wins a week-long free pass to
the Roman Holiday Amusement Park.”
   There was an audible intake of breath from some of
the students, while Jacob frowned. Mrs. Schweinbraten
continued, scowling slightly.
   “It wasn’t my preference, but Mr. Langley overruled
me. He thought that it was a good idea for some
reason.”
   The classroom erupted into cheers that did not die
down for several minutes. All of the students in my
class received their chocolate neatly packaged in
cardboard boxes. You know, the kind with the little
pop-up handles for your convenience and all that. There
were four boxes in all—fifty bars to a box, and they
were surprisingly lightweight. The general idea was to
sell each bar for a dollar and make $200 by the time you
were finished. I figured that the bars were probably
worth more than one dollar, at least, that’s what they




                            5
seemed to be claiming with the nutritional value listed on
the side of each carton.
   As soon as the bell rang, I took my cartons and
backpack and sped for the front door. An odd thing to
be sure, as it was a Friday afternoon and the possibilities
of the weekend loomed in the minds of my friends. I
wasn’t thinking about the weekend fun. Instead, an idea
was forming in my head, and I needed to have the
relative quiet of my home to think about it.




                             6
Chapter 2: Initial Plans


When I got home, I dropped the boxes of chocolate
next to the door and then ran upstairs to my room.
Both of my parents were still at work. Probably the only
thing that bothered me in recent years was the amount
of hours that they worked. However, having two
lawyers as parents helped me have a more expanded
view on different things, as well as making me
appreciate the time I spent with them even more.




                           7
    What I had been thinking about earlier was a video
game system that I wanted to buy: the Xbox 361.5. It
had been available to the public for about six months,
and as a result, the console’s price had dropped from
$450 to exactly $200. Normally, I would not have access
to such sums of money unless it was my birthday or
something, and even then the majority of that money
ended up being stored away by my parents for when I’m
older.
    This fundraiser changed all that. It wasn’t very
ethical, but I could use the money that I raised to buy
the console instead of turning it in to Mrs.
Schweinbraten and the school. I mean, there were
enough kids who would turn in what they raised, right?
The main problem, if I decided to spend the money on
myself, was how I would get away with it. True, Mrs.
Schweinbraten was absent-minded at times, but surely
this was something that she would keep track of.
    I actually spent quite some time dwelling on this
problem. In fact, I sat in my room until I heard a car
pull into the driveway. Either my mother or father was


                           8
home. I figured that the best thing to do was to raise the
money, hold it in my hands, and then decide what to do
with it. I got up and went downstairs.




                            9
Chapter 3: First Day on the Job


I awoke early on Saturday morning, as I wanted to get
started with the selling as soon as possible. Going down
into the kitchen, I poured myself a bowl of cereal, or
rather some of that oatmeal-like mix that was being
marketed as cereal. My mother was already up drinking
coffee and reading the morning paper.
   “You’re up early,” she said. “Are you doing
something?”




                           10
   “Yeah, actually. My school’s having a fundraiser type
of thing. All the kids have to go out and sell chocolate
to people.”
   My mother pulled a face. “Peddling unhealthy food,
huh?”
   “Sure looks like it. It’s not like we can sell people
grapefruit or something.” I suppose I forgot to mention
that my parents are also health freaks.
   After I had finished breakfast, I got up and went to
put on my shoes and a sweater. As our neighbourhood
was quite safe and I knew better than to cut in front of
traffic while crossing the street, my mother did not offer
to come with me. She would have a few years ago
though—if I had done such a thing then.
   Starting out, I thought that I might pay a visit to Mr.
Jenkins’s house first.
   Mr. Jenkins was a rather heavy man, and what’s
more, he didn’t care about it either. A good candidate
for sales then, I thought. I went up to his porch and
knocked on the door. It took a few minutes before he
came to the door and opened it.


                            11
   “Ah, it’s young Tomas!” he said jovially. “What can I
do for you?”
   I smiled politely. “Um, I’m actually selling some
chocolate for a school fundraiser, and I was wondering
if you’d like to buy some?”
   Jenkins had a greedy look in his eye.
   “Yes. Of course I’d like to buy some, young man.”
He pulled out his wallet from his bathrobe. I had no
idea why it would be there, but maybe he was used to
having people coming by and selling him stuff.
   “How much are you selling for?” Jenkins asked.
   “Well, I guess that really depends. How much
chocolate do you want? It’s only a dollar a bar.”
   To my surprise, Jenkins pulled out a fifty-dollar bill.
   “How many bars are in each box?”
   “Uh, fifty. Fifty bars per box.”
   Jenkins was actually leering in anticipation.
   “Well I suppose it’s your lucky day for sales. I’ll take
a whole carton.”
   “Okaaaay, then. Thank you for helping me out.”
   “No, thank you. Have a nice day.”


                              12
   After that sale, the majority of the houses I went to
bought nothing, or only minimal amounts of chocolate
bars. I guess the main downside to my neighbourhood
is that people are really knowledgeable where their
health is concerned. As a result, I only sold one or two
bars per house. Some people were sympathetic to the
idea and actually gave tips.
   After an hour of wandering the neighbourhood
trying to sell off the chocolate, I was starting to get
discouraged. I had only made around seventy dollars.
However, I became more determined to somehow
make the money. I also began to get slightly angry. If I
used the money for my own gain and bought that
console, I would feel a lot happier then if I turned in the
money to the school.
   Who did they think they were saying that it was
mandatory for us students to raise money for them? In
all seriousness, it wasn’t like the school had done all that
much for us. I decided there and then that I would keep
the money and spend it on myself.




                               13
   About an hour after this, I had an unfortunate run-in
with George Maggins, the self-proclaimed school bully.
To tell the truth, most of us considered him to be a bit
of a joke—not very smart, at the bottom of his class,
actually, and prone to being tricked into embarrassing
himself. He was quite strong, however, and had a foul
temper.
   He was walking along by himself. He actually had
few friends, only a couple of henchmen—almost as
dumb as he was and whistling tunelessly. When he saw
me, a grin spread slowly across his brutish face. It
wasn’t like he picked on me. For the most part he went
after Jacob, but he did try and push his luck with
anyone he met.
   “So, I see you’re out selling those chocolates like a
good little boy, huh?”
   “Ha, you’re funny. Stupid, but funny.” I actually
loved to needle him. Maggins’s face clouded.
   “Let’s have that money, then. I want it, give it over.”
   “You know, I’d love to, really, but I don’t think
you’d know what to do with it.”


                            14
   “Shut up!”
   “Getting angry now, are we? Aw, poor big
ol’Maggins. Getting upset?”
   “I SAID, SHUT UP!”
   He came at me, swinging his fists wildly. I hit him in
the stomach with one of the boxes and he fell over. He
lay on the pavement red-faced and glaring. I stood over
him and smirked.
   “I thought you were supposed to be the big tough
guy, no?”
   He didn’t say anything, and I was quite surprised to
see that he looked like he was close to crying. I decided
the best thing to do was to walk away before he starting
bawling or did something stupid.
   By the time I returned home I had thought over a
new idea. I could maybe get one of my parents to help
sell the chocolate as it didn’t seem to be going so
smoothly as of now.




                           15
Chapter 4: A Request


I asked my father for help over breakfast on Monday.
He had the day off, for once.
   “Hey, Dad, I was wondering if you could help me
with something?”
   “Sure, what is it? Something for school? A project?”
   “Yeah, kind of. Well, my teacher said to treat it as if
it was a project.”
   I explained that I had found selling the chocolate in
our neighbourhood to be rather difficult for different


                           16
reasons. He laughed and nodded when I explained that
the only person who would readily buy chocolates was
Mr. Jenkins, and I couldn’t well go to him constantly, as
he might think that I was trying to fleece him. He said
that he could try selling off the rest of the chocolate at
his law office. People weren’t big on it, but might buy
some if they knew what the cause was for.
   “I’ll see what I can do,” he said. “Also, when do you
need to bring this money in?”
   I told him that it would be best to have it in by the
end of the week, and he said that he could probably
manage to sell them all by then, although it could be a
close thing, on account of him being quite busy—as
always.
   “Well, thanks, anyways. I actually appreciate that a
lot, Dad.”
   “No problem. I’m happy that I can help you with
something.”
   Yeah, we were (and still are) pretty close—a good
father-son relationship and all that.




                             17
Chapter 5: That Bittersweet Thing


It actually took a shorter time than I had expected. By
the middle of the week, my father had managed to sell
off the remaining bars of chocolate to his co-workers.
He presented me with the $125 that he had made,
wrapped in an elastic band.
   “When do you have to bring this in by, Tomas?”
   “Um, by next Monday, I think.”
   Although this was true, Mrs. Schweinbraten had
stated only the day before that it would be best to bring


                              18
it in on that day. Many of my classmates had already
turned in their earnings. Honestly, I suspected that
many of them had just ended up selling the chocolate to
family members who would pay more to support their
relatives. The prize had already been won by my friend
Kamal. I had lost interest in the prize almost right away.
The only thing that mattered to me was getting the
Xbox 361.5. I decided that I would go by myself and
buy it Friday afternoon. When Friday rolled around, I
again left without talking to any of my friends, but this
time I went north towards the neighbourhood shopping
plaza.
   When I got there I found what I was looking for:
Lay-zee Brand Video Games and Consoles. I went
inside. I had to ask the clerk, a pimply type wearing
headphones, to take down the console from the shelf as
I was too short.
   “Aren’t you kind of young to be buying this
yourself?” the clerk asked, snickering.
   Instead of answering, I placed the $200 on the
counter.


                            19
   “Kind of young to be carrying that around, as well,
huh?”
   “Just ring it up, okay?”
   “Ha, sassy for a little kid, man. You have to like
that.” The clerk took a rather large plastic bag, and
attempted to push the box inside.
   “You know what? I’ll just carry it. It’ll be quicker
that way.”
   “You sure?”
   “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
   The guy behind the counter smirked again. “Alright,
kid. Don’t say I didn’t ask.”
   Walking home from the store I did regret that I
refused the bag as the console was rather heavy. I had
to stop several times before I arrived home. Neither of
my parents was home yet. This time I was glad of that
fact.
   After I lugged it up the stairs I attempted to plug it
in. I didn’t have any games or anything; I just wanted to
see if it worked and if I had spent the money wisely. It
did work, or at least it turned on properly, which was a


                              20
relief. I then unplugged it and slid it under my bed. I
couldn’t imagine my parents reacting favourably to
finding out how I had spent the money instead of
turning it in like I was supposed to.
   The one thing that really started to bother me was
how I would explain why I couldn’t turn in the money
to Mrs. Schweinbraten. Should I just say on Monday,
Oh, I forgot it at home? I decided that it was worth a shot,
anyways. If it didn’t work, I could try something else. I
resolved not to start panicking yet.




                             21
Chapter 6: More Problems


As I suspected, Mrs. Schweinbraten started to ask
questions, innocent ones at first, before the day ended.
She called me up to her desk while everyone else was
reading quietly.
   “So, you did actually raise the money, right Tomas?”
   “Of course,” I responded, trying to hide my
nervousness. “I just don’t have it on me today. I mean,
it’s quite a bit of money.”




                              22
   “Perhaps you should ask one of your parents to
bring it in for you, hmm?”
   “No! I mean, no, I can bring it in myself, Mrs.
Schweinbraten. I guess I just forgot to bring it in today,
that’s all.”
   “Well, can you bring it in tomorrow, perhaps?”
   “Sure, I can do that.”
   That evening, I regretted saying that I could bring in
the money the next day. However, if I didn’t give an
answer,        Mrs.   Schweinbraten   might’ve      become
suspicious, or perhaps more suspicious, and then
might’ve phoned my parents, which would be the worst
outcome of all.
   The reason for me feeling that way was that I had
told both of them that I was going to bring in the
money on the Monday, and they both believed me
having no reason not to. Lying to my parents made me
feel sick. I didn’t see any other options though.
   On Tuesday, Mrs. Schweinbraten called me up to
her desk again. She looked a little annoyed when I told




                             23
her that I must’ve misplaced the money that I had
raised.
   “I thought that you were more responsible then that,
young man.”
   “I thought I was too,” I muttered to the floor.
   Mrs. Schweinbraten didn’t seem to have heard what
I had said.
   “I’m going to give you until tomorrow to find it and
bring it in, Tomas. After tomorrow, I will call your
parents. Something doesn’t add up here.”
   Uh-oh.
   That night, I had trouble sleeping. It appeared that I
had dug myself too deep and probably ended up
suffering because of it. I wondered if I could take the
Xbox 361.5 back for a refund, but there simply wasn’t
enough time. The next day, Mrs. Schweinbraten
beckoned me up to her desk.
   “Do you have the money you raised?’
   I shook my head.
   Mrs. Schweinbraten snorted angrily.
   “Go and sit down then.”


                           24
   I went, feeling the chill of fear in my veins.
   That night, I sat in my room after both my parents
came home. I heard the phone ring and held my breath.
My father answered. He spoke and listened for a
while—fifteen minutes by my count. After he put the
phone down, I could hear my parents talking quietly to
each other. Soon after that there came a knock at my
door and my father’s voice.
   “Tomas, I believe there is something we need to
discuss…as a family.”




                              25
Chapter 7: Consequences


My parents found out everything. Although they found
the situation in general distasteful, what bothered them
the most was my lying. I suppose that bothered me as
well. My father decided to give away the Xbox 361.5 to
the Goodwill charity—so much for playing that. Both
of my parents told me that, although they did not like
the idea of kids sitting around and playing video games,
I could’ve asked them to get it, and they would’ve at
least considered buying it.


                              26
   My father said that he would fork over $200 dollars
to the school to make up for the money that I spent.
However, my allowance would be cut off as partial
punishment for what had happened. Also, my father
suggested that he would look into making me do more
things around the house—chores and the like—so that
I had less spare time on my hands. I suppose it could’ve
been worse… a lot worse.
   Looking back on that past year, I suppose that I
learned a lesson. I won’t try that sort of stunt again, for
sure, especially not the whole lying part. But I do
sometimes wonder that if I had managed to get away
with it, would I have really been happier with that
gaming system? I actually don’t think so.




                            27
28
“You Won’t Catch Me Flying”

   by Rochelle Richardson
Chapter 1: Fear of Flying


I’ve tried to put this day off but there was no escaping
it. Today I had to except my fate and take my flying
lessons. Mom told me that it was all going to be fine but
I didn’t believe her. I am terrified of flying. Ask me to
mix a potion, no problem. Ask me to turn a mouse into
a cat, and it will take me no time at all. Ask me to fly
and the answer is a very stern NO.
   I am Maggie Magee, the youngest of three, and of
the three of us I’m the only one who will not go near
her broomstick. My father is an expert flyer. He used to


                            2
take my mom up on his broom and they would fly for
hours. My mother said that she lied and said that she
was afraid of flying just so he would take her up. In all
honesty she loves it. It’s her favourite thing in the
world.
   My brother Thomas and sister Jane passed their
flying tests with flying colours—literally flying colours.
That’s what we get when we pass the test, a ring that
shoots out flying colours. When my brother first got his
I asked if I could play with it but he held it close to his
chest, gave me a stern look and then laughed.
   “Get your own Pipsqueak,” he declared nastily as he
moseyed along.
   My sister, usually the sweeter of the two, just patted
me on the head when I asked her.
   “One day you will get your own and you can play
with it all you like,” she said to me in her very sweet,
motherly tone. “But this one I’m going to keep in
perfect condition. You should go out and practice on
your broom or you will never get a ring like mine.”




                             3
   I hated them. I really, really hated them. How could
they expect me to just go outside and get on that death
trap of a broom? Flying is for the rest of my family but
not for me. I suddenly thought I was coming down with
a cold…cough, cough.




                           4
Chapter 2: Breakfast


I jumped out of my bed and ran down the stairs almost
bashing into my father.
   “Slow down Bunny,” he said as he tried to save his
pancakes.
   “Sorry, Dad.”
   He went to sit at the table with my brother and
sister. I sat at the last available seat beside my brother.
He moved an inch away from me. I gave him the ugliest
glare that I could, and when he looked at me I stuck out


                             5
my tongue. He pulled out his wand and just when he
began the spell to get rid of my tongue my mother
stopped him.
   “Thomas!” she said sternly.
   My mother wasn’t really afraid that he was going to
remove my tongue with a spell; he had done it before.
She was more annoyed that he was doing magic at the
dinner table.
   “Thomas, what did I tell you about magic in the
house?”
   “Only if it’s for homework, and to check with you or
Dad before we start,” he said defeated, putting his wand
back in his backpack that was lying beside his chair.
   “Do I have to take that wand away from you?”
   “No.”
   I would have pulled out my wand and do a spell on
him at that very moment if my mother hadn’t taken my
wand last week. We were having oatmeal for breakfast
and I absolutely hate oatmeal. When everyone was busy
talking and eating I did the teeniest of tiniest of spells
and turned my bowl of oatmeal into a bowl of cotton


                            6
candy. I hadn’t eaten more then a bite before my
mother grabbed my wand from the table and turned my
beautiful bowl of cotton candy back into a bowl of
oatmeal. And to make things even worse she added
another helping. I haven’t seen my wand since.
   “Mom?” I began as she started another batch of
pancakes for me and my siblings. “I was just wondering.
Since I’ve been very good all week, could I please,
please get my wand back?”
   My mother looked away from the pancake batter and
looked at my face for a long time. I wondered for a
moment what my face must have looked like.
   “Yes, you can have your wand back,” she said finally.
   I jumped from the table and I gave her a huge hug.
   “Thank you, Mommy, thank you.” Just as I said that
my wand appeared on the chair that I was just sitting
on. I ran and grabbed it before my brother had a chance
to take it.
   “Jane, take your sister to school today please,” my
father said from behind his newspaper.




                            7
   “But its Thomas’s turn,” Jane responded with a
whine.
   “Dad, I don’t think I can go to school. I don’t feel
well.” I cough into my hands really loudly. “See I’m
sick.” My father feels my forehead.
   “You feel fine. Stop being silly and get ready for
school,” he scolds.
   Then Jane and Thomas resume their debate. I
ignored the arguing over who would take me to school
today because a plan was forming. I know for a fact that
I will not be flying today and now that I have my wand
back millions of excuses were forming in my head.




                           8
Chapter 3: Walking to School


   “Thomas, stop walking so fast,” my sister scolded as
she ran after my brother who was a block ahead of us.
They were both so fixed on not taking me to school
that my parents made them both take me. This was a
nice change considering I hadn’t walked to school with
my brother and sister for a long time. They’re in middle
school now and seem to be too busy for me.
   “I don’t want to be late for school,” Thomas yelled
back at my sister as she was still trying to catch up to


                           9
him. I stayed back, dragging my backpack on the
sidewalk. I wanted to see how long it was before they
realized I was not right behind them.
   Ever since my brother and sister left my school they
didn’t have anything to do with me. They were too busy
with their friends. They often didn’t notice me when I
was around them at home. My sister was better then my
brother though. If I asked she would help with my
homework and if I was really nice she would take me
for ice cream. She mostly ignored me when her friends
were around. My brother was mean to me most of the
time, so I had fun testing out spells on him. He tried
some on me too, but he got caught by my mother more
often then I did.
   “Hurry up, Maggie,” Jane called behind her. I picked
up my backpack and ran until I was in front of Maggie
and behind Thomas.
   “I don’t understand why Pipsqueak here can’t walk
herself to school,” Thomas said loudly to Jane.
   “Thomas, be nice; she’s only a little kid.”




                            10
    “I am not a little kid,” I yelled at both of them. “If
you want me to walk to school by myself, then fine.” I
stormed off in the direction of my school. I looked
behind me and saw that Thomas had turned the corner
in the direction of his middle school. He yelled as he
left.
    “I’m leaving then. You know how to make it on
your own.”
    I did know how, but I was still upset that he left me
to walk alone. Jane wasn’t so quick to leave me. She
hurried to catch up with me, gave me a kiss on the
cheek and then made sure that it was okay that I walked
the block alone.
    “It’s only a block the teachers can see you from
here,” she says reassuringly. “I would walk you the
whole way but we left the house behind schedule and I
don’t want to be late for school.”
    “It’s alright Jane,” I respond. “I can walk the rest of
the way without you.”
    “Okay. Well, here is your lunch. I put a sticker of a
frog on it. Do you like it?” I look at my lunch bag and


                             11
on it is a small little green frog in the right corner. The
sticker gave me a great idea and I hugged my sister for
giving it to me.
   “Thanks, Jane. I love it.”
   She hugged me back and then ran toward her
school. I turned toward the playground and ran to the
swing set, where I saw my best friend Charlie. I couldn’t
wait to tell him my idea.




                            12
Chapter 4: Charlie and Me


   “Wait, did you just say that you are going to turn
yourself into a frog so that you won’t have to take your
flying lessons?” Charlie asked me while we were
swinging in the playground before school started.
   “Yes,” I responded. “Charlie, it’s the perfect plan. A
frog can’t fly a broom.”
   “I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Charlie said.
   “It’s the perfect plan,” I repeated. I guessed that he
figured out what I was going to ask him because he


                            13
started swinging higher and higher so that he couldn’t
hear me.
   “Charlie, wait up.” I cried. I pumped as hard as I
could until I swung higher then he was.
   “I win,” I yelled to the kids watching in the
playground. Then I heard Charlie huffing and puffing
behind me.
   “By only this much,” he said, putting his index finger
and thumb together to show a small amount.
   “If you say so.” I answer only to end our little tiff.
We both start to slow down. “Please, please, please
Charlie. Can you please turn me into a frog?” I begged.
I know that he hates to get into trouble but I didn’t
know who else to ask.
   “I thought you said that you were going to turn
yourself into a frog.” Charlie said.
   “You know that I can’t turn myself into a frog. You
have to do it.”
   “You know that I’m not as good at alteration spells.
I could turn you into a lamp.”




                             14
   “I trust you,” I said to him to ease his nerves.
“Besides, lamps can’t fly either.”
   Charlie looked around the playground to make sure
that no one was looking. He pulled his wand out of his
school bag and pointed it at me.
   “Are you sure about this Maggie?” Charlie asked.
   “Yes,” I responded quickly and closed my eyes.
   “Alright.” He kept his hand as still as possible and
recited   the   spell   to   turn    me   into   a   frog.
“Bipity…kazoo…bang!”
   I opened my eyes and all I could see were Charlie’s
shoes.
   “I knew that I couldn’t do it,” Charlie said looking
down at me.
   “Charlie, what happened?” I asked him. I knew that
I had been changed because I was staring at his shoes. I
considered all of the possibilities. Maybe he really did
turn me into a lamp.
   “Charlie, tell me, tell me, what you turned me into.”
   Charlie looked down at me nervously. I began to get
more and more frightened. “Maggie I am so, so sorry.”


                             15
“Why, Charlie? What did you do?”
“I turned you into a bird.”




                        16
Chapter 5: A Spell Backfires


   “What?” I yelled. “Of all the things to turn me into.”
I lifted my arms, or rather wings, and looked at my
many feathers.”
   “I am really, really sorry,” Charlie said. “I told you
that I was bad at alteration spells.”
   “It would have been better if you turned me into a
lamp,” I whimpered sadly. I couldn’t believe that he had
turned me into the one animal that could fly. How was
this going to help with my problem?


                             17
   I was so small that Charlie could bend down and
take me into his hands. “What kind of bird am I?” I
asked as he turned toward the school. It looked like all
the other kids were too busy playing tag or hopscotch to
notice what happened.
   “I’m not sure,” he answered. “You’re really small
and you have red feathers. Maybe you’re a robin.”
   “A robin? Really?” I said excitedly. “I hear them
singing sometimes from my window. I guess it’s not so
bad being a robin.” I looked at my wings again. “But
wait,” I said staring at my right wing, “robins don’t have
red wings—only their chests are red.”
   “That’s right,” Charlie responded. He looked down
at me trying to work out what kind of bird I was.
“Wait,” he said as if he’d figured it out. “I know what
you are. You’re a cardinal.”
   “A cardinal? I think I’ve seen one in a book before,”
I told Charlie. “They are pretty.”
   “You are pretty,” he responded. “But it looks like
you have a mohawk.”
   “Cool.”


                               18
   We heard the bell ring so Charlie rushed toward the
front doors. There were lots of kids already rushing into
class and none of them seemed to notice that Charlie
was holding a cardinal in his hands. I moved around
uncomfortably before I realized what he was doing.
   “What are you doing?” I demanded.
   “Going to class,” he answered not slowing down.
“We can’t be late.”
   “Yes we can,” I yelled. “If we go to class we’ll be in
trouble for using magic without permission.”
   Charlie stopped because he hated to be in trouble. “I
didn’t think about that.”
   “Charlie, I don’t want you to be in trouble so just
dump me in the bushes beside the window and go to
class,” I said. There was a huge bush beside our
classroom window and if he left me there I would be
able to see everything that was going on in class.
   “What will you do?” he asked me worried.
   “I haven’t really figured that out,” I responded.
“Place me somewhere low so that I can jump down if I
need to.” Charlie shook his head at me.


                            19
   “You’re a bird. You could fly down,” he laughed.
   “I don’t care if you make me a bird or a lady bug,” I
declared. “I will never fly.”




                                20
Chapter 6: Cardinal’s Composure


Charlie decided that leaving me was the best way to go
so he left me on the lowest branch where it was possible
to jump down if there was trouble, and see inside the
classroom. I watched as Charlie made his way into the
circle in front of the class. The teacher sat in her seat
and took attendance.
   Then I realized that if she took attendance and I
wasn’t there then they would call my house and I would
get into trouble. I started banging my beak on the


                           21
window. I couldn’t get Charlie to look at me. I took a
deep breath and made the loudest chirp that I could.
This made Charlie turn around.
   What we learned the last time we used the alteration
spell, when I turned Charlie into a hedgehog, was that
the person who changed you could hear you speak like a
person but everyone else only heard animal sounds.
   Everyone in the class heard a distressed cardinal chirp
but Charlie heard me scream out his name, “Charlie!
Charlie! Charlie!”
   I kept doing it until Charlie asked to go to the
washroom. The teacher scolded him about going before
class then she let him leave. He ran to the front doors
and ushered me into the school. I had to jump off the
branch but the height scared me. On the way down I
hastily opened my wings and the wind made me glide to
the ground. I hurried toward Charlie and he opened the
door for me to get in.
   “Did you just fly?” he laughed once I was inside. I
was shocked at his assumption.




                           22
   “I did not fly. I accidentally opened my wings and
the wind caught and I drifted down. I did not fly,” I
responded angrily. “Why would I fly if I was willing to
be turned into an animal to get out of my flying test?”
   “Alright sorry,” he said apologetically. “It looked like
you flew.”
   “I will never, ever fly,” I told him firmly. Then we
heard the sound of some kids coming down the hallway.
They were some kids from the older grades, so I
staggered over to the corner and Charlie shielded me
with his body.
   “Oh no,” Charlie whispered back to me.
   “What?” I asked concerned. I’m too short to see
anything. All I saw was Charlie’s leg but I could hear the
voices of the older kids. One of the voices sounded
familiar. “Charlie is that…” I began.
   “Sshhh,” he insisted behind him. I looked around his
leg and I saw two boys standing in the hallway across
from us, and one of the boys was bullying the other. I
saw the hat of the bully and I realized I knew the voice.
   “It’s James,” Charlie warned quietly.


                            23
   James was the meanest person in the whole school.
He turned kids into rats if they didn’t give him their
lunch money. I suddenly became afraid of what James
would do if he found me as a bird. He might try to
pluck my feathers.
   “Don’t worry Maggie,” Charlie said. “I’ll distract him
and you run.” But before Charlie could do anything to
distract him, James turned around.




                           24
Chapter 7: Troubles Brewing


   “Hello, Charlie boy,” James said menacingly as he
walked toward us. “What is that you have behind you?”
he said while peering around Charlie. I tried to hide the
best I could but it was not so easy being trapped in a
corner.
   “Hi James,” Charlie said as innocently as he could.
“I don’t have anything behind me.” Charlie turned
around and I stayed close to his leg so James couldn’t
see me.


                           25
   “I’m sure that I saw something,” James said
questioningly. Charlie tried to walk away with me
pinned to his leg but I was just too red. James saw me
easily against Charlie’s blue jeans.
   “Right here,” James howled and picked me up.
James wasn’t as gentle with me as Charlie and I felt
uncomfortable. “Who is this?”
   “No one,” Charlie answered. “It’s just a bird I found
in the garden.” Charlie’s voice wavered a bit. He was
really scared of James and I tried to think of how to get
James to leave.
   “I don’t think so, Charlie,” James replied. “I can see
the excess energy around it. You changed someone into
a bird with magic. But who?”
   Charlie stood frozen; he didn’t know what to say. I
stood in James’s hands hoping that he wouldn’t drop
me if he didn’t get an answer. James started inspecting
me as if he could see that I was the bird, even though I
didn’t look like myself at all.
   “James, I really have to get back to class,” Charlie
said anxiously about the situation.


                              26
   “Then go,” James responded harshly. “I’m still
trying to figure out who the bird is.”
   “It’s no one. Leave her alone,” Charlie yelled back at
James, frustrated that he wouldn’t let him go back to
class.
   “It’s a her then.” James laughed. Charlie didn’t realize
that he had made the slip.
   “No. I don’t know. Maybe, I guess,” Charlie started
stammering. He had trouble getting himself out of
difficult situations. That’s why he mainly avoided them.
   “I know who it is,” James said. “It’s Maggie Magee. I
should have guessed that you would practice magic on
your best friend.” James started to laugh hysterically.
“Isn’t she afraid of flying? Do you think she would get
over it if I dropped her?”
   I could feel his fingers releasing each other and his
hands moving apart. I grabbed at his palm with my
talons. He screamed and I screamed, but my screams
sounded like frantic chirps. Charlie could hear what I
was really saying.




                             27
   “No, I will not fly. No! Charlie, help me, help me!”
James just tried to shake me off. I held on as much as I
could. I didn’t want to fall and I couldn’t fly.
   Charlie couldn’t decide what to do. He didn’t know
whether to grab me or to push James away. He made a
decision and pulled me away from James as gently as
possible. I closed my eyes once James made the threat
to drop me, but I opened them finding myself in
Charlie’s hands. I was never happier to see him.
   “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” I kept repeating.
Charlie was the best friend I could ever have.
   I looked over at James and he looked mad, but he
wasn’t looking at me; he was looking at Charlie.
   “Charlie I think we should go to class,” I warned.
   “But we will get in trouble for doing magic. You’re
still a bird,” he argued.
   “I know, but we should really get out of here.”
Charlie looked at James for the first time since he pulled
me away and he saw what I saw: rage.




                             28
   “Charlie, you think that you can just stop me,”
James. “I am going to make Maggie fly, and you aren’t
going to block me.”
   “Yes I am. It’s not right,” Charlie said defending me.
“If she doesn’t want to fly she shouldn’t be forced to.”
   James lunged for Charlie and he accidentally
dropped me. It wasn’t from too high up and I
instinctively opened my wings again.
   “I’m sorry, Maggie,” Charlie said as he tried to avoid
James’s wand. I just stood there looking up as James
tried to hit Charlie with a spell, and all Charlie could do
was stay away from his wand. I wanted to help but I
didn’t know how as a cardinal. I was too small to help
and I couldn’t hold a wand in my talons. Then I realized
what I had to do. I thought of all the things that Charlie
had done for me that day. He did a spell he didn’t really
want to do and he saved me from James. Now it was
my turn to help him.
   I opened my wings and began to flap. It was really
easy in that body; it felt natural. Before I knew it I was
in the air. Charlie looked and saw me flying. He got


                            29
distracted and James hit him in the arm with a jelly spell.
Charlie’s arm went limp almost like spaghetti, which
made me really mad.
   “Charlie, get down,” I told him. He grabbed his arm
where James hit him and crouched on the ground.
James saw me and looked disappointed.
   “I thought you were afraid of flying,” he said to me.
   I moved really close to his face and he swatted me
away. I started chirping like crazy and he covered his ears
with his hands, but then he couldn’t swat me away so I
bit his nose.
   “Aaaaahh!” James screamed.
   He started to inch back. I flew forward. Then he
couldn’t take it anymore and ran away. I flew after him
halfway down the hall, but then I let him go. I came
back to find Charlie rolling on the floor laughing.
   “What is so funny?” I asked annoyed. “I just saved
your life.”
   “Yes, and I appreciate it,” Charlie replied. “But you
said that you were afraid of flying, but I watched you
and you looked like you were having fun.”


                            30
   “I guess I was,” I said back. “It’s true. Once I got up
here it didn’t seem like such a big deal.”
   “Do you think that you can take your flying test
now?” Charlie asked me.
   I think I can,” I responded happily.




                             31
Chapter 8: Home at Last


I walked into my house and everyone was standing in
the kitchen with a funny look on their face. My mom
was standing beside my dad, and they both were behind
Thomas and Jane. My mom stepped from behind them
and stood in front of me.
   “How was your day at school, honey?” my mom
asked me with concern.
   “It was alright, I guess,” I said calmly. She looked at
me as if she didn’t believe my answer. Then I looked


                            32
over at my siblings and my dad and they looked like
statues. “What is going on?” I demanded.
   “We got a call from your teacher today,” my mom
said. I knew where this was going. I was hoping that
maybe my teacher would be nice and not call. I knew
that I deserved to be in trouble. I broke the rules, but
my parents didn’t need to know that. Maybe I could talk
my way out of this.
   “You see what happened was I didn’t want to take
my flying test so Charlie turned me into a bird, and then
James the school Bully started picking on us, so I had to
fly in his face and bite his nose. He hit Charlie with a
jelly spell first. Then the teacher found me and Charlie
in the hallway and I was still flying because I really love
it now. And then she turned me back into a person, so
it wasn’t my entire fault.” I stopped to catch my breath.
   Thomas started to laugh. My mom and dad look at
me angrily and my sister just shook her head trying not
to laugh.




                            33
   “They got a call about your flying test,” Thomas
explained still laughing that I got mixed up and just
confessed all the bad stuff I had done that day.
   Then my dad came toward me and I handed him my
wand without a word. I knew that I wouldn’t be seeing
that for a long time.
   “You can go to your room now, young lady,” my
dad said to me.
   I dragged my backpack up the stairs and sprawled
out on my bed. I turned off the lights and opened my
bag. Inside was a ring with flying colours that was
brightening my room.




                            34
“Work is Boring, Magic Isn’t”

      by Caitlin Kieran
Chapter 1: Boredom Here I Come


   “But Mom!” I pleaded. “Please! I just want to—”
   “Zoë! I am very late and not in the mood! I will
make sure you have something to do while I’m working
but I don’t have time to go back to the car to get your
games.”
   “Ugh,” I huffed. I hated being bored and I would
most definitely be bored at my mum’s office. I’d never
been inside it before, but I’d driven there with Dad a
few times to pick her up. Mum worked at a little
independent children’s television station but I was too


                           2
old to watch it because it was for really little kids. I was
worried that they wouldn’t have anything for someone
my age to play with. I’m eight turning nine really soon
and then after that I’ll be double digits.
   My mum pulled me into a florescent-lit stairwell and
I couldn’t help but groan when I saw all the stairs we
had to climb.
   “It’s on the third floor Zoë. It’s not much of a
climb,” said my mum detecting my obvious impatience.
   I could tell my mum was in a hurry by the way she
flew up the stairs, but I was seriously dreading the day
so I was sluggishly climbing the stairs to waste as much
time as possible. My mum turned around and gave me
the eye, which I only ever got right before getting in
trouble, so I started to pick up the pace.
   We finally reached the landing and my mom pulled
open the heavy metal door to reveal a bright yellow
room. It was unfurnished except for a small wooden
desk crammed in the far corner, a few plastic chairs with
a matching table, and a horribly cheesy picture of a
small child laughing on the wall. Great, I thought. I was


                              3
planning on getting some sleep if there was nothing for
me to do but the blinding colour of the walls and the
uncomfortable looking chairs might not allow that to
happen.
   “Mommm…,” I whined. But before I could
continue I caught a glimpse of her face and she was
looking more serious than usual. I thought that it would
be smarter for me to just not say anything, so that’s
what I did.
   “Miss Ambrooks, oh thank goodness,” said a frantic
looking woman from behind the desk who I hadn’t
noticed before. “I tried calling you but your cell seems
to be off and there is a client waiting for you in your
office! I—I just didn’t know what to do!”
   “Annie,” my mum said in a soothing voice, “that’s
perfectly alright. I suppose I didn’t hear my phone ring
and I’m sorry if that stressed you out but I’m here now
and there’s nothing to worry about.”
   My mum’s words seemed to have calmed the
nervous and jittery looking woman. Annie took a deep
breath and immediately switched to professional mode.


                           4
    “Of course, Miss Ambrooks, I apologize. Oh who is
this little cutie?”
    Ugh, I thought. I hate it when people call me cutie. It
usually means they’re about to pinch my cheeks, and eight year
olds don’t like that.
    My mom looked at me like she expected me to reply
but I just crossed my arms across my chest and stared at
the floor. This was my way of showing my mom I was
still mad at her for dragging me here and not letting me
get my games.
    My mom looked like she would have gotten mad at
me for being so rude but she didn’t want to say anything
in front of anyone, so she simply smiled and said, “This
is my daughter Zoë. Lucky Zoë has a PA day today and
I couldn’t get a babysitter so she will be spending the
day here.”
    “Oh wow, she is lucky,” said Annie.
    Lucky?, I thought. Since when was sitting in a wobbly
plastic chair with absolutely nothing to do lucky?




                                 5
    “Okay,” Mum said, “I’m going to leave her here and
if you could just keep an eye on her Annie that would
be great. I shouldn’t keep the client waiting any longer.”
    Mum guided me to the chair and quietly whispered
Be good in my ear. She gave me a kiss on the forehead
and walked down the long yellow hall until I couldn’t
see her anymore.
    Both Annie and I looked anxious, not knowing what
to do or say. Suddenly Annie broke the silence.
    “Listen, you little brat,” she said, “you better not
cause any trouble because I am not your babysitter and
I have work to do. Got it?”
    Great, I thought. I’m stuck in this crummy room all day
with nothing to do and I have a witch as company. This was going
to be an interesting day.




                               6
Chapter 2: Let’s Blow This Popsicle Stand


Annie sauntered back to her desk and busied herself
with some papers. Hmm, I thought. If Annie was going
to make my day miserable there was no reason for me
to not return the favour. The problem with being eight
though is that there is not much that you can do to an
adult to get even.
   Then I remembered what my mother had said: “I’m
going to leave her here and if you could just keep an eye
on her Annie that would be great.” This gave me an


                            7
idea. Annie was wrong—she was like my babysitter for
the day, and babysitters have to keep kids amused and
take care of them. I may not be able to be mean but I
could drive Annie crazy in my own way.
   I started tapping my foot, louder and louder until
Annie finally looked up.
   “Do you mind?” she snarled.
   “No,” I answered, “I don’t mind at all, thanks for
asking though.” Then I flashed my cutest smile at her
and started tapping louder.
   Annie rolled her eyes and tried to get back to her
work but couldn’t with my distractions.
   “Listen kid,” she spat, “I’m serious. Stop that
annoying tapping!”
   Without missing a beat I made my famous puppy
dog face and started to sniffle like I was about to cry.
   “I’m sorry,” I said in my cute baby voice, “I can’t
help it. I always tap my foot when I have to go.”
   This wasn’t true, but I thought a good way to annoy
her would be to make her schlep me around, and it was
the first thing that came to my mind.


                              8
   “When you have to what?” she asked, clearly
panicked that I might actually cry.
   “You know,” I replied, “when I have to go.” And
then I started bouncing in my chair for dramatic effect.
   “Oh!” she exclaimed. “Well I’m not helping you or
anything.”
   Well duh, I thought. Eight year olds don’t need help to go to
the bathroom. This woman has obviously never met an eight year
old because she knows nothing about kids!
   “I don’t know where it is though, and my mom said
that you had to take care of me. You wouldn’t want me
telling her that you wouldn’t let me go, would you?”
   She seemed to have no rebuttal for that, so with an
annoyed huff she got up and started walking down the
sunshine yellow hall with me right at her heels.
   We stopped outside of a plain looking door with a
handwritten label that read Ladies on it. Annie stood
awkwardly in front of the door, not quite knowing
whether to stay or not.




                               9
   “You don’t need to wait for me or anything,” I said
as I pushed open the door and was hit with the smell of
thick, musty lavender.
    Without saying anything Annie started back down
the hall leaving me by myself. I made sure that she was
out of sight, and then I left the washroom and
continued down the hall the other direction from Annie
to explore.




                          10
Chapter 3: Transported


I passed tons of plain yellow doors with more
handwritten labels reading Storage or Executive Office until
I finally came across one that interested me: Costume
Room. When I was a little kid I used to love dressing up
in my mom’s old dresses and things and I’ve always had
a love for clothes. I carefully peeked around to make
sure no one was looking and then pushed open the
door.




                             11
   It was like I was no longer in the same place. The
sickly, bright yellow walls were replaced with a soft blue
and a fun patterned carpet took the place of the chipped
tile floors in the halls. The room was huge too, all
covered from floor to ceiling with mounds of glittery,
shiny, colourful costumes. I stood there for a minute
just taking it all in. Maybe this day wasn’t going to be so
horrible after all.
   I looked around until something popped out to me.
It was a glittery red cape; the kind little red riding hood
might wear—only nicer. I ran over to the pile where it
lay and carefully picked it up. It was so soft and delicate
in my hands I couldn’t help but throw it over my
shoulders. I stepped in front of the mirror and gently
tied it around my neck in a simple bow. I did a few
swirls in front of the mirror admiring how the cape
moved.
   All of a sudden I could feel my body becoming
lighter and my feet wanting to leave the ground. I
started panicking, not knowing what was happening.
Before I could do so much as scream for help I was


                            12
pulled into a strong force of swirling colours. I was
spinning around wildly, unable to control what was
happening, when it suddenly stopped and I hit the
ground with a soft thud.
   I stayed curled up on the ground with my eyes shut
tight, scared that if I stood up whatever that was would
happen again. Under my hand I could feel the carpet
and it felt strange; it felt like…grass. I opened my eyes
and realized it was grass! I was no longer in the costume
room.




                           13
Chapter 4: Little Red?


I stood up and brushed the dirt off my knees and front.
Luckily I didn’t get any dirt on the red cape which I still
had on. When I stood up I realized I was in front of a
little hut. I had never seen this place before and I was a
mixture of scared and curious. I was scared because I
was in some unknown place and had no idea of how to
get back, but something about this place made me feel
safe.




                            14
   Just then the door to the hut burst open and a short,
tired looking woman emerged.
   “Little Red! What are you doing?” she exclaimed. “I
leave you outside for a minute and you somehow
manage to get your new cape all dirty.”
    Huh? I thought. Who was this woman and what was she
talking about? I was frozen to the spot, not knowing what
to do or say. She seemed to think she knew who I was,
so I thought I’d try and explain my story to her, though
I doubted she’d believe me.
   “Umm, sorry,” I started, “I’m somewhat lost. You
see I was just supposed to wait at my mom’s office, but
then I snuck into the costume room and then I—”
   But the little woman cut me off. “Sweetie, I have no
idea what on earth you are talking about, but there is no
time for your silly stories now. Grandma is expecting
you in only a few minutes with some baked goods, so
get a move on!”
   Grandma? My grandmother lived in Florida and we usually
only visited at Christmas time, so why was she expecting me?




                               15
   “No, listen,” I said, “I really need to get back to the
costume room before that horrible Annie realises I’m
not in the washroom.”
   “Again, Little Red,” she said, her voice becoming
more and more irritable, “I have no idea what you are
talking about but you’re not going anywhere until you
deliver these to Grandma.” She handed me a wooden
basket filled with muffins, cookies, and other delicious
smelling treats. Then it hit me…Little Red…red
cape…Grandma’s house…I was Little Red Riding Hood!
But how?
   “Wait,” I replied. “Am I…am I Little Red Riding
Hood?” The woman just stared at me with the most
annoyed expression on her face.
   “Little Red, stop playing these childish games and go
to your grandmother’s. She’s sick and is expecting you
any minute now. Now remember, no talking to
strangers and stick to the path.” And with that she
turned on her heel and disappeared back into the hut.
   Without knowing what else to do I turned around
and started walking down the path wondering if I was


                           16
ever going to get out of this strange world and back to
my family.




                          17
Chapter 5: Hello Mr. Wolf


The sun was shinning and the birds were singing and
everything seemed perfect except it wasn’t where I
belonged. How was I going to get back? How did I get
here in the first place? The stress overwhelmed me and
I could feel my eyes start to water. Before I could stop it
I was crying uncontrollably. I found a small rock at the
side of the path and plunked myself down on it
continuing to cry.




                            18
   All of a sudden there was a rustle in the bushes
across from me and I immediately stopped crying and
went very silent. I listened harder but the rustling
seemed to have stopped. Even though I could no longer
hear anything I decided that I better somehow get to my
grandma’s house before it got dark. Maybe she would
know that I wasn’t really her granddaughter and believe
my story and help me get back. It was a stretch but it
was worth a try.
   I stood up and started along the path again, but I felt
like I was being watched. I turned around and from
where the bushes were rustling, a huge, gray wolf
jumped out and landed right in front of me. I tried to
scream but I couldn’t seem to find my voice.
   “Why hello!” he spoke.
   A wolf that could talk? I definitely wasn’t in Canada
anymore.
   “Umm, hi?” I said, though it was more of a question.
“Please don’t hurt me,” I added, because I really didn’t
know what else to say. I mean what would you say to a
wolf if he talked to you?


                            19
   The wolf suddenly burst into a fit of laughter. “Of
course I won’t silly,” he chuckled. “I just want to talk.
I’m really lonely and I was just looking for some
company.
   He seemed nice enough but I still felt uncomfortable
talking to a random wolf. Plus my mother had told me
not to talk to anyone, and I guessed she meant animals
as well.
   “Well,” I said trying to be polite, “I’m in a bit of a
hurry. I have to deliver some treats to my grandmother,
but not my real one, and then I have to find some way
home, so I don’t really have time to talk.”
   “Oh,” he said. “Well if you’re lost maybe I could
help you.”
   Hmm, I thought. I know I’m not supposed to talk to
anyone but maybe this wolf can help me, and he seems like a nice
guy. “Okay,” I replied, “that’d be great, thanks.”
   “I’ll point you in the right direction then. Follow
me.” He started to lead the way. I followed him for
what seemed like only a few minutes until we came to a
fork in the path.


                               20
   “Well,” he said, “I have to go this way now but you
go this way.” He finished telling the directions to get to
Grandma’s house and walked away. I thanked him for
all of his help and turned to go down the right path,
although I still had the feeling I was being watched or
followed.




                            21
Chapter 6: Betrayal of a Friend


I continued down the path, checking continuously over
my shoulder. Then I heard it—a rustling in the bushes
like I had heard earlier.
   “Umm, Wolf?” I asked. “Is that you?” I stood very
still and waited for the friendly wolf I had parted with to
come out of the bushes but nothing happened. “Hello?”
I called again, but still nothing. Maybe I was just hearing
things.




                            22
   I was starting to panic. The warm, afternoon sun was
setting and I could tell night would be coming very
soon. I needed to get out of this fairytale world and
back to the real one before it was too late, but what was
too late? I had no idea how this magic even happened!
   Then in the distance I saw the outline of a small
hut—smaller than the hut I had first seen when I came
to this world. It must be Grandma’s! This could be it.
Maybe she would help me and everything would be
okay.
   I started to run as hard and fast as I could until I
came to the door of the little house. I took a second to
catch my breath and rapped three times quickly on the
wooden door.
   “Little Red?” said the raspy voice of someone
within. “Come in, dear. I’ve been expecting you.” I
pushed open the door and entered the dimly lit hut. I
could just barely make out the shape of a bed with a
figure lying in it. Grandma I presumed.
   “Grandma?” I asked, just to be sure. “I brought you
some goodies.”


                           23
   “Ah lovely,” she replied. “Just leave them on that
table over there dear.”
   I did as I was told and crossed the small room to
place my basket on the bedside table. I couldn’t help but
feel uneasy in the situation; something didn’t feel right.
   “Come sit, dear,” my grandma said as she pointed
one very hairy arm towards a warped wooden chair.
   Wait a minute, I thought. All this time I’d been so
busy I’d totally forgotten the story of Little Red Riding
Hood. It had been so long since I had read it. I knew
she was sent to deliver goods to her sick grandmother
and then…what? I knew she met a wolf in the forest
that helped her, but I knew there was something crucial
I was missing. I didn’t want to look rude though so I
tried to make myself comfortable in the wooden chair
facing my grandmother.
   “Wow,” I said suddenly taking a look at her face.
“What huge ears you have!”
   I saw a quick flash of panic in her eyes and then she
calmly replied, “All the better to hear you with my
dear.”


                            24
   And then it clicked. The story! In the book it’s not
her grandmother, it’s the wolf dressed up as the
grandmother! My body went rigid with fear as I tried to
quickly figure out what to do.




                           25
Chapter 7: The Return of Someone Grumpy


Without really having time to think of anything, I
jumped up, grabbed the basket off the table, and threw
it at the wolf.
   “Ouch!” he yelped, this time not in a fake sweet, old
lady voice but in his real scary wolf voice.
   “Get away from me!” I hollered as I bolted for the
door.
   The wolf leapt out of the bed and started chasing
after me. I slipped threw the door and pushed against it


                             26
trying to shut him in, but it was no use—he was much
too strong! I waited a few seconds until I got the right
footing and then I let go of the door and ran. I ran
further and further away, still very aware that the wolf
was only right behind me. I needed to think of
something and fast!
    I made an unexpected sharp left turn without losing
any speed. This caught the wolf off guard and gave me a
big head start. I could hear his footsteps getting quieter
and quieter as he started to slow. I could hear him
gasping for air.
    “Wait!” he tried to yell. “Please come back! I’m
sorry!”
    I’m sorry? I thought. Hmm…a wolf with a conscience? Too
bad it couldn’t have clicked in before he tried to kill me!
    I started to slow down just a bit because I knew for
now the wolf had stopped running.
    “I’m really sorry!” he yelled in between caught
breaths. “It’s not my fault. The Queen made me do it!”
    I was now so far ahead of him that it was the last
thing I heard him say. I continued to jog until my legs


                                  27
wouldn’t carry me any further, and then I found a log at
the side of the path and sat down.
   My head was spinning but I tried to go through
everything that had happened that day, hoping that I
might figure out just how I got here and in turn how to
get back. I reviewed what the wolf had said just after he
had given up chasing me: “It’s not my fault. The Queen
made me do it!” What Queen? There wasn’t a queen in Little
Red Riding Hood was there?
   I pushed that thought aside and tried to focus on the
more pressing issue—how to get home. The wolf was
the one person or animal I thought who was really
trying to help me. Now I had no one and I figured I
didn’t have much time. If only I could find someone
who I could get to listen to my story and help me out.
   Just then, not too far down the path, I saw the figure
of a woman. Without wasting another second I jumped
up and called after her.
   “Excuse me!” I shrieked. “Hey you over there!”
   The woman stopped and turned around. Thank
goodness, I thought! I darted towards the woman with a


                             28
new feeling of hope, but then I was stopped dead in my
tracks.
   “Annie?” I gasped. It couldn’t be!




                           29
Chapter 8: Not a Witch but a Queen


   “Hello, brat,” she sneered. “Fancy running into you
here.” By the way she said it, this sounded like no
surprise to her.
   “I can explain,” I started, but I was cut off by her
cool voice.
   “No need. You see,” she said, “I knew you weren’t
trustworthy enough to be left alone. And I was right,
wasn’t I? You just had to snoop around.”




                          30
   I was becoming more scared of Annie by the
second. Compared to how she was now, the wolf
seemed like nothing!
   “But…,” I sputtered, “…how?” I could barely find
my voice let alone construct a proper sentence.
   “Ah, yes. That is a mystery, isn’t it?” Her icy voice
made me feel like I was in more danger now than I ever
was before. She continued, “You see, brat, I used to be
the costume designer at you mom’s crummy little office!
I had the perfect job until your pesky mother took that
away from me. Oh, Annie, she’d say, you do such a great job,
but we really don’t need a costume designer. What we really need
is someone to answer the phones. And so that’s what she
made me do. She demoted me! All that hard work—all
the hours of time I put in—and she just took it away,
like that!”
   I just stood there not able to think of something to
say while all this new information flowed in.
   “I’ll admit,” she continued, “when I first found out
the costumes were magical I was in awe too.” She
paused to examine my shocked face. She laughed at my


                               31
expression and went on. “Yes, I traveled to all of the
fairy tales. My first one was Cinderella. It was my first
week as costume designer and I couldn’t help but notice
this beautiful gown on one of the racks. Of course I
tried it on and poof! Suddenly I was dancing with Prince
Charming at the ball!”
   Annie dancing? I thought. She didn’t strike me as the
having- fun-and-dancing sort of girl.
   “Anyway,” she said, “the point is that you were
being disobedient. And your mother…well…I’ve never
liked her…so something must be done.”
   Now I really started to worry. I labelled her from the
very beginning a witch. I could tell by the twisted
expression on her face that she had something bad in
store for me.
   “Before you go all evil on me, could we get out of
here first? Do you know how? I mean, I’m guessing you
do if you’ve done this all before. And when we
return…then you can punish me. Please, I’m really
sorry,” I said putting on my cute puppy-dog face, but
this time it didn’t work.


                            32
   “Ha!” She laughed. “Do I know how to get out of
here? You silly child. I can do anything I want here.”
And then she pointed her bony index finger at her head
and I realized she was wearing a crown.
   “Y-Y-You…,” I stuttered. “You’re the Queen!”




                           33
Chapter 9: Stuck?


She didn’t say anything for a minute she just smiled
back at me, clearly enjoying herself.
   “It took you long enough,” she replied. “Yes, I am.
You see from all my time travelling between fairytales
I’ve learned how to control all those dumb fairytale
creatures. I learned how to choose which fairytale I go
to, and with this crown from the costume room I have
everyone in this silly world believing I’m really a queen!”




                            34
   Wow, I thought. I knew she was mean but I didn’t think
she was evil-queen mean!
   “Now…,” she went on, “I know how to get out of
here but you never will. Your mother took something
very important away form me and now I am going to do
the same!”
   I choked. “If that’s all this is about, I’m sure if you
explain she will give you your old job back.”
   “But why do that when this is so much more fun?”
she retorted. “I get even with your mother, and I free
the real world from one more pesky kid!”
   I was overwhelmed by everything I was hearing. I
wasn’t going to ever see my mom again? I’d be stuck in this world
of make-believe forever? But I’d miss out on everything—my first
day of high school, my first job, my first kiss! Although I was in
no rush to kiss boys…eww!
   I was fighting back tears and thinking everything
through when I noticed Annie slowly coming closer to
me. With every step she took forward, I took one back.
   “Don’t touch me,” I barely whispered. But she
wasn’t listening; she was staring intently on…my cape! I


                                35
was still wearing the cape from the costume room! Wait,
I thought. Annie had said that it was the costumes that were
magical! If only I could trick her into telling me their secret. One
thing was for sure—I had to make sure she didn’t touch my cape.
It might be the only way to get out of here.
    “What do you want to do to my cape?” I asked,
suddenly feeling more courageous.
    “Don’t you worry,” she replied. “Just hold still and
let me tear it.”
    “Tear it?” I wondered out loud.
    “Darn it!” she yelled, as she picked up a pointy stick.
“Oh well, you can’t run away now.” She held the stick
high above her head getting ready to jab it through the
cape. “Goodbye Zoë,” she said as she cornered me up
against a tree and a rock.
    This was it. I had to think fast. Annie was now right
in front of me making it impossible for me to move.
And then I got an idea. It was the only thing that I
could think of but it just might work.
    “Oh Annie…,” I said, pointing my finger at the
ground by her feet, “you dropped your pocket!”


                                 36
   Annie looked down and grabbed her pant’s pocket.
She turned around and around looking in the dirt for
her pocket. I couldn’t help but laugh at how pathetic
she looked. It worked!
   Without wasting another second I ran past Annie
knocking right into her, making her fall to the ground.
She looked dazed for a second and then…nothing. She
had passed out—probably from all the spinning.
   I was running out of time and I couldn’t risk
bumping into Annie again, so I swiftly untied her cape
from around her shoulders and tied it around her and
the tree. I used the best knot I knew—the Clove Hitch
knot. When I used to go to Brownies this was the knot
we used to tie down our canoes so I was sure it would
keep Annie in place.
   I stood back and admired my work only for a
second, because I knew I had to hurry if I was going to
get home.
   I ran down the path hoping I was going the right
way because this truly was my very last chance. After
five minutes of running I could feel my chest burning


                          37
with exhaustion and lack of air so I slowed it down to a
jog.
    As I jogged down the path I was worried that I
wasn’t going the right way. If I wasn’t I would be too
far away now and I would be stuck here. I could feel my
eyes start to sting again but I tried to stay positive and
not cry. This world wasn’t so bad. Maybe if I lived here
I’d be really happy. I had a mother in this world, though
she seemed a bit grumpy, but at least I’d have a place to
live.
    It wasn’t working though—I still felt sad. I didn’t
want another mother I wanted my mother! The water
was building up in my eyes and I couldn’t help but let a
few tears dribble down my cheeks.




                            38
Chapter 10: Which way?


Just then I tripped over a rock and was sent crashing to
the ground. My hands and knees stung from the impact.
Could this day get any worse, I thought.
   I picked myself up and brushed the dirt off of me.
Then I noticed the rock. The rock I tripped over looked
exactly like the rock I was crying on when I first met the
wolf.
   What happened to the wolf, I asked myself. He was really
nice and helpful until he tried to eat me, but he had said


                              39
that the Queen had made him do it. He was also the
only person, or animal, who had really helped me. For
some reason I found myself missing the wolf.
   “Wolf?” I called out into the seemingly empty forest.
   “Wolf!” I yelled.
   I didn’t know why but I had the strange feeling that
something was wrong. Would he have gotten in trouble
for not carrying out his task? Did Annie do something
to him, or have other fairytale creatures do something?
Annie had said that she had total control over the
creatures of this world.
   Just then I heard a muffled howl that seemed to be
coming from the left of me.
   “Wolf!” I yelled. “Is that you?”
   Another howl could be heard, but it seemed pretty far
away. I looked to the left from where the sounds were
coming from and then down the path knowing I wasn’t
far from where I first had landed in this world. I had a
feeling that if I got back to where I entered the world I
might be able to find a way back. I kept looking
between the two.


                           40
   If I went to help the wolf I may not have enough
time to get back to my world. It was already dark out
and getting darker with each passing moment. And
maybe that wasn’t even the wolf. Maybe it was a trap or
just another animal. But on the other hand, the wolf had
really helped me and I felt like I owed him something.
   All these thoughts rushed in my head and within a
few seconds I had made my mind up. I started to run.




                           41
Chapter 11: What Friends Are For


Not knowing if I had made the right decision, I
continued to run, refusing to stop because of
exhaustion or dehydration. If the wolf needed my help I
would help. I owed him that much.
   Every few minutes I would call for the wolf again to
make sure I was still going in the right direction. A few
times I had to change my path because I was going too
much in one direction.




                           42
   “Wolf?” I called again. Now that I was getting closer
I didn’t have to yell. Again he let out a howl, this time
not as loud and I continued to walk forward.
   Up ahead I could see what looked like a small cave.
This must be where the wolf was! I ran full speed
towards the cave but stopped at the entrance. I was
really dark and small looking and I wasn’t a fan of small
dark spaces.
   “Wolf?” I asked in a very small, timid voice. “You in
there?”
   “Zoë!” said the wolf from inside the cave. “You
actually came!”
   Okay, I thought to myself. You can do it Zoë. I took a
deep breath and entered the cave. It was cold and damp
and there were lots of noises that seemed to be coming
from every direction. I could make out the faint
shadows of creepy crawlies climbing the cave walls or
scurrying out of the way of my feet that were about to
crush them.
   “Wolf?” I asked, my voice bouncing off of all the
walls of the cave. “Where are you?”


                           43
    “Over here,” his voice echoed back.
    I tried to follow where his voice had come from but
it was so dark and very hard to see. Finally, I saw the
outline of the wolf hunched over. He looked very
uncomfortable. As I got closer I could see that he was
tied up.
    “Oh no! Who did this to you?” I asked, although I
already knew the answer.
    “The Queen ordered the lumberjack to do it,” he
replied. “She sure has control over everyone,” he said.
    That’s right, I thought. None of the fairytale creatures knew
that she wasn’t really a queen!
    As I untied the wolf, I told him everything about
Annie. He was shocked and swore that he and the other
creatures would get her back. When he was finally
untied we both ran out of the cave.
    “Thank you, Zoë!” he exclaimed, as he threw his
paws around my neck and gave me a huge hug. “I can’t
believe you saved me after everything I did to you!”
    “That’s what friends are for,” I replied. I was happy
to have my only friend back.


                                  44
   “How can I ever repay you?” he asked. “There must
be something I can do.”
   I looked up at the sky that was now littered with
stars. We must have been in the cave for at least an
hour. I couldn’t believe how late it was. I didn’t make it.
It was all over. I would never get home. I had run out of
time.




                            45
Chapter 12: Worth A Try


   “What’s wrong?” asked the wolf. I hadn’t noticed
but I was crying.
   “It’s nothing,” I answered. “It’s just that…well…I’m
stuck here now forever.”
   “What do you mean?” he asked. “Why can’t you just
travel back now?”
   “Because it’s too late!” I half cried, half yelled at him.
I was so overwhelmed and my emotions were all
messed up.


                             46
   “That’s weird,” he said. “Annie always travels at
night.”
   “What?” I yelled. “She does? You’ve seen her? Do
you know how to get me back?” I kept on asking
questions until the wolf finally stopped me.
   “Yes, I know how,” he said. “And since you saved
my life, I will help get home.”
   All hope wasn’t lost! The wolf knew how to get me
home!
   “Well,” the wolf said after a few seconds, “I don’t
know how exactly, but I think I know.”
   Why was it that every time I got a bit of hope it was
immediately sucked away? “Oh,” I said in a very glum
voice.
   “But we can give it a try,” the wolf said in a very
perky voice, trying to make me feel better. “Come on,
let’s go!” he said, swinging me on his back and starting
to run off under the starry filled sky. It was time to go
home.




                            47
Chapter 13: Magic Words Take me Home


He finally came to a stop behind the little hut that I had
first seen. My mother was probably inside so we had to
be very quiet.
   “Okay,” he said in a low voice, “now from what I’ve
seen this only works if you transport from the same
place you came in from. This is the right place right?”
   I nodded my head, and hoped that I would soon be
back with my real mom.




                            48
   “Now,” he continued, “it looks pretty simple. All
you have to do is wrap the cape around you and say this
phrase…but your eyes have to be shut…I think.”
   It worried me that the wolf wasn’t a hundred percent
sure, but it was the only chance I had.
   “So the phrase is,” he went on, “I believe in magic, and
in happy ends. Take me back to my world, for that’s the world
that I attend.”
   I nodded once very seriously and opened my mouth
to speak the words. My hands were already clutching my
cape tight around my body when the wolf cut me off.
   “Wait!” he half yelled, half whispered, “Turn around
and let me make sure your costume piece isn’t ripped.”
   “What happens if it is?” I asked. “Will it not work?”
   The wolf didn’t say anything but the look on his face
answered my question for me. One little snag or pull
and I would be stuck here forever. I held my breath as I
slowly turned around to let the wolf check.
   “You’re one lucky kid,” the wolf said after a few
seconds. Phew, I thought as I released my breath. I was
going home. Well, I would be if the wolf was right,


                             49
which I really hoped he was. Either way there was no
time for doubts, only success. I gave him one more hug
and then prepared myself.
   I drew in a long breath and said, “I believe in magic,
and in happy ends. Take—” But I was cut off once
more. This time though it wasn’t the wolf. I spun
around in time to see Annie throw herself at me. I
didn’t have time to scream—I had to get home!
   I held the cape around me even though Annie was
tugging on it and continued. “Take me back to my
world—” I couldn’t concentrate; Annie was tugging
harder and harder on the cape and I was worried it
would rip!
   “You can do it!” yelled the wolf as he tried to pull
Annie off of me. “Just say the words!”
   I drew in one more big breath and shouted, “I
believe in magic, and in happy ends. Take me back to
my world, for that’s the world that I attend!”
   “No!” cried Annie.
   I could feel my feet wanting to leave the ground but
Annie still had a very tight hold on me. I was being


                            50
pulled from both directions, but I wouldn’t face having
to stay in this world for the rest of my life. Without
thinking I pulled Annie’s crown off of her head and
snapped it in half. I did it so quick she didn’t even have
time to see what I was doing. I threw the crown down
and Annie immediately let go of me scrambling to pick
up the pieces of her costume piece.
   Her eyes looked like they would pop right out of her
head when she realized what this meant—she’d be stuck
there forever!
   “No! Please! I’m sorry! Come Back!” she yelled, as
she frantically jumped to try and grab onto my feet. It
was too late though. I was soaring higher and higher,
and the last thing I saw was the wolf waving goodbye to
me before I was once again sucked onto the force of
colours.




                            51
Chapter 14: Finally Home


I was spinning wildly around, still stuck in the force of
colours. Suddenly it all stopped and I hit the ground
again with a soft thud. Under me I could feel carpet. I
opened my eyes slowly to see the costume room. It had
worked! I immediately untied the read cape from
around my shoulders and threw it back onto its proper
pile. As I left the costume room I was very careful not
to touch anything that would make me once again get
sucked into a strange world.


                           52
   I opened the door and exited quietly and started
back down the sickly, yellow hall. When I got to the
waiting room I sat down where I was first sitting and
went through the day’s events in my head. So much had
happened!
   I looked up at the clock and saw that only a few
minutes had passed in this world, whereas a full day had
gone by in the fairytale world. I was more than happy to
just sit and do nothing while I waited for my mom. I
was so excited to see her!
   Hours passed and I finally heard footsteps down the
hall. Moments later my mom emerged looking stressed
after a long day at work.
   “Mom!” I yelled as I ran up to her. I threw myself
around her. “I missed you so much!”
   She was taken aback by my sudden affection and she
hugged me back. When I finally let go my mom looked
around with a confused look on her face.
   “Where’s Annie?” she asked.
   On no! I totally forgot to think of something to tell her about
Annie. “Umm,” I said, “let’s just say you’re going to


                               53
need to get a new receptionist.” I flashed my cutest
smile at my mom but she looked unconvinced.
   “Zoë,” she said, “what did you do?”
   “Nothing, Mom—honest,” I replied. “She just said
she didn’t like the job and left.”
   “Well that’s going to put me a bit behind,” said my
mum, still very suspicious. “She said she didn’t like the
job?”
   “Mmhm,” I answered. “That’s what she said.”
   “Well,” my mom said, “she did seem unhappy once
she lost her job as costume department head and she
did make a pretty lousy receptionist, but she really
should have said something!”
   “Come on, Mum,” I said. “Don’t worry about that
right now. Let’s go home. I’ll help with dinner!” She
gave me another weird look.
   “I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but I like it,”
she said, giving me another hug.
   “I love you Mom,” I told her reaching up and
grabbing her hand.




                             54
   “I love you too Zoë,” she said squeezing my hand
opening the door to the parking lot.
   After a long and adventurous day, I was finally going
home.




                           55
56
“The Red King Rowan”

  by Kaelah Morgan
Chapter 1: The Red King Rowan


Once upon a time in a faraway place there was a
beautiful land filled with good things. The trees grew
fruit and were great for climbing, and the water was
crystal clear and perfect for drinking and swimming and
sailing. But even though the land was beautiful, the
people were sad. How could that be, you ask? It was all
because of King Rowan.
  King Rowan wasn’t a grown-up man like other kings.
He was a little boy no older than eight. He lived in a
huge castle made of red stone and had everything he


                           2
ever wanted and had hundreds of servants to do
whatever he told them to do. Even though he had all
this, he was always, always, always angry. So angry in
fact, that his hair became red like a tomato. He was so
angry that his cheeks were always hot hand pink. If
anyone upset him three times, he would send them to
the dungeon where he forgot all about them.
  Every morning, as soon as he woke up, King Rowan
wouldn’t ask for his breakfast—he would scream for his
breakfast! His cooks worked as fast as they could. His
servants brought his food on spotless silver trays with
his name on them. He snatched the meal away. King
Rowan did not say thank you—he did not say a word
nor did he even look at them. They always brought him
a knife and fork for him, but he never ever used them.
  He grabbed a fistful of scrambled eggs and smushed
them into his greedy, little mouth. Suddenly, his hungry
smile got all twisty with rage. He spat his eggs out at
once.
  “These eggs are too hard!” he howled.




                           3
  “But Sire, yesterday you said that your eggs were too
runny,” one of the servants said.
  “Well, now they’re too hard!” King Rowan threw the
plate to the floor.
  The King grabbed a piece of toast and shoved it into
his open mouth. His face got twisty again and he spit
out his toast too. “There is too much butter on my
toast! Much too much!” he screamed.
  “But Your Majesty, yesterday you said there wasn’t
enough butter on your toast,” said another one of his
servants.
  “There still is much too much butter!” King Rowan
said. He threw the toast to the ground as well.
  Now all that was left was a big glass of orange juice.
King Rowan took a giant gulp and got his face all sticky
with juice. For a third time, his face twisted with
grossness.
  “This juice has pulp! I hat pulp! I hate it, I hate it, I
hate it!” he yelled loudest of all. He threw the glass to
the ground also. Now there was a pile of sticky, soggy,




                            4
cold food and sharp broken glass that someone else
would have to clean up.
  “I guess I’ll have nothing to eat again,” King Rowan
grumbled to himself. “Imagine a king going without
breakfast!”
  Since there was no breakfast, the King was taken
straight to his bath. He fussed the whole time and got
soap in his eyes. After that, he fussed over his clothes as
well. His fancy king shoes looked nice, but they
squished and squashed his toes until they hurt!
  After all that, King Rowan wanted nothing more than
to play with his mountain of toys, but he couldn’t. His
subjects were lined up outside the castle gates, waiting
to tell him of their troubles.
  The King slumped in his big, golden throne. “Let
them in,” King Rowan said with a moan.
  One by one, the people came in. They had all sorts of
troubles.
  “My crops won’t grow,” said a farmer.
  “Go whine to your crops then, not to me!” King
Rowan said.


                                 5
  “I have too many children to feed,” said a mother.
  “Well you shouldn’t have gotten so many. They
should just go wherever they came from!” said King
Rowan.
  It went on for hours and hours and hours and hours.
The King grew quite bored.
  Then a small boy came into the room. He was
smallish and dirty and scruffy and shy. He had no shoes
and his clothes were ripped.
  “Oh, Mr. King, sir, a mean man has stolen my
family’s only horse. We need that horse to help us with
work.” he said with a sniffle.
  “Just get a new one,” the King said.
  “But we don’t have enough money.”
  “Well that’s too bad now isn’t it? What am I to do?”
King Rowan asked.
  “Make the man give our horse back,” the boy
pleaded.
  “You lost it and now you expect me to fix your
problem? Ha! Leave at once before you really start to
bug me. And tell the rest of them out there that I won’t


                             6
be talking to anyone for the rest of the day.” King
Rowan didn’t seem to care about anyone else but
himself.




                         7
Chapter 2: Tragedy


After King Rowan had eaten his lunch of peanut butter
sandwiches, soup, and a big glass of milk, the King was
ready to play. Every day at half-past twelve, King
Rowan would do his most favourite thing in the whole
world: ride in his little, red chariot. It was the only time
that he wasn’t angry. It was the only time that he ever
smiled.
  The King owned a lot of land just for him to ride on.
The chariot even had a little house of its own that it was


                             8
put into every night. King Rowan ran to where his
chariot was kept and swung the doors open.
  “AAAIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”                       The
King screamed so loud that he could be heard for miles
and miles. King Rowan threw his biggest fit ever. All his
hundreds of servants came running to him. None of
them could calm him down. Finally, they called his
nanny. She was the only one who could ever calm the
King down. She scooped him up in her arms and
calmed him down.
  “What’s wrong Rowan? Why are you making so
much noise?” she asked.
  “My chariot! My chariot is gone!” Rowan cried.
  “It must have been stolen,” said his nanny. “Whoever
did it must be hundreds of miles away by now. Oh well,
there’s nothing we can do. It’s gone forever.”
  King Rowan started to cry and big, salty, wet tears
rolled down his cheeks.
  “Maybe we can hire a detective. Maybe they could
find it,” suggested one servant. King Rowan’s nanny
suddenly looked sort of worried.


                            9
  “No, no, no, no, no!” she said. “No need for all that.
A detective would only add more troubles to the mix.”
  “You’re right, Nanny,” King Rowan said as he wiped
his nose on his sleeve. “No detective could ever find my
chariot.” His nanny seemed kind of surprised now.
  “That’s right, dear. No detectives,” she said to him.
  King Rowan jumped to his feet. “That’s because no
mere man could have stolen my chariot! No one can
steal from a king as great as I! It must have been magic!
Sorcery! Witchcraft! Only a magician could find my
missing chariot! Send for the greatest magician in the
land! Bring him to me at once!” the King declared.
  “L-Let me head the search for this magician, Your
Highness,” his nanny said nervously.
  “Very well, Nanny,” King Rowan said. His nanny
sighed a great sigh of relief. No one could tell why she
was acting so strange.
  So that very evening, Nanny set off to find the
greatest magician in the land.




                            10
Chapter 3: Finding the Magician


It took one whole night of traveling in the royal horse
buggy until Nanny finally came to the Magician
Academy. Academy is a fancy word for school. The
Magician Academy was where all the magicians learned
how to work their magic. Nanny went straight to the
Headmaster’s office. Headmaster is a fancy word for the
principal of the school.




                           11
  “I am here by decree of his majesty, King Rowan,”
Nanny said. She showed the Headmaster a fancy piece
of paper that proved she really was there for the King.
  “We’re not in trouble are we? Please tell me we
haven’t displeased the King in any way!” The
Headmaster trembled.
  “Oh, no, no, no,” Nanny said. “In fact, it’s quite the
opposite. The King wishes to have a magician help him
with something.”
  “We have many talented magicians in training here,”
the Headmaster said proudly. “Let’s see...there’s
Aleister, Morgan, John, Gerald, Isaac, Cassandra,
Marlin...”
  “Ahem!” Nanny interrupted. “I will choose myself.”
  “Very well,” the Headmaster said.
  One by one, all of the magicians-in-training
demonstrated their magic for the royal nanny. There
were one thousand, three hundred and seventy-two of
them in all. By the time they had all shown off for the
nanny, it was sundown.




                           12
  “That was all of them, every last one of my students,”
the Headmaster said with a yawn. It had been a very
long day for everyone.
  “I know exactly who is perfect for the King’s
problem,” Nanny said. What came out of Nanny’s
mouth next shocked everyone. The lucky magician that
Nanny chose of all of them was not the oldest, wisest or
the most talented. She chose the youngest, newest, and
the least talented magician in the whole school.
  Her name was Olive. She seemed to be the exact
opposite of King Rowan. Instead of never smiling, she
never seemed to stop. If you tried to smile as big as she
did, you’d hurt your cheeks! You could tell from how
she was dressed that her family didn’t have much
money. Her stockings didn’t even match. Her hair was
thick and green like seaweed and she tied it up in two
braids. To top it off, she wore a floppy wizard’s hat and
a pair of glasses that were much too big for her.
  After some quick introductions, Olive got packed
and left with Nanny. Everyone back at the Academy
was bewildered. Why would they pick her? It couldn’t


                            13
be for her skill! No way! Perhaps they would never
know.


  King Rowan was dressed especially fancy that day.
He had to look his best for a great and powerful
magician. He sat on his throne, eagerly awaiting the
arrival of Nanny and her guest.
  Finally the doors swung open. At first no one came
out. There was a little whispering for a bit, and then a
tiny little figure was pushed into the room.
  “Maybe he looks so small because he’s so far away?”
Rowan thought to himself. But as his honoured guest
came closer he didn’t get much bigger. Wait a minute!
This wasn’t what King Rowan expected at all! King
Rowan had pictured a tall, dark and menacing wizard
with a long beard and bushy eyebrows. But before him
stood a small girl about his age with a nervous grin on
her face. He looked at her for a long time. There had to
be a reasonable explanation for this. Suddenly he got an
idea.




                            14
  “Aha!” he exclaimed. “You are in disguise! You must
be a powerful wizard to have a disguise so complete!”
  The girl only giggled.
  “What are you laughing at? How dare you laugh at
the king!” King Rowan yelled.
  “It just sounded so funny, that’s all,” the girl said.
“No one has ever called me a powerful wizard before!”
  “Why is that? Are you not a powerful wizard?” the
King asked.
  “Not yet, no. But I will be someday!” she said with a
big grin.
  “Well, you are a magician at least, right?” he asked
her.
  “Yes,” she nodded.
  “Maybe you can still help me,” the King said. “My
prized chariot has vanished. I suspect sorcery. Can you
use a spell to find it?”
  “I haven’t learned that kind of magic yet,” she said.
“But I’m real good at finding things. I have seven
brothers and seven sisters in my family and stuff gets
lost all the time!”


                           15
  “I don’t know about this...,” said the King stroking
his chin.
  “Just give me a chance. I’m sure I can do it!” the girl
pleaded.
  “Alright, I suppose it’s better than waiting another
three days for another wizard,” Rowan said with a sigh.
  “You won’t regret it!” she said as she curtsied neatly.
“By the way, my name is Olive—Olive McTilly. What’s
yours?”
  “You mean to say you do not know my name?”
Rowan said as he raised his eyebrow.
  “I come from far out in the countryside. We don’t
hear much about the castle,” Olive explained. “So, what
is your name?”
  “My name is Rowan Carmine Rufous Vermilion
Damask Von Rubescent,” he said proudly. “But you
may call me King Rowan.”




                           16
Chapter 4: Olive the Detective


The first thing that the little magician did was dig
through her backpack that she had brought along with
her. She pulled out a notebook and a pencil and wrote:
Royal Investigation - Day One; The Victim’s Account.
  “Alright,” Olive said with a smile. “Tell me what
happened that day up to when you found it was
missing.”
  King Rowan told her everything and she wrote it all
down.


                              17
  “Hmm... interesting,” Olive said. “Let’s go to the
scene of the crime and look for clues.”
  “What do you mean?” Rowan said, turning up his
nose. “I have hired you so you could find my chariot. If
I wanted to go look for it, I wouldn’t have sent for
you.”
  “You have a rotten attitude,” Olive said. “I’m helping
you and you can’t even be bothered to get up off your
throne. A king ought to take action, you know.”
  “How dare you call me, a king, rotten!” Rowan
screamed. “Consider yourself lucky, because I will allow
you to fulfill your duty to me without punishment.”
  “No! You may be a king, but you can’t have
everything your way with me, Mister. I won’t move an
inch until you do,” Olive said crossly. King Rowan was
quite shocked. No one had ever stood up to him.
  “Is that so?” King Rowan said. “If you don’t, you can
tell all the bugs and the rats in the dungeon what they
ought to do.”




                           18
  “Oh, really?” Olive said back. “If you send me to the
dungeon, I most definitely will not help you—never,
ever ever!”
  Sometimes people would not do what the King
wanted, but they always would do what the King said if
he threatened them with prison. Grown men had cried
to the King for mercy, but this tiny little girl was
unafraid.
  “I’ll have to be nice to this girl to get what I want,”
Rowan said inside his head. King Rowan stuffed his
boiling anger down somewhere deep inside himself so
he could be calm. He had never, ever had to control his
temper. “Very well,” King Rowan said. “I will go with
you.”
  King Rowan showed Olive where it all happened.
She pulled out a big magnifying glass and started
looking around. Very soon after, she shouted, “Aha!”
  “What is it?” King Rowan asked.
  “A clue—and a big one too!” Olive said. She pointed
to the grass under their feet. “Tracks—wheel tracks at
that! Look what sharp eyes I’ve got!”


                           19
  “So we can just follow the tracks, right?” asked the
King.
  “Yep,” she said. “Let’s go.”
  They followed the tracks for almost a whole hour,
but then they had to stop. The tracks suddenly turned
and went straight into a river.
  “The tracks are gone!” Rowan said. “We’ll never find
it now!”
  “Hmm.” Olive stroked her chin as she thought.
“Whoever took your chariot was smart because they
knew they would leave tracks.” She thought some more.
“Do you have a boat?”
  “No, but look!” King Rowan pointed to a nearby
house. There were all sorts of chopped up wood and
tools outside. “A carpenter must live there. He would
be honoured to make a boat for me.”
  “Alright!” Olive said.




                            20
Chapter 5: A Familiar Face


When King Rowan knocked on the door he was
shocked to see who opened it. It was that little boy that
had come to the castle the day his chariot was stolen.
The boy was still very sad looking, but when he saw
Rowan he looked very mad.
  “What do you want?” he said.
  “How dare you be so rude to your King!” Rowan
said.




                           21
  “Because you didn’t help us, we are going to lose our
house and we won’t have any money. I don’t care if you
throw me in prison now,” he said.
  Another person that did not fear the dungeon? What
on earth was going on?
  “What did you do to this poor boy?” Olive asked
crossly.
  “Nothing,” Rowan said.
  “Right—you did nothing, and that’s what the matter
is,” the little boy cried. “I came to him and asked him to
get my horse back from a mean man that stole him. He
told me to go away.” Olive gasped at this.
  “Rowan! How could you be so heartless?” Olive
snapped.
  “Why should I care!?” Rowan yelled.
  Suddenly, a voice from inside said, “Matty, is
someone at our door?”
  “You woke up my poor father!” the boy Matty said.
  “Invite them in, Son,” said Matty’s father. They went
inside. The house was very small. There was a fire in the




                            22
fireplace and a very tiny meal cooking in the oven. A
pale looking man was tucked up in a bed.
  “My father’s sick,” Matty said. “He made lots of stuff
from wood to sell. I was using my horse to take his
goods into town to sell for money, but now I can’t and
now we’re broke. If my father gets kicked out when he’s
this sick, he could die!”
  “So what!” Rowan said.
  “How could you say such a thing?” Olive said.
  “My father is dead too, and no one cared about me.
They just wanted his crown, so I had to take it over.”
Rowan started to cry. Olive stopped being mad at him.
She walked up to him and gave him the biggest hug she
could give.
  “I understand now,” Olive said. “You’re so mean and
angry because you’re sad inside.”
  “I’m not sad. Kings don’t get sad,” Rowan said. It
was obvious he was lying.
  Matty made some hot chocolate and soup for the
King. “I didn’t know that happened,” he said. “I’ll try to
make you feel better.”


                            23
  “We don’t have much room, but you’re welcome to
stay the night if you want. It is getting dark out, and it’s
not safe for kids out at night,” said Matty’s father.
  “You’re all being so nice.” Rowan sniffled. “Th-
thank-you.” That was the first time King Rowan ever
said thank-you in his whole life. It felt good to say. “But
if your dad’s sick, he can’t make a boat for us, even if I
did bring back your horse.”
  “I might be able to help,” Olive said. “I can use my
magic to put all the pieces of wood together. If we get
your horse back, can we use your wood?”
  “Of course!” Matty said.
  There was still a little light left in the sky, so King
Rowan went to the house of the mean man who stole
the horse while Olive stayed and made the boat for
them.
  Getting the horse back was very easy. Almost
everyone feared Rowan’s famous temper. Soon, King
Rowan came trotting back on Matty’s horse. Olive had
also finished her job.




                             24
  King Rowan didn’t want to sleep in a commoner’s
house, but he knew he had to. They all fell asleep by the
fire and had good dreams.




                            25
Chapter 6: Heading Down the River


Rays of sunlight came through the windows of the
house and woke them up. They had a quick breakfast
and set out to finish their investigation. They waved
good-bye to Matty and climbed in the boat. The water
was gentle and swift. Olive couldn’t stop smiling.
  “Why are you smiling so much?” Rowan asked.
  “Because we’re on an adventure!” Olive said.
  “I suppose we are.” Rowan smiled back.




                           26
  They sat in the boat, playing games like Rock, Paper,
Scissors, and Paddy-Cake. It felt like it was taking
forever to find where the tracks picked up again.
  “Whoever stole it really wanted it to never ever be
found,” Olive deduced.
  “I bet they never expected the King himself to come
looking for it,” the King said.
  “They would never suspect us,” Olive agreed,
“because we are two sleuthing youths.”
  “‘Two whating whats?” Rowan was puzzled.
  “A sleuth is another word for detective, and a youth
is another word for kid,” Olive explained.
  “Oh,” said the King. “‘Two sleuthing youths,” he
repeated to himself. “I like it!”
  Olive giggled, but then suddenly stopped. “Is it just
me, or are we going faster?” Olive said quietly.
  “Now that you mention it, yeah…,” Rowan said.
  Suddenly there was a big bump that almost knocked
both of their hats off. They looked over the side.
  “Oh no!” Olive cried. “Rapids!”




                             27
  They had been too distracted by their games to notice
the river getting faster and faster and rougher and
rougher.
  The little boat rocked side to side, almost tipping all
the way. Rowan and Olive hugged each other tightly.
Neither of them knew what to do. They were very
scared. Then something even worse happened! They hit
a bump so big that it knocked Olive right out of the
boat and into the water.
  “Eeeek!” she screamed.
  Rowan tried to grab her hand, but she was pulled
away by the current. Olive was being tossed about in the
water. She hit her head on a rock and fell unconscious.
Rowan didn’t know what to do. She was far ahead of
him now.
  Olive finally stopped when she got caught in some
weeds at the side of the river. She wouldn’t hold there
forever. Rowan had to do something quick.
  Rowan hated water, especially cold water. The water
would also ruin his clothes and make him very
uncomfortable. Normally, Rowan would never even


                           28
think of jumping in to save some one, especially a
commoner. But Olive was his friend...his only
friend…and he couldn’t lose that. He jumped in. The
water was so cold, but he ignored it. He had to swim
fast or he’d get pushed past where Olive was.
  Rowan grabbed on to the stem of a bullrush that was
where Olive was. He pulled himself and her onto the
land. He put his ear up to her mouth.
  “Oh no!” he said. “I don’t hear her breathing!”
Luckily, Rowan knew what to do. Unluckily, Rowan
would have to use CPR and put his mouth right on
hers! He cringed at the thought.
  “This better not count as kissing,” he said.
  Rowan leaned in and was about to touch lips when...
  Splash!
  Olive had woken up by herself and spit a mouthful of
water onto his unsuspecting face. When she opened her
eyes, his face was right up close to hers. Rowan’s cheeks
turned red, but this time it wasn’t because he was angry.
He jumped back and pretended like nothing had ever




                           29
happened. Olive sat up and rubbed the sore spot on her
head.
  “You saved my life, Rowan!” Olive said once she had
caught her breath. “You’re a hero!”
  “It was nothin’,” he huffed. He was blushing. Olive
giggled. He was so adorable when he was embarrassed.
  “Where are we?” she asked.
  “I don’t know,” Rowan said. “We might never get
home now.”
  “Wait!” Olive said. “I see the tracks again!” She
pointed behind Rowan, and sure enough the tracks
picked up again. They got up and followed them. Soon
they came to a big tangly bush and there the tracks
ended.
  “No!” Rowan said. “A dead end!”
  “Don’t get panicky yet!” Olive scolded. “Let’s see
what’s in this bush.”
  They started pulling away at the branches. They
found a scrap of cloth that had snagged on a branch.
Olive added that to her notebook, which was very wet,




                           30
but still okay. Finally, some spots of red showed from
inside. They dug faster.
  “My chariot!” Rowan screamed at the top of his
lungs. The chariot was painted red and gold and had
pretty symbols on its rim. He hugged it close. “I wonder
who could have taken it?”
  “I have a pretty good idea who did it,” Olive said.
“But to be sure I have to get back to the castle.”
  “How can we do that?” Rowan said. “We’re so far
away from even Matty’s house. We have no horse to
take us.”
  “I might be able to use a spell,” Olive said. “I’m good
with magic as long as there’s no fire. It’s easy to blow
stuff up with fire.”
  “Blow stuff up?” Rowan exclaimed.
  “I don’t need fire to do this.” Olive frowned at him.
Back at the Academy, no one would have trusted her
because of all the mistakes she had made there. But she
was sure she could do this. “I can make a big ball of
wind that can carry us and the chariot to the castle,” she




                            31
said. “I can’t hold it long, so we’ll have to go really,
really fast.”
   “Well, you found my chariot, so you should be able
to do anything!” King Rowan said.
   They stepped into the chariot and Olive began her
magic.
   “Awel, Awel! Cronnell, Cronnell! CHWAP, CHWIM,
CHWIP!”
   Wind swirled all around them and lifted them up off
the ground. “Hold on tight.” Olive said.
   “If you fall out this time, I can’t jump out after you,”
Rowan said.
   ZOOOOM! Like a bolt of lightning, they took off.
They soared over the land. Olive had to hold onto her
tall, billowy hat. In just a few minutes, the castle came
into view.
   “There it is!” Rowan yelled. He had to talk loud
because the wind was so noisy.
   “I forgot something...,” Olive said.
   “What?” Rowan asked.
   “I never learned how to land!”


                            32
Chapter 7: The Unravelling of the Mystery


King Rowan and Olive were flying towards the castle at
break-neck speed.
  “How could you forget that you don’t no how to
land?” screamed Rowan, getting angry for the first time
that day.
  “It slipped my mind!” Olive said. “Yelling at me
won’t make us not crash!”
  “Try landing in the Royal Barn!” Rowan said. “It’s
full of hay and should break our fall!”


                            33
  “I’ll try,” Olive said. She steered the chariot down
and smashed through the roof of the barn.
  CRASH!
  They landed in the hay alright. It was everywhere.
The animals in the barn were frightened by the
commotion and they were making lots of noise and
moving around in their pens. King Rowan and Olive
dusted themselves off. They made it! Just then, some of
Rowan’s servants burst in.
  “It’s a dragon I tell you!” said one of them. “I saw it!
It flew like lightning and was blood red! After it’s eaten
the cows it’ll eat us!”
  “Oh hush you ninny,” said another one. The doors
swung open and they saw the King and the magician.
Straw was stuck in their hair.
  “Your Majesty!” said a servant.
  “We were so worried when you didn’t return!” said
another.
  “It’s fine. I’m back, and so is my chariot!” King
Rowan said proudly.




                             34
  “I’m sure the thief’s seen us return!” Olive said. “We
must hurry before the perpetrator makes their getaway!”
  They ran to the only road that led away from the
castle and hid in the bushes. A person in a dark cloak
came scurrying down the path. Rowan and Olive
jumped out to face the thief.
  “Let’s see if my guess is right!” Olive said. She pulled
of the person’s cloak. It was...Nanny!
  “It’s just Nanny,” Rowan said. “The thief must have
already left.”
  “Hold it, Rowan. I need to check something.” Olive
reached into her bag and pulled out the scrap of cloth
that they had found with the chariot. She examined the
rim of Nanny’s dress, and guess what she found? A tear
the exact same size and shape as the scrap they had
found and with the same colour and pattern on it too!
  “The thief was Nanny!” Olive said. Nanny was silent.
  “Nanny? It can’t be!” Rowan said.
  “Read it and weep!” Olive said. She held out her
notebook for all to read:




                            35
      Reasons Why I Think That Nanny Is the Thief:
      * It took her long to get to king after it was stolen
      * She didn’t want a detective for some reason.
      * Scrap of cloth found. If it matches, I’m pretty sure
              that Nanny is the thief.


  “Nanny, is it true?” Rowan asked.
  “Yes,” she said. Rowan started to cry.
  “Why? I thought you liked me. You were the only
one who was ever nice to me,” Rowan said.
  “I wanted to teach you a lesson,” Nanny said angrily.
“You were always such a little monster! We all lived in
fear of you fierce temper. Too many people are in your
dungeon. Many of the people in the dungeon were
people I knew and were my friends. You made everyone
in your kingdom sad and made their lives miserable. I
thought if I took away the only thing that made you
happy, you would understand our pain.”
  Rowan was ashamed. He knew that as a king he had
power, but he didn’t now that he had the power to hurt
people in ways like that. He felt mad…but at himself.


                               36
  “I have one question,” Olive said. “If you didn’t want
to get caught, why did you choose a good magician like
me?”
  “I didn’t pick you because you were the best. You
were the very worst. Everyone said you were the worst.
And now because of you, I’ll never see the light of day
again,” Nanny said. Olive didn’t know Nanny could be
so mean. Olive started to cry.
  “I should have known,” she sobbed. “Everyone at
school makes fun of me. Of course I’m not the best.
I’m the very worst.”
  “How dare you make my friend cry,” Rowan said.
“How dare you lie too! She’s a great magician. She
found the chariot and flew us home.” He glared at her
with the angriest look he ever made in his life. “Off
with her head!” he cried out. Olive clutched onto
Rowan.
  “No! Don’t do that!” Olive pleaded.
  “Why not? She stole my chariot. She made you cry!
Don’t you want her to be punished?” Rowan asked.




                           37
  “Not like that! Please don’t be mean anymore. It’s
what caused this whole mess in the first place,” Olive
said. “Besides, I think Nanny only acted mean because
she was sad like you.”
  Rowan really wanted to punish Nanny a lot, but he
couldn’t do it because of Olive’s pleas.
  “Fine. Keep your head,” Rowan said to Nanny. “But
you are forbidden from eating ice cream for a whole
year!”
  Olive was so happy that he had changed his ways that
she kissed him on the cheek. Rowan wiped it off and
blushed again.




                            38
Chapter 8: And They All Lived Happily Ever


Rowan and Olive were preparing to say goodbye to
each other. Rowan knew that he couldn’t always have
what he wanted now, but he wanted one more thing,
and he was going to try to get it.
  “Olive, why don’t you live with me in my castle?”
Rowan said. “I’ll need a royal magician. I can hire a
good magic tutor for you so you can keep learning. You
can have any room you want. You can have everything
that you want.”


                            39
  Olive giggled like she always did. “On one
condition,” she said.
  “What?” asked Rowan.
  “My family must be allowed to live here. I can’t leave
them, and our old house is so cramped,” Olive said.
  “Sure,” Rowan said. “How many people will that
be?” he asked.
  Olive counted on all of her fingers before answering.
“Sixteen,” Olive said.
  “Sixteen?” Rowan exclaimed.
  “Seventeen including me,” Olive said. “There are my
sisters: Ginger, Hazel, Maize, Marigold, Rose, Ruby and
Tawny. Then there are my brothers: Ash, Russet,
Cordovan, Bruno, Sterling, Titian and Mauve. Then
there’s me, my mother and my father.”
  “Will they behave in my castle?” Rowan asked.
  “Oh yes, of course,” Olive said.
  “Alright,” Rowan said with a smile.
  And so, Olive’s family moved in and she became the
royal magician. People don’t really know what happened
to King Rowan and Olive after that.


                          40
  But there are rumours of a land ruled by a King of
Red and a Queen of Green.
  But who knows? It is only a rumour.




                         41
42
“Lavender’s Adventure”

  by Hannah Larman
Chapter 1: A New Friend


Four years ago on the morning of Christmas, Haley
Hume waited patiently with her little sister Hannah for
their parents to get out of bed. As they peered out of
the window by the top of the stairs, they searched for
any signs that Santa and his reindeer may have left
behind. They saw a sunny, clear sky and white, fluffy
snow falling but no foot or sleigh prints! Just as
Hannah turned away from the window they both heard
a loud thump!
   “Whoa! What was that?” asked Hannah.


                           2
   “I don’t know. I think it came from downstairs,”
Haley said tentatively. She knew Hannah would do
anything for a good adventure, even though they
weren’t supposed to go downstairs just yet.
   “Let’s go check it out! Maybe Santa’s here! Or
maybe he left something and is coming back for it!”
Hannah said excitedly.
   As Haley and Hannah crept down the stairs they
heard another thump! Startled once again, they quickly
went to the bottom of the stairs and waited by the glass
doors to the living room. Haley and Hannah knew they
weren’t allowed to go into the living room on
Christmas morning without their parents. But if it was
Santa he might need their help!
   Slowly Haley opened the glass doors, but was
surprised to see one of their presents was moving and
thumping!
   “What is it?” Hannah whispered.
   “I have no idea!” Haley exclaimed as she walked
closer to the moving present.




                           3
   As she neared it they saw a tiny gray foot pop out
of the side, then another popped out, and then finally a
little bunny head popped out!
   Haley rushed over to the tiny bunny and sat down
beside it. It had ice-blue eyes and light, purple-grayish
fur.
   “Oh!      It’s   a    bunny!”     Hannah     shouted
enthusiastically.
   The bunny stood up on its back legs and perked its
long ears just as their parents walked through the
doors. They both gave a soft laugh and said, “Well, I
guess you found your Christmas present, Haley! Or
should we say it found you.”
   Haley quickly went over to the bunny, picked her
up and snuggled her into her chest. She put the bunny
back down and said, “I’m going to name you Lavender,
little one, since you kinda have purple fur!”
   Lavender gave an approval of this with the kick of
her back feet and a shake through her body. Lavender
and Haley were the best of friends from that day on.




                             4
Chapter 2: A Feral Bunny


Hiding behind a stack of hay, Lavender peered out and
examined her surroundings. There was a large chewing
block, a bowl of food, a squeaky toy, and a ramp
leading down. In Lavender’s mind these things were all
obstacles, and her mission was to make it down the
ramp without being seen! She decided the coast was
clear and hopped out from behind the hay stack, racing
herself to and then down the ramp.




                           5
   Lavender enjoyed these games, but was tired of
always having to play make-believe in her cage. She
wished she could live the life of a real, wild bunny
rabbit! A real, wild bunny lived a life of mystery and
excitement in lush forests. Wild rabbits are able to
explore as they please; they have no restrictions on
where they can go. What fun living a life like that would be,
Lavender thought!
   Lavender was a four year-old Angora bunny.
Lavender could only remember living with Haley. But
no matter how much she loved her and the joys of
living in a home, such as being fed papaya pellets and
sleeping in a warm hay bed, she had always dreamt of
being a feral bunny!
   The Hume’s also had three other animals: Dylan, a
friendly Shetland sheepdog who Lavender got along
with; a Persian cat named Muffin who disliked
Lavender and would swat at the bunny’s cage; and
finally Prince, a Siamese cat who was pleasant enough.




                              6
Chapter 3: Something in the Air


It was another normal summer day for Lavender; she
was outside in her play-pen, hiding and hopping in the
grass. Haley was also playing outside with her younger
sister Hannah and their dog Dylan. Lavender was
enjoying the warmth of the sun and day dreaming
about being a feral bunny rabbit. There was a forest
right on the outskirts of the Hume’s backyard and she
had always wondered what would happen if she just
took off one day.


                          7
   All of a sudden, interrupting her wild bunny
thoughts, Lavender heard a scream and saw Hannah
trip and fall flat on her face! Haley rushed over and
brought Hannah into the house immediately, leaving
Lavender all alone. She had been left alone before in
her play-pen, but today seemed different. Maybe it was
something in the air. And then, without thinking about
it, Lavender found herself digging a hole under her
play-pen. How excited she felt with no one there to
stop her from completing her quest in becoming a real,
wild bunny!
   As Lavender’s adrenaline pumped, she heard a soft
rustling. Dylan had come up beside the play-pen and
startled her. She had forgotten he was still there!
   “What are you doing Lavender?” Dylan asked,
startled by her new and odd behavior.
   “I’m digging, Dylan! I’m going to become a feral
bunny once and for all,” Lavender said confidently.
“Today’s the day I’ve decided I’m going to finally
explore the forest and live with the other wild
bunnies!” she exclaimed.


                             8
   “But Lavender, think of how much Haley will miss
you! She’ll be heart-broken once she finds out you’ve
run away!” Dylan replied. “And you don’t really want
to become a feral bunny, believe me! I’ve seen them in
the forest and you’re way more intelligent than they
are. Plus Angora bunnies don’t come from here; you’ll
be the odd one out! You know the grass isn’t always
greener on the other side,” he said concerned.
   “I don’t care Dylan! I just want to have fun. I’m so
bored of playing games by myself. Plus, you’ve actually
seen what the grass looks like on the other side! I
haven’t,” Lavender countered while continuing to dig.
   Worried, Dylan said, “Trust me Lavender, you’ll
figure out that being a wild bunny isn’t what its all cut
out to be.”
   “Ya right! Don’t worry, I’ll come back some time to
say hi. Bye Dylan!” Lavender shouted as she jumped
out from under her play-pen and hopped off into the
forest without a care.




                            9
Chapter 4: A New Adventure


Once she was successfully in the forest, Lavender took
a moment to look around and check out her
surroundings. Standing up on her hind legs with her
ears perked, Lavender was pleasantly surprised to see
the forest was everything she had imagined! There were
butterflies gliding above her head, lots of tall lush grass,
yummy smelling flowers, and scents of animals she had
never smelt before. She decided to follow her little
bunny nose to a scent of a familiar animal. She carried


                             10
on this exploration, passing tall trees and small critters,
such as squirrels and chipmunks, until she was stopped
by a big, gray, fluffy thing! Lavender fumbled
backwards and looked up to see the animal she had
been following—it was Muffin, the Hume’s oldest and
meanest cat!
   “How’d you get out?” snarled Muffin, a little
shocked by Lavender’s sudden appearance.
   “I don’t really know!” Lavender answered honestly.
“I was in my play-pen one moment, and the next thing
I know I’m running into the forest!” Lavender beamed
up at Muffin, feeling proud of her accomplishment.
   “Humph,” hissed Muffin, obviously unimpressed
by Lavender’s escape. “Well, if you’re looking for
something exciting to do I just noticed a vegetable
garden over that hill.” Muffin nodded in the direction
of the garden.
   “Hmm…am I allowed to go there?” Lavender
asked, a little skeptical of Muffin’s sudden warmth
towards her.
   “Sure, why not?” smirked Muffin.


                             11
   “Well, that sure does sound fun, and I am starting
to get hungry!” said Lavender, convincing herself.
“There’s no harm in looking!” she agreed with a little
hop, and she started off in the direction Muffin
pointed her in.




                          12
Chapter 5: Carrot Tops


When Lavender reached the top of the hill, she could
see the lush vegetable garden Muffin described, and
she decided it was safe enough to go explore. As she
reached the garden, she was amazed to find every
vegetable she could possibly think of! Lavender quickly
went to the location of the carrots and blissfully began
to nibble on the feathery tops.
   This is so much fun, Lavender thought! She could
definitely get used to living like this—lounging in the


                            13
warm summer grass and nibbling on as many carrot
tops as she pleased.
   As she nibbled away, Lavender thought of her day;
she was very pleased with the forest, but was
disappointed she had not found another wild bunny to
make friends with yet.
   “Oh well,” Lavender said, “I’ll go looking after my
snack”.
   But just as Lavender went for the next carrot top to
munch on, she heard ferocious barking. She quickly
looked up to see the neighbor’s dog bounding towards
her! Lavender froze in her place and darted out of the
garden terrified! As Lavender hopped away as fast as a
little bunny possibly could, she heard another familiar
bark close by. She quickly glanced behind her and saw
Dylan to her rescue, chasing after the neighbor’s dog
that was chasing her!
   “Go quickly Lavender!” Dylan barked as he caught
up to speed with the neighbor’s dog and steered him
away.




                           14
   Lavender rushed into the forest trembling, feeling
scared and alone. She was exhausted and seemed to
have snagged her ear on a prickly plant. Lavender
decided to hide in a raspberry bush and wait for Dylan
to come rescue her. Frightened, she snuggled herself
up in a ball and drifted off to sleep.




                             15
Chapter 6: Hopeless


When Lavender woke up she was shocked to see the
sun was setting. She heard the soft song of crickets
chirping and the wind rustling leaves, but no sound of
Dylan coming for her rescue! Lavender began to panic;
she was scared, cold, and hungry. She had never been
away from home before and missed Haley and the
safety of her bed.
   “What will Haley do?!” Lavender exclaimed,
worried she might never make it home.


                          16
   Cautiously, Lavender decided to leave her hiding
place and find her way back. She searched for any
familiar scents, hoping to catch the trail of one of the
Hume’s other animals, but she couldn’t find any!
Finally, after what seemed to be hours, it became dark
and Lavender stopped searching, feeling hopeless. She
was so disoriented and confused and nothing felt
familiar. What if she was lost forever?
   “Why oh why did I leave!” cried Lavender into the
nothingness of the forest. “I don’t want to be a feral
bunny anymore; I just want to go home!” she
whimpered.
   As Lavender’s last glimpse of hope faded away, she
heard rustling come from behind a nearby tree.
Lavender quickly stood on guard, with her front paws
up and ears stick straight. But just as she was ready to
dart, Prince appeared from behind the tree!
   “Lavender! There you are!” he practically hissed at
her. “Where on earth have you—oof!” Prince was cut
off by Lavender as she hopped right into him and
gushed gratefully.


                            17
   “Prince! Thank goodness you found me! I was so
scared. I thought no one was going to find me, and
that I would be eaten by some strange animal, and that
I would break Haley’s heart! And I am just so sorry. I
just want to go home. Please take me home!”
   “Lavender everyone is worried sick about you!” he
said guiding her in the direction of home. “Haley
misses you! Silly bunny, let’s just go home. It’s been a
long day.”
   Lavender silently agreed but was starting to feel
sleepy, so she remained silent until they reached the
Hume’s backyard.




                           18
Chapter 7: Home Sweet Home


Just through the gate Lavender could see Haley and
Hannah sullenly sitting on the porch. Lavender felt so
relieved to finally be home—oh how she missed it!
With a little happy hop, Lavender left Prince and
rushed off to see Haley.
   “Oh, Lavender—there you are!” Haley gushed and
quickly went to retrieve her little bunny. “I missed you
so much! What on earth made you run away?” Haley
breathed into Lavender’s fur.


                           19
   As Haley brought Lavender in to go to bed,
Lavender thought of all the things she wanted to share
with her about the adventure she’d had. Lavender
wanted to tell Haley about the beautiful smells and
flowers, about the lush garden and the yummy carrots
she had munched on! Now that she was safe at home,
Lavender thought about all the fun she had despite
nearly being lost, but realized nothing could ever
compare to living at home with Haley. With one last
snuggle, Haley whispered, “Goodnight my wild, bunny
rabbit.”
   Lavender was thrilled to finally go to sleep in her
bed safe at home. As she drifted off to sleep, Lavender
dreamt of beautiful butterflies and lush vegetable
gardens. After all, she concluded, the grass isn’t always
greener on the other side.




                             20

				
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