A Sample of Woven Word Creations
By Lucia Kan-Sperling
Something about the hazy suede summer heat made you want to explore. The way every object wore a thick coat of sun and when this cloak was left on too long, metal would burn the bottoms of your toes and make you want to jump and run and be wild. Henry and Leslie felt that way, two boys in the warm, melting air who wanted nothing more than to escape, if only to their backyards.
That’s how it all started - one fading afternoon while avoiding his mother’s call to come inside for his four o’clock bath, Henry decided to run away. His ninth birthday had just passed, signaling it was time for a rebellion, and with his profound new sense of self-importance that came with the arrival of a shiny new number, he packed an olive-green rucksack with twelve stolen ginger snap cookies and was on his way.
Not wishing to reveal his ingenious escape to anyone unnecessary, Henry dove through the bushes and over the white picket fence while the gardener wasn’t looking, landing in Leslie’s mother’s stiff purple petunias. He endured a few scrapes, but those were nothing compared to the heroism he felt as he chucked a pebble at his best friend’s window.
Luckily, Leslie was in, spending the afternoon poring over his world atlas and learning the names of all the countries in West Africa. Henry’s wild gestures and attempts at mouthing the plot points of his plan were understood immediately. The skinny blonde boy disappeared momentarily to pack his things; then, in an act of determination that left Henry in sheer disbelief, Leslie threw open the second story window and promptly jumped out, atlas first.
It was on this quiet afternoon that the two boys found the tree house in the woods behind their houses. It was not, in reality, an actual tree house, but christened as such because at first glance, it just looked like a tangled mass of branches and shrubbery against some sort of rock formation. However, upon further inspection, it was revealed that behind the ivy and dirty leaves was an opening to a small cave, damp and utterly perfect. Henry and Leslie were at first speechless at their luck, open-mouthed in wonder as they tested their way into their otherworldly discovery. Feet first, then grass-stained knobby knees, then shining faces, blissful with awe. They noticed everything - the moss on the smooth rocks dyed several shades of prehistoric brown and grey, the darkness, the musty smell that seemed miles away from the antiseptic, floral odor of their mothers’ kitchens and four o’clock baths.
Carefully wrapped cookies and an old atlas lay forgotten as, in the sparkle of their own shadows and the fresh yellow of exploration, two boys found a best reality.
It was the kind of day where if you sat still for too long, when you got up you felt like an insect caught in molasses. The sky was low-bearing grey felt that sat on your shoulders and fuzzed up your brain so all you could clearly remember was how sleepy you were.
Henry’s limbs felt heavy as he looked out his bedroom window, arms resting on the sill and back hunched. Each finger felt dipped in syrup as he lifted his left hand to rub his eyes. Reaching for the polished window latch with the other, he soon realized that outside was even more claustrophobic than in. He found himself taking in air in short, shallow breaths. Still, he kept his head out the window, listening to the creeping chirps of crickets and cicadas, as he was convinced that any discomfort couldn’t be worse than what was happening inside his manicured home.
Not more than an hour into Henry’s twelfth birthday brunch had utter chaos taken over the large, proper living room his mother had hired a decorator to furnish. Propelled by the glass of brandy he had insisted upon having to “wake himself up”, Uncle Charles had launched into a fourteen minute, one-sided argument insisting that if Henry had an ambition at all, he would have asked for a set of neckties and a Businessman’s Almanac rather than a chess set and a book of poems by Edgar Allen Poe (neither of which he had received anyway). While his aunts started a shrill, passive aggressive discussion about how much his mother should pay her cleaning lady, Henry’s father loudly ushered him to a corner where he explained to him that, as Henry was to be starting secondary school in the fall, he would have to leave behind his “fluffy hobbies” and start focusing on a future. After all, he was soon to become a man, and it was time to start preparing to take over the business. Henry had slipped upstairs unnoticed a couple minutes later, leaving his relatives and the sickly-sweet birthday cake with orange icing.
Hearing a loud rapping noise, Henry was torn out of his heat-induced reverie. Looking over, he saw a blonde head poking out through a window with blue trim. Leslie and Henry’s bedrooms were both on the second-story back wall of their respective houses, so that if Henry craned his neck far enough out his window and looked right and Leslie did the same but turned his head left, they could see each other and have conversations without leaving their rooms.
Henry smiled as he saluted his best friend, blocking out the high pitched cackles coming from his family below. With a matching grin, Leslie jerked his head in the direction of the trees, then disappeared back into his room. Meeting by the petunias, which drooped and sagged under the weight of rain coming, the two boys greeted each other quickly and hurried, almost ran, across the lawn (so green it looked artificial) as they had done so many times before. Here the air was clear and cool. They spray paint grass had faded to give way to the welcoming summer color of the trees and Henry felt as though he were walking through the emerald city he had read about when he was younger. The familiar shrubbery and dirt that hid their secret refuge was pushed aside and the dark welcomed them, freedom.
“Here.” Leslie grinned, unfolding his arms to reveal not an atlas this time but a gift clumsily wrapped in newspaper and wax paper stolen from his kitchen. It was a chessboard, with pieces carved in shapes of knights and queens that looked like a fairytale.
“I couldn’t find Edgar Allen Poe,” the blonde boy murmured and handed over a small book sneaked from his mother’s library.
“My mom says Mary Oliver is boring, so I thought she wouldn’t mind.”
Henry met his friend’s eyes. Brown on blue. And smiled wide in response.
Soon, chess instructions and foreign words replaced the Businessman’s Almanac and the blurriness in Henry’s head slowly started to wipe and wear away. It had started to drizzle outside, warm.
In the dark, thick water pooled on every surface. Even inside you could feel the moisture, the dampness in the air that adhered itself to your skin and clothes. It was warm, heavy rain; the kind that, if you stood in it with your eyes completely closed, felt so familiar after a while that it became part of you. You barely noticed how the rhythmic drumbeat of raindrops on your head coincided with your heartbeat. The trickling water felt like a layer of your skin.
There were no lights on in Henry’s room as he watched each drop hurl itself against his windowpane, blurring his view to the outside. He had planned to sleep for a while but had also known he wasn’t going to. He knew himself too well. The moon gave a dull light that made everything one shade lighter than black and kept him awake.
Out of the corner of his eye, Henry caught something moving outside his window. Through the sheet of water he saw a boy whose blonde hair seemed illuminated in the dark; his hand was blocking rain out of his eyes, peering up to where the second story window was. Quickly, Henry slid out of his desk chair, shelved away the book of Mary Oliver poems on which he had been failing to concentrate, and flicked his overhead light on, then off again. His footsteps were a whisper, almost inaudible as he slipped out of his bedroom, down the stairs and through the front door.
Outside, the rain was louder than he’d imagined. Engulfing his ears and soaking his eyelashes. He blinked twice, three times, adjusting to the scene. The petunias on either sides of the fence were drowning, struggling to swim in little warm rivers.
“Hey,” Leslie said, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. “I thought you were sleeping, your lights were off.”
Henry looked up at his window as if he’d just noticed. “Oh, yeah ... no, I wasn’t.” His awkwardness was lost on Leslie and they started off across the lawn, now squishy and loud with their footsteps.
“I invited some other people, I hope you don’t mind.” Leslie smiled. “Man, I need to unwind - this year has been crazy.”
Henry nodded in silent agreement. They had just finished their freshman year of high school, and he’d tried to explain to his parents that two A’s, one A minus and three B pluses were the best he could do. Unsurprisingly, they had brutally rebuffed this statement, deciding he would take summer tutoring until he was “up to standard”.
Slowly their footsteps became softer and the sound of rain was beginning to thin - or maybe Henry had just gotten used to it. Tree branches hung low, weighed down by the water, and it was dark, dark and darker as they neared their destination. Leslie switched on a rusty flashlight with one hand as his other fumbled to find the entrance, fingers getting caught among the leaves. Finally they were inside the small cave, hands slick in old pine needles and dirt and hair cold, plastered to the side of their faces from the rain. The flashlight and its dull yellow glare shone the on the chessboard that was still sitting in the back corner, pieces knocked over and rolling slightly on the checkered wood.
“Damn, this place is getting small,” Leslie muttered as, without hesitation, he started placing his pawns in their correct spots - he always played white.
“Yeah, crazy,” Henry murmured, rescuing the black queen from a puddle.
“I gave the others directions so they could find us.” Leslie moved a white pawn two spaces forward. Then he laughed a little. “We should also probably stop calling it ‘the treehouse’, by the way - they were pretty confused when I was telling them about it.”
Henry, lost in thought, was slow on the uptake. “Oh. Haha. Okay, cool,” he nodded, advancing his knight.
They played in wide open silence, groaning whenever a piece was taken.
“Dude, my queen is eviscerating your half of the board,” Leslie grinned, the little figurine knocking over Henry’s second black bishop.
Henry laughed a little. Then he paused, glancing upwards, eyes wandering around the dark corners and soft moss irradiated by Leslie’s flashlight.
“Remember when we found this place?” Henry’s eyes met Leslie’s. A pause.
“Yeah.” Leslie said quietly, smiling. “Best day ever.”
Their faces were also illuminated eerily by the yellow glow of the flashlight as they looked at each other amidst the hypnotic sounds of summer rain.
“In a couple years we’re gonna have to leave for college,” the blonde boy’s voice echoed softly between the rocks.
“Yeah.” Henry looked down. “I’m going to miss it.” Then again their eyes met, noses bare inches apart. Leslie’s face was half shadow. An infinity of deafening silence, then -
“Checkmate,” Leslie murmured. His hand slid his queen to a square directly adjacent to the black king with a thud. Closer. Henry’s dad had always said if you got a girl this close, something good was bound to happen.
The space between them grew infinite within a second, both turning quickly to see three teenagers pushing their way through the entrance to the small cave.
“Dude, this place was impossible to find,” one boy said as another came in, feet knocking over some chess pieces as he sat down next to Leslie clumsily.
“Haha. Sorry, man,” Leslie grinned, hand punching his shoulder in greeting. “Did you bring it?”
The second boy nodded, gesturing to a girl Henry didn’t know. She was just entering, smiling and carrying a glass bottle of what looked like water but Henry knew wasn’t.
He felt hot and his head was fuzzy. All of a sudden he didn’t want to be there; he wanted to be out and swallowed by the rain and away. What did he do?
Henry felt like he was spinning and he hadn’t drank a sip. Outside, thunder broke in his ears.
The heat was wild. It was a day that wrapped itself around you, cracked eggshells on your head as you sweat. The sun infiltrated your eyelids and filled your mouth; it splashed down your neck and crawled under your fingernails. If you couldn’t find shade, your head would soon start to pulse, feeling as though it were expanding under each ray of sun it absorbed.
Henry was lying in his room again. He was on the floor, his back on the ground and eyes examining a fixed point above. Every once in a while they’d close; blink once, two, three times and then return to staring.
He was looking at his ceiling fan. The way it moved so fast - a blur, the way it whirred hypnotically, almost making him forget everything. Almost.
The house wasn’t air conditioned and the sun outside had slowly wormed its way in, filling up Henry’s room drop by drop, until his black cap and gown felt like they weighed tons. He had closed his eyes again now, covering his face with his hands to ensure darkness. Unfortunately, even without the sunlight tinting his vision, he still couldn’t block it out, and couldn’t understand himself.
That morning at graduation, Henry had told his parents he was deferring college. He couldn’t figure out why. He didn’t know what had made him blurt it out in front of his whole family and he didn’t understand how he’d known in that second that it was what he wanted. He wasn’t even entirely sure anymore it was what he wanted.
The look on his father’s face had made Henry turn around, leave because in that moment he didn’t know what else to do.
Henry didn’t get it. He’d spent the last four years, hell - his entire life studying; being taught, tutored and spending every spare minute he had trying to make them happy. Them - everyone. Why stop now?
Henry sighed, sitting up. He felt dizzy, having moved too quickly.
He didn’t know who he was kidding - no matter how hard he tried, he would never be what they wanted him to be, and it wasn’t for him to decide. Henry couldn’t help that he’d lost his brand-new Businessman’s Almanac the day after he’d gotten it for his fourteenth birthday. He couldn’t help that when his parents had sat him down and asked why he didn’t have a girlfriend yet, he just stared out the window blankly. And he couldn’t help that after every time he and his best friend got closer and closer and closer than his parents would ever know, Leslie would laugh and pretend it hadn’t happened but Henry wouldn’t be able to focus on anything for the next week.
He stood up, breathing hard. He’d forced himself to stop thinking about it for too long and he couldn’t help it now. Beads of sweat adorning his face let on that the fan was doing nothing to cool him down or blow away his thoughts.
With a swift, desperate motion, Henry knocked his graduation cap to the ground, rubbing his tired eyes. Now at least his parents would understand why he hadn’t wanted to write the name of his soon-to-be college on the hat.
He pushed open his bedroom window. He was hot, too hot, hotter but he didn’t take off his gown. Sticking his head out of the window, Henry felt his breathing slow as a breeze stole through his hair. Looking to the right, he wasn’t surprised not to see a familiar blonde head poking out to meet him; he hadn’t spoken to Leslie in four months. He’d told himself it was because of finals and college but even Henry, master of self-deception, couldn’t fool himself.
Suddenly he heard his front door open downstairs, his father’s voice echoing through the foyer. Without thinking, Henry pushed himself through the window; arms, then shaking knees, then feet as he fell to the ground.
His landing wasn’t awful but it wasn’t good either, and as he stood up in the bed of brown, dead petunias, he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder.
He entertained no second thoughts as he ran across the dried-up lawn his mother had been watering daily, to no avail. Finally Henry was among the trees and closed his eyes as he walked, feeling breeze and dark green shade. He neared the rocks much faster than he expected, though he supposed he wasn’t surprised; he knew the path better than he knew anything.
Henry noticed a thick brush of ivy that had taken over the entrance to the cave. Without thinking he tore at it, hands desperate for comfort and solitude, and was so invested in the task that he didn’t notice the two people in the familiar hideout until he was almost completely inside.
Two blonde heads pulled apart and he saw him, Leslie, Leslie with a girl Henry had known too well ever since he’d seen her for the first time in the summer after freshman year, her and the bottle, ever since his chessboard had been cleared out of the cave for more ‘interesting’ ways to pass time.
For a minute the two boys just stared at each other. Brown eyes on blue. And Henry couldn’t register anything else. They tried desperately to read each other’s minds, to figure it out, but as was the case all too often, Henry couldn’t understand. Until he heard a girl clear her throat and a blonde boy cry, “What the …, man? Get out.”
Henry’s limbs unfroze, then melted; they were on fire as he ran out and away, trees bending apart to let sunlight engulf his body and blur his vision with wetness. Everything sparkled, glittered.
He had slowed down to a walk now, gasping for breath. The air around him was silent. It was soundless. It was quiet, dry paper heat drowning everything away.
The sky was blue.
Lucia Kan-Sperling is 15 years old and lives in Northampton. She likes writing because it takes her mind off of everything else.
The World In The Sky
By Leo Wurgaft
The room sank of smoked gum leaf. The heat and humidity was almost too much to bear. It was crowded, and hard to tell one person from another. Near the roof a cloud of smoke was forming and the floor was blanketed in mist. Fast music was playing. The lively, but somehow eerie sound of a trumpet, double-bass, and violin filled the air. And among it all, a cry could be heard.
“My satchel! Where’s my satchel?” The countless people glanced around, nervously.
Suddenly a figure hooded in light, but dirtied grey popped up in the middle of the crowd. It strode toward the exit, skillfully sweeping the crowd out of it’s way as if it were water.
“Stop! Theif!” The figures pace quickened, nearly into a run.
The room became filled with red, the sound of an alarm silencing the music. A rusty steel gate lowered slowly in front of the door. The figure leapt, like lightning, upon a the shoulder of a panicked man, who yelled in alarm above the siren. The figure sprang from shoulder to shoulder, leaping across the sea of people, and sending frightened yelps through the crowd like ripples.
It arrived at the door in seconds, the gate halfway to the ground. Then the figure turned to face the crowd, and pulled off his hood, revealing a young man of about sixteen, with a joyful expression and hazel eyes containing a brilliant, mischievous spark. A faded scar was on his right cheek, and he had unkempt, wild brown hair. He smiled and waved.
“See ya’ blokes on the other side!” He jeered. And with that, he slid through the open door just as the gates met the floor with a satisfying clang.
By Leo Wurgaft
The window is opposite the curtain
The shield is opposite the sword
The period is opposite the exclamation point
The star is opposite the cockroach
The moon is opposite the color brown
The boulder is opposite the water
The river is opposite the ocean
The glitter is opposite the shine
The shimmer is opposite the wood
The genie is opposite the hammer
The poem is opposite the….nothing
The spine is opposite the pole
The heart is opposite the battery
Art is opposite the world
The rainbow is opposite the reason
The chalk is opposite the teen
The warmth is opposite the hunger
The heat is opposite the content
The loneliness is opposite submergence
The rules are opposite love
The tree is opposite the still
The dragonfly is opposite the human
The eye is opposite the soul
The dirt is opposite the tomb
The thrill is opposite utopia
The open hand is opposite the clenched jaw
Rot is the opposite of death
But they all sit on the same round table, which is opposite the throne.
Leo Wurgaft, is 12 years old and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He loves the freedom of writing, and the creativity and imagination and stories you can bring into the world with it.
Woven Word Young Writers Houseboat Summer Camp
By Noe Perry-Greene
Chapter 1: Hickory
It was midday and the sun’s soothing rays touched the forest with it’s soft warmness. Hickory the squirrel was conked out in the pine tree that was her home. The tree was so old that literally every branch was green with moss. It was like an oddly shaped doughnut, dipped in liquid plant life.
Hickory slept peacefully, dreaming of walnuts. Ooh, and chestnuts. Her bushy tail was wrapped around her legs, with the end of it lightly brushing her cheek.
A voice cut through her treenut fantasy like a rock through warm pine sap. “Hickory, wake up! You need to move!”
It was her mother Alyssum, frantically shaking her daughter awake. “Hickory!” All fantasy vanished and Hickory sat bolt upright. “What, mom?”
Her mother’s face contorted with worry. “Your father is...” Hickory couldn’t believe her tiny squirrel ears. “He better not be dead.” Hickory said, incredulously.
“No, he’s not dead, he’s just... warning the other animals of the forest fire.”
Hickory’s eyes grew huge like she was hypnotized or something. “FOREST FIRE?”
Alyssum nodded gravely. “Yeah. We need to get to the pond.”
Chapter 2: Thomas
Thomas was in the middle of his workout routine. He was doing mouse pull ups on a bent over flower stem. Then he would do mouse push ups, planks, and situps. After that he would weight lift with a pine needle. Finally he went towards the creek for treadmill time.
Thomas strapped four tiny leave to his four tiny feet and tied them closed. As he neared the creek, he began to hear the rushing sound of water tumbling over rocks and soil, tossing, turning, eroding, splashing.
At the creek he found the treadmill eddy immediately. This eddy was milder and the rocks that cut it off from the main flow of the creek were padded with moss and leaves in case a rodent slipped and hit the rock. The water was moving gently along, carrying more mice floating on the surface, running atop the water with leaf shows like Thomas’s.
He stepped onto the water treadmill off the bank by his moms, Raine and Eliza, who were soaked to the tiny bones in mouse sweat.
After about half an hour of running and talking to Thomas’s friend Bailey, it became uncomfortably hot. “Oh my god.” Eliza said, terror spreading across her tiny face, which actually looked rather adorable.
“EVERYONE RUN! FIRE!”
Chapter 3: Bailey
Bailey was at his favorite patch of raspberries and munching like crazy. It was one of the hotter times in the day, and Bailey was roasting. HIs long ears were fanning up and down rapidly, trying to cool him off.
His nose twitched and smelled out some wild alfalfa, which he promptly ate. His nose sniffed out some fallen fruit, which he promptly ate. He finally smelled some other bunny’s hidden-but-not-hidden-so-well stash of clover, which he promptly-you guessed it- ate. Bailey was full now. I mean, bunny’s stomach’s aren’t super big.
Bailey felt lazy. He plodded back to his burrow and climbed inside, sliding on his stomach through the little hole. It was too hot in there. He climbed back out.
Bailey finally went to the creek, where he talked to Thomas the mouse who was on the treadmill. They chatted about weird forest animal things which you probably don't wanna hear about. Yeah, those were some weird conversations.
Heat spread over Bailey’s body. He saw bright, dancing, glowing wisps of color. He saw fire. So Bailey did what bunnies did best. He ran.
Chapter 4: Jasmine
Jasmine was flying, circling the pond, and watching. Simultaneously. Her keen sparrow eyes saw her friends Hickory and Thomas, and Thomas talking to a bunny she didn’t recognize. She saw the forest alive with animals.
Jasmine saw a pair of twin chipmunks arguing and an old tree that was home to a snoring owl family. She saw a happy grader snake and a sad frog. She saw a hawk helping a star-nosed mole and a rat stealing from a squirrel. Jasmine saw it all.
Jasmine heard the cheeping of birds, rustling of snakes, and the chatter of chipmunks. She heard cries and laughter. She heard snores and screams. Jasmine heard it all.
Jasmine smelled fresh berries, wet grass, and rotting wood. She smelled dead bugs and a newborn mouse’s tears. She smelled old fruit. She smelled a rabbit in serious need of a bath (ew). Jasmine smelled it all.
Jasmine tasted the woodsy scent of the air. SHe tasted the thick vanilla pina, the hot humid wind, the fresh hint of berries. She tasted last night’s dinner and this morning’s breakfast berry burrito. Jasmine tasted it all.
Jasmine felt the wind rustling her feathers and blowing at her eyes. She felt the blood rush into her feet as she lifted and dropped them. She felt the breeze below her feathers like a bubble.
But even seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling so much, she still didn’t sense the fire.
Noe Perry-Greene is twelve and she currently resides in Northampton, Massachusetts. Noe loves all the different places you can go with writing. She also loves cats, mysteries, and theatre.
The Third Installment in the Grimmlandia Series
e Third Installment in the Grimmlandia series
By Faith Roy
WARNING: This is an extended version of the original story. Some extra things are added that I wanted to include before but didn’t see how they could work into the story. Also, some references are made to Donald Trump and a handful of shows that I enjoy. I am sorry if I offend any Trump lovers, and know that I support him and not Clinton. These are just jokes that I think others will enjoy, and again I am sorry if I offend anyone. Finally, this is the first half of an already completed story.
If you’re not familiar with the land of Grimmlandia, then here is the rich (and totally canon) history that started many centuries ago.
The world was run by turnips. I’m not kidding on this one. Actual, anthropomorphic turnips created a magical fantasy land and then ran it communist/dictator- style. Soon, the humans and animals of this newfound land formed a rebellion that ended the turnips. Soon, both the people and animals alike created different kingdoms, led by those whom which the inhabitants voted upon.
There were multiple kingdoms, including Cleve, Hotako, and Kedelig, but the largest and most popular of them all was Mäerchen, where many famous and not-so-famous stories were born. Mäerchen was a monarchy that had a long line of kings and queens that helped improve the lives of others. It was also a kingdom of firsts. The first to establish trade. The first to hold peace meetings with other leaders. The first to have a judicial system. And the first to allow gay rights for the inhabitants.
But not every first was a good one. They were also the first kingdom to have a death toll of approximately 45 a day. This was courtesy of Queen Abbaline, Mäerchen’s most recent human ruler and descendant of the Evil Queen that nearly killed Abbaline’s famous step-sister with a poisoned apple. The girl turned the kingdom towards its communist/dictator roots and prevented many of our destinies from occurring by discriminating humans and animals and building physical walls around the kingdom. Hopefully nobody will ever build walls ever again, even if it were an eternity from now. Luckily, one animal was able to escape to Cleve, only to return on his own to aid his sick sister.
One day, she sent out Officers Red and Robin Hood, along with their troops to search the kingdom of any rebels. Instead of rebels, they found a scared immigrant whose home was invaded. While most of the kingdom was in the courtroom to spectate the event, nobody witnessed Queen Abbaline’s murder. During the case, soldiers from Rinocerotis made their way into the Queen’s castle and found her asleep in her bed. People don’t know how she was murdered, but they do know what happened afterward.
The daughter of Marco, the unicorn ruler of Rinocerotis, was proclaimed Queen by her people, and was sent to court where she heard that a little girl needed help. When she arrived, she fell in love with the court judge, named Otto. To get the case done and over with so she could talk to him about things non-court related, she convinced about 98% of the room that the girl was not guilty. After the case and learning the truth about the little girl, she married Otto, had three ferretcorns, arrested the girl, and let the family that lost the case live with them in the castle.
But even after Abbaline’s rule and the kingdom slowly returning into a rich place were the inhabitants can live and love however they choose, was there still an evil hidden in Mäerchen?
Yes, yes there was. And I should know, because I’ve gone through a traumatizing event even when the land of Grimmlandia was at peace.
Nunzio was the name of a polar bear who went through hardships but found his happy ending.
Otto was the name of a ferret that married and became king.
Gretel was the name given to me at birth because my parents were expecting a girl.
But it’s not Gretel. It’s Greg. At least that’s what I wish everybody would call me.
I grew up in a small house in the Mäerchen woods. My home was formerly owned by a polar bear, and is now worth several times it was worth when we purchased it. And even then it was worth more than when was first purchased. I lived there with my twin brother Hansel, my father Chrom, and step-mother Erica, because EVERYBODY’S MOTHER HAS TO DIE IN THIS KINGDOM!!! Honestly, I don’t know much about her because my step-mother gets angry whenever Mom’s brought up, but what I do know is that her dying wish was for my father and I to keep my name as it is. It gives me a guilty feeling and all, but seriously, couldn’t you have just chosen a boy’s name?
At least my mom wasn’t cousins with the late Abbaline, like Erica is. Seriously, how come she’s not in prison? She’s just as evil as Abbaline was!
Being growing boys and all, we ate everything and anything, Hansel more than I did, and Erica didn’t like it all. So one day she decided that the whole family would go out on a ‘nature walk’. I knew what her true intentions were, being related to a woman who nearly destroyed a utopia of wonders. And apparently at the time it was the latest parenting fad. Before we left, I grabbed as basket and filled it to the brim with pebbles that I would use to create a path that would lead Hansel and I back home.
Erica decided that she and Chrom would lead, and have Hansel and I in the back. I was hoping that she would do that, so I could create my trail without being caught.
And with that, we were off.
Our walk lasted a few hours long. Whenever neither parents were looking, (and they rarely did), I’d drop a pebble from my basket. Soon, it became dark outside, and our parents had the two of us make a fire. By the time the flames were bright enough for us to see, they were gone. I saw it coming, but Hansel didn’t.
“Oh my gosh, Gretel, we’re going to die out here! Or maybe we’ll have to live with the squirrels and have acorn pie every night for supper!” Hansel panicked, grabbing the collar of my shirt and pulling me close to his tan, freckle-covered face, his sky blue eyes bulging out of fear.
“It’s Greg,” I corrected him, feeling a twang of guilt in my stomach for breaking my mom’s promise out of habit. “And besides, I made a trail for us to follow back home. We’ll be fine.” I gestured to the ground behind us, not even bothering to look at it.
“All right! I can’t wait until home so that way I can put away my new rock collection!” Hansel exclaimed, holding up his own basket to show off that his was filled up all the way with pebbles. The same pebbles I used to create the path home.
“You idiot! That was the trail! Now we really are going to die!” I yelled.
“Or live with the squirrels and be forced to eat acorn pie!” my brother wailed as he pulled his shirt over his head and squatted onto the dirt. Above him, a squirrel poked her head out of a treetop condo. “That’s racist!” she screeched in her tiny voice and chucked down various nuts onto his body.
And that’s another thing. How are we even related? I mean sure, we’re identical twins and all, but he’s fat and dumb, and I’m skinny and intelligent. At least he has a guy’s name.
I sighed heavily as I pulled Hansel up off the ground. “The best we can do is keep moving forward until we can find someone who can help us.” I turned to the squirrel above us and told her, “I think he gets the message.” After he adjusted himself, Hansel and I set off onto a new journey.
“And good riddance!” the squirrel yelled before retreating back into her home. “Stupid kids.”
My brother and I ignored her remarks and walked onwards until the next morning, where we came across something extraordinary.
It was a house made of candy, what did you expect?
“Oh boy, food!” Hansel and I yelled in unison and ran towards the house without thinking. Oh crap. I was turning into my brother. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Hansel took a bite out of one of the cookie shutters. “Blech!” he spat out the cookie. “Gluten-free? What kind of candy house is this?” Hansel grabbed a pebble from his basket. “This is what I think of gluten-free-flavored houses!” he yelled as he chucked the pebble through a lollipop window. I wanted to correct him by saying that gluten-free wasn’t a flavor, but I was interrupted by a small cry of pain. The pebble hit someone inside. Crap.
The victim of the pebble incident came up towards the window where Hansel threw the pebble. It was an old woman, with yellow eyes, withering pale skin, disturbing facial features, and to top it off, a giant mole resting atop her long and pointy nose. “Stupid hooligans! Explain yourselves before I alert the cops! This is not a threat, I really will!” She yelled, her shrilly voice echoing through the forest.
“Sorry, ma’am,” I apologized. Then I proceeded to explain to her what happened to us, trying not give her our personal information, especially our names.
“Mmm, I see.” She nodded. “Well at least somebody around here has manners. And what about you, boy?” she asked Hansel.
“That’s some mole!” he gasped, pointing at her nose.
Remind me again why we’re twins?
The woman cringed and chuckled awkwardly. I glimpsed at her eyes, and saw the darkness within. I knew what she was plotting in that twisted mind of hers. She was going to kill Hansel when she thought we stayed at her home long enough.
And no, I’m not psychic.
To Be Continued…
Faith Roy is 13 years old and lives in Granby, Massachusetts. She likes the workshop because of the people she gets to write with.
By Candance Smith
Introduction: In Contact is about six seemingly ordinary girls who will be best friends to the end. Their names are Sunee, Muna, Starr, Sanny, Reese, Sanny Zeta, and Eco (lipsa). Somehow they are special, but they just don't know it yet. Here the start of the story.
Honestly, how couldn’t I know he was coming? He just comes. He always ruins the almost fun days that I have. And today, he just so happened to use me as a cheat sheet for the astronomy test I had been studying for for weeks! Now because Mr. Minoa is mad at me about yesterday, he’s going to probably fail me again. Well, wish me luck! (I’m gonna need it.)
That astronomy test was harder than it looked. But hey, I might have passed. Anyway, Grandma Moon came today with the most wonderful gift, a Russian Blue Shorthair Cat! And I named it Luna Eclipse. But I swear, when no one was looking, the pretty thing jumped up in my lap and winked at me! And for some reason, the cat looks almost exactly like the cat in one of my room paintings with the star shaped mark on its eye! It’s like there’s something I need to know.
Today we had an astronomy test. It definitely stressed me out. Today I’m sitting on the couch with my still unopened chest. I shall list the possibilities of what could be in there:
· Something rare
· Lots and lots of cobwebs
· A collection of jewelry
· Gold ribbons
Why, the possibilities are endless darling.
A broken glass, A weary night,
And kick a ball into a goal…
Wait, what? Okay, I wanted to make that perfect, but I failed miserably. Mom is—again—trying to help me with writing poetry. She should just admit it. I’m better on a field than I am on a pencil. And, unlike my annoying excuse of a sister I don’t get what the big deal is about fashion. At least I’m lucky that my box has a key and hers doesn’t. Except the only thing I saw in there was a bowl of shimmery, powdery grain. How exciting.
Today Nebula came by with another trendy outfit. Oh, I’m really happy to have Nebula as a friend. I wish I could be like her. Strong, beautiful, trendy, outgoing…I just couldn’t bring myself to talk like she does.
Right now I’m sitting on my couch with the hooded cape Mom got me for Christmas. Here’s part of a poem I’m working on for poetry class:
The road to heaven winds,
Forever in his debt.
The drowning merchant finds.
(To be continued...)
Cadence Smith is a weird girl at the age of 11 currently. She loves to sing, think of fashion, be around other nice people, sew, draw, and write. She wrote this story because it was the first story that she thought she would continue.
Poem About A Book
By Pearl Shread
I’m full of words and phrases, syllables and letters.
They tumble through me.
I’m full of comparison and characterization.
They stroll through me.
I’m full of conflicts and climax, themes and settings.
They cartwheel through me.
I’m full of irony and poetry, similes and synonyms.
They swim through me.
I’m full of metaphors and point of views.
They leap through me.
Open me up for a world of wonder.
Open me up for a world of joy.
Open me up for a world of adventure.
Open me up for a world of tragedy, dreams, drama and tears.
Open me up for a story.
Pearl Shread is in 6th grade and lives in Northampton, MA. She likes writing because it is a way to make fantasy real and anything you want can happen. “I like the workshop because it gives me a structured time to write and without it I wouldn’t just write by myself. I also like hearing the other writers’ stories.
A Series of Embarrassing Events
By Fiona Warnick
“If I can’t see the world soon, I swear I’m going to turn into a living cow pie.” Or at least that’s what I announced to my parents, as flopped onto our grubby couch in a pretend faint. Now, I guess you could say that I have a bit of a flair for being over-dramatic. But what can I say? At that moment in time, I really, truly, 100% felt that if I did not get off this boring excuse for a farm, I, Winnie Jackson, would become just another one of those lovely cow pies that littered our fields.
How was I to know that this one measly statement would cause them to ship me off to my aunt’s place in NYC, all the way from Middle-of-Nowhere, Hemmington, Ohio? Even if I had known everything my words would bring about, I still would have said them. After all, it was better than being a living cow pie!
The troubles really started in the airport bathroom. Seeing as I was 15, my parents had decided that even though I’d never left Ohio before, let alone been on a plane, I would fly to NYC by myself.
At first, I was excited about this. Then I was scared to death. Then I was thrilled. Then I was back to being terrified. We’ll just blame my mood swings on teenage hormones, and hope I wasn’t becoming bipolar.
Anyways, there I was in the airport bathroom. I’d survived security, found the gate my plane would board from, and really had to pee. I’d located the ladies’ room without difficulty, and was feeling pretty accomplished. I was a natural at navigating airports!
Before I explain what happened next, I must make it clear that though I could milk cows, muck stalls, and feed the bulls without getting gored, there was a whole lot of the world hat I’d never seen except in the movies. Automatic flushing toilets of the kind they have in airports, for instance.
I’d sat down on the toilet, done everything I needed to, and was just standing up when suddenly... “Floooooooosh!”
That rude toilet flushed itself before I even had my pants up!
Never having seen this kind of high-tech toilet before, I was majorly startled. I jumped so high into the air that I probably could have waved “hi” to the woman in the next stall if my mind hadn’t been on other things.
Once I had both feet firmly back on earth, I turned around and slowly backed away from the toilet the way you step away from a rattle snake. The red light on the motion sensor blinked menacingly at me. I took a deep breath. It was just a toilet. It was nothing to be afraid of. I took another deep breath. It was, in fact, something one should be embarrassed to be afraid of. I rolled my eyes at my own stupidity, unlocked the stall door, and washed my hands with my head held high. But if I’m being honest with you, it took a good 5 more minutes for my heart rate to return to normal.
The next of my airport adventures took place at Starbucks. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
When I had mostly forgotten about the toilet incident, I realized I was thirsty, and also a little wiped out. I required coffee. A quick glance at my watch assured me that I had plenty of time to find some.
I swung my backpack over my shoulder (the rest of my luggage had been checked), and headed off down the terminal. Soon enough, I saw a Starbucks, and knew that was the place for me.
This may sound strange, but I had never been to Starbucks before. My town was probably the only one in the U.S. that didn’t have one. Plus, my parents had this thing against chain stores. But somewhere along the way, I had gotten this idea in my head that you couldn’t really say you were American unless you’d been to Starbucks. So I was going now.
There wasn’t a line, so I walked right up to a counter before realizing it was the pick-up counter, and the place to order was different. I quickly pretended to have been just getting a closer look at the menu (even though I hadn’t read a word of it) and hurried over to the other counter.
When the cashier asked me what I wanted, I told him, “Just a large coffee please.”
He gave me a funny look. “What kind of coffee?”
What kind? What in heavens name was he talking about? Back in Hemmington, we just had coffee, plain and simple. If you wanted milk or sugar or anything fancy like that, you could add it yourself. Obviously, things were different at Starbucks.
The problem was, I didn’t know how they were different. They clearly had multiple kinds, but as to what those kinds were, I hadn’t the slightest idea. What was I supposed to say?
As luck (of either the good or back kind, I’m still not sure which it was) would have it, the person standing in line behind me came to my rescue.
“The girl wants an iced latte. Can’t you tell? She just has that iced latte look to her.”
I didn’t know what an iced latte was, but it was suddenly my favorite kind of coffee. Why? Because of that boy’s glorious voice. I swear that when he spoke, angels didn’t need to sing, because it already sounded like they were.
“Yeah, an iced latte would be great!” I squeaked at the Starbucks employee.
“Name?” he asked.
Why did he need my name? Whatever. “Winnie.” I whispered, and slid a $10 bill across the counter before turning to discover that the looks of the guy behind me completely matched his voice. In other words, he had a handsomeness level of positively biblical proportions. And he thought I was the kind of girl that would want an iced latte, whatever that was!
Now, I’m tall. Taller than 5 out of the 6 boys in my grade at Hemmington High. But even though this guy looked only a year or two older than me, he was taller, by like, a lot. And he was standing kind of close to me, so I had to crane my neck to look up into his face. But trust me, it was totally worth whatever aches and pains it would cause me the next day.
He gave me a quick grin, before looking above me to the menu on the wall. I didn’t move. Looking back on it, I probably was acting a lot like that lady in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, who just freezes when this man (her future husband) walks into the restaurant.
So anyways, there I was, frozen in Starbucks, making a complete idiot of myself. The guy glanced down at me and graced me with another smiled, but this time it was a “You’re really weirding me out” type smile. It jolted me out of my daze. I could feel my face begin its transformation into a bright red tomato. I hastily stepped away from the guy, but bumped into the counter, so then I sort of awkwardly turned and used all of my remaining brain power to walk over to a little cafe table instead of running away as fast as I could.
I collapsed into he chair before realizing I had yet to get my coffee. After a couple breaths to steady my heartbeat, I got back up and went to the pick-up counter.
There was a cup sitting on it. Was it mine? It had ice in it, so I was prepared to bet it was an iced latte. But on the side it read “Jimmy.” That was not my name. Was it possible that the Starbucks cashier had thought I’d said “Jimmy” when in fact I’d said “Winnie?” I had been speaking quietly, but I didn’t exactly look like a Jimmy. Did I? I hoped not. Whatever. I grabbed the coffee and returned to my table. I tentatively tasted the drink. Given who had recommended it, I had high expectations. I regret to say that it was a long way from meeting them. Coffee was supposed to be hot. Putting ice in it was pretty much the stupidest idea in about 3 centuries.
But it was still coffee, and I was still thirsty, so I drank it.
I was almost finished, with just a few sips left, when a shadow fell over my table. A very tall shadow. My heart rate approached the speed of a train, hurtling towards train-wreck. And then that voice, that voice, said, “Winnie?”
I looked up at him, and he glanced at my cup. “Or should I say, Jimmy?” he chuckled.
“Mhm?” I tried to say. I say tried, because it came out sounding more like that noise cows make when they’re being stubborn. A sort of, “Nuhhmphurnug.” Real attractive, I know.
“Here’s your change, you left it on the counter.” He said.
Had I? How embarrassing. “Oh, thanks.” I mumbled.
Only after he was gone did I realize that he had given me a whole $10. He had paid for my iced latte! I dropped my head onto the table. If things continued the way they were headed, I was going to have heart failure before I could legally drink alcohol.
I don’t know how long I could have stayed there with my head on the table. A long time. Maybe I would have fallen asleep and missed my flight! But that didn’t happen. Phew! I don’t know if I could have survived any more humiliation right then.
What did happen is that they called everyone on my flight to come to the gate, because we were boarding. I pulled myself together, dumped the dregs of my coffee in a nearby trash, and headed back up the terminal.
When I reached the gate, people were already lining up, even though they were only letting first class and people with babies on at the moment. I joined the queue and surveyed my fellow passengers. I hoped none of them were terrorists.
In front of me, a woman dressed in a business suit crisper than bacon talked on her cell. A man argued with his wife about where to go for dinner behind me. And a few people in front of me... Oh, no. It was the guy from Starbucks. For the first time, I wished I had never left my wonderful farm full of cows.
I had thought I was ready for the big outside world, but in just the first few hours I had been scared by a toilet and made a complete and utter fool out of myself in Starbucks. This was going to be a long trip.
But that was no way to think! I was Winnie Jackson, and I would not let a few minor mishaps keep me from a fantabulous adventure in New York City. Correction: a few slightly larger than minor mishaps. Thankfully, nothing had quite qualified as major. Yet.
I considered my options. I could run away from the plane and the Starbucks guy, miss my flight, go back to the farm, and turn into a living cow pie. Well, that was a big fat NO. I was going to have to get on that plane, be brave, and pretend not to notice ol’ Starbucks Guy. Or better yet, I would pretend to have forgotten him! I mean to say, the Starbucks incident was almost an entire 10 minutes ago. That was around 600 seconds. He was ancient history!
This little mental pep talk had gotten me to almost the front of the line. I had a momentary freak-out when I couldn’t find my boarding pass, but then it appeared in my pocket, and all was once again well in the world.
The stewardess ushered me on through the rickety tunnel which led to the plane itself. I was on a plane! A real-as-a-charging-bull airplane! For the first time in my life!
A flight attendant pointed me towards my seat, but she failed to get me all the way there. I needed seat 22A. But where were the labels? Oh, there, just under the overhead compartments. There was row 18...19...20...21... Aha! Row 22, and there was my seat, 22A, only... Someone was sitting in it.
He had blondish hair, looked around my age (though a little on the short side), was reading a book, and wasn’t nearly as handsome as Starbucks Guy, who I luckily hadn’t spotted yet. But none of that was important. What was important was that he was in MY seat. At least, I was 90% sure it was my seat. And if it wasn’t, oh well. I’d already embarrassed myself twice today, surely I could do it again.
I gathered my courage, and confronted this intruder.
“Excuse me, but you happen to be sitting in my seat.” I told him.
He glanced up. “Oh? Yes, I suppose I am.” He went back to reading. This boy was just begging for a good old fashioned slap across the face. I restrained myself.
“Well, do you think you could move?” I asked in a tone that was perhaps not as polite as my my mother would have wanted.
The boy ignored me. I reached forward and plucked the book out of his hands. “Listen, buddy. I don’t know who you think you are, but you are in my seat, and you need to move. I can’t very well sit in your lap!”
He looked at me very seriously. “No, I agree. If you sat in my lap it would make it very difficult for me to keep reading that wonderful book you just stole from me.”
“And it would be even more difficult for you to read if I went and dropped it out the window. So move!”
He shook his head. “The windows on planes don’t open.”
Some interfering woman behind me tapped my shoulder.
“Your blocking the isle, miss.” She explained.
I glared at her and flopped into the seat next to the one I was supposed to have, and then turned to the boy.
Before I could say anything, he spoke. “And now you’re in my seat.”
I groaned. “Perfect. So let’s just switch seats. I’ll give you your book back, and then we can ignore each other for the entire flight.”
He pretended to consider this. “Or, we could not switch seats, you could give me my book back, and then we can ignore each other. See, I want the window seat.”
“Well, I also happen to want the window seat!” I informed him. Never having flown anywhere before, I wasn’t entirely sure if this was true. On buses, I actually preferred isle. But it was my seat, and this boy was being infuriatingly ornery, so at this moment in time, I did want the seat. I’m stubborn that way.
“Anyway.” I continued. “Seeing as it seems like you’re just going to read for the whole flight, I don’t see why you want the window.”
“Whatever.” He rolled his eyes, and we switched places. Somewhat awkwardly, I might add. There isn’t a lot of room in the non-first class sections. With that settled, I stuffed my backpack under the seat in front of me, buckled my seat belt, and waited for take off.
Finally, the flight attendant stood and gave a whole spiel about where the emergency exits were, how our seat cushions could be used as floatation devices in the event of an emergency, and how she hoped we would enjoy our flight.
“That’s not going to happen, is it?” I whispered nervously to the seat stealing boy next to me.
“What, that we’ll enjoy our flight? Not if you keep interrupting my reading.”
The nerve of him! “No! That we might crash!”
He raised his eyes to the heavens. Or more accurately, to the “no smoking” sign above our seats. “I thought we were going to ignore each other.”
I frowned, and stared out the window. Suddenly, the plane began to move. Slower than I can jog, I’ll admit, but it was moving! I gripped the arm rests tightly, and watched intently as people on the ground waved flags and things to direct our plane. Soon enough, we were on the runway, building speed, and then the ground was getting smaller, and it really hit me.
“We’re flying!” I whispered to myself in awe.
“Good work, Sherlock.” The boy next to me muttered.
“Ignoring you!” I replied in a sing-song-y voice, without taking my eyes off the window.
Cars below us were ants. Warehouses were no larger than a chicken’s toenail. But as interesting as the view was, everything gets boring after a while.
I turned my attention to the people around me, carefully avoiding the one in the next seat over. The couple who had been arguing about dinner in the airport sat in front of me, her head on his shoulder. And across the isle from them... Starbucks Guy, listening to music from and MP3 player. I froze, then quickly unfroze myself. Why did he have to be sitting so close? Why did he have to be on this plane, for that matter? The world was an evil place.
I tried to focus on the other passengers, and then the view, and then a sudoku puzzle I had found in the seat pocket in front of me. But my eyes kept disobediently flicking over to Starbucks Guy. This was bad. I didn’t even know his name and I was already half stalking him.
It’s funny. Whenever I’d read those books where a girl goes completely goo-goo over a guy, and her brain short-circuits and stuff, I’d always just laughed at the characters for being so insanely silly. I’d never expected I could one day join their ranks. And here I was, obsessively watching a guy listen to music. Something was wrong with this situation. I seriously needed something to take my mind away from Starbucks Guy, and Sudoku clearly wan’t doing it.
I needed a good book, but I had mistakenly packed all of my reading material in my suitcase. Was it possible that the book Seat-Stealer was reading was any good? It seemed unlikely, but I peaked over his shoulder at it anyway. At the top of the page, it read “Annabeth” in italic letters. Oh. My. Gods. He was reading Percy Jackson! By some crazy freak of nature, this annoying boy had alright taste in books!
I started reading over his shoulder, and discovered that:
The book was The House of Hades, and
he and I read at exactly the same pace; he always flipped a page just as I finished it.
It didn’t take long for me to be completely absorbed. Now, when I read, I sort of tune out the rest of the world. The story draws me in, and nothing else matters. And I guess what happened is that the book just started pulling me in it’s direction or something, like a magnetic force. The point is, I started leaning in towards the book, which also meant I was leaning towards Seat-Stealer, and it got to the point where my face was about 2 inches away from his shoulder.
He cleared his throat, but I was so into the book I didn’t hear. He cleared his throat again. “Are you, like, smelling me?” He asked in a completely weirded out tone. “I didn’t think my deodorant smelled that good.”
I was jolted out of the story. “Oh my gods, no! Ew! I was just reading your book, I swear!” I was blushing furiously.
At this point, I’m pretty sure I had him convinced I was totally crazy. He studied me in a bewildered way for a second. “Okaaaaay. So, you like Percy Jackson?”
“Of course!” I replied immediately, glad to have a new topic of conversation to latch onto. “I just adore it! Percy and Annabeth are just so amazing, don’t you think?”
He shrugged. “Jason’s better.”
“WHAT? I mean, Jason’s okay, but no way is he better than Percy and Annabeth.”
“He totally is!” Seat Stealer argued.
I raised my eyebrows. “Give me one good reason.”
“Um, he’s awesome?”
“That’s not a reason.”
“It is too, but here’s another one: he has the same name as me.”
Suddenly, it all made sense. “I see!” I laughed. “You’re biased!”
Jason glared at me. “No more than you are.”
I was offended. Sure, I had the same last name as Percy, but he didn’t know that. And either way, I was not biased. “Am not!” I told him.
“Are too. You knew Percy and Annabeth first. By the time Jason enters the story, the favorite character spot is already taken. No one even gives him a chance!” He persisted.
“That is merely the argument of someone who dislikes to be wrong.” I said smugly.
Jason’s jaw dropped. “I cannot believe you! Favorite characters are an opinion. Opinions don’t have right and wrong answers.”
“With Percy and Annabeth they do!” I argued.
He rolled his eyes like I was a little child who couldn’t understand until they were older, and went back to reading.
I harumphed and glared at the seat in front of me for a bit, but soon enough began reading over Jason’s shoulder again. This time, however, I was careful to lean way back.
People who have been on planes before are probably familiar with that big fancy word, Turbulence. It refers to when the plane hits some troublesome pockets of air, causing it to bounce around in a rather terrifying manner. If you know it’s nothing to worry about, it isn’t actually very scary. But for all I knew, our plane had just been hit by enemy fighter jets, and I was facing the last few moments of my life.
One second I was happily reading over Jason’s shoulder, and the next I was being rudely jostled around. In that moment, I was completely convinced we were all about to die. But I was Winnie Jackson, and I would keep my head in a crisis. In a blind panic, I grabbed for the arm rest, but one way or another, I wound up with Jason’s arm instead. Awkward! I quickly released my grip.
He raised his eyebrows at me. “It’s just turbulence. We’re not going to crash or anything.”
“Oh.” I turned towards the window to hide my blush.
“You’ve really never been on a plane before.” Jason realized.
“And your deductive reasoning skills are really coming along there, Watson.” I tried to laugh.
He returned the favor with a real one. “You know, I think I should be Sherlock, and you can be Watson.”
“How do you figure?”
“Let’s see. I have the stunning good looks, and the superhuman intelligence...” he ticked them off on his fingers.
“However,” I added, “You’re height is more appropriate for Watson, and mine for Sherlock, wouldn’t you agree?”
He scowled and went back to reading. It seemed to be becoming a bit of a habit. Not that I cared, of course.
Along about this point, the iced latte hit my bladder, and I realized I had to pee. Uh-oh. Given my experience with air-port bathrooms, I really didn’t want to test my luck with air-plane bathrooms. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sure where they were. I knew it was either the front or back of the aircraft, but which one? And, to get there I would need to somehow squeeze past Jason. Why couldn’t I have been content with the isle seat? I checked my watch. Only another 45 minutes or so. I would wait. It wouldn’t be comfortable, but I could do it. Utilizing all of my Sherlockian spy skills, I stealthily loosened my seat belt.
5 minutes later, I realized my current coarse of action was not going to work. I pursed my lips. I’d already proven multiple times that I could survive embarrassment; I would be fine. After a few preparatory breaths, I unbuckled my seat belt and poked Jason.
He looked up, annoyed. “What?’
“I-need-to-go-to-the-bathroom.” I said it really fast as to get it over with as soon as possible. Only, I guess I said it too fast, because he looked at me uncomprehendingly.
I sighed. “I need to go to the bathroom.”
“Well, good for you. But why are you telling me this?”
“‘Cause, I need you to move so I can get past you.” Gosh, this was embarrassing.
He sighed, and got up, stepping into the isle. I stood and walked towards the front of the plane. If the bathrooms weren’t there, at least I could ask a flight attendant where they were. But before I’d even taken two steps, Jason tapped my shoulder. “The bathroom’s at the back.” He stage-whispered.
Great. I turned around, prepared to walk the other way. Jason collapsed into his seat, covering his mouth with his book to hide his laughter.
“I’m just messing with you! There are bathrooms at both ends!” He managed to explain before being overcome with another fit of giggles. He would have fit in well at a 13 year old girl’s slumber party; he was the right height, and could giggle with the best of them.
I glared at him, sucked in my cheeks, and walked towards the back of the plane. At least this way I didn’t have to walk past Starbucks Guy!
I will spare you the lovely details of my airplane bathroom experience. If you really want to know what it was like, just imagine going to the bathroom in a port-a-potty that’s being swung around by a huge construction crane.
Finally, I was back near my seat.
“Jason, move.” I ordered. After his stunt with the bathroom locations, he definitely didn’t deserve any manners from me.
“Why?” He complained.
I gritted my teeth. “Because I need to get to my seat.”
“So you do.” He nodded wearily, and got up. “Don’t you wish you’d just let me have the window seat?”
I did, but there was no reason for him to know that. “No, actually, I’ve really been enjoying the view.” I lied.
“Suit yourself.” He shrugged, before once again, tucking back into his book.
Plane rides can be all well and good for a while, but they are also universally longer than you’d like them to be. And so, when the pilot’s voice crackled onto the speakers, announcing our imminent landing, I couldn’t help but feel relieved.
At first, the only sign of our descent was an almost constant need to pop my ears. Then, I got the feeling that my insides were a little higher than the rest of me, and the cars were more the size of carpenter ants than fire ants. And there was the runway, getting closer by the second! We were going too fast. We couldn’t possibly land safely. I slid the shade over my window. Watching was just making me nervous. But I couldn’t stand not having any idea where we were in relation to the ground! I opened the shade. We were so close! I looked away. There was Jason, calmly continuing to read his book, like nothing was happening. How could he possibly do that? It was infuriating. I resolved to relax. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Suddenly, the plane gave a little jerk as it’s wheels brushed the runway. My eyes snapped open. Blood rushed to my ears. I grabbed the arm rests, careful to avoid Jason’s arm. Out of my window, I could see flaps on the plane’s wings lifting to break our speed. But still, we were going a million times faster than our tractor back home ever could. We couldn’t possibly stop in time. I leaned back in my seat, and breathed deeply. Everything would be fine. Everyday, tons of people rode planes, and they all survived. Except for the occasional few that didn’t. But I wouldn’t think about that.
And in the time it had taken for me to try not to think about planes that crashed, our plane had slowed to a much more reasonable pace.
I grinned. I wanted to sing, or dance, or do both at once. My seatbelt and the lack of leg room were the only things that kept me from doing the can-can. I had lived through my first plane ride! I really, truly, was still alive!
And Jason was still reading, like nothing had happened. I yanked the book out of his hands.
“Hey!” he exclaimed.
“Hey yourself.” I told him. “Are you even from this planet? I just survived my first ever airplane flight, complete with an extremely terrifying landing, and you sat there reading a book like it was just any old Tuesday at grandma’s house!”
He sighed. “Today is Saturday, my grandma lives in California, and I would greatly appreciate it if you would give me back my book.” He looked bored. Bored! Call me crazy, but I don’t see myself as a boring person.
“Nope!” I tucked the book behind my back. “Not until you have grasped the gravity of this situation.”
He rolled his eyes. “Okay. You survived the flight, just like every other person on this plane. Do you see any of them wigging out? No. Why? Because it’s not a big deal. What have we learned? You are the only person on this plane who should be considered for admittance to an insane asylum. Yippee!”
My good mood could not be killed that easily. “You are missing the entire point. This was my first plane ride! Every person on this flight should be feeling extraordinarily honored that they were on the same plane as Winnie Jackson for her first ever plane ride.”
And again, the point sailed right over his head. He needed to be taller, then maybe the point could catch him full in the face. This time, however, something had gotten through to his corn kernel sized brain.
“Your name is Winnie Jackson? Jackson? As in, you have the same last name as Percy Jackson? I knew you were biased!” He gave a little fist pump. “I just knew it.”
I frowned. “You have Jason’s first name! Surely that’s more of a cause for bias than having the same last name.”
“Whatever. We’re both biased. The point is that I knew you were biased! I just knew it! Maybe I’m psychic.” He grinned at his own itelligence. “I wonder if I could talk to ghosts!”
I raised my eyebrows. Jason was getting almost as crazy-enthusiastic as me! This was weird.
The seatbelt lights flicked off right then, sparing me from needing to come up with a response. Jason grabbed his bag and joined the line of people heading off the plane. “Bye.” He gave a little wave.
“Bye.” I replied, and he was gone. I knew I would most likely never see him again, and the thought made me strangely sad. He had been funny, in an annoying sort of way. I shrugged off the thought, grabbed my backpack, stood up, and realized I still had Jason’s copy of The House of Hades. Great. This day just kept on getting closer and closer to resembling a large steaming pile of cow dung.
I knew I had to at least try to get this book back to its rightful owner. Scooping it up, I pushed into the throng of people clogging the plane’s isle. The line moved awfully slowly, with someone stopping to adjust a bag or pick up a dropped purse after every step. Where was Jason? It looked like he’d already gotten off the plane somehow.
Now, I am aware that what I did next as not particularly polite, but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. Plus, there were no parents to stop me! I doubled my grip on the book, and began shoving my way past people to get to the front of the plane. This speeded my progress considerably. And it did help that I had gotten loads of practice utilizing my sharp elbows from squeezing through crowds of cows back on the farm.
Soon enough, I was off the plane, and the thought struck me that I was in New York City! I didn’t have any idea what I would face next, or where I was in the airport. But I did know one thing: If my adventures in NYC were going to try and exceed the adventures I’d had on the way there, they would have to be really exciting. Like, maybe I would get stuck in an elevator! Or bump into some famous person on the sidewalk! Or maybe the Statue of Liberty would come alive and chase me all the way back to Ohio! It was a possibility. Maybe not a very likely possibility, but it was still there! When you’re in the big city, anything can happen.
To be continued....
Fiona Warnick is 14 years old and lives in Sunderland, MA. She loves writing because it's pretty much like reading a book, only since you're the author, you can fix all those things that really bug you about the story.
A Story of Tessas, Nicks, and Amandas
By Celia Child
Through shattered moments of consciousness, Tessa slowly began to piece together Phyzmik Street. The first thing she noticed was her bedroom window. Taped upon the pane of glass was her trusty book list, but the letters were blurred since she had only just begun to peel her eyes open. Beyond the glass she squinted her eyes to the blaring sun reflecting off a cafe table outside the window. Cars whizzed by, most of their windows sealed shut, probably to contain the generous amount of air conditioning being blasted through the vents. Tessa curled back up into the oversized, fluffy pink chair, pulled her grandmother’s thin quilt over herself and attempted to drift back to sleep. As soon as she shut her eyes, Tessa was jolted awake by the sharp sound of a bell. Oh no! She had fallen asleep while trying to finish her book and in consequence, slept in well past dawn and was now late for work. Oh, her mother was going to kill her, since she was home alone and the only one available to open - and even worse, there was a customer waiting. She tossed the blanket from her lap and jumped to the floor, her book thudding against the ground and sprawling open. She fumbled to pick it up, placing it on her nightstand beside her blue lamp. Tessa hastily threw on a pair of jeans and t-shirt, slipped on her glasses, then quickly gathered her curly red hair into a ponytail. She grabbed her phone from her nightstand and shoved it into her back pocket before exiting her room with an apron in hand.
Tessa scampered down the steps, almost tripping over her feet as she turned the corner and planted herself behind the counter. Across the bakery, she spotted a tall brown haired figure, scanning the glowing cabinets, probably for a pre-work pastry.
“Hello, sorry for the wait,” Tessa called out across the room. He turned around to face her.
His voice was attractive but also had a tone that suggested he was well aware of that. His eyes were beautiful, an ocean blue that sparkled with mischief. But sticking our form the sides of his head were the most atrociously large ears. He flashed Tessa a perfect smile that had probably swooned dozens of girls before her. She replied with a small grin, but the quickly looked down at the counter, pretending to be busy. She heard foot steps and glanced up to see him striding towards her with a pompous step in his walk.
“What’s your favorite pastry,” he asked Tessa, a devious grin across hi face. Was he attempting to flirt with her?? How revolting.
“Umm, I’d go for the strawberry rhubarb.” It just so happened that the most expensive pastry was also her favorite.
“I’ll take it,” he declared, clearly pleased with himself. Tessa ducked behind the counter and reappeared with a strawberry rhubarb danish hastily strewn into a brown paper bag.
“That’ll be five-twenty-five.” He handed her a crumpled $6.
“Keep the change.” Somehow, the grin on his face became even bigger. Tessa glared at him for a few seconds before popping open the cash register, taking her time in un-crumpling the bills and neatly placing them in the correct slot.
“My name’s Nick by the way. Nick Truman.” God, this boy was relentless.
“Tessa Blackwell. Pleasure.” She never took her eyes off her trembling fingers. Why was Nick making her so nervous? She’d seen him plenty of times before at school and had known his name since the first day she started at her new school in the middle of freshman year. Everyone seemed to be gossiping about the “hot junior Nick Truman.” Tessa personally had no interest in any boy with that much reputation. Now that it was summer, she was hoping to see a lot less of him. Tessa blamed her jitters on a late awakening and a racing heartbeat...from scrambling down the stairs of course.
“Well it was very nice to officially meet you, Tessa Blackwell.”
And with that he grabbed the bag and strode out of the bakery.
* * * * *
When Tessa entered the local bookstore, she strode over to the young adult section. She had already read the book she was looking for, but had enjoyed it so much that owning it was completely necessary. Tessa had been waiting for weeks to buy it, coming in almost everyday to see if it was back in stock. Clearly, this book was very popular. Finally, she spotted it and reached out in front of her to retrieve the last copy of The Fault in our Stars...just as another pair of hands appeared in front of the book. Her head whipped around to stare directly into the eyes of -
“Nick Truman,” she spat, disgust dripping off the tip of her tongue. Tessa had seen enough of this boy for one summer - or even a lifetime for that matter - and now he was trying the steal the very last copy of HER book.
“Tessa Blackwell. I must thank you for suggesting that strawberry rhubarb pastry. It was delicious.”
Tessa rolled her eyes and scoffed at his pathetic attempt to earn her admiration.
“What are you doing with your measly hands all over this book?” she demanded.
“Why, I was hoping to buy it,” he declared innocently.
“Oh absolutely not. I was here first and have been waiting for months to finally place it on my bookshelf.” Okay, maybe she had exaggerated a little, but Nick would never know and maybe, just maybe, his sympathetic side would break through his arrogant armor.
“How about a compromise; I will pay for half of this book, as a long as after you read it, you pass it along to me and I promise to return it as soon as I finish.”
Tessa couldn’t believe her ears. “You? Share this precious book with you?? We hardly know each other.”
“Well, we both want to read it and there’s only one copy left. Do you have a better idea?”
“Fine.” She pursed her lips. Tessa’s day had suddenly taken a sharp turn on to a very bumpy road. She removed her hand from the shelf into her purse. She yanked out a few bills and handed them to Nick with a false smile plastered across her face. Nick took the money from her, their fingers touching during the exchange. Tessa quickly retracted her hand while Nick removed the book from the shelf and headed towards the counter to pay. Tessa pulled her phone out of her pocket. She unlocked it and immediately oped the messages app. Her fingers flew over the keys as she typed a message to her friend, Amanda.
You will not believe the jerk who just suggested that I actually SHARE a book.
She pressed the blue send button with deliberation. Tessa clipped off her phone and held it in her hands, impatiently tapping her pale blue nails against the plastic case. As she waited for Amanda to reply, her eyes disobediently flashed over to the general direction in which Nick was standing, but quickly diverted her gaze before he caught her staring. Tessa had to admit, he was kinda cute, and any boy willing to buy her a book deserved at least 1/16 of her attention... But she quickly flushed those thoughts out of her mind when Nick reappeared in front of her, holding the book in his hands and a smile on his face.
“Thank you,” Tessa whispered to her blue converse. The she lifted her chin to face Nick. “I’ll give you a call when I’m done with it.”
“But you don’t know my number.” Nick tried to look puzzled, but Tessa could see directly past his flirtatious grin.
“I highly suspect you wrote it in the book.” Which is a shame, she thought. This lovely book has been permanently marked by the hands of Nick Truman.
A goofy grin spread over his face, tickling the edges of his abnormally large ears. It was scary how much he reminded her of Augustus Waters - aside form his unappealing behavior. If he truly was Augustus, she would already be in in a wedding dress, walking down the aisle holding a bouquet of orange Dutch tulips.
“And you say we don’t know each other.” Nick’s voice had slowly transitioned into a whisper.
“If you’re trying to be Augustus Waters, you’re failing miserably,” Tessa said half-heartedly. Her original repulsion towards Nick had slowly begun to fade the moment she saw his lanky fingers on the book. Nick’s smile slowly shrunk to a size that complimented his face, handed Tessa the book and walked passed her, across the room and out the door. Tessa stood there for a moment, her hand still outreached, clutching the book. Suddenly, her phone vibrated, startling her out of her trance. She tucked the book under her arm and opened the text from Amanda.
No way. Who could possibly expect such a thing from you?!
Tessa smiled, this one abounding in happiness and honesty, and replied
as she turned and strode out of the door.
* * * * *
“Bye, mom! I’ll see you tomorrow!” Tessa tossed her bag into the back of her blue mini cooper - (she had gotten it for her 16th birthday earlier that year) - hopped into the driver’s seat, put the key in the ignition and hit the gas. Once she was on the road, Tessa turned the stereo on. You see, she absolutely loved her car, but she used the music system so much that in the last six months, it had already begun to break down and the CD slot refused to eject the Simon and Garfunkel disk she had popped in a couple weeks ago. Lucky for her, she loved the album and could positively never get sick of it. In fact, Tessa had listened to it enough that she had perfect harmonies to each and every song. So, Tessa rolled up her windows, turned up the AC, and sang her heart out as she drove to Amanda’s.
After Amanda received the texts, she went ballistic, bombarding Tessa with questions about when-where-why-how she had managed to meet Augustus Waters and then why in the name of John Green she would call him a jerk. Tess told her that she would explain everything that night. Amanda was one of those people who required constant, detailed updates on Tessa’s love life and somehow she managed to turn her encounters with any boy - no matter how brief they might be - into an elaborate, unrealistic, cheesy romance novel. Tessa pulled into Amanda’s driveway, switched off the stereo and climbed out. She grabbed her bag and practically skipped up the front steps. She opened the frond door only to be greeted by Amanda bounding down the stairs. She barely had time to say hello before Amanda grabbed her wrist and dragged Tessa downstairs to her lavishly furnished basement.
“Amanda!” Tessa exclaimed, out of breath. “What are you doing, you nearly ripped my arm out of its socket!”
“Get comfy, I have a story to tell...after you explain EVERYTHING to me.” Amanda was beaming, and Tessa could already see little sparks of energy bouncing off of her. They both slipped on their matching grey ruffly pajama shorts as Tessa recalled the past few days and her interactions with the one and only Nick Truman. Then they plopped down on Amanda’s futon as she began to delve into another one of her stories...
Once upon a time, Amanda and Tessa were sitting together (as usual) at their favorite lunch table, sharing a cup of French Fries and conversing over their sandwiches. Lo and behold, along came Nick Truman. Nick locked eyes with Tessa and out of habit she looked down at her hands. They no longer trembled at the sight of him, now they had decided to start sweating uncontrollably. Tessa put down her sandwich and lowered her hands to her lap to stealthily brush them off on her jeans. Nick wondered over to their table. He opened his mouth and out spilled an invitation for Tessa to join him and his gaggle of high school boys for lunch, rudely ignoring her friend Amanda.
Tessa replied, “But we don’t know each other. I hardly think it’s appropriate to already be sharing a meal.”
“And I hardly believe that to be the truth. We shared a book! Would you go around sharing books with just anybody?”
“Well...I go to the library! So yes, I’ve shared books with loads of people - strangers in fact!”
To this, Nick whined, “That doesn’t count.”
Finally remembering her friend, Tessa said, “Anyways, I’m sitting with Amanda.”
“Oh, well, she could come too I guess.” Amanda felt very offended.
“Have you shared a book with Amanda, Nick?”
“Touché. But seriously Tessa - and Amanda - would you please sit with me - I mean us?”
Tessa pretended that she hadn’t heard him fumble his plea. “Why are you so insistent about this matter?”
“Umm, my friends want to meet you.”
“You’ve told your friends about me??” Tessa wanted to sound annoyed and angry, but it really cam out as an excited, timid squeak and she struggled to suppress a smile.
“Yes of course! And I think they’ll be very interested in Amanda.” As annoying as junior boys are, Amanda thought, there HAD to be a good one in the mix, right? But Tessa was not persuaded so easily.
“That’s just creepy. I really don’t want to sit with you now.”
“How about another compromise? If you come eat lunch with us and after that you decide that you never want to talk to me again, I will stop bothering you.”
“Ok, we have a deal. Come on, Amanda.” Personally, Amanda thought Tessa was being utterly silly for even considering declining a chance to sit with some of the most popular boys in school...
At Nick’s table, he informed all of his friends that “Everyone has to be awesome and funny because of not the Tessa is never going to talk to me again.” Then his friends all gasped and said things like Oh no! Disaster! Tragedy! We mustn’t let this happen!
At this point, Tessa just had to interrupt the story.
“Amanda, this is sooooo unrealistic. High school boys who think they’re cooler than the Arctic would NOT be saying these things.”
“Thant’s the point! Ugh... Now stop interrupting your love story! You’re going to make me lose my train of thought. Where was I?”
“Nick’s friends were all exclaiming like teenage girls.” Amanda glared at Tessa before continuing her story.
So then, one of his friends asked Tessa what she thought was funny, probably so that he could try - and fail miserably - to make her laugh.
“Well,” she said, “Percy Jackson is funny...”
They all gasped and exclaimed, “You’ve read Percy Jackson??!! We haven’t!!” And they said it in this absolutely hilarious tone that resulted in sidesplitting laughter from both Tessa and Amanda. Nick tried to conceal a small fist pump, but Tessa and Amanda both saw it, which made them laugh even harder.
When the giggles died down, Tessa said, “Well, you absolutely must read it, it’s amazing.”
From the corner of the table, a voice peeped up and announced, “I’ve read it.” Of course, this voice belonged to Nick. But Tessa had to make sure that he wasn’t lying and skeptically asked him what Annabeth’s first good line was.
“You drool in your sleep.”
“OMG you have read it, and you also have a great sense in literary opinions! Best line ever. I really want my future boyfriend to drool in his sleep just so I can say that to him.” Then, Nick’s friend nudged him and said to Tessa,
“Nick drools in his sleep!”
Nick dropped his face into his hands as Tessa turned towards Amanda, already feeling her face transforming into a bright red tomato. Amanda tried to stealthily give Tessa a wink and quietly giggled. Tessa turned back to Nick whose face was still slightly flushed but his blue eyes were gazing into her green ones.
Apparently, Nick’s friends had seen Amanda’s incredibly obvious wink and decided that she agreed with them.
“Agree with what?” Amanda wasn’t the kind of person who liked being predictable. Being whimsical was always more exciting.
“Your comically large wink suggested that you agreed with us that Nick and Tessa should date!”
Amanda gasped and clutched her pearls. “Och! I said no such thing! I mean, I’m not saying that I don’t agree, but those words never came out of my mouth, since I have to be on Tessa’s side.” Amanda turned and gave Tessa a toothy grin, her head held high, proud of her loyalty.
Once again, Nick graced them with the lovely sound of his voice. “So Tessa, do you have any other books, movies, TV shows that you’d like to recommend.”
“Why, Downton Abbey of course.”
Nick looked disgusted. “Downton Abbey? Seriously? Isn’t that show about, like princesses and castles and stuff?”
It was Tessa’s turn to be disgusted. “No! It’s so much more than that! And for your information they’re not even princesses, and they do not live in a castle although sometimes they visit those... There’s all of these lords and ladies and dowagers who are always throwing parties and then there’s World War 1 and Lady Mary - who’s awesome by the way - gets stuck out in the rain with her pigs in a fancy evening gown. Anyway, my point is that it’s really good.”
“Well,” said Nick, “You’re clearly an expert on this show and it sounds overwhelmingly confusing. If I do decide to watch it, I’m going to need someone with me to explain everything that’s going on.” Tessa raised her eyebrow. “I think you should watch it with me. I’m positively dreadful at understanding British accents.”
The next day, Nick and Tessa climbed into his car as they drove to his house, indulging in awkward conversations to pass the seemingly endless time.
They plopped down on his posh leather couch and clicked on the television. They got through the first episode no problem. Tessa occasionally got up for a glass of water or to make a bowl of popcorn. She wouldn’t let Nick leave the living room because he would miss some hilarious line or critically important scene, so she just had him tell her where everything was located in order to prepare their refreshments.
“Yes, Tessa, I can be a detailed writer when I want to be.”
Tessa rolled her eyes. “Keep going! It’s finally getting good!”
But after the first episode, on rolled the show and the second episode started. Once Matthew appeared, the sobbing started. It wasn’t really sobbing so much as overdramatic whimpering and burring her face into his shoulder. Nick reached over to hesitantly stroke Tessa’s hair.
“Hey, are you ok?”
Tessa raised her head only to be staring practically through Nick’s eyes...they were inches apart.
“Me? Oh, I’m fine.”
Really? Because you look pretty upset.” He brushed his thumb over her cheek. Wow, Nick was genuinely concerned for Tessa. How sweet...
“Oh, no, not really. It’s just that Matthew... Well, I won’t spoil it for you, I guess you’ll just have to keep watching to find out.”
“Well, hopefully you could stick around long enough to keep explaining things to me until then.” Their faces were really close now, and no one was paying attention to the TV.
“And you both fall hopelessly in love! Yay!!!”
And with that last line, Amanda threw her hands up, clasping them together and holding them to the side of her face, staring dreamily off into the distance. Tessa clapped vigorously for Amanda’s insane story. She laughed at the improbability of it. Then she smiled, since this story had increased her attraction to Nick from 2% to about 99%.
“Oh, Amanda, what have you done?”
“What?! I personally thought that my story was amazing! And I even managed to make it at least 50% realistic...”
Tessa shook her head. “No, it was a great story. So great, in fact, that I am envious of my fictional self. I want every single event to happen, but this time in real life, at REAL school, and on Nick’s REAL couch - because I really doubt that it’s ‘posh leather.’
“Well. Then that’s exactly what we’re gonna do.”
* * * * *
As Tessa read The Fault in our Stars for the second time, all she could think about was Nick Truman. He had practically take up permanent residence in her brain, and it was honestly quite distracting.
“Augustus offered to travel to Amsterdam with Hazel.”
Oh! Nick offered to share a book with me! Coincidence? I think not!
It was downright infuriating and she couldn’t seem to locate the off switch. And after Amanda’s story, Tessa’s expectations were increasingly high. She had to do something. That morning, she left Amanda’s house early so she could get a head start on the book. Once again, Tessa sunk into the fuzzy chair and peeled open the cover page. She allowed herself to run her finger over Nick’s number and stare at it dreamily for five seconds. 5...4...3...2...1 ½...1 ¼...1 ⅛...1. Then she tore her eyes away from the ink and turned to the first page of text.
It only took Tessa three hours, two glasses of lemonade, and a strawberry rhubarb Danish for her to close the book that was not marked with multiple puddles of tears bad probably some strawberry flavored fingerprints. Immediately, she grabbed her phone and dialed Nick’s number. After the sixth ring, her heart was about to burst out of her chest from fear of him not answering the phone. Tessa was about to hang up when the sound of Nick’s voice traveled through her ear and directly to her heart, practically making her melt into a puddle.
“Tessa Blackwell. I was beginning to think you’d never call.” Tessa’s heart sped up even more, if that was possible. If she didn’t get used to this soon, she was going to develop a serious heart condition.
“Hello.” Tessa wasn’t sure he could hear her, it was difficult enough to even form that word in her brain full of Nick.
“I assume you’ve finished the book?” She could hear a smile creeping along his cheeks.
She cleared her throat. “Yes, I have. For the second time in fact.”
“Tessa how could you?! You mean to tell me that you already had the privilege of learning Augustus and Hazel’s story and yet you deny me the excitement of reading it first?!”
“Nick,” Tessa protested. Her stomach fluttered at the sound of his name. “You only had to wait one extra day - I’m a very dedicated reader.”
“One day too long.”
“Tell you what, how about you drive over to the bakery right now and come retrieve the book that you so desperately need to read.”
She heard a screen door slam and the thump of shoes on pavement.
“I’m on my way.”
She smiled and clicked off the phone.
* * * * *
Tessa scampered out of the chair and scurried across the room to her closet. She was still dressed in a camisole and her pajama shorts - hardly an appropriate outfit for a book exchange. She slid the hangers across the bar until she found her favorite red blouse. Tessa slipped that over her head and picked up a pair of jean shorts and tugged those on too. She ran a comb through her hair and moved to the mirror as she began to braid it. In the reflection of her room, Tessa noticed that the evidence of not having cleaned since New Years was now clearly portrayed across her floor. There were multiple articles of clothing carelessly strewn over furniture. What once had been a pale blue rug had now faded to a more grayish color due to the amount of dust that had accumulated on it.
Time to pull out the vacuum.
Tessa ran down the hall to their little cleaning closet and hesitantly twisted the doorknob. It sat on the floor, staring at her menacingly. She bent down and yanked it out. In the process, out tumbled several paper towel rolls. She groaned and trudged down the hallway to gather them. Serves me right for trying to clean my room, Tessa thought. Maybe I’d be better off just leaving it alone before the vacuum explodes in my face. No, no, I must be brave. And her room was in no condition for visitors. Tessa carefully plied the paper towels onto the shelf, grabbed the vacuum and dragged it down the hall. Back in her room, she grabbed he tangled headphones and plugged them into her phone - there was absolutely no way that she was going to clean without some sort of entertainment. She turned on the vacuum and turned up the volume. Of course, it’s impossible to be listening to Michael Jackson and not start shaking your hops, so pretty soon Tessa was blaming the boogie for the fact that she had started to dance...with the vacuum as her partner. After seven songs, she was so engrossed in the music that she didn’t notice someone had entered the room until he was standing next to her...holding a broom.
Nick stared at Tessa with a slightly amused, but more confused expression on his face. She yanked out her headphones and unplugged the vacuum, listening to the motor as it whirred to a stop. The silence suddenly became deafening, so she decided to open with a very cool opening line of “He-eh-e-eye...” Her voice betrayed her and instead of sounding casual and strong, it exited her mouth as a shaken and terrified tremble. Apparently, her body was more embarrassed than her mind. After all, it was the one flailing limbs all around the room.
“Hi.” Nick’s voice sounded...judgmental. Was I really that awful of a dancer? Tessa pretended to act unfazed.
“How’d you get up here, and what are you doing with our broom?” They stood in the middle of her room facing each other, each of them holding various cleaning tools.
“Well, as you know, I was headed over here to retrieve the books. When I entered the bakery, I saw what I assume is your mother behind the counter.” Tessa nodded, but held a wary expression on her face. “Don’t worry, parents love me, we had quite a lovely chat. Anyway, I asked her where you were and she told me that the last time she saw you, you were chasing paper towel rolls. With our combined expertise in investigation, we gathered that you were upstairs cleaning your room.” He peeked under her bed and spotted a pile of clothing woven together with more dirt and dust than she’d like to admit. Nick turned back to face Tessa’s grimace. “I assume this doesn’t occur often.” She rushed over to her bed to block the filth. “Anyway, I told her that I had been helping you with a summer English project - being the generous person I am...” A quiet laugh escaped her lips. “The she shoved this broom in my hand and told me to go help you clean. I must say, your version of cleaning is a lot more exciting than mine.” Tessa slumped onto her bed and buried her embarrassed face in her hands. After a few deep breaths to steady her heart rate - which was just downright failing - Tessa suddenly felt the mattress sink, which made her heart pound so loudly, she was sure her mother could hear it from downstairs. A large, comforting hand appeared on Tessa’s shoulder. She couldn’t very well remove her ands now.
“So, about the book.”
She gasped, her body springing into a proper sitting position. Nick’s hand fell of her shoulder, but rested on the bed close by.
“Right.” Tessa hopped backwards, sprawling out across her blankets to reach her nightstand where their copy of The Fault in our Stars lay. She returned to the edge of her bed and presented Nick with the book. “It’s all yours.” He reached out to take the book from her. Tessa expected him to the stand up and walk out of the room, perhaps pausing to mutter a quick “thank you” and greatly disappointing her. But no, Nick just sat there, staring at her.
“Umm...” He lowered his head. Tessa looked at him intently, slightly amused that it was now he who felt embarrassed. “So there’s this movie that I’d like to see, but it takes place in England and I absolutely cannot understand British accents.” Oh my god. Was this some sort of crazy dream?! Either Amanda’s story was slowly seeping from her brain to her ears or Nick Truman had actually just spoken those words. Tessa sat there for a few seconds, gawking at Nick’s golden brown locks - he still couldn’t bear to look her in the eye. “Would you maybe like to come see it with me?” At this point, Tessa dropped the book, startling Nick so that he now sat facing her. Slowly, the corners of her mouth turned up and she saw her expression reflected on Nick’s face.
“I would love to.”
Tessa’s hands no longer shook or became clammy at the thought of Nick Truman. Her heart had gathered enough will power to not leap out of her chest. Nick stood and offered Tessa his arm, the way one would at a formal dance. Her wobbly legs struggled to support her as she treaded her left arm through his right one and draped her other hand over their linked elbows. Together, they trotted down the stairs.
“Goodbye mother, we’re off to the movies,” Tessa shouted across the bakery.
“Alright, Tessa. I’ll save you a plate of food in the fridge.”
“That won’t be necessary, Mrs. Blackwell,” Nick announced.
“Oh, how do you figure?” Tessa’s mother responded.
“Well, let’s just say I know this wonderful bakery on Phyzmik street. I hear they have excellent strawberry rhubarb Danishes.” Nick’s eyes twinkled as Tessa reached up to plant a kiss on his cheek.
And with that, they strode out of the bakery.
Tessa was excited.
They were thrilled.
They are in love.
* * * * *
“And you lived happily ever after, had ten kids and taught them how to dream!” Amanda concluded. She dropped the story onto my bed where she had decided would be an appropriate place to read it to me while I, Tessa Blackwell, lounged in the fluffy pink chair.
Celia Child is 13 and lives in Hadley. When asked what she loved about writing, she quoted Maya Angelou who said "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you."
By Annalise Cain
I want a puppy.
Not just any puppy.
A Great Dane puppy.
With big glassy eyeballs
and little holes in their front paws
that you could stick gum into
and big floppy ears with ticks to pull--
I like to pull out ticks.
It’s like defeating a little Nazi.
You feel like you’ve made the world better.
But most important of all--
I want a Great Dane puppy
with so much skin
that he could be a picnic blanket.
Or that he could curl up on top of my bed
and I wouldn’t need any more blankets,
and his panting would soothe me
and I wouldn’t mind if he kicked me a little
while chasing a rabbit through REM.
But I have to consider
that he will get bigger.
That little drop of drool on the floor
at the southern edge of my bed
will become a massive puddle--
it will develop its own ecosystem if I’m not careful.
And his feces will drown small dogs--
I’ll have to warn the neighbors.
And he’ll grow so big that he won’t fit in the house
and we’ll have to rent the ballroom of a German castle
while I provide for us by training dogs
with the help of my gigantic, intimidating friend.
And when we become millionaires
from our extremely effective dog training business,
we’ll decide to skip the light fantastic out of town--
to go and save the world!
I’ll bring him to all the Annex One countries and their bases
and all the policymakers
and heads of intelligence agencies
will come out to nuzzle him with their brittle beards
while I sneak in and fix everything!
And we’ll be in all the papers
and we’ll travel the world
and everyone will love us!
But at some point,
my puppy will start to . . .
Great Danes are the perfect dog--
the gentlest of giants.
But they don’t last long.
And he’ll start to get clumsy
and maybe a little mean
and I’ll have to hire a small balding veterinarian who won’t talk much.
And he’ll give him something
that will make his glossy eyes gloss over
with a whole new gloss
and he’ll close them
and slowly stiffen.
And I’ll keep it out of the news for a bit,
because I don’t want anyone to see him
I’ll hide him in our football stadium
and I’ll lie down with him
but his skin won’t serve for blankets anymore.
I’ll sniff him to remember what home feels like.
When he begins to smell,
I’ll tell the press
and everyone in the whole world will gather to dig his grave
and none of us will know how to honor his memory other
than with cries and howls at the moon.
There will be wars again
and people will kill dogs as easy as people kill people
and if a giant dog came by,
they would probably shoot it and sell its teeth on ebay.
I’m sure that I won’t have another dog by then.
Another Great Dane.
I don’t know if I could go through it all again.
Maybe when I have my own kid and when they’re old enough,
they’ll come up to me with that look their eyes like
I’d chop off my big toe for a Great Dane puppy.
And they’ll ask
and I’ll have no choice
but to comply.
Annalise Cain is a playwright, actor and occasional poet. She will be studying theatre at the College of Fine Arts at Boston University in the fall. She has written in the Woven Word Workshop since 8th grade, and is very grateful to Lynn for the time and space she provided to share her work.
The Pajama Boy
By Espy Thomson
On a sill, in a window of someone else's house
curving curtains wrinkle into shadows
which fold dreamlike and creamy around the boy
loose blue nightwear, bunny slippered feet.
He sits looking up at the moon
The striped tabby peering with him.
At that moon and maybe the starry night beyond.
I wonder what they are seeing
for any boy with a teddy bear
and a stilled sitting cat
must be seeing something marvelous.
The shooting stars have come and gone.
If I were to wager an imaginative guess,
I think a pair like that would be seeing a giraffe.
A giraffe riding on the curve of the moon, out in the currents of the night
Is similar to a phosphorescent flower,
epiphanies, a good sneeze
The boy's hand contracts 'round the teddy bear briefly.
I see the cat's tail twitch.
I wonder if the giraffe is bending
Its long long neck down
to blow a whispered goodnight.
Espy Thomson, a current member of Woven Word Wednesday for high school writers, and winner of First Place poetry prize in the Edith Wharton Writing Competition two years in a row, is a sophmore at Northampton High School.
by Juliet Corwin
A first glance. The quickest wave. A smile that is there and gone again.
A beautiful rose, all the petals making a spiral of love.
The bud of a flower peeping out after winter. A rainbow after a war.
A baby bird flapping its wings for the first time. All are signs of love.
Love is more precious than gold, more beautiful than the sun after a week of gloom.
A first kiss, sweeter than chocolate cake,
more emotional than when Sleeping Beauty is woken up.
Older than a minute ago, but the same as before.
Long may love guide us from first kiss to last.
And most of all, let us remember that love shall never die.
Juliet Corwin lives in Leverett, MA. She is nine years old. Her favorite part of the writing workshop is reading aloud and listening to others.
Porky The Papa
I had a dream my father was baking in the oven.
How he was supposed to fit, I have no idea.
He was scrunched up on a cookie sheet, the center sagging under his weight.
A thin layer of water rippled around his bulging stomach,
an onion or two awkwardly floating around it, for flavoring I suppose.
A pudgy pig, playing human in clothes that were too small.
An apple opened his mouth to new capacities.
I beheld it all, the searing hot oven,
baking him like ribs or breasts or blood or brains.
The oven closed.
I blink and a capillary dissolves.
I blink and the tears start coming.
I don't want to eat him.
I didn't put him in there, I couldn't save him, I didn't want to eat him.
I blame my brain.
When I shut my eyes, and a sleep deeper than reality creeps into me, my brain annexes me and I’m scared to say that I don’t know what happens after that.
And sometimes, if I’m lucky, my brain pities me and gives me a morsel of what went on the night before.
I spoke languages I didn't yet know,
I kissed a boy with grass inside his mouth!
I blame my brain, that wily guy, making up stories like he’s running the show.
So I bite my tongue, I grab my knife, and I start to carve my father.
With each bite, a daughterly love strengthens my gag reflex.
Annalise Cain, 17 is a student at a Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School, and is hoping to pursue theater and creative writing. One of her favorite lines she's ever written: 'I am the designated Benedict Arnold of my family.' One of her favorite lines she's ever uttered: 'For that, it is not night when I do see your face.' Over and out. She was named Finalist in the 2013 Smith College Poetry Contest for High School Girls for the following poem.
As the bus screeched to a stop you could hear the rain pounding on the roof. I got ready for the bitter cold outside on the city streets. As the bus’s squeaky doors opened I stepped onto the sidewalk and opened my orange umbrella. The sky was gray, huge raindrops pounding on my umbrella. The wind stung my cheeks and nose, making them rosy. My sneakers squished in the puddles as I walked down the sidewalk to my destination.
Layla Elkalai lives in Amherst, MA with her brother Zaim, sister Sahar, mother, and father. She loves to read and (of course) write. She is 9 years old and goes to the Fort River Elementary School in 3rd grade.
The Country Where No One Leaves
By Harel Broderick
In the country where no one leaves
there is silence, then noise.
There is no return.
There is jungle and grass.
The soldiers are boys.
The enemy makes no noise.
The sound of the rifles is loud
and never stops.
The young soldier walks to get supplies.
His family cries.
That is what happens in the land
where no one leaves.
Dedicated to all those killed in Vietnam, 1959-1975.
Also dedicated to Dan Bullock, youngest American KIA in Vietnam -- June 7, 1969, Age 15.
Harel Broderick is 14 years old and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He is a writer of historical fiction.
A Short Story by Mina Liang,Winner of the Odyssey Bookstore's 19th Annual Children's Writing Contest, First Place
I, Mina Liang, was walking through Stop and Shop, when I saw her again. The Ghost. The one that I had seen out of my window while I was looking for squirrels, the one that was riding a horse at the farm, and yes, the same one who had been talking to a taxi driver yesterday.
The ghost, who I knew was a girl because she had a bow on her head, was in the canned food isle. She held a can of peanut butter and a knife in one hand, and in the other hand she held a half made sandwich. Jelly and bread crumbs surrounded her on the floor in a mini semi-circle. I watched as she slowly spread the peanut butter on the bread.
All of a sudden, the ghost must have sensed me because she turned my way. I quickly ducked behind a few boxes of Captain Crunch Cereal. I trembled with fear, praying that the ghost wouldn’t see me. After what felt like forever, I heard the ghost humming a lullaby. I peeked from behind the cereal and saw that she was back to making her sandwich. She dropped her peanut butter knife and then raised the peanut butter jelly sandwich to her mouth. Then, she stopped moving. I saw that she was clipping up a strand of hair on her forehead. Then she held the peanut butter sandwich up and bit into it.
THE GHOST WAS EATING A PEANUT BUTTER JELLY SANDWHICH!!!!!
How did she eat? I have no idea. Just thinking about it makes me want to barf.
When she finished eating the sandwich she started to make a new one. I grabbed my cell phone to take a picture. “Bing!” Oops. I forgot to turn off the sound. I turned to hide behind the cereal boxes again, but I was too late. The ghost saw me. I burst from behind the cereal boxes and ran for the exit, spilling cereal all over the ghost and me. When I got to the door, I glanced back. The ghost was sitting on the floor happily munching on some Captain Crunch. The ghost looked up from the cereal and stared straight at me.
I held my breath, waiting for what would happen next. Inside, I was totally freaking out, but I bravely stared back at the ghost. Then, the ghost smiled and waved. I waved back and then dashed out of Stop and Shop. I made a mental note to myself: Never go to Stop and Shop again.
If I had 3 wishes…
April 11, 2012
If I could make 3 wishes,
Then one of them would be,
To ask for way more wishes
That went as far as I could see.
But No? That’s not a wish?
But that’s totally not fair.
Well, I might get magic fish,
Or a pink and blue mare.
With my mare that had stripes
I would gallop across the plains
And I could make her a large pipe
For curling her mane.
I wish I could fly,
That would be cool.
I could play in the sky,
Instead of going to school.
I would fly to the tropics
Where I would adopt a koala
and for her special topics
I ‘d teach her to play Mancala
Next, I’d wish I was a monkey,
So that I could swing in trees.
And then I would get spunky,
By hiding peoples keys.
I wouldn’t get in trouble
At least I think not
But if the tree becomes rubble
I hope I don’t get caught.
But make me happy,
We can eat cheese,
Just please give me more wishes,
But only if you please
Mina Liang is 11 years old and home schooled in Amherst. Mina loves to write. Mina also likes to swim, dance, and play violin.
Cinderella and the Fishmonger
By Emma Frazier
Abraham was the fishmonger. In his hands was the evidence: they were creased and brown and scarred from the work he had done his whole life. His father, too, had been the fishmonger, and his father’s father; but before that they had been fishermen.
Abraham was old, and he had no children. When he was gone, the village would have no fishmonger. Abraham was honest, he knew they could find another, and he knew also that he was entirely peripheral to village life and no one would miss him. But he had pride in his work. He did not wish to leave the villagers with an outsider fishmonger, a second-rate fishmonger, for the first time in three generations.
It was hard times. As Abraham chopped and chopped, letting the entrails slide through his fingers, he looked with gloom at the beautiful fresh fish before him that no one would buy. Customers passed him without stopping, and he was at last very poor. But some still had their groceries delivered, and among these villagers, the family of Cinderella was foremost.
They were poor indeed, but they put on airs, so the village could watch them in envy: they were more under their neighbors’ eye than those in the castle up on the hill, however ostentatious and well-bred the nobles might be. They had their fish delivered directly from the piers.
It was to Cinderella’s family and some others that Abraham went directly. He didn’t know the family name; he knew them from the village gossip about her, the girl, Cinderella.
Because they were jealous, they spoke kindly of her, and cruelly of the rest of the family; so village gossips are wont to do. They claimed she was a pitiful little slave, a victim of misfortune, but they didn’t know her as Abraham did.
He hitched up the old donkey to the wagon, where there were a few fish-baskets left over for delivery to the more affluent households in the village. He dropped them off in the kitchens of the homes, where the cooks begged him stay for dinner, but he kept on.
The house of the family of Cinderella was among the smaller and scruffier in that neighborhood. He knocked on the door to the kitchen, holding the basket under his arm. There was no answer. So he set it down and went in.
A pot of broth was simmering on the hearth, but the kitchen was empty. Though a little guilty, Abraham left the kitchen and crept up the staircase, tiptoeing. He opened the door to a corridor and heard voices. Feeling foolish, he almost decided to reveal himself, but something held him back. He fumbled for a door and shut himself safely out of sight.
Bracing his arthritic back, Abraham looked around his haven. The trouble was, someone was already there.
It was Cinderella, but she hadn’t yet seen him. His first impression was that she was up to something fishy. Often when Abraham delivered, she would be sweeping the same spot over and over, staring out the little window by the door, sprawled on the hearth singing drinking songs loudly in her scratchy, off-pitch voice with her chin resting on her hands. She was lazy and aimless, but she had a purpose now. Though she wore peasant’s rags as always, the room was festooned with frills and ornaments. Quickly and intently she was rummaging through her stepsisters’ bureaus. She drew out silk stockings, gloves, a ball gown, holding it up to herself and spinning around with it. Then she gathered everything up, turned around to make her escape, and saw Abraham.
“Fishmonger!” she shrieked, slapping a hand over her mouth to quiet herself.
Abraham didn’t know what to do. He had no children of his own, and in any case Cinderella wasn’t a child anymore. Whatever happened to her wasn’t his business to decide. So he turned around without a word, walking proudly down the corridor without any efforts to muffle his footsteps. Whatever he was, he wasn’t a thief.
She waved him off shamelessly, and as he untied the donkey, she shoved her stepsisters’ clothes into a cupboard in the pantry. She knew he was watching her, and she didn’t care.
As the weeks went by, a village rumor of a ball at the castle slowly developed into reality. At the pub and the marketplace, fathers and mothers talked of the prospect of a princely marriage for their daughters, revealing to one another their potent hopes and hopeless dreams. Abraham realized what Cinderella had stolen the clothes for, and he pitied the craftsmen’s daughters, whose families had no beautiful gowns, no lovely silks, no feathered bonnets and pure-white gloves.
The day of the ball came. Abraham the fishmonger watched from under the eaves of his cottage as the beautiful girls sailed past; and remained as Cinderella followed, more beautiful than any of the others in her robbed glory. She sauntered by without sparing him a glance. As she ascended the hill, and disappeared beyond the doors of the castle, Abraham went inside. He knew who would be picked.
He watched from under his eaves as Cinderella promenaded down the main street on her wedding day, her arm in the prince’s. But the old man’s eyes were torn from her grandeur and her arrogance, and he turned his gaze, and watched the forgotten girls weep silently in the wake of her billowing train, her crippled stepsisters last of all.
(Note: The stepsisters cut off their heels and toes to make the slipper fit. This doesn’t really make sense to put here but no one gets the reference so there you are and everyone read Grimm’s again.)
Emma Frazier is 13 and lives in Springfield.
A Poem By Ava Blum-Carr
10 WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE KEY
After Wallace Stevens
1. Rusted on one side, silvery on the other
the Key has served the lock for many years
2. Even at its old age, it has known but two certainties in the world:
the opening and the closing
3. It was midnight and a small cold hand clutched the key,
waiting for something that never came
4. Seventeen years later, the door to the world was opened:
the same key but a different hand
5. Once, everything was dark, and the key sat in a small space
with the ace of spades and a stained paper scrap
6. The key knows things no one else knows, remembers what
no one else remembers
7. The key is the key, but no one knew, not even the key itself,
until it was too late
8. A woman called Emory who wore a great many pearls said,
“My key is the key,” and the real key was offended
9. It hid in the silence after that. It is there still.
10. You could find it, maybe. If you looked.
Short Story By Lucy Norton
Winner of Boston Globe Scholastic Art and Writing Contest, Honorable Mention 2012
The summer before I entered eighth grade, Dad's parents went bankrupt, which was quite surprising to me and my siblings because we had always thought they were rich enough to own, like, all the Targets ever made. For my family, that meant no fancy vacation that year, mostly because our life of leisure was essentially paid for by my grandparents. “We'll go on a fun road trip!” Mom said when she explained the news to my sister Sloane, my brother Lamar and I. But that was a lost cause on us. Even she knew that.
That was before we got all the invitations in the mail from several of my mother's siblings, which she had six of. It turned out four of them had decided to get married within five weeks of each other. Lucky for us, that meant we got to fly around the country for five weeks. I wasn't quite sure whether it was a good thing or not, until I saw some girl I knew from school on the street who started blabbering about how she was so lucky to be able to spend a month at her grandmother's retirement home, and I counted my blessings. Despite this, I had no idea what things were about to come back and haunt me.
So on July 18th, after long hours of arguing about what to pack (Mom) and how to pack it (Dad), we departed for the airport to fly to our first destination: New York City. Everyone in my family was exceedingly excited except for my sister Sloane who had been acting quite anxious since we had gotten the invitations. This surprised me since she had always been a city girl.
“I want the window seat.” Sloane declared as we searched for our seats on the plane. At the age of ten, sharing was still not her strong point.
“Well, that's too bad.” said Lamar, who was a year older than me and never afraid of being too harsh. There were four years between Lamar and Sloane and they acted like they were best friends who hated each other half the time and loved each other half the time.
“Because I already called it.”
“There's no calling!” Sloane cried. She had been acting even more anxious as we were boarding the plane.
“Well you just did!” said Lamar.
“Enough, you two!”
It was about time for Dad to butt in. “Your mother's sitting in the window seat.” Obviously, groaning and grumbling erupted. I slipped in between them and sat next to Mom who was getting out her magazines. Many people stopped to stare at us. This was really the only amusing part about our family. We got into disruptive arguments, made loud comments (mostly my parents), but at least people could just laugh at our pointless conversations.
“Are you excited?” she asked, widening her eyes. Poor Mom. Her worst fear in life was that Lamar, Sloane and I weren't happy.
“Yeah.” I said. “It's great.” That was mostly true. It WAS great, but I couldn't say I was actually jumping with joy. Some of Mom's siblings were a little weird. “Can I have a soda?” I usually got what I wanted when she was relaxed.
Mom sighed. “We'll see, Sophie.” she said. “Airplane food is pretty expensive.” My real name is Sophronia, but obviously no one calls me that. Leave it up to my parents to name me something that was only slightly common in England two hundred years ago.
I was about give a disappointed sigh when I felt a zap and spun around to see Lamar in the seat behind me holding a rubber band.
I glared at him as we zoom along the runway and into the air.
My mother's sister, Lisa, was getting married in Central Park. I didn't know her all that well because she lived in Greece, so it was kind of weird that she was having her wedding in Central Park. But then again, I had always known that Mom's siblings were strange.
When our plane landed, Lamar and I were sent to wave down a taxi while everyone else went to the bathroom. Lamar wasn't the best partner. He'd see an empty taxi, and then start making funny faces at it so that the poor driver got freaked out and drove off at high speed. Honestly, you'd think he was born yesterday. He continued doing this even after my parents came back and yelled at him, so I just wandered away from them just in case someone actually assumed I was related to them.
We stopped for pizza on the way to the hotel. You'd think that something as simple as eating dinner wouldn't cause too much of a ruckus. But since it didn't seem to occur to anyone in my family that we were really the only bloodline that didn't appreciate eating a peaceful meal, we were the core of attention at the pizza restaurant. Lamar insisted on shooting spitballs across the table out of his soda straw and my parents were arguing about whether my dad should cut up his pizza or not so he wouldn't get his new tuxedo covered in grease. I just sat there in misery.
It wasn't until we had finally settled in to our hotel and unpacked that I noticed that Sloane was acting even stranger than before and spending a lot of time in the bathroom. I peeked in there when my parents and Lamar went to get an extra room key and found her crying in the bathtub, which really got me concerned because Sloane never cried. In fact, I don't think I'd ever seen Sloane this upset. I sat down next to her with a concerned look on my face so she would know I was worried about her.
“What's wrong, Sloane?” I asked, sitting down next to her. I figured it was something minor, like she had broken a nail or something like that.
It was worse. Much worse.
“Do you remember a few years ago when I was nearly kidnapped by that weird woman when we were visiting the Natural History Museum?” Sloane asked, still sniffling.
I remembered all too well. We had been looking at the cool dioramas in the Natural History Museum and I had noticed that Sloane had disappeared. When I peaked into the next room, I saw her struggling to break free of the grasp of this woman with bright red dreadlocks and about a billion necklaces on. When I saw her eyes, they were almost yellow. I screamed and ran to retrieve my sister. As I grabbed her arm and yanked her away, I heard the woman growl something. Something to do with revenge. When I asked Sloane what that was all about, she just shook her head and burst into tears. That was about two years ago and both of us had done our best to forget about it. No such luck.
“What about her?” I asked, wearily.
“I saw her. Again.” Sloane’s face was a combination of red and pale; like Lamar's halloween costume from last year.
“Where did you see her?” I couldn’t imagine that Sloane had done something so bad that that woman still wanted to get revenge two years later. Even if that woman was a psychopath.
“Here, at the hotel. She was sitting in the lobby and was still wearing those weird, dark robes.”
Now that she mentioned it, I did remember seeing that woman when we checked in. I had avoided getting anywhere near her because she had smelt like doom.
“Did she say anything to you?”
“No, but we made eye contact and she gave me one of those stairs that Mom gives Dad when he insults her stew. Then she went back to her magazine. And then-”
“So what exactly is the problem?” I asked, interrupting her. This wasn't really leading anywhere.
“Well I saw her walk into the room next to us. She gave me the evil eye again.” Sloane wiped her eyes.
“I still don't know what the big deal is. We'll just avoid her.”
And then Sloane looked behind me and screamed.
The next thing I realized after Sloane turned white and practically broke my eardrums was that this lady we had been talking about was in the bathroom. And holding the plunger above her head.
Even though I was quick to use Sloane as my shield, I got a disagreeable splash of grimy, disgusting toilet water flung from the plunger. I still wasn't sure what was going on when Sloane screamed again and hit the lady on the head with her plunger and she fell to the ground. This seemed like something that would happen in some TV drama. Not to me. Not in real life.Evidently, I had no clue what was in store for me.
I pulled the plunger out of Sloane's hands and put it back underneath the sink. “Calm down, Sloane!!!!” I yelled. “You just knocked her out.”
Sloane sniffled and stepped back. It seemed like it took her a while to figure out how to react but finally she wiped her mouth and bleakly said; “Serves her right for coming into our room.”
“Sloane will you please tell me what is going on here?” I decided it was a good time to ask. Seeing as I was only one who knew about this dilemma, it was probably best I knew what it was all about.
Sloane stepped over the lady and sat on the edge of the bathtub, tucking her long brown hair over her shoulder. “This is going to sound pretty dumb and foolish, but when we were in New York that time when we first saw her,” she motioned to the unconscious lady, “When we were in that exhibit at the museum, she basically yanked me into the next room and screamed at me that I had, like, killed her daughter.”
“What!?” I cried. “What did she say after that?”
“Well, I tried to break free but she grabbed my arm and said I had to pay for what I'd done by living with her for the rest of my life.”
I inhaled. This was worse than I had imagined. It wasn't every day your sister told you she might of killed someone. I decided to clear up the lingering question. “Well did you... actually kill her?”
Sloane looked at me like I had just suggested she kiss Lamar's forehead. “Of course I didn't, Sophie! I'm telling you, this lady is a mental case.”
I gave sigh of relief. At least we wouldn't have to deal with bailing Sloane out of prison.
“So did she say anything else?” I asked.
“Yeah, she said she was going to take me to Colorado or something. And then you found us and got me away from the creep.” Sloane had been kicking her leg apprehensively against the bath tub and it was at this moment that she stopped and stomped her feet. “It's all so complicated.”
I sighed and stretched my feet out so they were in between hers. “And what was that she had said about revenge right before we left?”
Sloane looked away. “She said she would get me back when I least expected it.”
“That's nice.” I said. “Sloane, I'm sorry you had to go through all this.”
“But Sophie, that's not all.” Sloane looked back at me again. “She showed up again at this girls birthday party at the mall a few months ago. She tried to grab me into the bathroom without anyone seeing but I
This woman was definitely a psychotic. “So what do you think we should do?” I asked, staring, nauseated, at the woman on the floor. “Should we report her to the police?”
Sloane gave me an appalled look. “No, Sophie!! It's obvious what we need to do!!!”
“Well, what is it?”
“We need to bring her to an orphanage so she can get a new kid without having to kidnap someone.” Sloane gave out a depressed sigh. “I mean if your kid was killed, wouldn't you want to replace them.”
“How do we know her kid was really killed?”
“Why would she make it up?”
I wasn't really sure how to answer that question, so I just feebly nodded my head. I still didn't know how this was making sense only to my sister.
“So are we just going to knock her out again and put her in one of our suitcases?” I asked. “This is going to be harder than you think, Sloane.”
“No, I have it all planned out in my head.”
“I think quickly.”
I sighed and leaned back into the wall of the bathroom. Then I let Sloane tell me her plan.
At midnight, our mission commenced.
We had given the woman (her name, we had decided, was Wanda) an extra whack on the head and done our best to cover everything but her head with trash bags. It was an alarming sight to anyone who was wandering around New York City at midnight.
Sloane had spotted some random orphanage in some exotic street somewhat near Central Park and she was following only her memory. Really the only reason I had decided to go along with her idea was to somehow get rid of Wanda. I wasn't too concerned about whether or not we actually found the orphanage.
“I think we're getting close.” said Sloane, strengthening her grip on the trash bag as we trudged along. This was good news.
We said nothing for a while and then I broke the silence with a question that had been lingering in my mind.
“Sloane,” I said. “Did you ever really occur to you that this is kind of illegal?”
“Yes. I try not to think about that too much though. I mean at least it's for a good cause.” Even in the dark, I could see Sloane's head hanging.
I wasn't sure how much good it would actually do. “So you don't feel bad about it?”
“I never said that. I just-” Sloane stopped mid-sentence and went quiet. I decided not to interrogate her anymore, so I just stared out across the street at some of the closed stores. I guessed that wasn't really her strong topic.
Finally, after many wrong turns, we found this bizarre orphanage. It had a few lights on so we tried to be as quiet as possible. We unwrapped Wanda from the trash bags and laid her on the steps of the building. As I stepped away, I saw the two welts on her forehead. I hoped her concussion wasn't too bad. Maybe just bad enough that she didn't remember this bizarre dilemma.
Though I was ready to leave, Sloane seemed in no hurry and was standing in front of Wanda clenching the end of her ponytail. When I walked over to her and put my hand on her shoulder, I could see the tears creeping down her cheek.
“I'm sorry, Sophie.” she said, sniffling.
“Why are you sorry?”
“'Cause I dragged you through all of this.” Her tear fell on my pinky finger. “I guess it was all so ridiculous.”
“Well, I chose to go along with it all.”
We waited there for a while until there was some noise from behind the door of the building and we hurried off back towards the hotel.
As we both got back into our bed, I realized how pointless that mission was. I still didn't know why Sloane felt bad for this woman. I still didn't know why I had gone along with her determination. But as I watched Sloane slowly brushing out her hair and staring bleakly into the mirror, I realized that it was somehow worth it.
Lucy Norton is thirteen years old and lives in northampton. She enjoys writing, reading, and playing the piano and clarinet. If she could go anywhere in the world, it would most likely be Greece or Spain.
A Short Story by Louise Kendrick
Violetta grew old in the absence of the moon. Sunrise bleached her, the rivers that were her bones trenching dry under skin. Her hair white as the princess in the coffin.
Violetta was born of a flower, but it was not a violet as you might expect, or even a bluebell. Nothing that came from the garden or the meadow, and a dappled sunlit forest would strike her blind. Violetta came sprouting from the rust-and-rubble mosaic of the old car dump. Her eyes dull as scratched paint. Her lips stained as if from blackberries. To touch her skin you feel vines underneath, their thorns curving upwards and catching on that thin expanse of snow. Press too hard and she’ll bleed. Violetta’s screams remind you of metal rusted shut.
Coming from the junkyard jungle she throws off iron easier than most. Every night she peels a coat off her, thin membrane like glue, like snakeskin. To the others she is toxic, her body a dolphin, poisoned and hot.
When the moon rises, Violetta crawls from between a flattened corvette and a mess of tin cans. Her skin is scored from her insides and tetanus. Her mouth squeaks open and closed, ceramic teeth like a little boy’s drawing, but she makes no noise. Her mothers had howled for wolves and raided villages for babies and jars of honey. Violetta digs nails from the shells of destroyed cars and lays them in patterns on the freeway: ping, ping, ping. From the scene of the accident she takes bottles of aspirin and cigarettes, which she burns in the woods like incense. Her ancestors had danced in smoke and flame, their forms appearing droplet by droplet in the campfires of mortals. Violetta’s face glows in the light of the tiny blue coal, the shadows reflecting patterns of lace up her arms. Ash fills her lungs but she was born without breath. The aspirins she crushes with the base of her thumb. She spits into the powder and injects it into her veins.
Someday Violetta will die. Living only at night like she does will shorten a lifespan beyond recognition. Violetta has been waiting for a hero, a white knight who will capture the foul beast and make it prophesy for him. And when that happens Violetta is immortal in a song, a ballad of true love, a romance novel sold for a quarter because the cover was torn off long ago. Her veins snarl around her bones like burns; she could read the future in them if anyone ever asks, but no one ever will. A pocketful of posies form a matted crown for her head. With every bloom she destroys another parent, but it will be worth it, won’t it, when the children come to clamor around her?
Violetta has spider bites up her arms where the needle has entered and marks around her throat from the dust of all that iron. Bruises catch under skin from the pricking of the thorns against the wall of her stomach. And flowers that never see sunlight grow salley and ugly-spindly, damp sick creatures from the caves of our mouths.
Violetta has flower blood in her she swears but right now it is thicker with aspirin and the sour smell of nicotine.
Tell me: Do you believe in fairies?
Louise Kendrick wrote this on a houseboat during the summer session in 2011. She is sixteen, and has been attending Woven Word's afterschool workshop since fourth grade. She thinks it is way cool. Louise likes to knit, read, write, and stare off into space thinking of reading and writing while looking disturbingly glazed. You can check out more of her writing at her Figment page. But no pressure.
I will not tell you what was on my mind.
I mind you asking, so don’t.
Just mind your own business.
Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t mind me speaking my mind.
Would you mind that?
After all, I should speak my mind.
So, it came to mind that…
I was mindlessly wandering
And I changed my mind about a mindless task.
I put it out of my mind
And took a load off my mind.
I was losing my mind
And it was the last thing on my mind
That it was all in my mind.
It was on my mind, that mindless task.
And I should mind my mind
Since a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
It then suddenly sprung to mind
That a mind is a thought mine,
Not a land mine, heaven forbid,
Nor a gold mine,
But a thought mine.
It slipped my mind before.
By the way,
I have half a mind to give you a piece of my mind if I hadn’t found peace of mind.
I should really make up my mind.
Should I speak my mind,
Or should I keep thoughts in my mind?
I’ll put my mind to solving it.
Jordy Perry-Greene was born on March 19, 2001, but for some reason he is 36 years old. He likes games and language, and particularly language games. Sometimes Jordy writes in the third person.
Children of God
The times I feel the most alone are when I am near the greatest of friends. We make little jokes and I throw them up in the air like confetti to distract from what I keep secret from them.
Aversion of the eyes, slight of hand.
I am a licensed magician. And being as good as I am, I sometimes mix my tricks and reality, I get lost within the illusion, and I hide behind the smoke and mirrors once I look into them and see a disfigured creature. I hide behind them and I feel so alone hiding behind my own reflection.
No one can stand being alone.
We start out as two, back to one and sometimes back to two if we’re lucky.
Some people start out as two and end up as 72.
Now, I don’t believe in God, maybe I just don’t like the idea of some bearded guy, eating potato chips in the sky, calling all the shots. I don’t trust that easily.
But for the first time in a long, long time I am beginning to see God’s gorgeous ears. They are big and spherical and ugly as hell, but they can catch all your troubles like a well-used baseball glove.
And sometimes I need to play a little existential game of catch.
So maybe I’m not pretty, maybe I’m not smart or nice or talented, maybe I’m just plain old different. But if that has kept me all alone all my life, I’m sure my imagination is twice the mass yours will ever grow because mine grew to accommodate the holes your expectations ate into the garments of my being like vicious little moths.
And maybe I don’t believe in God, but we all started out as two and we are all cut from the same cosmos, and we all came prepared with our notes and highlighters, why are we only allowed in so many sections of this heaven-shaped sphere of mortality?
I thought we all came from two.
I thought we all were cut from the same cosmos.
I thought we all were the children of God.
Annalise Cain, 16, is a student at a Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School, and is hoping to pursue theater and creative writing. One of her favorite lines she's ever written: 'I am the designated Benedict Arnold of my family.' One of her favorite lines she's ever uttered: 'For that, it is not night when I do see your face.' Over and out.
My mom said that we could buy some flowers. When we got to the flower store she saw roses and she saw sunflowers and by the roses a sign read, “Roses are read, violets are blue, I will be back in an hour or two.” My mom started laughing so hard that it sounded like she was going to cry. Then after she stopped laughing, she took a picture of the sign by the roses and the same sign by the violets. By the time we got home we had so many flowers we might have had to make a new garden, but we did not have to, we just had to put them very close together. Then we had to weed the whole garden and weed, and weed, and we had to weed around the plants. When we were done with out work my mom let us have some ice cream. It was the best day of my life.
Annalise Cook is nine years old and lives in Hadley.
Leaves rustle and whisper in the breeze, telling secrets that no one else will ever hear. Posing against the bright blue sky, wisps of clouds form hats over the treetops. Grasses bend as short gusts of wind get pulled through the sky. The silhouette of an abandoned barn is clear against the cotton ball sky. The barn’s rotting wood is slowly being pulled down by the ivy that has already taken over half of the barn. Sloping hills stumble and trip toward the horizon. I came across this forsaken, peaceful scene long ago. I believe that I am the only person that comes here now though once it was probably bustling with activity. Sometimes I sit on a stump or a boulder and watch.
I see many different things here: geese in their Vs, robins building their nests, and trees that change colors in the blink of an eye. Sometimes I sleep, smelling the sweet grass in my dreams. I wake up stiff and sore but always more rested than if I were sleeping in a feather bed. Today is not the same. I shiver, wrapping my thick coat around me. I look around at the place I have seen so many times, knowing that I would never see it again. If anyone were there, they would see pearly tears slip down my face. Finally I turn away and trudge onward, trying not to look back, trying to resist the urge to run to the place that I had always thought of as home.
Clouds of dust rise up around me and badly graded assignments flutter to the ground. Coughing, I wave away the dust to reveal the faded colors of my childhood. Shelves and shelves of toys and books that I hadn’t touched in years fill the closet. Each one brought back a memory. There was Theo, the zebra who went with me to the coral beach where I met my first and last shark, he was inflatable with red eyes and plastic skin. There were my American Girl dolls, Kit, Felicity, and Molly, who accompanied me to my missions to the moon (A.K.A., the tree house.) There was Go Dog, Go, the first book I ever read, it’s cover ripped and torn and faded from so many readings. I looked at all the shelves that lined the forgotten closet. Then I look at my box. The cardboard walls might just be two feet high and its width could barely contain just one of my old dioramas for the science fair.
How was I supposed to fit my whole childhood in a tiny brown box? I start with Cloudy, a miniature grey cat that came with me to dreamland every night for about 12 years. Making sure she was comfortable I start on the next thing. My mother’s agitated voice rises up through the floorboards. “Lydia! Are you almost done? “ I look at the lone cat in the box and yell, “Just a little more time, Mom.” Finally the box is packed to the brim. I caress Zookie’s knotted mane, the horse that danced with me on the ocean floor (under my bed when the blue quilt was on it) and gently place him on the top of the box. I close the lid and carry it to the basement. I slowly place it in the section named Lydia’s stuff an the dust settles onto it and the fresh box just becomes one more box. Slinging my duffle bag over my shoulder I get into my car and head off to a new adventure. But this time, no toy can rescue me.
Linden Wicinas age 12, did the writing workshop for over a year and absolutely loved it. She is in seventh grade at PVPA now and can't stand that the school lets out after the workshop starts and therefore it's impossible for her to do it. Besides writing Linden loves to read curled up in odd places, cook, doodle intensive doodles on scrap paper, and embroider pillows.
The Lucky Rock
I was sitting under my favorite place in the world. It’s a place where I can let my thoughts run, a place where I can be whatever and do whatever. My favorite place was the cherry blossom tree in the meadow behind my house. Under the tree were rocks and soft grass. I was lying on the soft grass, staring at the clouds. My thoughts and my whole mind fell onto the rocks and disappeared. I felt like I was lying on one of those clouds, like nothing was going to stop me from lying there. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something sparkling. It was a rock! It had gold specks in it and was gray in color. I picked it up and it fit perfectly in my hand. My mind and thoughts jumped back into my head as I walked back to my house.
Every day I would run back to the meadow and try to find another rock. I was never successful. Each time I went, I visited my secret world in my head. One day when I was looking behind the cherry blossom tree, I heard a rustling sound. I moved toward the sound but I couldn’t see anything. I walked closer to the rustle. I was in a part of the meadow that I had never been in before. Finally, I could see what was making the rustle. A beautiful lake with ducks and swans stood before me. I looked into the water’s surface and saw my reflection, along with some fish in the background! I remembered that I had a bathing suit under my clothes, so I dove into the lake. The warmth of the water hit my face as my hands touched the sandy bottom of the lake.
I was eating breakfast as fast as I could because we were going to move away from the cherry blossom tree, the meadow, and the pond, which had become my second home. Most of all we were moving away from my secret world. We were going to move by the ocean in Maine. Maine is my favorite vacation spot, so I wasn’t too sad. I put my lucky rock in my pocket. I could feel its magic spreading across my leg. I brought my suitcase to the car and went back to the cherry blossom tree to say good bye. I heard the engine of our car roar so I took one last glance at the meadow and hurried outside.
I jumped out of the car to stretch my legs the minute we got to the new house. I felt excited but I was already missing our old home and my wonderful backyard. Our new house was a big two story home with sage green siding and beige shutters. My new room has green walls and a full sized bed with a window seat that looks out onto a garden. I moved my suitcase into my room and peered out of my window at the view of the flowers below.
I walked slowly to the kitchen, examining the bare walls. The smell of roasted chicken led the way. My parents asked me how I liked the new house. I just shrugged. After everyone had settled in their bedrooms for the night, I crept past my parents’ bedroom and tiptoed through the living room to the back door. I wanted to explore the garden that I saw from the window seat in my room. I stepped outside. The cool breeze brushed my face. I could just make out the woods in the darkness. I slowly walked towards the garden. It was filled with wild flowers, tulips, sun flowers, geraniums, roses, daisies, and marigolds. Another paradise, I thought. I walked back inside and into the living room. I fell into a dreamy sleep with the warm of a dying fire on my face.
Excerpt from Maeve Story
The forty minutes it took to drive to Meath was a very long, uncomfortable forty minutes. Day drove steadily, his grey cap pulled down over his eyes, casting a grim shadow over the top half of his face.
At first, Maeve, in as subtle of a manner as she could manage, stared at Day as he gripped the steering wheel. His eyes never strayed from the damp road stretching ahead of them. What Maeve was trying to do was analyze him, which was a hard thing, considering the fact that he had spoken about five words total in their time together, so far.
Actually, she felt slightly let down at the sheer unreadable normalcy of the guy. She was looking at someone who drove an ancient pink car with teapot decals. Maeve felt it was fair to harbor some hopes that he would be even just a little eccentric. Apparently not. So far Day just seemed like an antisocial person lacking any character whatsoever. And, as she had soon learned, there was nothing to be gained from looking at him.
After a while Maeve settled into the same tired position Tariq had taken behind her—head leaning against the window glass, eyes vacant. Outside, the scenery of Ireland slipped quietly by through a screen of soft rain.
During the rest of that drive, Maeve had had only a few thoughts, which were Ow the suitcase is hurting my legs, Are we there yet, and Bluuuh I feel so weird, all of which passed through her mind as she leaned, mostly asleep, on the plastic of the car door.
When Day finally slowed and made a turn into a little dirt road, she lifted her head, grimacing as her cheek ripped off the black plastic where it had been stuck for the past half-hour. (Ew, Maeve thought, was I asleep and drooling?)
Tariq had sat up too, and was leaning forward to try to catch a glimpse of the house they’d be staying in before they left for Co. Cork.
It was Maeve, though, who saw it first.
In a tangle of overgrown plants, hiding behind some squat apple trees that had dropped green apples all over the driveway, was a very large house covered in flaking white paint, with a huge lion’s –head door knocker hanging from the battered door.
There were two thumps as some apples on a low branch hit the car roof, and they pulled to a halt.
“Well,” Day said. “This is Caddigan house.”
By Ava, age 12
Ava lives in Hadley and enjoys writing, drawing, and eating popcorn very very much.
How can they stand such a strange time?
the trees I mean.
The time when everything is gray.
Only just a while ago the air was alight with red, orange, and gold leaves floating around,
But then the rakers came, busy as bees and took it all away.
And now you stand, just a skeleton painted on an evening sky
Waiting, for the first few white flakes to come, dancing
To rest upon your heavy branches.
Branches filled with memories, or sights.
Sights of what has passed by your magnificent roots
that stretch under the shadow of your proud figure.
You stand tall and mighty as the newly born wind rattles your dull twigs.
How can you stand the cold, tension, waiting, -for what?
How can you survive the grayness?
Lark Wicinas, written at age 12. Published in Silkworm 3
There once was a man from Peru
Who put all his kids in a zoo.
He said to the bear
now that they were there
that he could eat them whenever he choose.
By Nathan Baron Silvern, seventh grade
Sophie and the rich girls
Chapter 1 A.S.A.P.13 year old Sophie was sitting on her king size bed watching Icarly on ONE of her double size flat screen televisions. “We’ll be right back on nick” said the television. Then an ad popped up and said “did you know that on your average hard wood floor has about 3 million bacteria on it and 4 bad odors but with the help of the all new oxydent floor cleaner your hardwood floor can be as 100 bacteria and no odors what so ever. So call now 1-800-CLEAN and be one the first 100 callers to g to 5 bottles of the all new oxydent floor cleaner delivered to where ever you like for just 6.75. Sophie clicked of the television and started to throw thing on the floor so that she could walk on the floor without touching it she kept throwing stuff until she was downstairs where her mom was “mom (gasp) we need to get the all new oxydent floor cleaner A.S.A.P.
THE END (FOR NOW)
Hillary Atkinson is nine years old. Her birthday is in Feburary. She has been in this workshop for a year and a half and enjoys it very much. She has 3 siblings, 2 brothers and 1 sister. She enjoys mostly music.