The following story was the product of a writing assignment. I had to change a story from our family history into a fairy tale. I re-wrote the story of how my parents met. By the time I was done embellishing, the story was very, very different from the original! :-)
Once upon a time, in the middle of winter, there was young man named James. He was climbing a mountain to look for his lost hedgehog, when he came upon a small church hidden behind the peak. From within came the sound of singing. Here he stopped to warm himself in the back pew. Then the thought occurred to him that his hedgehog might’ve come into the church. The service was over, and he stood up, intending to inquire after his pet. Heading toward the front, he was stopped by a young lady who asked if he was looking for something. His tongue formed a couple of knots in his mouth, and he replied, “Mess, I yam. Have you seen a hogglehedge waddle through? I mean - a hedgehog? Her name’s Lucy Petunia,” he explained. The girl politely answered that her name was Elizabeth, and that she hadn’t seen a hedgehog or a hogglehedge recently. Just when she was going to ask what in the world a hogglehedge was, an old lady approached Elizabeth to ask if she thought the pulpit would look nice covered in artificial ivy. Elizabeth replied that she thought holly would probably be better for Christmastime, and the conversation quickly drifted to the that year’s Christmas pageant. James excused himself, and went outside.
He was halfway down the mountain, when he heard someone yelling his name. James turned around just in time to see Elizabeth rushing toward him on skis. The next thing he knew, he was flying through the cold air, heading straight for a drift. Thud! With some effort he pulled himself out. Looking around, he saw a large snowball near the foot of the mountain. Rubbing his eyes, he took a second glance. Wait a minute! ‘Snowballs don’t have arms and legs,’ he thought. But this particular snowball did, and it was waving them around wildly. Grabbing one leg, he pulled, and out came Elizabeth! Spitting out snow between sentences, she said, “Tomorrow night we are having a potluck at church. The main dish will be mystery meat casserole. Would you like to come?” He replied that he would, if at all possible. She grinned. “Great! Here’s my number, if you need a ride. My car’s in for repairs, so I’ll probably just bring the unicorn.”
The next morning, James called the number that Elizabeth had given him. A gruff voice answered, and insisted that there was no one by the name of Elizabeth at that number. Confused, James called again. In the minute that had elapsed, the man hadn’t changed his mind. Still no Elizabeth. “Are you sure she’s not there?” James asked the irate man. “Sure I’m sure!” the man yelled. “I think I’d know if there were an Elizabeth hanging around!” with that, the man hung up. James dialed the number again, but accidentally pressed a three instead of a two. This time, Elizabeth answered.
That night, the mystery meat casserole exploded. The end. Just kidding. James and Elizabeth were married, found the hedgehog, had a daughter and a dog, and lived happily ever after, until they had a son. Then everyone lived in fear. And Elizabeth still can’t ski. Don’t ask me how I know. The end.
This is my latest (and longest) story. Enjoy!
It was just a teakettle. Just one more piece of junk on the rusty heap. One sunny July afternoon, I was walking with four friends in the woods behind Mr. Fulton's farm, when we came upon the junk pile. Brandon was the first to spot the large copper teakettle. We would have thrown it back, had it not been for the inscription on the handle. Anita read aloud the mysterious rhyme.
"In your hands you hold
A wealth not made of gold.
Make your wish right now
For anything- even a cow."
Glen snorted. "That sounds weird, but we might as well see if it works. Why don't you think of a wish, Joyce?" Anita piped up, "Make it a crazy wish, so we'll know if it comes true." I nodded, and took a step toward the kettle. My voice echoed in the kettle as I made my crazy wish. "I wish that everyone could have superpowers." Everyone stood still, but nothing seemed to happen. No puff of green smoke, no swirling lights, none of the things that always happen in movies. Quiet Sonya finally broke the silence. "Well, I guess we'll find out later if it worked. Let's go back to the park." As we made our way back through the dense undergrowth, I began to think about my wish. What would happen if it really came true? Would everyone have superpowers, or would only the people who had witnessed the wish have powers? Would we each have one power, or would we have whatever power we want?
Anita's cheery voice broke through my thoughts. "Joyce. Earth to Joyce!"
"What is it, Anita?" With boundless energy she said, "Race you to the swings!" Dropping the kettle, I ran after her.
Curly red hair flew about like a tornado as she ran to the swings.
I was swinging as high as I could, when it happened. My hands froze to the swings. "Anita!" I yelled, even though she was in the swing beside me. Anita grabbed the swing. As the swing slowed to a halt, I wriggled, pulled, and squirmed to try to get free. Suddenly, I felt my hands warming up, and the ice slowly melted. In amazement, I looked up at Anita. She seemed to be bracing herself against an invisible force. Muscles rigid, arms outstretched, she was melting the ice without even touching it. Once my hands were free, we looked at each other in shock. "I can't believe that just happened," I heard myself murmur. When Anita and I finally regained our composure, we went to find Sonya, Glen, and Brandon.
Once everyone was sitting on the bench, Anita relayed the astounding tale of our superpowers. Brandon was rather doubtful. In response to his doubts, Sonya suggested that we go to her house and experiment to see what our powers were, and how they worked.
Twenty minutes later, we were half-hidden behind the shed in Sonya's yard. "So… What do we do now?" Glen asked. As we all stood there awkwardly staring at each other, I leaned my hand against the shed. "Joyce! Your hand!" Brandon yelled. The hand that was leaning against the shed was coated with ice. Not only my hand, but the entire shed! I called to Anita, "Wait! Don't melt it just yet. If this is normal ice, it should melt quickly in the sun." We stood there for almost five minutes, but nothing changed. After I had determined that the ice wasn't going to melt on its own, I let Anita melt it. Suddenly struck with an idea, I asked Anita to show Sonya how to activate her powers.
Glen, Brandon, and I were watching intently when a sudden blast of wind knocked us over. Picking himself up off the ground, Brandon exclaimed, "Whoa! Was that you, Sonya?" Sonya nodded bashfully from behind her long black hair. Jumping up, Glen said excitedly, "Cool! I want to try!" He tried to do it, but nothing happened. Disappointed, he walked away. With eyes fixed on the ground, he seemed to be thinking. I wish I could have superpowers, I heard him say. I looked around. Sonya was even closer to Glen than I was, yet she didn't seem to have heard anything. Could it be… telepathy? I asked myself. "Hey Glen," I called "Try to make me hear you, but don't talk. Just think." He gave me a weird look, shrugged, and fell back into deep thought. Again I heard his voice. Hey Joyce, can you hear this? "Yes!" I exclaimed. "You have the power of telepathy!" His eyes lit up. "Really? That's so cool!"
By this time, Brandon was really quite anxious to find his power. Just when Anita was about to show him how to figure out what his power was, the phone rang. "I'll get it," Brandon called as he dashed for the back door. Sonya shrugged her shoulders, and asked, "Do you guys want to come in and have some ice cream?" Eagerly we followed her to the kitchen. I gave everyone spoons, while Sonya scooped out generous helpings of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Brandon soon came in to the kitchen, and everyone began to eat.
Once we were finished, I stood up to collect the dishes. When I took Brandon's spoon from him I discovered that its metal handle had conformed to the grip of his hand. "Umm… Brandon?" I said. He looked up from a lively discussion about basketball. "What?" I answered, "I think I may have discovered your power - strength." I held up the bent spoon. Everyone took turns examining it. Glen spoke, "Let's go outside and see if Brandon can lift that big rock by the shed." Brandon lifted the large boulder as if it had been a pillow. "Wow!" Sonya exclaimed. "Make sure you put it back exactly like it was, or else my mom will be suspicious," she cautioned. Sonya's warning made me wonder if we should keep our powers a secret. When I expressed my concern, Anita said that we should meet in her tree house. Anita's house was just down the road, which made it an ideal location.
Inside the shaky wooden tree house walls, I wondered aloud if we should let other people know about our powers. "I guess that depends on if they have powers or not," Anita said thoughtfully. Suddenly, she was struck with an idea, and jumped up. Looking out the window, she called to her neighbor, "Hey, Peter! Come up here, quick!" Then turning to us, she said in a low voice, "I know we can trust him to not tell anyone about our powers. Besides, we need to find out if other people have powers. Let's not tell him about how we got our powers. I think that the powers of the kettle should remain a secret." We looked at each other and nodded. Just then, Peter arrived. Peter was in seventh grade, a year older than I. He looked at Anita with a puzzled look. She spoke up, "The reason I asked you to come up here is that we need to do an experiment. Do you promise to not tell anyone what you see or hear? It's top secret." Peter promised, and Anita proceeded to help him unlock his power. I whispered very quietly to Sonya, who was sitting next to me, "I wonder if he will have any powers." I whispered so quietly that Sonya didn’t even hear me. However, Peter seemed to have heard. He replied, "Yeah. I'm wondering the same thing." Anita looked up in shock. "What did you hear, Peter?" she asked. "Oh, Joyce just said that she was wondering if I would have any powers." was his casual reply. Brandon, Glen, and Sonya all said that they hadn't heard me say anything. Anita said slowly, "Joyce is the farthest person away from Peter, yet he was the only person who heard her. He must have the power of super hearing."
In the days that followed, we experimented with the strength of our powers. One day, Anita used her fire-power to roast a tasty snack of hotdogs. After our snack, we went deep into the woods and I built an enormous ice-slide. When we discovered a small hidden pond, Glen brought small toy sailboats, and Sonya used her power of wind to make them sail across the pond at incredible speeds. Glen always coordinated when and where we would meet, even though he never used the telephone to call us. Brandon frequently challenged us to a game of tug of war, but after he defeated all of us, we refused any more challenges. We were very careful not to let anyone know about our powers, and we always cleaned up the traces. Even so, one day we were caught.
We had gone far into the woods as usual, and I was going to make a skating rink. Just as I started freezing the ground, I heard a voice cry out triumphantly, "Caught you!" We all whirled about, trying to find who had spoken. Brandon groaned softly. "Not Henrietta!" He had reason to not like her. She was a bully, and now that she'd found out our secret, it was no longer safe. Standing in front of us, she tried to activate her powers. Repeating the motions I had used to make the ice rink, she froze all of us in blocks of ice. At first, she looked a little surprised at what she had done, but soon a smile of satisfaction spread across her face. With a gleeful laugh, she ran away. As soon as Henrietta was out of sight, Anita melted through her ice prison, and proceeded to set us free.
Most of us had tried to jump high to avoid the stream of ice, and so when Anita melted the ice trap, we fell with a plop. Soon we were all muttering angrily about Henrietta. Brandon jumped up and started to walk away. "I'm going to give her a piece of my mind," he said, clenching his fists. "Brandon! Stop!" I yelled. He turned, and seemed surprised that I didn't agree with his way of doing things. "Don’t lower yourself to do what she just did to us. That'll only make things worse." Brandon reluctantly agreed, though he said he still thought we should do something. All this time, Glen seemed to have been thinking. Now he spoke up, "By the time we get back to our houses, Henrietta will have told most everyone about the powers, since she knows that's what we don't want her to do. I wonder if we can make another wish in the kettle. Joyce probably can't, since she's already used it once." Sonya looked at me and asked if I still had the kettle. "Of course. It's in my room. Should we go get it?" I asked. Soon we were trooping through the woods toward my house. On the way, we discussed what our wish would be. Anita suggested that we should wish for everyone's magic and its traces to be gone.
Once out of the woods, we tried to stay out of sight, for fear that Henrietta would find us and make us ice cubes. To get to my house, we had to pass the park. There a horrible sight met our eyes. Kids were running and screaming everywhere. Some were chasing each other, shooting ice and knocking people over with gusts of wind. Some were running away, with terror showing in their eyes. Sonya started forward, as though to help stop the chaos, but I grabbed her arm. "Sonya! The only way to truly help them is to get the kettle and make our wish. Come on, let's hurry." Now with even more motivation, we ran to my house on Aster Lane.
My mom and dad were out doing errands, but my big brother was home. I ran to my room, but I couldn't find it. Anita called from the kitchen, "What's taking so long?" By this time, I was frantically digging through my room. "I can't find it!" I heard gasps from downstairs. Everyone came into my room and Brandon said, "Maybe Andrew knows what happened to it." I shrugged, and walked across the hall to my big brother's room. "Hey, Andrew, do you know where my teakettle is?" He barely looked up from his computer. "Nah. What do you need a kettle for, anyway? " He returned to his video game, and I left without answering his question.
For almost an hour, we searched the house. Then Glen mentioned that he was kind of hungry. I was too, so we each had a banana. When I opened the lid of the trashcan to throw the peels away, I saw the engraved handle of the teakettle. "Brandon! Sonya! Anita! I found it!" I yelled. They came running. Sonya asked where I'd found it. "In the trashcan. Mom must've found it and thought it was trash." Just then, my dad walked in. "What are you kids doing in here?" he inquired. "Oh, we were just leaving," I said. My friends followed me to the attic, where we could make our wish in peace. Sonya volunteered to make the wish. I made ice chairs for everyone to sit in, with the kettle in the middle. Sonya spoke into the kettle, "I wish for everyone's magic to be gone, as well as all the traces." As soon as she stopped, the ice chairs disappeared, and we all fell to the floor. I jumped up, and ran to the window. I could see the park, and no one seemed to have any powers. In fact, some of the kids were looking around as if wondering where their powers were. We decided to bury the kettle, so that we wouldn't be tempted to use it. After grabbing some shovels from the garage, we ran to the woods. We dug a deep hole, and I threw the kettle in, not far from where our adventure began in the first place. I picked up a shovel, and helped fill in the pit. "It's actually pretty nice not to have to worry about accidentally freezing something," I remarked. Everyone agreed.
The story you are about to read was a writing assignment. I was given the first paragraph, and told to finish the story. For each paragraph, there was one fact that I had to expound on. Without further explanation, I give you Finster.
I remember the walk home that night very well. It was late in October, near the end of the month, I think. It had been a cold day, and there were dark clouds piling up in the west. They had hidden the setting sun and were moving quickly over me, for there was a strong wind blowing. The dark and bare trees along the lonely road creaked and moaned as they were blown this way and that. Their branches seemed to reach and clutch at me like old and thin hands. As I hurried along, I noticed that the light of my friend's house had disappeared around the bend, and the few houses on the road were dark.
I hurried on. Like it or not, I had to pass the old Finster house. I tried not to look at it as I passed, but I just couldn't help it.
Finster had been a grumpy old man. He had warned the ice cream man never to set tire on his street. The truck made too much noise, he said. Thomas, who operated the truck, decided to ignore his warning. "No crotchety old man is gonna boss me around." After making his rounds on Finster's street, Thomas went home. Rumor had it, that an old man had followed Thomas with a loaded .45 pistol tucked into his coat. No one ever saw the ice cream man again.
Shivering, I tried to warm myself with the fact that the rumor had been started by the town gossip. Keeping my eyes on the house, with its tall black towers, I was not a bit comforted. That house seemed as forbidding as the owner himself had been. Somehow, I couldn't imagine anyone living in such a dreary dwelling. How in the world did Finster live there, with no connections in the outside world, I wondered. And what could you do in an empty house for 70 years? Count piles of gold, maybe. Speaking of gold, the little that was left of daylight would soon be gone. I would have to hurry to get home before it was too dark to see my path.
However, before I could start running, a motion in the corner of my eye made me turn and stare at a dingy curtain hanging in one of the third story windows. There it was again. Just a slight movement, but unmistakable the second time. Someone, or something was in there. Again, and again the curtain moved. It couldn't be the wind, for the wind had died down a few minutes ago, and not a single breeze penetrated the chilly night air. Peering closer, I was able to barely make out a hand idly moving the curtains. By the wrinkled and bony appearance of the hand, and the fact that now a narrow, cruel face peeped through the window, my assumption was that this mysterious being was an old man.
But who could this be? Finster had had no relatives, and he had died a year ago. The for sale sign was still out by the road, with an even lower price on it than yesterday. Why whould anyone want to be in such a creepy house? I broke into a run. I tried to explain to my mom that the reason I was puffing so hard was because I had been running home. She didn't fall for it. "If all you were doing was running, how come you are a white as a sheet?"
"My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight."
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"Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you never know who would love the person you hide."