In just one week, our community of writers travelled to Egypt, escaped tigers in the forest, time-traveled to World War II, and swam with hammerhead sharks in the coral reef. Working in a group brings a writer’s imagination to life and provides much-needed support to take risks. These young writers inspired me every day and never hesitated to put pen to paper. I am lucky to have spent time with such special young people, and I know you will enjoy their work.
Badgerdog Teaching Artist
The White Pumpkin
It was a dark and stormy night. A crescent moon hovered above, and lava fell from the sky. The devil flew out through a portal in the lava. The Tremendous 3 were ready to defeat him at last. They pulled out their swords out, ready to destroy, when a pit scorpion army came charging over the hill.
“Devil or scorpion army?” Rocky said to himself.
“Scorpions!” Boomer said and led them through the scorpions.
“Into the mansion!” Captain Sparkles said with confidence.
As they entered the main hall, four more people emerged and everyone’s portrait – including The Tremendous 3 – became one.
Then the lights went out and someone said, “Greetings, fellows. I am the White Pumpkin. I hope you know how circuit traps work because they’re everywhere!” Then the front door locked and the windows sealed.
Just then, somebody screamed, the lights came back on, and someone was gone. They looked at the portrait and there was a red “X” over his face.
To Be Continued . . .
I walk through the intense, sandy desert. I keep pushing myself to go on. It was summer when my sister and I got lost in the desert. We had been trying to find water for weeks. All of a sudden, a village appeared. We didn’t know if it was déjà vu tricking us, or if it was real. We had decided it was real and walked over to the village quickly.
We could feel the hot, scorching sun beating on our skin. As soon as we walked into the village, we saw a giant pot of water. And I thought the desert was waterless and uninhabited.
Someone came out of the village. She signaled for us to follow her, so we did. She led us into a mysterious room. It was filled with tons of food, water, and ancient artifacts. The woman said, “Wait!” and walked away.
My sister Camille and I started to stuff our faces with food. Then a man appeared and said, “I know you’ve been looking for your family. We have been waiting for you.”
“Who’s we?” I mumbled to myself.
“I see you’ve started eating. If you want to find your family, you must go through ten trials. Now go to bed. The sky is getting dark.”
“Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”
“Camille, I’m up!” I could smell a crisp scent. It smelled like fire. It looked like we were in a dungeon. There was a shovel and a letter. It said: Cleo’s prized possession. Find it before the sand turns burnt orange, when the sun rises from dawn, or this will be the end. The end is just the beginning.
I’m running through the jungle trying to get away from the tiger chasing me. I see lots of trees and bushes. The air is so hot and humid that all my clothes are stuck to my body, but the sun is hidden behind a wall of clouds in the sky. Next to me is my best friend Avery. She has dark, long hair with tan skin. She’s running alongside me, away from the tiger.
We slow to a jog and see two different paths. One has no trees and barely any growth – great for running but no available space to hide. The path leading in the opposite direction has many trees and lots of growth.
“What path should we pick?” Avery asks me.
“I don’t know, but we need to pick it fast,” I reply.
“Let’s go this way,” Avery says jogging towards the overgrown path.
“Okay,” I say. “This path will provide us lots of cover to hide.”
But about ten minutes later, we wee a giant boulder blocking the path and any way around it.
“How do we get around it?” I ask.
“I don’t know,” Avery replies. “Maybe we should climb?”
“I don’t know if we could get up and over it.”
“Well, it seems to me that it’s the only way to keep going.”
We somehow successfully get over the boulder and keep going. After about five minutes, it suddenly starts to pour, making us even more wet. Miserably, we continue jogging until we are in a clearing with no trees but only tall grass. In the middle of the clearing, we see a man facing our direction cloaked in a robe. Slowing to a walk, we stand about five feet away from the man. He suddenly opens his eyes and says, “Congratulations, you have reached Holly Point.”
Sally the Sea Monster
Sally the sea monster’s birthday is here!
The people on the shore give a big cheer,
rush to the store
and buy candles and cake galore!
Quivering and shivering, they give a call,
so afraid that they will get mauled.
She towers over them all,
she is so tall.
Taller than the Trojan Horse,
it is her 100th birthday, of course!
Plunging under water, I suddenly saw a sight quite different from the diving point. Coral as far as the eye could see, in vivid colors, from white to bright pink. The coral provided a safe and protected area for fish and other aquatic prey to hide from dangerous predators. The coral came in different shapes, with some beautifully carved into a curve, and others with thick spines.
The scenic area was calm with few disturbances. It was no more than three seconds after I had this thought that I saw hundreds of ripples in the once tranquil water above me. Three full-sized hammerheads had sensed me in the water and were aiming for human leg soup! Experiencing a thrill of fear and excitement, I started swimming frantically toward the surface, forgetting about the sharks. Ten feet from the surface, I finally regained the reality of the threat. The hammerheads didn’t seem so interested in me anymore. They had spotted a rather large catfish and were raring to go after it.
Relieved, I continued my exploration of the ocean floor. I found many news things, like a clump of seaweed floating peacefully in the upper waters and an otter basking in the shallows. But what intrigued me the most was a metal piece poking out of the water like the mast of a ship. I followed it down and saw the ship’s hull, which had a huge hole in it, perhaps from a cannon ball. I started exploring it and found a beautiful lump of mineral that looked like a block of gold preserved for five decades in this sandy grave.
I started looking outside the ship for more treasure. Then I noticed a desk on the deck of the ship painted in vivid colors. That’s when I woke up to my alarm clock and wished I hadn’t eaten so much before bed.
I was in a rainforest with waterfalls surrounding me and rain pouring down over the tall trees. I saw three huge birds flying from tree to tree. I was very cold. The green grass felt wet and damp on my feet. My faithful companion, Mary the monkey, was perched up on my head scratching my hair.
I looked up to see Mary pointing at a long trail. I hoped that it would get us out of the forest because I was lost and needed to find my house on the outskirts. As I was saying, Mary hopped down and started to walk slowly along the trail so I could catch up.
“Good job, Mary!” I exclaimed as I gave her a bright banana I found. We chose this path hoping to find our way back home. Suddenly, Mary stopped. I was curious to see what was going on. Both of us stared at the long river. There were huge trees against the banks of the river. I knew what I had to do. Mary and I gathered some firewood and bark. We planned to make a boat.
I gently placed all of the wood side-by-side on the grass. We found a rope on the way that someone probably left behind. Mary was a smart monkey, so she tied up the wood and bark together. The next thing you knew, we were sailing across the river. As soon as we crossed the river, the sun came out, and Mary and I felt thirsty. We spotted a shady clearing to sit down and take a break.
Then, I saw him. A man about forty years old was standing there offering us water. I ran and grabbed at the jug, and soon it was empty. He asked me, “So, where are you headed?”
“Home,” I replied. Then the man just vanished into thin air.
Mary and I tried searching for him, but he really was gone. Then something terrible was happening. The ground began to shake. The Earth said, “Honey, wake up.” I opened my eyes to see my mom shaking me awake! I was having a dream! I raced outside to see the forest. The same man I saw in the forest earlier came outside and winked at me! Could it be?
Two days – two day! – to get out of this lonely sand trap. In two days, it will be my birthday and if I’m not home in two days, my life will be gone, useless, dead.
I look around for some hope of a way back home, but all I see is an empty, quiet desert. There’s sand in every direction for miles around. The only thing here besides the sand is the sky, but even the sky is empty – not one star.
The sun has set and I need to set up camp for the night. I look around to find a rock, or anything but sand to sleep on, yet there is nothing.
I decide not to sleep tonight because in the morning there will only be one day left until my parents let me live on my own, but if I’m not there, I will live with them forever.
I keep walking, trying not to think about what will happen if I can’t get back in time.
The desert is a very intense place to be. It’s like it can never make up its mind. In the daytime, it’s boiling hot and peaceful. But in the night, it gets chilly and very windy. But it is always dry.
Tonight is especially windy. The sand is blowing up into my eyes, making it very hard to see.
I keep walking to – I have no clue where. I think by now it must be midnight. Tomorrow is my birthday, yet time doesn’t really matter here in this sandy mess. It doesn’t really matter to me anymore. There is nothing in this place but untouched sand. I’m losing all hope. There is no way out.
I close my eyes and lay down. I let the wind carry the sand across my body. And I fall asleep. Forever.
The waves crashed against the battered sand. Kids laughed as the water splashed around them. The wind started to pick up speed, tossing girls’ hair in their faces. The clouds turned gray. I looked over at Katrina, trying to figure out if she’d seen the weather change.
As we walked along the beach, we saw a pathway that went in the direction we were headed. Suddenly, Kat started walking a bit faster. Instantly, she broke into a full-on sprint.
“Kat!” I yelled. I sprinted to catch up with her. Then I heard thunder. I assumed it was the sky, but I was wrong. It seemed as if everybody on the beach was charging after us. Finally, I caught up to Kat. I knew I would because she was quite a bit smaller than me. I was about to talk to her when I realized I was completely and totally out of breath. I stopped to take a break. Fifty people appeared in front of me. They were in between Kat and me. I started to run again. This time I dodged the people. Finally, I reached Kat.
Lightning struck down in the woods, which had just recently recovered from a wildfire. The trees burst into all different shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and even some blues.
If only I had my camera with me now. We were heading straight towards the woods. Every person on the beach seemed as if they were in a coma, heading straight towards the fire. The closer we got, the louder and hotter it became. Suddenly, I couldn’t run anymore. I stepped out of the pathway and observed what was happening. Everyone was running in a synchronized fashion, moving closer and closer to the fire. No one was able to be themselves. Then, just like that, the forest disappeared. Strange.
Now, I finally saw what was doing this. It was actually a who.
To Be Continued. . .
The blue sky, white sand. The glistening ocean. Yes, this will be the place – the place I will call home. The wind blowing so softly on my face. This is perfect. Well, not with my brother.
On the fifth day, I take a walk along the shore, when suddenly a huge wave splashes on me. But I don’t get wet. And if that’s not strange enough, the waves split, forming a path underwater. I decide to follow the path down into the depths of the ocean.
Oddly, I can breathe. Suddenly, I hear a loud thump behind me. I turn around and see my brother sliding down the steps. How did he get here? No point in asking – he’ll start talking some mumbo-jumbo nonsense.
Suddenly, the path is blocked by a big boulder. I think of going around it, but then I won’t be able to breathe. Then it hits me – no, not the rock. My brother! He pushes me right through the rock. Then, once I come out the other side of the rock, I’m hit by a gust of water. I keep on walking down until I come across a clearing. I see someone swimming around – actually, more like standing. A mermaid! I quickly swim up to her and ask, “What is this place?”
She replies, “Ah, you have finally arrived.”
For what? I wondered. She snaps her fingers and a huge castle emerges from the ground.
“It’s your time, child. Rule us well,” says the mermaid.
Those spunky animals,
always looking to play,
usually working hard.
But when they get a minute,
they don’t waste a second.
Not very easily distracted at work,
but at home they easily whip up a storm!
Very humble creature on top,
Always looking for new traits and tricks,
basically anything to get away from…
“Phum! Phum!” went the speeding, spinning bullets of the gun. The sweaty, tired soldiers were training for World War II, which they knew was just around the corner. One soldier felt the urge to speak up and say they shouldn’t fight, but that would cause trouble. All the soldiers climbed into the trucks. Even that one soldier knew what he had to do – jump out of the truck.
Soon afterwards, they were about ten miles from La PaPa, when the one soldier jumped out. No one seemed to notice because all of them looked as if they were napping. “Uh!” Soft grass caught him.
“Buh! Buh!” There was a very weird sound, as though it might be an instrument. For a second, the soldier thought it was music in heaven. About a mile up the road was a large violin making a strange sound. It looked like someone had just thrown it away and abandoned it. He picked it up and took it with him to town. About a half a day later, the soldier arrived in town with his violin. It looked to be 10:45 a.m., and he was exhausted. He took some money out of his pocket and went down the street. He checked into a hotel for two days. He knew he had to make money to get to his town.
The next morning, the soldier went to go and look for a job. HE walked right into a store with a sign that said: “Help Wanted.” But he slipped on the ground! He looked under him, and he must have slipped on a green, wet pear. He got up and asked the cashier if they still needed people, and she said yes.
One Week Later . . .
The soldier really enjoyed his job and decided to live there. He lived happily ever after.
“Camping, camping, camping. It had to be camping…” I groaned as the car skidded to a stop. We got out of the car, and that was the start of our one week – a tech-free camping trip.
My sister and I set up our large, turquoise tent. We put our stuff inside and went exploring. We passed some trees and came to a clearing. The view was breathtaking. I felt as if the forest were welcoming us.
Suddenly, we heard my dad calling us. “McKenzie, Jessie! Dinner time!” We ran back to the campsite and gobbled down our dinner.
The next day, I woke with a start and ran to our hideaway. No one was there. I went back to the campsite and saw my sister sprawled on the ground, unconscious near a poisonous snake. “Mom! Dad!” I screamed. They, along with my older brother, ran over. They saw my older sister and almost fainted.
My brother, a brainiac, showed us a picture of a flower that would cure her bite. “I’ve seen that before!” I exclaimed. “When Mom took me hiking, it was on top of that mountain.”
I started climbing up the mountain. Halfway up, I was dripping with sweat. “You can do it!” my mom encouraged me from her position above me. We finally reached the top! I grabbed the flower, put it in my pouch, and started repelling down. I got the flower!