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Don't Bully

By Lillian, 6, Woodstock, GA, USA

Once upon a time there were two boys and one girl. Their names were Jon, Joe and Sally. Sally had a problem. The two boys were bullying her, and that's not nice. One of the boys called her girl friend. She told the teacher that they were bullying, and they stopped. They said sorry and became friends.
(September 2008)

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The Caterpillar

By Asia, 6, Woodstock, GA, USA

Once upon a time Amia the teacher gave the children candy to eat at recess. During recess Lanu found a caterpillar on a tree. Lanu asked Amia if she could bring the caterpillar home.

'Yes, you can bring the caterpillar.'

So Lanu brought it home. Lanu played with her caterpillar. Then she put the caterpillar to sleep and she got to sleep too.
(September 2008)

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Road to Freedom

By Sam, 10, La Crosse, WI, USA

I heard a faint squeak from a dark, unbeknownst corner of my cabin. Another rat, no doubt. There are many in the slaves cabins. I lay there, staring up at the ceiling, thinking about what my life had become. I already knew the answer, not much. I was born in slavery, and was raised harvesting sugarcane on a plantation. I was separated from my family at the age of eight. My brother, James, and my sister, Sarah, were sold to a man named Abel. That is all I know about their whereabouts. I regret to say that I know nothing about where my parents, Amos and Molly, were sold. That was three years ago. I wonder if my parents and siblings often think of me. However, I must stop thinking of these things, because I know they will bring me grief. You would think that I would have gotten over it, now that I have lived this life for eleven years. Ignoring the continuous sounds from the rat, I tried to drift back to sleep. I looked up at the ceiling, and at the thick layer of mold covering the wood like a blanket. I have often dreamed of having a blanket like Master Dickinson. I knew that slavery was not right, and that we were just as good as all the white people. I have thought about escape more times than I have counted, but I have always realized if I were a fugitive, I would most likely be caught. Then, I remembered Master Dickinson whipping us with a sneer on his face, and I knew what I must do.

It is late evening. I am waiting anxiously in my cabin for the others to fall asleep. That is when I plan to escape. I look over at the others. A handful asleep, but most still awake. I wait longer. I would approximate it is about midnight when I finally decide it is safe. I must not let the others know I am leaving, for if they know anything about my departure, they might try to stop me. Master Dickinson whips the other slaves if one tries to escape. I wonder if I should even go. Then I remember the backbreaking labor that I am forced to do every day. I remember the feel of a crisp whip hitting my flesh. I stoop down and crawl out of a small hole in the cabin, a place where the wood has rotted completely away. As I come out, I find myself near the back of the plantation. As I am running toward the fence that marks the end of the property, I dream about what a new life might be like in Mexico. Like a fresh meal. Untouched. Undisturbed. No one telling me what order to eat it in. I reached the fence and jumped. One of my feet catches on a post, and I trip. There appears to be a bad splinter jammed in the top of it. As I pull it out, I see blood. I will have to bandage this up, or I may leave a trail of blood that would be easy to follow. I tore a strip off the bottom of my shirt and wrapped it around my injured foot. I hope that no hounds will pick up the scent of my blood. I ran on without being bothered by the injury to my foot. It was not until then that I realized that I had no idea where to go. I was not even sure if I was going the right way. However, I ran on.

I have heard about a network of safe houses referred to as 'stations' on something called the Underground Railroad. I imagined I would be traveling on it, even though I had no idea where it was. On and on through the woods I went. It was cold, wet, and dark. I kept my eyes firmly set ahead of me. I was coming to a small house. I had no idea if this person would help me or be against me, so I ran around it, not bothering to stop. I could almost swear that I saw a man's face look out of the window, and smile. To this day, I am not exactly sure what that meant. As I pressed on, I realized that I was getting much more tired. I would have to find a safe place to take refuge where no one would find me. Hours later, I found an old broken-down wagon near a stream. I knew this would be a good place. I settled down in it, just the place to spend the night. As I closed my eyes, I thought I might actually make it.

When I awoke, I heard the sound of men's voices. I listened to their conversation and I made an obvious conclusion that they were bounty hunters! For what I could tell - EIGHT of them! I hardly dared to breathe. I heard that they were setting up camp there, and that they did not intend to leave! I lay motionless for hours, just listening to those men talk! I was growing so stiff I could hardly stay still. Then, about when I decided I could not take it any longer- the wood against my back gave way! At that moment, I found myself lying in the middle of a bounty hunter camp.

I looked around at the various men around me and without a second thought - fled. I ran as fast as I could! I heard gunshots, screaming, yelling, cursing, and everything else behind me! For some reason... I got away. The next few nights were tough, but I made it through. I ran into many more bounty hunters, but none found me as the first did. I tried to remember my family, friends and other slaves who worked next to me at Dickinson's plantation. I remembered the songs they used to sing, oh those songs! I could not have made it through those first tough years. I specifically remember my favorite song called 'The Drinking Gourd'. I think it went something like this:

When the sun comes up and the first quail calls, follow the drinking gourd.
For the old man is a-waiting to carry you to freedom,
If you follow the drinking gourd.

The riverbank makes a very good road.
The dead trees show you the way,
Left foot, peg foot, traveling on,
Follow the drinking gourd.

I never will know what those words will mean but I am certain it would help me if I did!

The next day I ran into another bunch of bounty hunters. After the first incident, I ran over how I would stay safe if another came- I would wing it. There is so much different terrain on this land; there is no set way to know the best thing to do. It wasn't a perfect plan, but it worked for me.

Days later, I received word of the next stop on the Underground Railroad. It happened something like this: I was sprinting through the woods as usual and along come a white man. He was togged up in clean suspenders, a new straw hat, and crisp blue jeans. He looked straight at me several times without seeing me. By this time, I had become quite frightened of him (in fear of him reporting me). He walked by my hiding spot (an old twisted tree) a few times before noticing me. When he looked down at me, I knew my long, hard journey had ended and that I was to be returned to Master Dickinson. Then at that moment - he smiled! He grunted out the words that I have wanted to hear for so long... HE KNEW THE NEXT STATION ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD!

A day later, I reached the station. It is called the Reuben Benedict House. I am offered a bed for the night and a warm meal. There I hear the most stunning news of my life- I am in Ohio! All this time traveling I thought I was heading south to Mexico - as I mentioned earlier. I need to bend my plans quite a lot, but I believe that Canada will do just as fine. When morning comes, it is time for me to move on. I thank the Station Masters for their wonderful hospitality, and make my way out the door. I am directed to the next station, a place called the Rush R. Sloane House. As I trudge along, I cannot help but wonder why I wanted my freedom so badly. Why I am willing to risk my life for it? The answer was in my head long before this moment, but I have never noticed it until now. The answer is...I am a human being too.

I arrived safely at the Rush R Sloan House and many houses after that. There was only trouble the night I stayed at the John Hossack House in Ottawa, Illinois. I was cozy in my bed when I heard the sound of arguing. Then I heard someone tearing through the house, most likely a bounty hunter. John Hossack whipped into my room and told me to climb out the window and run for dear life. Wasting no time, I took a tremendous leap out of the window and tore north. As the John Hossack House faded out of sight, I could have sworn I heard someone yell, 'Milton House!'

A day after the John Hossack incident, I came to a point where I could see Canada! I could see the Canadian border! I could see freedom! I was four feet, three feet, two feet. THUD! Someone knocked me to the ground. I looked up and saw a man's face. I recognized the man's face. It was the face of Master Dickinson.

Master Dickinson dragged me back to the Milton House. I hope he does not realize that this is a station on the Underground Railroad. There he let out all his anger. After he had finished, he started to prepare our trip back to North Carolina. He said once we got back to his plantation, that there would soon be someone missing. We left later that day and made tracks south. Now everyone knows that Dickinson is a tick infested jerk, but this was ridiculous! I have never seen that man scratch himself so much! In addition, he stunk! To be honest with you, I could not tell if I was traveling with a man or a skunk! After an hour of walking, Dickinson started ranting and raving about his chest, and minutes later, he was dead on the ground. I had no way of knowing about heart attacks and the itching that that precedes it back then, but I was sure it was serious! I ran back to the Milton House, told them about the corpse, and then headed north again. As I looked up at the sunset, I knew there was a straight road to freedom ahead of me.
(August 2008)

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A Secret Trip on the Underground Railroad

By Beverly, 10, La Crosse, WI, USA


The sharp pain of a nail hits my finger. My name is Elijah and I work on Master Steven's plantation in York Town, Virginia. Right now I'm building a horse stable. I'll be lucky if they don't tear it down, it looks pretty bad but what can they expect from a ten year old boy working on a stable without a partner? I just so badly wish I could run down the lane and catch a train to a northern state and have my freedom. But I can't do that. Actually I can't go anywhere until I finish my job or can I?

I look around to see if anyone is watching me. No one is watching. I drop my hammer and nails and look out the barn door. All I can see is the other slaves working in the garden patch. I take off running as fast as I can! I hope no one has seen me yet. I'm breathing real hard as my heart thuds in my chest while I run! I break off into the woods by the road. Still running, I crunch over dead leaves and leap over twigs and broken branches. After running for 5 minutes I whirl into a field of Queen Ann's flowers, pokeweed and old tangled grape vines. I try to run through the gruesome weeds, but they pull me back, so I walk.

Just then I hear a twig snap and two dogs barking. Surely Master Stevens knows I'm gone by now. I start to run as fast as I can through the brush! I come to an old rusty barbed wire fence bent to the ground. I quickly hurdle over it. Still trying to run through the weeds, I look around and can't see anything but rain pouring down on me and the field. But wait, in a distant cornfield something tall and bony reaches up and out of it. It looks like an old tree! I sprint towards it in the thick rain.

Finally, I reach the cornfield. It is very wet and muddy. I slip through the aisles of corn now seeing the ancient, crooked tree. I trot towards the tree now noticing a deep hole in it. I look down in the hole now also seeing a dim orange light, which I guessed to be a fire. I wiggled my way in the hole. When I got in, I used an old rope ladder to get down to the cold damp bottom. There were 4 other people in the shaft. They were the same as me, fugitives. One motioned for me to sit with them by the fire. They asked where I was from, what my name was, and how I knew this was a station. I told them I didn't know it was a station until I arrived in the hole. After that, one of the women in the group handed me a cloth. I asked her what it was. She told me that it was a secret map of the stations on the Underground Railroad. I thanked her for it; I knew I would need it.

That night I didn't sleep one wink. I thought about why I wanted my freedom. If I made it to Canada and grew up the rest of my life there, my children would not be born into slavery. I also thought about the dogs I'd heard that scared me half to death! I worried about how I'd keep from being captured. I would have to travel quickly and quietly and know where I was going. I was also concerned about my family. I wondered, has my brother Sam run away too? What about Momma and Poppa? How was everybody? Was anybody hurt? I had countless questions to ask. But something told me everyone was all right. Now I knew, somehow, I would make it to freedom.
(August 2008)

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The Two Birds

By Jamie, 9, Tobago

There was once a huge flat field and in the field there was a gnarled oak tree. In the oak tree two birds were making a nest for their young.

When they were half way through the mother bird said, 'I am to tired to continue building this nest you must continue while I rest.'

The father bird wondered how he could ever finish it by himself but he tried and he tried. He worked all night and all day for three days, until he finally finished.

He proudly told his wife that his handy work was done and joyfully the mother bird laid three eggs. As time past they hatched into white fluffy chicks.

Moral - Try hard and it is likely you will succeed.
(August 2008)

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Frog and Tortoise

By Sienna, 9 , Pasadena, CA, USA

One day athletic Frog came upon Tortoise going for a canoe ride.

'Tortoise you are as slow as a snail, but I am as fast as lightening and agile,' Frog shouted.

Tortoise was hurt but said, 'I am slow and I take my time but I always get the job done. I challenge you to race me across the lake tomorrow.'

Frog laughed until he could not breath. 'Race you! Of course I will win, so I accept your challenge.'

Frog raced away and soon everyone on the lake knew about the race.

The next day everyone who lived on the lake was there, everyone could see Frog and Tortoise across the lake. Soon the rhinoceros king put up his bulky hand for silence.

Then he hollered, 'We will all be excited to see who wins, but now let the race begin.'

The pistol went off with a tremendous bang. Frog raced forward with impressive speed while Tortoise went forward as if he was going on a cruise. Half an hour went by, Tortoise was still going slowly, Frog was getting tired. 'I think a rest wouldn't hurt' Frog thought. Then he put the anchor down and then he fell asleep.

When he woke up everyone was cheering excitedly. He looked up only to see Tortoise nearing the finish line. He jumped up, shot forward and tried to hoist the anchor. It was stuck! He knew he would lose so he sat down sulkily and waited for help.

Frog learned that you should not boast.
(august 2008)

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Bully Season

By Laura Jane, 11, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

February 1st or number 509 of Bully season, as soon as I take my first blink of the day the pain of bullies approaches my small and timid mind. I'm shaking in terrible fear and my heart is pounding, like a big base drum in the lead of a band; as soon as the scary feeling of the bus arriving I will start the day of the bully!

While I get dressed in the clothes that will soon be wrecked my parents are sleeping and my gran is searching for her reading glasses which I have just come across. As soon as I am dressed I have to skip getting washed and go straight down stairs and put my cereal in the nearly broken bowl with no milk, give gran her glasses, wake up my parents, eat a horrible breakfast then head on to the life threatening bus and sit in my seat, the seat of the Bully.

Sitting down my blood all going cold, freezing in my veins, my heart pounding harder than ever, that can only mean one thing! We're here, my Bully's house, as he approaches the bus, my heart jumps right into my throat and I am now stiff. The Bully sits next to me crushing my hand already his eyes are filled with the evil that I've always known he's had.

'BEEP, BEEP, CHING.' That's the sound of the bus door opening or the sound of the metal bar door opening to my lonely prison cell.

We are here the place I dread, school also known to me as a prison cell with me as a target. I try to walk in without getting noticed but the bully can smell fear just like a shark can smell blood. The bully grabs my thin coat, steals my bag and drags me into the tower of terror.

He drags me to his peg, waits till everyone is in class then he hangs me up by the label of my jacket and thumps my jaw like I'm a punch bag, leaves me hanging and goes into class. My dark red blood drips from my lip, my tooth falls from my battered mouth and a salty tear trickles down my swollen cheek.

My bully is back from class with his friends, one of the Bully's friends wants my jacket so he held me down and pulled it off, another wants my shoes so he violently snatched them off my feet. A slightly chubbier fellow with a bad temper seems to want to get rid of some anger so he punches me in the stomach several times, leaving me in agony. My Bully grabs my collar and drags me to the lunch room, where more chaos can happen.

Halfway through the day and I'm all ready sore from head to toe, face swollen, arms aching, chest throbbing, stomach in agony, legs in pain and feet freezing cold. While the Bullies stuff their face I try to enjoy my peace but the pain has got the better of me. I tried to slip away but my bully is watching me like a hawk. I whispered to the next table 'HELP!' But no answer or advice comes from them I'm stuck here with no way out.

Lunch is finished and back to the hanger for me and before they go into their class they all give my face and stomach a good punch for good luck on their tests. My nose is now gushing with blood and I think they punched my stomach so hard all my organs have swapped places, and now instead of one tear there is a salty, water shower coming from my eyes soaking my swollen cheek.

It's home time and as I expected my clothes are wrecked and I am in full agony and pain with no one who cares or notices it. For a third time today he drags me to my seat and threatens me to show no sign of pain.

'BEEP, BEEP CHING' Is now the sound of the door opening at my stop or a passage way to a different kind of pain.

At home I say hello in a low profile voice but mum is at the hospital working, dad is ill and gran doesn't understand anything when I'm quiet. I get changed and went down stairs to cook dinner, since dad can't move and gran can't cook. When I'm finished cooking and bandaging my burnt fingers, I hand grans dinner to her and feed dad his.

When I'm finished that, I eat my cold dinner and do mine and my Bully's homework while helping my dad and gran.

A few hours later Mum came home from work with a small carton of milk, dad and gran's pills, some chicken, 2 eggs and a chocolate bar for me. I helped her with the bags, thanked her for the chocolate, then she lent down to give me a kiss, hugged gran and kissed dad gently on the forehead.

Mum wanted to be alone with gran and dad, so I went upstairs to my bedroom with my luxurious chocolate bar.

In my bedroom there is not much, a bed (which is small and uncomfortable,) a little piggy bank (with only 10 pence, a button and 3 gummy bears,) a short and squint cupboard (used for clothes and now a chocolate bar (which I treasure!) .

I took a bite out of the chocolate bar and it felt great, chewing that one delicious bite.

It is now night. I get changed; go downstairs to brush my teeth with my grotty, old toothbrush, say good night and go back upstairs to sleep in my small bed.

Morning again, another day of Bully season. If I count correctly it is number 510. I got dressed in my 2nd last T shirt, last pair of trousers and my wrecked shoes. Mum and dad still sleeping and gran have lost her reading glasses again but this time I haven't come across them. I start my routine and then the dreadful sound of the bus comes to my mind.

I step on to the bus, slower than yesterday scared of the painful future that lies ahead. I sit in my seat and a tear comes down my soon to be swollen cheek. My face is going red, I feel like a bomb about to explode, which means... GULP. The Bully.

He sits next to me, I freeze in fear. He turns and grabs my hand; his eyes tell me its going to be a long, long day.

'BEEP, BEEP CHING' goes the doors of the bus, now I am entering my prison cell for the second time. I have no jacket, so I have no hood to hide under, only my shame to cover me. I try to run in to the school (since my Bully isn't a very good runner,) but I start limping halfway since my feet are still sore from yesterday. He will catch up now. Gasping in air and limping to the front door my Bully catches up, he picks me up and slaps me, hard! It's painful, but I'm used to it by now.

Now I am inside the school and once again I am taken to his peg, watching all the other children disappear into their classrooms one by one. The last child goes into class, my bully looks mad and suddenly his friends come out of nowhere and now start to hit me any where they could.

My Bully and his friends have gone into class and I look a state. I have a black eye, my nose and lip are deeply bleeding, and I think I've lost several teeth, my clothes are ripped to pieces and I can't move. My tears build up until I burst out crying, so much that it looks like I have just came out of a pool.

A school inspector heard me crying, he looked normal, white teeth, gelled back hair, dark brown eyes, pointy moustache, black suit, shiny shoes and a gold watch on his wrist. He didn't do much, came to me, lifted my head slightly, took a handkerchief to wipe away my tears, sat me down on the bench next to me (which I have just noticed,) gave me a polite smile and left with out sound.

A few minutes after that pleasant but mysterious visit from the school inspector, my bully came out of class, what is he going to do now? I thought. As soon as he lifted me up by the front of my collar, I hear the sound of footsteps coming down the hallway.

As the sound of the footsteps got louder and closer I get more worried and relieved in a way because if it wasn't for the footsteps I would have been squished right about now.

My Bully and his friends are distracted by the footsteps, so I try to slip away one little move at a time. I am almost of the bench but when I take my 2nd step towards the next corridor someone puts their hand on my shoulder. Presumably the Bully.

I turn around, close my eyes and crunch up my arms and shoulders, I wait a few minutes and surprisingly I wasn't hurt or punched as I presumed, I was actually touched lightly and lovingly like an angel had just landed on my shoulder.

I opened my eyes and it was my mum, dad (in a wheel chair), gran and the school inspector, I looked round them and the Bully had been taken away and I was safe.

I asked my parents what happened but all was said was, 'Its ok son, its over.'

Now you see if I had told on the first day that I was being bullied, it wouldn't have started, so if you think about it the Bully was me.

Don't keep it to yourself, tell when being bullied.
(August 2008)

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Seamor`s Story

By Hayley, 8, CT, USA

Once upon a time there was a bear named Seamor. Seamor was a lonely bear. Everyday Seamor would hunt for food, eat and rest. Seamor had no friends. One day Seamor was out for a jog and bumped into a porcupine.

'Ouch,' said Seamor 'sorry,' said the porcupine.

'It's OK,' said Seamor 'it was just an accident.'

'My name is Rosemary,' said the porcupine, 'What's your name?'


'What a nice name,' said Rosemary.

'I like your name too,' said Seamor. 'Do you want to come over for dinner? I am having Roasted Bird.'

'Sure,' said Rosemary, 'I will bring some Baked Bird Liver.'

'OK,' said Seamor.

So Seamor finally has a friend and the dinner, well it went well, and now Seamor has many more friends like: Kimmy Koala, Ali Alligator, Emerald Elephant, Madison Manatee, Lio Lion, Dana Dog and Julia Jellyfish plus now Seamor lives in a zoo!

Now Seamor is a very happy bear.
(August 2008)

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The Lost City

By Alexander, 8, Bronx, NY, USA

Centuries ago there was believed to be a lost city called Atlantis. Today people are still wondering about it. Some say it sank underwater and 'mermaids' live in it. Some say it's a myth. Some say it just sank.

Long ago when Earth was first formed everything was land and underwater was underground. Then the underground opened up and it kept opening up until the Earth was water and land. Atlantis was part of the land. Atlantis was very advanced. It was almost as if they had alien technology. Then one day Atlantis sunk underwater because of an earthquake.

Once I went underwater and found the sunken city of Atlantis. I was at home doing my homework then my little sister came in the room with the twins who lived next door. They were dressed like crossing guards.

'Why are you dressed like that?!' I asked.

'This week happens to be safety week and you happened to have a safety violation!' replied my little sister. She took out something that looked like a water gun and electrocuted me with it. Then she pointed to the lamp. My jacket was on fire. 'Lesson learned. Don't leave your clothes on a lamp!' said my sister.

'I didn't leave that there!' I said.

'I know,' giggled my sister.

'I hate it when you do that,' I said, but then my mom came into my room and said,

'Don't curse at your sister!'

My sister made a face at me while my mom wasn't looking at me and set her electric gun to 105 volts of electricity. She reached out and electrocuted me. My hair flew up like a broom and I fell to ground. There was a loud THUD! My mom turned around and asked what happened. I would've said Amy electrocuted me but I couldn't open my lips apart.

My mom turned around and my sister said, 'Hey Alex one thing before I leave.'

'What?' I asked.

She reached out and she said to twins Max and John, 'You know what to do.'

The twins took out an electric gun and electrocuted me again, then they took a slingshot out of their pocket and flung some pebbles at me.

'Hey remember what else,' said Amy.

Then the twins took out some boxing gloves.I cracked up.

'HA!! Some 4 year olds are going to beat me up with boxing gloves!' I said.

I laughed as if I needed to laugh to survive!

'You shouldn't have said that,' said the twins.
Amy said, 'They're black belts in over 46 karate schools and battled 5 gorillas, 7 tigers, and 3 lions and won. They're also experts in over 79 gymnastic schools, pros in over 54 boxing classes, and professionals at soccer, baseball, basketball, and every other sport that requires speed and strength.'

'Pfft yeah right,' I said.

Max sneaked up behind me and flipped me over. I was lying down on the floor and they stepped on my stomach. I got up and they took Amy's electric gun. They kicked me in the knee and punched me in the face. They set the electric gun to 200 volts of electricity and stuck it in my shirt. As the electricity traveled through my body I was yelling, 'I HATE YOU!' between each ZAPP and BZZT! While the electricity was traveling through my body the twins practiced their Kung Fu. Amy grabbed the gun out of my shirt and turned it off.

'Eww I better wash your nasty germs off it,' said Amy.

She washed it in the sink but she didn't realize the warning on the back of it that said: DO NOT POUR LIQUIDS ON THIS!

'Huh what are those yellow zigzag beams around it?' said Amy.

Then she felt a little electric shock. She quickly threw it in my shirt and it electrocuted me like crazy. As the electricity flowed threw my body Amy took a basketball and threw at me. It hit me hard in the shoulder and I fell on the computer desk. The electricity from the computer traveled into my body.

'When you die can I read your diary?' asked Amy, as the electricity flowed through my body.

Then she grabbed the gun out of my shirt and quickly threw it out the window.

'That was a waste of 20 bucks,' said Amy.

Then John gave me an atomic wedgie.

'I am sooooo taking a video of this!' said Amy.

Max kicked me in the knee, John punched me in the face. John flipped me over and I fell out the window. I landed on top of a car and it rode to the dock. Everyone in the car got off and so did I.

'So I guess your going scuba diving too,' said someone who came out from the car.

We all walked onto a ship. Some guy at the ship gave me a scuba diving suit and told me to put it on. I put it on and he told me that I'm going scuba diving with the family in the car I landed on. But I couldn't believe the family didn't find out I was on their car. The man pushed me and the people I was swimming with off the boat. We dived down and I saw a dolphin. I held on to it's fin because I knew that dolphins are very gentle. Meanwhile, at home Amy and the twins were thinking of an excuse for where Max was.

But then Amy said, 'Wait why are we making an excuse so he doesn't get in trouble. Aren't we trying to get him into trouble? Why don't we tell Mom and Dad he sneaked out? That way he'll get in trouble.'

The twins agreed.
Meanwhile I was scuba diving I found something that looked like a UFO.

'LOOK!' I yelled. The people surrounded me.

'WOAH!' they all said at the same time.

Then I saw some broken buildings and a broken sign that said welcome to Atlantis. There were also broken machines that looked as if they were from the future

'Goodbye Todaysville and hello Tomorrow town!' I said.

'We found the lost city of Atlantis!' said one of the people from the family.

'We?!! Don't you mean I found it?' I said. He took out something that looked like my sister's electric gun.

'Stop trying to hog up all the credit!' he said.
'Doesn't that break in water?' I asked.

'No this is waterproof,' he said, 'So as I was saying, stop trying to get all the credit for finding Atlantis!' Then he set it to 205 volts and electrocuted me with it.

'HONEY!' yelled a lady who I think was the mom, 'Don't do that again! And by the way he did find it himself!' Meanwhile at home Amy and the twins were telling their dad that I sneaked out.

The dad was stupid so he yelled, 'MY SON IS MISSING!!'

Then he ran and fell out the window and landing on the neighbor's lawn. The lady who lived next door was mowing the lawn and she accidentally released the lawnmower and it went right over my dad. His clothes were all ripped into shreds and all he had on was his boxers. He ran onto the streets with his hands in the air yelling,


He ran onto the docks and the man who gave me the scuba diving suit handed one to my dad and told him to wear it. He pushed my dad into the water. My dad dived down and found me.

'What are you doing here?!' asked my dad.

'It's a long story,' I said, 'But I did find the lost city of Atlantis.'

We all swam into the lost city of Atlantis.

'HA!' said a boy named Wilson, 'There was technology like this before my grandmother's grandma was born and they call Atlantis advanced!'

'Oh yeah if you're so advanced show us what technology you have.' I said.

Wilson took out his electric gun and shot a building of Atlantis with it. The building fell and knocked down each other building. Then a shark appeared in front of us.

'Who dares disturb the lost city of Atlantis? Or should I say broken city of Atlantis,' said the shark.

Nobody answered.

'That's how you want it? Then fine!' said the shark.

A kraken, loch ness, and army of mermaids swam in front of us. There was also a merman with a crown. I was guessing he was the king of the mermaids but I was wrong; he was the king of the sea.

'ATTACK!' yelled the king of the sea.

I snatched the electric gun out of Wilson's hand and shot it at the sea monsters, shark, and mermaids.

'I forgot to tell you that certain underwater creatures don't feel electricity,' said the King.

We swam away and I dropped my (well, actually his) electric gun. It fell into the sand and sank deep into it. It kept sinking underwater/underground until it reached the ultimately hot heat. The combination of electricity and heat caused the sand from above to explode and make a hole. The sand from above exploded even more and then got bigger. It was like a black hole getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

Meanwhile, we were swimming until we saw and underwater cave. It was too small for the shark and the sea monsters to fit in. We swam inside and so did the mermaids. We kept swimming until we reached a dead end. We were doomed and there was nothing to do. The mermaids got closer and closer and closer and then

'AHHHH!' The mermaids screamed as I pulled out a pro's guide to hunting all sea creatures.

'He is a pro at hunting all sea creatures?!' said the king.

They all swam away in fear. Meanwhile the hole made from the underground explosion was getting bigger and rocks were falling in. When the rocks fell in the explosion made it shoot straight up out of the water. Everyone was at the dock watching the rocks shoot out of the water. We swam to the hole and someone named Derek said,

'What the heck is going on?!'

Then a nerd named Jackson said, 'Studies show that deep underground is hot enough to explode when mixed with electricity.'

'Huh?' I said.

'If someone dropped a source of electricity and it sank underground then made the dirt explode and the rocks are falling in and exploding and shooting into the air,' said Jackson.

Everyone looked at me since I was the one who took the electric gun.

'I accidentally dropped the electric gun,' I confessed.

'Well, we have to do something before some serious happens,' said Jackson.

Then a giant squid got stuck inside. It shot straight up out of the water and all the townspeople shrieked. My dad didn't hear a word we were saying and he was just swimming near the hole. Then he swam in the hole and got stuck in the rocks. I reached out to help him up but he accidentally pulled me in. I got stuck in the rocks and I could hear the rumbling. The explosion was probably going to be huge because the rumbling was loud. Then it started rumbling again but the rumbling sounded different. Then me and my dad started shaking and shot straight up into the air. We landed back into the hole. The hole got bigger and bigger and we kept shooting into the air and some of the rocks banged onto our heads. Then the shark and the sea monsters came. I wanted to take out my sea creature hunting manual so they could be afraid of me but I was stuck in the rocks. I needed a source of energy strong enough so that I can shoot straight up and hit the shark or sea monster but hit them hard. I held my breath and took off my air tank. I opened the cap and the air blew out then I shot straight up into the air. I hit the shark and flew out of the sea. I flew onto the dock with my air tank and took out my phone. I send a text message to Wilson. I thought he had a waterproof phone since he had a waterproof electric gun and he did.

My text message said, 'Open your CAP on the AIR TANK AND FLY to the Dock. Tell everyone ELSE 2 Do 1T.'

He told everyone to take the cap off their air tank and fly to the dock. They took the caps off their air tanks and flew to the dock. Then a baby shark arose from the water and floated in the air.

'We are the ghosts of Atlantis,' said the baby shark.

'Wait a minute there's only one of you and you're a sea creature not ghost,' I said.

Then a sea snake arose from the water and floated in the air.

'Well that explains your question about us and now your question about ghosts. You see long ago when Atlantis existed sea creatures didn't. Then Atlantis sank and we became sea creatures,' said the baby shark.

Then more sea creatures floated in the air, then a loch ness monster jumped out of the water.

'When will this adventure be over?!' I said.

'When you repair Atlantis' buildings,' said the sea snake.

'There's no way I could repair the buildings unless I go back in time and make this never happen,' I said.

'That's an excellent idea! We could lend you a time machine and you could go back in time but there is a better chance you will go in the future,' said the baby shark.

He swam down and took the time machine that I saw and swam back up with it. He threw it to me and he also threw an instruction manual. I went inside the time machine and Derek asked if he could come with me, so did Wilson. The time machine was pretty big so I said they could come. We all got in the time machine and I read the manual. It said to hit the green GO button.
So I pressed the GO button and a voice said,

'Now traveling to the future.'

'NO!' I yelled.

I hit the red button and I thought it was the stop button but I forgot that the red button is usually the bad button.

Then the voice said, 'Now traveling everything inside and around time machine to future.'

Then there was a flash of light and we all traveled to the future.

'You should've read the manual you idiot!' hissed the sea snake.

'It's the destroyer of Atlantis! I thought he was dead!' said a townsperson.

'Everyone get him!' yelled a townsperson. Everyone chased me and I ran. Then I tripped over a bug and everyone attacked me.

'I'll bite his leg and you'll pull his hair!' said a townsperson.

'Hey everybody, why use our fist and legs when we can beat him up with laser guns and electric guns.'

They shot their laser guns at me and electric guns. I ran into a portal and landed on a flying car. I stood up and slipped. I fell all the way down and landed flat on my face. The angry mob attacked me again. I managed to escape quietly and they didn't even realize that I left. Then we went back in the time machine and pressed the green GO button. Then we went further into the future. On the news (in the future) they were developing a project to fix the lost city of Atlantis. They also threw tomatos at me.

'That's what you get for breaking the lost city of Atlantis,' hissed the sea snake.

Everyone even Wilson, Derek, their parents, and my dad threw tomatos at me. The family threw it at me for getting them into this big adventure and the townspeople well of course for breaking the lost city of Atlantis. Then I woke up tied to a chair underwater.

'I guess you had a good sleep,' said the shark.

The family and my dad were also tied to a chair underwater.

'You thought you could get away but you couldn't,' said the kraken.

'We won and you lost,' said the loch ness monster.

'But wait if this was a dream does that mean the hole that got bigger and bigger is not real?' I asked.

'Nope,' said the king of the sea.

'Good to know,' said Wilson.

'You know what to do,' I said.

He took out his electric gun and zapped the rope right off. He did it to everyone elses rope too. I grabbed a fish that was swimming by and took Wilson's electric gun. I cooked the fish with the electric gun and tossed onto the kraken. The shark tried to bite the kraken but the kraken threw it to a mermaid. They kept tossing it around so the shark wouldn't bite them. But I remembered that the adventure wouldn't be over until I fixed the lost city of Atlantis. Then I remembered the time machine. I told everyone (except the enemies of course) to follow me. We swam over to where I found the UFO. I went inside and searched for the manual. It said it could only go to the future. I pressed the green button and it teleported into the future.

I took a grow gun 3000 from the future and went in a time machine that was from the future but could go in both the past and future. I traveled back to my home time with the grow gun 3000.

'Everybody take their cap off your air tank and fly to the dock,' I told them.

We all flew to the dock and put the cap back on. I told them to wait and that I had a solution to this problem. I ran back to my house and asked my sister for her model of Atlantis. It was about 4 feet high.

'Give me 50 bucks and it's all yours,' said my sister.

I went to my wallet and took $50 from it and gave it to my sister. She handed me over her model of Atlantis then asked, 'Why are you wearing a scuba diving suit?'

'It's a long story,' I replied.

I ran back to dock with my model of Atlantis. I told them to swim back down and place the model of Atlantis on the underwater soil. I was lucky it didn't float. I shot the grow gun 3000 at it and it grew huge. The top of the building reached out of the sea.

'Now for the finishing touch,' I said.

I placed a sign that said, 'Welcome to Atlantis Hotel!' Then our air tanks were running out of air. We held our breaths as we sacrificed the last of our air and flew to the dock. But it was too late. We didn't have enough air left. We quickly swam to the surface and took a big gasp for air. We climbed back into the dock and the kraken's tentacle flew out of the water and smashed the dock. We held out breaths and sank underwater. I swam to the surface and went back onto the land. I asked the guy for 6 extra air tanks and he handed them over to me. I put one on and swam back down. I gave the extra ones to them.

Then the loch ness yelled, 'Atlantis isn't a hotel!'

'Why don't you just take off the sign?' I asked.

'Because fish are already swimming inside and taking up all the space!' yelled the loch ness monster.

Then the kraken kept trying to smack us with his massive tentacles. We ducked and we dodged and did whatever it took to not get hit (except dying, getting seriously hurt, or drowning). Then he smacked Wilson. Wilson fell as if he was drowning but he could still breathe. Then Derek got smacked by the kraken and fell just like Wilson. Then the parents and my dad got smacked by the kraken and I was the only one left. I did a high-pitched scream and the glass buildings of Atlantis shattered into a million tiny little pieces. The kraken covered its ears but my scream was too loud.

He swam away and yelled, 'SHUT UP ALREADY I GIVE UP!'

Then the loch ness monster came. I yelled but he roared even louder. Then I scattered fish bait all over the loch ness monster and the fish bit the loch ness monster trying to eat as many fish bait as they can.

'I swear I'll be back!' yelled the loch ness monster.

We swam back to the surface and all walked home. Then I got home and made my pillow 3 feet longer with the grow gun 3000. I hit my sister with it and she pushed me out the window. Then I landed on someone's car; someone who was going scuba diving....
(August 2008)

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The Rat Catcher

By Renee, 7, Penarth Vale, Wales, UK

Once upon a time there lived a rat called Henry. He lived with his two sisters and his two brothers, the two sisters were called Rita and Rachel. His two brothers were called William and Matthew.

One day he met a man, Henry asked the man his name,

'Well,' said the man, 'You shouldn't be asking me really. I'm the rat catcher and I'm going to CATCH YOU!!!'

Then in a flash he was after the young rat Henry. Then Henry dodged and darted and then hid amongst the rubbish. The rat catcher had dealt with young rats before so he put on a very nice voice and said,

'Come on out wherever you are,' it sounded like his mother.

So he peeped out he saw the rat catcher and realised it was him trying to trick the little rat so he quietly slipped away to home. His brothers and sisters were delighted to see him safe and sound.

'Where have you been?' they asked him.

He told his story over and over again. The next day he was in the Ratty Gazette. Then when his sisters and brothers read it they ran to tell their brother he was famous. He was thrown up in the air by his brothers and sisters. He received a very special and gleaming medal. He had a very special dinner it was roast potato, peas and milk for a drink, then they had pudding.
(August 2008)

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Betsy's Garden

By Akhila, 6, Chicago, IL, USA

One day Betsy was going to school. When she got there Mrs. Dora, the Kindergarten teacher, was writing something on the board that said,

'We will be planting a garden!'.

'Hello class!' said Mrs. Dora. 'Over the weekend we will be planting a garden. Does anyone have a question?'

Daisy raised her hand. 'What is a garden?' she asked curiously. 'A garden is a little place where you grow vegetables and plants and trees', replied Mrs. Dora.

When Betsy got home her mom made her some jelly sandwiches.

'What happened at school today?' asked her mom.

The next day Betsy started on her garden. She planted a rose. Then she gave it some soil and fertilizer, and water. Everyday she watered the plant and took good care of it. She saw that it got plenty of sunlight.

Then plant day arrived. Betsy brought her plant to school. The plant experts came.

'The award goes to the pink rose'.

And the pink rose was Betsy's!

When Betsy got home, she could not wait to show her prize to her parents. She was proud of herself!

(August 2008)

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The Taxi.

By Alma, 11, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Liana had always been one of those kids with a perfect life, smart, beautiful and popular, nothing could ever go wrong.

But one day something happened...

It was June 15th, Liana's thirteenth birthday, her mother had stayed up till 12:00 am just to try and get the cake perfect while her dad was busy buying presents for his little angel.

Liana woke up at around 6 and by the way it was already bright and sunny and the birds were tweeting, she immediately assumed it was going to be a good day.

Liana skipped happily into her ensuite and opened the shower door. Slowly turning the hot and cold knobs Liana thought of all the presents her father could've bought her, Liana was spoilt and she knew it, always able to persuade her father she always got whatever she wanted and whenever she wanted it.

Liana's beautiful features twisted into a grin at the thought of what she wanted and she knew her father would've bought it.

'Oww!!' shrieked Liana as soon as her finger touched the boiling water. Immediately, she pulled her finger back and blew on it hoping it would cool it down. Finally, Liana got the water right and she stepped into the shower, the rushing water relaxing her instantly.

Liana smiled as her electric blue eyes slowly closed and she sang a small song to herself.

'I got your runaway smile in my piggybank baby, gonna cash it right in for a new Mercedes,' sang the beautiful voice of Liana to 'Heels over Head' by Boys like Girls, happily.

'You were worth a hundred thousand mile-' Liana was cut off by a sudden noise, it sounded like car wheels spinning dangerously fast against a road. Instantly, Liana's eyes opened to see a taxi crashing, Liana wasn't in her bathroom any more, hell, she wasn't even in her house!

She was wearing one of her favourite black dresses and her hair was neatly tied up in a bun. A small amount of eyeliner was lining her eyes, how she was suddenly all dressed up, honestly Liana had no clue.

The scene replayed again and as the taxi was skidding Liana noticed something, the girl in that taxi was her, the taxi crashed and Liana felt as if she was going on a big rollercoaster over and over again as she watched the horrifying image of her own self dying.

Liana rushed to the taxi and looked inside, her eyes widened and she slowly backed away...It really was Liana, but the taxi driver wasn't a human, no way was he a human. There were two glistening white fangs sprouting from his gums, he was scarily pale and his face didn't have a single flaw on it.
Liana pinched herself, she was going mad, there was no such thing as vampires! Was there?

Liana hesitantly walked up to the car and peeked inside, she could just see two small holes in her neck, Liana opened her mouth to scream but it never came out, and the taxi driver's eyes were opening.

It was as if Liana was suddenly glued to the ground, she couldn't move and there was no way she was just going to let something that doesn't even exist kill her, she had too much pride to do that, even if she suddenly couldn't move, there still had to be a way.

The Vampire's eyes fully opened revealing two deadly red eyes, blood rolling down his chin and jet black hair a mess, he slowly approached Liana letting out a small, dark, velvety chuckle. He swooped around to Liana's neck so close to biting her and draining the blood from her veins when suddenly it all disappeared.

Liana opened her eyes to find herself back in her shower at her own house.

'I..I..It was a dream?' she stuttered to herself.

Liana lifted her trembling finger and touched right where the man was so close to biting. Liana shrieked once again in a day, the spot was burning hot but it felt so cold. Liana shivered and shook her head as if the thoughts could just be thrown away and end up down the drain. Liana finished her shower, dressed and brushed her teeth making sure she wouldn't think of the horrifying images she'd witnessed.

'Liaaaanaaa, honey are you done?!' yelled the voices of May and Jon, Liana's parents.

'Coooomiiing!!' yelled Liana in response.

Liana ran down the stairs and was greeted by a hug from her parents.

'Happy birthday!' May and Jon shouted enthusiastically in unison.

Liana grinned and pointed at the presents.

'May I open?' asked Liana in a polite voice.

'Course you can angel!' Jon replied.

Liana ran to her presents and started tearing open one of the presents and her grin got wider. Liana jumped up to her mum and dad.

'OH MY GOD!! THANK YOUU!!!' screamed Liana gratefully, she had gotten a Red Motorolla phone, just what she wanted of course.

'We're sorry sweetie, but we have to run to the shops to buy some eggs for more of the party food,' Jon and May said, sickenly sweetly to Liana.

'Oh, that's okay!' exclaimed Liana, not really caring.

Jon and May left but they never came back. Two hours later Liana got curious, it definitely didn't take two hours to get some eggs!

Suddenly Liana heard a car. She hopefully jumped up and ran outside, but this car was a taxi. Liana was sure she saw her parents in the taxi and forgetting about the dream, she ran to the taxi and peered through the window, the car door wasn't locked and her parents were definitely in there.

Liana did the first thing that popped into her mind, she flung open the car door to see that her parents were not in the taxi but it was too late to run, somehow she was pushed in the taxi and the door closed and locked as soon as she was in.

The taxi drove off into mystery.

Nobody knows what happened to Liana, her parents or the taxi and I'm quite sure that like some other things this mystery will stay unsolved.
(August 2008)

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The Day I Would Like To Relive

By Donald, 15, Ireland

It was the day that I hope to ascend. My brothers ascended five years before me, I think I will ascend this week but my teachers think I mightn't because I am meant to be a late bloomer according to the headmaster.

When you ascend you are given your ascension name. My mother is Ifenham (fire), father is Ranaman (thunder), Ally is Cleywen (earth), Ned is Rallah (thunder like my father), Chris is Wideril (nature) and Joe Shiveron is (ice). The names are given by the power that lies inside you. The way to ascension is you must have a pure heart and you must prove yourself worthy enough to the Gods. Many people don't know the true way to ascend in proving yourself worthy to the Gods.

In today's world you are given your student number when you enter Edward Shash's School for the Gifted. On your special day you have to go to the Grand Hall and go up to the Headmaster. He will have a hat full of tickets and they all have a different task on them. I wasn't sure whether I would be allowed to ascend or not, it was a decision for the teachers to make. After all, they know my abilities better than I do; I just had to hope that they would put my name forward.

The big day finally arrived and we were all called to the Grand Hall. I was given number 241, the last student. So we all had to wait until our number was called and then we would be given our tasks. One and a half hours later my number was called out. I took a very deep breath ,slowly stood up and made my way to the front of the hall where a very thoughtful looking Headmaster was waiting for me, he took the ticket out of the hat and read, 'Defeat the evil force on Mont Mach-a-tika'. I walked back to my dorm looking and feeling down hearted. Calmly I tried to walk into my room and go to sleep without my friends knowing I was there but they were out and I made it to bed and finally dozed off to sleep.

The next day I woke up and was ready for my mission. Flame and Neo were standing by my bed staring at my ticket, looked at me and back to the ticket again,

'Friend, that stinks,' said Flame.

'Yeah man, that reeks,' said Neo.

'Sha man that is macho nonsense,' said Alphonse.

'Guys, I know, what did you all get?' I quizzed.

'Umm the same,' they all said.

'Oh, so are we all against each other?' I replied, sadly.

'No! We are to help you. We were out all night doing our tasks and we all ascended,' Flame explained.

'Cool, no way! Do you have your names?' I asked.

'Well, yes,' replied Neo.

'How come? I don't understand,' I said.

'We have been given our ascension names already. Our parents named us after our fathers's ascension names,' Alphonse burst out.

Silence fell on the room but then a knock banged on the door.

'Come in,' I said.

'Are you ready Master Kreta?' an old quivering voice said.

'Ryan, is that you?' we all asked.

'Yeah! How did you know it was me?' said Ryan.

'Why? Because you are so bad at faking voices!' Flame laughed.

'You have five minutes to get ready,' said Ryan.

I leaped out of bed to the shower; even warriors have to keep clean! I dried off and changed quickly into my battle gear. I started to wonder why I have three people coming to help me. Is it because they think I can't do it myself or is it the task is extremely dangerous? Thoughtfully I strolled with my friends to the entrance to the school getting a sad but confident send off.

I was worried about the task at hand because this really was the worst task you can be given in the history of ascension. It was not for the weak or scared. There was a buzz for the whole trip to Mont Mach-a-tika until we reached it. After a gruelling ten hour journey we stood there like statues looking up at this magnificent mountain, but we had to set up camp and get ready for sleep and be prepared for the next day.

The next day came quickly and we began to make our way to the foot of the mountain. To distract myself I tried to use a little bit of magic. I was trying to use the easiest wind move called Sonic Blast, but all that came out was a little putt and a wheeze!! The guys could hardly contain themselves and their laughter so I gave them a scowl and a crazy little fire breathing dragon and finally gave them Sonic Blast. I fired it at the little beast; it collided with the Blast and suddenly disappeared!! The guys applauded me and I bowed!

Suddenly a great roar came from the trees and a great giant armed Dragon appeared out of thin air. Flame summoned the Great Fire Phoenix, Neo summoned the Monstrous Earth Golem and Alphonse summoned the destructive Water Dragon. In my fright I summoned a little wind chicken that ran around and did absolutely nothing!!! What a disaster!!

'1, 2, 3 ATTACK!!!' shouted Flame.

The three great beasts let the dragon have it. The beast's attacks combined into one beam and crashed into the dragon. The beast crashed to the ground and suddenly flew back up onto its claws. It attacked my three friends and that made me really, really mad! I was even more enraged when it slashed Flame in the leg. My head started to split in two. My hair grew down my back and changed to a grey, white colour and my eyes turned a vivid white. Hair grew all over my body and my muscles grew all over my body and finally claws grew from the tops of my knuckles.

Finally after fourteen years of learning, training and understanding I had finally ascended to having a pure heart and friendship. All because I had tried to protect my friends fearlessly!!

I looked at myself and summoned the Almighty Wind Guardian and the battle of the Titans began. Huge blows were exchanged but then my guardian fell. I felt that a bullet just went into my chest. The Armed Dragon drew near to me; I mastered all of the strength in my body to finish the creature off with my special gift, the Howling Fist. I rose to the heavens and nose dived straight for the dragon, I hit with such velocity and my claws fully extended that the dragon cracked and fell apart and all that was left was a little baby dragon and not frightening at all!!

I dropped to the ground with pain. Flame, Neo and Alphonse picked me up, gave me big thumps on my back, ouch! And they helped to carry me home to a hero's banquet.

That was the day I would like to relive. My name is Carlos and my ascendant name is Derina, Lord of Wind.
(August 2008)

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Japanese Internment Camps during WWII

By Amber, 13, Kilauea, Hawaii

A view on the Japanese Internment Camps during WWII.

Why am I forced out of my house? Why do I have to leave my toys, my friends, my clothes, my bed and my school? Why do I have to leave the things that make me happy?

Even though I am Japanese-American I am still American. Where is the justice? Don't I have the same rights?

On my way to the desert. I arrive. There are thousands of people. It's dark. Fences and barbed wire are my new home. It looks dusty, brown, dry and dead. Horse stalls are our homes. There are no walls or furniture. I sleep on straw and a sheet for a cover. It is very loud. Thousands of people in one room. Babies are crying all night and keep us awake. I hide my tears. People are frustrated because there is nothing to do. We never are lonely but never get to be alone either. Guards are watching us all the time.

I want to take a shower but I have to wait in line for hours. Same thing for the bathroom. The food is horrible, plain, not much variety. I feel like I am in prison. I miss pancakes, my house, being alone, and my life.

It's not fair to segregate people!
(August 2008)

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Hershey and Ginger

By Amber , 13, Kilauea, Hawaii

Hershey is a small Pekingese dog. She has an extravagant long, straight, silky, flowing coat. Her fur is dark brown, her face is also dark and her nose is wrinkled. She also has long furry ears. She's a very small dog. Her height is only 6 inches and weighs only 7 pounds. She needs to play a lot because she has lots of energy. She is still a puppy and only a year old.

Now Ginger, the Great Dane, on the other hand is way different. She has short, thick, shiny close fitting hair. She is fawn colored, and she doesn't bark much. She is much larger than Hershey, 32 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She needs plenty of exercise because she is also a puppy and only a year and a half.

They are so different. But are best friends.

One cold, dark, rainy day, both Ginger and Hershey wanted to go to the beach but they couldn't because the weather was so bad. Hershey decided that they could play at her house. Ginger liked that idea and they both went running to Hershey's house.

The only problem was Ginger couldn't fit inside of Hershey's house and she was stuck sad out in the rain. Hershey started talking to Ginger asking what she wanted to do, but there was no answer!

'Ginger, where are you?' asked Hershey, looking franticly for Ginger. She realized that Ginger wasn't there. Hershey looked out the window of the doghouse and saw Ginger outside, wet
and very sad.

Hershey went running outside as fast as she could and asked, 'Ginger why didn't you come inside?'

Ginger answered, 'I couldn't fit in the door of your dog house. I'm way too big and now I'm really hungry.'

Hershey says, 'Why don't we go to your house?'

Ginger is so excited with that idea that they went running off together to Hershey's house.

They arrived at Ginger's house soon after. Hershey could not believe how big it was.

'Wow Ginger! Your house is huge!'

But to Ginger, her house seemed almost too small for her. Hershey had to struggle to get up the huge stairs going into her house. When they got into the house Ginger offered Hershey a bone. When she handed Hershey the bone it was so big that Hershey couldn't even hold it.

'Jeez Ginger! I can't even hold this!'

Hershey looked over at Ginger and Ginger's bone was almost gone.

Ginger looked over at Hershey and said, 'That was a great bone but I wish it was bigger.'

Hershey was so hungry but the bone was too big and so hard her little teeth couldn't eat it. Ginger and Hershey walked outside feeling sad because they couldn't find fun things to do together. They looked up and saw that the storm had passed and the sun was out.

They looked at each other and said, 'What should we do?'

They looked at each other with big eyes as if they had read each others minds and said, 'Lets go to the beach!'

They grabbed their beach ball and went running as fast as they could to the beach to play in the water. For the first time in a while they had found something they could do together. They had the most fun day at the beach.
(August 2008)

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The Accident

By Hannah, 10, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

I was in BIG trouble. Very big trouble. This is how it happened.

Well, first of all my parents (Mr and Mrs Grenet) own a very popular museum. My Mum would never allow any of the sculptures to be touched. The consequence was BIG if you did touch them. My Mum is very strict. She only likes smart kids. And obviously I am not a smart kid. She spends all her money on my younger brother Tim because he got a principal's award twice in a row. Oh well, back to the story.

One day Mum and Dad had a day off work so they decided to go to a fancy restaurant and then go to the beach. What I got to do was not fun. I had to paint the museum. The museum was huge so I knew it would take a day at the least.

'Rory, don't touch any sculptures or spill any paint on them otherwise you're GROUNDED!' Mum said with a look that showed her lack of trust.

'Yes Mum, I won't do anything to the sculptures, not even a scratch.'

'Good boy, now get to work! We will be back at 8:00 pm. Order some pizza for dinner. And remember to avoid accidents, ok?' Mum yelled, from in the car as she drove away.

Mum treats me as if I'm in the Army! She has been doing that since I was four! Now, what colour did Mum say I was supposed to paint the museum? I can't remember. I think it was light green. I'll go down to the paint store and get some, I thought.

20 minutes later I was back in the museum starting to paint the boring brown walls. I was on the ladder at the bottom step. 5 minutes later I was on the next step. 10 minutes later I was on the third step. 20 minutes later I was on the last step. 4 hours later I had painted all the walls a nice shiny light green colour. It looked wonderful.

'My job has finished! Oh wait, I have to do the roof! How am I going to do that?! It's really dangerous! I know, there is a hook over there on the ceiling! I can tie a rope onto there and hang from it and paint the roof! I know Mum has told me not to paint the roof but I will do it anyway to impress her!' I thought, with a smart smile.

I went down to the emergency cupboard and got out a long rope. I then climbed up the ladder to tie the rope on to the hook.

'The knot won't come out because I took a lesson on tying knots,' I said, to myself.

I hopped on the rope and struggled to climb up. My face went red and sweat poured down my face. The problem was that I wasn't very fit. It took a while for me to climb up to the top of the rope. By the time I had, my face was shiny with sweat; you could have collected a whole cup of sweat from my boiling, red face. I was ALSO puffing so hard that I could hardly breathe! After 10 minutes of painting the roof I got really dehydrated from losing too much of my water when I was sweating.

'I,' puff, 'need, 'puff, 'water!' I said.

I slid down the rope to the icy cold sky with the coke inside it. I wasn't looking at what was below me when I hit the wooden floor.

'Splashhh!' The paint went everywhere! The paint tub flew up into the air (I had accidentally kicked it) and went all over me.

'Oh well, Mum and Dad aren't coming back for another 6 hours! I'll go and have a shower and clean up the paint on the floor.'

So I walked across the street to my house, had a warm soothing shower, then rang Mum and Dad.

I dialled in their mobile number; 0497856942. The phone started to ring. Ringggggg, Ringggggg.

'Hello? This is Margaret Grenet, who is calling, may I ask?' Asked Mum on the phone.

'It's me Mum. How's your day been?' I answered.

'Good son, is the painting going well dear?'

'Yep, I've finished it,' I replied, trying to not talk about the accident.

'That's good honey. I have to go now. See you later! Bye!' Said Mum.

'Bye!' Beep, beep, beep.

I hung up the phone and walked back to the museum to try and finish the job. I started to climb up the rope (I was getting used to going up and down the rope for drinks). It was a very hard job. I had almost finished the roof when I started to notice that the knot was starting to unknot. Suddenly I fell to the ground with a big THUD!

'Owwwwww!' I yelled.

I had crashed into one of the sculptures and broke it!

'Oh no! My back hurts so much, and so does my ankle, I think I've sprained it!'

I lay there for the rest of the day waiting for Mum and Dad to come home. It was agony! Suddenly I heard a car pulling into the car park.

Mum and Dad walked in and saw me on the floor with red, puffy eyes because I had been crying (from the pain and me knowing that I was in trouble). And they also saw the shiny light green walls and the broken sculpture of the famous Ned Kelly. Their faces turned red with anger.

'Why did you have to break Ned Kelly? Do you know how much he meant to this museum? This territory? This country? THIS CONTINENT!' Dad yelled at me.

'You're GROUNDED! Why did you paint the walls green? That colour stands out a lot, it's not a respectable colour for a cultural museum, we said we wanted black walls, and I told you NOT to paint the ceiling, you could and have been injured! Honey bun, ring the doctor. Now tell me Rory, does this hurt?' Mum said, while lightly pressing on my ankle.

'Yes,' I answered, 'sorry Mum.'

'It's ok darling, the doctor will be here soon,' Mum assured me, calming down slightly.

So that's what happened. The doctor came, my foot was broken, AND on top of all that I was grounded for a whole month. Some pretty bad consequences for not obeying your parents. Well, I'll be thinking a little differently next time my parents warn me not to do something. Yes, I will obey my parents.
(August 2008)

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Let's Steal the Queen

By Nicole, 10, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

It was damp and spooky in Medieval City. The Wormwoods were really frightened. It was the night of the head chopping ceremony. The Queen had planned to chop the head off a member of the Wormwood family. They were all dreading it so much. Harry Wormwood, the father of the family was getting his head chopped of. He had stolen the Queen's jewels so all the family could be rich.

The family had arrived at the Hills of Dread, where the head chopping ceremony would be held. Everyone that came was shouting and screaming with joy. When Mr Wormwood stood up on the podium, he looked up at the man with the bag over his head. Mr Wormwood put his head in the piece of wood and CHOP!!!!!!!!!!!!! His head fell on the ground with a thump.

The whole family cried their hearts out but everyone else was celebrating. It was heart breaking for the Wormwood family.

When the Wormwoods got home, they went into the lounge and started to plot their revenge on the Queen.

The next day, Mrs Wormwood put the children to school. She made her way to the palace. She got a piece of rope out of the cart and started to climb up the side of the wall. She went in the window and sneaked down the hall. She stopped at the door that said 'The Queen's Room'. She put her hand round the corner and sneaked in. The room was beautiful with ornaments and a marble dressing table. The Queen was still sleeping so it made it easy for Mrs Wormwood. She grabbed the Queen and ran out as fast as she could out of the place. Mrs Wormwood put the Queen into the back of the cart and galloped away.

When she got home, she threw the Queen into the closet and sat down as if nothing had happened.

A few days later, the Queen's Royal Guards had a search for the kidnapper and the Queen, and came to every house in the kingdom. Finally, the police came to the Wormwoods household and searched top to bottom. At last they found the Queen and arrested Mrs Wormwood and the children hoped that their mum wasn't going to get executed. But the Queen suggested that Mrs Wormwood had to get executed.

The next morning, they arrived at the Hills of Dread, but this time it was done all of a sudden. CHOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And there was never again trouble in Medieval City.

Until the children grew up!
(August 2008)

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The Magic Star

By Jamie, 9, TN, USA

Today, I saw a twinkling star! I walked outside on the porch. I wanted to touch it. But it was too far away. Then, it fell into the yard! It began to grow and glow even brighter! It had broken right down the middle! I found the piece and sat down in the middle. It began to lift off the ground! It went over the ocean!

I came to a wonderful place that was filled with stars! I saw it begin to snow! I saw small figures in red and green! I saw something else...Santa! The star began to lower. It pushed me off. I fell down. Santa picked me up. I got to stay at his workshop until he left for the sky. He made a place for me in his sleigh. Mrs. Clause gave us some cookies, before we left.

Santa took me back to my house. He took me back to my room and tucked me in to go to sleep. He sprinkled some magic on my head. Then, I fell asleep. The next day I had twenty two presents under the tree! Santa came back! Mom and Dad looked at each other. I knew it was my magic star!

The End
(August 2008)

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Princess of Aslan

By Kayla, 12, OH, USA

In a land named Aslan, a princess named Penny walked through a field. The bright green grass brushed her feet. Her long, dark red hair gently flapping behind her as she walked on that windy day. Her bright blue dress also followed behind her. Being the princess of Aslan, she wasn't the most popular girl. Not many people payed attention to her. Tomorrow would be her sixteenth birthday. She hoped that someone would give her some attention. Kneeling down, she took a little purple glass out of the belt loop of her dress. Taking a sip, thinking it was her usual medication to fix her misery, she immediately fell back into the tall grass. In the vial was a sleeping potion, whose recipe was known to a wide variety of people. Penny was alone with no one knowing where she was.

A man, who was immensely small for his age, came out of the nearby forest brush and seized Penny's ankles. He tugged and tugged, finally bringing her to the forest brush. Through the woods he moved, until nightfall struck. Finally, the little man reached a log cabin lit up and a rolling chimney on the roof. Ripping the door open, he tugged Penny inside and laid her on the couch. He was the only person who knew Penny's secret. He knew that she wasn't a princess, but yet a star. She wore an amulet around her neck that was multi-colored, which if broken killed Penny.

Penny woke the next morning. Looking around, she came across a chest. She stood up and snatched the chest in curiosity. Penny opened the chest to find a glowing piece of something. The man hurried to the room, grabbed the chest, and shoved it into his left coat pocket.

'Hello,' said the squat, little man.

'Hello to you,' answered Penny.

The man looked at her,' I know your secret, and I am not afraid to tell anyone.'

'Oh,' said Penny, astonished, 'how do you know?'

'You told me when you were young,' he answered.

Penny and the man sat and talked. When happy, Penny would light up like a star depending on how happy she was. The man had made Penny so happy, he had to put on sunscreen and sunglasses.

'So, you do know me,' laughed Penny.

'Yes,' said the man,' I also do know you do not have a place to live and you sleep on the hills of Aslan. Also you would like to stay here.'

'Why, yes,' replied Penny, in astonishment.

Penny continued to stay with the man in a spare room in his home. In the chest were the remains of the last star that the man suckered into his foolish kindness. Penny soon figured out that the man, who she figured out his name Humanika, was an evil little liar. He almost got to get Penny's star, but she left. She moved back to the Aslan hills and established her own life.
(August 2008)

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The Attic

By Ellen, 12, N.Ireland

I am very excited. This is the first time that I have ever moved house. I wonder what it would be like, to live in a whole different place than you are used to. Having to lie on a new bed, in a new room, it will be strange. There was a girl at school who moved house and it was never the same again. I walk around my house, looking at the bare walls and trying to remember memories that I had once lived. I smile, my eyes widening. I remember all the Christmases and birthdays that I have spent here. I walk out of the door and close it with one more look around. I walk over to the car and sit down wondering what my new house will be like.

Driving past all the houses in my new street, it was exhilarating. There are children playing in their gardens, sitting on benches, but there were also chatting. There is a girl who looks about ten years old. She is skipping merrily along the street, her long, fair, hair flying in the light breeze and well, she looks happy. My first impressions are that this place, my new street is attractive, but also looks friendly, like a place you could play in but also that you can be proud of.

It feels as if we are driving forever until we reach a house at the end of the road. It is beautiful. It's like a fairy-tale house. I remember when I was a baby or a toddler and I would get read fairy-tales by my parents, I would see houses like this. It has honey-suckle flowers hanging around the door-frame and colour flowers beside a neatly cut bush. It has French, white pane windows. A white door, with two panes of wood crossing each other at an angle. There is a trestle at the side of the house. It has white wood and colourful flowers. I stare for a few minutes, not realising that my parents have gone inside.

I have to run after them, but as I enter the house, I have to stop and stare. It is absolutely amazing. It is so different form the outside of the house, in a good way. The outside of the house is very old fashioned, but also in a good way. It is cosy, but as soon as you step inside, it is very ultra-modern. The walls are amazing. They are truly indescribable.

My mum, my dad and me all start to explore. I first walk into the kitchen. I open my mouth and start to scream. It is amazing! It has every device you need or could ever need. I know that my mum would fall in love with it as soon as she sees it. I love the fridge. It is American-style and has a built in water and ice dispenser. Wow! I better get out of here before I fall in love any more.

I slowly walk into the sitting room, knowing that it could never live up to the kitchen. I look around and it is also amazing. My eyes immediately catch onto the sofa. I sit down on it excitedly. It is so soft and luxurious. I am officially on a cloud. I can't believe it; this house is just too amazing. I forget about the rest of the rooms and run straight up the stairs to look at my new bedroom. I love it, it is so amazing. It is big, but not too big. The walls are painted in a pattern. One is pink and the opposite is pink, the other two are lilac. I love it. I sit down on the bed. Within minutes I am bored. I then realise that there is nothing to do. All my books, my computer and everything are still not here. I go out and try to find my mum and dad.

I know where to find my mum; I bump into her in the kitchen.

'Mum?' I said.

'Yes, darling.' I don't even think she is really listening to me properly too busy sorting out the kitchen.

'Mum, will you take me up to the attic?'

'Oh sweetheart, I am busy and I hate attics, would you go ask your father?'

'Fine then!' I said, huffily.

I storm out of the room furiously. I have to look everywhere to find my daddy, but I find him in the upstairs bathroom looking at the taps. How strange.

'Daddy,' I said, rather sweetly.

'Yes, darling,' answered my daddy, not concentrating on me.

'Would you take me up to the attic, please?' I beg him.

'Yes, actually I was hoping we would do it later, but now is alright as well!'

I am very pleased with myself. I follow my daddy out of the bathroom and over to the trap door. He pulls down the ladder and begins to walk up the stairs. I also walk up the wooden, creaky, old stairs behind my daddy. The stairs are so long and steep. We eventually reach the attic and go inside.

The attic is not like any other room in the entire house. My dad immediately put on the light-bulb. As soon as it went on, it flickered on and off. Also the first thing I noticed was that the attic was jam-packed full of stuff as if someone still lived here.

'Dad, is this our stuff?' I asked, puzzled.

'Erm...No, it isn't.!' My dad said, also puzzled.

I immediately push in front of my dad and start exploring. My dad gives in and starts exploring too. I can hear tiny feet running, slowly and softly across the floorboards and even now and then see lots of insects in groups. The attic is incredibly smelly, dark, dirty and dusty. It is very scary. The floorboards really give it a scary atmosphere. They are made out of old wood and are very creaky. I hate having to take steps each time. I see some photo albums and immediately pick them up. There are a lot of them and they are very heavy. They are big too. I pick a few up at a time (to save time) and try to look inside. Behind the books, I look to see what there is.

I am immediately silenced. I see in front of me, a dead body. There are rats covering him, biting on his skin. At this moment I feel so frightened but very inquisitive. I look in front and I see this helpless man looking into my eyes. He has his head to the left side of his body and his eyes wide open. I try and look straight through them, but I see a bleak and black world so I immediately stop looking at him. I scream, my silence is now broken.

'Darling, what is it?' My dad comes over too me. He looks down. 'Emily, downstairs now!' My dad whispered.

I immediately run down the steps as fast as my feet can carry me.

'MUM, MUM!' I scream at the top of my lungs.

'Emily, darling, what's wrong?'

'D...D...Dead B...B....Body!' I say in a tiny whisper.

'Darling, where is this dead body then?' My mum replied, in a disbelieving tone.

'A...AT...ATTIC!' I eventually scream. It looks as if my mum believes me.

'Oh, my poor baby,' she says, cuddling me into her.

After a minute of us cuddling close, I began to choke on her musky perfume. My mum let go of me and my dad appears.

'Let's phone the police, quickly,' he says.

My dad stands there motionless and lifeless as he stares into space while my mother phones the police.

'Dad,' I whisper, my voice no higher than a mouse's squeak. I wait for his reply before I continue, but he doesn't move at all.

'Dad, I'm scared!'

'Oh, darling, you are only a baby, my baby,' my dad comes down the stairs and pulls me close.

'I'm not a baby, I am thirteen years old.'

'Inside, you will always be my baby.'

My dad mumbles some more things under his breath, but I just stand here thinking.

My mum reappears and only a few minutes later, the police arrive. My mum opens the door and I notice that she is shaking.

'Hello, I am D.C.I Samantha Johnson and this is my colleague D.C.I Lee Jones.'

They both produce badges to prove their identity. My mum invited the police officers in and offered them drinks. They were both very polite and refused any food and drink.

'Excuse me, we would really like to view the dead body.'

They said with an irritated expression on their faces.

'Of course, my husband will show you while, my daughter and I stay downstairs.'

The police officers follow my dad up stairs while I worry down-stairs. I look around the house, now it doesn't look so impressive. It seems to have changed drastically in the last half and hour.

'Mum, what will happen, now,' I said, scared at all the possibilities that she could say.

'Darling, I really don't know,' she says this with a sorrowful look on her face.

About ten minutes later, my dad appears with the two officers. One is on their police radios. I only catch briefly what he is saying. I think that it is something about it not being a hoax and more officers are needed as well as forensics, police officers and an ambulance. Samantha walks over to my mum.

'We think it would be best for the little girl to be taken off the scene, maybe to a close friend's, or relative's house.'

She says this to my mum without even looking at me. How dare she? What age does she think I am? Five! My mum doesn't reply, but gives a mere nod.

'Emily, we will all have to go to Aunt Sally's for a couple of nights.'

I hate going to Aunt Sally's house. She has two children, Jessica and Julia. They also try and act so perfect and whenever the adults aren't looking they are so mean to me. Always saying horrible things and even punching me if they feel like it!

Sitting in the car on the way to Aunt Sally's house, I feel terrible, very deflated. As if all my excitement has somehow been taken out of me, just like in a bouncy castle. My mum and dad sit in the front trying to act happy and cheerful, just as if this whole mess never happened. They might put their head in the sand, but I'm not. Someone was murdered and I am going to find out who murdered him. This will keep my mind on something for a while. It is just my luck that it happens to be my summer holidays.

By the time we get to Aunt Sally's house, it is nearly dark and I am feeling so tired. Aunt Sally is waiting outside with a big smile on her face and with my two perfect cousins. They are wearing their best clothes and smiling sweetly. My parents get out of the car. I can see that my mum is still shaking. My dad opens my door. I walk out feeling too weak and tired to have to fight with my cousins.

'Darling, Darlings,' Aunt Sally says kissing my mum and dad on both their cheeks.

As usual she ignores me. She is wearing a fashion disaster. A pink and red top and a pair of purple cords with some sort of oval shaped hat on her head. Jessica walks over to me, Julia close behind her.

'Hello, Emily. I heard you have had quite a shock today. Before I continue. I must warn you, if you touch any of my stuff, you will be living next to that body you saw. Got it?!'

I nod, unable to speak, surprised at how cruel, she has become. Julia just stands behind her smiling sweetly.

'Oh, how generous of you,' Julia said this to Jessica, giving the impression Jessica was being nice.

My parents walk into the house and I am not far behind them. I love Sally's house because it has the feeling of warmth, but it is so far from that. I walk slowly in. I'm actually quite surprised at how little I am shaking. I don't feel scared, as I should. I should feel as if the world is dark, bleak and black, but surprisingly I don't.

'Hello,' I look up and see my mum smiling down at me, 'I know this isn't the best of times, especially staying here, but there really is no other option. I would rather we were at home, but it has been sold and there is no going back.'

My mum finishes off with a big smile. I try to smile back, but it really it is hopeless.

Having to sit at this kitchen table with these people is like watching paint dry. I hate it. Aunt Sally is busy telling mum all about Julia and Jessica's latest achievements and how my mum should get me involved in after school activities. My mum is smiling and nodding politely, but I know she isn't even listening to a word of it because every now and then she glances at me. I slowly eat my dinner. Aunt Sally made her famous stew. Personally, I think it is famous for being the most disgusting food that you could ever taste. It sticks to your teeth like glue. My dad is just sitting beside my mum, slowly eating, and trying to swallow his food without being sick. Altogether, I really haven't been any more bored in my whole life!

'Emily, you will be sharing a bedroom with Jessica. I think it is about time you went to bed,' my Aunt said this with a fake smile on her face.

I look at the clock and realised that it was only half past eight.

'Aunt Sally, I don't mean to be rude, but I am thirteen years old, not seven. Could we maybe stay up for another hour or two?' I said this as politely as I could, but I could see that my Auntie was trying to keep her temper under control.

'Emily, in my house you will live under my rules, now please would you get to bed before I have to talk to your mother about your insolence!' My aunt said this with gritted teeth!

I slowly walk up the stairs and I can hear my cousins laughing behind me. I really hate this, why do they have to be so mean. I trip on the top stair over a book, which looks like it has been placed there. I slowly walk into Jessica's room feeling tired and weak and really not wanting an argument tonight.

'You can sleep in the top bunk bed, I will sleep on the bottom.'

Without arguing I climbed into bed and tried to get to sleep. I closed my eyes and soothed myself. Every time I tried to close my eyes, I saw him, just lying there, on the floor. After about half an hour of this torture, I eventually decide to get up. I stumble around the room in the dark until I find my suitcase. I eventually find it and look inside for a few sheets of paper and a black marker. I draw a table of all the reasons why someone would want to murder someone and then I make a spider diagram with the murder suspect wrote in the middle. I will use this for all the information I receive on this man and why someone would want to kill him. I feel happier now that I have started my investigation and now I can sleep peacefully.

I wake up feeling fresh and relaxed and ready for any opportunity to find out more about the dead body.

'EMILY!' I heard my aunt shout, 'BREAKFAST!'

I immediately get the feeling that everything is not going to plan. I walk down stairs, after I finally got dressed and sit at the breakfast table.

'Emily,' my mum comes over to me and gives me a big hug, 'the police were on the phone and we can move back in tonight as long as the forensics finish and they should do, today.'

'Mum, that's great. Are you sure you want to move back in?'

'Darling, we have nowhere else to go and I know that you don't want to stay here any more then me!'

'Thanks mum. I love you so much!'

'I love you too.'

I feel happy, especially after my mum and I have a big hug. Maybe things will go to plan.

The day goes so quickly, all I can think about is that poor man, his family and what I am going to do about it. At about half past seven, I get ready to watch Coronation Street with my mum, when the phone rings. My mum gets up and answers it. I know what it is, the forensics phone call.

'Emily, that was the forensics and they said that we can move back in to the house.'

I laugh out loud and my mum just looks at me.

'That's really great.'

I go upstairs and find my suitcase and get together all my investigation paper.

In the car, on my way home, I feel weird. It's strange, how this time two days ago, I didn't want to leave my old house behind and now, well my new house is my home. I also feel strange because this time two days ago I didn't know that man existed and it really opened my eyes. In a good way, I think.

Arriving at the house, made me feel warm and get butterflies inside, like when you are on a roller coaster on a very warm day and are getting ready to go down a big hill. It is a nice feeling. I get my suitcase out of the car and follow my parents into the house.

There was a police officer waiting in the kitchen, she was drinking tea and eating our biscuits!

'Hello, I am P.C Watson, I am here to tell you that everything is safe, and that you are all permitted to live here.'

'Thank you, P.C Watson.' My mum said this with gritted teeth because she was eating her favourite biscuits, ginger nuts.

'I will show myself out.'

So we are home, and I don't feel any safer.

'Daddy, mummy, will you come around the houses tomorrow, so I can find more information about this dead body?' I said this with my eye lashes fluttering and also with puppy dog eyes.

'Emily, I don't think it would be very sympathetic to go around the street and annoy people with asking them questions.'

I just look at my mum, once my dad finished and pleaded with her through my eyes.

'Also, we don't know what the people are like around here, it might not be safe,' my mum added in her best reasonable voice.

'Well, I don't care. I am going to go without you all!'

I left the room, well, they thought I left the room. I stood outside and listened in.

'I suppose we better go with her, she is a strong willed person.'

My mum and dad admitted defeat. I ran up stairs, excited at the thought of being a detective for a day or two. I go into my new room and realise that this is my first time to sleep in it. I lie down on the bed and within a few minutes I am sound asleep.

I wake up feeling fresh and relaxed. I am also a little bit nervous. I immediately get dressed. I am wearing these amazing jeans with a new pink top. I run downstairs ready to get my breakfast. My parents are sitting at the kitchen table, fully dressed.

'Good morning,' my mum croaked, holding her first cup of coffee of the day.

'Good morning, mum. What time are we going to investigate at?'

'Give everyone a chance to wake up.'

I feel so annoyed that I have to wait an extra few hours until I can begin my work.

I get my breakfast and then run back up into my bedroom. I write down questions in my new notebook, that I would like to ask people. At about two 'o' clock I go downstairs and finally set out to question the people of the street, my parents close behind me.I knock on the door at the end of the street.

'Hello, I am carrying out an investigation and I was wondering if you would mind answering a few questions for me?'

'What is this? NO, I will not!' And he slammed the door in my face.

This is going to be harder than I thought. I move to the next house, my parents at each side of me. A tall man, with scruffy, blonde hair answers the door. He is wearing a pair of casual jeans and a red t-shirt, but there is something about him that makes him special.

'Hey, you must be the new neighbours, I'm Adam,' said the man leaning against the door frame.

'Hi, I'm Emily, this is my dad, Rob, and my mum, Sarah.'

I try to say this very politely, but also quite friendly.

'It is very nice to meet you all.'

'We were hoping to ask you a few questions, if you don't mind?'

'Why, of course. Come in.' My parents and I walk in after him. I see the expressions on my parents face, they look worried. My eyes immediately wander around the house. There are so many paintings, of everything that you could imagine. We stop at the kitchen and he offers a seat to each of us, as well as tea, coffee, biscuits and juice.

'Now, what would you like to ask me?'

'I am making a few enquiries and I was wondering what you knew about a certain dead body found at number thirty-seven?'

'James,' he whispered.

'I'm sorry if we have upset you,' my dad added in to be polite.

'No, no you haven't. James was an old friend. To be honest we were best friends, we really knew everything about each other.'

'When did he disappear?'

'Oh, it must be about three years ago. It has one of the hardest things to overcome. I must have been a wreck.'

'Must have?'

'I mean I was a wreck. I couldn't eat or sleep for days. After twenty four hours we reported him missing.'


'Yes, his wife, me and my wife. It was very traumatic for her. My wife gave great help and sympathy towards her.'

He suddenly stopped and broke down into tears. He took a seat at the table. My parents and I were speechless. I didn't know what to say or do. I have never seen before, a grown man cry.

'My wife,' he continued, 'disappeared a number of days after James. His wife and I were very sorrowful...No I do not know why I have to explain myself to a child who I do not know! Please leave!'

'I am very sorry that we interrupted you,' my mum said, also politely.

We walked quickly out of his house. Beside the number of his house, in my notebook, I wrote his name and what I thought, very suspicious, but I suppose his wife disappeared, so it probably was very sad and also traumatic for him.

I knock on the next door, but it seems no one is in, I move onto the next house, still no one in. I come to the next house hoping that there is someone in. I knock three times and decide to move on, but as I am deciding to move on, a woman answers the door. She is carrying a toddler in one arm and an older looking child is standing beside her. I can hear someone calling from the kitchen to ask who it is, she just ignores him.

'Hello, my name is Emile and these are my parents, Rob and Sarah.'

'Hello, how are you all? My name is Mary.'

'Fine, thank you.'

'We were hoping to ask you a few questions.'

'Well, I am a bit busy, but I suppose I could if it is a bit important. Hold on! Are you from number thirty seven?'

'Yes, how did you know?'

'You better come inside, I will tell you everything.'

This struck me as a bit of a surprise. Why, would a grown woman think that she had to talk to a child? I followed her in, still with my parents behind me and she took us into the kitchen.

'This is my husband, Steve.'

'Hello, Steve,' my parents and I said this all at once.

'Hi, how are you folks doing?'

'Well, thank you.'

Mary turned around, rather rudely and said something to her husband. Again, just like Adam, Steve whispered James' name. Mary turned back around.

'Would you all mind waiting in the living room, while my husband and I get the children ready for a short nap?'

At that point my parents and I realised that it must be about five 'o'clock. We all walked into the living room and waited. After five minutes, I got a bit annoyed and I was about to get up, when they both walked in.

'Are you here to talk about James? Sorry, the dead body?' The woman began.

'Yes, we would like to ask you a few questions, if you don't mind?'

'Of course. Are you going around all the houses with your enquiries?'

'Yes, is that a problem?'

'No, well yes. Sort of. Be careful when you get to number thirty two!'


'That is were James' widow lives. Her name is Emma.'

'Thank you. How well did you know James?'

'Well, very well. My husband was one of his best friends and I was one of Emma's best friends. We were like two couples as very good friends. We were all very unhappy, not just emotionally, but physically.'

'What do you mean?'

'Don't, Mary!' Her husband, Steve added rudely.

'I'm sorry I don't know the point of this exercise. It is in the past,' Mary said, rather sadly.

She struck me as someone who liked a gossip.

'Alright, we will leave, but I was wondering if you could do something for me. Feel free to say no, it is quite personal. Do you have any written information about James or any photographs?'

After I said this, Mary looked very outraged. She left the room and about two minutes later, she returned with paper over flowing in her arms.

'Here, have all of this. My husband and I have nothing to hide, please get out of my house, before I have to throw you out!'

She dropped the paper into my lap. I picked it up and left, my parents ahead of me, for once. As soon as I got out of the house and the door was fully closed, my mum stopped me.

'Emily, you are getting yourself into a dangerous game and I want you to stop. Have some respect. A man has died. We are going home!' My mum said this in a very stern tone.

'Just one more house mum, please?'

'Alright, but this is the last one. We have already made a bad impression on the neighbours.'

'I pick house number thirty two!'

'Alright then.'

We all start walking towards the house and it is beginning to get dark. My parents seemed to have forgotten all about the woman who lives there.

Once we get to the house, I pray that she is in. I knock three times and on my third knock the door pushes open. It is very dark inside and I smell a strange smell coming from there. It is dusty and dark. My inquisitive side takes over me and I walk in.


My parents call in a whisper, but I do not turn back. My parents follow me in running. They catch up with me and tell me to come outside and go home. I don't do what they say and proceed on. It is dark and dusty, the walls seem to be black and made of the strangest wallpaper. It is very like an attic. It has a very supernatural atmosphere. There are bat shaped, chrome lights at the end of the long passage way. I slowly and carefully walk through the hallway. It feels more like a forest, it has an ice cold chill to it. I imagine that I hear sounds, owls hooting and the sound of birds flying about. I am about to approach the door at what seems like a never ending hall way.

When suddenly, a strange figure appeared and shouted, 'WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE!'

'Am sorry....the front door was open!' I said this with my hands shaking.

The figure then, turned on the lights. To my amazement the house seemed....normal. There were a few pictures on the walls. The wallpaper was a brightly-coloured yellow with some white.

'We better get going! We are so, so sorry,' my dad said this with great politeness as he had done so many times.

'No, no you are here now, what were you inquiring about?'

'James. We were inquiring about the dead body and if you knew him?'

'My husband.' She whispered this as did many others when I mentioned him.

'Oh, sorry you must be Emma.'

'Yes, yes I am. I suppose you will be wanting any old pictures or documents and a statement to where I was when he disappeared.'

'No one mentioned anything about statements.'

'Well I have nothing to hide!'

She left us standing in the hallway and came down with a neat file. It was colour co-ordinated for all of James' documents.

'Here, have them all, I'm not crazy. I promise I didn't murder him and I never wanted to,' she said this with her eyes widened and her mouth widened.

'I DIDN'T MURDER HIM!' She shouted this, but I sort of believed her.

'Thank you for the documents, I will look over them and return them to you tomorrow.'

My parents and I left the house. As soon as we got outside the lights went on in the house. My mum came down to my eye level.

'You have to promise me that you will never go back there, ever!'

I don't say anything; I just smile and walk on.

I have to stay up all night reading all the facts that I can come up with through the hundreds of sheets.

James Morrison was his name.

He was almost 26 when he disappeared.

He is probably about 29 to 30 years old now.

He was married to a woman named Emma.

He had two best friends, Kevin and Adam.

He had an executive job at a bank. (So money wasn't an issue.)

He had no debit or any credit cards.

His wife was place in a mental institution.

He didn't always see eye to eye with his friends.
He was placed in a group with six other people Mary and Steven, Emma and himself, Rachel and James.

Emma vanished after James.

Rachel received all of James' money and properties and really everything he had.

I found out this from old bank statements and what everyone had told me. It is all quite suspicious. I wonder who it could be? At the moment my prime suspects are Rachel, Kevin and Adam. I wonder who did it and why. They all have motives, but did they have opportunity?

'Emily, Are you still up?' My mum shouted in from her bedroom.

'No, mum, .I am trying to get to sleep!'

I decide to go to sleep, so I put back all the sheets and pin my new evidence to the wall.

I wake up feeling fresh and full of life. I have decided to go back and question Mary, Kevin and Adam. I write up my evidence in my notebook to pass the time. I get finished quite early and decide to go downstairs. I pour myself a nice bowl of Sugar Puffs. I sit down at the breakfast table and about five minutes later my mum walks in, shortly followed by my dad.

'Good morning, oh so sweet daughter of mine.'

Surprisingly my mum says this smiling and looking fresh. This is strange for my mum, because in the morning, she is normally the grumpiest person ever.

'Morning, mum. How come you're so cheerful?'

'Life is good and if you live it to the full, you shall receive happiness.'

I don't say any more, but finish my cereal and leave.

At half past one, I get fed up and decide to continue with my enquiries. I try and sneak out of the house as quietly as I can, but my mum stops me at the door.

'Young, lady. Where do you think you are going?'

'To meet other children. I need to make some proper friends.'

'What a good idea. Be home in time for dinner though, at about half past five.'

'Alright, love you!'

I take the same route as I did yesterday, only including the houses that I need this time. I knock on Adam's door. At first he doesn't answer, but then after a few minutes the door opens. In the house Emma is there.

'You again!' She says, with a near horrified expression on her face.

'Yes, do you mind if I drop in again a bit later?'

'That's fine, goodbye,' Adam appears at the door as soon as Emma goes.

'Oh, hello are you continuing with your inquirers today?' He says all this with a smirk on his face.

'I was just wondering what your relationship with Adam was?'

'Well, we didn't always see the same views, but altogether we were good mates.'

'Well, I was also wondering do you remember where you were when he disappeared?'

'Actually, it was my birthday party. Everyone, well all six of us were in my house. Rachel threw a surprise party for me.'

'Thank you, I must be going.'

I went next to Mary's and Kevin's house. I knocked and as soon as I knocked Kevin answered the door. His eyes were very red and I could tell that he had been crying.

'Oh, it's you. Have you come to return the documents my wife gave you?'

'Yes, I am also here to ask you a few questions about how well you knew Adam. I would like to ask you and your wife.'

'Well, I suppose you better come in.'

I stepped into the house without another word. I went straight into the living room and sat down on the sofa, just as if it was my home. Mary came and sat down on the opposite chairs with her two children close at her sides, Kevin then came in not really more than a few seconds later.

'Hello, I know I probably am getting in your way, but I would like to ask you both a few questions to put my mind at ease,' I said all of this very politely and with my best manners.

'Go on we will answer anything,' Mary says this as her baby girl tries to pull at her hair.

'How close were you towards Adam?'

'I knew him quite well, but Kevin knew him a lot better.'

'Well, you certainly look upset, Kevin.'

'Upset......yes, yes I'm very upset.'

I loom at him and he does seem very sad. The saddest I have seen anyone yet that is.

'Mary, do you remember where you were when Adam disappeared?'

'Yes, Kevin and I were probably in the house.'

'No, no that's wrong. I was at Emma's house. You were with Adam and James at Adam's house.'

Kevin added in this part of the conversation and as soon as he finished, he look horrified and frightened at what he had just said.

'Get out of my house you know too much!'

Mary shouts this at me. How suspicious? Could I have overlooked it? Could Mary be the murderer?

My next stop is Emma's house. All this investigating is making me tired. I knock on Rachel's door again. This time I look through the curtains. They seem to be open and the house seems to look a lot brighter. I knock once more. She finally comes to the door, in her dressing gown.

'Hello, what do you want?'

I ignore how rude she is being and try and use my best manners.

'Hello, I know this is a very sensitive subject, but I would love it, if you could please answer a few questions, just to put my mind at rest, would you?'

'Come in, then!' She says this with a big frown on her face and looks annoyed at the thought of having to answer a few questions.

'No, no here will do fine!' I say this not going down to her level. I say it quite sharply but when I realise I try and soften my voice.

'Do you remember were you were at the time of James' disappearance?'

'Yes, I was with Kevin and Emma.'

'Did you get anything or inherit something from James' disappearance?'

'Well, I generally took over all his money interests and most other things.'

'Thanks, here are all your documents. I have to go now. Thank you for all your help.'

Rachel closed the door without as much as a goodbye. She just shut the door on me, like she shut the door on James. She could be the murderer!

My mum has just shouted at me for being late, it was only by a few minutes, but I also think that she knows I went back to speak to all those people. I walk up the stairs, which once felt comfortable, but now feel like I am walking on nails or something sharp. I run up them as fast as my feet could carry me and I threw myself on my bed.

Who am I kidding? I am no detective. A few minutes later, I feel tired and I can also feel my eyes dropping as if I am about to fall asleep, when my mobile phone rings.

'Hello, who is it?'

The person at the other end of the phone has quite a husky voice, as if he or she is trying to make it sound different. The person at the other end replies with a lot of information.

'Do not ask any questions. I am giving you an important piece of information. Mary's child isn't her child, it was Emma's child, check the information that Mary gave you, it will be inside one of those sheets.'
The line then went dead. I didn't know what to think. Why was that and why did they give me that information? All I know I will get that information and then call a meeting of all six of them and by then, hopefully I will know who the murderer is, who the vicious one is! I then put my phone on the floor and lay on the bed, tired and worn out from the day I have had.

I wake up feeling confident that I can solve this murder. I did what I did yesterday morning. I wrote a few more notes in my notebook for evidence and then I head down stairs to eat some breakfast. I still have Sugar Puffs, but my mum and dad come in at the same time and they are both in a good mood.

'Mum, I was wondering, I think that I have solved this murder and I was wondering if I could hold some sort of meeting here?'

I say this in my sweetest voice and flutter my eyelashes. My mum and dad just laugh at me, but they eventually agree. After my breakfast, I go back upstairs and start my speech, I have to gather all my evidence and then I will know for certain who was the murderer. I go out a little bit earlier , about half past twelve (at noon). I first walk down to Adam's house.

He opens the doors and looks, like he just woke up.

'You, can you leave me alone?' I do not take any notice of his bad manners.

'I am holding a meeting at three o'clock and I would love it if you could make it, can you?'

'Will it be the last time that you will bother me?'

'Yes, I promise. It is at my house.'

'I'll be there. Bye, then!'

He then slammed the door in my face. I don't know why I put up with people slamming doors in my face. As usual, next I walk to Mary and Kevin's house. Mary answers the door first with Kevin not too far behind.

'Hello, darling. What's wrong?'

I was surprised at how nice she was being, but I didn't really mind.

'I was wondering if you both would come to a meeting at my house at three o'clock for the last time?'

'Of course, that is fine.'

'Also, I was wondering if I could borrow that information?'

'Yes, I will go get it?'

After a few minutes of standing in silence next to Kevin, Mary reappeared and gave me the information.

'Well, I better go.'

'Bye, see you at three o'clock.'
They then close the door and I thought I could hear someone cry, but I think it is just my imagination. I wonder why Kevin, didn't say anything at all, he just stood there while Mary did all the talking.

I finally walk all the way up to Rachel's house. I stood knocking at the door for at least five minutes until she finally answered.

'Hello, I was wondering if I could borrow the information you lent me and if you would mind coming to my house at three o'clock for a short meeting?'

I tried to get all the talking done before she had any chance to get in a word because I had to get home and weigh up all the evidence.

'Alright, I will go and get that for you.'

She takes a long time to gather it all up. When she eventually comes back. I see all the paper is messed up, not as it was.

'Bye, then see you at three.'

'Yes and thanks for the information.'

As usual, she just slammed the door in my face as most people do.

When I get home, I immediately run up to my room and read through all the information. OH DEAR! I can not believe that I have missed such crucial pieces of information. This information could wreck lives, should I reveal it? I spend the next few hours wondering if I should reveal it at all, when I hear a knock at the door. I know who it is. Time must have flown!

I go downstairs and there are four adults in my living room. (Six including my parents.)

'Why did you call us here?' Mary said, in a clam reasonable voice.

'I have found out who the murderer is!' They are all stunned into silence. 'First I have some things to tell you. I found all the old love letters in Rachel's information. Surprisingly, they are from Emma to James and from James to Emma. So this gives Rachel the motive to kill Adam, but did she have the opportunity and would she do it? The answer to this question is no. I found out that Emma had a daughter who now is seven years old. This in fact was Adam's daughter. Rachel was ruled out because she was with Kevin at the time and Kevin also says that, so Kevin and Rachel both have alibis. However, Mary gave me information which contained a birth certificate, confirming that Emma was supposedly her oldest daughter's mother. There is evidence that they were fighting at the time, but where was Adam in all of this? My theory is that Adam found out about James and Emma's affair, which led to him killing James and Emma. I also think this because Adam seemed to show no grief at all. I think Adam is the murderer.'

I finished my long speech and everyone was silent, even Adam he whispered some-thing about how he promised that he didn't do it.

The knock at the door broke the silence.

'Police! Who's in there?'

My dad immediately opened the door and a team of ten armed men entered our house and surrounded Kevin.

'Kevin is the murderer!' I shouted at the top of my lungs.

No one replied but he nodded and then stunned everyone even more by saying that he also killed Emma. The police took him away, while everyone sat stunned. I apologised to everyone, but no one really accepted. This was the last time I would see any of them.

The secrets I revealed and the lives I wrecked, I'm sorry. I revealed that two dead people had an affair and a child came out of it, I also revealed that someone was keeping a child that wasn't their biological child. I really have wrecked lives, where it could have been avoided. My life has changed so much. This time last year I felt happy and safe. Now, well I don't know any more. My mum and dad are helping me to get over it. I just wish that I didn't go up to that attic, that we didn't move here, but overall that I didn't bother to investigate and ruin people's lives. I wish after all of this some happiness could have come form it, but it hasn't. I am truly sorry for everything.
(August 2008)

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