Week 3: This Week’s Winning Stories

School Rules

by Marissa

Lunch Time
When you first walk into the cafeteria, you have to walk in through the main entrance, not the back or the side, but seriously, how challenging is it to walk through the door? When you are eating lunch, you need to behave and not throw food. You should respect and follow the yard duties’ rules.

Every month, there is a grade level that can sit outside to eat lunch. I know for sure that is a real privilege because none of my other friends from different schools get to do this. Those friends always think it is super cool when I tell them about eating outside.

Lunch Recess
Whether you are playing soccer, basketball, wall ball, football, two-touch, or any other game, it is crucial to include others: 1. It’s the nice thing do, 2. Is there a reason they can’t play with you?, and 3. It could hurt someone’s feelings if they ask to play and you say no.

At the five-minute bell, you are to wash your hands, go to the bathroom, get water, etc. There is absolutely no reason to go to the bathroom during class (especially in the sixth grade).

As soon as the final bell rings, you are to get in your classroom lines and wait for your teacher. Everyone should know how to do this because we have all practiced this a million times. In your lines, the noise volume should not be an issue.  Your voices should be a soft whisper or have no volume at all. If you were loud and screaming and a yard duty tells your teacher, you’re guaranteed your teacher will not approve. So be quiet in your lines.

These are the cafeteria rules, the playground rules, and the rules about your lines’ volume in the sixth grade at Old Adobe School.

The Castle

by Caden

Once upon a time, a princess was trapped inside a castle. I know it sounds like all of the other stories you have heard. It starts with a princess in a castle, and there is a dragon protecting her. Then there is a prince who is noble, brave, positive, and kind, but not in this story.

In this story, there was a princess, and she was in a castle, but a dragon did not guard her because there was a moat of lava protecting the outer part of the castle.  Inside the castle, there were many different doorways to choose from, which was an issue if you did not want to plummet to your death.

If you made it through all of that, then there was the most impossible obstacle to get by, which no knight had ever conquered: the teddy bear. It was the world’s cutest stuffed animal, and it was impossible not to stop and admire it.

The second you stopped to admire the teddy bear, this horrific log came tumbling down on top of you, and you wished you had never left your carriage. The log came down on you from a wooden hatch that acute spikes broke through, which let me warn you, was not at all cute when those spikes were landing on you.

Now, we are to the most important part of all: the difference between making it to the princess or not. There was the unbearable volume of the thing that I will not name, for it would give you nightmares. The thing made it so that you could not behave like yourself. It then announced that you would fail and not have a marriage with the princess. The only way you could get the thing to approve of you was if you said under your breath and next to the thing’s ear, “There is a city waiting for something to rule it over there,” and then pointed to the direction you came from. The thing would rush out of the room, for that was his one and only dream.

You would then have a straight path to the princess. Up at the corner of the princess’ window, there were two lines, and the right line had the directions out of the castle safely.

You may ask me how I know all of this stuff. Well, the truth is I was the one to save the princess.

And, Kaboom!

by Ava

A spark, some salt, and a newly-developed formula called fire acid. Why this? Why now? Those were my only concerns as an apprentice. I gave up marriage, advantage, and my volumes of books written over the years just to blow up someone’s lab? I growled and muttered at the sodium residue in a small beaker. I seriously had an issue with the whole being positive thing.

Breathe, Marco,” Professor Ginger said.

“Well, that’s never happening when my lungs are clogged and behave like circus clowns,” I snorted tartly.

Professor Ginger tossed a broom at me along with a mumbled phrase. Yet I knew she would approve in the future. I sighed and got cleaning.

A Sport for Me

by Evan

The thing about a sport is you must like it to be any good. Many people believe playing sports is a positive thing. If you were to ask me, I would approve of that statement one hundred percent.

For me, the marriage of quick steps and hand-eye coordination in basketball is perfect. Being able to get baskets, block shots, and win the game is a huge advantage. While trying to breathe, I continue to work on those mentioned skills. It’s something I find acute joy in.

My issue with the sport is that I started late, except I don’t mind because that just means I haven’t picked up many bad habits. For me, it’s mostly about the fun!

I want to believe that I make a difference for my team. I’m still just a bit of an apprentice player, but I feel like I can get better. Maybe one day, the NBA will announce, “Golden State Warriors pick in the seventh round (I don’t want to be greedy) Evan!”

Skate Park, Day One

by Dominic

I woke up in the morning with a very positive attitude because I was going to the skate park. I got out of bed and walked to the fridge so I could get some food. Once I had my food, I sat down at the table to eat. I took a bite, and I started to choke. I gasped for air so I could breathe. It was a big issue, but my mom gave me some water, and then I started to feel better.

I finished up my breakfast and then we headed towards the car, got in, and drove to the skate park. When we arrived, I got my scooter and went through the park’s entrance.

For a second, all of the kids there looked at me. Some kids wanted to approve of me, and some didn’t. I started to practice all my tricks. Then some kid felt like he wanted to include me so he went to challenge me to a game of scoot, even though he knew I had the advantage. There was a big difference between us because I was a park rider, and he was a street rider, but we made it work.

Throughout this experience, I learned a lesson: some kids can be nice, and some kids can be mean, but the most important thing is that I had fun.

The Issue

by Jayla

My sisters are so annoying. Are yours? I mean, every time I say, “Hey, can you turn the volume down,” they turn it up to level ten. Or, if I just like brushed my teeth, and I have some toothpaste residue, they say, “Oh, wow, Jayla, you need to shave. You have some mustache hairs!” I guess they have an advantage because they are older than I am.

One day, I got up and announced very loudly that I was done with them being rude and cruel to me because I was the youngest. I ran an idea past my mom to see if this positive activity might improve how my sisters behaved toward me. We all “breathed” as one for a day until my sisters had some friends over, and they and my sisters all went against me. It felt like they were building an evil empire against me.

I kept standing up for myself until one day, my sisters realized that they shouldn’t be going against me; they should be joining me. We all breathe as one now, I guess. I never want to leave my sisters or stay mad at them ever again. They are family. Keep your family members close because tomorrow they might be gone.

Best of the Best

by Taylor

There’s a difference between best friends and friends. My best friends involve a big importance in my life. There is a phrase one of my best friends Allie once told me: “Best friends are hard to find because the very best one is already mine.” When she announced that, she was moving five hours away. My other best friends and I could hardly breathe. So there’s the issue: You don’t recognize how hard it is to lose someone until you do. It was a huge challenge to lose a best friend.

Now, there are friends. They don’t soothe you or excite you like best friends do. Of course, they are included in part of your life, but it’s a very small part. Friends are easy to find. Friends approve of mostly anything. Then there are best friends who solve every problem. So, I guess that’s the difference between the two.

Life’s a Beach

by Carolena

I breathe the fresh air as I approach my voyage to the beach. The soft sand in between my toes as I walk closer and closer to the waves. The strong scent of salt soothes and relaxes me. One of the advantages of being at the beach is that it warms me up inside. It is a privilege that I am able to visit the beach and have the weather be so nice. I run to the water and stop at the shoreline to dip my hand in the water. It is absolutely perfect.

A while after playing in the water, I head back to my towel. I dry off in the hot sun, and I take out my sketchbook. I illustrate the scene, drawing the waves and the sand. I add some detail, and it is very effective. It makes the illustration look real.

I set my sketchbook down, and I lay back. I realize now that I have an issue. My hair is full of sand. I decide not to worry about it. I close my eyes, and I can hear the volume of the ocean waves crashing loudly against the shore begin to fade away as I drift off to sleep.

Past Years’ Winning Stories

The Adventures of Paper and Pencil

by Zoe

“So, what story do you want to write about today?” the blank white paper asks the neon yellow pencil, positive that he would get a strange answer.

“Hmmm…” Pencil says in a mischievous tone.

Paper recognized this tone to be not so great.

“Oh! I know what we could write about,” Pencil says excitedly.

Paper knows how this always ends and says, “What now?”

“This idea be hard to write about and an issue, but…”

Paper glares at Pencil, but Pencil doesn’t stop talking for a second. Just like always!

“We could have mermaids and unicorns, humpback whales, colored pencils, television remotes….”

Paper sits down because he knows this may go on for quite a long time.

“Flying drums, no, flying water bottles, spicy pumpkins, smelly crackers.”


“Boxes, an emperor about to go on a long voyage. Oh, yeah! I want the story to be in a different language.”

Paper is speechless and doesn’t know what to say, but he knows Pencil will be mad if he just doesn’t say anything.

“Well, we could include the mermaids,” Paper says, scared of Pencil’s upcoming response.

“Okay, sounds good!” Pencil says casually.

“Thank goodness!” Paper thinks in his mind.

Then he hears it, the loud, definitely not soothing, sounds of Pencil yelling.

“ARE YOU CRAZY! What kind of story would it be WITHOUT the zebras that are practicing for the party on the avenue or the dancing picture frames?!”

Paper has been through lots of Pencil’s tantrums, but nothing like this before. He doesn’t know what to do, so he stands there, frozen. Paper does value and think about Pencil’s ideas, but these are just crazy.

Suddenly, the ground starts shaking. Pencil recognizes this immediately. It is an earthquake. They get under a big, long, table. It is a challenge because they trip over the falling books.

The earthquake stops but has caused a lot of damage to the room.

“Now how are we going to write my amazing story? We can’t write with everything knocked over like this. This was a giant and effective earthquake!” Pencil says sadly.

Paper has never seen Pencil this sad and Paper feels really bad. However, just at this moment, a light bulb comes on in Paper’s brain.

“Pencil! I have an idea. We could write a story about this big earthquake, but with a twist. We could include the magic basket, the flying folder, and even the dancing trash cans.”

Pencil is delighted to hear that, but they still have one major problem.

“That is a great idea! How are we going to clean up this mess though?” Pencil says.

The two of them think and think and think, until, ding, ding, ding.

“I have an idea! We can just do it the old fashioned way,” Paper says enthusiastically.

Pencil stares at Paper and wonders what “the old fashioned way” means.

“You know, the old fashioned way. Ugh! Do I have to spell everything out for you? It means to do it by hand,” Paper says exasperated.

“Oh,” Pencil says, but he still doesn’t quite know what paper means.

One by one they pick everything up, until everything is perfectly clean. They work on their story. Yet, instead of writing about the earthquake, they write this story. The one you have just finished.

My Big Sister

by Natalia

My sister is the absolute worst! I have a huge issue with her these reasons:

#1, she plays her music with the volume all the way up.

#2, she behaves like a five-year-old.

#3, her room is always a mess and it smells like stinky socks, I can barely breathe when I’m in there.

#4, my parents never approve of what she wears.

#5, she always announces when she farts or burps.

#6, she’s never positive and doesn’t look to make a difference.

#7, she always has an advantage; if there’s one more cookie she gets it because I fought with my brother, or talked back to my parents.

Sometimes I wish I could just hop into a carriage and go to my Fantasy Land.


by Genevieve

Storm was bounding around camp trying to find Arrow and Moon. Finding them was important; keeping them away from the necklaces was even more important. He didn’t feel like having his pups get a hold of dangerous powers. Of course he would be upset! He didn’t want Arrow and Moon to die! Storm wasn’t looking and smacked right into Whisper, one of his other pups.

“Hi! What are you doing?” Whisper asked, delighted to get her father’s attention.

Storm growled under his breath. “I’m just, um, doing a patrol around the camp,” Storm lied and his voice sounded unsure.

“Oh, okay. Can I come with you?” Whisper had no idea about the necklaces and didn’t know that she was slowly making Storm angrier and angrier. Storm didn’t approve of her choice.

“No, I was just taking a break from everything,” and distractions from stopping Arrow and Moon from getting those necklaces, Storm added to himself. It was going to be a challenge finding the necklaces with Whisper here.

“Well, it’s always better to do things together!” Whisper barked playfully.  “So I’m coming with you.”

Storm didn’t want to argue and quickly started the trot around camp, Whisper following behind. Storm reminded himself to breathe and felt better. Storm scanned the area for Arrow and Moon. Whisper started humming to herself, which made Storm almost smack her. The red necklace was for Arrow, and that was the most dangerous. The white one was for Moon. Storm didn’t exactly know what powers the white one held, but he didn’t want to find out.  Finally, he spotted Arrow jumping up and down under a tree. Arrow looked like he was trying to get something. Storm cut off of the path he and Whisper were on and bolted towards Arrow. Whisper clumsily followed.

“Arrow!” Storm called and abruptly stopped in front of him.

“Hey, do you think you can help me get that necklace down?” Arrow pointed his tail in the direction of the necklace, which was hanging from a tree branch.

Storm stared in horror. The red necklace was placed perfectly on the tree branch. Shadow must’ve put it there, thinking it would be entertaining to see Arrow try to get it down. This would involve a lot of persuading to get Arrow to leave the necklace alone.

“No, just leave. Don’t put it on; don’t touch it; don’t look at it,” Storm was growing worried.

Whisper trotted over. She looked at Arrow and then at Storm.

“I can help you get it down,” she offered.

“Okay,” Arrow said and continued to whack the tree’s trunk.

Whisper jumped at the necklace, easily knocking it down. Storm lunged at it, but Arrow got it first. Arrow held it in his jaws, not letting it go. He look confused as to why Storm would want it. Storm was hoping the necklace would have no effect on Arrow. Arrow slipped it around his own neck. Storm watched as his pup’s fur changed, the grey fur turning black like the night. An arrow shape formed from his tail to his head. The arrow pattern looked beautiful, but Storm didn’t want Arrow’s fur to change at all. Arrow turned to look at Storm, and Storm saw that his eyes were the same color as the arrow shape on his back: Dark red.

“What happened?” Arrow asked, nervous of what the answer might be.

Storm was still staring at Arrow when he realized he asked him a question. Storm told Arrow about his dream and then waited for his response.

“So what will happen to Moon?” Arrow was getting concerned.

“I don’t know. I’m guessing her pelt will change as well,” Storm said. He was also wondering what might happen. “But for right now I want you to take that necklace off.”

“No! Are you kidding? This thing is amazing!” Arrow was annoyed by his father’s request. Storm couldn’t tell this was the entrance into an argument.

“So where is Moon?” Whisper noticed and Storm and Arrow realized she was still standing there.

“Let’s go find her and tell her about the necklaces!” Arrow raced off to go find her with Whisper following close behind.

“This is exhausting,” Storm mumbled to himself so no one could hear.

Storm followed, annoyed that they weren’t listening to him. He was the alpha of their pack. Maybe they would recognize that they were disrespecting him. Storm found them sniffing around one of the rivers. Arrow looked focused while Whisper was just sitting and watching.

“Arrow, give me your necklace,” Storm ordered. His pups were nearly adult and still couldn’t follow orders; and it was a privilege to be the alpha’s son.

Arrow tried to slide it back off of his neck. It didn’t move. Arrow bit at the necklace, but it wouldn’t come off. Storm ran over and pulled on it trying desperately to get it off. It still wouldn’t move.

“I think this is stuck on me for good,” Arrow pointed out. “Anyway, Moon’s scent stops here at the river.”

Storm was depressed; nothing was happening right He just needed to think positive. He told Arrow and Whisper that he was going to announce to the pack about Moon. Storm ran away to camp, leaving Arrow guilty of his father’s anger.

When Storm got back, he immediately sat in the middle of the camp. His pack knew this meant there was a pack meeting. They gathered around him, unsure of what he was going to speak about. Dawn trotted out of the den to sit next to Storm. She was the other alpha, the alpha female.

Storm explained what happened to Arrow and then talked about Moon.

“We don’t know where Moon is, but we have to find her. I’m guessing she found her necklace or is looking for it. We also don’t know what powers it holds or what she will be able to do once she has it. If you do find the necklace, don’t touch it. I gave up trying to stop Arrow from having his necklace and know that the white necklace is for Moon only,” Storm finished and watched as his pack looked shocked, then confused, and then shocked again.

Storm heard the bushes rustle and a paw emerge from it. It was Moon, but she didn’t look like her normal self.


by Mariah

Swimming is a positive experience for me; although it is a challenge, I value my ability to perform in the pool. I don’t have an issue of how hard it is; in fact, I have an advantage compared to my other competitors because I swim faster than them. My speed is a result of my ability to resist my body’s desire to breathe flags to the wall. Although I swim faster than others, I always behave in a respectful manner. I value swimming too much to be mean to other swimmers. After all me and the other swimmer do have a lot in common, including enjoying hearing the judges announce our names as we make an entrance into the waters of the pool.

When the announcers announce my name, they don’t recognize how to pronounce Martinez; therefore, they say my name as if it were from a different language. Before I start the competition, I use effective stretches to help me soothe myself. I utilize these stretches in order to relax my nerves and prevent pulling a muscle as I make my 100m voyage across the pool and back. As I swim rapidly toward the finish line I notice that the time difference between my competitors and I is enormous. Nothing feels better than swimming and winning a competition; that’s way I would love to have the privilege to pursue my dream of being an Olympic swimmer.


by Fiona

“The empire was in trouble, and all the apprentices had to stop training in their respective trades to help fight the war…”

Lexi picked at her nails, complete boredom displayed on her face. All she could think about was how uninteresting history was. What did she care about a war in the olden times? Tired of her nails, she looked up, immediately recognizing her twin. She rolled her eyes. Her sister was in the front of the room (no surprise), one hundred percent involved in the lesson. She was taking it all in, soaking it up like a sponge—taking the history lesson as a privilege to learn, as if it would be effective in her life as a grown-up.

Shaking her head, Lexi began to sketch. She drew an illustration of a family on a boat, taking their voyage home on her pale wrist, practicing for her book cover.

Suddenly, she raised her head, snapping back to reality, as Mr. Colley started talking, his gruff voice sweeping every last bit of tiredness out of her like a feather duster sweeping away cobwebs.

“Practice for your test, and don’t forget to include the advantages and disadvantages of this battle in your reports, class!”

Mr. Colley then proceeded to drone on and on as the bell rang, music to Lexi’s ears. She sat up a little straighter, and then she heard the sweet, glorious words of freedom: “You are dismissed!”

Puzzle Challenge

by Breana

I sit here with a challenge:
to solve this puzzle.
Because I am positive,
I make a difference.
I make a completion.
I have to practice
and become involved.

There is one issue:
there is a missing piece.
You can recognize it
from miles away.
The missing piece has one acute angle.
Still, this puzzle has some value.

Fight for the Lead

by Joe

Today, we will fight against the empire!  The smartest people in our group are trying to solve how to enter the reinforced castle.  If we walk past the colossal entrance, we will be sent to jail, so we practice climbing massive redwood trees.  This will surely be a challenge.

We sneak around the castle looking for good places to climb.  This is an issue because the top of the castle has tiny spikes; they are as sharp as my troops’ skills.  We start climbing anyway and have a positive attitude until we reach the top.  One of my troops uses his knife to grind down the sharp points.

The empire has an advantage over us, but we make it to the top of the castle, where there are no troops because they are all guarding the ore, which they think has value.  We make our way down into the castle, staying away from guards.

Every one of our troops has a desire to take down the tyrant king.  We have an effective strategy for this.  We will make a distraction outside so all of the guards will leave the king alone.  Then some of my troops will rush into the king’s room and capture him.  This is a way to involve everybody.

Everybody feels that it is a privilege to go with me, the commander. We create a commotion by shouting at the guards.  While this is happening, my best troops come with me.  We run into the king’s room, where I find him with his apprentice.  We capture both of them and the bad guards.

I take a minute to admire the stunning castle, which will soon belong to my troops and me.

The New Prince

by Madison

I sat there, alone and unsure of myself.  I was in a fine dining room, filled with exotic fruits and alien meats.  I, of course, not being one born to privilege, could never afford a dinner like this myself.  My best meal is often rice and cold beans.  I was here to accompany the Duchess of England, for I was her apprentice companion.

We had come to this place in the royal carriage to celebrate her recent marriage. I had recently discovered how very hard it was for a princess to be wed.  First, she had the issue of acquiring her father’s approval for the union.  Next, she had to deal with the disapproving crowd when the news was announced.  Apparently, many believed she should have made a different choice in the man she had selected to marry.

I, on the other hand, had never met this man so could not offer any opinion.  All that was about to change, as I would meet this gentleman tonight, any minute now.

Breaking away from my thoughts, I looked down at the table and noted four different silver forks on one side of my space and three spoons on the other side laid next to two knives.

I watched as a waiter dressed in a silk suit and tie set a salad in front of me and the princess.  I remained silent as she grabbed her napkin, placing it in her lap.  Then, without a thought, she picked up the second smallest fork and took a tiny bite of salad from the bowl, setting down the fork to chew politely.  I took advantage of her modeling and followed her exact movements.

The king and queen, seated near to us, both looked up, peering at a point above our heads.  I twisted my body around to see what they were viewing.  Finally! I thought.  The prince had arrived.

I felt a tap on my shoulder.  “Turn around,” commanded the princess.  “It is very impolite to face away from the table during a meal.”

“Oh,” I said, turning around, “sorry.”

The prince took his seat next to his wife.  The two of them began to mumble angrily to one another.

“You’re very late!” I heard the princess exclaim.

“I know.  I had trouble with my tie,” replied the prince.

“Ahem,” spoke the queen.  The prince and princess both stopped speaking immediately.

For the entire rest of the evening, I copied what I saw around me, making sure there was no issue with how I behaved.  For example, I made certain not to leave any food residue on myself or the table, and I maintained a positive and calm reaction to all that was said.  In the end, I made no mistakes, and the princess was very proud of me.  I greatly enjoyed my dinner with the royal family.

The Gray House

by Gavin

On September 15, 1922, I, Jacob Latin, moved to a brown condo on Yarberry Street.  On the day I moved in, I had many questions about the town, but I was worried asking the questions would offend the townspeople.  Some of the questions I had were as follows:  Why does the food in this town taste so bad?  What is that recognizable smell on Flower Lane?  However, the bigger question I had was this:  Why did everyone avoid the gray house on the other side of the road?

I started school in Empire Middle School about three weeks ago. As I sat, bored in class, I listened to the clock ticking.  I had to admit that the sound of the ticking clock soothed me.  It was absolutely calming, which I knew many might find strange.  Then our teacher asked us to quietly and effectively get into groups.  This became an issue because my teacher began to give me a weird look, but he task was challenging since I was a new kid in town.  Finally, I made eye contact with a boy named Carlos, who was also looking for a group.  I approached him nervously, introduced myself, and asked if he wanted to work together.

Little did I know that Carlos lived two houses down from where I lived.  The next day we began hanging out and gradually became friends.  Our parents allowed us to walk around town, and we both agreed not to take advantage of this privilege.

One day as we were walking down the street, we passed the gray house.  I asked Carlos the history of the house, and he made no comment.  I told Carlos I wanted to go up to the house and asked if he cared to join me.  He didn’t think long before saying, “Sure; why not?”

We walked up the wooden steps and knocked on the door.  To our surprise, the door opened slightly, and it felt as though the wind was pushing us into the house, with us forming an acute angle to the door.  We took a step inside, looked around, and the door closed itself behind us.  All of a sudden, we were left inside the dark house.  Carlos and I looked at each other with fright, but we remained calm and proceeded to pursue the mystery of the house.

We arrived at what looked to be the Great Room of the house, where we saw what seemed to be an area decorated to be like an altar as if someone had gotten married.  Much to our surprise, the silhouette of a woman in her wedding gown appeared before our eyes!  Carlos and I were so terrified that we tried to run out of the house as quickly as we could.  As we attempted our escape, we heard a whisper in the wind that sound like it said, “Get out now or be sorry.”

After that experience, Carlos and I never again went towards the gray house.  It was apparent that the gray house was haunted and our experience illustrated that.

Stop That Man!

by Matthew

Grrr, the engine growled as I turned the keys to pursue Sir Jedsalott. “Alex, get in the car!” I yelled. You see, Alex is my partner. “We have to stop Sir Jedsalott from making away with that substance!” I yelled, even louder than before. Finally, Alex hopped in to help pursue Sir Jedsalott of The Empire of Sirs.

As we were driving down the 101, things got ugly. I told Alex to get a weapon, so he got one; it was a Mossberg 500, my Mossberg 500. I said, “Fire.” He fired, and the shot hit a rear tire, causing the car to careen off the road with us in tow. Then all I saw was black.

When I woke up, I discovered that Alex had leaped out of the car with me, a radio, and some rations to soothe my hunger after the blackout. “What happened?” I exclaimed, “What happened?”

Alex told me that Sir Jedsalott’s car crashed into ours and proved a challenge for Alex to get out of. “Sir Jedsalott got away,” he added with a sigh. “I think he went down into the valley, but I am absolutely sure he has no form of communication.”

“Yes,” I pumped my fist, “now he can’t send for transportation.”

“Well, my young apprentice,” Alex said, with just a hint of sarcasm, “you should know that unfortunately, an agent of The Empire of Sirs never goes anywhere without his watch communicator.

“Oh, bummer; let’s go down to the valley to find Sir Jedsalott,” I suggested.

As we were walking on the ridge above the valley, I spotted a funky hat that I would recognize anywhere. It was Sir Jedsalott’s hat, and its colors would illustrate my mind whenever I said “I can’t seem to place the color.” I grabbed Alex. “Look,” I whispered only daring to breathe softly.

“That’s not the only thing,” he said and then pointed to a dark, looming fortress with tall wooden towers.

Our eyes met as we realized that we were in Willits, the HQ of The Empire of Sirs. We rushed down to fight Sir Jedsalott, but he was too quick for us. He gave me a black eye and Alex a bloody lip. Wham! Alex fought back, but Sir Jedsalott fled toward the towers, where the sentries spotted him and rained fire upon us. We ran with the ground erupting behind us. Once we were out of range, we called in a helicopter for a ride. “Great, now Sir Jedsalott is home free,” I stated.

“Not without this he isn’t,” Alex grinned as he pulled the vial containing the substance out of his pocket. We laughed heartily as we walked arm in arm into the sunset.

Paint a Picture

by Julia

Life is a canvas, paint it how?
You get the privilege to be the artist
It may be a challenge to get the texture right sometimes
You may want to make something calm, to soothe you, like a beach
Or you may want to paint a picture in accordance with your wild and free side
Maybe, you might want to involve action, best roller coaster ride ever
You can use any substance you like to illustrate the picture
Maybe later in life, you might decide to paint your vows for marriage
Or maybe you want to pursue your dream without a partner
You can paint until the absolute last years you are capable of
Whether you think you are good at art or not,
Anyone you love will recognize your paintings on the wall
So whatever you do to your picture,
Know that you have a canvas to paint on for a reason
Know that your picture will be beautiful, no matter what
As long as you paint what is in your heart

I’m Being Watched

by Zoey

The tree is like an empire.
It towers over me.
It practically swallows me whole.
There is a sticky residue on the tree.
You can hear the other people breathe.
You can see the other people’s shadows…
And their swift movements
There is a difference between a race and a game.
This right here is a game.

I have to behave.
Or else…
I am positive I’ll win…
If the tree is at an acute angle, I can duck through,
run past the bush; then I’ll have an advantage.
The host comes by in a carriage.
A big one.
He announces they will have food,
water, and blankets.
I go last.
Because I know…
I’m Being Watched

Spelling Story Scam

by Jackson

pencil sharpenerIn Ms. McClure’s class at Old Adobe School, there was a spelling story challenge. The challenge was to craft the best spelling story.

“You could work together in a group of four,” Ms. McClure said.

In the class, there were students with different strengths. There was a girl, Zoey, who loved to illustrate, then there was Leo, a complete techno geek. There was Lily, who had such an acute vision she could recognize a misspelled word from a mile away. Then there was me; I have an absolute passion for writing. I am a strong scholar when it comes to writing.

I heard the soothing sound of the bell. I rushed to the yard and started to make the group. First, I went to Zoey. Ever since kindergarten, when I gave her a Valentine, she had been in love with me. She would do anything I asked. “Zoey, I am assembling a group for the competition. Could you help with the cover?”

“Yeah, sure,” she replied, her eyes sparkling.

Next on my list, Leo. “Hey, Leo, I am assembling a team for the spelling story. I was wondering if you could be involved in my team and type up the story,” I suggested pleadingly.

“Yeah, whatever you need,” he said smoothly.

The last person I needed was Lily. Lily was always at the library. I knew this because I was always there, too. I walked in and whispered quietly to her. “Lily, I am making a spelling story group. Could you check my work for mistakes?” I asked.

“Yeah, sure,” she answered.

The group was constructed. Now I had to start on the most important part, the story. As I walked out of the library, I had a feeling I was being observed. I grabbed the writer’s most important tools, a pencil and a piece of paper. I sat down at my desk and started brainstorming ideas. I found the perfect idea: A war that takes place in the distant future. I started writing about everything I could.  Action, comedy, drama; my story had it all.

I hadn’t finished by the end of school, so I went home to continue the work. I walked into my room (or my empire) of all my stories. I went to my desk and started writing. I had my spelling words and used them all. I worked past midnight perfecting the piece.

The next morning, I went to Lily to have her proofread my story. I am not going to tell you how many errors she found, but it was embarrassing. After that, I went to Leo so he could type it up. Five minutes later, he was finished. Next, I had to see Zoey for the cover. I walked around campus to find her. She was in Ms. Henderson’s class, marveling at her art supplies.

“Hey, Zoey, could you get me the cover?” I asked.

“Yeah sure.” she replied. She went to her backpack and grabbed it. I got the story Leo had printed out and stapled them together. I left it on my desk and walked out.

When I returned, I grabbed the finished piece and turned it in. While we were doing poem of the day, Ms. McClure had an announcement. “After careful consideration I have decided who has won the spelling story. The winner is Luke.”

I was infuriated. Luke, the bully? His stories lacked substance, and in accordance with the guideline of the competition, the story had to be a high quality story and have ten spelling words. Ms. McClure then showed the story on the Apple TV. The four of us looked at each other, a shocked looked dawning on each of our faces. It was OUR story. Luke must have stapled his cover on our story, but how could we prove it?

Leo stepped up. “I was using the iPad to record something for a long term project before we left for recess, and I left it on,” Leo recalled. “Maybe the recording captured the theft.”

Ms. McClure projected the video on the screen. It showed Luke tiptoe in and take the cover off my story, switch his story with mine and staple my cover on his story.

Ms. McClure spoke up. “Luke, remember our precept: ‘When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind,’” Ms. McClure said as she walked over to her referral pad. I had a sly smile on my face, and we had won the competition.

A Walk in the Park

by Samantha

treeOn one mysteriously sunny day, I decided to take a small walk. It was a privilege to be able to walk outside in broad daylight, since everybody knew this was Disaster Island, where the island made all the rules including, ‘No going outside until I say so.’ I think the island’s rules are a bit dumb. Well, I am saying that I can go out whenever I want, but that’s a bad idea so don’t listen to me.

On the island, nobody gets any revenue, which means there is no currency around this place because nobody has time to make money at all, which pretty much means everything is free, so there are no robbers.

I opened up a shop, and we make beautiful dresses for the public. I decided to pursue my dream of being a dress shop trader years ago. Nobody really wanted to build my design of a building. Fortunately, however, I got a girl on my side.  She had wanted to be a dress trader for years, but had been stuck with carpentry. I decided to involve her. It was a good choice. She never traded to get her dresses; she was making them. I definitely recognized her talent. She had been sewing for years. She was equally as effective as I was. She was the apprentice I hired.

This all reminded me of my walk because it had so many memories of being happy. I just love that feeling of walking on the wonderful grass. It always seems to soothe my thoughts. Even though I haven’t seen my apprentice since her marriage, I always have a place for everything in my heart.

Journey in the Snow

by Olivia

snowdeerOn the third day in Utah we desired to go sledding. The entrance to the ski and sledding resort building was very cool, and it was like a big cabin that anyone could recognize because it had a big arch different from all the rest.  Inside was very cozy with soft brown chairs and a stone fire place with a blazing fire.  There was a cafe, a lounge area, and much more. I felt relaxed and soothed with every sip of my hot chocolate.  I was also reading a magazine issue that highlighted the Winter Olympics of 2010. It was awesome to be sitting in the same place where the Olympics had taken place.

Outside was so amazing. It had four big hills, an ice hill, and a giant slope that that pulled you up to the very top.  There were loud speakers so that an announcer could go over the rules and then he played music for us to listen to.  I grabbed a red tube and attached myself and my inner tube to the tow rope.  At the top, it was so high, and I was getting excited to slide down the hill. It was so ice cold that as I breathed I could see a white, cloudy mist. Then I saw my brother, and we both went down the biggest hill.  The adrenaline and the rush were awe-inspiring.

After a couple of sledding races or so, my family and I wanted to have a snowball fight.  We made some snowballs and because I was my sister’s apprentice, we won every single round.  My sister and I started to build a small snowman, and when we finished, we made some snow angels. It was really fun!

Our day was coming to an end, but I wanted to go down the slope one more time.  As I started to slide down the hill, I could feel the wind in my face, and my heart was pumping crazily.  As I flew down the hill, it felt like I was taking off on a snow-filled voyage.

Double Double Ice Cream

by Kyler

graphics-ice-cream-859330There’s an ice cream party this weekend, and I have to behave to be able to go.  I also can’t wait to take advantage of all of the flavors of delicious ice cream, and that is, if I behave.  I think minty chocolate swirl and great, great vanilla shake would be a perfect marriage of flavors.

Finally, there was no issue between my mom and me, so she began to announce, in a tremendous volume, that I could go to the party.  I was so relieved that I could barely breathe.

At the party, I had fifteen pounds of ice cream and five pounds of whipped cream.  It was amazing!  It was such a positive experience that I want to be an ice cream apprentice and then one day have my own ice cream empire.

One Day

by Dylan

lion102I have a strong desire to practice and learn a foreign language.  I hope one day, when I am older, to go on a voyage that will allow me to include using my new foreign language skills.

I am looking forward to my entrance into adulthood, where I can have my own marriage.  When I am married, I will value my wife.  She will help me solve all of my acute daily life stresses.

The Awesome Crowd

by Robert

man-in-crowd-screamingI walk up to the plate, listening to the intense volume of the positive crowd.  The crowd pumps me up and makes me think I have the advantage.  Then I hear the announcement over the loud speaker: “Now batting, Number Five, Robert Roberts!”

I think of trying to measure my hit, ball connecting with bat at an acute angle. When the pitch comes, I swing, and the ball soars in the air like a bird.  It is out of here!  The crowd is screaming like an empire cheering its emperor.

I breathe hard as I run around the bases, thinking of the difference a good crowd makes.  I couldn’t have done this without my approved apprentice, the crowd.

Life of the Art

by Bailey

In the empire of Gortalon, I lived in a cottage on the coast. My life was painting. I painted day and night, the moon and the sun. My greatest hero, Lani, a painter, also lived in Gortalon. My dream was to become her apprentice. It was quite a challenge to become her apprentice but I continued to pursue my dream.

One day, as I was shopping for paints for a new painting, I met Lani. I could recognize her like I could recognize my mother. Her black hair enveloped her face, which made her emerald eyes stand out like a tree in the middle of the ocean. Her tall, skinny frame loomed over me. It was such a privilege for me to meet Lani. Her painting revenue was about $3,000, but I didn’t care about the money.

In an attempt to impress her, I held up one of my paintings I had brought with me. She looked it over then asked, “What is your name?”

“Peter Lan,” I responded, trying to contain my excitement.

Apparently my attempt to impress her was effective. She loved it and wanted to see more of my paintings. “What do you usually illustrate in your paintings?” she asked.

“Mostly the beach and the night sky,” I answered.

I gave her my address so if she wanted to come look at my paintings, she could. The next day, early in the morning, I heard knocking. When I opened the door, amazingly, I saw Lani. I invited her to come in and look at my paintings. As she walked around, I noticed that her expression of pure amazement never vanished. “Your paintings are magnificent!” she exclaimed. At that, she offered me the apprenticeship. In accordance with her offer, I kindly accepted.

When I was young, my mother always said, “Don’t give up on your dreams,” and that is what got me here. Unlike my mother, my father said, “Don’t put all your faith into one thing because it probably won’t happen.” To this day, I am glad I always listened to my ma.

The Fateful Dinner

by Carsyn

The volume is low as I sit in the garden. It’s so low that I can hear the person next to me breathe. I’m positive that I need to announce that I have an issue with this person breathing so heavily. Let’s just forget about that. I’m worried that my carriage isn’t going on come on time.

Suddenly, I can see my shiny, white, wooden carriage appear in front of the garden with my father’s apprentice controlling the big Clydesdale horse that pulls it. I get up with my beautiful, white dress flowing in the wind, and I head towards my carriage.

Swiftly, my carriage takes off. My hair is blowing, and my eyes start to water as the cold air hits me. My carriage is taking me to my castle, where I have a dinner with the king. If I don’t behave, then the king has the advantage of saying that I can no longer be a princess, and I do not want that to happen because the whole entire empire of Petaluma would hate me forever.

As I sit in my bed going over and over how the dinner went, I smile because everything went perfectly. I can be a princess forever and live happily ever after, until, you know, I become a royal queen.

 The Magic Blanket

by Cassidy

It was a very small shop.  There was nothing interesting in it except a very large blanket.  Ella grabbed the blanket and went to the checkout stand.  There was an old man listening to music.  Ella said, “I would like to buy this blanket.”

The old man said, “Are you positive?”

Ella responded, “Of course.  Is there something wrong with it?”

The old man grunted and muttered, “$12.98.” Ella pulled out her wallet and paid the old man.  As Ella was leaving, the old man tuned up the volume to his music.

When Ella returned home, she saw her mom waiting for her in the kitchen.  Her mom said, “I do not approve of you being gone that long.  Was there an issue?”

Ella replied, “No, Mom, there was no issue.  I just stopped at a store.”  Ella then rushed up to her room.  She sat down, took a deep breath, and put the blanket over her head.  All of the sudden, she appeared on a beach.  Confused, Ella threw the blanket onto the floor and screamed.

Her mom came running in and asked, “Ella, are you okay?”  Ella sat there and said nothing.  Her mom said, “Young lady, you need to behave yourself.  I don’t care if you’re going through a phrase, I mean, phase. This attitude needs to end now.”  Ella’s mom walked out of the room.

Ella sat there bewildered.  She thought she had bought a regular blanket, but the blanket was not normal.  This blanket was shaped with some acute angles and seemed to be able to transport people to wherever they wanted to go.  Ella was so excited.  She wanted to announce this news to the world, but couldn’t because she was afraid someone would steal her blanket.  Having no one else to trust, she told her mother about this magical blanket.  To show her mom the magic of the blanket, she and her mom sat on the floor and covered themselves in the soft, warm cloth.  She had her mom think of a place she would like to go.  Suddenly, they appeared in New York in a horse-drawn carriage in Central Park.  There was a huge difference in the look in her mom’s face when she opened her eyes and saw that they were indeed in Central Park.  What a magical blanket this was!

The Grand Marriage

by Karla

I can’t wait for this Saturday because my cousin, Angela, is getting married.  Did I mention that she was getting married in the Empire State building?  Can you believe it?  Wait, it gets better.  She asked me to volunteer to be a flower girl.  If I am a flower girl, I get to wear a beautiful dress.  When Angela told me all of this, I could hardly breathe.

Angela said that if I want to be a flower girl, I have to behave appropriately, and if she approves of my behavior, she will let me ride in the carriage.  The issue is that my other two cousins have a better advantage in being chosen because they are older and more mature.  All I have to do, though, is think positive thoughts and do my best.

Finally, it is the big day.  Angela hasn’t yet announced who will be the flower girl.  My hair is ready just in case.  There is no residue of hairspray left, and my hair volume is something out of my league, but it is beautiful.  I hear the door open and see Angela walk into the room.  She looks gorgeous in white and taller than usual heels.  Then she announces who will be the flower girls.  I am surprised to learn that I am the only one.

As the ceremony begins and I walk d own the aisle throwing flower petals, I hear the ordinary church wedding music.  I take my seat and look back.  All I see is Angela’s mom and Angela— Angela’s dad is not present because he had died in a horrible fire at work.

At the end of the marriage ceremony, as the priest says, “You may kiss the bride,” I notice that on Angela’s wrist is the white and black bracelet I gave to her when I was five.  I cannot believe that she still has it.  This has to be the best day ever!

The Room

by Alex S.

Today, I’m going to the store.  I’m looking for a beautiful painting to complete my plain-looking room.  This challenge will be very difficult because there aren’t very many paintings that will go with the color of my room.

I’m here at the store.  The paintings here are lovely, but I don’t yet see a work of art that is just right for the room.  This task is very challenging. I am looking and looking, when I suddenly see a painting in the back of the store.  I look at it, and it’s an absolute masterpiece!  This illustration was going to be perfect for my room. Now when people enter my room, the first thing they will notice and recognize is the painting.

I carry the painting to the cashier, who tells me that the painting costs $1200.  When the cashier notices that my face looks unwilling, she lowers the price to $800.  The cashier is effective at making good deals.  I am in accordance with her offer, so I pay her the money.  The cashier looks quite happy when I give her the payment.  That money is now her business revenue.

When I arrive home, I walk straight to the room to pursue my goal of redecorating with my new painting.  I hang it on the wall, where it looks very pretty.  The painting involves the most beautiful images.  It is a privilege to hang the painting.  The room is now completely complete!

Art Contest

by Grace

There was Leonardo Da Vinci, Monet, Picasso, and hopefully one day me, Mary Harris.  Or at least, I dream of this.  With the state art contest coming up, my dreams could actually come true!

It was a privilege because the few of us selected would be going up against real artists!  It was absolutely  thrilling, not to mention challenging and nerve-racking.  In accordance with the rule your picture had to involve color and wildlife.  Otherwise, we were free to create.  The best part was that if you won first place, you had the honor of illustrating a children’s book, and your received one-third of the revenue the author earned from selling those books.  Also, for second place, you were awarded $100 to help you pursue your dream, but if you won the Art Champion Award, you were recognized as the Artist of the Year!  I hope the idea I have in mind is going to be effective on the judges because I’m shooting for the Art Champion Award.

The Queen’s Ceremony

by Diana

One day in May in England, Princess Elisabeth was about to be named queen.  That meant that she would get married to her daring Prince Chase.

Two days before the marriage and the ceremony, there was an issue with the flowers in the cathedral.  There were not enough flowers for every bench.  “This could not be happening!” Elisabeth shrieked when she heard the news.

Quickly, Prince Chase made sure she was calm and immediately called Elisabeth’s apprentice to begin ordering more flowers.

Princess Elisabeth was brought to the wedding in  beautiful white and gold carriage drawn by two white horses.  When she walked into the cathedral, everyone was clapping and smiling in such a positive way, and she felt so glad to see them that way.  Elisabeth couldn’t believe that she was getting married.  She couldn’t stop smiling the whole time.

The day after the wedding, Elisabeth was going to be named queen.  Once her whole family arrived, they were ready to begin.  Right before she was crowned, Elisabeth began to breathe quickly, and then an official announced that she was the new queen.  There was a huge difference between being queen and being princess, and Elizabeth was able to experience both roles.  She knew that if you were going to be queen, then you had to behave like one.  As soon as she had been crowned, she knew that she now ruled an empire, a beautiful empire.

The Triplets

by Shelby

On August 2, 2010, it was announced that I had become the cousin of three adorable babies.  When I found out the news, I let out an ear-piercing scream.  My mom told me to lower my voice because my volume was too loud.

The difference between my age and the age of the triplets is eleven years.  When I turn twelve, I want to take advantage of the babysitting course offered by the Red Cross.  If my aunt approves, I would love to take on the responsibility of being a babysitter, pushing the triplets in their baby carriage, listening to them breathe over their baby monitor, and cleaning the residue from the milky bottles.

If I have any issues while taking care of the babies, I know I can always call my mom for help.  I am looking forward to taking care of the triplets:  Lea, Lucas, and Olivia.  I think this experience is going to be positive, and I will enjoy every minute of it!

Dr. Maria Vs. the Worm

by Kennedy

One absolutely wonderful day at my veterinary office, when the revenue was plenty high, my phone was ringing off the hook.  My practice was soon filled with patients.  My apprentice, who was very busy, but effective in her job, saw a family of two come in with their pet.  I was passing the doorway when I started to recognize their faces.  They were my neighbors!

My neighbors ran to the front of the line in an uproar of yelling and crying, with their terrier in its cage.  They were trying to pursue me to convince me to let them move to the front of the line of people waiting.  I agreed and sent them into my office.  They explained to me that their dog had a powerful worm in his heart and was dying.  I was shocked!  I was scared to face the worm, but I agreed to take the challenge.  I soon went to work and used a super strong chemical substance to destroy the acute-angled worm.

After the operation, the dog was fine.  He lived his life happily ever after.  I felt like it was a privilege to work on the dog after all.

The Science Fair Time Machine

by Brendan

One day left.  I build and build.  One hour later, I stare at my residue pieces.  Almost done, I think.  I am right!  Ten minutes later, finished at last, I stare at my amazing time machine.

The next day, I ran to the Science Fair.  No cars in the parking lot.  Yes!  First one there.  I rushed inside and went to the front counter.  I asked the lady there, “Where do I sign in?”

She replied, “Here, but first you must get your item approved over at the next table.”

“Thanks,” I said to her.  I signed my name and moved to the next table.

“Humm,” the man at that table said.  “What does your creation do?”

“Well,” I said, “it’s a time machine.”

The man just laughed and said, “Okay, then.  Go set up in area number one.”

“Number one.  Number one will win this year,” I thought.

More people soon filled the building.  I saw some other amazing things, but nothing as cool as my time machine.  The volume got louder and louder as I saw more and more people come through that door.  Then I heard someone announce, “The judges will be coming around in five minutes.”

“I’m ready,” I thought to myself.  “I’m going to win.”

As the judges came around, I commanded myself to breathe deeply and to think positively.  I quickly thought of the speech I would give about my project when I heard, “Mr. Kiernan, what do you have for us today?”

I jumped back, frightened by his height and skinniness.  “Today, I will show you the most amazing object in the history of the world,” I said as I quickly pulled off the sheet covering my creation.  The judges gasped, and at that moment, I felt I was sure to win.

After all the gasping, a judge asked, “What does it do?”

“Well, I answered, “it’s a time machine.”  Everyone laughed.  “Okay, I’ll prove it works!” I yelled at them with anger.  I flipped a switch on the machine and walked through the swirled portal.

Two things happened to me when I went through the portal.  One, a carriage almost hit me, and two, I figured out the issue regarding why nobody time travels.  My hand was gone!  I frantically looked around.  No portal!!!  I was stuck in this forgotten place forever, and without a hand.  Then I heard a buzz.  Next something swirled in the sky.  It lowered to the ground, and I saw someone in the swirling something.  I jumped in and tackled one of the judges.  “I’m back!” I exclaimed, out of breath, but miraculously, with both hands once more.  I stood up, and everyone cheered.

I asked, “Did I win first place?”

“Yes,” the judges said.

Suddenly, people came up to me and started asking questions.  “Using your time machine, what difference will you make in the world?” and “Did you have an advantage?  What was your strategy?

All I had to say was, “I’m just happy I won.”

Life as a Reporter

by Talia

Hi, y’all.  This is Hannah Hay from Happy Hoof-Beats Magazine.  For Volume 9, Issue 1, I went on a carriage ride in the snow.  I always love to breathe in frosty winter air.  For this particular trip, we went down an icy trail in Denver, Colorado.  The advantage of riding in a horse-drawn carriage is that you can see better the breath-taking sights.  At the moment, I was positive that there was no better place in the world.

One of my favorite sights was a white hare looking like it was about to announce its big jump across a frozen river.

The difference between riding in my carriage in the city and in nature was that nature was quiet, soothing, and beautiful.  The city was loud and busy.

The horses’ bodies glistened from the sweat residue covering them as we started to head for home.  I always approve of horse owners giving their special friends a treat at the end of a hard day’s work.  I gave my furry horsey friends a carrot and a nice juicy apple after our fun carriage ride in the snow.

This is Hannah Hay saying so long for now.  I will see you again next month in Issue 2, when I will discuss how to take care of your horses on snowy winter days.

The Eject Button

by Kayla

One dark, mysterious night, Detective Ed was going to be on a difficult case. The issue Detective Ed was about to work on was a case of a stolen carriage filled with gold. Detective Ed found two clues. One was a small piece of gold chipped off the mother lode of money.  Then someone at the crime scene announced, “Look at this! It’s a piece of ripped black cloth with a residue streak on it.” Next Ed found a torn piece of paper that had a phrase on it saying, “Catch me if you can.”

Out of the blue came an uproar of volume as a man ran down the street with a torn black t-shirt. Ed had an advantage in catching him because he had a car.  As he and his partner sped across the street, Detective Ed could barely breathe. He was so excited, he couldn’t behave, so he jumped up and down in his seat. His partner, Joe, did not approve of his behavior, so he pressed the eject button and out flew Ed, right onto the criminal. Ed handcuffed him quickly and sent him to jail.

That was Detective Ed’s first case. He will never forget it!

The Last of the Rangers

by Julian

In the lost lands of Tamriel, there are many cities, and the greatest of cities are in the empires of Zaratol.  In the small town of Karric, there is a little cottage.  Imprinted on the cottage door it says, “Karrigans.”  John Karrigan, the husband, has always wanted to be a ranger, or maybe an apprentice to one.  Sarah Karrigan doesn’t want her husband to be a ranger, or even worse, to be killed in the line of duty!

One day, John said to his beloved, “Sarah, I want to pursue my dream of being an apprentice to the Rangers of Tamriel.”

Sarah said, “What?  So, what?  This means you’re leaving!”

“Don’t get so mad!”

“Why shouldn’t I?  You’re going to go risk your life just to become one of those stupid rangers!  I care for you.  I don’t want you gone,” said Sarah.

“I care for you –“

“Well, if you really do care for me, don’t leave!”

John let out a long sigh and said, “Honey, listen.  I have to take a challenge, risk things for our land.  I love you, but this is something I want to do.”

Sarah started glaring at John and soon got tired of his nonsense.  “Fine, then!  Leave, you stupid idiot!  All you care about is those rangers, not your family!  Get out of my sight!  I never want to see you again, and because of you, our marriage is over!” ranted Sarah.  “Go then!  Come on, go to Castle Fairfax; pursue your dream!”  Sarah pushed John away and slammed the front door of the cottage in his face.

“Wow, what did I get myself into?  Well, I can’t go back now.”  John just sighed and started walking to Castle Fairfax.  He thought it was only a short distance away, but it was actually twenty-eight miles away.  After seeing how far it truly was, he decided to take a stagecoach there.  Just then, one approached.

“Hello, Sir.”

“Howdy!” said the driver.

“Do you think you can take me to Castle Fairfax?”

“No problem, Mister, but that’ll cost you ten gold pieces.”

What!  Ten gold pieces; that was all John had.  “Urg…yeah, sure.  Here,” John said, handing the driver the gold.

“Thanks much!  On we go to Fairfax!”

During the ride, John tried to illustrate Castle Fairfax in his mind.  After a long journey through forests and rocky grounds, John finally made it to Fairfax.  He got out of the stagecoach, and the nice breeze soothed him.  “Thank you, driver,” John said as he walked away into the heavily populated place.

“Aye, peasant!  What are you doing in Fairfax?” asked one of the guards.

“Who…ME?!  Well, I came here to become a ranger’s apprentice.”

The guard laughed and said, “Heh, you an appre–” A man thwacked the guard with an arrow and interrupted him. “Oww!”

“Dirk!  Fairfax is a public place!  Don’t make fun of anyone ever again or else!”  The strange man glared at Dirk and then looked at John.  “Want to be an apprentice, eh?  Well, follow me.  I will show you around.”  John shrugged and walked with the man.

“What is your name?”

“Excuse me?”

“I said, what is your name?”

“Oh!  My name is John, and yours?”

“Will.  I am the Head Ranger of Fairfax, and actually, I’ve been looking for another recruit.”  Will smiled and so did John.  They walked to some sort of barracks.

“So, you want the privilege of being an apprentice to the rangers?”

“What?!  I thought you were kidding.  I would love that!”

“Good,” said Will.  “Suit up; we have a lot of training to do.”

John trained for years!  He learned how to use a bow and how to use swords.  After four and a half years, his training was complete.

“You did a wonderful job, and now your real test is to come,” said Will.

“Really?  What is it?”

“We will go to the battlefield of Fairfax and have a big war!”

“So we are going to kill each other?”

“No! We are going to kill a dragon named Hungoo!”

“A dragon!” exclaimed John.  “I don’t want to be involved in killing a dang dragon.”

“I don’t care.  You’re coming whether you like it or not!” said Will.

John let out a long grunting noise.  Will got all the other apprentices, and they set off to go kill the dragon.  All the other apprentices and rangers were surprised, and some others happy, about their mission.  They got to the battlefield, and they didn’t believe their eyes.  There it was, the dragon…It was already dead.

“Very funny, Will!  We walk all the way out here for this!  Are you–“

“Quiet, John!” barked Will.  I don’t know what’s going on either!”

All the others were in silence until Will said, “Wait a second.  I recognize this substance.  Oh, dear Lord!  Go!  Run!  It’s an ambu–”  Will was interrupted by an arrow piercing his chest.

“NOO!” screamed John.  He started running with all the other apprentices and rangers.  No one made it far at all, including John, who was lying motionless with an arrow in his leg.  He was wallowing in pain and finally saw the creatures that had shot him.  Orcs.

“Bah!  Scrawny little things, these humans.  Hardly a challenge.  Come; let’s move on.”  The orcs didn’t finish the wounded off because they knew the men would die from a loss of blood or from the poison that was on their arrows.  Luckily for John, he wasn’t hit by a poison arrow.  Still, he knew he would die.  He closed his eyes and thought to himself, This is the end.  We’re finished.

A loud roar made John’s eyes shoot right open.  It was reinforcements from another place!  “Back, you filthy beasts!” they cried.  The orcs soon fled.  “Oh, no!  We’re too late!  But perhaps there can still be hope!  Scout, everyone; look for survivors.”

The knights only found one person alive.  It was John.  They picked him up and carried him back to Fairfax Castle.  After two days of surgery, John was okay.  He attended Will’s funeral and picked flowers for the other apprentices and rangers.

“I underestimated you.”  It was Dirk.

John replied, “I never thought this would happen…especially in the way this did.”

“Things happen that are unexpected.  You did what you could; you can’t change the past…peasant.”  Dirk smiled and nudged John in the shoulder.

John soon returned to Karric and to his wife, well, ex-wife.  “What are you doing her?  I thought you were a ‘ranger’ now,” she said.

“Look, I am sorry.  I’ve been through a lot in these past few days.  My instructor and all the other rangers and apprentices died in battle.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yeah, I was the only survivor.  I am sorry for what I did, you know, leaving, but please let me stay with you.”

“What, after you just ran–” John interrupted Sarah by kissing her on the cheek.

“I love you, Sarah.”

Sarah was surprised, but she replied, “I love you, too, Jerk!”  John smiled, and they went to sit on the grass in their yard.  “So, you had the guts to come back?”  John just chuckled, but Sarah knew that meant…yeah.