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Archive for Sunday, October 31, 2010

Screams in School: Scary Story Contest brings out the frights

Katie Guyot, left, and Taylor Schoenhofer are the winners of the Scary Story contest. Scream if you dare.

Katie Guyot, left, and Taylor Schoenhofer are the winners of the Scary Story contest. Scream if you dare.

October 31, 2010

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Katie Guyot, left, and Taylor Schoenhofer are the winners of the Scary Story contest. Scream if you dare.

Katie Guyot, left, and Taylor Schoenhofer are the winners of the Scary Story contest. Scream if you dare.

Allie Straub, ninth-grader, South Junior High School, winner of Junior high division of 2010 Scary Story Contest.

Allie Straub, ninth-grader, South Junior High School, winner of Junior high division of 2010 Scary Story Contest.

The Journal-World features department was equal parts enthralled and spooked by the nearly 150 entries to our annual Scary Story Contest. We provided the prompt: “I returned to school after dinner to pick up a book I forgot. The front doors were unlocked, but the building was dark and deserted.” And our young contestants took us just about everywhere imaginable — whether to a secret teachers’ lounge with jewels (quite a job perk) to a haunted dog show.

The scares included lab rats, vampire bats, trails of ants and the ghost of Don Knotts.

As student writers crafted their bad guys, we noticed that gym and science teachers frequently took a beating, that principals often morph into monsters and that custodians can be counted upon to save the day.

Thanks to all the aspiring writers who entered.

Elementary division: Winner: Taylor Schoenhofer, fifth-grader, Woodlawn School. Honorable mentions: Rebecca Burmingham, sixth-grader, Veritas Christian School; Leah Marett, fifth-grader, Prairie Park School.

Junior high division: Winner: Allie Straub, ninth-grader, South Junior High School. Honorable mentions: Jordan Tannehill, eighth-grader, Veritas Christian School; and Molly James, seventh-grader, Eudora Middle School.

High school division: Katie Guyot, sophomore, Free State High School. Honorable mention: Candice Meiners, junior, Free State High School.

HIGH SCHOOL:

Katie Guyot

Sophomore

Free State High School

Winner

“Contagious”

I returned to school after dinner to pick up a book I forgot. The front doors were unlocked, but the building was dark and deserted, like a dentist’s office on Halloween. I paused on the cusp of the first row of tiles to scrutinize the labyrinth of tables and chairs that stretched beyond my vision’s threshold, my foot wedged between the door and the wall in an attempt to stay connected to the outside world. The trashcans looked like little UFOs in the darkness; the stairways the ridged backs of dragons, jagged and scaly.

I glanced longingly back at my ‘94 Ford, which was poised and ready to go in the parking lot. I tugged absently on my lower lip. Would my Chemistry teacher mind if I skipped this assignment?

A gust of kamikaze wind hurled itself against the building, defeating my boot in the battle of the door and effectively shutting me inside with a victorious click.

I took this as an unwanted answer to my question and slunk about the edge of the hall, careful to stay inside the line of artificial light shining through the windows.  Soon, however, the streetlights lost their luster, as I had now entered the landlocked corridor that housed our lockers, where the shadows were so dense that it was impossible to make out individual numbers.

Slurrrplop.

I gasped and fell against the wall, shivers skulking down my spine.

Swishishisheeeee.

My heart hit a crescendo, a loud metronome behind the melody of daunting sloshes echoing around the corner.

Slurrrrsheee.

As my mind whirled with images of the sort of perverse creature that could make such sounds, morbid curiosity drove me to inch recklessly forward, craning my neck until a soft, hazy glow came into sight in the adjacent hall. My breathing had now come to a halt, and my pupils strained in the gloominess until they focused right on—

The custodian. Mopping up a spill with an electric lantern resting on his cart.

While relief washed over my foolish, quaking bones, hysterical laughter bubbled in my throat, and lest the man be spooked by my insane giggles, I greeted, “Hello!”

He jumped, sprinkling soapy droplets onto his jeans. “Good evenin’,” he returned after a moment’s hesitation, then turned up his iPod and continued to work.

I hurried to the second-floor staircase, leaving his enviable lantern behind.  With a renewed fear of the dark, I waved my phone out in front of me, casting an eerie blue radiance on the green lockers.

“Two-oh-oh-eight, two-oh-one-oh…two-oh-one-two.” I knelt down to reach the dial. I detested having a bottom locker, always being tripped over as I gathered my things—sometimes even getting pelted with falling pencils.

I was about to spin my combination when something unidentifiably vile oozed onto my hand. Flinching, I dropped my phone in surprise, and my only light source vanished.

I cursed and frantically rubbed my fingers against the metal, but the—the goo wouldn’t come off. It was like gum had gotten stuck in my hair, only this was my hand, so I couldn’t exactly hack it off with scissors.

I gagged as another glob of who-knew-what stuck itself to my skin. It was attached to the wall as well, and no amount of struggling aided my escape. Panicking, I emitted an animalistic shriek, but apparently, my only companion in the school needed a hearing check. I unthinkingly shoved my free hand upwards to gain momentum, only to have it land in the locker above mine. Had that been open before? No, I was positive it was closed a minute ago…and there certainly hadn’t been sludge seeping out of it, just waiting to pull me inside…

Yellow beams jolted me awake through horizontal slits near my eyes, and I dazedly regarded my surroundings. I appeared to be in a locker—my locker—but didn’t know how I had gotten there. Moreover, my body was gone, replaced by shapeless, asparagus-colored goop.

Most strangely of all, I could not find it within myself to care.

Outside, a pair of sneakers stopped at locker 2010, with fleshy ankles just visible beneath beige capris.

Breakfast, a voice hissed.

I suddenly realized how famished I had become.

Candice Meiners

Junior, Free State High School

Honorable Mention

“A Haunting Sound”

I returned to school after dinner to pick up a book I forgot. The front doors were unlocked, but the building was dark and deserted. This was not surprising, due to the practices of my boarding school. Though it was the weekend and consequently there were no classes, the doors were left open so students could have access to their lockers.

I pushed one of the front doors open a sliver, slipped inside, and softly closed the dark, polished wood behind me. The entry hallway did not have windows and was dark and eerie. The cerulean painted walls were wainscoted with dark polished wood and hung with old paintings of people long dead. The vast, grand hall felt sinister, I was uneasy and hastened towards the ornate staircase leading up to the lockers. I was halfway there, when I heard it. It was unnerving, terrifying and filled me with ice, and yet I yearned for it with all my heart, all my soul, with every thought in my mind, and every cell in my body. It was a voice, a single ethereal voice, resounding throughout the halls. It was beautiful, enchanting, and sensual.

It had no words and was simultaneously about everything and about nothing. I stumbled toward it with feverish enthusiasm, forgetting about my book.

I glimpsed my reflection in the gilded, full-length mirror hanging on the wall to my left. I was wearing my school uniform: blue plaid skirt, white blouse, grey sweater-vest, grey knee-highs, and black loafers. I looked like a ghost, my skin pale and clammy, my grey eyes wide and anxious, my mouth slightly open, and my hands trembling. I tripped and then stumbled to my feet in jerky motions, like a puppet with puppet strings. Indeed, I could not say that I was not a puppet; I certainly did not feel in control of myself.

The beautiful, hideous sound was coming from the one open door at the end of the hallway on the left. I staggered forward, shaking more with every step. After what seemed an eternity I hovered in front of the doorframe, faltered forward a few steps, then collapsed to my knees, back hunched.

The fearsome song came from here, from the lips of my classmate, Ariella Dreacabre. Drawn on the floor with white light was a circle, intricate swirls stemming from it and within it. Standing at six even intervals around the circle were six fat white candles with black-violet flames. There were cloaked figures on the floor hunched over like myself, with their faces in shadows and their forms draped in cerulean, black, or violet fabrics. The colors reminded me of a bruise.

Ariella sat cross-legged in the middle of the luminous circle singing that dreadful song. I had seen Ariella in school, skinny and nondescript, blending in with the mass of humans. Now she looked different, cold and ethereal like moonlight, with a skeletal frame, white skin, long black hair, and black eyes, glinted with gold.

She wore an intricate white robe, and the grey smoke of the candles curled around her, seemingly into her, as if she was singing strength into being, lacing it into the smoke, and then consuming it.

Our eyes met; her gaze was cold and hypnotic. Through some primitive instinct I knew now what she was. Ariella Dreacabre was a banshee.

The gleaming circle stained violet, its swirls reconfigured themselves, the candles darkened to black and grew long and slender with violet flames, and the smoke drifted away from the singer. Ariella had shifted to a different song, even more haunting than the last. This one had words:

No mortal my song can hear

Without feeling love and fear

Now that thou hath heard my song

Thy soul shalt be mine—eternity long

Ariella chanted this refrain over and over. The smoke curled around me and I started feeling…empty. I trembled as the smoke drew my soul from my body.

In Ariella’s cupped hands I saw a pale blue-colored orb forming that shone ever brighter as I grew weaker.

Presently the song ended and my soul was hers for eternity. I stopped shivering and merely listened as she resumed her original, haunting song.

JUNIOR HIGH

Allie Straub

Ninth-grader

South Junior High School

Winner

“The Gym Teacher”

I returned to school after dinner to pick up a book I forgot. The front doors were unlocked, but the building was dark and deserted. Darkness engulfed me as I walked in.

As I slowly made my way to my locker, the hairs on the back of my neck rose. My senses told me that something wasn’t right. There seemed to a presence watching from the shadows. Its unseen eyes bore into my back.

The walk to my locker was endless; I couldn’t get there fast enough. While turning the dial, something warm and sticky spread on to my hands. I drew them back and started to inspect the unknown substance. To my horror, the deep red substance was unmistakably blood.

I quickly wiped it on my jeans, and after inspecting the damage done to my pants, I glanced at my hand out of the corner of my eye. The blood left on my hand was moving! Tiny drops moved to form a single word.

Death.

To the right came a sudden, shrill whistle. It was a whistle that was originally used to tame noisy teens in a crowded gym. I knew that whistle. Not too long ago it was used on me, by my old gym teacher, Mrs. Kieller.

Mrs. Kieller was a very stressful women. She stood tall and proud; her tone muscles always showed no matter what she wore. She was a person that you did not want to start much trouble with.

The old gym teacher had never liked teaching junior high, the young kids always being too talkative and wild for her. I had always been the worst student, causing trouble by talking and pulling pranks. I never thought that any trouble would come out of it. That is, until she committed suicide about a month before.

The police had searched her house, and found a note with her whistle on top, explaining how her life had been too much for her to handle. Then she poured gasoline on the outside of her bedroom, lit a match to it, and handcuffed herself to the bed. Fireman said that she probably pass out from the smoke before the flames ever got to her.

Now, the same whistle could be heard echoing through the empty halls. I looked around, hoping to find its source. Nothing other than Mrs. Kieller could explain this odd dilemma. Not many students hid in the shadows with a whistle hoping to scare people. As hard as I stared into the shadows, nothing could be seen.

My heart was racing. I could hear my blood pounding in my ears. The bad vibe I had felt before was multiplied to infinity. No book was worth this kind of trouble. I took off at full speed to the doors.

“You never ran that fast in gym class.”

The evil voice of my old teacher rang in my ears. But it couldn’t be! She was dead! There was no way that she had anything to do with this! But she did. Her spirit formed before me, blocking me from the exit. I stopped. Her evil eyes stared straight into mine. As frightened as I was, I couldn’t look away.

“You always caused me trouble!” She said loudly. Then her voice lowed to a growl, “now, its payback time.”

The smell of gasoline was suddenly present. Growing wet spot appeared in a circle around me. A fire rose from one spot, but quickly spread all around. The circle slowly grew smaller, and smaller, and smaller…..

“You could never let me be! I tried my best, I really did! But you never cared at all!”

Flames were dangerously close now. Smoke started to fill my lungs. The heat was becoming unbearable. My head was swiveling wildly, trying to find an escape. But none were to be found. I could feel my head grow dizzy, and consciousness slowly started to slip away……

The next day, all that they could find was a burnt circle on the floor of the hallway, and a clay jar with five words on the front.

“The Ashes of Troubled Students.”

Jordan Tannehill

Eight-grader

Veritas Christian School

Honorable mention

“The Missing Girl”

I returned to school after dinner to pick up a book I had forgotten. The front doors were unlocked, but the building was dark and deserted. I slowly opened the old metal door and took a step in. The air from the stormy night rushed into the clean, new building. I looked around; I was all alone, or so I thought. I started to walk down the muggy, dimly lit hallway. I was at my locker in a matter of minutes and opened the freshly painted door. I looked for my book, but couldn’t find it. I figured I must have left it in Mrs. Mark’s classroom.

As I was shutting my locker, lightning flashed and something black dashed across the hallway! I jumped as I thought to myself, “I must be hallucinating.” I walked down the hallway until I was right in front of Mrs. Mark’s room. I reached for the doorknob, opened the door, and saw that the floor was covered in glass. My heart dropped. What had happened here? The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I suddenly had the feeling that I wasn’t alone. As my feet crunched across the sharp rubble, something caught my eye. One patch of glass was covered in red.

I knew I had to get out of there. I raced all the way back to the front door. I pulled on it, but it wouldn’t budge. Not knowing what to do, I got out my phone to call my parents. Oh no! No! It was dead. I ran to the office to use the phone there. I locked myself in the principal’s office. There came a knock at the door. I stopped breathing and slowly dialed 9-1-1. I knew my parents wouldn’t be able to save me from this. The officer answered “Ellwood police department, state your emergency.” “Hello! I’m at the high school! There’s glass on the floor with blood on it. There’s someone bad here. You have to come save me!” I cried. The woman answered, “We’ll send an officer to your location.” “Hurry,” I yelled. The woman on the other end said, “Ma’am, stay calm.” Then she was gone. There was no dial tone. Someone had cut the phone line.

I hastily walked to the door and slowly turned the knob, easing it open. Slowly I tilted my head out of the door. A car light from down the street shone in. At that moment the man in the black jacket turned his face toward me. He was almost all the way to the door. He smiled a crooked, creepish smile, accentuating his large beard and dark brown eyes. He walked to the door, opened it, and slowly waltzed out.

I was frozen. Not knowing what to do I raced towards the door! I pulled on it and groaned because nothing happened. How could this be? He just opened it! Knowing I had to wait for the police, I walked down to the bathroom. I locked the door and curled up on the floor. I was shaking and deathly afraid of what was to come. Who was the man in black, and why was he in my school? I had a horrible feeling in my stomach, wondering what could come next. Would the strange man come back? What if I never saw my family again? “What” and “if” were two words that weren’t harmless at all, but put together, they were enough to keep you awake at night.

Then I heard someone yelling saying “Is anyone here?” I jumped up, hit the door, and flew into the hall. I ran out and saw an officer dressed in a dark uniform. I hugged him tightly, unexpected tears burning my eyes. He laughed, and I looked up, suddenly realizing I had seen him before. That may have been the worst feeling I have ever had. I slowly and hesitantly backed away from the man with the crooked, creepish smile, the thick beard, and the dark brown eyes. He grabbed my arm and pulled me through the dark. My shrieks cut through the silence like breaking glass. He pulled me through the large door and through the dark parking lot. He threw me in the back of his squad car. I would never have dreamed this would happen to me, a little country girl, in a little town where nothing ever happened.

I screamed and cried, hoping maybe he would be annoyed, pull over, and let me out, but nothing stopped his focus. Soon we were at a halt, and my door opened. I hit him and yelled, but he held me down and tied bricks to my cold feet. I finally realized where we were. I struggled and tried to fight. Then I was gone. I could feel my soul leaving my hopeless, cold body…

One year later, the search for me continued. Today, the police gave up, but my parents refused to give up hope. They went to Elmo Lake to take a break from everything. I watched as my dad jumped in the water, hoping he would find me. He dove deep into the cold fall water. He touched my arm, opened his eyes, and was shocked. He pulled up my purple, lifeless body, and dragged me out. The police were called, but when they arrived something wasn’t right.

The officer that responded to the call from my horrified father was very worried. He said, “I knew your daughter very well. I’m so sorry for your loss, sir.” Then he went on to say, “I can still faintly remember that fall day when she forgot her book, never did find it.” My father, with many things running through his head at this point, looked up. He gave the officer a very strange look, and said,” Yes, what a shame. I think I might be placing another call to the department later.”

The mystery of the missing small town girl was solved, but the question of “why” remained. To haunt the people of the small town of Ellwood.

Molly James

Seventh-grader

Eudora Middle School

Honorable mention

“Who, or What, Was That?”

I returned to school after dinner to pick up a book I forgot. The front doors were unlocked, but the building was dark and deserted. I was trembling as I stepped over the threshold. It seemed as though my breath was tar in my lungs, refusing to ever come out. I took in a gulp of air and ran down the abandoned hallway. I felt as though any minute, or any second, a person would walk down the hallway and tell me I was breaking school policies by being here. Once my fingers touched the dial, I froze. My gaze swept down the hallway. A figure, too big to be a person, was slumped against a few lockers. I shrugged, thinking it was my eyes playing tricks on me.

“Hello?” I called to it. A few grunts confirmed my worst nightmare; it was a person, or a thing. I opened my locker as fast as I could. The book wasn’t in there! I slammed my locker. For a second, I thought I could feel its breath singeing every single hair on my head. I screamed and ran the other direction. My scream reverberated back to me, as though it was taunting me, telling me that I was alone. I turned around a corner. I leaned up against a wall, hardly daring to breathe. My ears picked up harsh steps as it caught up. I saw its neon green eyes stare back at me. I was about to scream, when I started to bite my knuckles. Its snort told me that it hadn’t seen me. I released the air in my lungs. My heart felt as though it was trying to pound an escape route out of my chest. I crept down the hallway. Then, I felt the person’s breathing on the back of my neck. I ran full speed into the brick wall at the end of the hallway. Then, a metallic sound broke the tranquility. I swung my hand out to find something to defend myself with. My hand had found an air horn. As the sound rung out even louder, I knew this was my only chance. I swung the air horn up and forced my finger down as hard as I could while trying to save my own hearing. The harsh sound rebounded down the hallway.

“Yes!” I screamed triumphantly as it bellowed in pain.

“What in the world are you doing here?” It bellowed.

“Huh?” I stuttered. Then, a beam of dusty light engulfed me. I had to shield my eyes from its glare. “Janitor Johnson?”

“Yes. Is this what you are looking for?” He said, holding out a book.

“Yes. But you had neon green eyes and walked with a limp!” I said softly.

“I’ve always had a limp and I had my cat sitting on my shoulder,” He snorted. At that second, a black she-cat ran in to the room, spitting at me. I looked down at her. She had neon green eyes.

“Oh.” I said as I turned to leave the school. I sighed as I stepped over the threshold again, thinking I was safe. A small idea popped into my head, but amongst the screaming voices, I pushed it aside as I walked back home and into a full moon smiling back at me.

ELEMENTARY

Taylor Schoenhofer

Fifth-grader

Woodlawn School

Winner

“The Secret Lounge”

I returned to school after dinner to pick up a book I forgot. The front doors were unlocked, but the building was dark and deserted. The red bricks looked like they might crumble at any second and fog wrapped the windows like spider webs. I had the feeling that I as being watched. The door was just a slab of wood and when I leaned over to knock, the door opened by itself! I fell to the ground. I jumped up and wiped off the dust that covered me, then I walked into the building.

Every step made a screeching creak. All of the lights were off. “Hello?” I hollered. It made a ghostly echo. I saw the passageway to the teachers’ lounge, the forbidden headquarters, and wondered how much detention I would receive if I were caught in there, however, I decided it would be worth the adventure anyway. I hollered one more time “Hello?” to reassure my confidence. Then I tiptoed through the door. The door led to another narrow hallway. Dimmed gas lamps decorated the walls. The wallpaper was worn off, as though it had been sitting in the rain for the last twenty years. Suddenly, the ceiling began to get lower and the hallway became darker. It was like a secret tunnel. I was as blind as a bat in this hall. With a big gulp, I continued walking.

I felt the walls as I walked, “the walls are getting colder!” I mumbled. Then, I saw a light just straight ahead and began walking faster, with a skip in my step. It seemed like a mile away, so I stopped for a break. I whispered to myself, “how long have I been here? Mom and Dad should be coming to look for me. Well, I can’t go back, I might as well go forward. I hope there are giant piles of gold and treasures at the end of this tunnel.” I wished with all my might that no dangers lied at the end, at least nothing considering death.

It was so dark, I bumped my head on the wall. It was even colder! This was like a cave. Caves are neat, except one thing. “Please don’t be there. Please don’t be there.” I mumbled under my breath. I looked up. Vampire bats! I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t. Red eyes blinked at me. Now these weren’t the type of vampire bats that turned into vampires. But the ones that lived on blood. I could have fainted. I walked slowly, making no sounds to get them moving. Then, I kicked a tiny pebble and within a second, the whole group of them swarmed me like bees. I ran as fast as I could. I had to go to the end of the tunnel. I ran and ran.

I reached the end just in time and discovered a very beautiful room with golden walls. There were two posts in the back of the room. One had a beautiful red ruby and the other possessed an emerald. The emerald looked so beautiful it looked fake. Both of the gems were heavy, so I could only take one. I knew that mom and dad would only believe me if I brought the one that looked real. I walked at a fast pace over to the ruby and tried to pick it up. Suddenly, after I touched the ruby, the building began to crumble. I ran as fast as I could, not even bothering the bats. Boulders were crashing three feet from the back of me. I dropped the ruby and it crumbled. I finally reached the exit of the teachers lounge and without a breath left, I ran out the front doors. Within seconds, the school crumbled!

Today, many people think it was a small earthquake. Others think that the bricks just faded. But the teachers knew exactly what happened. There was an assembly outside, to find out who went into the teachers’ lounge. They ended up accusing this very curious kindergartener. The punishment was a year of detention, after the school was rebuilt. I’m just glad it wasn’t me. The teachers’ did not find out about me going in the forbidden cave, but I think I found out something about them. They all had a dark secret; I just didn’t know what it was yet. I’ll never forget my book again.

Leah Marett

Fifth-grader

Prairie Park School

Honorable mention

“Hydro-Heroic”

I went to school after dinner to pick up a book I forgot. The front doors were unlocked, but the building was dark and deserted. I hobbled up to the handicapped button to open the door. My red hair whipped across my face. Being on crutches was going to slow this down a lot. I looked down at my left leg, surrounded with a purple cast, as I went in to the school. I was upset about breaking my leg and having to quit softball in the middle of the season. Worse, I was called Purple Leg Pexa by all the 6th grade boys.

Quickly, I deserted my thoughts as I heard a bark. My eyes got wide. Muman and Max, the principal’s dogs, were cute little things, until hydrophobia took them over. I really, really hoped that they weren’t the ones making a racket. I went as fast as I could to the door of my classroom, just to hear scurrying behind me. I struggled to open the door and was in the room and on top of a shelf in record time. I peeked at the door. Muman and Max! They were back!

I climbed higher and higher on the shelves, finally reaching the ceiling. I heard sharp barks behind me, and a slurred word. I turned around in scared curiosity, surprised to see something horrible in front of me. The principal, Mrs. Arnolian, had been gone for a few days, no one knowing why, and now she was in front of me. I quickly understood what had happened. She’d been bitten by her beloved dogs. I dare not move or I would be hurt, but I would have to soon. Even 15 feet above the three hydrophobia victims, my principal could still get to me.

She had the brain and functions of a human, even though she was sick, and that meant she could climb.

I felt like screaming, but instead I gazed at the scene below me. Muman, Max, and their owner were all red-eyed, with foam coming out their mouths. Mrs. Arnolian was standing with a killer-like expression glued to her skinny face. I noted that her short height should make it harder for her to climb, and easier to get away from. Slowly, very slowly, I made my first move towards the closest window.

After 5 minutes, I was 1 foot away from it, and very anxious. I suddenly made my last move and jiggled the handle that would open my way to freedom. Just as I was about to climb out, I saw both the dogs and the principal sprint to me. Mrs. Arnolian started climbing, and quickly, too. I had to think!

A few seconds later I heard hard breathing and a firefighter entered the room. Suddenly, I was aware of the change in temperature. It was hot. I snapped to attention. As I smelled smoke, and as the principal almost reached me, I grabbed six textbooks from the closest cubby and dropped them on her. I was okay! I almost jumped through the window, and then saw the firefighter struggling with the dogs. I grabbed six more textbooks and threw three on each dog. As they blacked out, I jumped out the window. Noticing the fire fighter couldn’t fit through as I could, I asked him to hand me my crutches, and then hobbled as fast as possible to the fire truck.

I yelled at the nearest firefighter about the guy in the school and led him to the window where the man stood, trapped. The fire fighter took out a walky-talky and called another person on duty. This guy brought a chain saw, and together, the men got their friend out of the flaming building, just before the room erupted in flames. I heard a cry behind me and turned to see an anxious mother. “Pexa!”

She cried. And she took me home.

The next morning, the newspaper headlines were all about me. They read things like ‘Girl Saves Trapped Firefighter’ and ‘Girl Trapped by Hydrophobia Victims’. My story even made it to the national news in one day! I was a hero, and proud of it.

Rebecca Burmingham

Sixth-grader

Veritas Christian School

Honorable mention

“The Kidnapping”

I returned to the school after dinner to pick up a book I forgot. The front doors were unlocked, but the building was dark and deserted. My classroom is on the 5th floor. I found the room and turned on the lights

I felt my phone vibrating. “Hi mom.”

“Hi dear. Have you found your book?” She asked.

“Yeah, I’ll be home in fifteen minutes.”

“OK, see you then!” She hung up. I picked up my book, and then I heard a crash.

Everything went black.

I groped for the door handle and opened the door, but I couldn’t see a thing. I knew the other sixth and fifth grade classes were on the same floor, but I couldn’t tell where.

I bumped into someone and screamed. The person yelled. I stumbled back toward my classroom, and he ran toward the stairs. Great. I was stuck at the school with a, umm, robber. Great. There was another crash. I was really scared. Then something hit my head.

When I woke up, I was in an attic and tied to a chair. My watch was gone.

Someone opened a door behind me. “You awake, sleepyhead?” said a gruff voice, as he slapped the side of my head with his hand. “You little stinker, now what’s a good little girl like you doing in the school after hours? Huh?”

“Not your problem,” I replied, trying to sound brave.

He snickered. He was wearing an old black t-shirt, had brown hair, a goatee and smelled like cigars.

I started to ask him, “And what are you doing her…”

A woman’s voice interrupted me. “Fred, there’s no valuables in the top levels except a couple little trinkets. I think there’s a computer room here somewhere though. Is the girl up yet? If she is, she could tell us.”

“She’s awake alright, honey, and I’m sure she’ll be happy to help. By the way, where is Johnny?”

“You know he hates being called that.”

“Alright. We better get Miss Know-It-All here to help us out.”

Fred held my arms while the lady untied me. Now that I could see her, I noticed she had shiny black hair, designer jeans, and a black bikini-strap tank top. With my hands still bound together, they herded me out the door. We walked down a flight of stairs, and ended up back on the 5th floor near my classroom.

“Alright, girly, where is the computer lab?” the man asked me.

“First floor, room 8A. But there’s a code.”

“What’s the code, brat?” asked the lady.

“I don’t know.”

“Joyce, we really have to find John,” Fred said.

“Don’t you think I already know that?”

“Well, I…”

“Just shut up!”

They tied me to a stair railing and began searching the classrooms. When they came out from the last room, they untied me and forced me down the stairs. There I was tied up again while they did the same thing on the 4th floor.

“Where is the kid?!?!? We really need him!” exclaimed Joyce.

When we finally reached the first floor, a young man was waiting. He was wearing a T-shirt with graffiti on it.

“Johnny, where have you been?!?! We need you. There’s a code to get into the computer lab. Come on!”

We headed to the lab. John pulled something out of his bag, attached it to the alarm system, and punched in some digits. Joyce and Fred ran inside, grabbed all the laptops they could, and disappeared down the dark hallway.

“Gimme your wrists,” John said to me.

“Why?”

He just looked at me.

“Alright, alright! Just stop looking at me like that!”

I held out my wrists, and he took out a knife and cut the rope. He led me down the hallway to a door, and we hurried to his car and climbed inside.

“Why didn’t you go with them?” I asked him.

“Oh, uh, I’m actually an undercover agent. I was just getting information. Now, with a kidnapping, they’ll get to spend a long vacation in prison.”

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