Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2021 finalist, Kate Tighe! Kate finished 3rd grade this past school year. The story she wrote is called “Journey.” Enjoy!
by Kate Tighe
“Jessica,” my teacher called.
I took a deep breath, preparing myself for all the kids in my class to laugh at me. “Hi,” I said.
“Will you please start, Jessica?” asked my teacher.
“Ok,” I said. “Once upon a time there was a lake, and it was quite beautiful. People running around it, laughing. Everyone who knew about it, of course. For a while, very few people knew about this lake; it was only known to two people. They were Edward and Adam. Now, a young woman followed them around making sure not to show herself and to keep quiet. Her name was Sally. One day, Adam snuck into a cottage. He did not know who lived in the cottage, so he thought it was safe. Edward and Sally did know who lived in that cottage, two dark and dangerous unicorns. But the unicorns did not appear to be in the house. Sally and Edward did not know that the other was there, but they did know that the unicorns were in the back garden. Edward and Sally both crept to the garden at the same time. ‘Hi,’ Sally said when she saw Edward. Edward jumped back, then deciding Sally was safe, he controlled himself. ‘Hi,’ said Edward. ‘What should we do about the unicorns?’ ‘If we work together with our unicorns, we can cast a spell to make the dangerous unicorns fall asleep for one hundred years,’ Sally said. ‘Ok,’ Edward said. ‘3, 2, 1, go!’ Sally said. Together they whispered words under their breath, holding their hands on the two unicorns. Now that the spell worked, Adam left the cottage peacefully. A couple of years later, Sally and Edward got married and had two daughters, Jessica and Laura. When Laura was six years old, she was walking around a village next to the forest that led to the lake and she noticed a black house with black curtains and thought it was interesting, so she knocked on the door. ‘Hello little girl, come in,’ said a woman. Laura looked up and realized it was a witch, the most evil witch ever. So, Laura took out her wand and fought the witch, and in the end, the witch was dead.” I finished with a breath, and as I had suspected, everyone in my class started to laugh.
“You were supposed to tell a nonfiction story,” said one boy.
“Yeah, where’s your story?” said a girl.
“Quiet down, quiet down,” my teacher called. “Jessica, you were supposed to tell a nonfiction story. Now sit down.”
I sighed and sat down at my desk. You see, I was the Jessica in the story. The problem is even if the kids in my class believed me, they would still laugh at me because I had no story or adventure of my own.
That night, I could barely sleep and the next morning at breakfast, I barely even touched my food.
“What’s the matter, Jessica?” said my mom, Sally.
“Yes, you are not acting like yourself today,” said my dad, Edward.
So, I told them everything, how I had told the story, and everyone laughed at me, and how my teacher had complained that it was not a nonfiction story even though it was.
“You know they built a school for unicorns on the lake,” said my dad.
“Would you take me?” I asked.
“Sure,” said my dad.
“Make sure to go on the weekend and ask Laura if she wants to go too,” said my mom.
“I don’t really care, but maybe that afternoon I’ll come and meet you if you go in the morning,” Laura, my sister, said.
I smiled at my younger sister. “Ok,” I said.
“Then it’s all settled,” said my dad. “Jessica and I will leave Saturday morning, and Laura might meet us that afternoon.”
We all nodded. I was so excited; I just had to get through the next day, which was Friday, and then I was going to a school for unicorns. Unicorns.
Friday afternoon, I raced home from school and bumped into Laura when I finally reached my house.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“Nothing, sorry,” I panted.
“Ok,” she said and went inside.
I, however, walked over to the big tree in our front yard, climbed a ladder, and ended up in a big treehouse. I loved the treehouse. It was so pretty, with lights on the roof and a telescope. I just sat there for a while, did my homework, and then hurried to my room to read.
The next morning, I woke up early and rushed to my parents’ room. “Come on, come on,” I said.
“I’ll get up soon, give me half an hour,” my dad said sleepily.
I sighed and walked back to my room, got dressed, and then went downstairs and made myself some toast and eggs. When I finished eating, I brushed my teeth and waited a few more minutes. Finally, my dad came downstairs.
“That took you 45 minutes, not half an hour,” I pointed out to my dad.
My dad laughed and walked toward the door. “Are you ready?” my dad asked.
“Yup!” I answered happily.
When we got there, I jumped out of the car immediately.
“There’s no rush,” my dad called, but I was already right in front of the school.
I took a deep breath; I was so excited. I walked into the stables and so much fun greeted me at the entrance. There were a lot of people running around, some people braiding their unicorns’ hair, and others were feeding their unicorns. One unicorn caught my eye. I walked up close to her stall and looked at her name printed in bold letters: Journey.
I smiled, and pet the unicorn, expecting it didn’t belong to anyone, but I was wrong.
“Excuse me,” said a girl in a rude tone, “but that’s my unicorn.”
“Oh, sorry,” I said. “I didn’t know.” I walked away slightly more scared than before. Maybe there is no unicorn here for me, I thought to myself.
Then, a girl walked up to me. “Sorry about that, she can be rude,” she said.
“It’s ok,” I said truthfully.
“I’m Haily, by the way,” she said.
“I’m Jessica,” I said, and smiled at her.
We talked for a bit and she seemed really nice.
“Do you want to come to a sleepover with me and my friends near the lake this Friday?” Haily asked me.
“Sure,” I said. “I don’t have a unicorn though.”
“That’s fine,” Haily assured me.
That Friday, I rushed to the school as quickly as I could and saw Haily. When she saw me, she led me over to her friends and introduced us all.
“This is Robert, William, Bob, Matty, Sofia, and Kelly. Everyone, this is Jessica.”
“Hi,” they all said (except Haily).
Then I noticed something. It was the girl who had been rude to me earlier. “Who is that?” I asked.
“That’s Alexis,” said Matty.
“We need to follow her,” I said.
“What?” William asked.
“Have you slept here before?” I asked.
“Yes,” Kelly answered.
“Have you ever seen Alexis sneak out here before?” I asked.
“No,” Sofia responded. “Now it makes sense; she’s obviously up to something.”
“Ok, but we need to hurry,” Bob said anxiously.
We quietly followed Alexis and ended up in a cute village.
“This is Charm Village,” Robert muttered.
Alexis walked a bit longer and then walked into a house.
I gasped. “That was the house the most evil witch ever lived in!”
“Wait, what was the witch’s last name?” William asked.
“Hawk,” I answered.
“That’s Alexis’s last name.”
Kelly pulled an iPad out of a big pocket and looked something up. We all looked over her shoulder and I realized it was the witch’s family tree, and her granddaughter was Alexis. Then Sofia turned around and the rest of us did too. Alexis was coming back, wearing a witch outfit and holding something. It was Laura’s old wand.
Kelly stepped back. “Wait, your sister put a spell on her wand so it wouldn’t be accessible until yesterday, and if she has it, she could be dangerous…”
“Laura hid a jewel that can make the wand have full power and unless you find it, the wand doesn’t work. The date thing is about when you can access the jewel; you could not access it until yesterday,” I told everyone.
“I heard a rumor that there are clues to find the jewel and that the first clue is with the wand. Is that true?” Robert asked.
“It is, but Laura told me the first clue in case I ever needed to find the jewel,” I said.
“What is the first clue?” Haily asked.
“Where flowers dance, Grasshoppers sing, And there is a sparkling stream.”
“The meadow!” we all said at once.
So, we all hopped onto our unicorns (I rode on the back of Haily’s unicorn) and rode to the meadow. When we got there, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was beautiful.
“We should spread out to find the next clue,” Bob suggested.
We all silently agreed, and we split up in pairs. Me and Haily, Sofia and Kelly, Matty and Robert, and Bob and William. Haily and I followed the stream in the direction of the mountains. We stopped at the edge of a forest and saw a tree shaking. We touched different parts of the tree and not until we touched opposite sides at the same time, that the front of the tree opened. We both jumped to the front of the tree and a magical song came out. At least it sounded like a song.
“The beach!” We both yelled at the same time. We rushed to tell the others.
“That must be where the jewel is!” William shouted.
“We need to get there right away,” Sofia agreed.
So, we were off to the beach!
We hopped onto our unicorns a second time and rode to the beach. I looked back and saw Alexis walking around the meadow.
“We need to hurry,” I told the others, because Alexis could catch up with us at any time.
When we got to the beach, I couldn’t believe my eyes a second time. It was as beautiful as the meadow, maybe even more beautiful. We didn’t spread out this time, thinking it would be easier to not get spotted by Alexis if we were in fewer places.
“Look over here,” Bob called.
“Did he find anything?” I asked Kelly.
“I don’t know,” she answered.
We both rushed toward Bob. I looked down at what he was pointing and realized that it was a big lump of sand. We all started pushing off the sand and when we had pushed all of it off, we high-fived.
“We found the jewel!” Sofia exclaimed.
I picked up the wand.
“Well, what do we have here?” said a voice. It was Alexis. We all jumped up.
“Hand it over,” she said in a partly rude voice and a partly you-are-wasting-my-time voice.
“No,” we all said at once.
She walked forward and dropped her wand. (I mentioned a lot of us who know about unicorns have wands, right?)
Matty picked up the wand and muttered a spell under her breath; we all rushed close to her to help.
“Friends and enemies answer our call.
We need you, we need you.
If you don’t help us, all will suffer, all will suffer.”
We all looked up and backed away; I really don’t know why. If Alexis got her wand back, the deal was done. I looked at Alexis. She didn’t have her wand back, but she had the jewel we had been looking for. She walked toward us but fell. Robert picked up a wand and tossed it to me with Alexis’s wand. I jumped up and caught it. At that moment, Journey the unicorn ran toward me and Alexis turned to ash. That let me know that I had caught my world; I had caught my life, I had caught my Journey (or story).
The weekend after my Journey was so much fun! I celebrated what had happened and just remembered it too, but I dreaded Monday where my whole class still would not believe me. On Monday I walked to school slowly, but I didn’t need to because when I got to school a bunch of kids crowded around me and started jumping up and down.
“We saw what you did in the newspaper; it was so cool!” said one boy.
“Yeah, we’re so sorry we didn’t believe you.”
I smiled. I did not know how my story got in the newspaper, but I guess one of my friends did it. Anyway, that’s why I have many friends and don’t have to be scared to go to school every day. Now that’s what I call a perfect ending!
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