Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2021 finalist Anneliese Jarausch! Anneliese finished 4th grade this past school year. Her story is called “Skylark.” Enjoy!

By Anneliese Jarausch

“Good Morning!” A young 16-year-old red-haired girl jumped down the stairs, taking them in sets of four. As she shoved a Mr. Barnes Breakfast Mint in her mouth she could taste all of her favorite breakfast foods at once. Toast, Eggs Benedict, and Bacon to name just a few. As she swallowed the hunger vanished from her belly. 

The girl’s name was Skylar, after the small star Beetlejuice had left behind after it had gone supernova. 

Skylar was just about to jump in her pedal capsule and go to school when she heard a beep! signaling an announcement on the radio. The voice said

“School is canceled. Please go home. The U–”

Static cut of the radio. Skylar shook the radio to see if she could extract more than static, but it was no use. Disappointed, she jumped out of her capsule and walked over the terraformed Mars earth to her house. As she entered the round dome of a house, Skylar heard a quick shutting off of the Technological Newscaster (TN) and wondered, why? Was it stuff about the U- thing? But could that just have been News about Underside Flying Objects (UFO)? Skylar was determined to find out.

That night as her parents turned on the TN, Skylar was ready. She had a blowgun with forgetfulness darts. 

“Prrrrrr.” A soft body settled next to Skylar. Java, her cat had snuck down the stairs.

“You silly furball!” She gave Java a hug. 

Her Dad had come into range. Ptew. She fired. The dart flew across the room and landed neatly in his arm. He walked quickly into his room and then she could hear snoring. Then Skylar’s Mom was in the perfect position. Ptew. The dart landed squarely on the left arm of her mom, she staggered to her bedroom and closed the door, a sign she was going to sleep. Skylar crept down the next few stairs and then paused. After a quick glance around, she continued descending.  

Though she felt a bit guilty, Skylar made herself comfortable on the couch. Java settled into her lap. The people on the TN started talking.

“The troubles reported are fatal. We welcome Dr. Jeff here, to tell us what they mean.”

Dr. Jeff cleared his throat. He had sandy blond hair and green eyes and was wearing a purple suit. “The troubles we are having in the solar system are not only here, they are not intergalactic either. They are Universal.’’ He paused. “The universe is going to end.” 

The TN went blank. Then suddenly a funny face appeared on the screen. Half wolf, half human? 

“Do not bother Skylar, I am not to be defeated.” 

The face spoke! And it knew her name! Skylar pressed the power button on the remote just in time to hear a knock on the door. She opened the door to a person with magenta hair and bright green eyes, who was slightly shorter than herself. 

“Sorry to intrude! I need you to tell me if you saw a weird face on your TN and it told you ‘Do not bother Skylar, I am not to be defeated,’” the person panted. “I am Elvira.”

Skylar, startled at all of this information, took a step back. She slowly answered, “Yes.”

Elvira slapped her hand to her forehead. “Dang it!” she muttered. 

“Why?” Skylar asked, confused.

“I’ll answer later, come with me.” Elvira motioned for Skylar to follow. 

Still flustered, Skylar followed her to a small dome house about 14 meters away from her house that she had never seen before. 

Elvira shut the door and then took a deep breath. “In answer to your question, I work for the E.A.S., The Elf Agency of Spying. We are currently working on defeating Girwyn, The person, well . . WolfShadow, who is trying to destroy the Unversiam, sorry– you say Universe. And since he has delivered that message it means that he has figured out that you can– I’ll tell you later. ”

Elvira had started pacing and Skylar had settled in a chair. Then Elvira stopped. She sat down and turned to face Skylar. “There is a prophecy that says only a Skylark can defeat Girwyn.”

Skylar started. “That’s MY symbol! Can you tell me the prophecy?”

Elvira looked surprised. “Ye-es. I can.” She paused, then took a breath. 

“Take warning of the shadow of wolves,

Take warning of the power of darkness,

Help the one who is imprisoned in fur,

The Skylark and the Robin will save us all.

“That’s it.”

Skylar jumped up. “So I’m ‘Skylark’ and Girwyn is ‘Shadow of wolves’ and Girwyn knows that. Also, I have solved a line! The one who is imprisoned in fur is in. . .is in Java.”

“For the first thing, Yes, but your Cat! Skylar, HOW!?” Elvira’s eyebrows gave a look that said, SERIOUSLY!?

“Really. Java sometimes relays feelings that say, I am NOT a cat. I have never taken them seriously, but he is, now that I think about it, the most likely.”

“That is possible. Now, I have to tell you something. You and your parents are Elves. Your parents’ powers were never activated but yours can be.” 

“Would they help free the person in Java?” Skylar asked, now pacing. 

“Yes. If there really is a person in him. I can bring Java here.” Elvira pushed a button on the wall and disappeared. Two minutes later, she appeared with Java in her arms. “Now, Skylar, you have to think of something you love. And concentrate.”

Skylar had loved someone that had died with the death of the certain personage. She thought of him now, though, and concentrated. Alden, Alden, Alden. Skylar repeated in her thoughts, imagining his bright grin, blue eyes, and blond hair.

KABOOM! The room filled with green smoke, and next to the now sleeping Java stood… stood…

“Alden!” Skylar had never hoped this to happen! But it had and she was overjoyed.

“Skylar?” Alden blinked in confusion. “Where am I?” 

“I thought you were dead!” Skylar ignored his question. Love was bubbling up inside of her. Alden had taken in his surroundings and was now embracing Skylar. 

As the two pulled away and stood next to each other, Elvira smiled. “Now we have our Robin.” 

“Robin?” Skylar was confused. 

“I see you did not fully pay attention to the prophecy, Well, I did not emphasize that point. Also, I only said, ‘Only a Skylark can defeat Girwyn.’ Not, Skylark and Robin. Anyway, the last line says, ‘The Skylark and the Robin will save us all,’ and I think Alden’s symbol is a Robin,” Elvira responded. When Alden nodded, She added, “and we have a portal opening up to Girwyn’s fortress, and you could maybe stop him, would you like to go?”

 “YES!” Skylar cried, tugging Alden to the swirling purple sphere that had suddenly appeared. They jumped in and Elvira followed. The swirling purpleness filled the room and then suddenly ceased. The surroundings they found themselves in were spectacular. A huge purple castle loomed above them. Capsules and spaceships were flying about. 

“Alden, This is the home of Girwyn, a WolfShadow who wants to, and is destroying the universe. Skylar, Welcome to Wefole, the home of Girwyn,” Elvira announced. “We have to sneak into a tunnel leading to Girwyn’s chambers where he will most possibly be.”

“How do you know all this?” Alden asked wonderingly.

“Our Calculator-in-Chief calculated this,” she pronounced, matter-of-factly. 

“Now come on!” Skylar tugged both of them in the direction of the tunnel she had spotted. They slipped into the tunnel of brown earth and walked along in darkness and silence, Alden and Skylar holding hands and Elvira walking along ahead.
“I see the light!” Elvira’s whisper-shout brought them back to reality. They climbed up the ladder leading to Girwyn’s chambers. “He is in there! We have to act from the tunnel.” 

“Woah.” Alden peered up at the immense structure of Girwyn. 

“Yeah. He’s Bi-ig.” Skylar was looking up too. 

“Stop staring, you two. Hold hands and concentrate on your– well, you know what I mean.”

Skylar shot Elvira a look that said, REALLY? 

Elvira arched her eyebrows and they said, DON’T YOU DARE DOUBT IT! 

Skylar focused on the pulsing feeling bubbling in her heart and chanted in her mind, once again, Alden. Alden. Alden. She closed her eyes. A sphere of blue light wound up from both Alden and Skylar’s hands that were clasped together. Elvira closed her eyes and started to chant,

“Shadow of Wolf, Shadow of Cat, merge and take the unwanted. Put it to death and leave the being. Powerless. Powerless in the Abyss of Shame.”  

The blue sphere of light rose up and covered Girwyn. A black thing of supreme ugliness appeared and merged with the blue light. Girwyn shuddered but did not disappear. Alden and Skylar’s eyes flew open.

“Why!?” Elvira cried, frustrated. 

“Who dares intrude?”Girwyn’s booming voice shook the room. 

“US, you stinky weakling of a wolf!” Elvira shouted, closing her eyes and then opening them. At the same time, Elvira’s voice flew into Skylar’s mind, Try again! I’m distracting him. 

Skylar grabbed Alden’s hand and closed her eyes. Alden looked like he understood and closed his eyes too. This time Skylar started to murmur, “Shadow of Wolf, Shadow of Wolf, you shall weaken under my power. Weaken. Weaken. And wake up in the Abyss of Shame!” She opened her eyes and saw that Girwyn was gone, then cheered.

“You Horrib- YES!” Elvira’s insult melted away when she noticed the huge looming body was gone. Vanished. Disappeared. 

Alden opened his eyes and pulled Skylar and Elvira into a big hug.

Alden and Skylar were watching the glamorous sunset and holding hands. Elvira was scrolling through Instagram on her phone. 

Suddenly she looked up. “Uh, Guys? I think we have a problem. Girwyn has escaped.”





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