Writing in a Time of Coronavirus
In our second installment of Scribes stories, the living dead — always a popular subject for middle-schoolers — take a star turn.
I dropped to my knees and cried.
"I loved when we all sat on the sofa on Sunday nights. With the smell of chicken filling up the room," I said softly. Akiva picked it up from there. "Mom would be cooking mac and cheese and fresh baked biscuits."
Memories like those make me feel better. They make Akiva giggle because she gets to hear that we all have a lot in common. Dad would take me and mom to tons of fun places. The best place was the fair. Every year. Every summer. Thinking about it brought tears to my eyes, and Taylor and Akiva would cry with me. I felt their pain, and they felt mine.
One day, as the three of us walked home, we came upon a terrible scene. There seemed to be bodies laying everywhere on the ground and kids crying over them. It looked like a mass shooting. We asked some of the kids what happened, but they didn't reply. They just sat there crying. Until this little boy named James called us over. He had an older brother next to him. He seemed to be in our grade. We asked them what happened.
"Our mom was walking to the store with me and this man just passed by us. He touched her shoulder and she just passed out. Right on the spot," James cried.
"She just passed out?" I asked.
"Yes," James said.
Apparently it wasn’t a shooting. But it was just as bad. Akiva and Taylor looked at each other, then they both looked at me. I didn't know what to say. Or do. I gave James a hug. Then I listened to see if their mom was still breathing. She wasn't. Her body lay there as cold as snow. Akiva and Taylor looked at me and felt everyone else's parents' bodies. No one was alive. Everyone was dead. Taylor and Akiva thought it was a good idea to take the kids with us and keep them somewhere safe. I was the one behind the scene looking to see who did this and why they only came for adults.
We took the kids into my basement. I was still trying to find out who would do such a thing. I remember what my grandpa told me to do if anything like this happened. He said keep working hard and don't give up. And if i have a problem that is hard to figure out, I would have to look inside the black suitcase. I was told not to look in.
I ran up the stairs to my room and looked for the black suitcase under my bed. It had collected a lot of dust over the years. I wiped the dust off. I opened the suitcase and saw a bracelet, a necklace and some earrings. They went flying in different directions. The necklace and earrings went downstairs in the basement while the bracelet went right on my arm. I tried pulling it off but couldn’t. I heard Akiva and Taylor run up the stairs.
"What is this?" they said.
"I don't know. I just opened the suitcase my grandpa told me to open." Then we were magically sent to this dark place. We all stayed together in a huddle, then a little voice came out of nowhere. "Hello girls!"
"My name is UWU, and I'm your guide to your new life. Ash, your grandfather has created this for you. Zeke was an old friend of his, but he turned bad and your grandpa tried to stop him. Now that you have found your friends, you are the leader.
"Let’s go over some basics. Ashley has the bracelet of the fire fox. You have the power to make fire — UWU! Akiva, you present the earrings. You're the water fairy, you can make anything out of water — UWU! And Taylor, you have the necklace of peace! You can heal your teammates or make any item from the earth — UWU! Your job is to save the earth, but you have to find your target in the forest of the unknown. And to transform into your costumes, you must say the name of your power — my name, UWU! For example: 'Earrings of the water fairy,' and if you need me in any fight, just say, 'UWU!' OK?"
We were too confused to ask any questions.
"It was nice talking, girls. UWU!"
I didn’t know what to say.
"How about let's kick some butt!" Akiva shouted. "We can totally do this! We have been chosen to do this. For the people of Earth!"
"I have to agree with Akiva," Taylor said.
"Fine, I'll do it." I said excitedly. "Team on 3!"
"1, 2, 3!” we all shouted. "Team!"
As the dark cloud disappeared, we were teleported to the forest of the unknown. I didn’t know there was something named that, but that’s not my main concern. Like UWU said, we had to save everyone else.
"Should we just transform now or look around for any clues where he might be?" Akiva asked.
By he, she meant Zeke, our sworn enemy and the killer of my parents.
"We should be able to use magic without transforming," I replied. "Let’s just find any clues where he might be. Then it may be quite easy to ruin his plan."
"You’re right, Ash," Taylor said. "The plan is that we can split up. And by using our magic as a light, we should be able to tell each other if we're near him or in a battle. Without burning any trees down, so maybe fairy dust. UWU did say our powers can be anything related to our magic, right? So we could leave a trail of fairy dust and when we reach the end then we could make the dust glow."
"Wouldn’t that lead villains near us?" I asked
We ended up using Taylor’s plan. I didn't think it would be perfect. But the way she described it got Akiva's attention. I would go down the middle, Akiva the left and Taylor the right. And that was pretty much it. I could see the glow on the ground from their dust and how the trail slowly started to fade away from me. I felt so alone. I never thought I'd feel like this again. Like dark black walls were closing in on me.
I continued to walk. The glow started to fade. Tick. It felt like i was in a clock. Tock. Dark and lonely. Tick. The dust didn’t glow anymore. Tock. I closed my eyes. And opened them. I felt what was around me.
I WASN'T DREAMING! It was a deep dark wall around me affecting me with negative thoughts about myself. The ones I keep deep inside of me. My worst nightmare. The thought of never seeing them again. I could hear Akiva crying and Taylor shouting. Everything was changing. The thoughts pulled on my arm. I was being swallowed by a puddle full of darkness. I could see a small light somewhere but couldn’t find it. I fell on my knees but before I went down, I said, “UWU."
I woke up and UWU was there. She shook me hard.
“I’m up!” I said.
“Sorry, you were gone for so long. You must transform now. You are being sucked in a huge amount of negative energy. If you transform now you will be safe.”
I got on both my feet and took my bracelet and swung it in front of my face. “Bracelet of the fire fox!” I shouted. All I could see were hearts made from fire. They went against me and made me yell, “Fox ears! Fox tail!” The next thing i knew I had ears and a tail. I couldn't freak out because I was stuck in the transformation. My clothes changed as well. But I was wearing a skirt, heels and a bow. When the transformation was over, UWU pushed me with her baby hands to fight ZOMBIES! I was terrified. But I had no other choice; they had my friends. And I could not lose anyone else.
The first thing I did was make fox fires then switched it with a fire sword. It was heavy, but I would risk anything to get my friends back. Most zombies in the first row went down. I counted 10. I swiped the sword. 16 more. Another swing. Another 20. Then I saw Zeke with a small group of zombies. Should I just attack? Should I save my friends first? I was so confused. I could hear a little scream from behind me. Calling for help. I turned around and saw UWU was gone. I couldn't think again. The zombies crowded me. Before I could close my eyes, I heard another voice. It sounded wrinkly and a little old.
"Ashley, my dear," the voice called. "You have to believe. Think what you should do first. Put your mind to it."
I went a little numb. "Grandpa?" I called.
"I’m here for you," the voice continued "You have to find your inner self. Your mom, dad and I are watching over you."
I cried. The voice faded away. And I already knew what I had to do.
My eyes burning with flames. I took the crowd of zombies out with one jump. I made an explosion toward Zeke, blocking him from making any moves. I took UWU, Akiva and Taylor. I made a little fire horse which took them to a safer place. I waited until the fog cleared to get Zeke. My arm felt like it was broken. I didn't care. Zeke yelled, "Follow the horse." I burned more of the zombies before they caught up.
"Zeke!" I yelled. "It’s me you want. Leave them alone." My arms had flames rushing right out of them.
"If it isn't little Ashley," Zeke said, "I see you've been playing with chemicals."
"Why are you doing this?" I asked. I noticed that Zeke looked younger than I expected.
"Well, princess, my dad was killed and I’m trying to carry on. See, I’m Zeke Jr."
He looked me up and down.
"Imagine what we could do if we combined our powers. We could get married and pass our powers down to our children and be happy together!"
He walked closer to me, but I drew back. "You’re crazy!" I yelled, and threw a fireball at him. I could hear him throwing a fit as I ran away.
I found Akiva and Taylor and saw that they were transformed and looked like me. I gave them all hugs. Even UWU hugged us! They all said how they weren't feeling well and they were glad I moved quickly and took action. I saw my horse was still here. I gave it a rub on its back. Then it disappeared. I smiled as I watched the horse leave.
We ran back in the woods, together this time. The fog was still shifting, so it was really hard to see. The plan was that we would walk through the woods rather than making wings and flying. We didn’t want to be noticed. UWU came with us but hid.
"We have to keep dealing with this" I said. "Zeke Jr. could be anywhere making more zombies. He could be anywhere."
Troy looked out the window. Incredibly, the sky was turning green.
“Mom, Dad," he called out. "We need to leave now!"
His parents had already seen the news. They were no ordinary family. They had weapons and technology to fight toxic gas leaks like this — and the crazed zombies the chemicals could produce. His mother told Troy to pack his bags immediately because they were going to South Dakota with his friend, James, who had some of the special adhesive that could seal the leak.
Troy ran to the car as James arrived. "Get in," he said. "Do you have the adhesive?"
"Let’s go and seal the rift before it’s too late!” Troy said as he backed out the car and started for South Dakota.
There were four of them in the vehicle, a specially outfitted Koenigsegg 5000: Troy, James, and Troy’s mom and dad. They were driving through the night, the others asleep, when a car came out of the darkness, pulled up next to them and bumped them, The impact woke everybody up. “We got company," Troy said.
He activated the car’s road spikes and pulled the trigger. POP! POP! POP! The spikes shredded the other car’s wheels and it disappeared behind them.
Troy put the Koenigsegg 5000 in turbo mode and zoomed down the highway. But they weren’t through the danger. As they were almost out of Idaho, a gigantic truck and three cars pulled up next to him and blocked him in. Troy’s dad pulled out a ray gun and shot one of the drivers, but he just smiled as the ray passed through his sickly green body. The driver pulled out his own ray gun and shot Troy’s dad in the chest. He passed out in the back seat.
“Dad!" Troy exclaimed. "Oh I’m going to murder them.”
His mom and James aimed their guns and took out the truck and one of the cars. But the driver of one of the other cars leaned out his window and managed to get off a shot that struck James in the arm, and he passed out too.
Troy quickly triggered the road spikes, and when they hit the tires of the other car, it exploded. Once the highway was clear, Troy pulled their car over and his mom attempted to revive his dad and his friend. He walked back to one of the attacking vehicles, sitting disabled across the road, and noticed a gun hanging from the now-dead driver’s hand. A label read: "Knockout Gun — Kills in 24 hours.
"We’d better make that a snappy recovery," he told his mom, "or we’re going to lose both of them."
His mom had an antidote for the zombie gun, a green liquid, and she injected them as they slept in the backseat.
"Will they be OK?” Troy asked.
“Yes, but it will take a while for them to wake up.”
Troy got back into the car and started driving. After a while, he noticed his mom dozing. “Rest up," he thought. "You deserve it.”
They had one last piece of adhesive to seal the gas leak. If the fumes were allowed to spread, the world might be contaminated, possibly infecting everybody. James and Troy had brought weapons and their parents had the latest tech in order to strike down the hordes of crazed, toxic-gas poisoned, green-skinned, former humans.
They finally made it to South Dakota. As they approached the complex, they saw a mob of zombies guarding the way with clubs and guns.
Troy concentrated on his plan of attack. If he didn’t press the controls in the right sequence, the battering ram wouldn’t come out of the front of the car. He pushed the buttons and the car started to shudder. The ram was ready to be shot and all he had to do was pull the trigger. He turned left and sped toward the mob with his finger on the trigger. When he got close enough, he pulled and BAM! The ram destroyed them all! Their green blood covered the pavement.
Just then, his mom exclaimed, "Hallelujah!" James and his dad had awakened in the back seat. The antidote worked.
"What happened?" James said in a groggy voice.
"You’ve been asleep," Troy said. "Those zombie-brained freaks nearly killed you guys."
The four were ready to fight now. Troy rammed the front door of the building and they trained their weapons on the remaining zombies, mowing them down. Troy grabbed the adhesive and ran toward the gas tanks, where the toxic gas was spewing out.
But they hadn’t gotten all the zombies. A green figure suddenly sprang to life and tackled Troy. Everyone ran toward them, shooting their weapons, and he sprawled on the floor dead. Troy got back up, ran toward the tanks, and slapped the adhesive on the breach before the toxic gas could affect him. The leak stopped and within moments the sky began to turn blue again.
As they were leaving, James pointed at Troy with alarm. A trickle of green seemed to be running down one of his arms. Troy wiped it off.
“Just a little leftover zombie blood," he said. "No need to worry.”
They all laughed.
Four stories about future fantasies
mother, there was no response. Confused and worried, I called her again and again. She never responded. Now I knew there was something wrong with my mom. The door to her room was wide open. Everything was gone, and so was she.
The first person I told was Jade. She said that I could live with her in her little spruce tree.
Jade was my best friend. When I arrived, she was reading a book titled "Why I Ran?" Jade likes to read weird books. She likes to tell lovely little stories like the one about why she lives in a tree. "When I was 5," she’d say, "my parents didn’t like me. They said I looked like a deformed potato. But they didn’t want to put me in foster care because they didn’t think an ugly child like me would ever be adopted. So they took me into the woods and put me in this little tree."
Jade later told me that the story was false and that she didn’t know how she ended up in a tree. I was disappointed because I really wanted to know how she ended up here.
After I had been with Jade for a while, I told her I was going outside to have a look around. She waved her hand and said, "I don't care as long as you don't get eaten." And with that inspiring quote, I squeezed my way out of the tree and tore off a branch as I was leaving. For protection.
I wanted to take a walk, but with giant, evil kittens roaming around, that was not an option. Despite their size, they're still the most stealthy creatures I know.
I didn't know where I was going. When I was a few steps away from the tree, I felt like I was being watched, like there was something behind me, I turned around but saw nothing. It was just me, being a little freak again. "Just keep on walking, don't look back. Keep on walking, keep walking, keep walking," I kept telling myself."
I heard shuffling and paused. I was being followed. Walking a bit faster, I noticed that the air smelled different, like rotten fruit or spoiled milk or something. THUD! I stopped and looked behind me. What I saw surprised me. It was a tiny gray kitten with an apple in its mouth. I was shocked because I was sure every cat had turned into a giant evil monster, but this one was adorable! I picked it up though I had no idea where it had been. "Aww, are you lost?" I said.
I ran back to the tree yelling for Jade to come and look at what I had found. She didn’t like leaving the tree, so she was pretty angry when she popped her head out to see what I was screaming about.
"Dude! Please hush, you’re being annoying again."
And that’s where the story leaves off. Perhaps the adorable kitten becomes something scary?
"Yes," his father replied. "You can’t defend us without your own ride cycle. It’s the latest Hoover bike in the galaxy, the one and only Dinas Nest Hoover bike!"
"What! You are joking, right?"
"No, it’s outside now."
"Cool! Can I ride it please?”
Just then, they heard a loud explosion. BOOM!
"What was that?" Zea exclaimed.
He was going to need that Dinas Nest Hoover bike sooner than he or his father had imagined.
me time to save up for it. Some people said scientists had built the machine, while others said it was found in a junk yard or was dropped off by aliens. Whatever the truth, I wanted to try it out. I got there early enough to be at the front of the line. All I wanted was a chance to skip one year into the future.
A scientist named Gunther Hall put me in the capsule and turned on the machine. That's when everything started going bizarre. Before I knew it, everybody started freaking out and I started screaming. Little did I know that my capsule was not set to one year in the future.
Day 7300: The start of my new life
I opened my eyes and my body felt frozen. I looked around and saw a variety of broken circuits, broken lights and a big hole in the wall. I stepped out and looked at my capsule to see how long I was set to be in the future. The label said 20 years!
I walked on and saw a street. There were robots, the type with laser guns. It was like all my dreams were coming true. What’s next: I was going to become a cool superhero who saves the world from evil villains? I kept walking and found myself among the robots. All of a sudden, they were saying: "Intruder alert! Intruder alert!”
I ran as fast as I could, but one of the robots shot my arm off. It hurt like my whole body was burning alive, and it was bleeding a lot. I didn’t know where I was. All I could see now were trees and lurking darkness. I wasn’t sure I could survive in this new world.
Day 7301: Survival in the wilderness
I didn’t have much to eat. I was getting by on bugs and worms. I wasn’t brave enough to fight an animal, and besides, I didn’t have any weapons.
I looked for sticks, but I couldn’t find one on the ground and wasn’t strong enough to pry one off a tree. I looked for rocks and found them laying around the forest. I used them as tools and was able to cut enough wood from the trees to build a shelter. I also fashioned an ax. Now it was time to hunt for food.
I needed more wood for this next stunt because my plan was to bait an animal with berries, and when it got caught, eat it. After laying the trap down and waiting forever, something went off.
As I got closer, I realized my prey wasn’t an animal but was a human. A girl, but a weird-looking type like you might have seen in the movie "Avatar."
Day 7302: A new encounter
After she woke up, I asked, ”Who are you exactly, and why are you here?”
“Before you start asking questions," she said, "let me ask you one: Why did you trap me?”
“Sorry about that, I was just trying to get some food.” I said
“Oh, so you’re hungry?” She pulled out a bag of chips with a label that said “Dynamite’s chips” and another label that said “The taste will blow you out of your mind." After I tried it, I guess it was true. The flavor was super good, so I helped myself to the whole bag.
“So answer my question," I picked up. "Who are you and why are you here?"
“Fine. My name is Minky and I wanted to explore the Earth since I’m from the sky Islands. But it is not going so well right now.”
“The sky islands?"
“I take it that you’ve never been around here before," she replied. She noticed the angry wound where my right arm had been. She touched it and, through some weird power, it was healed and restored.
“Whoa, what was that?" I said. "That was SO COOL!”
“I’ll explain it later," she said, "but I hear something coming. Let's hide!”
We both jumped in some nearby bushes. The thing we saw coming was despicable. I saw the robots from earlier, but above them, I saw animals, and not the kind I knew from 20 years before.
“Oh no. It’s them,” she whispered.
"Who is them?” I asked.
“You don’t know who they are? They are known as the Evil Three. They watch over the lands so there are no intruders, especially not humans. They took this land from the human race 10 years ago and have ruled over it ever since. My plan is to take them out so we can reclaim this land, but we must grow our team first." She looked me over. "And you too must grow if you want to defeat these things."
She asked for my name.
“Cube, I said. "My name is Cube,"
After the creatures passed, we got out of the bushes. We were beginning a long journey on the road to freedom and righteousness and victory over these aliens.
Day 7330: Another encounter
After living on Minky’s food supply for a month, we finally ran out and had to go hunting. We traveled through the forest until we came upon a city, but this was no ordinary city. It looked like it was for robots and humans, because everything was modern and electronic. We hid until the robots were doing duties and checked some houses. In one of them, we discovered a human boy, with a husky as a pet.
“So who are you and how did you get here?” I asked him.
“My name is Mark," he said, "and I got here in a time machine that was turned to 20 years into the future. They sent me to fight for the fate of Earth. They also said that they were sending someone else from a different state. I am guessing that’s you?”
I was confused. "They sent us here on purpose?”
“I believe that is true, my friend," he said, touching my shoulder and starting to walk away.
“WAIT!" I said. "You don’t want to come with us to stop the Evil Three?”
“First off," Mark answered, "why did you say Evil Three, like … the Evil Three?”
"Well," I said, "since this is like a comic book or an action movie, I thought I would say their name with a little bit more pizazz.” I motioned my hands to do that thing a DJ does to a disk.
We set off to get some food in a nearby forest. We finally found some steak, raw eggs, chicken and ginger ale. I know it’s unbelievable that we found this in the woods, but all of this food was laying around in a treehouse, an old fashioned one too. We stayed there for the night, and in the morning, we found an old flag and declared it our base.
“Base JOJO!” I screamed, loud enough for everything in the forest to hear.
“What the heck is JOJO?” Mark asked.
“You know … JOJO’s Bizarre Adventure, the anime?”
“Sorry," Mark said, "but I’m not a geek, nerd."
To be continued …
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