Posts tagged ‘story’

Story Saturday/Sunday: What Lies Within by Teri Karl, Illustrated by Christopher Walker

Announcing a new collaboration between me and Christopher Walker!  The start of many works!  Enjoy. . .

Dragon

Evelyn had never looked in the mirror. She never even noticed that she omitted this. But perhaps she was afraid of who she might see? Most considered her lovely, with her long, dark reddish-brown hair, dark brown eyes, olive skin, medium height and medium build. She simply did a quick check on her hair and makeup in the morning. That was enough.

But this morning she hadn’t even done this.  She was up early after a restless night. She wore khaki cargo pants, a T-shirt, and her hiking shoes and tied her hair back into a tight ponytail.  Then she grabbed her pocketknife from her drawer and zipped it up in her pocket.  This was it. Today Evelyn faced the dragon. “I should not be afraid,” she thought. Nothing in the world seemed to frighten her. But she could feel something — deep down she feared the dragon. She waited until first light and crept out of her house, silently closing the door behind her so as not to wake anyone.

A gravel road led down to the water, but she turned off and searched in the brush for the hidden path that led down to the cave. She quickly found some foliage that was a little younger, a little newer, and she brushed it aside, branches snapping in her wake. This was it. She had traveled this way once before quickly turning back.   Not this time. She slowly adjusted her steps to the descending terrain, now turning and leaning her body to the side as she slid down the steep bank. Suddenly, she lost control and felt herself drop, dust and dirt spraying as she landed at the bottom. The cave was just 100 feet in front of her.

Evelyn hoped her approach hadn’t been noticed. She planned to catch the creature by surprise. She resumed her slow creep forward; he entrance to the cave was large and dark, a gaping mouth that looked ready to swallow her, but it clearly ran deep, making it impossible to see what was inside.

Suddenly a large shape loomed in front of her. Surprise was not an option. The beast was 2 stories high. It’s bat- like wings slowly flapped outward as it raised its head and let out its battle cry.

Evelyn felt the force of the heat.  She dropped to her knees and covered her ears as the screeching pierced the air and shook the ground. But she quickly returned to her feet to face the dragon. Though the dragon glared at her menacingly with its steely red eyes, she was surprised to find she was not afraid.  The dragon opened its mouth and prepared to fire, but Evelyn was ready, retrieving her blade, she held it in her fist, tucked her body, and charged the large beast. The startled monster choked on its own smoke, watching her form hurtling towards it. It rose up, knocking its back against the ceiling of the cave, and Evelyn narrowly avoided the dragon’s feet as she slashed upward, holding tight to her knife and thrusting it quickly into the dragon’s belly. It howled in agony and its eyes burned red. Evelyn stepped out of the way as it dropped, flopping down and curling into a ball, nursing its bleeding belly. Evelyn didn’t hesitate. She rushed at its head and quickly pierced its eyes. The pitiful beast let out another screech and raised itself thrashing, blindly into wilderness, away from the cave.

The entrance was open now.   Evelyn peered down into the cave.  What had the dragon been protecting?  Worse, what was she really afraid of down there?

Look for “Part II: The Cave” next week for Story Saturday/Sunday.

Much love and many blessings. ❤

Fun with Tutoring and Writing

I started a new activity with one of my tutoring students.  I bought a few notebooks for him to choose from and kept one for myself, and we now spend the first 10 minutes of our session writing.  Last week he chose to have me give him a writing prompt.  Today he decided that he wanted us to give each other writing prompts.  They were both great!

Here was mine, tying in a little of my current life lessons into my fantasy story:

You got a letter from Hogwarts!

I didn’t know what to do!  I was so excited that I started jumping up and down .  Then I started crying and hugging my mom and dad.  Then, I started freaking out.  “I don’t know anything about magic!”  I said.  “Everyone will laugh at me!  I will fail all of my subjects!  I didn’t even know Hogwarts was REAL!”

Then, my friends Brian and Jorge came over and comforted me.  They said, “Teri, you’re being negative again. You need to think positively.  Wonderful things can happen, if you only believe.”  I relaxed and sighed a contented sigh because I knew that was true.  I hugged them both and ran up the stairs to begin packing my bags.

 

Friday Fun: Adelaide’s Story

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Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is dusk.  Adelaide grabs and kicks at cracks in the concrete, climbing the thick cement wall beyond the workyard.  She begins the slow walk of the balancing gymnast, one leg swinging out, returning, teetering, and then the other, repeat.  Standing straight, she pauses and looks down to her left, into the workyard.  The buildings are gray, surrounded by thick barbed wire fencing.  Adelaide remembers how miserable she felt there.  She also remembers that she was safe.  She was secure.  There was a place for her to stay, there was structure, there was security.  She sighs and then moves her attention over to the thick wired fence of the perimeter beyond.  She shivers at the sight of the steel knots and slowly turns to the right.

The night is growing darker, thicker.  All she can make out on this side is the jungle.  Gigantic leaves form layer upon overlapping layers, cascading forms from canopied trees, large umbrella plants, and flourishing ground cover.  Perhaps there is no ground!   She sees some broken brush that may lead to a path, but she is not sure.  Again, she shivers — but in fear.  There is no security on this side.  No one will tell her what to do, where to go.  She will have to find her own way.  She has never had that freedom.  Freedom.  There are no fences.  There are no overseers.  There are no schedules.  There are no directives.  But . . . she strains her eyes, trying to see the edge of the jungle.  The jungles edges merge with the darkness.  She doesn’t know what is out there.  She has heard tales, both wonderful and horrifying.  How does she know what is really true?  What is it she will find?

What will she decide?  For now, she continues her slow, teetering walk along the fence.  She thinks shoe knows what she must do, but she wants to be sure; she wants a sign.  So, she does not make the leap.  She decides to wait for sunrise.

Fun Friday: Storytime — Busy Beatriz Bee

ID-10027051Beatriz Bee was always busy.  She had exercises that she did in the morning.  She left early to make sure she was on time for work in the hive, and she worked a full 8.5 day making honey (no paid lunch).  In the evenings Beatriz took bee classes, taught bee classes, tutored little bees, attended and led bee events, played bee-ball, blogged her bee thoughts, and checked bee-mail and BeeBook.  On the weekends she tutored more little bees, attended bee meetings, and went to family bee events.  Beatriz Bee thought she was doing this because she needed to work.  She needed the money.  And she needed to be busy. Beatriz thought she was a very happy little bee when she was so “productive.”

But Beatriz realized she was not a happy little bee.  She didn’t actually like working so much.  In fact, she didn’t know if she liked working much at all.  And it was spring — busy season — and Beatriz’s life got more and more hectic.  Beatriz Bee began to droop.  Her heart wasn’t in her honey-making.  She stopped looking for little bees to teach.  Beatriz Bee sunk lower and lower.

After one particular low day of honey-making Beatriz Bee wanted to give up completely.  She didn’t see a way out of her crazy bee life, and she didn’t want to be a bee anymore.

Thankfully, that same day Beatriz Bee also had one of her little bee students for a tutoring session.  And she realized she had enjoyed tutoring more than she had enjoyed her work in the hive.   Beatriz looked at what in her life fulfilled her little bee self.  And she looked at what didn’t.  And so Beatriz bee decided to quit her job in the hive.  She decided she was going to tutor more little bees and look for other creative ways to use her other bee talents.

Beatriz was a bit scared: Would she have enough abundance?  Would she like her new ventures?  Somewhere deep inside Beatriz Bee knew that she would.  Her little antennae were perked, her eyes and stripes were bright, and Beatriz Bee felt ready to face the world.

Fun Friday: Story Time — Once Upon a Tough Day

Image courtesy of audfriday13 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of audfriday13 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Once there was a woman who started the day with good intentions.  Unmotivated as she was to get out of bed and face the world, she completed her exercises, including meditation, and then felt ready to face the world. Her focus word of the day was “courage”.  She gave thanks for good traffic and a successful start to her day.  In the car she munched on cashews and mused over her odd dreams, which didn’t seem to tie into her previous focus word (“love”).   When she arrived at work, she realized she didn’t have her lunch.  She looked all over her messy car (from living on the go), but didn’t see it.   She gave thanks for the cashews and the two dollars she had in her purse.

When she got in to work she focused on her word (courage).  She’d had some frustrations with work the day before and was determined to be as productive as possible today to give everything her best effort.  She whispered “Courage!” over and over as she dug into her work.

But she became tired and frustrated, and she began to lose courage, trading it in for despair.  She had some moments of courage for the day: some phonecalls that she hadn’t wanted to make and was glad she had.  (She hoped she’d dream about those experiences.)  But the overarching feeling was despair, and though she was proud of her work that day, she was too frustrated to take much pleasure in it.

She carried this despair with her to her house and threw it at her fiancee, who did his best to dodge it, staying out of its path.  The woman didn’t want to carry it any more herself, and she tried to drown it in snickers frozen custard.

The woman had a party to go to, and though she felt she needed some space, she knew she needed to be around people, too.  At first at the party she felt awkward, not as warm as she normally was, and she was sad about this.  But as time passed, without her even noticing, her despair slipped away, until it was completely gone.  She played and talked with a little girl there, dressed as a princess, with an active imagination and a goofy sense of humor.  She had scrumptious food — rice, guacamole, chiles rellenos, and more..  She practiced her Spanish.  She met lovely new people and heard many interesting things: stories from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Panama; natural health tips and concoctions; what shopping in open markets is like; and different odd foods that people like to eat (like crickets and pig’s feet).   She left the party, hugging and kissing new friends and old and hoping to repeat the evening some day soon.

Pulling into the garage, her day was not over.  Her neighbor was sitting out, relaxing in his mancave garage, having a Zen moment.  He’d had a challenging but very successful day and was grateful for his new job, that things were coming together.  The woman was inspired by this and by some words of encouragement he gave her toward her own life.

Sitting on the couch and looking back over the day, she saw that she had indeed needed “courage” to make it through that day. But what had really saved her in the end was “love.”

Secret Shortcut — FINAL

For those who haven’t read it, click here for the blog post with the first draft of my writing student’s adaptation of The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague.

This is my student’s final version that he gave me today after working on it for a few weeks.  He’s done a nice job filling it out and being creative with it:

“Mom, Bob and I are going to be late for school.  Why didn’t you warn us?  I di — siiigh.”  While I was frantically choking down toast and putting on clothes above my pajamas, my friend was tapping his toe while saying: “Hurry up, hurry up!”

On the way to school we discovered a huge lion effectively blocking the entire road; he said we could pass, but only if we could solve a riddle.  I was about to go a different way, but then my friend pointed out that I didn’t actually know a different way, so the lion said: “Throw me out the window and find a  grieving wife; pull me back but through the door; watch someone giving life.”  First I tried a clarinet swab and the letter A, and then a baby because if you throw some one’s baby out the window, you’ll usually find a crying wife, and if you pull a baby through the door, you can refer the door to a wife’s stomach.  I also tried the letter “A”, but none of them were right, but then Bob said the letter “N.”  (window –> widow  door — > donor) Finally, we could pass, but it took us like 1 hour, and we were late.

Before we got to school the teacher was teaching the class how to do “5x+7= . . . You’re late!”  The teacher yelled at us for like 5 minutes because we were like an hour late.  I told her the story of the 20 feet high, 6 feet across giant lion, and she didn’t believe us.  So, for all our trouble we got an hour in detention.  I mean seriously, giving us detention because of a so-called lie and being a little late.  Wait a minute!  Is putting us in detention when you’re in elementary even supposed to be legal?!

On Friday day my friend and I encountered a thick fog with an electrically-charged banana in it that chased everybody that was in the fog.  When we went in we found out that it could teleport and tackle really well.  So, we tried running across, but I guess trying to outrun a teleporting banana is pretty darn hard.  Because it didn’t work one bit.  We had about one more try before the bell rang.  So, we tried flinging ourselves over with a catapult that I built at home.  But that seemed impossible because it was 1 foot wide and 1.5 feet across and built with Popsicle sticks and super glue.  But believe it or not, it worked  We did a victory dance until we saw an onrushing goblin clan, so we ran back to my house, but it turned out that they only wanted to make friends.  To make a long story short, we just ditched them.  We got to school exactly one hour late.  But instead of giving us detention, our teacher sat on us for 5 minutes while the rest of the class laughed at us.  But what made them laugh even harder was the fact that I was saying “Nieooooo. Nieoooooo. Stop, please!  Nieoooooooo.  Nieoooooooooooooooooo please. . .” the entire time.

On Saturday I was playing in the backyard when my eyes chanced upon a little hole.  When I looked in, I could see what I thought was my school like 20 feet away.  I called my friend and told him to come to my backyard on Monday.  He asked why, and I said: “I’ll tell you on Monday, da Da!  da Da!” in a singing voice (in the tune of Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase).

On Monday I told him about the hole.  After a while we went down the HOLE.  It turned out the school that I saw was faked; it was just some very well-painted leaves painted red.  We tried to get out, but I guess the hole new what we were going to do, so it just collapsed.  So we just ventured around the jungle biome and dodged a few tigers, lions and a monkey for what I thought was 5 hours until I thought I saw our school; it was.  Just then, I heard the early bell ring.  I said to my friend that we might just make it if we hurried.   To tell you something, running wouldn’t be enough so we swung on the vines.  We made it.  Just a femto second (a millionth of a billionth of a second) of a second before the bell rang.  Finally, we make it to school on time.

We kept going into that hole, and after each time, we found a different biome.  Like an ocean or a desert, and each time we used it, we were always a femto second before the bell rang early, no matter how slow or fast we were.

For next week, my student is working on mixed-up Aesop’s Fables, his own creative twist on mixed-up fairy tales.  I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with!

New “Secret Shortcut” Version

For last week’s writing homework, my tutoring student wrote his own version of Mark Teague’s The Secret Shortcut.  I thought he did a pretty decent job, and for the next series of lessons, we’re going to work on taking each piece of his story and expanding it.

This is what he started with:

“Mom, Bob and I are going to be late for school if we don’t leave in 5 minutes.  On the way to school I encountered a humongous lion that said I couldn’t pass unless I answered a riddle.  I managed to do so, but it took me like 15 minutes.  The moment I got to school my teacher yelled at me for being so so so so so so so so so so so late.  Then next I encountered pirates who said I had to walk the decks if I didn’t give them 1 hundred dollars, so I ran home and gave them the money.  But since I had to go back to my house, I lost at least 15 minutes of time.  The day after that I decided that I would go 30 minutes early.  But again, more things were in my way, such as a thick fog that made me lose my way in it twice and made me lose about 20 minutes of time.  Then came a lion that chased me back to my house, which took 19 minutes of my time.  Again my teacher yelled at me.  But today I am going through a secret shortcut that I found right in my backyard.  It turns out that instead of being a secret shortcut it was a huge jungle that took me what I thought 5 hours to get to the edge of.  But just then I saw a glimpse of red, the color of our school.  I went a bit closer to the end of the jungle and saw my school.  Just then I heard the bell ring. I was finally there on time.  I kept on going into that very shortcut and each time finding a a different biome, such as deserts and also sea life.”

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