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"Story of Image #1" by Teen Creative Writer Helen Zhou

25 talented Canton teens attended our Teen Creative Writing class this Summer. The class, graciously taught by Linda Papa, met five Saturdays from June to August. The end result was some wonderful writing, which we continue to share with you with the piece, "Story of Image #1," by Helen Zhou.

Photo and other original work (in audio and print) courtesy of Helen Zhou and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Text of "Story of Image #1"

“Ouch! That was my foot!” I angrily whispered to my friend, the both of us dressed in silky, flowing graduation dresses. We were crouching behind a pointy evergreen bush, our faces covered with soil and dust. I was wearing a hot pink headband matched with a pink, red, orange, and white dress, along with low silvery white heels. My friend, Alyssa, was wearing a green dress with a cute white belt around it, ebony black heels, and a white charm bracelet. Both of us had friendship necklaces hanging around our necks, the miniature blue and pink crystals glittering in the hot summer sun.

“Sorry, geez, maybe we should have brought a CHANGE OF CLOTHES since we knew we were going to be hanging around after the graduation ceremony.” Alyssa angrily whispered back, turning to face me.

“Okay, fine, whatever. But we have to stay hidden, remember?” I replied, not wanting this conversation to end loudly.

My family lived in the big white house in downtown Plymouth, and Alyssa and I were keeping watch over the house looking for any sign of my parents there. But maybe I should start this story a little earlier.

Everything began when high school graduation was over, and the hugs and kisses were being exchanged. The teary-eyed mothers and solemn fathers were saying their goodbyes to the other parents, and Alyssa and I were sneaking out of the crowd to hang out in downtown Plymouth.

As we were strolling along the streets and occasionally going into stores of crisp, cold air conditioning, a stout young man of about 20 came up to us and said, “Would you like a free pizza?” We replied with a casual “Sure!” and he led us to a dark store with pink and purple neon lights. Big mistake #1. The walls seemed to be white-washed, and the bricks seemed to be slowly crumbling away. The windows were boarded up, and the door made an awful creaking sound when it was opened.

As we cautiously stepped into the cool, air conditioned room of darkness, Alyssa whispered to me, “I’m not liking the feel of this store.”

“Don’t worry,” I replied half-heartedly, “I have nail polish, a nail file, and a sucker punch.”

She laughed nervously, and started saying something, but was soon interrupted by the man flicking up a light switch to reveal thousands of noodles. From ramen to spaghetti, if there was a noodle, it was there. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it seemed like there was something wrong with these noodles. So, we stayed there and stared. Big mistake #2. I thought about throwing my famous sucker punch and splashing his eyes with nail polish, but still, we stayed there and stared. Big mistake #3. The amount of mistakes we made in just a few minutes was surprising, but mistake #3 was one of the worst that we could have possibly made.

Suddenly, two men dressed in black appeared out of nowhere and grabbed us from behind, wrapping musty, sewage-smelling handkerchiefs around our mouths and tying them tightly in the back. The smell must have been really bad, because that was the last thing I remembered when I woke up with Alyssa yelling at me frantically.

We were both stuck in a damp, gray cell, much like the ones the criminals were kept in. I could hear a quiet drip, drip of something leaking, and the faintest sound of a mouse scurrying to look for lunch. The walls loomed all around us, and seemed to taunt us for our captivity. I could see that the metal bars were covered with rust, and that there were faint letters etched onto the wooden door. Looking closer, I saw that the letters etched onto the wooden door read, “HELP ME,” and I shuddered at the thought of what might have happened to the past prisoners. Had their bodies rotten away, or had they been led out and drowned in the noodles? I had no idea how long we had been in there, and for all I knew, it may as well have been Christmas. We started pounding on the walls, but to no avail. We had no idea where we were, or why we were here.

Alyssa started crying, and I soon joined her. After hours of wetting the place with tears, I decided that we were getting nowhere and only wasting time. “Alyssa?” I asked.

“What?” she replied miserably, looking at me with puffy red eyes.

“We have to find a way out of here.”

She laughed miserably, “Yeah, like in one of those James Bond movies.”

I sighed, “I wish we were out of this cell and just hanging out in downtown Plymouth.”

All of a sudden, a glowing yellow light drifted through the cell bars, slowly transforming into what looked like a finger-sized fairy. Her hair was a flowing golden color, she was dressed in a pink sleeping gown, and her fingers, grasped around a tiny magic wand, seemed like the most delicate thing in the world.

In a silvery voice that seemed to melt into the air, she asked me, “Roxanne, I am your fairy godmo-”

“Wait a second,” I interrupted, “I have a fairy godmother? This is so COOL!”

“As I was saying,” she said, glaring at me with a hint of annoyance, “I am your fairy godmother, and I can grant you one wish every day for the rest of this month. You see, it is the month of the fairies, and only in this month are fairies allowed to grant wishes. All the other months genies, leprechauns, Santa Claus, and whatnot get to grant wishes.”

“Okay, I wish for five more wishes,” I said, grinning as I thought about what I could do with those wishes.

“Sorry, but you can’t do that,” she replied sternly, “It’s one of the fairy rules.”

“What?” I scoffed, “That’s a rip-off.”

She rolled her eyes annoyingly, and said, “Yeah, whatever, make your one wish and make it snappy.”

“Ok, fine,” I said, “I wish that Alyssa and I were out of this cell and in the mall with three hundred bucks to spend.”

All of a sudden, Alyssa, my fairy godmother, and I found ourselves in a mall, but not the mall that was in our city. It wasn’t even the mall in our country. Judging from the French words on signs all around me, we were in a mall in France. Great. While Alyssa and I were looking around, my fairy godmother had left us. Curses.

“Well, it looks like she left us in France,” I said to Alyssa.

“Great!” she said with surprising enthusiasm.

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

“Sure, our parents will probably kill us once we get home, but we still get to shop for French clothes, don’t we? I mean, we’ll probably have to stay the night so you can get another wish tomorrow, but still- we get to SHOP!”

I smiled.

Hours later, Alyssa and I were pooped. We had spent the rest of the day shopping, and somehow still had about $70 left. We walked about 3 miles to the nearest hotel, and asked to get a room with however much money we had left. The receptionist gave us a key, and we headed up to our rooms, ready to sleep.

As I unlocked our hotel room, the room that stood before me took my breath away. The walls were painted a rich gold, the bed sheets and pillows were a creamy vanilla, and the curtains shimmered copper in the light of a dimmed lamp. In the back corner was a mahogany maple desk, and the legs of the desk were of the ancient Roman Corinthian column design. To the left there was a glass door that led to an elegant balcony, and to the right there was a bathroom with lavender-smelling soap and fur carpet. Everything seemed fit for a king.

“Wow,” was all I could manage.

In an instant, Alyssa and I were jabbering about how fancy this room was, and about how nice our trip to France was. Soon, however, we started yawning, and knew it was time for bed.

The next morning, though we were reluctant to go, I called up my fairy godmother and wished us back to America directly in front of my house. I had to be specific so she wouldn’t find any loopholes. Somehow we ended up back in our graduation outfits, and that’s how it all ended. My fairy godmother that I had never known about had whisked us out of trouble, and Alyssa and I were once again hiding behind a prickly bush. It had only been two days, so we were hoping we could make up some excuse for our absence that would minimize the lecturing. We ended up deciding that we would say that we hung out in downtown Plymouth, went to Alyssa’s house, had a sleepover, and that her phone didn’t work. Her parents were out, so no one could prove that we weren’t there. I wanted to make my parents’ favorite dishes so they might not punish me as much, so we waited until we were absolutely sure my parents were gone from the house before entering.

So, in the end, after explaining all of this to my parents, I was grounded for 2 weeks of SUMMER VACATION with absolutely nothing to do. Maybe I should have told them the truth… or maybe not. Hm, I wonder what my fairy godmother is doing right about now.

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