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  • Carolyn Cohagan

Girls With Pens Camp, June 4-8


These eight girls were enthusiastic from the get-go. They wrote for 35 minutes straight on their second day and still wanted more writing time! We had stories about giants, angels, spiders, stowaways, pirates, and the sudden appearance of gills. The girls cracked each other up every day. They were a true pleasure to work with and I hope you enjoy their work.

-––--

The Awakening

by Sadie Cravotta

It had been a long day and I was exhausted. I crawled into my bed and pulled the covers over my head. Soon after I fell asleep.

I awoke the next morning to the sound of wind whistling past my ears. Opening my eyes I saw the deep blue feathers of what looked to be a huge bird surrounding me. I sat up quickly, only to fall back down again. I stayed there for a while thinking. Then I tugged at one of the feathers testing its strength. When it didn’t budge I grabbed onto a few more and slowly pulled myself to the edge of what I was now calling “Blue Bird.”

Peering down I saw a huge city crawling with people. I looked closer at the buildings expecting to see metal and glass, but instead they were made of … water? I couldn’t tell exactly, but I knew I was not in LA anymore.

I crawled back to my original spot as Blue Bird turned and started to land. Then it dawned on me, I’m in a different world, so maybe animals can talk here. We landed in a massive sycamore tree outside the city. It was now or never. I tapped Blue Bird on the shoulder and said, my voice horse, “Hello?”

“Oh, so you can talk,” replied Blue Bird.

“Of course!” I announced. “Where are we?”

Blue Bird fell silent.

“Where are we?” I repeated, now a little annoyed.

Still no response.

“Okay, then what’s your name?” I asked hopefully.

“I am a friend to all who visit … you may call me what you wish,” he replied.

“I’ll call you Blue Bird.”

“As you wish. Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked.

“I would like to go home please.”

Blue Bird looked at me solemnly and replied, “I’m afraid I cannot do that.”

I jumped out of the tree landing on soft dew-covered grass.

“Why not? I need to get home!” I complained.

“Come with me.” He hopped out of the tree and knelt down as if beckoning me to get on his back.

To be continued . . .

_____

The Window Washer

by Rachel Kilgard

My heart drops as I look out the window. I can’t really see the streets below, but I know if I fall I will hit the pavement and die.

All of the humans around me are meticulously avoiding me. I tell myself it’s because of the window and how high up it is, but I know it’s because I’m a spider.

But never mind that. It’s almost time for my first day of work and I’m terrified. I feel like I’m thousands of miles up in the sky.

I can’t do this. It’s too high up. I’m not ready to die yet!

But I have to work. I have to. Other spiders depend on this.

But it’s so high up. Practically outer space. Whatever human decided to build an 102 story building is insane.

Before I have a chance to quit, my new boss comes over to me and picks me up. “It’s time to start working. Otherwise you’ll never even wash one window.” He laughs.

I gulp. I’m about to be almost 100 stories off the ground. I’m about to die.

Only a half hour later, I’m on the other side of the window I was just on. All that’s below me is air for what seems like miles. But I can’t think like that. I have to focus on my job. I have to focus on cleaning. I have to focus on the back and forth motion from training. I have to focus on surviving my first day of work.

But then I look down.

I gasp.

But I look at the web I have already built. It’s secure. I won’t fall, right? I go back to cleaning. I have to finish my job.

And then the disaster strikes.

My web is falling apart. I didn’t build a secure web. Well, not secure enough. Suddenly, I’m dangling above New York City on a single thread of silk. I have to get back to the wall.

I swing myself hoping I will make it to the wall before the thread snaps. I swing and the thread tenses up. But I don't make it.

I’m back to dangling over the city. The only thing I can do is try again. I swing myself back and then swing towards the building.

The thread snaps. But instead of falling, I’m flying towards the building. Not exactly flying, but pretty much.

And I land on the window!

I have to rebuild my web, but at least I’m alive. For now.

–––––

The Stowaway

by Sasha Konradi

“Ticket, please,” says a man sounding as bored as ever.

“Umm, yes here it is,” says a feminine voice.

“You may board,” sighed the man as the woman nodded and walked up the rickety bridge.

“Next up, me,” I whisper to myself.

“Sir, please, quick. Somebody has fainted!” I scream, running up to the man receiving tickets. I stare into his eyes with a pleading look and point toward the direction of a crowd.

“Who has fainted?” says the man, giving back a ticket to another man boarding the ship.

“A child!” I cry with my most convincing tone. The man sighs and runs down while ordering another man to keep watch.

A crowd of people return back to the line and begin giving tickets to the other man.

“I’m sorry but I’m not taking tickets right now. I’m simply here to keep watch.”

“The boat will depart soon and half of my family are already on the boat,” cries a woman as she points into the ship. They begin arguing as her husband walks up and joins the conversation.

I push my carefully braided red hair behind my shoulder and grab my satchel. I casually begin walking next to the group of people arguing and calmly walk on board.

“Hey get back here, where’s your ticket,” wails the man as he swings his head around to spot my last jump into the ship.

I turn around and simply grin. The man sprints toward me as fast as his weighted body could take. I jump to the other side of the bridge and run for dear life. Each step I take, my boots slip on the polished floor of the ship practically making me fall to my knees.

I make the big mistake of turning my head around. Five men have join in the run, each one looking faster than me. As soon as I turn my head around again, I trip on some luggage that had been placed only a foot away from their owners.

“Hey,” I hear a woman cry in a thick french accent as she picks up her fallen luggage.

All the men behind me trip on the other luggage except for one who simply jumps over all of it. I race into a beautiful ballroom. The room was as big as any normal ballroom would be. The ceilings were covered in murals and all sorts of pictures with princesses and princes. The floor was covered with velvet carpet with polished marble in between. There were round wooden tables in each corners of the room with a few people sitting at them. Some men and women were still wearing standard clothes but others wearing beautifully sewn ball gowns and suits. Some men were standing in a group in the center, each one of them clutching suitcases so hard, it was making their knuckles red. They all stood there shaking their heads and making polite small talk.

I slow down and get lost in the maze of people. I hear the faint cry of a man yelling “stop you foolish girl” and yet again I run. I open an old wooden door with carving on it.

I jump into the dark closed room and slam the door shut. I breathe heavily and relax a bit. I hear a man’s approaching footsteps. The man slowly opens the door and I see a sliver of light peeping through the cracks of the door. I reach my hand behind my body and grab a book behind my head. I shut my eyes closed and aimlessly swing the book in front of me. The man falls back unconscious as the book hits him. I quickly step over him and run to the next door.

The door, similar to the other, has a much smaller width and seems more closed in. I grab the handle and pull it open. I jump in and snatch the door closed.

I hear the whistle of the ship and the loud rumble of the engine starting. I feel the ground moving under my feet causing my head to fall back on the wooden wall.

My journey has only begun.

–––––

The Greenwood Ship

by Josie Kramer

Once there was a 16 year old girl named Lilac. She was brave, strong, kind, loyal, and she loved a good adventure. However, some might accuse her of being too adventurous. And that was not a false accusation. Her family was incredibly wealthy for that time. Her family was not a normal family. Their big family secret was this: they were all spies. Even Lilac’s little brother Dojo was a spy. He was seven, Lilac’s sister was twelve, and she, as you already know, was sixteen. Her family was brave, but she was most arguably the bravest. Their target, well, that’s where things get rough. Their target, or targets, was James Grasswater and his crew. You will get why I said crew very soon. Grasswater was the captain of a ship called the Sea Rangler. He stole money from banks all over England, making it very difficult to catch him. However, he took the same route when transporting his loot. Nobody really knew where he put all of his loot, and that was what Lilac Greenwood’s family was trying to figure out.

One day, at one o’clock in the morning, Lilac could not sleep. She kept hearing an odd rustling coming from outside her window. Her first thought was that it was the neighborhood dog, but it would be barking so she decided that it was not the dog. She opened up her widow and peered out into the dark. She thought she saw a black leather glove pop out of the bushes and then dart back into them again in a matter of a second.

“I’m just seeing things,” she told herself.

Then she did actually see something. Someone dressed in a color that she couldn’t make out in the dark, and she had no doubt about it in her mind she saw pirate boots and an eye patch. She was shaken because James Grasswater was known for wearing an eye patch, for his right eye was taken out in a nasty battle with lots of swords and blood.

The reason Grasswater was feared is because, for one, he never lost in any battle, sword fight or bloody, grueling, grotesque, or revolting battle no matter how many dismembered limbs were involved. He was sneaky and ferocious. And Lilac dreamed of catching him red handed, and here was her chance.

She grabbed her pre-packed spy bag for emergencies and tore after him.

–––––

The Princess of Nott

By Lanie Sepehri

In a land far away from your own, there lived a princess of course, as in any story, this damsel was in distress. This land was called Nott. Nott was once a large and powerful kingdom, but it had a foolish king. This king let the kingdom fall prey to pirates who called themselves the Potters, a very vicious group. During the invasion, the princess was almost captured but escaped the Potters’ evil grasp. The princess ran to the docks and jumped aboard a ship sailing to an even farther land called Kyprioth.

Sailor James Millaby whistled as he made his rounds. The ship he worked on was a trading ship, although the crew would simply keep Kyprioth’s goods to themselves, since the pirates controlled Nott.

James heard a rustle in one of the boxes of cargo. “Moons above,” he cursed, lifting the lid. He would throw that dirty mouse straight into the––

“AAAH!”

Two bright, violet colored eyes stared up at him. They belonged to a woman who was squished into the crate, her knees crushed against her chin.

“Hi,” she said simply.

“Out of that crate, straight away,” James said, trying to hide his shock.

Obediently, the woman crawled out of the crate, brushing dirt off of her extravagant purple dress. She was a tall woman with long blonde hair tossed carelessly into a braid that reached the center of her back.

“Who are you?” James questioned.

“Princess Alexandrina Elisabeta Annavera Elicia Nottingham of Nott,” she said, giving a sarcastic curtsey.

“What’re you doing on this ship?” The sailor glared at her, but even in his anger he registered her quaint beauty.

“Protecting myself. From the Potters,” she offered.

“Have they taken Nott?”

“Afraid so,” Alexandrina said, trying to hide the emotions that crept their way onto her face.

“Welcome aboard the Cutty Sark,” James said after a few beats of silence. “Sorry, Highness, but I have to take you to my captain.”

“You can’t let a poor, endangered soul stay aboard?” She blinked, shaping her lips into an innocent pout.

“That’s for the captain to decide,” James answered sternly. “But, most likely, no.”

“What?” she spluttered.

The captain was an old man in his late sixties with a grizzly beard and an eyepatch over his left eye. He looked more like a pirate than a sailor, but Alexandrina didn’t say a word. This man held her fate in his hands.

“Well, well, well, Millaby. What’ve we got here?” the captain looked Alexandrina up and down. “Where’d you get this?”

“She was stowed in an empty cargo crate, sir,” James explained. “Claims to be Princess Alexandrina of Nott, sir.”

“Ah, well, Your Highness,” the captain said, tipping his hat. “Me name’s Captain Frank Dowe of the Cutty Sark. Pleasure.”

She stared at him, disgust maring her face. “Are you going to let me stay on your ship? We don’t have time for formalities, captain.”

“Feisty, this one,” Captain Frank Dowe remarked to James. He turned back to the princess. “Afraid not, Your Highness.”

“Excuse me?” Alexandrina said. “I am the Princess of Nott and I demand that you––”

“Princess or not, a woman is bad luck. I’m afraid we’ll have to pitch ya.” Captain Frank Dowe jerked his thumb to the side of the ship and make a ‘krck’ sound with his throat.

“You wouldn’t dare,” Alexandrina growled.

“You may be a princess,” said the captain, “but you don’t rule my ship. On this boat, what I say goes.”

“Actually, if your ship is Nottian, then I do rule over it. You have no right to do such a thing!”

“But Nott doesn’t exist anymore, love, not since the Potters took over. You don’t have a lick more power than a June bug.” Captain Frank Dowe smiled, revealing yellowed and crooked teeth. He looked to James. “Pitch her.”

James scooped Alexandrina up in his arms and tossed her over the side, letting her fall into the icy blue waves below.

*

Alexandrina’s eyes fluttered open. She lifted her head from the sand where it rested. She coughed out water and sand, pushing herself up from the ground.

“Those Hobgoblins!” she yelled when she realized the sailor from the ship she boarded had been the one to cast her overboard.

She trudged back and forth on the beach, trying to decide whether to go look for help. But once she saw the purple dolphins jumping in the surf, she knew it was no use, for she was stranded on one of the Cape Islands, abandoned long ago.

The Princess of Nott slumped back down into the sand, moaning. Surely, if she was stranded out here, there was no hope for her now.

Alexandrina’s head shot up at the sound of human voices. A ship was slowing as it docked on the sandy beach, its wooden sideboard gleaming in the fading sunlight. She jumped up and began frantically waving her arms, hoping to catch the attention of the people on board. A figure stepped off of the ship, turning to her as she ran toward him.

Or her, she should say, for it was a woman who was staring at the princess with fierce green eyes. Her red hair was hidden beneath a wide brimmed pirate’s hat. She glared at Alexandrina, her hand shading her eyes from the bright sun. “Who might you be?” the pirate woman said.

It might not be best to reveal herself to a stranger, so Alexandrina said, “I’m . . . Alexan. And you?”

“Captain Farley Ross.” Ross stared at her with an eyebrow raised. “How’d you come to be on this island, Alexan?”

“Tossed off the side of a ship. Mind if I hitch a ride?” Alexandrina did her best to not let her desperation slip through.

“Unless you’re willing to join my crew, then no.” Ross brushed past Alexandrina and headed for the jungle perched on the edge of the horizon. Alexandrina hurried to follow the pirate, her slippers squishing awkwardly with every step.

“Please, I’m desperate. Help a fellow Nottian?”

“I’m not Nottian, so you don’t have any power over me.” Ross turned and stopped, looking exasperated. “Join my crew or stay here. I don’t just give out rides, lass; you need to give me something in return.”

The princess thought on this. She wanted to get back Nott and reclaim her kingdom, and with a whole crew behind her, that goal could be more easily accomplished. Alexandrina had never worked a day in her life, but she needed to get off of the island. Even if the job entailed sword fights on the ship’s deck or fighting a sea monster, it was her only hope. The only way to get back to Nott was this ship, so it was the only option.

Alexandrina stared Ross in her bold green eyes. Slowly, she held out her hand.

Ross took it, seeming skeptical.

“You’ve got yourself a pirate,” Alexandrina said, shaking Ross’s hand fervently.

Off to Nott she went.

–––––

Packed Powder

by Maya Starkloff

I sprint towards the doc and skid to a stop when I reach the crowd of people waiting to board. I hide in the spaces between the masses of passengers, and I can hear the guards calling, “Hey, get back here!” I stuff the loads of gold into my pocket and sneak aboard the ship.

I immediately run to the storage, at the bottom of the ship and cramp in between barrels. I hear the guards voices as they open the hatch and start to search. “It can't be that hard to stop a woman” I hear one say. I slide farther down. “She’s not down here!” they say as they leave the maze of storage and luggage.

After I’m sure they’re gone, I sigh from relief. Once everybody has boarded I sneak out and head towards the rooms, and I find one is unoccupied. I scramble in and lock the door behind me. Then to my surprise, I hear something. “Sir, I think we’ll stay the night in a spare room” offers the familiar voice of the guard.

“Okay, I have one right here,” answers who I assume is a crew member. I hear their footsteps near. The doorknob starts to turn. “It must be locked.” I hear him fiddle with something metal, probably keys, and suddenly the door unlocks.

By the time he opens the door for the guards, I have climbed out the small circle window and am hanging off the side of the boat. I start my ascent up the side, my fingers tightly clamping the ½ inch of wood protruding from each section. When I reach the top I realise I’ve boarded the wrong boat. This boat is one for royalty and is full of guards.

I army crawl towards the queen’s room for I know it is empty at the moment because I see the queen on the deck. I sneak in and find Her Majesty’s best dress then I silently slip into it. I packed powder onto my face so I won’t get recognized. With enough luck I can make it through the three month trip to America.

I open the cabins door and step out into a mass of guards. I am asked who I am, and I respond I am a long-lost 2nd cousin of the Queen and would like a room to stay in. Before anyone can respond, a familiar guard comes over with a look of confusion on his face. “I recognize you from something, almost like it was yesterday.” He pauses. “Oh that’s right you must have been at the royal ball last week, of course.”

I smile “Yes I was, it was quite nice,” I respond imitating his thick British accent.

“Oh, sorry am I interrupting?” the captain questions.

“No, go ahead” I say.

“Alright then, may I lead you to your room?”

“Of course!” I say.

He leads me to an extravagant room. “Do you need anything else” he asks.

“No, I’m fine” I say struggling to stay calm and not get too excited.

He leaves me in the room and I sit down.

The next morning I sit dangerously close to the queen and after our 5th course she turns to me and says “Dear, is that my dress?” I am horrified. I frantically stand up and tear through the room. I don’t stop until I reach cargo again and then I hide all the way in the corner.

_____

Bitter Heartache

By Emily Tweedel

Love.

Those bitter words stung,

As I continued to repeat them in my head.

Love was you.

You were rotten.

And so, love was rotten.

The beady raindrops on my window,

Can't compare to the number of tears I shed when I was with you.

The soft drizzle of slowing rain,

Was like the slow downfall of our relationship.

The crackling thunder is how I felt when I found you,

With her.

As the rain slowly came to an end,

So did us, and our toxic love.

Our beginning was sweet,

Yet our end was sour.

Love really is,

A bitter thing after all.

–––––

A Ride to Remember

By Serenity Williams

“Going from Paris to Europe is a very big hassle but I’m pretty sure on a boat is better, I mean you can’t blame me. I can’t trespass but I’m trying to keep it a secret. Thousands of men are very rude to women,” Kayla says.

Kayla is very rude, arrogant, needy, and selfish, she has always been disrespectful to her parents and has a best friend named Kira, and Kira and Kayla like to make fun of other people with each other, and nobody in Paris likes them.

“I needed to leave that stupid place, people there don’t even like me besides Kira,” Kayla says.

“Hey,” one of the men on the boat says. “My boat request only says 30 people on board. Who are you, and did you pay for your ticket?” the man asked.

“No I did not pay for the--” as Kayla got interrupted.

“Well here is a $900 dollar ticket for trespassing and if you don’t pay it by tomorrow morning you’ll have to pay another $3,000 by fee, ya got that?” the man says.

“Of course I got it,” Kayla says.

“Alright then, remember that,” he says.

“That man is so rude. That is someone I don’t want to be around,” Kayla said. “I think I hear him talking about me and my ticket, this is so messed up I wasn’t even trespassing. I would just call it getting on the boat without permission, okay maybe that is trespassing but still,” Kayla says.

Kayla may have thought that man was rude but he was just doing his job, but, did Kayla ever think she was being rude? I don’t know. Kayla never wanted her mom or dad to tell her that she was being rude or arrogant. She always knew that her mom and dad used to say she was arrogant or rude behind her back. She used to call her dad old garbage and she’d call her mom an old maiden but yet she still does it but she calls them names in her head.

**** 9 years later ****

It has been nine years. I haven’t even paid for the ticket and I don’t have 3,000 dollars. I have reached Europe and the man calls me every day so I will pay it on one of those days. I don’t have the money to pay for it, but my parents could maybe send over some money. We do have some spare money in the Mable Apartment behind our house. It has $8,500 in our cabinet. Suddenly I see a vision sort of thing, and I see a family of three that look exactly like me and they look exactly like a very happy family. I start to think, then I start to wish I never had been disobedient to my parents.

I start to blank out for a while but then I come back to the present feeling the breeze coming from Europe Island. I feel like telling my parents I love them so much and now that I think about it I miss my parents. I want to grab a telephone booth and call them and I will do that right now.

****15 minutes after calling her parents****

“My parents are coming to pick me up, Kira, can you believe it?” Kayla tells Kira in the telephone booth.

“I cannot” Kira says.

“Dad, Mom, I haven’t seen you in nine years,” I say.

“We haven’t enjoyed it at all, we have missed you, Kayla” my parents say.

“We should get home,” Mom says.

“Um, well you know how nine years ago I told you about me getting a fee,” Kayla asks.

“Oh here is $10,000 for your ticket” Mom says.

“$10,000!! But I said - you know what thank you anyway. Mama, I love you,” I say.

“We love you too Kayla” Mom says.

“Let’s get on the boat and ride away and pay that man” Kayla says.

“Okay” Dad and Mom say.

And after 1937 Kayla and her parents moved out of Paris and moved to Austin, Texas and had a baby sister and lived … HAPPILY EVER AFTER!


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