As I mentioned before, some kids gave me permission to share their work on my blog. I’ll keep posting them as they trickle in. This is a selection from a longer work by eighth grader, Meagan P. Great work Meagan! I absolutely love the voice of this piece, and your characterization is just spot-on. I think we can expect great things from this young lady in the future.
Driving on a narrow, winding road through the forest, in a blue convertible, was a man of about 25. To the rest of the world he is just a regular man. But to me, he is my brother. And in less than 22 hours, he and the rest of the world will be dead. But not me.
My world is different than yours, and yet the same. People still love expensive things and those with money expect things of others and themselves. Animals are loved and hated. People are born and die. Tears are shed, and love is spread. But something happened. Something triggered the end. The end of everything. The end of emotions, animals, people, houses, buildings, and governments. The earth is at the end of her time.
The only people that will live are specially made. While the earth is crashing all around me, people screaming, fires raging, I will live because I am Extraordinary.
Chapter 1 32 days, 16 minutes
“Jeremy, come back here! I have to wipe your nose off!” I said as the little boy ran off spreading disease all over. Jeremy was the troublemaker of the group of busy kids, and though he didn’t realize it, those germs would soon be all over. I’ve been trying to keep the kids healthy ever since the water started drying up. I worked at a daycare for children after school and sometimes on Saturdays when they needed me. All of the kids were running around playing tag, giggling as if they didn’t have a care in the world. I looked at them I wished my life could reverse back to days of imaginary friends and eating Playdoh. The other workers always wondered why I didn’t ever get sick. I guess I just must have a strong immune system or something.
Mary, the tattletale of the group stomped over to me, face scrunched in indignation, and said angrily, “Jeremy pulled my hair!” She crossed her arms over her chest, trying to make herself appear the innocent bystander. In reality, Mary was teasing him. She asked for it. As I wondered how to control the situation, Jeremy came marching over, a look of absolute indignation on his face. He knew what Mary was going to say. Before either of them could say anything I quickly stopped the brewing argument.
“Mary, why don’t you help me put away the toys?” I said. Ever the helper, Mary happily started picking up the dolls and putting them in their proper spots. “Jeremy?” I asked.
“Rissa?” Jeremy asked.
“Yes?” I answered.
“Can I go wash up for lunch?” Jeremy said, eyeballing the chore of picking up with reluctance.
“That’s a good idea. But why don’t you let me wipe your nose first, okay?” I returned. I decided to give him a break after all of the trouble Mary caused him. “Hurry up, lunch will be ready soon.” I yelled at his retreating back.
I sighed. Life was not too difficult, just monotonous. Every day I go to school and then work, and usually do homework. Ever since the most of the water dried up around the world, rations have started and the scientists are trying to rapidly figure out a way to get more water. It has been devastating watching the news around the world of people dying of thirst everywhere. Back when we actually had water to waste, people would run it without bothering to turn it off, thinking it would never end. But it did.
The scientists say the earth is at the end of her cycle and is slowly dying. No one predicted this would happen so soon, people thought it would last forever. Water, the giver of life, is almost gone. And with it, everything will die. Sure, the scientists say they can fix it, but I’m ever the skeptic. They said we weren’t real. And here I am. I am something only a few people in the entire world know about.
They say I am immune to disease. Fire won’t burn me, water can’t drown me. If my bones break, they heal. I can regenerate organs and grow new tissue. Anything that can kill others, no matter what you name, can eradicate me. The only way I can die is of old age. There are some others, but not many. No one knows how it happened. Some people speculate that maybe it is a genetic mutation due to radiation or some other horrible cause of previous abnormal growths or disfigurations. Others think it is God’s way of saving the human race like in Noah’s Ark, but instead of a boat we have to rely on ourselves. Maybe it’s just evolution.
I look at these young children wondering when and how they will die. I lay awake at night, tangled in my sheets, trying to get through the night to see the dawn, hoping that tomorrow everyone will still be alive with me, and I won’t be alone.
I haven’t had these powers my whole life. They started about six months ago, when I was cooking. I was cutting carrots and cut a nasty gash in my finger. I quickly bandaged it up, and thinking I needed stitches, went to grab the keys to go the doctor. While I was waiting for the doctor to come in, (Why do they make you wait for a ½ hour in the room before the doctor actually comes? Why not just wait in the waiting room?)I took the bandage off and looked at my finger and there was hardly any evidence that there was ever a wound. There was only a slight pink pucker. The doctor came in and looked quizzically at my finger.
“So what are you in for today, Nerissa?”I squinted at his name tag. It read, “Dr. Goldstein”. I quickly came up with a lie. I mean, how was I supposed to explain my finger? Even I couldn’t explain it.
“Actually I have been feeling really bad lately.” I improvised. I then proceeded to describe the symptoms of a fake sickness. He checked everything and pronounced me healthy. I quickly thanked him and left.
When I got home I went into my room and plopped onto my bed. I stared at my finger, wondering what happened. Had I just imagined how bad it was because of all of the blood? No, I washed it and bandaged it. It was pretty gruesome. Just then I heard my mom come home and I put my wandering thoughts aside. My mom works at an attorney’s office and my dad is an artist. They love their jobs but still come home and make dinner almost every night. My brother is studying to be a doctor, and is away at school, which is kind of ironic now that I look back at it.
That night we have ice cream for dessert, which is my favorite kind of junk food. As I look back on how we laughed as my dad tells a story of how he played a practical joke on his friend at work, I wish I could freeze the moment to play over and over, even if my dad’s story will get old and I know how the joke ends.
It went on and on. I burned myself making macaroni. I dropped a shelf on my foot. I cut my leg shaving with a razor. I even got hit by a car walking home from the grocery store that’s a couple blocks away. Granted, it was more of a nudge, but it still hurt. I knew something was going on, but I was too freaked out to worry about it that much. I watched my parents to see if anything happened to them. My mom got a paper cut while working on a case file at the table while I was doing the homework. I got a band-aid for her and later asked her how her finger was.
“Oh fine, honey.” She peeled the band-aid off her finger and showed me the small cut that looked about the same as it did a couple of hours ago. I asked her if she had had any weird experiences lately and she answered saying, “Nothing out of the ordinary, why?”
I brushed her question off by changing the subject to my latest test score.
“I got an A on my history test today, mom.” I commented.
“That’s nice honey,” she murmured.
“Mom, are you okay?” I asked.
“Oh, I’m fine. Just a little tired.” She looked up and smiled at me from her papers. She opened her mouth to say something but the garage door opened and my dad came in.
“Hello dear family!” My dad joked. An ongoing joke since my childhood, his greeting came from an old black and white movie we watched a couple of months ago. In the movie the father comes home and greets his family, happily finishing up making dinner already, with a big smile and shouts, “Hello dear family!” His wife and two kids shout back, “Welcome home father!” or something else ridiculously formal compared to the “Hi’s” today.
My mom and I shout back “Dinner’s hasn’t even been started!” We all laugh. My parents, no matter how hard they try aren’t as cool as they think, I think to myself.
My dad works at a gallery and paints and sculpts in his spare time. At home he likes to carve wood into beautiful furniture that women fawn over. He is the most humble person I’ve ever met.
After dinner I go downstairs into my dad’s workshop. I see him sanding the leg of a chair.
“Hey dad, could I ask you a question?” I ask him.
“Sure, Red.” Red, his nickname for me because of my light brown/light reddish hair, was started after I said I looked like red riding hood when I was little, not knowing hood didn’t mean hair. Along with my different colored hair I have pale blue eyes and about regular height.
“When you were growing up did you have any, um, abilities?” I asked tentatively.
“If you mean puberty, I think we all thought we had powers.”He tossed a mischievous smile at me.
“Daa-ad! No, I’m not talking about puberty. Did you ever get paper cuts or something and they would, well… just…heal?”
He looked pensive, trying to go back through all of his memories. “No, not that I can remember. But we all know how well my memory is, don’t we?” His eyes sparkled. “Any reason you’re asking?”
I hurried to pretend I was just curious. “Nope, I just wanted to know for a paper for school.” My dad seemed to take the excuse.
“Well if I think of anything I will let you know, okay Red?”
“’Kay, Dad.” I went up to my room. My room is an organized mess. I know where everything is, well, um, usually…not. I clean my room and then don’t have the energy to put everything in it’s respective spot. Isn’t a room supposed to look lived in? My mom says I need to at least make a path from my bed to the door. I don’t know what she is talking about, there is clearly a path around the pile of clothes, over the socks, through the forest of pillows… Anyways, I finally dismissed my new powers as my imagination. But then I saw a boy fall of a building.
Chapter 2 29 days, 54 minutes
My mom had asked me to pick up something for dinner from the local fast food joint. I turned on the radio, tapping my fingers on the steering wheel to the beat of the music, when I saw a boy about my age, around 17, spread his arms and jump right off the top of the Dairy Queen. I quickly stopped the car and ran towards his body. The weird thing was, he looked fine. There was only a cut or two, and no bones or parts of his body sticking at a weird angle.
“Why did you do that?!” I yelled at him. “Are you trying to get yourself hurt?!” I hysterically screamed at him. He was wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans. He had blond hair and blue eyes and his face was contorted in pain. No, not pain, frustration. Frustration? Why would he be frustrated?
“It didn’t work,” he muttered to himself.
“What didn’t work?” I asked him, in a tone that I hope implied I didn’t think he was crazy, when in fact, I did think he was.
“I thought I would at least break my legs,” he said in an irritated voice.
“BREAK YOUR LEGS?! You should’ve died!” Okay, this guy was obviously crazy. Maybe I should run while I could. But I couldn’t just leave him there.
“Okay, stay still, I’m going to call you an ambulance.” I told him.
“No! Don’t do that!” He said sharply. His face changed and then he looked guilty. “I’m sorry, but I don’t need an ambulance. I’m fine.” I looked at him dubiously. “Really, I’m okay.” He tried to get up and, miraculously, he stood right up. I looked at him.
“What the…?” I said. Then a thought popped into a head. What if he was like me? “Wait!” I said to his retreating back. He turned around.
“Um,…” What was I supposed to say? Are you a freak like me? Yeah, that would go great.“Have you, um, well, developed any special powers lately?”
His flashed with recognition, but he quickly turned his face impassive. But I knew that he knew what I was talking about.
“Healing powers, like you get a cut and it heals up pretty fast?” I questioned him. I saw him hesitate and say, “Look, I don’t know who you’re working for, but I’m fine. Just forget what you saw and go back to your normal, unassuming life.”
Well, what a jerk!
“Excuse me, you didn’t answer my question. Do you or do you not have special powers.” I demanded.
“Oh, I think you do.” He looked so tired I almost felt sorry for him, but I was determined to know if there were others. “Please, I need to know.” I said. I think he saw something in my eyes because he said, “Fine, but you have to but me a burger.” And with that blackmailing, I let him lead me to a little diner where I bought him a burger and a milkshake and he told me his story.
TO BE CONTINUED…