Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Person Next Door

This is Hannah's first short story.  I was planning to have her post it under her own author account on the blog, but I didn't get it set up over the weekend, and now it's too late.

Her assignment was to write a story using the Monomyth structure, which she and her class have been studying all year via the Percy Jackson novels.  I was really pleased with how this came out.  She did a great job with it.

The Person Next Door

Not too long ago, in Newbrook Hills, a girl named Leona Anne Bridget was reading a book on a chair in her living room. Most other 6th graders didn’t like to read and when told to in class, they put their books in front of their faces and secretly talk to their friends. Leona was different. She loved reading—she loved to read better than she loved sleepovers, and even Hershey bars. She often imaged herself as being right there in the story with the characters in the book she was reading. On this particular day, as she was reading, it seemed like the book was written about the day she had at school…
“Five hours of homework tonight!” said Principal Rodriz.
“Five hours? Why?” Leona complained.
“Because I said so. I have the authority here!”
Leona had been very drowsy at school. During the the day she felt very sluggish and as though she couldn’t finish her work. For some reason, Principal Rodriz had been making the teachers give the students tons homework. And since hadn’t been finishing her classwork she would have extra work to complete on top of the extra homework. Even the assigned homework reading hadn’t appealed to Leona as it usually did. Each day when she walked into school she felt unmotivated and sluggish. But as soon as she left the school property, her motivation and energy would return.
As Leona sat in the velvet armchair of her ornate mansion, it occurred to her that her days at school had felt odd. She knew she was a good student, she had been a great student for her whole life, but for whatever reason she wasn’t acting like herself at school. She thought that this observation struck her as odd. She shrugged and went back to reading, her dog Crackers dosing at her feet.
Later, in the evening, Leona’s friend Karin had come over and both girls, who shared a passion for reading, had gotten lost in their books and fallen asleep on the couch. While sleeping, Leona had a very odd dream…
“Leona, Leona,” said Leona’s dog Crackers in a soft, dreamy, voice.
“What? How are you talking to me?”
Cracker’s said, “It’s the principal! He cast an evil spell on the school.”
With that, Crackers was gone.
Leona’s eyes fluttered open to see her living room, which was all shadowed from the streetlights that told Leona it was now night time. Leona’s thoughts turned to her dream and the warning she had been given. She shook Karin awake.
“Karin!” Leona shouted.
“I’m up! I’m up!”
“We’ve got to go stop the principal!”
“Wait, what?” Karin said, rubbing her eyes.
“Come on!” Leona grabbed her friends hand and rushed her out the door.
Soon, the two girls found themselves in front of Principal Rodriz’s mansion. The house was huge, decorated with two gargoyles that seemed to been smirking scarily at the girls. The night made it difficult to see what three feet in front of you was. The mansion was dark—and it looked like no one was home. The September crickets chirped annoyingly and buzzed in the girl’s ears. Both girls shivered on the front porch, trying to get the courage to open the front door.  Finally, Leona found the courage to reach out and turn the door knob. The off-white door swung open and revealed  a long hallway. On each side of the hallway there were  many closed doors and the entryway was lit by flickering chandeliers that cast eerie shadows that danced on the walls. The interior was fancy-- paintings with elaborate gold frames were hung all over the walls. A dim space was set up off to the side, filled with many couches and comfortable chairs. The girls started to cautiously walk down the vast hallway with their knees knocking and their bodies shaking.. Suddenly, out of nowhere, appeared a bald man dressed in a tuxedo and a red bow tie.  Leona figured that he was the Principals butler.  
“Can I get you a drink?” he sharply questioned. “I didn’t know that Master Rodriz was expecting guests” he continued without waiting for an answer.
Realizing that she was thirsty, Karin started, “Oh why that would be just fi– “
“No, we’re good,” Leona interrupted as she nudged Karin with her elbow.
“Karin, why did you say that?” Leona whispered. “We’re here on business!”
“Well, I’m thirsty, “Karin mumbled back.
“Whatever,” Leona sighed as she turned to address the Butler, “Uh, we’ll be going now.”
“Not so fast,” the Butler replied. You see, I need to warn Master Rodriz that you’re here. He’s very busy –“ The butler is trying to keep me and Karin from getting to Principal Rodriz. Leona thought and acted accordingly.
“No! You’re hiding something,” Leona remarked.
The butler appeared to be an old man, but he grabbed Leona’s wrists with a tight grip, and even with her struggles, Leona couldn’t break free. He had not grabbed Karin, who snuck around him and kicked him in the back.
“Ouch!” the butler cried out, and just like he appeared, he disappeared, releasing Leona.
“Thanks,” she muttered, and the girls took off, running down the long, vast hallway. Suddenly, Leona stopped.
“Hey Karin, I think I see a trip wire--"
“AAAAAAH!” screamed Karin as she tripped and went flying over the wire into Leona. Both girls landed on the floor with a THUD! CLANK! Metal bars started to come down from the ceiling, surrounding the girls. And the floor rose to meet the bars, trapping the girls in a cage.
“Karin!” Leona screamed. “You put us in a cage!”
“Sorry. Hey, wait, Leona there’s a computer!” Karin exclaimed.
Leona got to work, using the computer to open the cage. Leona succeeded and a door swung open, allowing the girls to jump out. Leona leaped out, landing on the cold floor. Karin followed. BANG! The computer from the cage fell from the ceiling and hit Karin’s leg.
 “I am the magic computer. I grant your every wish as long as I can do it electronically,” The computer stated robotically.
“This is awesome!” both girls shouted. The girls ran side by side until they reached a door marked “Principal’s office”.        
“I think we have to go in,” said Karin. Her knees knocked in fear and Leona could tell that she never wanted to go in that door.
The door groaned when Leona opened it slowly. A chandelier hung from the ceiling, casting a dim glow. A swivel chair faced a huge computer against a wall. It swung around suddenly, revealing Principal Rodriz, petting a cat and grinning.
“Welcome to my office girls,” he said. The principal snapped his fingers and the door closed with a BANG!
“Take the spell off the school,” Leona said defiantly.
“Afraid not. You see, that would end my evil-genius-ness. I can’t let it happen.”
“Pretty please?”
“Fine then,” said Leona exhaustedly. She punched a command into the magic computer. Lasers shot out the sides and bounced off everything, hitting Principal Rodriz.
“You can’t kill me, I’m immortal!” he laughed. “But if it’s a fight you want…” The  principal transformed into a unicorn. An evil unicorn, black all over, and looking angry. The cat scratched the girls angrily. The evil principal-unicorn started to attack.
“Karin, catch!” Leona cried and threw the computer. Karin caught it and started punching in commands. While the principal was distracted, Leona went over to the computer on the wall and shut down the spell.
“NOOOOOOO!” cried Principal Rodriz.
The room blacked out, then returned to normal. The principal turned into a white unicorn. The chandeliers shone brightly. Every computer dissolved. Leona and Karin were teleported to Leona’s house. And the principal never turned evil again.
 As for Principal Rodriz, he was busy casting a good spell on the school.  Leona lived the rest of her life happy. She had also realized that she was actually smarter than she gave herself credit for because thanks to the fact that she loved to read more than all the other sixth graders loved Six Flags.

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