Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a truly amazing book–one of my favorites (and I don’t say that a lot!). It is written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and won the Stonewall award.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a truly amazing book–one of my favorites (and I don’t say that a lot!). It is written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and won the Stonewall award.
STATUS UPDATE: HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD
I’m about halfway through Harry Potter and The Cursed Child after hearing nothing but good reviews about it. So far I am really enjoying it. It took me a while to get used to the play format,
Harry: Hello son!
ALBUS and HARRY embrace.)
but overall I am enjoying it. I really like imagining how different scenes would be played out in front of a live audience, with no film editing or animation. Maybe I will go see the play…
Many Harry Potter fans are delighted by the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I was excited too until I found out J.K. Rowling wasn’t writing it.
Then I found out it was a script book for a play, which has it’s premiere tonight in London. It follows 19 years after the book, where Harry is an overworked employee at the Ministry Of Magic, with his son Albus struggling with a family legacy he never wanted.
The book is released on the 31st, the day after the play’s premiere. I’m going to wait and see how people like it before I buy it.
I’m not the kind of person who likes mystery books.
They’re just not my type of book! The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch (Raphael Simon), is not just mystery. They are mystery, humor and fantasy.
And I like them.
When I was writing A Civilization Lost, I recently introduced a new character named Carol, a mermaid that can become human.
I also plan for Cocoa to make a reappearance later in the book.
Here is the first chapter:
The Graveyard Book is a very good book! I just finished reading it for a school project, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Most people think telling a scary story is easy, but it requires a specific talent. Even famous horror authors like R.L. Stine sometimes has a book that lacks the right scary elements.
But most of his books are a huge success. I mean, who wouldn’t be scared of a giant insect, a murderous clown or a clinically insane ventriloquist dummy?
R.L. Stine is a great example of a horror author who knows exactly how to scare you. Clowns, bugs and dummies are extremely common fears in the world. In fact, over 20% of women and 15% of men suffer from arachnophobia, the fear of arachnids.
In fact, Goosebumps was so popular, they made a movie about it!
Rumors of the sequel are floating around, but nothing has been confirmed.
Visit the author’s website! rlstine.com
I am currently in the process of writing a collection of short stories called I’m Not That Weird. I am writing new stories, as well as using 2 older pieces; The Zookeeper And The Green Banana, and The Boy With The Pink Floatie.
Sorry it took us so long! But here is chap. 1-2 of Gleen Wood
Blog post by Kiran Mathew.
It’s here! Josephine Lamanson: Learns Magic has just been finished! #JosephineIsHere! Look for previews of the third book, A Civilization Lost coming soon!
Josephine Lamanson: Learns Magic
Book Two of the: Jack, The Fourteen-Year-Old-Wizard series.
Written By Kiran Mathew
“Stefan, you’ve been a huge help in the hunt,” Jack said. Elena nudged Stefan with her foot, and they exchanged a private smile.
“I can’t thank you enough,” Stefan told Jack solemnly. “To know that all the threats we’ve been chasing for so long are gone at last. Elena and I are so happy.”
Sorry guys! We made a new person, Meena, and made several big changes. We will post the new chap. 1-2 when we finish. Some of you might not have read Gleen Wood Chapters 1 and 2, so this doesn’t apply to you, but if you have, the new ones will be posted as soon as we finish them. Once again sorry, and hope you like the changes!
CHAPTER TWO Greetings
Everyone stood staring at the building. Two people walked out of it: a woman and a boy about 10 years old.
INTRO: By Grace Westpfahl
Gleen Wood is a story about a group of kids who have magic powers. They use them to stop evil in the world, and learn a few things along the way. Read as they defeat evil such as The Voodoo Lord and his evil minions, the Shapeshifter, and thousands of others.
Read the first chapter!!
By:Grace Westpfahl, Saleha Ali, and Kiran Mathew
CHAPTER ONE: The letters
A recent title change for my book (which might change again) Lucky is now…
Just a note, stories change often and it might change again!
Here is the first chapter of the sweet, heart-wrenching book, Lucky.
By Kiran Mathew and Grace Westpfahl
The water is nice and cool. Small bubbles rise to the surface, and disappear from sight. I dive underwater, watching the rays of sun that cut through the water and illuminate the bottom of the pool. By ‘I’, I mean me. Lucky Hassler.
It is calm as I move through the pool, legs kicking and arms pushing, propelling me forwards. I can see the long legs of adults, three of them.
One -a girl- has a purple bikini on. There are two men, their swim trunks are green and blue, one with a stripe pattern, and the other man has half and half; green on one side, blue on the other.
There are four kids, Michael, Bell and Josh. Josh is fourteen, and Michael is ten. Bell is five. They are my (slightly insane) siblings. The fourth is me. I glance down at my pink bathing suit. Two girls, two boys.
Josh turns and smiles at me underwater, before swimming away after Michael, who has reached the other side of the pool.
I swim to a wall of the pool and grab onto the ledge of the wall above water, without even lifting my head from the pool. I have become an expert at holding my breath.
I move into a sideways crouching position against the wall, feet pressed against it. I wait until nobody -kid or adult- is in my way, then push off the wall, moving fast towards the pool. I let the momentum carry me, until the need for breath finally reaches me.
I swim up, until my head breaks the surface. The water falls from my face, and I just stand there and breathe. As the last of the water falls back into the pool, I am pulled into reality. A reality where I am dying.
♢ ♢ ♢
I rip off my pink bathing suit and step into the shower, turn the handle, and wait for the water to warm up. It doesn’t take long, And I step under the water. For a couple minutes I just stand there, letting the water run over me.
I take the bottle of shampoo and squirt it into my hand. I begin to think about life. About life with leukemia. Knowing that chemotherapy might not work, and I might die. When I look down, the whole contents of the bottle is in my hand.
It’s ironic my name is Lucky, I guess. I was born with my mom’s umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. I survived, (duh) and so my parents named me Lucky.
I put the shampoo in my hair and set the bottle on the ground. I’ll pick it up later.
Suddenly, my head begins to throb: another headache. I quickly wash out the shampoo, step out of the shower, towel off and throw my clothes on. I feel dizzy, and I sit down on the couch in our living room.
Josh walks over to me.
“What’s wrong?” I turn to look at him. He takes one look at me, and runs to the bathroom. Seconds later he’s back with a bucket, just in time. I throw up.
I’ve been promising a preview for my new book for a while, so here is the first chapter:
Aaron, The Nineteen-Year-Old Weather Master: Makes Things Right
Josephine Lamanson: Learns Magic
Written By:Kiran Mathew
Chapter |: Cocoa In The Garden
Aaron, Jack, Jonathan, Josephine, Calypso and Pete strolled through the grand garden of Magic Village. In the spring, the roses opened, the lilacs blossomed and the wolfsbane wilted under the sun’s rays (since wolfsbane is a deadly plant, the sun will kill it, duh).
Towards the center of the garden was a golden pot, larger than Aaron himself! Inside it, was a magical plant that had been stolen (the officials of Magic Village preferred the term ‘relocated’) from Medea and Circe’s palace.
Ivy from the plant grew from the pot and spread out in every direction on the ground. Several stems shot up, each with a different flower on top. One had a lush blue rose, another had a red dandelion, and yet another bestowed a cream-colored lily.
Aaron picked the lily and handed it to Josephine, who tucked it behind her ear. Calypso secretly scowled from the other side of the plant, and whispered in Jonathan’s ear.
“Huh? What? Oh… I get it. Kind of.” Jonathan said, with an interval of around 3 seconds between each phrase. Jonathan-copying Aaron-reached out his hand to pluck the dandelion.
A vine rose up from the pot and swatted his hand, and another slithered down the pot and wrapped itself around Calypso’s ankle, and pulled her downwards. Aaron, Josephine and Jonathan leapt forwards to help her, and Josephine got there first.
Josephine put her hand on Calypso’s arm to pull her up, but she glared at Josephine and pulled her arm away. Josephine-startled-backed up, while Calypso allowed Jonathan to help her up.
“Are you okay?” Jonathan asked, while Calypso brushed the dust and dirt off of her blue jeans. Calypso nodded.
“I don’t think she likes me.” Josephine whispered to Aaron, and he nodded. They 6 continued to walk, but stopped when they heard rustling from the shrubbery to their right.
“What was that?” Jack asked. Nobody knew. Pete picked up a stick and advanced towards the bushes.
“Ooh! Its a stick! I will fetch!” A brown dog bounded out of the bushes, headed straight towards Pete. It tackled him to the ground and wrestled the stick from him. The dog brought it over about 5 feet away from Pete, lay down, and started chewing on the stick.
The dog had a chocolate color, and looked like a labradoodle except with only 1 inch of hair.
“I’m Cocoa.” the dog said, still chewing the stick. There was a gasp from Jack, Aaron and Calypso. Pete struggled to get up, but finally stood up next to Jack.
The teenagers eventually got over the shock and introduced themselves.
“Okee. Hi.” Cocoa said, then trotted over to Pete and said, “Did you want this?” She dropped the slobber-covered stick on his feet, and then scampered into the bushes.
See The Author Commentary Videos:
Link: Kiran Commentary Videos
The entire book! You might want to get cozy, because it’s really long!
Jack The Fourteen-Year-Old Wizard: Saves His Magic
Chapter l: A Visit From Medea And Circe
Fourteen-year-old Jack stared hard at Josephine. He was a wizard, so he believed anything was possible. But not, his sister talking about something useful.
She had just nonchalantly strolled through the door and announced to Jack and his parents that Flare had just died for the second time. Flare, was her pet phoenix she got when she was fifteen. Now she was sixteen. Jack might have congratulated her, but she was too busy talking to let him in. She continued to babble along.
Before she had gotten Flare, their parents had insisted that she learn more about phoenixes, but she didn’t listen. Then, she totally freaked out when he died for the first time. My mom had to explain to her that every once and a while, phoenixes die. Then, they are reborn from the ashes.
Josephine set down a tray with a pile of ashes on it, and Flare jumped out. He was a tiny featherless baby phoenix, but he began to grow suddenly, until he was as large as a beach ball. His red, yellow and orange feathers were breathtaking. He took off, and flew around the room before setting down on the kitchen table. His wingspan alone was almost as large as Jack.
Suddenly, there came a knock on the door. Jack rushed to open it, and found his best friends: Jonathan, Aaron and Pete. Jonathan’s brown hair was spiked in a mow hawk, as usual. Pete’s black hair hung over his forehead, like a curtain. Pete was extremely pessimistic. And then there was Aaron. His short blonde hair was spread every direction. Aaron always tried to be optimistic, and he did it well. The 17 year old boy always made people feel good.
“We’ll leave you boys to talk!” Jack’s mom said, and his parents walked into another room.
“Hi Jack!” Jonathan said. Then, in a sweeter tone: “Hi Josephine.” Jack still hadn’t gotten used to the fact that Jonathan liked his sister. Josephine saw him and quickly ran up to her room without even acknowledging Jack’s friends.
“So, what’s up?” Jack asked.
Before any of them could answer, smoke began rolling across the floor. It moved across the furniture, so that only Jack and his friends were visible. Then, two more figures appeared with a flash of light. Soon, the people became visible. They were two women. One had long blond hair that went down to her knees. The other woman had shiny black hair that stopped a little below her shoulders.
“Hello wizard.” The black-haired one said. Her voice was sweet, but stern. If that was possible. The other one just grinned at him.
“Who are you?” Jack asked, not because he cared. He wanted them to focus on him so that everyone else could escape. The blond-haired one stepped forward.
“I am Circe, crafter of potions.” She said, with a level of importance in her voice. Then, the black-haired one spoke: “I am Medea, finest sorceress in the lands! You’re actually more powerful than me, but that’s all about to change!”
She waved her hand, and suddenly, she was holding Jack’s crown. It was the crown Jack used to store all his magic. Without it, he was powerless. Medea handed him a list, along with a letter. Then, the smoke began to dissipate. Medea an Circe disappeared in a blinding flash of light. Jonathan, Aaron and Pete peered at the note. It was written in neat, fancy handwriting.
To get your crown back, you must venture to many places to steal things. Fail, and your crown shall be broken!
When you have read this letter, it will turn into map.
Good luck on your quest!
Medea & Circe
Then as promised, the note transformed into a map. There was a list of all the items he had to steal. When Josephine came back downstairs, the boys scrambled to explain everything to her. They went over a plan. Well, sort of:
“We have to do this!”
“We? What do you mean we?”
“This is so cool!”
“We’ll probably die doing this.”
After a long discussion, Jack said “So, who’s in?”
“I’m only coming if Flare can come.” Josephine said. Everyone agreed Flare would be useful.
So Josephine was doing it.
Jonathan agreed so that he could spend time with Josephine.
Aaron decided to do it because after all, Jack was his friend.
“We’re all going to die.” Pete said in a toneless voice. “But I’ll come along to say I told you so.”
The team was set.
Chapter ll: The Journey Begins
Jack, Jonathan, Pete, Aaron, Josephine and Flare came out of the house with necessary items, such as food, water, a tent, five blankets, three daggers, a bow and a quiver stocked with arrows, all inside of a large sack that Jack was carrying. They began in sort of a plain-like are, with parched yellow grass reaching high up for water.
Pete and Jack were at the front of the line, looking at the map.
Jonathan was behind them talking to Aaron about how cute Josephine was.
Josephine was in the back of the line staying as far away from Jonathan as possible, while Flare circled overhead to scope out the terrain. Jack had arranged a simple system with flare, and kept a list of what the signals meant:
Flare’s Signals That Every Owner Of A Phoenix Should Know:
Flies down and sits on your shoulder: Tired, needs rest.
Screeches very loud: Danger!
Swoops around in a circle three times then squawks: Bad weather ahead!
Falls to the ground with an arrow in it’s chest: Hunters in the area.
The last part had been Pete’s idea.
Suddenly, Flare demanded all attention as he screeched once, then flew down to hide by Josephine. Soon, the ground in front of Jack exploded, and a hideous monster grabbed him with it’s claws.
It was an Earthbourn. Grotesque creatures about the size of a grown man, made from dirt, and designed to kill everything that comes near them.
Jack kicked it in the chest and the dirt caved it, revealing roots for ribs. The Earthbourn fell to the ground and Jack squeezed out of it’s hand.
“Run!” he yelled, but Aaron had already took off. When a monster jumped onto Aaron’s back, he flashed his hand and lightning blasted downwards, striking the monster square in the chest, and it exploded. Josephine punched one on the neck, and used her palm to smack another Earthbourn’s head off. Jonathan was hurling balls of pure light at monsters, causing them to fall to the ground, temporarily blind. Pete had never had magic, and Jack’s crown had been stolen, so they could only fight with their hands. After all, Josephine could do it!
Flare swooped down picking up one Earthbourn and flying up until he was no longer seen, then he dropped the Earthbourn and it fell to the ground and turned into a heap of mud.
Finally, the Earthbourn leader emerged from the dirt. He had a long mossy cloak, and mushrooms stuck out from where his ears should have been. He roared what Jack believed to be a battle cry, then charged at Josephine.
Years of gymnastics had paid off. Josephine saw him coming and ducked low to the ground. Then when he turned around, she leaped into the air and twirled around, before dropping safely down a few feet away.
While he was distracted, Jack smacked the leader on the head with the sack, and he fell down to the ground. He shriveled up and then dissipated.
Everyone stared for a minute, as the other Earthbourn fell to the ground and disappeared. Josephine was the first to cheer, then the others burst into conversation.
“We could have died!” Pete wailed.
“But we lived!” Aaron said, countering his pessimistic remark with an optimistic one.
“That was amazing Josephine!” Jack said.
“Thanks Jack!” Josephine replied.
“That was amazing Josephine!” Jonathan said.
“Stop that right now.” Josephine whispered to him. “Your’e only fifteen!”
“So? I’m one year younger than you!” Jonathan retaliated.
Josephine gave up on the conversation and began chatting with Aaron about his amazing ability to control weather elements.
Then, Jack heard a noise in the tall grass. He slipped away from the group and in a clearing, he found a pegasus.
Her wing appeared to be broken, and she was lying down on the hard dirt. Jack reached in the sack and pulled out a blanket. He wrapped it around her wing, and immediately the wing straightened, and the pegasus leaped up from the ground.
Pegasi heal fast! Jack observed. The majestic white horse trotted over to Jack and nuzzled him.
Jack petted her, and then dropped his hand and walked back towards the group. He walked over next to Aaron and sat down.
“Hey Jack!” Josephine called to him, “Who’s your new friend?”
When Jack looked puzzled, she pointed behind him and laughed.
The pegasus was standing behind him. Jack laughed, then patted the horse.
“I’m going to name you…Aurora!” He said, then to the group: “Her name’s Aurora!”
Aaron clapped, Jonathan whistled, and Pete said “It’s probably a vicious murderer!”
They all laughed at this, then continued to walk along the grass. Up first on the list was Aermine Village: The Silver Staff.
“Hey guys!” Jack called. “Want a ride?”
Aaron smiled “Really?”
Aaron, Jonathan and Josephine jumped onto Aurora. Jack sat in front.
“What about you, Pete?” He yelled.
“No way! I’m walking!” Pete said, and continued to walk along the dirt road.
“Oh, well.” Jack said, then Aurora took off. She flew through the air as majestic as a butterfly. Her wings flapped gracefully, and she swooped down towards Aermine Village.
When they landed, the neatness and tidiness of Aermine Village astounded Jack. Pete ran up, and asked Jack what the first item on the list was. He handed him the list, and Pete looked at it.
“If I were a staff, I would be in a secret passcode-protected closet in someone’s basement.
“Ha ha, very funny Pete.” Jack said sarcastically.
Just to prove his point, Jack walked up to a house someone had just left, and motioned them inside. He walked over to the cellar door, opened it, and walked down the stairs. Josephine giggled and followed him, along with Aaron, Jonathan and Pete. Jack came upon a door, and jiggled the doorknob.
A voice said: “What’s the password?” Jack just stared. Pete may have been right!
Pete came up and said “1, 2, 3, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
The door opened, and there stood a silver staff. It was about three feet long, and there was a silver orb on the top. Pete grabbed the staff, and stuffed it in the bag.
Chapter lll: Separation Of The Team
When they left Aermine village, next on the list was: Medusa and the basilisk’s egg.
“What?!” Aaron yelled, clearly as afraid to go into Medusa and the basilisk’s cave as he was. Soon, Jonathan, Pete and Josephine arrived, and looked at the list. They were scared too. So they went over the plan:
“Ok, since Medusa can only turn boys to stone, Josephine will distract Medusa-”
“Alone?” Josephine cut jack off.
“Would you rather face the basilisk?”
“Then you distract Medusa, while Jonathan will sneak up behind her and use a dagger to cut her in half. Meanwhile, I’ll find a way to cut the basilisk’s eyes so he doesn’t see Aaron, and then Aaron will strike the basilisk with lightning. Any questions?” Jack asked.
Pete raised his hand. “What do I do?”
“You… stay outside the cave and watch Aurora and Flare.”
“Are you just doing this because you think I can’t take care of myself?” Pete questioned
“You liar!” Pete’s tone grew louder and more accusing.
“If you’re so smart, you can go out on your own!”
Chapter lV: Medusa And The Basilisk.
After 14 years of being Jack’s sister, Josephine knew better than to question him after a fight, so she just continued to walk to the cave, along with Jonathan, Aaron and Jack. When they approached the cave, they heard voices inside.
“I smell them. They are close.” A snake-like hissing voice said.
“Good. We can kill them! Nobody will touch our egg!” Another voice-female-said.
Aaron walked into the pitch-black cave, followed by Jack and Jonathan. Josephine walked in, still unsure of the plan.
Suddenly, she heard a noise like something wet and slick being slid across the floor.
Suddenly, something wound around Josephine’s leg, and before she could scream, it flipped her upside down! Her brown hair spread out below her. She heard a cackle, right before she could suddenly see.
Light was coming from somewhere, she didn’t know where. Then, she saw the hideous face of Medusa.
Snakes sprouted from her scalp, and and from the waist down she was a green tail. Medusa looked behind her to find the source of the light, so Josephine used her free leg to kick her right in the face.
Since Medusa was several feet taller than her, Josephine was ten feet in the air, so when Medusa dropped her, she had just enough time to turn herself around in the air, so she landed on her feet.
Medusa rubbed her cheek, then hissed at her. Suddenly, a giant serpentine thing came crashing towards them. It was about 75 feet long, and it’s scales were gray. It snarled at her, then flung it’s tail towards her. Unfortunately for Medusa, she got right in the way of her husband’s tail.
Medusa fell to the ground, and screamed. Josephine ran and found Aaron, and they ducked behind a boulder. By now, Josephine was beyond scared. Tears were streaming down her face.
“It’s going to be okay.” Aaron whispered.
“Are you sure?” Josephine asked.
“No.” Aaron admitted.
They both smiled. Suddenly, there was a large explosion.
Aaron had just stood up and shot a bolt of lightning at the basilisk. There was now a giant barbecued basilisk in the center of the cave.
“No!” Medusa screamed, then she lunged at Aaron, which was bad news, because Medusa could turn him to stone!
“Ahhhh! Snake woman!” Aaron screamed.
Then, Jonathan appeared out of nowhere, holding a ball of light. He hurled himself at Medusa. Josephine covered her eyes. Suddenly, Aaron grabbed her hand and pulled her away. Aaron grabbed the egg and ran out the other side of the cave. Jack was already there.
“Where’s Jonathan?” He asked. To answer, a piece of rock flew out of the cave. When they looked at it closer, they realized it was Jonathan!
“Oh my…” Josephine gasped and stared at the statue.
“Jonathan….buddy….” Jack said, groping for something to say.
Aaron just stared.
“We have to go.” Aaron said, glaring at the statue. “Come on!”
Josephine and Jack followed him reluctantly.
Chapter lllll: Khan Swamp-Phase One, Exploration
Aaron put the egg in the bag along with the staff.
“Next up is Khan Swamp.” Jack said. “We have to steal a magical yellow flower.”
Aaron just grumbled. Jack could see that his best friend was distressed, so he walked up to him.
“Hey man, whats up?”
“Oh nothing Jack. I just, really wish Jonathan was here.”
“Yeah. Me too buddy.”
They continued to walk, while Josephine rode Aurora and yelled “woo hoo!” every once and a while. Soon, they came to the swamp. Josephine landed, and told the two animals to stay put. Then, they journeyed into the trees.
Soon, they came to a pond inside of a clearing in the trees. Except for the usual swamp noises like frogs and crickets, it was silent. A mosquito as big as Jack’s head stared at him. Jack reached into the bag and pulled out a dagger.
In one quick motion, he sliced the mosquito in half. Blood exploded all over, including on Jack. He ran back towards Aaron.
“What happened?” Aaron asked, gesturing towards the dagger and the blood. “You look like you just committed a murder!”
“I did.” Jack grinned. “I killed a mosquito!”
Aaron laughed, but Josephine was busy looking at something in the water. Jack walked over, and looked at the water. Something was definitely moving under the water. Jack and Josephine backed up as a huge crocodile’s body appeared on the surface of the water.
“What is that?” Josephine whispered in Jack’s ear.
“I, am the Crocodile King.” It said. “And Medea and Circe have told me all about you!”
Chapter lllll l: Khan Swamp-Phase Two, Confrontation
“Like for example: what a shame,” the Crocodile King remarked “for such a powerful wizard to confine all his magic into a simple crown! Completely absurd!”
He walked towards them, licking his lips, and showing off razor sharp teeth. The air smelled of mud and bugs. A terrible scent mixture. He was the largest animal Jack had ever seen.
The King bellowed, and it echoed across every tree, rock and puddle in the swamp. Suddenly, three more gigantic animals emerged from the murky depths. An alligator, gharial and a caiman.
Josephine suspected they were more Kings. Then, a twenty-foot cobra dropped from a tree, and hissed at Josephine. And that’s probably the snake king! Josephine thought. Aaron screamed, and whacked the sack at the snake.
The frightened teenagers backed up against a tree that smelled like mold and wet dog.
The Gharial King smiled and said: “It has been a pleasure to have you in our swamp, but now it is dinnertime, and the crocodilians are hungry!” He snapped his jaws at them, showing off teeth stained red with blood.
Suddenly, a snake lunged from the trees and bit Jack on the arm. The scent of blood filled the air.
Josephine screamed, as Jack fell to the ground.
“It’s not poisonous. I don’t think..” Aaron said, smiling feebly trying to be reassuring. His teeth were chattering, and he was soaked with sweat.
More crocodiles, gharials, alligators and caimans surfaced. They had smelled Jack’s blood.
The crocodilians just smiled and laughed. At least, Josephine thought it was a laugh.
The Kings began to crawl out of the water, walking towards the terrified teens. Aaron picked up Jack and ran quickly into the trees.
Josephine noticed him, and began to run, but the Crocodile King grabbed onto Josephine’s shirt with his jaws.
Suddenly, Flare appeared, and used his claw to slash across the King’s eye. He bellowed in pain, and fell into the water.
The crocodilians stopped, and rushed to help him, giving Josephine enough time to rush into the trees.
The snakes slithered in after them, lead by the Snake King. They hissed and snapped at Josephine, but she dodged every bite.
There were all types, green boomslangs, yellow Burmese pythons, brown anacondas, black mambas and red coral snakes. They hissed at them, and stared them down.
Soon, she caught up with Aaron and Jack, who was now awake. Apparently Aaron had been right.
Then, the King emerged from the forest. He glared at them with his beady black eyes. An eyelash viper snapped at Aaron from a tree.
More and more snakes began to circle around them, adding to the intensity. Suddenly, there was a shout and a roar, and the Snake King curled onto a tree and swung over to the water. The other snakes followed, leaving the three unharmed.
Josephine went to the edge of the trees, and peered out at them. The Alligator King was lying on the ground, blood pooling around him. There was a deep gash on his belly.
Josephine heard a twig snap, and whirled around. She caught a flash of movement. She ran after it, but saw nothing more. She returned to Jack and Aaron wondering what it had been. She saw a yellow flower, that was literally glowing with magic. She sat down by the bag and put it inside.
“Do we have any spare pants in that bag?” Aaron asked.
“I don’t think so.” Josephine said, rummaging through the tan sack.
“That was close.” Aaron remarked, after a pause.
Suddenly, Flare flew to them, and sat down by Josephine. He looked like he smiled at them, then went to sleep on Josephine’s lap.
Night fell, and Jack fell asleep, using the sack as a pillow. Josephine collapsed onto Aaron’s shoulder, fast asleep as well. Aaron stayed up and kept watch.
Chapter lllll ll: The Monster Of Shmael’s Forest
When the morning dew was just beginning to dry, the teens made their way out of the swamp. Unfortunately, they woke and found Aurora and Flare were gone, but they didn’t waste time dwelling on the matter.
“Next up, we need to go to to Shmael’s Forest, and steal a bird.” Jack read.
“What? That can’t be right!” Josephine said, and looked at the list.
“Hmm… You’re right! All it says is ‘steal a bird’! How stupid!” Josephine exclaimed.
Soon the three came to a sign: ‘Shmael’s Forest: 0.3 miles’
“Oh good!” Aaron said, “That makes my life easier!”
Soon they saw the Protective River that ran all around Shmael’s Forest. It was meant to keep something in, or out. Nobody knew. Suddenly, it became warm. Extremely warm. Josephine fanned herself with her hand.
Jack looked over at Aaron. He looked like he was concentrating hard. Beads of sweat were rolling down his face. Suddenly, all the water in the lake evaporated. Aaron and Josephine jumped in the empty ditch that had once been a lake. They walked over to the other side, and climbed out. Jack followed them. Then, the temperature dropped to normal, and all the water fell back into the lake.
“How did you do that?” Josephine asked Aaron.
“Just a little weather magic Aaron said, smiling.
Jack was very impressed. They continued to walk into the forest, and soon they got lost. Jack stared hard at the map.
“We should be right by the bird’s nest!” He said.
As soon as the words left his mouth, a pink little bird fell from a nearby tree.
“Squawk!” It said, glared at Jack, then hopped into the bag.
“Well that was easy!” Aaron said.
“Actually,” Josephine said, “this may be harder than we thought!”
She pointed to a giant, hideous creature that loomed above them. His body seemed to be made of rock, with cracks in the stone that glowed red to make outlines in his body. He seemed fairly humanoid, except for the lava dripping from every crack in his rocky body. Also the fact that he was about three times Jack’s size.
He roared and swung his hand at Aaron, but Aaron-fortunately-ducked. Lava dripped from his mouth, and solidified into stone when it hit the ground. Then, from the pile of stone, another creature emerged, a one-foot-tall version of the larger creature.
“Hee haw!” The smaller monster uttered, sounding strangely like a donkey.
Jack swung the sack at the smaller monster, and he sailed into a pool of water. He sizzled and then turned into dirt, but more mini lava monsters began to sprout from more piles of rock.
The main lava monster smacked Josephine on the head with his fist, and she crumpled to the ground.
“Josephine!” Aaron called out, but was soon silenced as a group of mini lava monsters attacked him from behind, and he stumbled backwards into a puddle.
The main lava monster pushed Jack against a tree with his hand. A branch smacked into Jack’s head, causing him to fall to the ground stunned and unable to move. Suddenly, a rock the size of Jack’s head smacked into the giant. There was a flash of dark hair, and Jack was picked up and carried over to the cover of a large tree. Jack was still dazed, and so he thought he was hallucinating until he saw Pete in front of him.
“Huh?” Jack said, still dazed.
“No time to explain!” Pete hissed, then picked up a tree and threw it at the lava monsters. It caught fire and melted on impact.
“Of course!” Pete said, frowning. He went over to the lake, and took a straw from his pocket. In one sip, he held all the water in his mouth. Then, he turned and spit it at the lava creatures. Water flowed along the ground swiftly, and vaporized the smaller monsters.
When it touched the largest one, only smoke came up. He roared, furious.
By now Josephine had woken up, and jumped into the air. She came down on the giant monster, gaining speed every millisecond. When the impact finally came, the kick made a huge cracking noise, and it’s head fell off. The creature scrambled desperately, trying to retrieve it’s head, but it soon fell to the ground in a cascade of pebbles, rocks and boulders.
Aaron ran from the woods, with leaves hanging from his messed up blonde hair. Josephine ran and hugged him. Jack smiled, knowing his friend was alive.
“That was amazing Josephine! I didn’t know you could do that!” Aaron said, still locked in her embrace.
Josephine finally let go, and smiled at him.
“I can.” she said, still smiling.
Finally, Pete spoke “Jack? I’m sorry.” he said.
“Me too,” Jack said, and he looked at his friend. “By the way, how did you-”
“Throw the tree and swallow the lake? I found an old potions factory, and just drank whatever looked tasty. All I know is that it’s permanent.”
“Oh, cool.” Jack said, then turning towards Josephine and Aaron “All right lovebirds! Break it up!”
“What? Lovebirds? No!” They said simultaneously, while blushing
Jack smiled at them, and winked at Aaron.
Then, a squawk came from the bag. Jack reached inside, and yelled “Ouch!” before bringing his hand up, with blood covering his pinkie. Jack reached inside again, and brought up a blanket. He ripped it into two strips, and tied one around his pinkie, and the other around the bird’s beak.
Pete laughed, and looked over at the list Jack was holding.
“Djinn Palace? The Djinn King’s crown?” Pete yelled. “We’re all going to die!”
“As in, the Djinn Palace? Home of the lords of the kingdom?” Josephine asked.
“That’s the one!” Jack said, smiling at her.
Even Aaron didn’t look reassuring. The group walked slowly along the path towards Djinn Palace.
Chapter lllll lll: The Road To Djinn Palace
As they walked, the temperature rose. Even Aaron couldn’t bring it down more than 3º at a time. The trees soon vanished and turned into desert dunes. Eventually, the path turned into nothing more than an line of rocks on either side of them. After abut three hours, the path vanished, and they came to a bag and a sign. It read:
For the weary traveler who wishes to rest their feet,
reach in the bag, and pull out something neat!
But be warned! The bag may turn
you into a hideous hag!
So don’t run, or scream, and refrain from being mean,
and the bag will give,
something you will need to live!
Jack reached inside the bag, ad pulled out what seemed to be a golden tea kettle. There were several splotched of dirt on it, and Jack reached his hand out to clean it, when Pete shouted “No!” and grabbed the kettle. “Haven’t you read Jafar And The Evil Genie? Nothing good ever happens when you rub the lamp!”
“Ok Pete, first of all, it’s a tea kettle. Second of all, give it back!” Jack grabbed the kettle and rubbed the dirt off of it.
Smoke rose from the spout, and encircled his hand. Suddenly, it yanked him upwards and into the air.
“Woah!” He yelled, still being pulled higher by the lamp. Suddenly, the lamp fell to the ground, but the smoke continued to drag him, before it brought him downwards again.
Then, it let him go. Down he fell, until he stopped inches from the ground. The smoke caught him.
The smoke began to grown until it outlined a human figure. Then, the smoke disappeared and a man appeared, dressed in Arabian clothes.
“Well, well well,” he said, “look here! Some more travelers who want help!” He said, chuckling. “Well, I suppose I have to!” He motioned for them to jump onto his back. When they all climbed on, he jumped into the air, and sped off at alarming speed. The wind whistled in Jack’s ears as the castle came into view.
“By the way,” Josephine yelled over the wind. “what’s your name?”
“Jamanlokomantonifustimactimotoquazam!” he said, “But you can call me Jaman!”
Jack laughed, and then screamed as they rocketed towards a giant rock wall.
“Wall!” Jack yelled, but the Djinn ignored him, and they continued to speed towards it. Just when they were about to collide, a hole opened up, and they zoomed through.
“Woah!” Aaron said, clearly amazed. He stared wide-eyed behind them at the wall they had just passed through.
They continued to speed along over villages made of sandstone and limestone. Then, the Djinn set them down in front of the castle, and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Jack mustered up all his courage, and knocked on the door.
Chapter lllll llll: An Angry Dragon And The Lord Of Djinns
Another Djinn (they insisted to be called genies) answered the door, then disappeared.
“Where’s the crown? We have to steal it.” Jack said to the group, looking around. Aaron pointed to a glass case. He opened it, and took out the crown.
“Is this a joke?” Josephine asked, staring at the crown.
Then, a ginormous orange and golden dragon burst from another room. He roared, and spewed sand at them. It came cascading down, and quickly piled up. They took off running.
Josephine was in the lead, and she slid under the dragon’s legs. The others did the same, and dashed upstairs and left into a bedroom. A gigantic bedroom. The bed was large enough to fit a marching band, and the TV was as large as the bed. The dragon burst through the wall, sending debris flying everywhere. He roared, and swiped his tail at Jack.
Jack was caught. The dragon lifted him towards his mouth, but stopped when a bolt of lightning blew the roof off. The dragon dropped Jack, and he ran over towards Aaron.
They continued to run. Pete hurled the bed at the dragon, and he flew backwards against a wall, giving them enough time to jump out the giant window: which was a mistake.
They fell from the second floor, and they were about to go splat, when giant, white, feathery wings unfolded, and hands grabbed onto them. The strange thing was, she felt the hands! She looked at her back, and saw two angelic wings had sprouted.
“Who is this?” Pete asked, trying to find the owner of the wings.
“It might be you! After all, you drank a bunch of potions!” Jack said.
“It’s me!” Josephine shouted. Everyone stared at her. Suddenly, the dragon burst through the window.
“Guys! You need to rearrange yourselves!” Josephine screamed, unable to flap her wings with all the hands on top of them. Jack grabbed onto her leg, and Aaron grabbed onto his arm, and Pete grabbed onto Aaron’s foot.
“That’s good!” Josephine said, and sped off away from the dragon. A window next to them exploded, and glass embedded itself into Josephine’s wing. Josephine gasped and tried to angle herself so she would land smoothly.
When they reached the ground, Pete jumped off, followed by Aaron and Jack. Three Djinns (genies, whatever) climbed out of the broken window. Josephine willed her wings to disappear, and they folded against her back and vanished.
One genie (I’m just going to call them that!) hurled a giant lamp at Pete. Thankfully, it fell to the ground before reaching him. Suddenly, they found themselves inside of an enclosure. It had no roof, and the floor was dirt. Water began to fill the space from pipes in the walls. Suddenly, a roof slid over the building, trapping them inside.
Josephine screamed. The water was already up to her knees, and rising fast. She swam blindly, trying to find someone who could make this stop. Then, a voice next to her said:
“Josephine! Do you think you can give me a boost up?”
“Um, sure!” Josephine agreed. She made a basket with her hands, and she felt weight.
“One, two, three!” She hoisted the person up, and the roof exploded off. Light flooded inside, and everyone looked around. Then, Pete pushed down a wall, and the water came rushing out.
“Thanks for the lift, Josephine.” he said to her as she climbed out. A genie stood in front of them, with golden eyes and a fierce glare.
“I should have known that you would escape!” he said. “But now, you must face me: the Genie King!”
Chapter lllll llll: A Fight In The Desert With Angry Genies (Djinns, whatever!)
“Ok. Hi! I’m Jack! This is Pete, Aaron and Josephine. Nice to meet you!” Everyone stared at him, including the Genie King.
While he was distracted, Aaron summoned up the most powerful lightning bolt he had ever created, and shot it right at the Genie King. Unfortunately, it only made him mad. He raised his hands, and three snakes rose from the sand.
“Ahhh!” Aaron screamed. One snake was golden, with a single blue diamond on his
head, an asp. Then, there was a king cobra, and a desert adder. Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?
The asp lunged, and Aaron screamed and jumped. Then, water came rushing down from the Genie’s hands. The snakes disappeared, and the four teenagers were swept off their feet by the rushing water.
Aaron looked around. Pete was gone.
Suddenly, something touched his leg. He jumped, thinking it was a snake. He saw it was a fish. He picked it up, and suddenly he was holding Pete by his ear in the air.
“Put me down!” Pete said, and Aaron dropped him into the water. Pete disappeared and was replaced by a fish.
“Woah!” Aaron said, gaping at him. The water suddenly evaporated, and Pete turned human. Then, the Genie smacked Pete on the head, and he fell to the sand.
Aaron took this time to summon all his energy, and decrease the temperature. A lot. He concentrated hard, trying to imagine all the cold. He closed his eyes, and it got a little colder. Just a little, so he kept working. When he looked up, the sun was gone, and there was around two feet of snow on the ground. The genie raised his hands, and suddenly four giant snakes rose from the snow.
They were an icy silver, and they were as large as the basilisk had been. Aaron screamed, and tried to avoid their aqua eyes. Aaron took off, running towards the castle. When he stepped inside, the temperature rose back to it’s original 113º.
Josephine dashed inside, just as the arctic basilisks melted into puddles. Jack and Pete were right behind Josephine. The Genie sent a blast of sand towards then, but Jack shut the door. They dashed into what seemed like a basement. It seemed normal, nothing was huge, except for the desert dragon in the corner.
“AHHH!” All four of them screamed simultaneously, then ran up the stairs. The dragon followed, shooting sand and fire from his open mouth the whole way. They turned left and ran up the marble stairs.
The dragon burst through the door, breaking a statue of a genie, and a chandelier made of gold. He roared fire, and took flight to pursue the teenagers. He used his long tai to smash the staircase that they were running on, and it fell away in front of them.
“We’re trapped!” Pete screamed.
“Guys, we just need to balance the weight and then we jump fro-” Aaron was interrupted.
“Ahh!” Josephine screamed as the dragon flew towards them. “Grab on!” she yelled, and then grabbed on to her arms. Her wings extended, and she flew under the dragon and away from the staircase.
Windows exploded and rocks flew through at them. The Genie was throwing rocks at them!
Josephine ducked and flew back and forth, up and down to avoid the rocks and keep her friends from getting a concussion. A snake flew through the window, and Aaron screamed as it passed inches from his face.
The dragon took off, gaining on them fast. Aaron hurled lightning bolt after lightning bolt at the dragon, but barely slowed him down. Pete grabbed an oven off the ground and hurled it at the dragon.
The dragon swooped up and dodged the flying household appliance. Josephine was so busy watching the battle, she didn’t look where she was going. She felt a sharp pain in her wing as she collided with something.
She fell to the ground, and heard sounds of panic, alarm and pain. She looked in a corner, and noticed a red button.
She watched as the Genie King flew through the window. She pushed the button. A gigantic cage fell on top of the king and the dragon. “Nooo!” The king yelled and pounded on the bars.
The four of them dashed out of the doors, with the crown tucked safely in the bag.
“Next up,” Jack read as they ran, “the deadly marshlands.”
Chapter Ten: The Deadly Marshlands
They trudged along the muddy ground of the deadly marshlands.
It didn’t have a specific name, everyone just called it the deadly marshlands. The deadly marshlands were way different than Khan Swamp.
It hadn’t been hot and gooey in Khan Swamp. Also, they were in a marsh, not a swamp.
The deadly marshlands barely had any trees, only large boulders covered in moss. The air smelled of sawdust, sweat and pinecones. Not very pleasant scent to add to the hot, muggy air.
A large cave stood in front of them. They had set the tent in front of it, not daring to go in for fear of the famous poison-leapers. Small little bugs with no wings, that leap from victim to victim. They somewhat resemble grasshoppers, except grasshoppers don’t spread deadly diseases.
“Ok. I can tolerate giant crocodilians, and lava monsters and angry genies, but this I cannot take!” Pete said, slamming his fist on the rock he was sitting in front of, then he immediately brought back his hand after he yelled out in pain.
Josephine covered her mouth to stop from bursting into laughter. Pete glared at her, then continued “What are we going to steal anyway?”
“A blue coconut.” Jack said, glancing down at the list.
Aaron turned around when he heard chirping behind him. Nothing. Then, when he turned around, what he saw on his arm made his heart skip a beat and his blood turn cold.
A poison-leaper had jumped on, and was calmly sitting there, most likely unaware he had probably cost Aaron his life!
He swatted the murderous bug away.
Aaron had memorized the side-effects of the poison, and the first was balance problems. Next was coughing, then there was loss of speech, sneezing, insanity and finally: death.
Aaron stood up. He was fine, so far.
“Well,” Jack said, interrupting his terror. “we better go looking for the coconut! Me and Aaron will go, and Pete and Josephine will stay here and watch camp.”
Aaron stood up and followed Jack into the forest. After an hour of searching, Aaron’s legs collapsed from under him.
Jack rushed over. “Are you okay?” he asked, seeming slightly worried. Aaron was freaking out, but tried not to show it. He nodded, then stood up, only to fall forwards onto Jack.
“Maybe we better go back…” Jack said. Aaron only nodded.
When they got back, Pete went with Aaron to look for the coconut. Aaron sat down next to Josephine, only to burst into a coughing fit.
Josephine clapped him on the back, and he stopped.
Aaron looked into her pink eyes. They were unlike any he’d ever seen. Suddenly, Aaron jumped as they turned green.
“How did you do that?” Aaron asked her, his mouth hanging open.
“You seriously didn’t know your eyes change color?”
“Are you joking?” she asked him. She clearly didn’t know.
“No! They really do!”
Josephine just looked at him. Aaron decided to change the subject.
“Can I tell you something?” he asked her.
“Sure?” she said, obviously unsure where this was leading.
“Today, I found a poison-leaper on my arm. I’ve already experienced the first two side effects.”
Josephine gasped, and took his hand in hers.
“Really?” she whispered, staring at him.
“Really.” he said, his voice lacked his usual optimistic tone.
“Oh no!” she said, hugging him. She didn’t let go, even when Jack and Pete came back.
“Um… Is this a bad time?” Pete asked, almost laughing. Aaron tried to speak, but no words came out. He broke Josephine’s hug. He stared right at Jack. He tried to talk, to speak to his friends. He wanted to yell, to scream, to laugh, to sing, to talk to them. He couldn’t talk. The third side-effect!
He looked at them. Tears started welling up in his eyes. The first tear fell from his eye and rolled down his cheek. Josephine looked at him.
“Is this the third side-effect?” she asked, sounding afraid of the answer. Aaron nodded, and Josephine began to cry too.
Inside him, Aaron could feel the battle between the poison and his white blood cells. He imagined the poison had reached his vocal cords. The white blood cells fought a losing battle against the poison. Against life. Against harsh reality.
Aaron pounded his fist on the table, and sneezed once. Twice. Three times. Four. Five. Josephine explained to the puzzled Jack and Pete about what Aaron had told her.
Good. Aaron thought. Now that another side effect has set in, I can talk!
Suddenly, Aaron burst out laughing.
“Hey Jack! Did you know Circe and Medea look like turkeys? I mean, they are so evil, and so are turkeys! And did you know that chickens look like dinosaurs? I’m 28 years old! I’m a seagull! Roar!” Aaron said, giggling all the way.
Jack, Pete and Josephine just stared at him.
“Hey!” Aaron said, “Who are you looking at? Is Bob the Builder behind me? Hello Bob!”
Josephine began to cry. Jack rushed over to him. “Listen to me Aaron! You need to snap out of this! Hello? Aaron! Listen to me! Josephine! He’s collapsing! Pete get over here! Aaron stay with me! Don’t let go! Do you hear me? Don’t let us go!!”
“Love” Aaron whispered.
The world faded out, and Aaron collapsed. Blackness settled in.
Chapter Eleven: Dreams
Aaron dreamt of his friends. Jack, and the time he had eaten a frog for $3.
Of Pete, the time he hurled an oven at an angry dragon.
Jonathan, when he nobly sacrificed himself to save Aaron.
And Josephine, when he comforted her in the cave. She was the first person he’s ever loved, as more than a friend or a member of the family.
He remembered her smile. He remembered how she made him feel. Light as a feather, dancing on the clouds.
Aaron loved Josephine. He did. He really did!
Then, the scene shifted, and Aaron was in a cave. Jonathan was there.
“Hi pal.” Jonathan said, tears were streaming down his face, and dripping onto the cold, rocky floor.
“I can’t believe you died.” Aaron said. “You died. For me!”
“Love.” Jonathan said, smiling. Smiling despite the tears streaming down his face. Smiling, despite the fact he knew that he was dead. Smiling, because of love.
The scene shifted, and they were in the deadly marshlands. They saw Pete, Jack and Josephine on the ground. It was raining.
They were hovering over Aaron’s body but yet, Aaron was standing next to Jonathan. This is what’s happening right now. Aaron realized. This is all a dream.
It hurt Aaron to see his friends crying. Because of him. Because of love.
That special word that rung like a bell in his ears.
Smoke filled the scene, and Jonathan began to disappear.
“No! Don’t go!” Aaron screamed.
Holes began to open up, and the
s p a c e
b e t w e e n
e v e r y t h i n g
w a s
g r o w i n g !
Chapter Twelve: The Struggle
Jack sat next to Aaron. He was dying.
“Listen to me Aaron! You need to snap out of this! Hello? Aaron! Listen to me! Josephine! He’s collapsing! Pete get over here! Aaron stay with me! Don’t let go! Do you hear me? Don’t let us go!!” Jack screamed.
“Love.” Aaron whispered.
His eyes closed.
Jack began to cry. The sky turned dark, and rain began to fall. Lightning crackled in the sky, like a reminder of Aaron’s powers that allowed him to control weather elements. Josephine kneeled next to him, and held Aaron’s hand. Pete sat down too. He was crying as well.
At that moment, nothing else in the world mattered to Jack. Not his crown, or his magic, or Medea, or Circe, or anyone!
“Let’s finish this. For Aaron, and Jonathan.” Jack said, breaking the silence.
Josephine stood up, followed by Pete. Jack picked up the sack, and they continued to walk, leaving the tent behind.
Pete saw a shovel on the ground, picked it up, and he began to dig where it had been. He uncovered a blue coconut, and he tossed it to Jack, who put put in the sack.
By now, it was only a small victory. After about an hour, the rain finally stopped, and Jack read the list.
“Next up, the Dark Woods, to steal a purple apple.”
By now, everyone had gotten over the main sadness of Aaron’s death. Jonathan’s death had been so sudden that they didn’t have time to react. The aura of sadness had passes, and had been replaced with a heavy coat of determination.
They approached the Dark Woods, and the tree branches seemed to reach out for them. The trees were gray and decaying, and the air smelled of burnt wood, and the ground was made of gray sand and dust.
Once they stepped in, there was no going back.
Chapter Thirteen: The Dark Woods
The Woods were dark and haunting. There was no birdsong, and no rush of water. Josephine shivered. Suddenly, she tripped and came crashing to the ground. The fall sent gray dust from the ground floating upwards, before settling down again. She climbed up, only to have something grab onto her leg.
She looked behind her, and screamed.
A human hand had risen from the gray dust/sand mixture, and grabbed onto her ankle. She took off running to Jack and Pete, who had gotten farther from her while she was on the ground.
“Jack! Pete! Hello?” Her voice seemed so small compared to the giant Dark Woods. A vine fell from a tree and grabbed onto her arm.
“Ahh!” Josephine screamed as the vine began to pull her up towards the tree. She fought back, pulling farther away from the tree. Soon, the vine gave in and snapped. Tied to the other end of the vine was a human head.
Josephine dropped it at ran. She extended her wings, and began to fly, but branches snagged on them and ripped at her feathers, so she folded them up and resumed running.
Vines grabbed at her, and more hands reached up from the sand. Roots burst from the ground and tried to trip her, but she jumped, dived and turned to avoid the traps. Snakes hissed and snapped at her, but she dodged every bite.
Soon, she began to see fearsome monsters. A troll with a large club chased after her for some time, until a branch smacked it in the face and it fell into a large hole. Josephine’s side began to hurt, but she kept running.
A chimera lunged at her, and pursued her, breathing flames that caught on to the trees. Because of the network of vines throughout the forest, it was only a matter of time before the flames grew and would spread everywhere. Josephine dodged it’s scorpion tail many times, and finally ducked into a corner. Fortunately, the chimera ran past her.
She cried out in pain as she felt a burning sensation on her back. She looked, and saw the wood she had been leaning against was on fire. She ran forwards, trying to outrun the flames, but they soon caught up with her.
She found herself in a place where the trees were lower to the ground, and they formed a maze and a roof.
The fire burned all around her, but she continued to run. She stopped momentarily to rest, and noticed a tree with purple fruit. Upon closer examination, she noted they were apples. She picked one, and continued to run.
Rain began to fall again, except it was black and sticky. The good thing about it was, it put out the fire.
Since the fire was gone, Josephine stopped running.
“Jack? Pete?” She called.
“Over here dear!” A strange voice called. One thing was for sure: it wasn’t Pete or Jack.
Chapter Fourteen: The Creepy Witch And The Serpentine-Girls Who Hate Boys
“Heeeeeeeee!” Something yelled, creeping Josephine out more than was humanly possible.
She tried to move, but found herself bound tight.
“Ha ha!” An ugly, hideous face appeared right in front of her. Her skin was white and wrinkly, and her eyes were pure red. Then, they changed dark blue, and then black.
They continued to shift colors, while Josephine tried not to look at her, for fear of throwing up.
“A witch? Yes dearie! I am! Hee haw!” she said, moving away from Josephine, her horrible stench lingered for moments, before dissipating like mist.
The bindings loosened, and Josephine leaped up.
“I can see that you are a witch tooooooo!” she screeched, forcing Josephine to cover her ears.
“What do you mean? I don’t have any magic, other than-”
“You have wings! Yes! I’ve been watching you! Me ha ha!” she cackled, interrupting Josephine.
“Uh-” Josephine began, but the witch interrupted her.
“Sit down heeeeere! Ha ha!” the witch waved her hand and a table and two chairs appeared in a puff of smoke.
Josephine sat down because she had no choice, and the witch sat across from her.
“Ok dear, don’t you hate boys?”
“Do you hate boys?”
“But we can be so much better than them!”
“We’re all equal!” Josephine protested, glaring at the witch.
“Not! Hee hee!” The witch cackled, making it clear she hated boys.
Josephine brought her leg up, and kicked the witch. She fell backwards, and her eyes turned pure white.
“Kill!” The witch ran at Josephine, and she dashed away. The witch continued to chase her, while shouting ‘kill! kill!’.
She cackled, and teleported in front of Josephine. Josephine kicked her and ran the other way.
Josephine suddenly found herself tied in chains to the wall.
The witch appeared in her field of vision, he face even more ugly now that blood dripped from several cuts in her face.
“See? We even fight better that boys! Take Mulan for example, she didn’t need boys to save China!”
“Actually, general Lee Shang helped her. And Ling, and Chien-Po, and Yao!”
“But they didn’t actually save China!”
“Oh whatever!” Josephine said, and wiggled her arms. The binding was weak. She broke her arms and legs out, and she punched the witch in the face. Suddenly, she found herself holding a fireball.
“Woah!” she said, before hurling it at the witch. Her dark robes caught fire, and she began to shriek while trying to put the flames out.
Josephine conjured another fireball, and walked over to the witch.
“Any last words?” she asked.
“Yes. Troops! Attack!” she said, smiling at Josephine before turning into ash and falling to the floor. Her robes collapsed with no body to hold them, and fell to the ground silently.
A closet door opened, and a girl walked out. She was about Josephine’s age, with one bronze leg, and one goat leg. Small green snakes fell from her long black hair. Her smile revealed a serpentine tongue, and it flicked back and forth. She was dressed in golden amor, and she had a silky green skirt that fell from the armor.
“Hello, I’m Kelli. So sad that we can’t be friends, because we have orders to kill you!” she cackled, and two fangs slid from her mouth.
Josephine backed up against a wall, as Kelli moved towards her. Kelli’s skirt swished as she walked, making her seem calm. She thrust her fist forwards, and Josephine ducked as it smashed into the wall, sending dust and debris flying.
Kelli pulled her fist out, and dove at Josephine. This time, Josephine didn’t duck, and she was tackled to the ground. Kelli kicked and shoved and clawed Josephine.
Josephine spread her wings, and she blasted away from Kelli. She threw open the door and flew out.
Kelli sprouted golden wings and flew up, grabbing Josephine’s foot. She pulled Josephine down to the ground, and kicked her in the face. She elbowed Josephine, and pushed her onto the ground.
Josephine glared at her in pure fury, and a sudden blast of air sent Kelli flying through the air and far, far away.
Josephine flew up, and tried to find Jack and Pete.
Chapter Fifteen: To The Castle
When Josephine found Jack and Pete in the forest, they were drenched with the black, sticky rain.
“Josephine! Where were you?” Jack asked, with a questioning look on his face.
Josephine explained her whole adventure to them, and they didn’t interrupt her once.
“Where to next Jack? I have the apple!” Josephine showed it to them, then put it in the bag.
Jack looked at the list, reading it carefully. His frown turned into a smirk, then a smile, then a grin.
“We’re done! It says we have to go to Medea’s castle!” he announced. Josephine cheered, but Pete looked unhappy.
“What’s wrong Pete?” Jack asked.
“I don’t get to say I told you so!” he complained, then began to laugh.
“You’re hilarious!” Josephine said, patting him on the shoulder.
“Ok guys, time to head to Medea’s castle!” Jack said, still chuckling.
The three skipped the whole way to the castle. It was made out of stone, with a regular wooden drawbridge that marked the entrance. Every once and a while, a flash of colored light could be seen through a window.
The drawbridge opened, and they walked inside.
It was normally furnished, with normal rooms. Medea appeared in a puff of smoke in front of them.
“Hello, I see you made it. Where are the other two?” she asked, and Pete, Josephine and Jack began to shed tears.
“Oh, terrible. Where are my items?” she said, glancing around them.
Pete dumped out the sack, and handed her everything she asked for.
She grabbed them, and laughed.
“Where’s my crown?” Jack asked her, his tone turning cross.
“Somewhere, where nobody will ever find it!” she laughed again, and disappeared with a flash of purple light.
Chapter Sixteen: The Crown
Jack searched everywhere for the crown. He needed it! That was the source of all his attention, his friends, his life.
Without it, he would be forced to move to Woodson Village in Shmael’s forest!
“Where did she hide Jack’s crown?” Pete asked nobody in particular. A glass bottle flew towards him.
“Duck!” Jack screamed at Pete. He ducked low to the ground and the bottle splashed onto a potted plant. The plant’s leaves turned brown, and had a crispy texture. Pete stared at the plant with wide eyes.
Suddenly, another potion came flying at them. Josephine picked up a sword from a table and smacked it. It exploded into a burst of purple fire, and sent waves of heat through the room.
Something grabbed Jack’s shoulders and hurled him backwards. Medea and Circe stood there. Medea moved the sack back and forth, so nobody could attack her.
“Why do you want those items anyway?” Josephine asked, still holding the sword.
“I want to make a spell, to turn you all into ravens! And then I will lock you up forever!” she yelled, her voice echoing around the chamber.
She waved her hand, and cast a bolt of fire at Josephine and Pete.
The world seemed to move in slow motion. Jack saw a twinkle under a dining table, and he lunged at it.
He grabbed his crown, and placed it on his head.
He turned around, and swept water along the floor, putting out Medea’s fire. All four of them stared at Jack. Josephine stared at him in joy, Pete in admiration, Circe in confusion, and Medea in fury.
She pointed her hand at Jack, and an explosion erupted behind him. Metal bars formed around him, and Jack found himself inside of a cage.
Jack quickly exploded it, and wound chains around Medea and Circe, and zapped them with a powerful spell.
The chains fell down, and revealed two hamsters.
One had orange-ish yellow-ish fur, (Circe) and the other had black fur (Medea).
The black hamster lunged at Jack, baring it’s teeth. Jack grabbed it, and set it on the dining table. It squealed and protested and demanded to be let down, but Jack refused.
“Ok guys,” Jack said, turning towards Pete and Josephine. “we have two more things to do!”
Pete grinned, Josephine nodded, and they went on their way.
When they reached the deadly marshlands, Jack heard a voice.
“Jack! I’m already here! Just make me solid!” Somebody whispered in his ear. Jack did as he was told, and Aaron appeared in a flash of light and sound. He was wearing the same clothes as before.
Josephine was turned the other way, so he tapped her shoulder. She turned and gasped. Josephine grabbed Aaron in a gigantic bear hug.
Pete hugged him too, and Jack hugged them all.
“I knew you guys could do it!” Aaron said. “I watched you the whole time, and I helped you!”
He turned over to Josephine and said “I put that button there. And I moved the crown under the table. And I was the blast of air that sent Kelli flying!”
They all smiled at him, grateful for his help.
“Come on guys. One more stop!” Jack said, grinning at them.
The first thing they did when they got to the cave, was beat Medusa and the basilisk up. Eventually, only their snake skins were left!
They found Jonathan’s statue near the door. Again, Jack heard the same whispering.
He did as he was told, and Jonathan dropped from the sky.
“Hi gang!” he said, smiling wider than Jack.
Josephine just stared at Jonathan.
“What’s wrong?” Jonathan asked her. “Do I have rock stuck in my teeth?” Everyone laughed, then waited for Josephine’s response.
“That’s it? No hi Josephine? Really?”
“I’ve been meaning to tell you guys,” a girl stepped out from behind Jonathan. “this is my new girlfriend, Kelli.”
“What?” Josephine screamed, and jumped at Kelli, punching her and elbowing her, but Kelli seemed unharmed.
“Hey!” Jonathan yelled, and pulled Josephine off of Kelli.
“Her real- Her real name’s Calypso! She just wanted to be- oof! Called Kelli!”
Josephine stopped kicking and punching, and stared at the unharmed immortal girl.
“Oh. Um, sorry.” she smiled at Calypso, and hid behind Aaron.
Three Years Later
Aaron is 20.
Josephine is 19.
Pete is 19.
Jonathan is 18.
Jack is 17.
Two beautiful days, back-to-back:
Calypso and Jonathan’s wedding, and Aaron and Josephine’s wedding.
Everybody loved the new couples, they were a match made in heaven.
They all moved to Magic Village, and lived a life of love, luxury and of course: Magic, hence Magic Village.
Pete and Jack both found someone special, and they love each other. Soon, there will be more wedding bells.
Jack and Aaron went back to Medea’s Castle, and returned the items to where they belonged.
Two years after that, Calypso and Jonathan, and Aaron and Josephine had kids.
As for Medea and Circe, they became Josephine and Aaron’s pet hamsters.
Josephine and Aaron’s kids are a whole new story, but I think you’re familiar with it. Their names, are Snow White, and Rose Red.