Enjoy this piece, written by one of our young readers, Emma MarLee Shoemaker! Thanks so much for sharing your work with us, Emma!
Are you a writer between 14 and 18 years of age with a story to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Ebony Heart made her way into the girls’ locker room after basketball practice, dreading to simple task of changing in front of the other girls. Her scars would be visible, and she was still self-conscious about the lines permanently etched into her skin.
Ebony tried to pull off her shirt and slip on the other as quickly as possible but she heard someone sneer. “Nice back Frankenstein.” Ebony tensed but ignored it. The comments hadn’t stopped since the accident six years ago. She changed into her jeans and boots before hurrying out the door. After six years the taunts still hurt, still dug under her skin and made her shake with anxiety at night.
She pulled her phone out of her pocket as she made her way through the school. It was dark outside, despite the cars and streetlights. She’d forgotten to remind Seth or Zack—her brothers—to come and pick her up after practice. Her screen was black and refused to turn on as she pressed the power button. Crap, it was dead and she didn’t have anyone to give her a ride. She sighed, making her way out the door and into the freezing night air. It smelled cleaner outside at night and the world seemed more peaceful. She loved the night, but it also kind of scared her. She wouldn’t be able to see anyone and that made her anxiety spike with thoughts of being attacked or kidnapped by some unseen threat. I’ll be safe, everything will be find.
She hoisted her bag higher onto her back as she started the half an hour walk back home. During the spring and fall she was happy to walk home but not in winter, and the fact that it was dark made it ten times worse.
God she wished she had one of her brothers with her, or her phone at least. If she knew someone knew where she was, what she was doing, she would feel safer.
She continued walking, humming a song to calm her nerves. S-P-I-R-I-T spirit, let’s hear it! S-P-I-R-I-T spirit, let’s hear it! Let’s go! She had to walk through a bit of woods to get to her house, a short cut that might not have been the best idea at night but she wanted to get home as soon as possible. Her hands shook at her side. She needed music, anything to calm her nerves and out here in the cold she couldn’t tell if it was anxiety or the cold air making her body quiver. To do something she pulled the ponytail out of her dirty blonde hair and slipped it over her wrist.
Something rustled in the trees and she ignored it, humming louder to herself. I’ve had enough, there’s a voice in my head says I’m better off dead. Oh God whatever it was it was going to get her. Lord save me now, she thought, walking a bit faster. She took deep breaths, trying to calm herself down.
“Where’re you going?” A voice purred and Ebony froze, head swinging as she tried to find the source of that voice. Her heart beat too fast and her hands slipped from the straps of her bag, blue eyes widening to the size of eggs.
No, no I am not dying tonight, she told herself starting back up at a brisk pace. The world suddenly went eerily silent around her. The unnatural noises of cars was the only sound. Whatever or whoever was in the woods here with her was too silent for their own good.
Oh God she wished Boise wasn’t called the City of Trees, then she wouldn’t be walking through this short stretch of woods with something lurking around. She’d always loved the forest but now it was sinister and she was trying harder than normal to control her shaking. A hand was squeezing her quickly beating heart and her hands shook.
To her right a squirrel chittered and flew across the cold winter ground and Ebony froze for a moment. Whatever was here with her was right there. She whirled, maybe it was something she could defend herself against, maybe just some other kid out in the woods. A stray dog or cat, no, animals didn’t ask where you were going.
Something lunged from the woods and Ebony gasped, jumping back, fists out but something, someone else slammed into the thing. People, they were both people, one of them substantially larger than the other—the one that had attacked the first. She didn’t see much after that as they fought, a whirling mess of limbs and bodies.
“Get out of here!” One of the voices roared, vaguely familiar but Ebony didn’t think about it. She ran, racing for the light of the houses. They couldn’t be more than half a mile away. She could make it. She would make it. She pumped her legs as hard as she could, taking longer strides. A dream, she’d had a dream like this except it had been a wolf chasing after her. She hadn’t made it in the dream, she prayed the dream was wrong.
“You get back here you spineless coward!” The voice roared again and something big and fast crashed after her through the woods. Whoever it was kept getting closer and closer.
Ebony ignored the cold branches whipping her face and when she twisted her ankle on a rock and yelped in pain she kept going, pushing against the pain. Whoever was after her was hot on her heals and if they got any closer they’d be able to reach out and grab her. Her ankle throbbed but she kept pushing herself. She could have gone faster if she hadn’t just got out of basketball practice with all that rigorous running.
She might have made it to the end of that tree line and safety if her feet hadn’t been thrown out from under her. She slid on a patch of ice and fell flat on her back, the breath punching out of her. She might have screamed if the air hadn’t left her lungs. “Don’t touch her!” That garbled voice roared, still crashing through the woods as whoever had been chasing descended upon her.
She flipped herself ever, trying to scramble backwards away from the dark form coming down on her. For the second time the first form leaped to sweep away the first form. Guys, they were two guys and the first one managed to avoid the larger guys attack. The second, larger guy stood over her, protecting her. The smaller form stabbed something toward him, it gleamed in the moonlight. Ebony froze in horror as the second guy dodged it but as he’d been crouching in front of her the dodge left whatever the first guy had been holding impaled in her stomach.
This time she did have the breath to scream as the blade was plunged into her stomach.
Today, we’re sharing a new twist on an old story, written by Ava. Thanks, Ava for sharing your work with us!
If you are between the ages of 13 and 18 and have a story to submit to The Crawl Space Journal, please send it to email@example.com. In the subject line, write, Young Writer Submission. We look forward to reading your work!
Once upon a time, in a land not so far away a baby was born. She was a sweet little thing and the second she laughed a dandelion, full in bloom, burst and the wind carried it up into the night sky, toward the second star to the right. Now, I know that this may confuse you, but the fairy that was born to this dandelion seed was not Tinkerbell, but a different fairy all together. Her name was Evangaline, a noble, high maintenance fairy, who loved to laugh. Evangaline grew up in Neverland with none other than Peter Pan, and the notorious yet friendly, James Hook. Unfortunately, her friendship with both of them did not last forever. Sadly Hook tried to chop off her wings, and Peter replaced her for that awful Tinkerbell. When Evangaline met Tink, something about her did not seem right at all, and so our story begins.
When Evangaline was 14 in human years and 10 in Never years she received the gift of telepathy. This meant she could read minds, and she used this to her advantage. Every once in a while, Tink would try to pull a prank on Eva, but would always fail because of Eva’s secret weapon. Now, Eva had a book in which all the locations of secret coves, caves, and treasure chests where kept. One fine day she was collecting items on the sea shore, when she came upon a sapphire which told her the future. It said that in the future, both Peter and Hook will go after the book, and so she must destroy it. If she fails her wings will turn to dust. Eva, being frighted, went home. She lived in the lost boys tree and kept the book in a secret nook that could only be opened with a key, but she misplaced it, not lost it, just misplaced it. So she did what any sensible fairy would have done, she started to look for it.
Everybody knows that fairies are supposed to be happy, but in this case Eva was quite unhappy. The last thing she wanted, was to have her wings turn to dust. She started to wonder if her sole purpose was to protect the book. Then, if that wasn’t enough, Tink decided that today, of all days was a good day to get on Eva’s nerves. Now Eva, was not in a good mood, and I’m sure Tink knew this. She choose to ignore it and did what she pleased. As soon as Tink had left, Eva started to pack for her journey. Earlier, when Tink was there she found the key, as she packed, she got the book. She placed both the key and the book at the bottom of her satchel.
Eva decided to dispose of the book at the Lenidy Volcano, on the other side of Neverland. Her packing would have to last her till she arrived at the Indian’s Forest, half way to the volcano. She packed all her necessities, pixie dust, her pillow, the sapphire, her favorite lost thing, her telescope, and her pen, ink, and journal. When she set off, of course, she road her beautiful dove named Pippa. Pippa was a young dove and loved to fly right next to the clouds. Now, say anything were to go wrong, Eva brought her bird sized hot air balloon.
Eva began her journey at day break, approximately 7:52 Never time and 5:28 U.S time. The morning was chilly, so Eva brought her cotton-ball coat. Pippa was up and ready to go at 6:43, and woke Eva up, too. Eva decided that before she went to the volcano she would stop at Pirates Cove to buy a large bag of crumbs for pippa. When she got there she was met with a large gathering and one shipmate yelling “He’s back, Hook’s back.” Another yelling back, “there he is men.” This was the most perfect and most awful time. On one hand, Eva was happy she didn’t have to go looking for Hook, but on the other he is the last person she wanted to see. So to avoid Hook, she quickly bought the crumbs and was on her way.
When she had left Pirates Cove she realized Tink had stolen her telescope, and the only place to get another one was in London. She made her way toward the North Star to London. When she arrived she nearly ran into Big Ben. What made her stop was a very familiar shadow. The shadow was none other than Peter Pan’s. “Peter must have lost it again,” she thought, “classic Peter, that reminds me, I need a new telescope. Where is that, oh there it is.” Eva let Pippa down while she went into the shop. The shop was full of gadgets and gizmos, such as stones, clocks, books, different pixie dusts, telescopes, photos of Landon, etc. When she had found the perfect telescope and had payed for it, she went up to catch Peter’s shadow just as a favor. After she had caught it she went to find Peter. It didn’t take her long, she knew where to find him. Right at the top of Big Ben, in the clock tower. When she went inside, she was surprised at how well he had kept it. When she saw him she could not believe how he loocked. He was all grown up, twenty- three, he told her and also engaged to a girl named Moira Angela Dawling, Wendy’s daughter.
Eva was not able to contain herself. “how could you, Peter? You’re a lost boy not a man. Besides, Tink and all of Neverland is waiting for you! How could you? You, you pig, you filthy pig! You abandoned me, and now Tink and Neverland. How could you?”
She flew off in rage before Peter could even say a word. Then she remembered her quest and that her wings would turn to dust if she failed. So back to Neverland she went. “I cant even imagine what Tink will think,” she said to herself, “that blasted Peter Pan.”
When she got back she was met with “there she is,” “fire,” and “get her,” and a shower of canon balls. She saw Captain Hook and his entire flying fleet going after her and poor Pippa scared to death. At that moment Eva had an idea, it was risky but it was the only way to escape. She then fell off Pippa toward the Neverland Sea. Pippa noticing she had fallen, dove after her. When Hook saw this, he told his captains to meet him at the harbor. He went after her immediately, but found he went after Tink by accident, instead of Eva. Eva had gone back to the ship and cut all the life boats free. She then made it a point to go into Hooks quarters and take a nap.
After getting back to the ship, Hook decided he was too tired to start a fight, so he went to his quarters to sleep. When he saw Eva, his mind changed and the thought this would be the perfect way to get rid of her. Hook drew his sword and charged at Eva, who was still asleep. Luckily Eva was a light sleeper and heard Hook. She dashed up and drew her sword. The fight that went on between them lasted for ten days, with a light lunch break. At the end Eva triumphed over Hook. As the law stated Hook would have to leave Neverland for ever.
After Hook had left, Eva was able to rest and get back to her journey. Eva let Pippa stay at home and rest. The journey to the Indian Forest was long, she encountered many old friends and enemies. When she did make it there she was met with many hugs. She hadn’t been to the forest in many years and was glad to be back. That night there was a great feast. There was venison, pork, fish, fruit, beans, stew, bread, corn, and many more delightful dishes. The night lasted forever. There was music, dancing, and story telling. At around midnight, however, all of this stopped when a shadow came hurdling down in their midst. Eva then yelled, “Peter you weren’t invited.” At that all the Indians ran and left Peter and Eva alone near the fire.
Now I am sure you know what happens next. “Eva do you remember that book you had? Do you still have it? You know the one with all the maps in it.”
“Yeah” said Eva. “Why?”
“Do you think I could…”
“No, you may not have it Peter.”
After at least five minutes of arguing, Peter, outraged, drew his sword and Eva did also. The battle that went on between them, however, was much different than had occurred with Hook. You could almost say it was a game of capture the flag, in the sense that there were two teams and each had there own safe side. This duel also lasted ten days. Eva won and Peter was banned from Neverland again.
When Eva got to the volcano she was glad to be rid of the book. It had caused her so much trouble. The trip home was smooth, she did not have to worry about Peter or Hook. Yellow Feather went with her most of the way, but had to go home for emergency purposes. Now, if you don’t know how fairies die, it is quite simple. If some one where to say, “I don’t believe in fairies,” and mean it, the closest fairy would die. Sadly, in our case, Eva was the closest fairy to that awful Peter Pan when he said it.
Eva died a happy yet unfortunate death. Her life was filled with adventure and fun. Peter was able to go see her, and Tink brought her flowers. The Indians brought her her favorite pie, and her old cornhusk doll for company. Eva died on September 54th, and as tradition her wings were given to the person of her choosing, Tinkerbell.
If I mentioned the name “Harry Potter”, what springs to mind?
Perhaps a fantastic world filled with wizardry, magical beasts, and sinister forces? That’s all thanks to J. K. Rowling, the author of the world-renowned Harry Potter series. Her books redefined the fantasy genre.
Here is some background information on Mrs. Rowling. She was born in southern England, and worked as a researcher and secretary for a human rights organization. Interestingly, she got the idea for Harry Potter when her train was delayed at a railway station. She was on hard financial and emotional times when she finished the originally titled Philosopher’s Stone, which she wrote on a typewriter!
The book was accepted enthusiastically and soon published. It received numerous awards, and she proceeded to writing the next four books. The Goblet of Fire smashed book sales records in both the US and UK, selling over 300,000 books in a single day!
Through all of this, J. K. Rowling was dedicated to making the best possible books she could, toiling for many long hours, writing. Books 6 and 7 sold millions in less than a day.
So what did the new millionaire do with all of her money? Supported charities, of course! She has donated to several charities such as One Parent Families, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain, and many more. Mrs. Rowling also continues to donate the sale proceeds of two short stories, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages, for charity. Fantastic Beasts is set to become a movie by the end of this year.
In 1998, Warner Bros. bought the rights to the Harry Potter series and made the famous film adaptations.
Mrs. Rowling also released a book titled The Casual Vacancy. The books were part of so many people’s childhoods, and gave rise to a dedicated fandom. So, J.K. Rowling is a living example of passion that paid off. Her amazing fantasy world rocketed her to fame, but she remains humble and kind. The true beauty of the Harry Potter universe is that it continues to expand and grow, even while it remains true to the genre and the fans.
Small feet play around the playground
Bright blue curious eyes,
Hair as blonde as a flame.
The flame dances,
It has seen joy.
by mother and father
And grows bigger into a fire
Burning like thousand suns.
Rain comes in
It has seen fear,
The flame flickers.
Scared when mother and father are nowhere to be seen,
hides from the world
This small light still shown.
A wrinkly veiny hand grasps a cane.
eyes almost shut
it has seen enough of the world.
Hair grey as a cloud.
Still a light.
Until the cloud brings the storm,
and the flame burns out.
I know they can hear me
hear my cries through the fields
sun blistering my chocolate face
my people in sorrow
I know they can hear me.
I know they can see me
but them white folk don’t feel them pricks on cotton
they can’t see under our masks of black
or our fathers and mothers
and sisters and brothers
from the love beneath our skin
I know they can see me.
I know it’s intentional
beating us from sun to moon
forced labor in conditions not wanted
same bending over work
they want more from the “worthless”
I know it’s intentional.
It is us who shout for our pain
us who plead for rest
us who stand for freedom
Hope is what we have
We hold our ground and fight but they won’t listen.
I know they can hear us
they choose to avoid,
hear our pain
hear our cries
What I don’t know is why they neglect.
Must be easier to blind our hope now.
Why can’t I control something as small as a thought- in my mind?
How can something I have full power over, create things I don’t?
Like a programmed robot driving and steering your mind.
Is that a bad thing?
Some just appear.
Some take time.
Like a sudden drop of a hammer.
Or like sand slowly drifting into the glass for hours.
How do they appear?
Does what we see, and what we do affect our thoughts?
Is that the only power we have?
Influence is like fuel.
To a machine in your head with unknown gears.
When I am stuck.
And I have no thoughts.
What happens to the gears?
Lack of inspiration?
Why does the free mind of uncontrollable mystery
act like a caged monster?
Why does my mind decide to give me these thoughts?
Is it a gift?
Is it a curse?
Is the machine trying to tell me something?
Rhea Ahluwalia is a thirteen year old girl who goes to the Spence School in New York city. She has been avid writer since the 4th grade and always loves learning new styles of poetry. Rhea has been a involved participant in English class as she has many opinions about reading and writing in class. Her favorite book in particular is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. She adores the idea of a blank page and is eager to frequently pour out her feelings in writing. Rhea is a teachable student who takes criticism well in anything she does from volleyball practices, to writing an essay. She loves trying new things like traveling to a new place with her family. Stepping out of her comfort zone gives her endless memories to keep and sometimes write about. Rhea is a determined, hardworking writer that pushes herself to be the best that she can be. All in all, Rhea will continue to improve on her writing for years to come.
We’d like to wish Joseph a very Happy Birthday today! Thanks for sharing your work with us Joseph!
Over the hills, beyond the seas, is a castle that no one will ever see.
A lonely castle this one is, for it has been abandoned for about a century.
I was the owner of that castle, you see.
But my bad luck had struck and I was forced to leave.
I pleaded and I pleaded, but it was no use to me,
So I left with my clothes and my empty dreams.
From then on l lived with no profession,
So I pondered on my only question…
“How could I have lost my castle, even with the best protection?”
But then it came to me, the answer to my question,
And my face put on the most beautiful expression.
Now I know, and now I claim,
They must have hacked this world of games.
I’ll make them feel the worst of pain,
Maybe knives or maybe flames.
Maybe this will make them depart with shame,
But no one will ever know in the fantastic world of games.
Now I took back my castle that no one will see,
And I realize how much it means to me.
I find it hard I ever took my leave,
But now it’s over and I can live in peace.
And since the ones who kicked me out can no longer get to me,
I’ve once again become one of royalty.
Over the hills, and beyond the seas, is MY castle that no one will ever see.
When Leo first started going to the shed, it was out of pure boredom. Their old house had seemed interesting at first, but like an empty treasure chest, yielded no secrets. So he had moved on to the shed, a small, squat structure made of rotting wood and rusty nails. The first time he ventured into its shadowy depths (or so he imagined) he emerged with the spoils of a hammer, a broken jackknife, and a small compass. The second time, the only interesting thing he found was a small silver pocket watch that didn’t work. He forced his jackknife between the watch and its side knob then twisted. The knob flew off, ricocheting off one wall to the other. He heard his mom calling him from the house, urging him to clean his room. The watch, in the meantime, fell to the ground. Leo groaned, then went to pick it up. Suddenly, the watch began to glow, then everything went black.
When Leo woke up he was in the middle of a forest. With an inward groan, he pushed himself off the ground and took in his surroundings. Then shock set in. He wasn’t at home! He promptly plopped down against a tree and started to think. If he wasn’t at home, where was he? He was wearing the same clothes, so he dug around in his pocket for his compass. He found it, and along with it a small strip of paper. He took it out, and read it. “Solve this riddle to go back home. I am light as a feather, yet no man can hold me for long. What am I?” Great, Leo thought. All I needed was a riddle to make this day better. He started westward, towards the setting sun in that strange land. After a few hours, it was dark and cold. Leo saw a faint glow in the distance and headed towards it. When he arrived, he saw that it was a farmhouse with a barn. No one will mind if I stay a night here, he thought. He opened the door to the pitch-dark barn. He laid down in a corner and took out the paper. After thinking about for a while, he fell fast asleep.
A few hours later, he was awakened by the neighing of a horse. He woke up to the magnificent sight of a Pegasus in all of its glory. The paper lay in front of the horse, with the words lying face up. The horse began to snuffle and blow air at him. Annoyed, Leo got up and went over to the horse. It gestured towards the paper, then began to draw air into his lungs. Then it dawned on him. The horse was breathing! The answer to the riddle was breath! As soon as he thought that, he appeared back in the shed. The watch was gone, but his hands were clutching a snow-white feather. In the distance, he heard his mom yelling for him to clean up his room.