Thursday 26 October 2017

Chapter 11
As soon as Annabel, Elmi, Kaylin, and Della had finished ingesting the creamy, not-so-creamy yogurt, they had run back upstairs to finish their puzzle that they were working on before the fire. Annabel was sitting out mostly, reading a book about the barrier current and a travel magazine for tourists that come to the fishing islands.(Arkk, Fuzz, and Kenol) Kaylin was flicking her dark blonde hair around as she gloated of her surprisingly few puzzle building feats. Della was frustrating herself with the 100 piece puzzle (she’s only five) while Elmi kindly tried to give her hints to the next piece.
“Done!” Della squealed loudly when the three had finished the puzzle. It really was a jungle, but the animals and the jaguar especially looked creepily human. Annabel glanced at it quickly and then turned her full gaze on it. “T-that t-tucan…” Annabel stuttered slowly. “Aauugghh!”
“The monkey’s got an old man face!” Della laughed. “The toucan's got a dog snout!” shouted Kaylin. “The Jaguar looks like a bat!” joined Annabel.
Suddenly Grey rushed in the game room. “What’s all the shouting? Is there a fire?” he asked frantically. His hands were out, and his eyes were wide. His little tuft of hair was speeding back and forth. I wonder if it could make a good perpetual motion machine… thought Annabel.
“No, silly!” Della laughed. Elmi thought she was pretty brave to be calling him “silly.” Grey recognized what was going on and dropped to his knees. He immediately surveyed the puzzle. Then, he asked, “are you done?”
“Yes,” replied Elmi.
“No,” he said.
“No?” Elmi asked.
“No,” he repeated.
“What? No?”
“You’re not done.”
Elmi gave him a quizzical look. “Here… ah, Annabel,” Grey said, forgetting her name for a bit. “Come, a smart looking girl like you should be able to figure this out.” Annabel pushed up her glasses and straightened her black hair in a bun. Stereotypical! She remarked inwardly. Though, I am the smartest of us four… if I weren’t so to say so myself!
Grey grabbed the box after they had all made a circle around him and the puzzle, and held it out to them. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Well,” started Kaylin. “The box has what’s on the puzzle and the puzzle’s wrong.” Grey immediately replied with: “Precisely. Now, fix it.”
“What?” asked Kaylin incredulously. “Like, draw on it?” Grey shook his head slowly. Annabel peered skeptically at the box. At the corner was a little peel? She reached out and peeled a layer of the box cover. She scraped it to make sure there was nothing else to peel. On the under-peel of the box was a handwritten message: Deconstruct TT (P, D, S, Y, FB)
“Congratulations! You found the first clue!” Grey said. Kaylin smiled cooly. “Are you saying there’s a secret puzzle in this puzzle?” she asked, impressed. Grey nodded happily. Maybe this isn’t such of an easy puzzle after all!
Elmi tried a couple of the puzzle pieces to see if there was anything to peel. Nothing. “Hmm, decon- de…” Della sounded out the word. “Deconstruct!” Then she added: “T T!”
“Tee Tee,” Annabel repeated. “Is this a sound trick?” Grey shook his head. He seemed limited with talking in this challenge. “TT” Elmi murmured. “But what about PDSTFB?” “Oh, that’s nothing,” Grey said. “The storekeeper said it was an old acronym that people used to use, that it was not in the puzzle.” Elmi lowered her face in understanding. Her bright blonde hair fell in her face as she did so, even though she tries to keep it up in a pony.
Kaylin traced her fingers across the pieces, and felt a slight rattle in one. She quickly looked, but her finger had already passed. Now she did not know where it was. Her thoughts referred back the code. TT. It could mean a million things Turning Turret, Teal Tucan. Wait! Toucan! Toucan Tail! Kaylin’s hand lurched uncontrollably to the puzzle piece that the toucan’s tail was on. She wrenched it apart, to find a flat, twiddly metal bit with glass on the tip.
“You got it!” Grey yelled. “TT stands for toucan’s tail!” wooted Kaylin. Grey’s face dropped. “Oh,” he said. “It’s actually toucan tushie… but same square.” Della giggled. Tushie means butt.
Elmi snatched the metal thing from Kaylin and examined it. “I’ve seen something like this before! It was a black light!” She yelled in excitement. Grey smiled, amused by their happy interest in the puzzle puzzle. Elmi flicked a switch under the glass part of the metal thing, and it lit up. She pointed it at the puzzle. Some pieces lit up with letters, and some stayed the same. But, in total, the pieces that were shining read: fceonsu.
“I bet it’s a word scramble!” Della stated loudly. “Good idea!” Kaylin shouted back. They started to say random syllables that would fit. “Sun!” “Fones!” “Ceonfu!” “Confuse!” When Kaylin yelled it, a clunk sound came from the puzzle, and the puzzle faded into a new picture.
There was a big grey cave with stalactites dripping from the ceiling. Moss surrounded stones, and crumpled flowers sat on the floor. Bats clung to the ceiling and a big, brown and white dog lay sleeping in the corner. There was a feeling of softness in the image. “Wow,” breathed Elmi. “It’s a beautiful picture.” Grey smiled and they all laughed together. They had fixed the puzzle. Grey’s laugh was low and stood out of the girl’s tinkly laughs.
“Wait!” Annabel suddenly said after they had finished laughing. “I know what the code means. Grey gave her a sarcastic look. “No, really!” she insisted. She grabbed the box and stuck her arm in. out rolled a glittering nugget of gold. Grey gasped.


Thursday 19 October 2017

Chapter 10
“It was a darn little bread smackin’ fire in the house,” Grey explained and that pretty much summed it up. Celeste acted like it was very usual. “Hmm, another burn mark.” She leaned down and touched the small black mark. It was not very noticeable, only when the Cubs really looked around the room, they spotted two more. One just above their small stove, and one hiding in the corner of two cabinets. They wondered about why the couple gets fires so much, and what did they come from, but the children kept their thoughts quiet. No one would want to possibly bring up bad memories
Celeste had hurriedly organized Della, Elmi, Annabel, Kaylin, and Grey with their gardening equipment. She gave Elmi a pair of old gloves and then grabbed her hand in surprise. “Elmi!” exclaimed Celeste. “Your fingernails are so long!” “Oh yeah,” Elmi said blushing, “I forgot that. I was supposed to clip them the day we… the day we left.” Elmi couldn’t help sadly thinking about Bear. He must be so worried, he might even think they might have drowned! The police are probably looking frantically for them. Too bad Celeste and Grey don’t have a phone, computer, mailman, or even a fax machine!
“Why don’t you quickly go file them on the Clipper Brick,” Celeste instructed kindly. “W-wait, the Clipper Brick?” Elmi asked, mystified. “Yeah, you can just go rub your nails on it,” Celeste replied simply. She pointed to a little red brick by the side of the house.
Feeling quite bewildered, Elmi cautiously stepped towards the little brick. Some vines and moss rooted it to the ground so she couldn’t pick it up. “I just scrape my nails on this little thing…” Elmi murmured. She tried first her thumb. Rubbing it back and forth evenly, she got it to the perfect length quickly and easily. “Wow! It works so quickly!” Elmi yelled at the others. She quickly did the other nails and raced back to her sisters. They all gazed down at her perfectly smooth fingernails, they almost shined in the light.
They smiled and chatted while they worked on pruning the plants on and around Grey’s house. They didn’t quite know where the garden started or ended, so they just stayed close to the house… or at least some did. “Annabel! What are you doing all the way over there?” Elmi asked to Annabel, who was standing halfway to the other side of the clearing.
“I-I calculated the fastest way to prune all the plants in the garden… I mean all the plants in the…” Annabel trailed off. Then she frowned in confusion. “Mm. What plants are considered ‘in this garden’?” Before anyone could answer, (Which would take a crazy amount to even think about) Celeste popped up from behind the bushes and yelled, “Hey, who wants a snack?”
The children gulped. Was she going to make some more torturous food? To their relief, Grey answered before it became too awkward that they would have to say something. “We could maybe work for a bit more? Like, we’re almost done.”
Annabel flushed, half the time she had spent far away from the actual work. Barely noticeably, she drifted back to the house’s general area. Now, within half an hour, they finished up, and headed inside.
“Now for that snack I was talking about!” Celeste announced loudly. Oh no! Elmi worried. I thought we had gotten around this! All their negative thoughts changed when they heard this: “It’s yoghurt!” Their mouths instantly watered. They loved yoghurt!
The first few bites were automatic, but soon they slowly smoothed the mushy substance around in their mouths. It was very rich. Delicious, but VERY rich and creamy. They almost chewed it. “Is this greek yogurt?” Kaylin asked, after a spoonful of the thick treat, because that’s the thickest yoghurt they have ever tasted and nothing could get creamier.
“No, but we do have some thicker, greek if you want it!” Celeste replied.
“Wait, you have something richer than this?” Elmi asked incredulously.

“Oh, yeah, this is only the beginning,” Grey beamed. “We’ve also got extra-rich greek!” A gasp came, and yoghurt was all down Annabel’s face.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Chapter 9
“Y-yes,” Elmi replied uncomfortably. Celeste put her hand closer to Elmi’s face. No. Don’t please, not the cheek! Elmi thought suddenly.  PINCH! Uh, why do all old ladies go for the cheek? Then, she went on pinching everyone’s cheek, even her husband and he didn’t seem to enjoy it.
“Yup, it’s the same little gals,” He smiled. “Aww you little peeps made history!” squealed Celeste, giving another round of pinches with her wrinkly fingers. Her face melted into a concerned frown. “Are you lost?” she asked.
“Well, yes,” Elmi answered. “We came here by boat,” Annabel explained. “But a rush of water caught us a spun us far into the sea,” continued Kaylin. “We really need a place to stay until we can get back to Kenol,” Della added.
“I bet we can fix something!” Gery pronounced enthusiastically.
“Well, I’d better get you some supper, it’s already what? 9:27 p.m.! That is late for you little peeps!” Celeste pointed out, rushing around the little wooden island in their kitchen. She picked up a blue, old-fashioned kettle from the counter and placed it on the small stove.
Meanwhile, Grey showed them to their room. There was only one bed, so Kaylin and Della would sleep there. (“It was our daughter's old room,” Grey explained. “Our son’s room is full of all their childhood and teenager stuff.”) Elmi and Annabel would sleep on sleeping bags on the floor. As they continued to explore the wooden walls of Grey and Celeste’s house, it came to them that everything was quite wooden and cramped here. There was not a lot of space to believe that two parents and two kids had lived here. Hmm. Everything is made of stained wood or lesser, just wood! Kaylin remarked inwardly.
They were just about done rounding the small house for the third time, when they heard Celeste call for dinner. They sat down at the not surprisingly wooden table and looked over into the serving dish. There was some type of warm, beige pudding thing with speckles of veggies sprinkled in it. It looked like unappetizing, finely ground oatmeal. Celeste distributed out the slop with a tall, wooden ladle. It smelt like eggs, fish, and wet bread. “It’s tuna meal!” Celeste announced proudly.
Grey gobbled it up happily, but Kaylin let it slowly slide off her spoon, splatting it into her bowl. Must be an acquired taste! Kaylin thought roughly. She eyed Annabel and Elmi, slowly eating it, trying very hard to enjoy it.
After turning away some chocolate, beef pudding, the girls were off to bed. Grey had lent them some of his children’s old pyjamas. They were all quite uncomfortable, the sleeping bag really was quite too thin and the bed’s mattress was made of stale beans in a thick bag. They would not have the gut to complain, but not the cushion to sleep easily.
Della was whispering for Bear quietly, she couldn’t sleep. “Della?” Elmi asked. “You okay?” “Maybe,” Della whimpered. The others shuffled. They were not asleep yet either. “It’ll be fine, we have some nice people helping us, and-” Annabel stopped to the sound of crying. Kayling and Della were sobbing and hugging each other. “Shh,” Annabel whispered. Elmi heaved a long sigh, and they settled into a hard sleep.


Breakfast was no more enjoyable than dinner. It was some more of Celeste’s worse than mediocre cooking. “Basil bread pudding” is what she calls it. It’s just mushed up bread thrown in a salty custard with too much basil all over it. It was even cooked far too less than golden brown. She claimed it was “healthy.” Whatever that means. Thought Kaylin.
“Mmm,” grumbled Celeste, looking out the window. The air hung with mist, it was so foggy outside you couldn’t see a tree on the other side of the clearing. “It’s gardening day, I don’t really want to go out in this.
“Well, kids,” Grey said. “You can go play in the playroom upstairs while we get the gardening stuff ready. Then, you can come tend to our monthly-taken-care-of garden.” They agreed and ran upstairs.
The playroom was a calm blue colour, two untidy shelves of puzzles and activity books really set the theme. What was most characteristic about the playroom was the many posters lining the walls. Many had useless quotes and pictures on them. Some read: “A water is never boiled until it starts boiling.” -Condon Harsh and “Brown horses fly in many directions.” -The Stable News.
Della selected a jungle puzzle from one of the shelves and Kaylin handed it down to her. “Whoa! 100 pieces!” Della yelled. “Only one hundred pieces?” Asked Annabel, pushing her glasses up on her nose.
“Cut us some slack, Anna,” Elmi told her. “We’re not smart Brian-Os like you are.” Annabel rolled her eyes and flicked back her black hair. Soon, they had the puzzle all in a heap on the floor. Kaylin arranged the corners. “Okay, now we fill in the-” BRIIING! That was a recognizable sound. “The fire alarm!” Annabel breathed, panicking. BRIIING!
Annabel felt the doorknob, and they piled downstairs. They rushed to the back door, which obviously hadn’t been used recently because vines and foliage were covering the exit. BRIIING! They turned around with haste, knocking a spoon off the counter. Smoke was filling the wooden ceiling. They spotted an open window before they got to the front door. “Get out!” Elmi shouted. BRIIING! First Della, then Kaylin and Annabel and Elmi.
They stood there, coughing for a moment, then ran around the house to the front door. A muffled Briiing was heard from inside. “Out of my way!” Grey bellowed, running straight for the closed front door. He must have been farther in the forest. Elmi shoved the others back and opened the entrance just as Grey shot in, holding a large bucket of water. Briiing!
Expecting a collision, Grey dived for the unexpectedly open door, falling on the floor right where the fire was. He muffled it a bit with his coat, and sogged it with a splash of water. Phew. The alarm stopped.

Suddenly, from the back of the rock in behind the house came Celeste, happily humming a tune and holding a bucket of gardening supplies. When she saw Grey on the floor in a puddle of water, and the cubs looking out of breath, she stopped in her tracks. “Ugh… What did I miss?”

Friday 6 October 2017

Chapter 8
It wasn’t a long walk to his house. Not that the side islands were huge, just it seemed really close to the shore. The house broke through a wall of trees, branches covering most of it, and vines swirling around the cloudy widows. Pumpkin crops crawled over rocks in the front, and flowers bloomed randomly around the entrance. The cubs didn’t get why it had a roof at all.
Reminds me of Sleeping Beauty’s Cottage, all surrounded by stones and wood. Thought Elmi, examining the nature almost enclosing around the house. It was dark, but not scary at all. Just like a forest hut.
“Wow,” exclaimed Kaylin. “It’s almost unnoticeable!” It looked like Kaylin was admiring it. “Yes, but it’s not supposed to be,” Grey said quietly, scraping at some moss on a brick. “We never really get to cleaning it.”
Elmi’s attention was warped from the house. “Della!” She yelled to the side of the house. “This is not your property!” Elmi ran into the brush, probably after Della. The others quickly followed. Della was climbing over a rusty, mossy bus. The wheels were almost covered over in a dried, sludgy looking thing.
“This is my old bus. I used to drive it around Arkk a lot. To earn money, I would take other people around too, to make the best of everything I did,” Grey said. He pushed some leaves away from the door of the old, blue bus. He opened it and sat at the driver’s seat. He sat back on the leatherback and breathed a sigh of comfort.
“Ahem…” Annabel interrupted. “Ah yes,” Grey said climbing out. Then, slapping the front he said, “Good ol’ girl!” I might show the kids her driving in the morning, thought Grey with a smile.
The cubs carefully entered Grey’s house. How can we tell if this house is not cursed? Elmi thought superstitiously. “Celeste! I’m home and I-I brought uh… guests!”
An old lady came slowly down the stairs, a hopeful look on her face. This was probably Celeste. Della thought she was really quite pretty. She looked about the same age a Grey, wearing a long, green, woollen coat, a white tunic, and green stockings. She had a bit of a hooked nose. Hmm hmm, thought Kaylin. I feel like that nose on her is a handle. I could just grab it! Not that I would! Though. Her face turned red, even though she knew that no one could hear her thoughts.
“I thought… you were b-bringing our kids,” The woman who must be Celeste said with a very sincere expression. “Wh-wha… Who?” But she stopped short. Her eyes came wide, and slowly she walked towards the girls. She reached out her hand but froze it in the air. She looked like she might cry.


Monday 2 October 2017

Chapter 7
“Oh, I see, Mr.Grey!” Della informed the old man-Grey. They had been talking for a while now.
Here’s the story.“H-h-how? H-how?” Elmi had stammered, usually the best at talking. “Oh, well it’s a long story… eh, I should probably tell you before you ask… which you will never do.” Apparently, Grey and his wife had worked at the orphanage that the cubs used to live at. (He twirled his little white tuft of hair in his finger as he explained) He had seen the girls sneak out, but he didn’t do anything. The conditions for the children were so horrible, he would even encourage kids to try to get out.
“Just Grey will do fine, Della,” Grey said.
“So… how come you’re not still working at the orphanage on the main island?” Annabel asked.
“Well, as soon as my wife Celeste and I had enough money to move out of our parent’s house, we bought a cottage here,” Grey replied. “It’s way quieter, calmer, less evil.”
“You retired early?” Kaylin asked, cocking her head.
“Actually, we started a fishing/critter catching business here,” answered Grey. “We only retired a few months ago.”
“Mmm,” Elmi nodded, showing she understood. They were all crouching by a tree by this time, chatting. Grey suggested they come to his house, and Elmi immediately put her arm out against her sisters.
“No, not if you give us a reason!” Elmi yelled. “How do we know you weren’t just lying? How do we know this isn’t just a trap? Anyways… (Not only Elmi, but all four examined Grey’s untrustworthy face.) You worked for… Them, and how do we know you don’t want revenge. We escaped and practically shattered your whole organization.” For what Elmi’s heard, many orphans from the orphanage took the cubs as a role model. Many had escaped after them, and the staff really stopped trying to keep them in after a while.
Grey’s face became very sincere. “Elmi I wouldn’t… Okay, how would I know your names?” He’s got a point, Thought Kaylin. “How would I make this all up? Why would I know your orphanage?” He’s got a point, Thought Annabel. Grey made a long, dramatic pause. “Why would I lie to you?”
Annabel scrutinized his facial expression, it looked completely true. Grey stared hard into Elmi’s eyes. I’m not lying, Grey told her in his head. She didn’t receive.
“How do we know that’s not you working your evil black magic on us?” Elmi asked, challenging him. She was feeling very protective at the moment.
Grey’s mouth peeled into a grin. It seemed to say So, you figured out my secret? Instead of death cursing them, he put a hand over his mouth. Snrk. Spit splurted through his fingers as he tried to conceal a laugh. Suddenly he burst out in a raspy laugh, leaning on the tree, trying not to fall down.
When he finished, he explained. “Sorry, just I... Oh, you wouldn’t know this either.” He paused for them to reply, but it wasn’t really a question he was asking so they remained silent. “Anyway, there’s a group of people on the volcano that believe… *heh* weird things. They do weird practices like sitting on wooden dinosaurs and using sharpened carrots to write old poems. Heh, Heh. They think that if they do certain things when they die they will come back as a black magic wizard. Hah.” Stupid. He added in a whisper.
“And that proves you’re not using black magic yourself?” Elmi asked. “Yes,” sighed Grey. “You’re pretty superstitious about this, black magic isn’t real.”

Elmi thought about this. “Well… I guess if you had magic you could’ve trapped us already, so. Sure, we will be no better off out here than at your house.”