The lifeless mannequins all donned tutus made of smooth silk and embroidered with intricate designs. The striking liveliness of the designs made them look trapped in their tiny glass display cases, as if simply removing the glass case would be enough to make them burst into dance. They were exactly the sort of things you’d expect to find in the National Museum of Ballet, but Anne wasn’t here to steal those.
In the darkness, she could barely make out the silhouettes of the display cases, but she had the layout of the whole museum engraved in her mind. The high-pitched shriek of the alarms went unnoticed by Anne, the only sound she was focused on was the beeping of the keypad as she entered the code for the display case. The alarm stopped but the guards would still be rushing in soon, she could hear the pounding of feet against marble floors. Or maybe that was just her heart.
She could see her starstruck reflection in the glass of the display cases and hear her breath come out in shallow puffs as she stepped back, making room for one of the walls of the case to reach the ground, creating a ramp. Now she finally had what she came for. A plain tulle tutu, there was nothing remarkable about it, yet she still looked at it like it was a sacred treasure. Slowly, her trembling hands reached forward as her fingertips brushed the skirt.
The doors slammed open as the guards burst into the room and Anne snapped out of her trance. Not because she was about to be caught, but because she ripped the skirt. And suddenly, glass shards from the cases were flying everywhere, catching the dim light of the moon and skidding across the floor. The mannequins, headless, armless, and lifeless began thrashing around, as if they were trying to fight the guards. Anne felt like air was being sucked out of her lungs and she collapsed to the floor.
Next to her limp body was a small gold plaque.
“It is rumored that the spirit of the deceased ballerina is trapped in the fabric of the tutu.”
Salina Miao is an 8th grader at Redmond Middle School. This is her first story with the Youth Review.
When you wake up to demons hunching over you, would you grin in pleasure or shriek endlessly? When you come home to a wonderful feast of eyeballs and slime, would you sigh from happiness or faint from horror? Join the Halloween spirits for a fun (and creepy ) Halloween adventure!
One lonely Halloween night, a poor family was sitting near a burning fireplace watching a tiny cable expectedly. It blurred and shattered as the screen fluttered from black to white to gray. They were in a very old and deserted ghost town. It was once a great city full of beautiful skyscrapers and a big population, but now it was just a lonely lonely little town. The family consisted of one mom and one girl, and her dad was so far away from work that they couldn’t contact him because of the poor network in this little town. Today was Halloween and the girl wanted to celebrate, so they bought two lonely pieces of candy and used their whole year’s savings just to buy a little basket for it. They shared a little tin of black market biscuits as they watched the screen flicker from a football game to a cartoon. Their family could not possibly afford a TV with a remote control, so they had bought a small used cable instead. They had nothing to do during the day except sit around and eat, so the cable was the only source of entertainment.
In the neighborhood they were definitely alone: there were weeds and moss growing in the backyard and wrapping around the trees. In the neighborhood, there was nobody living in the houses. The windows were blocked off and there was construction- but not what you would expect. It was completely deserted. Before, the house was complete, but now it has been torn down by the years of vines and wind and rain. Grass was growing everywhere! You could hardly see any houses and trees through the windows because there were so many vines and wavy grasses that stretched up onto the walls of every building they could.
Meanwhile... far beneath the woods of the lonely little house was a little home to spirits, spirits called Black and White. Black had little black strokes that fluttered and flew everywhere she went. White was a little guy that liked to make a loud racket. Of course Black was the older sister and of course White was the younger sister. The young fella really wanted to eat! She was really hungry, and she had not eaten for days, when she caught a whiff of something sweet and something savory - something that she could use as a snack. The girls went inside a little house and found blue masks, then they got long, flowy robes that floated carefully as quietly as cats to every house, in search of food.
Finally the little house where the poor woman and little girl were, was the only place they hadn’t searched. They knocked once, twice, thrice. They heard a happy gasp followed by creaking floors and then the door was open. A little girl came up to greet them, and she said “Happy Halloween!” Black and White answered with a happy “Trick or Treat!” The little girl handed them both pieces of candy and they could tell that she was grateful that they had come to her house. The two ghosts wanted to repay the family’s generosity, so they put a big metal tray which they filled up with a feast: steaming hot roasted chicken with seasoning and cranberry juice with all kinds of yummy pulp and fruit. Finally, there was the best milk, eggs, and butter- but that one special thing that they made sure to put in was one small woven basket of candy.
“Jaz, you must go to your grandmama’s house,” said Mrs. Tomuro.
“Yes, Mama,” said Jazakee.
“Go ask her for oil for the lamp. We are running short on that. Bring Tobuka, too.” Mrs. Tomuro pointed at the Siamese kitten lying in the corner.
Jaz and Tobuka set off into the forest. It was all dark and the trees seemed to have shriveled black. Tobuka meowed in fear. “The forest can be…scary at times like midnight.” Jaz tried to sound brave as she told Tobuka it was normal to feel scared sometimes.
Owls hooted, mice skittered around frantically, and coyotes howled in the distance. Jaz shivered. She felt as if someone were following them. Then she saw something move in the bushes. She did not wait to see what it was. Turning around, Jaz broke into a sprint. Tobuka was right behind her.
Something was slithering behind them. “Don’t turn and look around!” Jaz told Tobuka. “That is a serpent which can turn you to stone if you make eye contact with it!” She had heard stories about the deadly creature from her grandpa when he was alive. She knew about its green scales and red eyes. But her warning came too late. She heard a dreaded crackle of rock magic behind her. She squinted and turned around. Tobuka was a big statue. But the serpent had slithered off.
Jaz shuddered as she looked at Tobuka’s rock body. Something about it made her feel nervous. Its mouth was wide open. Its eyes were sightless and under the moonlight, the entire statue seemed to move as if it were shivering with her. Its shadow cast onto a tree. “Rest in peace for now. I will defeat the terrible snake to revive you,” promised Jaz as she looked away from her best friend’s statue.
She turned around and reached into her pocket for a piece of watermelon flavored gum. Chewing gum helped to relieve stress. But she pulled out a little mirror instead. She remembered it in an instant. Her mother gave it to her as a birthday gift. She suddenly realized the key to defeating the serpent.
But first she would go to her grandmama’s house.
Jaz walked the treacherous way to her grandmama’s little red hut. Thorns snagged at her dress and she thought that a few vines were probably snakes, watching her. She walked in. It was all dark. “Had mother not told gran that I would visit her? Had she turned off the lights?” Wondered Jazakee.
She called, “Granny?” No answer. “Gran?” Nothing. Then she heard an odd slithering noise. No---the serpent! The lights went on. Jaz closed her eyes and held up her mirror. She heard the serpent hiss in pure terror.
Opening her eyes, she saw that the serpent had turned to stone. It saw its own red eyes and was defeated by itself. She heard a gasp and then, “Jazakee Tomuro?”
“Granny!” cried Jaz.
The snake statue disappeared into thin air. Where would it go? Thought Jaz. But that was not important now.
“Gran, may I have some oil for the lamp?” asked Jaz.
Gran handed Jaz the oil cup and Jaz said, “Arigato.”
Jaz skipped away from her grandmother’s hut. She had destroyed the killer-creature! Now even the midnight forest seemed to be home. Then, she saw a little cat pacing around the area where she had met the serpent.
“Tobuka?” The little cat turned around and ran toward her. Jaz picked him up and hugged him.
Then Tobuka and Jaz hurried home to give their mother the oil for the lamp.
Serena Wang is a 4th grader at Cedar Crest Academy. This is her first story with the Youth Review.
Bam, bam, bam! That was the sound of a rock hitting a door consecutively. Jennie was desperate to find out where her best friend and colleague had disappeared to.
It all started when Jennie and Jenna were driving up the steep and windy road to the start of a hike. They parked their car in the dusty parking lot and Jennie went to pay for parking, while Jenna got their backpacks out of the trunk. Once Jennie finished at the parking meter, she placed the ticket on the dashboard and checked their car of all valuables. Good thing she did because Jenna had forgotten her phone in the car. A naughty burglar could have easily stolen it.
They then walked to the map and discussed their route for this weekend.
“Should we hike to the Rocky Road or to the Plain Plateau,” Jenna asked.
“The Rocky Road,” replied Jennie, trailing the road on the map with her finger.
“It’ll be bumpier and “The Plain Plateau” really does sound plain. Do we have all the essentials packed up? You know, eight liters of water, four servings of food for each of us, a rain jacket, a GPS tracker for each of us, a warm coat, a first-aid kit, and most importantly, if something goes wrong, a tent to spend the night in along with a sleeping bag.”
“All clear! Let the fun begin! Oh wait, before we begin, I need to use the restroom quickly, be right back.”
Jenna heads to the portable bathroom. After spending five minutes in there, Jennie felt the situation had started to get concerning and went to check on Jenna.
“Jenna, is everything alright? It’s been quite little bit.”
There was no response, except for the eerie sound of a stall door.
“Jenna, if you can hear me say something,” Jennie said, urgently.
There was still no response.
In Which Luna Convinces Her Mom
Luna had her mind all on the poster she read yesterday. She didn’t hear one word that her teacher had said. She either had not paid attention, or learned anything new.
After class, Luna wandered over to the same poster that hung right down the street of her classroom.
She glanced away, but looked back. Luna made her choice. Though it might be impossible, Luna would try to persuade her mom to let her go to the secret island.
She walked closer to her home. Once she arrived, she became more confident she could do it.
“I have something to say,” Luna said when she closed the door.
“Huh?” Ada asked, a little startled.
“We’re listening, Luna,” said Mrs. Luni.
“Alright. Well, I saw this sign on the streets. Basically, a few people can go together to investigate a mysterious island, and well . . .”
“You are telling me that you want to go?” Mrs. Luni interrupted, gasping.
“I guess so . . . Ada can also go with me.” Luna said.
“No, there is no possible way. Luna, you are only eleven. Why don’t you ask someone else to help you investigate?” said Mrs. Luni.
“Please? We really want to help!” Luna and Ada both stared at their mom.
“Hmm . . . I guess you both can go this time.”
Ada and Luna scampered upstairs to prepare their things.
“I can't wait!” Luna said to Ada while they were packing.
“You got me into this,” Ada said. “Even though I'm starting to worry I’m also bursting with excitement.” Ada had just packed her last thing.
No school — yay! Mom told us to wake up, and then get ready for a sumptuous breakfast. Wow, sumptuous? We'll be eating fancy food and be in a humongous restaurant? I’m super duper excited!
“We're going to go now!” Mom hollered as I scurried out of bed.
After a while of walking, we finally arrived at the restaurant which was located right across the street in our neighborhood. I was fully thrilled until…
“How’s this special? It looks so old, but so many people are outside waiting to order their breakfast! Mom, what is happening?” I asked, confused.
“It’s a little but popular breakfast restaurant...”
I sighed with hundreds of questions. Was this really called a restaurant? I’m not sure…
The smell was floating into my nose, but the ambience wasn’t as good as I thought. It looked wrecked, broken, and little. When I touched the seat, my hands were covered with dust. Meanwhile, all I could hear was people chattering.
Shortly, a woman with plain clothes came towards us warm-heartedly with a smile, bringing us four kinds of food. She seemed to be really tired but dedicatedly cleaned the table and put the dishes in front of us.
“Thanks for your patience, Here is your order, the ‘Four Warriors’. They are the most famous Shanghai breakfast!"
I looked at the plates closely and curiously found one that held a pocket of warm air and is fragrant with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. There were some fried dough sticks that were very light. Another one was silky soy milk mixed with lots of different kinds of sauce. The last one was a ball of rice with some secret ingredients inside.
Although I was born in the USA, my mom and dad were born and raised in China. It follows that my hometown is in China. I used to go there every year until I started school. The last time that I went to China was in 2016.
When I went to Xi'an in China, I would always eat a lot of yummy foods. The last time I went back to China, I ate barbeque. I asked for no spice, but in the end, I still got a little bit. That was the first time I had ever eaten chili, and I was very proud of myself. Whenever I ate a meat piece, I would drink a lot of water, then eat another piece.
I also remember getting a toy from a movie which was about a police car. I really wanted the toy, but they didn’t sell it in the USA. The toy was only sold in China. When I went to China later that year, I got the toy. When I got to my grandparents’ house, I rushed to the toy.
Where my grandparents live in China, there was another kid with the same name as me. I played with him. Once, we were lighting fireworks. I also remember playing with fake guns. We were pretending to be the police.
I went to a wedding of my grandparents’ friend. I ate a piece of candy with something I was allergic to. After I ate it, I thought I was going to throw up. I never ate any candy from China after that day.
I was born in Kirkland, Washington. Therefore, my homeland is the United States of America.
When I think of my homeland, I think first of its natural beauty. There are many national parks in the USA. There are many cute animals in the national parks. We went to two national parks recently: Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Park.
At Mt. Rainier, we hiked up the mountains. I saw a few chipmunks. Feeding wildlife is against the law, but some people fed the chipmunks. My mom took videos, and I watched the chipmunks. My dad and my brother hiked further than me and my mom on the trail.
At the Olympic National Park, we went to the Hoh Rainforest and Hurricane Ridge.
At the Hoh Rainforest, we hiked in two trails: the Spruce Natural Trail and the Hall Of Mosses trail. We took a break after starting to walk the Hall Of Mosses trail. We saw ducks swimming in a pond. One by one, they went on a log. Then, they went back into the pond! They are like a troop who follows orders. The ducks were funny copying what everybody else did!
At Hurricane Ridge, we hiked only one trail. We walked back to the parking lot to take photos. We also saw a deer. We took photos and a video. It was eating some small plants. After taking many photos, we took a close-up view of the deer. Its ear was hurt!
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is widely spread in my homeland of the USA. Because of COVID-19, we rarely go to national parks these days. I hope the restrictions of COVID-19 can end so we can explore more national parks and see more animals without worrying about getting COVID-19.
Chapter One: In Which We Must Not Waste Time
There is time, the most precious thing in our world.
How do you know? There are much more precious things.
Time can not be rewound, and nothing can be repeated the exact same.
But why? Sometimes I have to do the same things at the same time everyday.
Child, you shall stop asking about what things are. You must focus on what you are doing right now. Time will not be the same every time.
But this is knowledge, and sometimes we must learn!
Yes, you must. You shall. But right now, time is being wasted from the questions you ask by the minute.
Fine, fine. But questions are another way to see everything your way.
Yes, there are things you must learn and see, but time has fled from us right before your eyes.
Chapter Two: In Which Problems Can Be Fixed
It was a bright summer day in Alter town. Luna, a ten-year-old girl, strolled around the city, looking for some stores to buy food from. The street was bustling with crowds of people, many people walking from place to place. Luna had to be rapid so she could find somewhere to buy lunch.
Then, Luna spotted the perfect store, one that had what her mom told her to buy written right on an enormous sign. She rushed past the road, and dashed into the store. Instead of a few people, there were many -- about a count of sixteen!
Quarter of an hour passed without any movement, and only five minutes were left to spare. Would she be on time to go back home?
Just then, someone walked up to her and tapped her shoulder. The stranger said something that Luna did not understand.
“What did you say?” Answered Luna, prudently. She spun around.
The stranger laughed. “I asked if you need help.”
It was Ada, Luna’s big sister!
Luna was confused. What would she be doing at the market? Ada was supposed to be in piano class!
“Huh? I thought you were in Ms. Vitney’s house?”
Ada shrugged. “You should’ve looked at the time. Also, you are late to come back home, so mom sent me here to help you out if you needed that.”
“Hey, how did mom know where I am?”
“I’ll tell you later. Oh, and, I got the food already at another store.”
Off the two sisters went. They walked all the way back home, until they noticed that both of them, now, were thirty minutes late!
They darted back to their cabin.
“Mom! We’re back!” Ada yelled.
“Oh dear, you guys sure are late! Luna, your class is starting soon. You should get ready.” Mrs. Wilson said as she rushed to the door.
“Yes, mom,” Luna replied.
She placed her hat on the coat rack, then ran upstairs to pack. She took out a piece of paper of what she needed for a language group.
Luna stuffed everything in her backpack rapidly. She was determined to be on time for this class!
- Language Arts book
- Vocabulary flashcards
- Pen, pencil, and eraser
- Pretzels and Yogurt
As Luna walked along the streets, she saw something on a sign that caught her eye. Something she was interested in, and wanted to know a lot more about.
Chapter Three: In Which Time Can’t Be Rewound
She stared at the sign, reading about it. Woah, a mysterious island which needs to be investigated. The sign was carved with these words:
This island is unpredictable of what is on it, but we will be hiring people to investigate the island. This will help with our investigation program. Remember, it is not easy work, so if you decide to help out, make sure you bring everything you might need. This includes bags of meat, vegetables, fruits, bottles of water, a flashlight, some batteries, a small tent, a sleeping bag, many clothes, sweaters, pairs of shoes, a first aid kit, a backpack, some books, a pillow, many towels, a cell phone, and any other things that may be needed for a long, terrifying trip. Are you interested in going? Please contact 1927-313-2810. Reward is $500.
Curiosity shot through Luna. Everything seemed very interesting, but absolutely dangerous. Should she go? Luna could do this. She may be the person who could help. But it was hazardous, a decision that wouldn’t be easy to make.
If I want to help out, thought Luna, will my parents be too worried and decline my request? How should I convince them?
“Wooow…” The wide-eyed, innocent small children of Lemon’s Facility For the Troubled And The Young gasped, their glossy pupils glued onto the frail, yet powerful woman that was their teacher.
“Tell us another story! About you, Mrs. Adeline!”
She sat on a worn-out little wood stool in front of the class, speaking in a hushed, dramatic voice during the telling of the story.
The story of her past..
“Alright, alright, settle down....”
She smiled, her head remained motionless, but anyone could feel her gaze laid upon them.
What a strange woman.
“It all begins in 2020. The year I was born. Hard to believe it’s been only 30 years.” She sighed, looking at an inconspicuous plant in the corner of the room. Holding its gaze for a few moments before standing up abruptly, beginning to pace in front of the children.
“You see, when I was born, we thought our golden years were over. That technology in America had peaked.” She chuckled, although not without a hint of bitterness.
“When I was two, the Teleport, better known as the Port, was first invented. It teleported small objects to a place of your choosing. Then came the TellerPort, which could teleport anything, big or small. And then the Transport. It could take humans and animals. Finally, in 2031, the Time Traveler was invented. I don’t need to explain that to you, do I?” She laughed a little.
“Anyways, after that, tech took a different turn. They started working on robots, but I was still stuck with a fascination with the concept of time. I was creating time loops, paradoxes, breaking the laws of time that were put in place simply to protect everyone from the dangers of having this much power.”
“What a fool I was.” She sighed again.
“We should be expecting her soon… I’m sorry, children.”
A blinding light filled the room. The children covered their eyes, throwing themselves onto the rough hand-knitted carpet, trying to shield themselves. A few of them burst into tears, confused and shaken.
The light dimmed until it was back to normal. But it was not back to normal. There was a lady, dressed in a plaid pinafore dress. She looked to be in her early twenties, with a stern, slightly sad, expression on her face.
She looked to be a younger version of Adeline.
“I’m sorry, Addy.” Her voice was clearer, softer, higher.
“This is all because of your meddling. Your fault. Your fault.”
The older Adeline tilted her head downwards towards the ground. Nobody could know what she was feeling, if not for the small droplets of tears that fell from her pit of shame.
She took her younger self’s hands, and took one last look at her students that she considered to be her own children.
“I knew this day was to come… I dictated this rule myself, but a small part of me… didn’t want to leave. It’s for the best.”
“Because you see, I was the one who reset our technology. I am the culprit.”
And with that, she was whisked away forever.
The younger Adeline watched the scene play out, rolling her eyes.
“Well, looks like I’m going to have an interesting life. Better start living it.”
She shot a grin at the traumatized children, before disappearing herself.