Teen Activities March 2024

Teen Activities March 2024

Teen Activities March 2024

Chess and Game Club

Learn the art of chess and other games with the master of fun and strategy, Nick Allison. Tweens and teens ages 9-18 are welcome to join every Monday in March from 4:30-5:30 PM in the Community Room. Game supplies will be provided.

Teen Action Council

Have a say in what goes on at the Library for teens! Ages 12-18 are welcome to join us Wednesday, March 6 at 4 PM in the Community Room to voice their input.

Teen Crafts

Join us for Teen Crafts, where creativity takes center stage. Ages 12-18, bring your friends and listen to music while you make an awesome art project to take home with you. Dive into beginner book binding on Thursday, March 7 at 4:30 PM. Then, on March 21 at the same time, master the basics of watercolor painting!

Family Friendly Films

Lights, camera, action! Join us for Family Friendly Films at the library! Whether you’re craving the latest hits or timeless classics, we’ve got you covered! Bring the whole family and enjoy a free afternoon of movie magic on the big screen Fridays at 3:30 PM in the Community Room. On March 1st, get ready to groove with Trolls: Band Together, and mark your calendars for March 8th for a magical journey with Wonka! Don’t miss out on the fun!

Teen Anime Club logo

LEGO Club

It’s LEGO Club time! Ages 6-18, get ready to beat the timer with lucky LEGOs in a thrilling challenge! Join us in the Community Room on Tuesday, March 12 at 4 PM.

Teen Anime Club logo

Young League of Writers

Unleash your creativity with the Young League of Writers! Join us on Wed. March 13th at 4:00 PM in the Community Room for a gathering of teen writers aged 12-18. Whether you’re eager to share your latest work or simply looking to connect with fellow wordsmiths, this is the place to be! During our hour and a half session, we’ll focus on point of view and verb tenses. Plus, don’t miss our helping hand critique session, where we’ll provide constructive feedback on your Monet “Water Lilies” short story. Bring your imagination and let’s create something amazing together!

Anime Club

Dive into the world of anime with us! Ages 12-18, join our Teen Anime Club for a screening of My Clueless First Friend on March 7, followed by exciting Anime Club Binge Selections on March 28! Bring your love for manga, games, and endless discussions. Be part of the fun on Thursdays in the Community Room at 4:30 PM. See you there!

Dungeons & Dragons

Calling all adventurers! Join us for Teen Dungeons & Dragons on Friday, March 15th at 3:30 PM! Embark on an epic journey where you create your own character, shape the story, and roll the dice to determine your fate. This event welcomes all teens aged 12-18, whether you’re a seasoned hero or new to the realm! Dive into a 1-2 hour session for first level characters (with leveling opportunities between sessions). Feel free to bring your own character or choose from our pre-made ones. Remember, all characters should be crafted using resources from the core 5th Edition player’s handbook. Make sure you sign up for our Teen Discord Server where we’ve posted preparation details. Don’t miss out on this magical adventure! 

Cook With A Book

Get ready to Cook With a Book! Join us on Wednesday, March 20th at 4:30 PM when we’ll be delving into the world of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall while whipping up some scrumptious chocolate chip cookies! Teens aged 12-18, bring your appetite for literature and baking as we discuss our favorite moments from the book and create delicious treats together. Pick up your copy from the circulation desk today!

Library Closed March 22

The Library will be closed Friday, March 22 for Staff Development. No items are due when the Library is closed. Thank you!

Teen Anime Club logo

Spring Teen Writing Contest

Hey teens ages 12-18: Do you love writing? Are you dreaming of gardens in the summer? Enter our Teen Writing Contest! Let Claude Monet’s enchanting “Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies” inspire your creativity. Craft your tale for a chance to win exciting prizes, including a $30 Barnes & Noble gift card or a classic feather quill pen and ink set. All participants receive a prize, so don’t miss out! Keep it under 4,000 words and email your masterpiece to programs@madisonlib.org by Monday, March 26. Visit the Teen Zone on our website or the Circulation desk for detailed rules and instructions. Winners will be announced at our Teen Hunger Games Party on Friday, March 29.

Hunger Games Party

Calling all brave tributes! Join us on March 29, 7-9 PM in the Community Room for an epic night inspired by Suzanne Collins’ gripping series, The Hunger Games! Teens aged 12-18, prepare for games, trivia, crafts, and a feast fit for a tribute’s banquet. Will you fight for victory in the arena or join the resistance against President Snow’s tyranny? Don’t miss out on this thrilling event!

Idaho Teen Reading Challenge

Are you a bookworm between the ages of 12-18 looking for an exciting reading challenge? Look no further! Get ready to dive into an adventure from October 2023 to April 2024 with the Idaho Teen Reading Challenge, designed to engage readers in discovering new books and genres while offering the chance to win prizes!

Pick a book from each of the following categories:

  • Read Before You Stream
  • Retelling of a Classic
  • Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • YRCA Nominee
  • Found while Browsing
  • Judge a Book by its Cover
  • One-Word Title
  • True Story
  • Your Favorite Genre
  • Free Choice!

Log your reading using the Beanstack app, or pick up a paper tracking sheet from the circulation desk or Madison Jr. High Library. Each time you read a book from one of the categories, come to the Library’s Children’s Reference Desk for a prize! What are you waiting for? Get reading!

Armchair Traveler Challenge Logo

Armchair Traveler Challenge

Have you ever wanted to travel to all 50 states? Take an epic journey with us this year as we visit each great state of our nation. Armchair travelers ages 12 and up will read one book set in each state, earning state stickers and opportunities to enter the final drawing for our grand prizes. Any reader who joins us for even a portion of the trip will have the opportunity to earn small prizes along the way. Each reader who completes the journey will earn a special travel bag commemorating their travels. See more details here.

September Adult Events

Take a Break Book ClubTake a Break and join our adult book club on Sept. 21 at 6:30 PM! Ages 18+ will meet in the Community Room to discuss Jane Austen’s classic, Sense and Sensibility. Adult MakersFriday, September 15 is Adult Makers! We will be making noodles from...

September Kids & Tween Events

Story TimeJoin Miss Gina, Grace, and Marybeth for Preschool Story Time, Toddler Time, and Book Babies! For September, we will have fun with the letter F and farm animals! Preschool Story Time is for ages 2-5 and meets Tuesdays at 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM or Wednesdays at...

September Teen Events

Hauntings - Library Teen Virtual ConventionTeens are invited to join the annual Library Teen Virtual Convention! Inspired by all our favorite ghost stories, spooky folklore, and mysterious cryptids, this year's theme is HAUNTINGS! The Convention is hosted on Discord...

July Teen Activities

CHESS AND GAME CLUB Learn the art of chess and other games from the master of fun and strategy, Nick Allison. Game supplies will be provided. Mondays from 4:30-5:30 PM in the Community Room. For Ages 9-18TEEN ACTION COUNCIL Teen Action Council gathers to discuss plans...

July Adult Activities

INDEPENDENCE DAY CLOSURE The Library will be closed Tuesday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day. No items will be due but the book drop will remain open. Thank you! "ALL TOGETHER NOW" BLOCK PARTY This is the Block Party everyone will be talking about this...

July Kid & Tween Activities

CHESS AND GAME CLUB Learn the art of chess and other games from the master of fun and strategy, Nick Allison. Game supplies will be provided. Every Monday from 4:30-5:30 P.M. in the Community Room For ages 9-184TH OF JULY CLOSURE The Library will be closed Tuesday,...

June Kids and Tween Activities

SPECIAL STORY TIME Join us for a special story time with local author Ruth Nielson! She is the author and illustrator of I Am Remarkable: A Journey of Self-Discovery. Ruth will lead our little ones in a yoga session, so please bring a towel or mat for your child to...

June Adult Activities

CREATIVE WRITING CLUB Share your writing with other storytelling enthusiasts or join to make friends! Join the Creative Writing Club for ages 18+. We will share your favorite piece of writing and talk about why writing is our passion. Wednesdays, June 14 & 28 at...

Library Closed for Labor Day

The library will be closed Saturday September 3rd and Monday September 5th for Labor Day. No items will be due and the book drop will remain open. Thank you!

August Library Activities

TEEN ACTION COUNCILWednesday, August 3rd. 4-5:30pm.  For ages 12-18. Come and have a say in what activities Teens do at the Library and meet new friends. NO PROGRAMS IN AUGUST To reset from Summer Reading and to accomodate our new infrastruture updates, there will be...

BFF’s 2 WFF’s Teen Writers Contest Winners!

BFF’s 2 WFF’s Teen Writers Contest Winners!

BFF’s 2 WFF’s Teen Writers Contest Winners!

BFF’s 2 WFF’s Winners

 

Congratulations to the winners of our BFF’s 2 WFF’s Teen Writers Contest! James and Joshua Mann, Eliza Jane Beard and Marie Tonks, and Victoria and Gabriel Ribeiro! You can read their submissions below.
Thank you to all those who entered! And don’t forget to join us for our next Young League of Writers meeting in September!

James & Joshua Mann

The Terran

Rosen liked to think that she minded herself well. Her mother and father always told her to “Mind yourself!” If that meant to be inquisitive and imaginative, then yes, Rosen did a very good job. Rosen was currently minding herself by talking curiously to the little people in her head. The people weren’t real, of course, but that didn’t make them any less good conversation partners. The main character in her current fantasy was Rosen, naturally, and she was flying a NeuXron-38 against the evil Terrans. Daxon, Rosen’s older brother, was very smart about different space- and starships. The NeuXron-38 was a “current and standard fightership.” Rosen was not entirely sure what that meant,  but it sounded cool, so Rosen imagined her having one..

At the moment, Daxon was in the cabin of her family’s starship, a TauCthon-11. Daxon called it an “outdated espionage and intelligence spaceship modded for deep startravel with Entrespace Corporation’s Gyrotech Drive.” Rosen had no idea what that meant, but it was long and complicated. That meant that the ship must be fancy. Rosen was glad that her family had a fancy ship. They were on their way to a new planet for some reason. Her mother caught her attention, pulling Rosen away from the next big twist in her imagination.

“Come here, Rosen,” her mother said. She was brushing her brown hair, common to Aclipsia.

Rosen slowly put her toys on the floor of their ship and walked over to her mother, who had set down her brush.

“Mommy?”

Her mother picked the little child up, setting Rosen on her lap. “Let me tell you a story.” Rosen snuggled close. Mommy’s stories were always the best.

“Once upon a time–”

Above them, a circular door opened and a ladder slowly slid down. This was the ladder up to the cabin. Rosen’s father climbed down and took a deep breath, his blue face pale and tired. “Livia, I think it’s best if you drive with Daxon for a while. I’m seeing stars.”

“Dear, you’re in space. Stars are natural,” Rosen’s mother replied.

“Unnatural stars, then.”

Mommy looked at Rosen. “I suppose the story will have to wait.”

Rosen frowned. “I can come with you to the cabin. So you can tell me the story there!”

Mommy smiled. “Yes, I suppose so.” Mommy let Rosen jump off her lap, then stood up, taking Rosen’s hand. Mommy walked to the ladder and motioned for Rosen to go first. Rosen started climbing. The ladder’s corridor was dark and cramped. After a few minutes of climbing, Rosen came to the hatch in the ceiling that led to the cabin.

As Rosen poked her head up she saw her brother lying on the floor looking up. Which “up” now also could be forward. Daxon was studying the stars through the clearsteel over Rosen’s head. The cabin had confused Rosen for a little while. This part of the disc-shaped ship appeared like the top when it was on the ground, but was the front when it was in flight.  

A big grin was on Daxon’s face and the starlight made his iridescent eyes flash. Rosen knew he loved flying. Daddy and Mommy traded off because neither liked it, but Daxon could pilot all day long. He was the one that set the “low-speed auto-piloting system” every night. 

“Hi Dax!” Rosen called, pulling herself into the cabin. She laid down with her head next to Dax’s but her feet away from him.

“Hello, Rosie.” Dax’s shimmery irises searched the stars. Rosen had been told that she and Dax had similar eyes. Dax hit a few buttons and then looked at Rosen. “What are you doing here?”

“I came with Mommy.” Right on cue, their mother came up into the cabin. She walked over to the second pilot station and got into the seat. Each station had a seat that was more like a bed. In front of each pilot station was a control screen connected to a steering system. There were a pair of handles, one on each side of the screen. Mommy had shorter arms than Daddy, so she had to slide the controls closer.

“Dax, do you care if we turn down the lights a touch?” she asked.

Dax moved a slider, moving the cabin into almost complete darkness. “I was waiting for you to come up here. Dad always wants the lights to be bright, but it’s better to fly in darkness.”

Mommy nodded. “I agree.”

Mommy settled down fully and fully committed herself to her task. 

Dax started whispering to Rosen. “Rosie, do you see that star?” He pointed.

Rosen nodded. Dax kept talking. “There’s a planet orbiting that star. It’s called Echori—”

“Echori! That’s where Sharloth is from!” Rosen exclaimed. Sharloth was a family friend. 

“Yeah. Echori is the destination of some of the pioneers. I think Sharloth is going with a couple of them.” Pioneers. So that was what they were. 

“What’s pioneers mean?”

“So we’re in a group of ships, right?” Dax began. Rosen nodded. “This group is called a company and we are traveling away from Aclipsia. Pioneers are people who do new things. We’re pioneers because we’re the first Acliptics to leave Aclipsia forever.”

“Why do we need to leave?”

“Aclipsia was a great place, but there were some things that weren’t as good. We’ll explain it when you’re older.” The mythical land of older. Dax had certainly gotten there. He was old, close to eighteen. So old. Rosen was only seven.

“For now, though, just look at the stars.”

Rosen looked at the void.

“It looks like it never ends. Just think of this, Rosie. We’re gazing into infinity. Pinpricks of light dividing the light from darkness, giving order to an otherwise directionless, inky, and empty plane.”

Rosen blinked. This was common with Dax. He said lots of things that Rosen didn’t really understand.

BAM!

All three Acliptics looked toward the sound. Rosen saw a figure sliding off the cabin’s window. The figure landed next to them, on the wide hull of the starship.

Mommy was the first to respond, immediately beginning the descent down the ladder. Daxon began tapping out something on the screen in front of him. Rosen assumed he was charting an autopilot path. Her guess was confirmed when he tapped a button and the ship shuddered, slowing down. Daxon and Rosen rushed to the ladder.

They entered the main floor to the sight of Daddy putting on his spacesuit. He put on his helmet last, the reflective black glass covering Daddy’s azure Acliptic face.

Daddy walked to the far wall and stepped into the airlock and was gone.

***

Noaa walked out of the ship, holding onto a bar. He would have to move quickly if he wanted to rescue the mysterious figure. Noaa connected his safety tether to the ship from where it was fastened on his belt, then pushed out into the darkness. He activated his propulsion system. It was a backpack-like object. It ran on a miniature version of the starship’s thruster. Noaa soon reached the hull next to the cabin. He saw the mysterious figure. Noaa didn’t recognize the suit, but he was sure Daxon would. Daxon knew all that sort of stuff.

Noaa flew closer to the person. Noaa grabbed his second rope, extending it and tied it around the figure’s waist. Noaa picked up the person, then activated his thrusterpack, flying back to the airlock’s outer door. He punched in the code to open the door, then flew inside. As soon as he did, the artificial gravity generator laid hold on him again and he dropped to the floor. He disconnected the tether and it coiled back up into his belt. He closed the outer airlock door, then moved over and opened the inner door. He couldn’t speak through his helmet, so he motioned for his family to help him carry the person into the ship. Daxon and Livia came over and picked up the mysterious figure.

Once they were fully inside the ship, Noaa closed the inner door and untied his rope, letting it fly back into his belt like the tether had. He pulled off his helmet.

***

Rosen watched her family carry the person back into the ship. She wondered what sort of person it was. The person wore a dark blue spacesuit and had four limbs. It had a similar frame to an Acliptic.

“Daxon, what planet is that suit from?” her father asked. 

Daxon walked closer examined it. “I don’t know. It looks sorta like a Centaurian battle suit, so from somewhere around there.”

Daddy’s eyes flicked around. His jaw clenched.

The person twitched, one hand moving. Their second hand moved too. The hands moved to their helmet, paused for a moment, then removed it. The person sat up.

The person’s skin was tan and their brown hair was left long and braided along the back of their head.

“I’m Zhe Asimov,” the person said in a deep voice, “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Are you Acliptic?”

Rosen nodded. “We are. Where are you from?”

“Mind yourself,” her father said gruffly. “He’s a Terran.”

Everyone except Daddy gasped.

Terran?” Zhe asked. “I’m afraid you’ve misidentified me. I’m an Earthling.”

“That’s what a Terran is. The Bismarck’s soldiers.”

“Well, Bismarck’s been dead for decades,” Zhe said. “but I guess I am a Terran, then.”

“Who’s Bismarck?” Rosen asked. Zhe looked at her. “Bismarck was the leader of Terra when it was destroyed. He led my ancestors in the Last War.” He paused. “You would call it the Terran War, I think.”

Rosen’s mother returned. She hadn’t even realized that Mommy had left. Mommy was carrying a pistol. “We would. My grandfather died in the Terran War.”

“A pistol? Cool! We invented those, you know,” Zhe said. Zhe reached to his side and pulled out a similar looking object.

“Put the gun down!” Daddy shouted, who had retrieved a sword from somewhere.

“A sword? Nice! Terrans invented those too.” Zhe looked down at his gun. “Did you think I was threatening you? No, I was just gonna show your wife this one. It’s a lot better than her pistol. See, rather than using incendi—”

“Put the gun down!”

Zhe stepped back. “Sheesh. Fine.” He set the gun on the floor, then kicked it toward Rosen’s father. Daxon grabbed it.

“Why’d you do that?” Rosen asked.

Zhe looked at her. “It’s a Terran thing. As I was saying, my gun uses a compact, high-energy coilgun system, rather than an incendiary charge. Little girl, what’s your name?”

“Mind yourself!”

Rosen looked at her mother. “I am!” She turned back to Zhe, “I’m Rosen.”

“Rosen? I have a sister back home named Rose. What’s your name, young man?”

Daxon stared at Zhe from across the gun and said nothing. Rosen interjected. “His name is Daxon.”

Zhe nodded. “Daxon’s a cool name. I know, like, four people named Dax. Anyway, thanks for saving me, even though it was your ship that hit me to begin with. I must say, your blue skin is really cool. Can I have my gun back?”

Daxon faltered. “Dad, should I give it back?”

“Certainly not!” Mommy said.

Zhe shrugged, then leaned back. There was nothing behind him and he stumbled, then extended his arm, catching himself on the wall. He flashed a smile. “It’s dead anyway. I don’t suppose you have the right charging cord?”

Daxon looked at it. “No. We don’t.”

Zhe looked sad for a moment then perked back up. “I have one at home. Test it, though. Fire at me.”

Daxon took aim and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. “See?” Zhe said.

Daddy narrowed his eyes but nodded to Daxon. Daxon put it on the floor and kicked it back to Zhe. “Thanks for that.” Zhe put it back in his holster.

Zhe smiled at Rosen. “This has been a great time and all, but I really must be going.” Zhe pulled his helmet back on with a metallic click. He pressed the button. It buzzed at him.

“Ah dang it. You have your airlock password protected,” Zhe’s voice was muffled.

Daddy continued glaring at Zhe. “Yes it is, you murdering Terran.”

Zhe turned to him and pulled his helmet back off. “I’ll have you know, I have never killed anyone.”

Daddy reached out at him and smashed Zhe with his sword’s pommel. Zhe collapsed.

“Quickly, Livia! Grab the ropes.”

***

Zhe awoke, tied to a chair.

Those Acliptics were not being very nice. The girl, Rosen, seemed nice, but the others, not so much. Just then, he realized that he was not alone in this room. The father was there, as was the mother. Daxon and Rosen were gone.

“So, Zhe. Why are you here?” The father continued his intense stare.

“Define ‘here’.”

“Why did you attack us?”

“I didn’t attack you! I didn’t even know you were here!”

“Likely story. Why are you really here?”

Zhe sighed. “I was working with my crew to fix a leak and I got swept away.” In reality, the crew was a squad— the Pendragon Team— and they were fixing an information leak. Zhe didn’t think it prudent to mention that he was in the military to them. His ship had exploded, likely from sabotage, and he had been thrown across the cosmos.

“Oh, sure. Now, we are going to kill you.”

Zhe paused. “Surely it doesn’t need to come to murder.” Zhe strained against the ropes. His wrists were bound. A rope was wrapped around his torso, binding his arms and body to the chair. Where were the knots?

There they were.

The mother placed her pistol against his forehead. “It didn’t need to come to murder when you killed billions of people in the war.

“I wasn’t even alive then. If I’m right, neither were either of you.” Zhe rotated his hands. These bindings were not expert. As a spy, he had been trained in escaping capture. He began working surreptitiously 

“That doesn’t matter.”

“Do you want to die? If I die, my suit will sent out out a beacon. The military will find me. You will all die. My people have started wars for less. Millions will die. It will all be your fault.” Zhe’s wrists were freed. He needed a little more time. He ejected a small knife from a storage compartment in his forearm. He started cutting the rope around his torso.

“No, it wouldn’t. I wouldn’t be the one to kill them.”

“I didn’t kill your grandfather. If it wouldn’t be your fault, it isn’t my fault.” He was almost through the rope.

She paused. The man glared. “Kill him!” Zhe smiled. The man’s gaze shifted to him. “Why are you smiling?”

Zhe stood up, the ropes falling down. He calmly slid his knife back into its sheath. The man lunged toward the woman, grabbing for the gun. Zhe swept his leg out, knocking the man to the ground. Zhe pulled his gun out and aimed at the man.

“Pshaw. Your gun’s dead, remember.”

“Nope. The safety was on.” Zhe flicked a switch. “Now it’s not.”

The man aimed the pistol at Zhe. He hadn’t realized the man had gotten it.

They stood still for a few tense minutes.

“Mommy! Daddy! Zhe!” Rosen burst into the room. The man dropped the pistol. Zhe put his back in his holster. It had actually been dead. Rosen hugged her father, trying to pull him up. He stood up, then crouched and hugged his daughter. For a brief moment, Zhe was surprised. Moments earlier, the man had been very close to killing Zhe, and seemed every bit a murderer. Now, he was being a good father. He was just trying to protect his family from Zhe, someone he saw as a monster and a threat.

Zhe spoke up. “So, can I leave now?”

Rosen looked at him. “Do you have somewhere to go?”

That gave him pause. He didn’t really have any way to get away from here. But, he had a communicator in his helmet, so he could get someone to come find him. Maybe.

“Where’s my helmet?”

Rosen grabbed it from a shelf across the room and handed it to him. Zhe grabbed it and slid it on. It clicked as it sealed to the rest of the suit. The helmet’s display glowed softly. It showed a string of messages directed at Zhe. They were all notifications from the rest of the Pendragon team. They were in a NeuXron-38 and flying next to the TauCthon-11. Apparently they’d tracked him.

“Yes. I have a ride.” Zhe pulled the helmet off. “Will you unlock the airlock for me?”

***

Zhe leapt out of the airlock, soaring out into the cosmos. The Pendragon team’s NeuXron was right there, with its airlock open to catch him. Pendragon’s pilot was absolutely gifted at flying, and she caught Zhe easily.

Zhe tumbled inside the ship. Finally, he was back home. Pendragon’s sniper appeared out of nowhere, as he was wont to do. “Were they Acliptic? Do we need to engage? Do you think it will come to war?”

“Yes. They were Acliptic, I mean. We don’t need to fight them. They were surprisingly human.”

Eliza Jane Beard & Marie Tonks

Ethan and Xander

In the perspective of Ethan:

I smile up at my mom as we walk to the playground hand in hand. The sunlight catches the fly-aways from her bun, making her head glow like an angel. As we approach the playground she squeezes my hand, “Go play, Ethan,” she says with a smile. I let go of her hand and run straight for the monkey bars and swing myself across. 

The interesting thing about this playground is that it’s right by the fence. An eight foot tall chain-link wall that divides the city in half. Half for the demons, and half for the humans. I don’t think it’s fair to cut a city in half like that. All the other second graders at school seem to disagree though. 

I look out towards the Demon’s city. It looks just like ours. Tall office buildings, short houses and medium-sized trees in-between. The Demons don’t have a playground by the fence. They just have a walking path with aspen and cottonwood trees lining the sides. I turn my attention back to my playground. It isn’t really mine, but I like to think that it is. Sometimes it’s even my castle, or my restaurant or sometimes it’s just a playground. I run across the wobbly bridge and shoot down my favorite slide. At the bottom, I notice something. Right in front of me, behind the tall fence, is a Demon. 

He looks at me calmly. Almost timidly. One eye is black and the other is white. His pupils are diamond-shaped and also black and white. Miss-matched to the color of his eyes. He has pale skin and white hair with thick and short black horns sticking out. He wears a black and white hoodie with white pants. There is very little color on him at all. Even the diamonds at the ends of his forked tail are black and white. 

He blinks at me but doesn’t say anything. He isn’t even smiling. Maybe a normal kid would have been scared of him, but not me. We just stare at each other for a long time until my curiosity gets the better of me. I stand up and walk over to the fence. His pale little hands are gripping the chain-link. “Hi!” I say, trying to sound friendly. He looks a little startled and scared but when he sees that I’m nice, a shy smile creeps onto his face, “Hello.” he says. He sounds just like me. Just like a human. I notice his little tail starts to wag a bit. “I’m Ethan!” i say. His smile grows wider, “my name is Xander.” 

Just then, my mom calls me, “Ethan! Time to go.” the smile disappears from Xander’s face. “I come to the park every day. Maybe I can see you again,” I say. his smile doesn’t return. He only nods, “bye Ethan.” I smile, “goodbye Xander.”

 

That night at dinner all I can think about is Xander. He’s the first Demon I’ve ever seen. Ever  talked to. I poke some mac-and-cheese onto my fork, “so…” I start, “I made a friend at the park today.” my dad smiles. The ceiling light over the table reflecting off of his glasses and his bald head. “good for you Ethan,” he says. My mom smiles too. All warm and gentle, “that’s wonderful Honey.” the smile lines by her eyes wrinkling. My older sister doesn’t react. I chew my mac and cheese, swallow, and continue. “His name is Xander and he’s a Demon.” my sister chokes on her water. My father looks mad. My mother looks a bit scared, “WHAT?” they say in unison. My eyes go wide and start to sting, “I-thought… I thought you understood.” my mom softens, “Ethan, honey,” my sister cuts in, “you can’t be friends with a Demon.” I feel a tear roll down my cheek. “But, I don’t understand. I thought you guys knew… this isn’t fair!” my dad slams a fist onto the table, “go to your room Ethan.” he says. I’m openly crying now. But I don’t care. I stand up abruptly and run off to my room. I can hear my mother’s voice in hushed tones as I slam my door behind me.  

 

I never understood racism before. Back in the renaissance times all the way up to the 1800s Demons would keep humans as slaves. We were lesser beings. We didn’t have wings or horns. We couldn’t fly. But we fought back. Over the course of years humans became independent. Free. but even at my young age, I could tell something was wrong. I have one green eye and one brown. The kids at school would make fun of me. Calling me a Demon and getting everyone to avoid me. I felt the pain of the Demons. Racism had flipped on its head. The tables were turned and now the Demons are treated as lesser. 

Nine years later I am sixteen. And still friends with Xander. We kept meeting in secret at the playground. And eventually my parents warmed up to the idea. But no one else did. Whenever me and Xander would go anywhere he was looked at like a monster. But that’s okay. We have each other.

A knock comes from my door, “Ethan!” my mother calls, “your friend is here.” I stand up and grab my skateboard. She doesn’t have to specify which friend. Xander’s the only one I have. “Okay. I’m coming.” 

Me And Xander hop the Fence discreetly between two leafy trees. Xander is the first to talk once on the other side. “I’m still so glad that your parents will actually let me into your house! It was so hard to meet up before…” he drifts off but i know what he means. Demons don’t have phones. The only electronic devices that are sold on that side of the fence are televisions. “Yeah,” I say, “I’m glad too. I just wish other Humans would understand you.”

 Xander shakes his head, “It’s really fine. I honestly don’t mind.”

 I groan quietly, “You should though! You should care. It really bothers me.” Xander chuckles a little, “okay Ethan. I can try to be more offended if it makes you feel better.” I playfully thwack him on the shoulder, “you know what I mean. What are we doing today?” I ask curiously. Xander smiles and rocks back on his heels, “we’re taking my little sister to a ballet!” I groan louder, “Ballet? Really Xander?” he slumps a little, “well, I don’t really have a choice in the matter. It’s closing night and I promised to take my sister.” Xander’s always been the softer friend. “Shouldn’t ballet be boring to a five-year-old?” I ask. Xander immediately shakes his head, “no no no, not for Akari. You do know she dances, right?” I nod, “yeah, I know but I thought she did Jazz not ballet.” Xander shrugs, “ballet is the heart of dance. It’s difficult and artistic. All dance is based on it.” I shake my head, “no, what about breakdancing?” Xander smacks his forehead, “bro, you know what I mean. Akari is not into breakdancing!” i laugh, “yes, but you said “All Dance.” so…” Xander laughs and looks at his feet. Fiddling with a loose strand of thread on his half-black half-white hoodie. His aesthetic hasn’t changed much in the past nine years.

 All the way to his house to pick up Akari the other Demons look at me weird, but not the way the Humans look at Xander. They look at him in disgust while the Demons look at me with fear. The demon’s side of the Fence is a lot like mine. But the demons don’t have as many luxuries. No cars or lawn mowers. No phones, computers or tablets, which means no things like door-dash or even Email. The whole city seems to run on the postal service.  

We approach Xander’s home and Akari bursts through the door, “XANDIE!!!” she shouts, slamming into him with a hug. He stiffens at her touch but smiles and pats her head, “You all ready to go?” She pulls away from him and nods enthusiastically. Bouncing up and down. Xander smiles, “okay then!” Xander and Akari go and get their bikes and I slap down my skateboard. It’s Dark green with a white racing stripe down the middle. I’ve had it since the fifth grade. Xander and Akari return and Akari clasps her pink sparkly helmet to her head menacingly, “you ready to race Ethan?” I nod, placing a foot on my skateboard, “you know it! And this time, I’ll win!” Akari puts on her sassiest girl-boss face, “no, I don’t think you will.” she sticks out her tongue and bursts ahead. She’s got a lot of attitude for a five year old. “Akari! Wait up!” Xander shouts, trying to clasp his helmet as quickly as he can, “stop! I need to watch you”

I kick off my skateboard, “It’s okay, I’ve got it.” After I turn the corner I have Akari in view and before she disappears behind another corner Xander has caught up and we can all relax. Akari’s full-speed is about as fast as a relaxed ride for me and Xander. 

After a long ride and a lot of complaining from Akari we make it to the performance center. I pull my oversized green hoodie’s hood over my head to hide the fact that I don’t have horns or large pointed ears. It’s not illegal to go to the other side of the Fence but sometimes you won’t get let into things. It’s better safe than sorry.  If you really paid attention, you would notice that my hood is too smooth to have large ears under it but my multi-colored eyes are distracting and Demon-y enough that my cover never gets blown. 

We step into the large building and Xander pays for two adult and one kid tickets. It only comes to a total of five dollars. Things are cheaper on this side of The Fence. Akari is worn out from the bike ride over but she is still excited. Xander looks pretty excited too but I still don’t see the appeal. 

We find our seats in the audience and sit down. Akari is bouncing, Xander is fiddling with that loose thread on his hoodie again and I am slouching in my seat. I should be more optimistic about this. I don’t know. I’m still being supportive though. I am here. Sitting on a seat in an auditorium full of demons in a city full of demons. I’m not supposed to go to the other side. My parents don’t like the idea. But Xander coming to the human side was… well, I just prefer this. 

The house lights go down and the curtain goes up. Akari squeals Xander taps his fingers on his arm rest. I try to look interested. 

A lone dancer glides onto stage with what are in my opinion, the most painful looking shoes in the world. Then she flails around like a feather falling from a bird’s wing. It’s graceful I guess but I really don’t see why someone would devote their life to this. But as the show goes on, I find myself getting more involved with the story. A girl who is betrothed to the richest prince alive. But she thinks he’s a jerk. She likes this other dude who gets framed and imprisoned by the prince. The girl is sad and finds out that the prince plans to execute the other guy the next morning. It sounds like a pretty normal storyline except that the prince turns out to be a Dragon, which I did not expect. Xander leans over during the final scene (the wedding, obviously) and whispers, “did you notice that one back up dancer? She’s really good.” I have no idea who he’s talking about, “um… no, who?” Xander points just a little bit, “the one who’s hair is half pink, back there, on the left.” I watch the girl he mentioned. He’s right… Her Dancing and emotion seem to be just as good as the lead, if not better. Not to say the lead wasn’t amazing, she and the other guy were doing some absolutely bonkers partner-moves and spins. The lead guy has wings which they used to their advantage. Big white feathered ones like an angel’s.

All Demons can fly, but wings just make it easier or something, Xander explained it to me once. But the girl with the half-pink hair… She just dances differently. Her movements are more graceful. Smooth but crisp at the same time. Then the ballet ends. The curtains close, the house lights go back up. I find myself a little sad that it is over. Not as sad as Akari, who is crying and looks on the verge of a fit. Xander picks her up onto his back and carries her as we leave the audience seats and walk into the lobby. I walk through the crowd of demons and dancers, but then I realize that Xander isn’t  behind me. I turn around scanning the crowd. The Dancer with the half-pink hair walks towards me bare-foot. Holding her pointe shoes in her hand, “you’re with the short black-and-white demon, right?” my head snaps up, “um, yeah, if we’re talking about the same Demon. He’s also not that short. You’re just tall.” she waves a hand in the air, “whatever. I’m only six two. Follow me. He’s standing in a corner.” I want to protest that six foot two is pretty tall, especially for a girl, but now I’m mostly worried about Xander. I follow her through the mass of people and find Xander standing next to a drinking fountain and the wall. Hands bunched into fists. Akari is standing in front of him, tugging on the sleeve of his hoodie. “This is your friend, right?” the girl asks. I nod, “yeah. Come on Xander. It’s quieter outside.” I say, taking his hand and leading him through the crowd. The girl and Akari follow us.

Once outside and away from the buzzing, constant noise Xander begins to relax. We sit on a bench while Akari talks to the girl like she’s famous. The girl laughs and grabs a marker. Signing Akari’s sparkly helmet that she had kept on the whole show.  Akari’s eyes go wide and she runs over to Xander, “LOOK! Xandie! Stacy signed my helmet!” Stacy. So that was her name. Xander looks a bit confused, “um… Stacy? Where did you even get that marker from?” he asks quietly. Stacy caps it and tucks it back into her bodice, “I always Dance with this marker. Then, after a show, I sign something. Anything! The first thing I signed was my first pair of pointe shoes. I think I signed that bench you’re sitting on, too.”  Akari peers all around the bench and spots the signature after a while, “here! On the bottom!” she shouts. I raise an eyebrow, “um… isn’t that vandalism?” I ask. Stancy places a hand on her chest dramatically, “I find that very offensive!” Xander smiles, “he’s right.” Stacy rolls her eyes, “yes, your Human friend is right. But I’m still offended.” she says, crossing her arms.

 My eyes widen, “you can tell I’m a human?” 

Stacy laughs, “um, that hood isn’t a very convincing disguise.” I fold my arms as well, “okay, now I’m offended.”

Xander speaks up, “um, Stacy? I noticed that you’re a really good Dancer. Why were you not any of the leads?” his voice is just above a whisper. As it usually is with new people. Stacy sighs, “I wanted to be the Leading lady. I still have her dance memorized. But my coach said that my Hair was too distracting.” Xander looks shocked, “that is so unfair! You were really good.” Stacy smiles, “Thank you. It is unfair. You really shouldn’t keep someone from doing something just because of how they look.” Akari twirls around, “I Like your pink hair!” Stacy blushes a little, “Thank you Akari.” Her Hair is a very bright, distracting Pink but she makes a good point. A point that I’ve wanted more people to make since the second grade.

                    

In the perspective of Xander:

The other side of the fence is a lot brighter. And louder. 

I tuck my ears down as far as they can go, tightening my hoodie further around my face. 

Ethan doesn’t know I’m here, and, frankly, I don’t really either. 

Crossing the fence is easy enough, there aren’t any guards. No one in their right minds would pass anyways. I guess that means me and Ethan aren’t in their right minds.

I don’t really think that of course. In my opinion, we’re the only ones who make sense in any way. 

When I was little, my grandpa would tell me stories about the Shok War. that’s only what the Demons call it though. The Humans call it the Victory War.

My grandpa told me that Shok meant “Mourning” in Hindi, and that that was what the Demon King had spoken back then. Most of the Demons called it the Shok War because they were losing their servants and had lost their dominance over the Humans. But my grandpa, and a few others, called it that because of the large amount of deaths that had occurred during it. Grandpa had said it was too many to count. Mostly on the Demon side. 

He had even lost his wife, Akari, who is my little sister’s name sake. 

When the war ended, the wall was built, using Demon slaves. I guess we kind of deserved it from all the pain and suffering we had caused the Humans. They don’t keep us as slaves any more though. We scare them too much.

 It starts to rain and I pull my sleeves over my hands. 

As I pass the playground I smile, it is the same playground where I met Ethan all those years ago. It’s too small to really do anything now, but occasionally we will sit on the swings and talk about when we were little. 

 I was really scared back then, what with my parents just getting divorced and all, and I had run from an especially large fight without realizing where I was going. When I ended up at the fence, I heard laughing and stepped closer. 

I didn’t expect for Ethan to see me and come over, but I’m very glad he did. Even on Demon terms my family isn’t very popular. I’m not verry popular.

I cross the street, careful to look both ways, even though it’s two o’ clock at night and no one is out. 

A particularly loud song coming from a party nearby makes me wince and walk farther away.

I take a deep breath to calm myself down and stand still for a moment, listening to the rain and focusing on my senses. 

The rain is soothing, as usual, and I’m able to make my way past the house and towards my destination.

The library. 

We don’t have any back in Volataun, so my only chance is to cross the fence and see if I can find anything at the Human library. 

 The door is locked, unsurprisingly, but Human locks aren’t made to avoid Demon tails, so I get in pretty quickly.

I pull off my hood and shake the water out of my hair, blowing my bangs off of my face. 

The W section is in the back, and it’s quite dark. I pick my way through the shelves until I find the book I’m looking for. 

The Victory War and The Conquering of the Demons. 

It has a grisly image of a Human stabbing a Demon through the heart on the cover and I grimace, opening the book. 

It’s mostly gloating about how amazing Humans are and how they defeated the Demon army with only half their forces unchained. I shiver at the mention of Adelram Lee, the human who led the revolt, and the reason my family is hated so much.

My grandfather had taken in a few ‘slaves’ who he treated as part of the family so they wouldn’t have to suffer. One of those was Adelram. Grandfather’s favorite. He didn’t know that during the night he was meeting with other Humans and plotting their revenge. He also didn’t know that one day Adelram would take a knife to Akari’s back and leave her to bleed out on the kitchen floor for my grandfather to find. 

I flip farther through the book and find the pages I’m looking for, titled: “The End of the War and The Destruction of Raaja” 

Raaja was the Demon king. The last one before him and his family were murdered, leaving no one to take his place. 

Unfortunately there isn’t much about who actually ended the war and how it happened. The Humans say that Raaja surrendered as long as they wouldn’t kill his family, but they did that anyways, so I’m not sure, especially since after their murders the rest of the Demons wouldn’t just back down. We aren’t like that. 

But before I can finish, I hear the door open. 

“We know you’re in there, Demon scum!” A drunken voice calls.

Rain pours in through the now open door, and over the man standing in it. He looks a little tipsy, and I’m not used to seeing drunk Humans. We’re not allowed alcohol in Volataun, and it’s a rare thing for any Demons to see one like this. 

It makes it easier for you to avoid them though, and I’m glad for that as I race through the aisles, trying not to let the now five Humans notice me as I slip through the books. 

I’m nearly to the door when one of them grabs me by the arm. His grip is hard and rough and it makes me squeal. I turn around and bite him to make him let go. 

He screams and shouts that I’m feral, yelling various other expletives as I thrash, trying to get out of his grip. He didn’t let go even though I bit him, and now the others are beginning to circle around me.

 I shrink back into myself, my ears and tail tucking close to me. One of the humans yanks my tail and I scream again, tears spilling down my cheeks. “Let me go!” 

The human with my tail laughs and yanks harder. “So it speaks!” 

I thrash my tail, trying to get the human to let go, and it hits the human’s arm, making it bleed slightly. The human roars as if his arm has been cut off and he yanks again, eliciting another scream from me. 

The human pulls me closer and I see a knife in his hand. He leans close into my face and I can smell the alcohol on his breath.

“You should have never come here, ugly. You should have known someone would find you and make you pay.” 

He presses the knife against my cheek, delicately running it down my face. 

I don’t dare move.

He suddenly smiles widely and digs the edge into my cheek. 

My screech is so loud all of the humans flinch and cover their ears, the human holding me dropping his knife and stepping back, terrified.

 I grab my cheek and dash out of the library before they can catch me again, crying hard and flying as fast as I can.

I hear them yelling behind me, but I don’t stop to look back.

I can’t go home now, not since my face is like this. Mom would never forgive me again and I would never be let out. 

Instead I run to the first place I can think of: Ethan’s home. I only pray that he’s there. 

 His house is warm, much warmer than the cold, wet outside, and from the window I crept in from, it’s very cozy. 

I’ve only ever seen the main entryway of Ethan’s house, I’ve never even asked to be let in. I don’t think Ethan’s mom would approve of me coming anyway. But I don’t have a choice now. 

I land and creep up to where I know Ethan’s room is and I knock on the door quietly. 

Surprisingly, I hear shuffling footsteps coming from inside. Ethan wasn’t asleep. 

I hear him come to the door and yawn loudly. 

“I’m coming, I’m coming. Sorry Mom, I didn’t know you would still be awake. I was just waiting for Dad.”

He opens the door and I see his eyes widen. Before he can say anything, or even scream, I clamp my hands over his mouth.

                                            To be continued

Victoria & Gabriel Ribeiro

Chocolate Chips

 

July Teen Activities

July Teen Activities

July Teen Activities

Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens

CHESS AND GAME CLUB

Learn the art of chess and other games from the master of fun and strategy, Nick Allison. Game supplies will be provided.

Mondays from 4:30-5:30 PM in the Community Room.

For Ages 9-18

Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens
Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens

TEEN ACTION COUNCIL

Teen Action Council gathers to discuss plans and come up with ways for the Library to help teens. Have a say in what happens at your Library!

Wednesday, July 5, 2023 at 4 PM in the Community Room.

For ages 12-18.

“ALL TOGETHER NOW” BLOCK PARTY

This is the Block Party everyone will be talking about this summer! Inspired by our summer reading theme “All Together Now”, we’ll have lawn games from all over the world, food trucks to fill any craving, a climbing wall and bounce houses, plus international performers including Footworks Dance Studio, the Yellowstone Brass, Amelat Dance Company, and Proform Airborne Jump Rope. There’ll be something for everyone at all ages. Don’t miss out! The celebration begins July 8th 5:00-8:00 PM on the field next to the library. Stay for an after-party outdoor movie experience that starts at 9 PM! Concessions will be available for purchase.

Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens
Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens
Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens

TEEN CRAFTS

We’ve got crafts for teens at the Library! Join us Thursdays this month for clay figurines, magazine beads, dot painting, and macrame keychains!

Every Thursday in July at 4:30 PM
in the Community Room

BFF’S 2 WFF’S WRITING CONTEST

Do you and your friend love to write? Try writing a story together and perhaps you will become WFF’s… writing friends forever! Write a story about this year’s Summer Reading theme, “All Together Now,” and see how your collab writing stacks up against other teens your age. All participants will receive a prize!

Email an attached submission to gina.m@madisonlib.org by July 24, 2023. Winners will be announced July 28, 2023 at the Teen Summer Reading party. For more information, check out the contest rules.

Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens
Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens

YOUNG LEAGUE OF WRITERS

Would you like to share your writing with other teens your age or just make new friends? Join the Young League of Writers!

Are you working on your “All Together Now” collaborative short story? How do you know when it’s ready to submit? Join us to learn how to edit and polish your story so it’s ready for submission!

Wednesday, July 12 at 4 PM in the Community Room

For ages 12-18

TEEN DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

Calling all teen adventurers! Join our party and learn to play Dungeons & Dragons! Please join the Library Teen Discord; more information is posted there about how to prepare beforehand. You can also find details in the Teen Zone.

Fridays, July 14 & 21 from 3:30-5:30 PM

in the Community Room

For Ages 12-18

Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens
Lego Club

SUMMER STEM LEGOS

Join kids, tweens, and other teens for Summer STEM! We will be building world landmarks out of LEGOS!

Tuesday, July 18 at 2 PM in the Community Room

For ages 6-18

ANIME CLUB

Teens gather together to watch anime favorites, chat about manga, and play games! We will be watching One Piece and competing in a food eating contest!

Wednesday, July 26 at 4:30 PM

in the Community Room

For ages 12-18

Photography Contest 2022
Lego Club

FAMILY FRIENDLY FILMS

Enjoy free movies for the whole family at the Library!

Thursdays at 1 PM in the Community Room

Parents, please prescreen films to ensure they are appropriate for your children. Children under 12 must be accompanied by someone 14 or older. 

SUMMER READING FINISHERS PARTY

Celebrate the end of summer reading with peace, love, friendship and… murder of course! Join us for a 60’s Murder in the Library Mystery Party where teens will discover who has attacked and murdered the Library’s books about love. Mysterious foods will also be served!

The party starts at 7 PM in the Community Room on Friday, July 28. For ages 12-18.

Photography Contest 2022
Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens

DISCORD SERVER

Join our Discord Server! Chat and get to know other teens in the area. The Server is monitored by Library Staff to ensure a fun and safe place for all.

April 2024 Kids & Tween Activities

National Library Week Book Nook ContestStep into a world of tiny wonders during National Library Week! Our Book Nook Contest invites you to explore Small Adventures to Amazing Places! From fantastical realms to cozy real-world corners, you may create a miniature...

Kid & Tween Activities March 2024

Story TimeJoin us in March for a world of imagination and learning at Story Time! This month we’re celebrating author-illustrator, Eric Carle! Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5): Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10:30 AM and Tuesdays at 6:30 PM. Toddler Time (ages 10-23...

Kid & Tween Activities February 2024

Story TimeJoin us in February for a world of imagination and learning at Story Time!  Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5): It’s all about the Letter V! Explore Veggies, Valentine’s Day, Violins, and Something NEW, Just For You! Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10:30 AM and...

January Kid & Tween Activities

Story Time Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5): It’s all about the Letter D! Explore Dance, Dinosaurs, Dirt, Disguises, and Something NEW, Just For You! Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10:30 AM  Toddler Time (ages 10-23 months): Dive into the exciting world of dinosaurs with...

Holiday Closures 2023

The Library will be closed Saturday - Tuesday, Dec. 23 - 26 for Christmas & Saturday - Monday, Dec. 30 - Jan. 1 for the New Year   No items are due when the Library is closed. Thank You! Have a safe and happy holidays!

Christmas Extravaganza!

Christmas is not just a day, it's a feeling! It's the joy that fills our hearts, the sparkle in our eyes, and the warmth we share with our family and friends. This year, everyone is invited to Madison Library District’s 14th Annual Christmas Extravaganza, a Christmas...

November Kid and Tween Activities

Story TimeJoin us this November for a world of imagination and learning at Story Time! The theme for Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5) is The Letter U! Explore the magical world of "Uni"-horns, Umbrellas, Under the…, and something NEW, just for U... or should we say...

October 2023 Kid and Tween Activities

Story TimeJoin Miss Gina, Grace, and Marybeth for Preschool Story Time, Toddler Time, and Book Babies! For October, we will have fun with the letter O and opposites!  Preschool Story Time is for ages 2-5 and meets Tuesdays at 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM and Wednesdays at...

September Adult Events

Take a Break Book ClubTake a Break and join our adult book club on Sept. 21 at 6:30 PM! Ages 18+ will meet in the Community Room to discuss Jane Austen’s classic, Sense and Sensibility. Adult MakersFriday, September 15 is Adult Makers! We will be making noodles from...

June 1st-12th Teen Activities

June 1st-12th Teen Activities

June 1st-12th Teen Activities

Summer Reading

Sign-ups start June 7th in the Community Room

Each year, from June through July, we host Summer Reading. Our program for teens has lots of events and parties. 

The 2021 Summer Reading Theme is “Tails and Tales.” The possibilities are endless!

Teen Short Story Writing Contest
Monday, June 7th at 4:00 p.m. in the Community Room.
 
  • Participants must be ages 12 – 18 to enter
  • Open to Madison Library District residents only
  • 2,000 word maximum
  • Limit 1 short story per person
  • Must include an animal as part of the main story
  • No photos or illustrations
  • Work must be original, not previously published, and titled
  • Submissions that are deemed inappropriate, culturally inaccurate or possess negative stereotypical characterization will be disqualified

HOW TO SUBMIT:

  • Email your original work to Gina Miller or bring a hard copy into the library.
  • Subject line must say: “Tail”ish Tales Contest.
  • Please include your name, age, and phone number in the email.
  • Paste or type your short story in the email itself. Attachments will not be opened.

DEADLINE:

All entries must be received by Monday, July 26th, 2021.
Winners will be announced on Friday, July 31st, 2020 via Facebook, Instagram and email.

PRIZES:

First prize- Scrivener writing software ($50 value).
Second prize- Fat Cat’s movie date pack.
Third prize- Florence’s Candy box of chocolates.

All three winners will receive publication online at www.madisonlib.org and an award certificate.

For more information please email Gina Miller.

Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens
Teen action council have a say in what goes on at the library for teens
Teen Action Council
Monday, June 7th at 4:00 p.m. in the Community Room.
 
Have a say in what goes on at the library for teens.
Summer Reading Kickoff: Interactive Movie

Friday, June 11th, 7-9 p.m. in the Community Room

Kick off the Teen Summer Reading program in style. Join us for an interactive movie night—eat gummy worms with Timon and Pumba, coconut candy with Zazu, etc—as we watch Disney’s The Lion King.

April 2024 Kids & Tween Activities

National Library Week Book Nook ContestStep into a world of tiny wonders during National Library Week! Our Book Nook Contest invites you to explore Small Adventures to Amazing Places! From fantastical realms to cozy real-world corners, you may create a miniature...

Kid & Tween Activities March 2024

Story TimeJoin us in March for a world of imagination and learning at Story Time! This month we’re celebrating author-illustrator, Eric Carle! Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5): Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10:30 AM and Tuesdays at 6:30 PM. Toddler Time (ages 10-23...

Kid & Tween Activities February 2024

Story TimeJoin us in February for a world of imagination and learning at Story Time!  Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5): It’s all about the Letter V! Explore Veggies, Valentine’s Day, Violins, and Something NEW, Just For You! Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10:30 AM and...

January Kid & Tween Activities

Story Time Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5): It’s all about the Letter D! Explore Dance, Dinosaurs, Dirt, Disguises, and Something NEW, Just For You! Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10:30 AM  Toddler Time (ages 10-23 months): Dive into the exciting world of dinosaurs with...

Holiday Closures 2023

The Library will be closed Saturday - Tuesday, Dec. 23 - 26 for Christmas & Saturday - Monday, Dec. 30 - Jan. 1 for the New Year   No items are due when the Library is closed. Thank You! Have a safe and happy holidays!

Christmas Extravaganza!

Christmas is not just a day, it's a feeling! It's the joy that fills our hearts, the sparkle in our eyes, and the warmth we share with our family and friends. This year, everyone is invited to Madison Library District’s 14th Annual Christmas Extravaganza, a Christmas...

November Kid and Tween Activities

Story TimeJoin us this November for a world of imagination and learning at Story Time! The theme for Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5) is The Letter U! Explore the magical world of "Uni"-horns, Umbrellas, Under the…, and something NEW, just for U... or should we say...

October 2023 Kid and Tween Activities

Story TimeJoin Miss Gina, Grace, and Marybeth for Preschool Story Time, Toddler Time, and Book Babies! For October, we will have fun with the letter O and opposites!  Preschool Story Time is for ages 2-5 and meets Tuesdays at 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM and Wednesdays at...

September Adult Events

Take a Break Book ClubTake a Break and join our adult book club on Sept. 21 at 6:30 PM! Ages 18+ will meet in the Community Room to discuss Jane Austen’s classic, Sense and Sensibility. Adult MakersFriday, September 15 is Adult Makers! We will be making noodles from...

Library Appreciation Week: Potatoes and Peeps

Library Appreciation Week: Potatoes and Peeps

Library Appreciation Week: Potatoes and Peeps

Library Appreciation Week is on its way, and we’ve got some great things planned.

Peeps Diorama Contest!

Submit a book-themed potato and Peeps diorama by 5 p.m. April 2 to be considered for a prize.

Potatoes and Peelers

During Library Appreciation Week (April 4-10), we’re giving away a free bag of potatoes and a potato peeler per family! Come to the library to get yours and see the entered Peeps dioramas.

 

We thank Webster’s Mile High Farms and Wilcox Fresh for sponsoring us this year!

September Adult Events

Take a Break Book ClubTake a Break and join our adult book club on Sept. 21 at 6:30 PM! Ages 18+ will meet in the Community Room to discuss Jane Austen’s classic, Sense and Sensibility. Adult MakersFriday, September 15 is Adult Makers! We will be making noodles from...

September Kids & Tween Events

Story TimeJoin Miss Gina, Grace, and Marybeth for Preschool Story Time, Toddler Time, and Book Babies! For September, we will have fun with the letter F and farm animals! Preschool Story Time is for ages 2-5 and meets Tuesdays at 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM or Wednesdays at...

September Teen Events

Hauntings - Library Teen Virtual ConventionTeens are invited to join the annual Library Teen Virtual Convention! Inspired by all our favorite ghost stories, spooky folklore, and mysterious cryptids, this year's theme is HAUNTINGS! The Convention is hosted on Discord...

July Teen Activities

CHESS AND GAME CLUB Learn the art of chess and other games from the master of fun and strategy, Nick Allison. Game supplies will be provided. Mondays from 4:30-5:30 PM in the Community Room. For Ages 9-18TEEN ACTION COUNCIL Teen Action Council gathers to discuss plans...

July Adult Activities

INDEPENDENCE DAY CLOSURE The Library will be closed Tuesday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day. No items will be due but the book drop will remain open. Thank you! "ALL TOGETHER NOW" BLOCK PARTY This is the Block Party everyone will be talking about this...

July Kid & Tween Activities

CHESS AND GAME CLUB Learn the art of chess and other games from the master of fun and strategy, Nick Allison. Game supplies will be provided. Every Monday from 4:30-5:30 P.M. in the Community Room For ages 9-184TH OF JULY CLOSURE The Library will be closed Tuesday,...

June Kids and Tween Activities

SPECIAL STORY TIME Join us for a special story time with local author Ruth Nielson! She is the author and illustrator of I Am Remarkable: A Journey of Self-Discovery. Ruth will lead our little ones in a yoga session, so please bring a towel or mat for your child to...

June Adult Activities

CREATIVE WRITING CLUB Share your writing with other storytelling enthusiasts or join to make friends! Join the Creative Writing Club for ages 18+. We will share your favorite piece of writing and talk about why writing is our passion. Wednesdays, June 14 & 28 at...

Library Closed for Labor Day

The library will be closed Saturday September 3rd and Monday September 5th for Labor Day. No items will be due and the book drop will remain open. Thank you!

August Library Activities

TEEN ACTION COUNCILWednesday, August 3rd. 4-5:30pm.  For ages 12-18. Come and have a say in what activities Teens do at the Library and meet new friends. NO PROGRAMS IN AUGUST To reset from Summer Reading and to accomodate our new infrastruture updates, there will be...

Winners of the 2020 Teen Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest

Winners of the 2020 Teen Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest

Winners

of the Teen Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest 

First Prize: Malina Oliver

Second Prize: William Isle

Third Prize: Caitlyn Isle

 

Congratulations to all who participated!

Prizes

First prize- $50 Amazon gift card.
Second prize- Fat Cat’s movie date pack.
Third prize- Rexburg Floral gift certificate for free corsage & boutonniere.

All three winners will receive publication online at www.madisonlib.org and an award certificate.

Read the Winning Stories

Fractured Fairy Tale Second Prize Story: A Slippery Investigation

Fractured Fairy Tale Second Prize Story: A Slippery Investigation

Second Prize Story

of the Teen Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest 

“A Slippery Investigation” by William Isle

READ "A SLIPPERY INVESTIGATION" BY WILLIAM ISLE

It was hot. Blistering hot. The kind of heat that makes the air all wiggly and your pits all sweaty. Especially in my office. The windows don’t open for some reason. I don’t pay rent, though, so I guess I kind of deserve it. But I’m getting off topic.

It was on this hot-as-Helena day that he walked in. Charles Prince. The richest billionaire in the city. Probably the world, too, but I wouldn’t know either way. He walked in, still in his tuxedo from whatever highbrow party he threw most recently. “I need your help, Mr. Parker,” he said. The guy sounded frantic, like his life depended on me.

“What do you need,” I asked, “Some chump run off with one of your gold watches?”

“Don’t patronize me,” Prince said. “It’s a girl.”

“A girl?” I asked. “Must be some girl if you’re coming to me.”

“They told me you were the best in the business.”

“And they’re right,” I said. “Now, tell me about her.

Prince explained how they met at the charity ball he threw the week before. They “danced for hours and hours and hours” as he put it, and at the end of the night, he had asked this girl to marry him. She accepted, then promptly ran off once she noticed the clock. He hadn’t seen her since.

Now, I could overlook the fact that he had asked her to marry him after just one night, but there was one thing I couldn’t…

“What do you mean you don’t know what her name is?”

“It never came up,” Prince said. “It didn’t seem important at the time.”

“Didn’t you have a guest list?”

“At every ball we hold a lottery. A random citizen gets chosen to come to the party. She won.”

“And you didn’t have a record of her name from that?”

“We do it by number, not by name.” 

“Alright, so you don’t know her name. What does she look like?”

“I don’t know. It was a masquerade ball.”

I was starting to lose my cool at this point. “Well what in the name of Mike do you have?” I shouted. Prince jumped back in alarm. Then he pulled something out of his jacket pocket. A shoe.

“This was all she left behind,” he told me.

I examined it. “The only thing?” I asked. Prince nodded. I smiled. “Well, it looks like we have ourselves a mystery!”

 

***

 

The shop name on the inner sole of the shoe was mostly worn off, but there was just enough to get a location. It was an average looking shoe shop just off of 32nd. Neat trim, friendly staff, the works. At about 3 in the afternoon, Prince and I walked into the shop, hoping to find our girl. We didn’t.

“What do you mean you don’t know who bought the shoe?” I asked the man at the desk. “Don’t you keep tabs on this sort of thing?”

“Well, of course we do,” the man said. “It’s just that this specific shoe is very common. We usually sell in bulk to restaurants and diners. That sort of thing.”

I thought. There were dozens of restaurants in the neighborhood alone, not to mention the rest of the city. This would be nearly impossible, unless another clue turned up soon.

“Hmm,” the clerk said.

“What, what is it?” I asked.

“The size of the shoe,” he mused. “It’s much smaller than almost any of the shoes I’ve seen in the store.”

“Well, then it would have had to be a specialty order,” Prince chimed in.

“Yes, must have been,” the clerk said.

“What was the last place to order a shoe of this size?” I asked.

The clerk went to his books. “Let me see,” he said. The man flipped through the pages for a bit. I was beginning to get impatient.

“Ah, here it is,” he said. “A little place called the Perrault Family Diner. Can’t say I’ve been there myself, but I’ve heard good things from friends.”

“Where is it?” Prince and I asked at the same time. The clerk looked in his book.

“Just a couple of blocks down,” he said. “The corner of 1st and 30th.” We were out the door quick as a bolt of thunder.

 

***

 

The Perrault was a nice enough place. Not anyplace special, but good enough to duck out of the rain and enjoy a nice cup of coffee with a side of solidarity. Prince and I found a booth next to the window and sat down. “How are we going to find her in this place?” Prince asked.

“I’m thinking about it,” I said. “You have money, right?”

Prince looked confused. “Money?”

“Yes, money,” I said. “I’m a little low on funds, so to speak, and I’d like to order myself a cup of coffee.”

A waitress walked over to our table. Blonde. 21, 22, maybe. “What can I get for you gentlemen today?” she asked.

“Two cups of coffee, please,” Prince requested. The waitress’ disposition changed. She almost looked… nervous. 

“Alright,” she said quickly. The waitress ran off to the kitchen.

“That was strange,” I remarked.

“You get used to it,” said Prince.

“How do you mean?” I asked.

“My face is in the papers every other week,” he said. “Strangers often recognize me and get a little jumpy.”

“Including waitresses from downtown restaurants?”

“Especially them,” Prince said with a hint of ego in his voice. “I am the most eligible bachelor in the city.”

The waitress was back with our coffee. “Here you go,” she said. She set our cups down and walked away. This time, I noticed something. One of her shoes was a slightly different color. I tapped Prince on the shoulder. He looked up from his coffee. “I think I found your girl,” I said.

We stood up from our booth and walked to the counter. The hostess was standing there. Redhead. Mid-40s. “Can I help you boys?” she asked. 

“In fact, you can,” I said. “I’m a private eye, and we’re looking for someone. One of your waitresses: blonde, early twenties, one shoe a different color from the other?”

“Hmm,” she said. “Let me see.” She wandered into the kitchen. Suspicious. Shouldn’t she know her own staff? 

What followed wasn’t visible, but there was definitely some sort of kerfuffle in the kitchen. Arguing. Pots and pans. After a few awkward seconds, the hostess returned. “I’m sorry, gentlemen,” she said, “there seems to be no such person in this diner.”

“I don’t think so,” I said. “Something’s definitely athwack.” We pushed the hostess aside and walked into the kitchen.

“Excuse me, sirs,” she shouted, “you cannot just barge into my kitchen in my diner without my permission!”

“I can and I will,” I said curtly. I was looking at all the waitresses’ shoes. Thus far, none of their shoes matched. That is, they didn’t match what I was looking for. Which means their shoes did match.

We got to the back of the diner. The girl we were looking for wasn’t there. Nothing but a closet door to our right and a window to our left. 

“See?” the hostess said. “The person you are looking for simply does not exist.”

“It seems you’re right,” I said as I opened the closet door. Inside was a blonde girl with one shoe of a different color. “Or maybe you’re wrong.”

“I’m sorry,” the girl said frantically. “I don’t think I’m the one you’re looking for.”

“Wait, no,” Prince said. “I know that voice. You’re her!”

“No, I’m not,” she insisted.

“Yes, you are,” I said. “And I can prove it. You’ve been working here for four, maybe five years. I would assume you’ve always wanted to see the city. Most do. So when you won the lottery for the ball, you took whatever dress and shoes you could find. But, you left something behind.”

Prince pulled out the shoe. “May I?” he asked. The girl took off the mismatched shoe and extended her foot. Prince knelt down and put the shoe on her. A perfect fit.

“Why did you run off?” he asked.

“I was afraid you’d think less of me if you knew who I really was. I didn’t want to take that chance.”

“I’ll never think any less of you.”

They kissed. It was sweet, I suppose, if you liked that sort of thing. But one thing still bothered me.

“Aren’t you going to introduce yourselves?” I asked impatiently. They separated their faces.

“Right,” the girl said. “I’m Ella.”

“Charles,” Prince replied. “Now, will you come with me? That is, if you still want to marry me.”

“Of course I do,” she replied. They were about to leave the diner arm in arm when I stopped them.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” I asked Prince. He pulled my fee out of his pocket.

“Sorry,” he said. “Slipped my mind.”

“Yeah, right,” I said. “You two kids take care, now.”

“Thank you so much, Mr. Parker,” Ella said. “You’re invited to the wedding, of course.”

“Don’t bother,” I said. “I’ll just take up unwanted space. Besides, I wouldn’t have anything to wear.”

We parted ways. The happy couple went on their way, and I went on mine. As far as I know, they’re satisfied. Me, I’ll never be satisfied. Not when there are still cases to solve and bills to avoid. But that’s the way life is.

 

THE END

Fractured Fairy Tale Third Prize Story: Ship-Shape and Pirate Fashion

Fractured Fairy Tale Third Prize Story: Ship-Shape and Pirate Fashion

Third Prize Story

of the Teen Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest 

“Ship-Shape and Pirate Fashion” by Caitlyn Isle
READ "SHIP-SHAPE AND PIRATE FASHION" BY CAITLYN ISLE

Viola had been waiting at the docks all afternoon. The sun was setting now, turning the clouds shades of pink and orange, but still, she waited. Her maid, Katherine, had brought her a sandwich and grapes for an early supper, but Viola’s stomach ached for more. You can eat at the feast, she reminded herself. At his feast.

When it had been announced that Colonel Benedict was being assigned to Jamaica, Viola had just smiled a secret smile. They had known each other as children, but when her father was sent from England to Jamaica, she was forced to leave all that behind. Colonel Benedict’s ship had been spotted this morning, leaving the rest of the day for Viola to get ready. She checked her reflection in the water now. Her sun kissed golden hair was twisted into an elegant bun, her lilac dress adorned in lace. Viola’s skin, tanned from her stay in Jamaica, was bedecked in plum colored jewels.

Her father approached. He was a short, squat man, but his status as general earned him respect. “His ship is drawing near,” he remarked in his commanding voice.

“So it is,” Viola replied, the vessel looming very close now. The colonel’s ship was large and beautiful. It edged up to the dock, then set anchor. A gangplank was lowered.

Colonel Benedict stepped off the boat, his whole self glowing in the rosy gold sunset. He made a beeline for Viola and her father.

“General,” he nodded. “Lady Viola,” for her, a kiss on the hand. Viola suppressed a giggle.

“Colonel Benedict.”

“You may call me Clive.”

“Well then, you may call me Viola.”

The lady smiled. She had a feeling that things in Jamaica were about to get a lot more interesting.

⬖◍⬗

Colonel Benedict was such a dolt! Viola’s father had thrown a big feast in honor of all of the soldiers who had arrived that evening. The colonel had been seated right next to the general and his daughter. At first, Viola had blushed at all of the compliments Clive had given her, but once she gave him one, he lost all appeal to her.

For the rest of the meal he had bragged about all of his accomplishments, medals he had won, islands he helped conquer, on and on! Viola had hardly got a word in after that. The colonel was nothing like she remembered.

She had fled to her room as soon as the meal was over. Viola was brushing her hair gently when her father knocked on her door. “Viola, dear. Colonel Benedict has something to tell you.”

She sighed. Her father opened the door wider. Clive walked in. Goodness! Even when Viola hated him he was handsome.

“After this evening, your father and I have come to a decision.”

She looked at him, not sure where this was headed.

“Viola, the colonel has asked me for your hand…”

Her eyes widened. No, no, no! “And I’ve agreed.”

Both men looked at her expectantly. “Very well,” Viola said, emotionless.

Clive looked as if he wanted to say something, but her father ushered him out, closing the door behind them. She could hear them arguing, but didn’t care enough to try to listen. Viola was getting married to the man she most despised.

⬖◍⬗

Near the shore of Jamaica, a ship approached. The crew was rough and intimidating, the boat looked as if it had never been introduced to a mop in all its sailing years. The captain was cruel and blunt. That ship was a terrible place for a lady, yet its sole purpose that night was to capture one…

⬖◍⬗

Late at night, Viola was startled by pounding footsteps and shouting. “Lady Viola!” Katherine, her maid, rushed into the room, red faced and panting. She only had to utter one word. “Pirates!”

The two young women sprinted very unladylike to the safe room. Viola could hear shouts and gunshots. They only made her run faster.

When they got to the hidden room under the stairs, the door was ajar. When the girls stepped closer, they saw a shadow of a man, but it was too late. The pirate jumped out and grabbed onto Viola’s arm. He swiftly touched a part of her neck, and she went limp like a ragdoll. Viola had passed out.

⬖◍⬗

She woke up in a cell. The bars were rusted, the walls and floor moldy. Everything smelled like men who went without baths for months on end.

Viola’s head was pounding. She looked outside of the cell, and saw a man sitting on a stool, watching her. He had tanned skin, much like hers, and russet hair that was a bit overgrown. Viola realized that this was the same man who had kidnapped her. She glared at him, putting every ounce of hatred into the look.

He only responded with, “Did you sleep well?”

“No,” she said.

“Well, that’s too bad. You’ll be wanted on the main deck now, M’lady. The captain will explain everything.”

He then unlocked the cell and led her up the creaking stairs to the upper deck. A terrifying, smelly crew was there to greet her. A giant of a man stepped forward. He had dark skin, and an even darker beard. Viola could swear she saw eyes peak out of it.

“Welcome to the ship Prunella ye landlubber,” he snarled. Viola just raised her eyebrow.

“Your ship is called Little Plum?” she snorted.

“On account of the purple sails,” the man from the brig whispered in her ear. Viola looked up. Sure enough, the sails were a deep violet.

“I will be your cap’n for this voyage,” the giant said. “And ye have three choices: One! Write a ransom note to that handsome colonel of yers. Two! Walk th’ plank,” the crew cheered at this, Viola just shuddered. “And three. Become a lowly pirate, like meself.”

Viola pretended to think, while really, there was no choice. She did not want to become fish food, and she would rather live with these disgusting fellows than with Colonel Benedict. “I will,” Viola waited for the crew to still. They looked at her expectantly. “Become a pirate like yerself,” she imitated the captain. The whole crew cheered viciously. The whole crew, that is, except Viola’s kidnapper. He just sighed sadly.

  As soon as the cheering died down, Viola was thrust into the hands of a young woman about her age with jet black hair and cedar colored skin. The girl wore a purple bandana and trousers.

“You all seem to love that color,” Viola remarked.

“Oh yes,” the girl replied while leading Viola to a room under the main deck. Her accent was unfamiliar to Viola, yet beautiful all the same. “It’s sort of like our signature look,” she gestured to Viola’s clothes. “You’ll fit right in!”

Once in the room, the girl, who’s name Viola later learned to be Amancia, started ripping Viola’s dress. She had protested at first, but soon realized that the rips were planned and precise.

Amancia babbled on the whole time. Finally, she said, “Ah, here’s the last one.” Viola heard a great big tear before she was being led to a mirror. “There.”

Viola was no longer wearing a dress. The full hoop skirt had been ripped until it reached her knees, the crinoline taken out entirely. Viola’s petticoat was ripped until the sleeves barely passed her shoulders. All of the lace had been taken off, too nice to be ruined doing pirate work.

“Not exactly ship shape and Bristol fashion,” she muttered.

Amancia giggled, “You might say it’s ship shape and pirate fashion!”

She let Viola bask in her new found glory before pulling her aside. “You seem like a nice girl, so I’m going to give it to you straight Lady, er…”

“Viola.”

“Right. Tomorrow morning the captain will reveal the three tasks you must complete in order to become a pirate. They’re all impossible. No one has ever passed them. Ever. This charade is just a trick, the captain will just kill you for failing.” she sighed. “I know you don’t want to do it, but the only way you’ll possibly survive this ship is to write that ransom note.”

Amancia sighed again, patted Viola on the shoulder, then led her to her cell to get some rest. Viola said nothing the whole time. The man from before sat down on the stool, watching her again, she looked down.

“Did she tell you?” he asked. Viola nodded. “And your decision?”

Viola looked at him then, her eyes determined. “I’m going to become a pirate.”

⬖◍⬗

The captain had woken her up, bright and early.

“Yer first task for becoming a pirate,” he boomed, “Is to fill this bucket at least halfway with water, so we can use it to cook later.”

Viola took the bucket, along with a rope, eying it warily. Amancia and the man from the brig watched her. Amancia bit her lip, and the man shook his head.

The captain went into his cabin, and Viola lowered the bucket into the sea. It was a sunny day, and the water was calm. But as soon as she lifted it out of the ocean, the water leaked out. By the time it had come up all the way, all of the water was gone. Viola soon spotted the holes in the bottom and sides, so one couldn’t turn it and fill it that way.

Amancia and the man from the brig were whispering. “Please, Dax. I know you don’t want her to die, so help her!” The man, Dax walked over to Viola.

“I will help you, but for a price.” Viola raised her eyebrows. What could he possibly want? She had nothing on this boat.

“A kiss would suffice,” he said softly.

Amancia raised her eyebrows suggestively. Viola replied, “No. I’m not kissing you, you’re a pirate.”

Dax looked at her for a moment, then pulled something out of a pocket. It was a wooden circle, big enough to block the opening of the bucket. “All of the holes are near the bottom. You only have to fill it halfway, so if you put this in and let the holes fill the bucket up, then you’ll have your water.”

Sure enough, when Viola tried this, the bucket was more than half full.

“Thank you.” she said, meaning it.

Just then, the captain came out of the cabin, humming. He stopped in his tracks when he saw the bucket. “What the flippin’ ‘eck?” he muttered.

He took the bucket from Viola, looked inside, and growled. “Get back in yer cell!” Dax gently took Viola by her arm and led her to the brig, where she wondered what the next “impossible” task could be.

⬖◍⬗

The next day, Viola could see clouds gathering. She guessed that a storm was coming. In more ways than one, she thought when she saw the captains furious face. “Yer next task,” he spit at her, “Will be to cook a supper that everyone enjoys,” the captain sneered, “includin’ me. If anyone complains during the meal, yer done for.” He walked off, chuckling.

Viola grimaced. “Wonder how I’m going to get out of this one.”

Just then, Amancia and Dax approached. “We just heard,” Amancia said.

Dax nodded. “But,” he added, “I know how you can beat this one, for a price.”

“I’m not kissing you,” Viola said bluntly.

“It was worth a shot,” Dax muttered, blushing.

“Anyway…” Amancia said, turning them back to the task at hand. “What’s your plan, Dax?”

“Lady Viola is going to make peanut butter.”

After some more discussing and planning, the three made their way to the cluttered galley.

“I really don’t see how peanut butter is going to help,” Amancia stated.

“Because it’s sticky,” Viola said. “The captain, or anyone for that matter, won’t be able to complain if his mouth is sealed shut by peanut butter.”

Amancia grinned. “You’re a genius, Dax!”

The trio got to work. All of the meat, beans, and unrecognizable food was slathered, stuffed, and basted in peanut butter. It probably wasn’t going to be delicious, but no one would be able to say so. When the meal was finally ready, the food was carried to the mess room and placed on the table.

The whole crew was seated, even the captain. Viola, Amancia, and Dax sat at the end of the table. Viola could not believe how raucous and rude the pirates were being, but once they started eating, things quieted down. She could see all the faces of the pirates. Some were confused at why their mouths weren’t opening, others were mad that it prevented them from yelling like they were a few minutes ago. The captain was aghast, and looked as if he was about to explode.

“You said if anyone complained, I would be done, but I don’t hear anything. Not even from you.” She then walked regally out of the room, escorting herself to her cell. “I do hope the next task will be impossible, those are the best kinds,” Viola joked to Dax when he came into the brig to guard her that night.

“Your welcome,” he snorted.

“Thank you,” she managed to yawn right before she fell asleep.

 ⬖◍⬗

They were not sailing when Viola woke up. She could hear shouted orders as supplies were brought in from the port they had stopped at. Dax opened her cell without a word, and escorted her to the main deck. The captain was grinning, his eyes shining. Viola gulped.

“Time for yer third task,” he told her cheerily.

“Yes,” Viola replied, her stomach churning. Last night she had been so confident, but it had all shattered when she saw the captain’s apparent joy. The task must be hard if he was so happy.

Amancia walked up, preoccupied with braiding her dark hair. “Has he told you what it is yet?” she whispered to Viola, who shook her head.

“Yer third and final task,” the captain boomed, “Is to steal from that ship.” He pointed with a gnarled finger at a magnificent boat. Viola squinted, trying to figure out why she recognized it. Then she gasped. “That’s Colonel Benedict’s ship!”

The captain chortled. “Is it? I wouldn’t know. Now get goin’!” He roared.

Viola made her way to the docks sullenly. She had all but given up when Dax and Amancia caught up with her. “Don’t give up hope now!” Amancia cried.

“I have a plan,” Dax added.  “But it comes with a-”

“I am not kissing you!” Viola shouted, then sighed. “Out with it then.”

“First, take these.” Dax handed her some plums and a canteen.

“But what am I going to do with these?” Viola asked. Dax shushed her, then told her his plan.

 ⬖◍⬗

Viola walked gracefully to the colonel’s vessel. She started up the gangplank, but a soldier stopped her. “Just what do you think you’re doing?” He questioned. He looked tired, and he kept licking his lips, as if very much parched. Viola handed him the canteen, then walked on as he drank thirstily.

She had made it to the deck, when a rough hand turned her around. The hand’s owner started leading Viola off the ship, but she took one look at the man, gave him the plums, then left as he filled his empty stomach. The poor soldier looked as if he hadn’t eaten in a week.

Viola skulked into the colonel’s cabin. She rummaged around until she found what she was looking for, a small chest of gold coins. She pocketed it, but just as she was making her leave, a voice stopped her. “Kidnapped by pirates, now?” she turned around. Colonel Benedict emerged from the shadows. “More like joined them.” he shook his head. “You could have married me, Viola. You still can! All you have to do is put the chest back, and leave the pirates behind.”

Viola hugged the chest to her chest. “A few years ago, I might have said yes. But you’ve changed, Clive. I would rather become a filthy pirate than marry you!”

Colonel Benedict lunged at Viola, who stepped out of the way. He growled and threw himself towards her, but Viola ducked under  the Colonel and evaded him. She then planted a kiss on his cheek, just as Dax had instructed. She detested it, but the kiss worked. Colonel Benedict stood, stunned, as Viola ran out of the cabin. Coming to his senses, the man called for his crew to stop her. Viola dashed past the hungry man, making it to the gangplank. She glided around the parched soldier, sprinting to her vessel.

Just as Dax had said, they wouldn’t stop her because of the kindness she showed them. She had made it off the boat in one piece because of her generosity.

When Viola made it to the pirate ship, they immediately shoved off. The captain was glaring daggers at her, but the rest of the crew was cheering. Amancia hugged her, whispering, “I knew you could do it!”

After a few pats on the back, some so strong Viola nearly fell over, she made her way over to Dax.  He was leaning against the wall, staring at her. When she stared back, he looked away. Dax’s russet hair fell in his face.

“Thank you,” Viola said. “For everything.” Dax just shrugged. “You know, you proved me wrong,” she continued.

“About what?”

“I thought all pirates were rotten fellows, but you-” she struggled to find the words. She didn’t have to. Dax leaned in, his lips pressed against hers. The kiss was breathtakingly lovely, just like him. When Viola stepped back she smiled and said, “Maybe being a pirate isn’t going to be so bad after all.”

THE END

Fractured Fairy Tale First Prize Story: Lost

Fractured Fairy Tale First Prize Story: Lost

First Prize Story

of the Teen Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest 

“Lost” by Malina Oliver
READ "LOST" BY MALINA OLIVER
She’d never meant to go into the forest.
After all, her grandmother had only ever spoken of it with great fear in her eyes.
Emma understood that fear now. The darkness around her was tangible and dense, obscuring not only her vision but her thoughts as well. As her mind grew increasingly frantic, she strove to focus her grip on the torch handle, and on the light which emanated from its flame. Something howled in the distance. She suppressed the urge to turn back, and instead trained her efforts on masking her fear. She didn’t care that no one was there to see her: she put on the brave front for herself. She wouldn’t be a coward. She would die upright like her grandmother surely had . . . If I die . . . I’m not going to die! she resolved, just as something moved behind her, and she turned to face–
Nothing.
Nothing was there.
She quickened her step, cloak billowing behind her. Nothing is after me. I’m being silly. I’m not going to die . . . .

The shadow creature sunk low, its colorless eyes never leaving the foolish girl that dared trespass the forest. The pathetic child knew nothing, she was nothing, nothing but a mere child with a cloak who was trying to be brave. The creature could almost smell the child’s fear, see through the brave front into those dark brown eyes that told a different story.
Good. Flesh was so much sweeter when accentuated by fear. The rare, unfortunate squirrel that wandered into the forest had taught the creature that much. It could not even fathom what a human child might taste like with such great fear burning within . . . .
But there was something else there. Some other . . . emotion. Something like sadness, something like pain. But why, then, was there happiness, too?
Disgusting. The creature had forgotten how terribly complex human emotion was. It was unnerving.
The girl’s fear mounted. The creature extracted its claws. It wouldn’t be long . . . .

“Grandma?”
“Yes, dear?”
It was another warm summer’s day in the garden, and they had sat there in companionable silence for some time, sorting through runner beans, when Emma broke the silence.
“That cloak that hangs in your room. I was only wondering why you don’t wear it anymore?””
Grandmother didn’t hide her look of surprise. Emma grew increasingly curious at this: ordinarily, the older woman loved to tell stories about the different items she had collected over the years. Each seemed to have an epic story, at least the way her grandmother told them.
“I’m sorry,” Emma said when Grandmother continued to look shocked. “I . . . shouldn’t have asked.” Perhaps she had just brought up some terrible memory for her grandmother.
“Our family has a legend,” Grandmother said. “A legend of an ancient forest, infused with its own energy, it’s own power, if you will.”
“You mean, an enchanted forest?”
“Something like that.” Grandmother took off her hat and wiped her brow. Sweat glistened against her silver hair. The grey still took Emma aback sometimes; after all, her grandmother’s curls had only begun to lose their darkness in recent years. 
“The forest is said to be invisible to the human eye,” Grandmother went on. “Or almost all human eyes, anyway, save those who are most gifted. The legend speaks of a great treasure in the center of the forest, protected by the most hideous of enchantments. Some say that within the depths of the forest live the most vicious of creatures. Wolves of a sort. Shadow dwellers.” Grandmother’s eyes filled with something that could only be fear, and she looked at her lap without another word.
“What kind of a treasure?” Emma asked, desperately trying to continue the conversation.
“No one knows,” Grandmother said. “Those who have gotten far enough to find out haven’t returned. There is said to be only one means of survival.” Grandmother leaned in closer, and she lowered her voice. “A cloak, infused with the blood of a wolf, among other magical herbs and the like.”
“Ew.”
Grandmother raised her eyebrows. “There is a kind of magic in blood. Families pass their gifts through the generations. Fantastical creatures do much the same.”
“But . . . why a wolf’s blood?”
“Now, now,” said Grandmother, “not just any wolf’s blood, but that of a shadow creature. You see, those creatures are not born of nature. They are capable of feeling human emotion because that is what they once were. It is the worst enchantment of the forest. Those who allow fear to creep into their hearts become those creatures that most evoke fear. It is nearly impossible to override their savage tendencies. However, the cloak, that blood, can bridge a connection between a traveler and the wolf.”
“I still don’t understand.”
Grandmother looked at her with those blue, blue eyes. “I hope you never have to.”

The darkness intensified, until it was so thick that it smothered the torchlight and sent Emma to her knees, gasping for air. Whether it was all in her head, or she was truly suffocating on a lack of light she could not say, all she knew was that she wanted an end, the panic in her chest was paralyzing, she wanted out . . . .
“It’s all in my head,” she mumbled desperately, trying to gain control of the sudden onset of fear. She gripped at her knees as the world began to tilt and the darkness pressed in around her. The world felt strange and cold, she hated it all, the fear was too much, she would die here, she would be gone, she would be nothing

The creature crept forward, watching as the girl fell to her knees in agony. The enchantments of the forest were plentiful, but none was so terrible as was the disorienting fear. The creature found pleasure in watching the girl suffer. Oh, to sink its terrible claws into the girl’s flesh, rip the pitiful cloak to shreds, it would do nothing for her now . . . .
That cloak.
It knew that cloak.

The day her grandmother died, Emma was sitting by the window, embroidering, and anxiously awaiting the return of the only mother she’d ever known. She didn’t remember her parents. She didn’t need to remember her parents. She had her grandmother, someone who cared about Emma more than anyone else did, her friend and her confidant. They shared a thousand beautiful memories, and Emma had no reason to believe those times had ended.
Until her grandmother didn’t come home.
Emma couldn’t explain it, but she felt in her bones that her grandmother was gone, consumed by those terrible forest dwellers, the creatures of which her grandmother had spoken in the garden that day so long ago. The wolves.
Entering her grandmother’s room, teary eyed, she smelled a mixture of fresh bread and flowers, of which her grandmother had always smelled. She fingered her grandmother’s jewelry. She wallowed in her misery, in the loss, and tried to explain away the feeling that the wolves had gotten her grandmother. Surely, there was no rational way she could know such a thing. She was only imagining it.
And then she touched the cloak.
The red cloak, which her grandmother said was infused with the blood of werewolves . . . .
It was as if an electric shock had torn through her, and then, she knew. Her grandmother was no more. The wolves had administered the final blow.
She fell to the ground, and wept, clutching the cloak to her heart like it alone would save her from the terrible pain she felt. It could not be true. Her grandmother could not be gone.
Memories . . . so many beautiful memories. All of it was a blur, now . . . . All the details of Grandmother’s life, her voice, her sparkling blue eyes, her caring presence, all of it was slipping away, like water through the fingers of a child desperate to keep it all . . . .
The cloak warmed in that moment, as she thought of her grandmother, though she was sure she had only imagined it. 
The cloak, which she hadn’t been able to see until recently, which her grandmother had never mentioned, not until Emma had asked . . . Had it been there all along? And if it really did offer protection in that terrible forest, why hadn’t her grandmother taken it along? Surely, if she had, she would be alive and well, striding up the hill even now, tired but with a smile on her face and a warm hug for her beloved granddaughter.
It was not to be.
Emma would never know.

The cloak warmed around Emma’s skin now, just as it had the day her grandmother had died. The warmth spread up her body, calming her heart, bringing feeling back into her paralyzed body, bringing light and sense to the mind that had so refused to be calmed. She allowed thoughts of her grandmother to sustain her, which made the cloak warm further. She wondered again why her grandmother had not worn the cloak to protect in her journey through the forest. She had left one day, kissing Emma on the head and promising to return. Grandmother had never been a treasure hunter, but then, Emma suspected the treasure hidden in the forest was not the likes of a pirate’s hoard. Her grandmother had been spending much time in her room, looking at old books and maps. Emma rather wondered if her grandmother had finally figured out what was hidden in the center of the forest. It didn’t really matter. All she knew was that she had to find her.
Emma hadn’t known what made her hope her grandmother was still alive, not when she’d felt so distinctly that something terrible had happened, not when she trusted the strange magic of the blood cloak. Perhaps it was pure denial, or pure stupidity. More likely, it was the dreams.
They had begun not long after her grandmother’s death, and were as vivid as life itself. In the dreams, her grandmother was trapped in the forest, alone and afraid, and always, always the sound of wolves howling.
Emma felt a sudden hatred for the wolves of the forest, those terrible creatures of shadow her grandmother had described. Surely it was they, and they alone, who were responsible for her grandmother’s . . . death? Injury? Emma couldn’t say, she only hoped . . . . She knew there was always a chance . . . .
Something moved in the distance. Emma stumbled backward as the thick darkness began to clear, wary of the creature approaching her, hoping against hope that it was not what she thought it to be . . . .
A wolf.
It bared its teeth at her, which were bloody and yellowed, sharp as knives. Its ears pointed upwards; its claws were unnaturally long and also looked as if they’d been dipped in blood.
Emma didn’t want to run. Surely she couldn’t outpace the wolf, and what was the use trying? She would die anyway. Might as well take it head on, get it over quickly . . . .
The creature crept toward her, its eyes never leaving her; they had no color. There was nothing behind them; nothing but savage appetite. She would receive no mercy from this creature, of that much she was sure. Like her grandmother had received no mercy, she would be eaten alive, until there was nothing left of her.
She had felt such intense fear moments before, but it was nothing to what she felt now.
She tried to calm her mind as the wolf stalked ever closer, closer . . . .

Emma’s grief never let up. The pain was heart-wrenching; a thousand emotions all at once, pounding at her. Love, sadness, anger, happiness, sorrow; nothing was just one thing or the other, but a collision of feelings so overwhelming Emma could scarcely describe it. The dreams only made it worse, or perhaps, better in some selfish way, because she could see her grandmother. But to see her suffering . . . it was all too much.
Perhaps, like the feelings the cloak gave her, the dreams were true. Her grandmother had spoken of gifts, of a sixth sense. Had she meant these feelings? These instincts?
At last, she’d had enough. She took her grandmother’s blood cloak. She knew what she had to do.

The wolf crept closer, so close now, that she could see its eyes, its colorless, piercing gaze . . . .
Just when she thought death couldn’t come fast enough–just when she’d prepared herself for those knife-like teeth to pierce through her flesh, she saw a flash of blue in the wolf’s eye.
She knew that sparkling blue iris, though it was gone as quickly as it had come.
The cloak had warmed again.
The wolf paused.
Emma stood there, holding her breath, watching as the wolf’s gaze changed . . .
And then she knew.

Warmth.
Warmth was coming from that cloak.
For a moment, the creature saw the girl for who she was.
It was a fleeting notion.
The smell of the girl’s fear wafted up its nostrils, and it wanted nothing more than to strike . . .
But no, something was there now, a realization of sorts, this girl . . . this girl . . . .
Those eyes. That hair.

“Grandmother.”
Emma dared to step forward, holding out a hand.
“The forest has twisted you. But you’re still there. I see it now.” Emma didn’t know if the wolf could understand her, or if there was indeed any chance that it would have mercy on her. But she couldn’t stay silent. Not when she knew who the wolf was.
It was watching her, its eyes, she thought, less savage. Or perhaps she only hoped that to be true.
Emma took a stealing breath. “You . . . you weren’t eaten by a wolf. You became one.”

Emma. The girl before her was Emma. The girl–Emma–was speaking.
She wore the cloak.
How she’d ever wanted to eat her granddaughter, her dear, lovely girl! she would never know. But why the urge was still there . . . she shook her head, willing it away. She needed to be strong. She couldn’t slip back. If she did, she may never return, nor be herself again . . . She had to try, she had to fight the wolf inside of her . . . .

The wolf was changing before Emma’s eyes. What was once matted fur became flesh and skin and torn clothing . . . claws became fingers, a snout became a face . . . .
Until there was no wolf at all, only her grandmother.
Her dear grandmother!
The woman was deathly thin, and bloodstained; her skin was graying, her wrinkles more prominent. Her hair was no longer gray, but white.
But the eyes.
She had those same, sparkling blue eyes.
Emma didn’t hesitate another moment. She ran to her grandmother and embraced her.
“I’m so sorry,” Grandmother whispered in a broken voice. “So sorry.”
Emma said nothing, only hugged her tighter.
“I was . . . foolish,” Grandmother managed, pulling away slightly. “Foolish. I only sought your happiness. I did it for you, for our family. But I was so foolish to . . . not realize . . . the only treasure I needed was you.”
“Never leave me again,” Emma whispered.
Her grandmother smiled sadly.
“We’re all meant to leave. But that doesn’t mean forever. The fear of the forest changed me. But . . . never again.”
Grandmother sunk towards the ground, clutching at her ribs.
“No!” Emma cried. “Please.” Her eyes welled up with tears. She pulled off the blood cloak, and wrapped it around her grandmother’s shoulders, supporting the weak old woman the best she could. “Please. Stay, don’t leave me again–”
Her grandmother smiled weakly. “I could never leave you.”
Emma smiled through her tears. “Come on. Let’s get you out of here.”
One lonely girl entered the forest that day.
Two left the forest, huddled under a single, blood-red cloak.

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