Amazing Kids! Magazine

A chapter from Blazing Stones

By Charley Zinn, Age 11

 

Star’s eyes fluttered open just in time to realize that she was plummeting towards the earth at a tremendous speed. She tightly shut her eyes again and let out a short surprised shout that was soon muffled by cold water as she descended into what appeared to be a pond. She was at least fifteen feet under the large body of water before she realized she wasn’t dead, and she opened her eyes.

Although the water was clear, she couldn’t see anything except shadows around her. When she looked up, what appeared to be a monstrous, brown mountain looming over the pond. She kicked as hard as she could before breaking through to the surface of the water. Star took shallow breaths, orienting herself in the pond and feeling grateful to be alive. She spotted a large, green landform slightly west of the mountains towering before her. She decided to swim over to it, hoping to figure out where she was and gather her thoughts. Soon she touched the muddy earth. She dropped onto the ground, exhausted, and began to shiver, feeling the heaviness of her wet clothes. After a few moments of lying on the ground to catch her breath, Star staggered to her feet, pulling herself up to see where she was. A few yards away was a lush forest, but this forest wasn’t anything like Star’s earlier memories of forests. It was different somehow.

The trunks were as white as a ghost beetle’s shell. However, the real sight that interested Star was the leaves and fruit of the trees. The leaves were a beautiful blue; they looked almost as if they were turning into the sky. Small blue-green orbs appeared to be stuck in the trees. A glasslike wall with a grand entrance rimmed with gold material guarded the forest. A white owl perched on a tree. The owl hooted and its large blue eyes gazed at Star with curiosity. It flapped its wings, glided off the branch, and landed gracefully on Star’s head. She felt it peck at her as its sharp beak banged into her scalp.

“Ow! Hey!” Star yelped. The owl flew off into the forest. “Hey! Get back here!” Star shouted and bolted off after the owl, deeper into the mysterious forest. She dashed through the trees before suddenly realizing that the entrance to the forest had sealed itself. Where the entrance had previously been stood a wall of gold.

“No, no, no,” Star murmured to herself. I can’t be stuck in here, there must be another way out! And with that, she dashed into the forest, frantically hoping that there was an exit somewhere. Star searched for hours. Every time she thought there was an exit, there were just more and more trees. She even tried to return to the entrance, with no luck, until she found a large area of open space, at least the size of an average bedroom.

Rage filled Star’s veins when she spotted the white owl perched peacefully on the branch of one of the trees. “Hey!” she shouted. “You’re the one who got me stuck here!” She charged towards the owl, but all of a sudden, as if time had stopped, she froze in mid-step. The owl cocked its head and stared at Star with its large, round, blue eyes. It glided off the branch onto the ground and hooted, and then it morphed. In a split second the owl transformed into an ethereal woman with long, dark hair. The woman’s plain white dress swayed at her ankles in the slight breeze.

Star rubbed her eyes and pinched herself. Nope, not a dream, she thought. So I’m seeing things. That has to be the answer.

The woman laughed softly. “You could say I am just a figment of your imagination,” she whispered, her voice sweet and song-like. “But then again, what is real?”

Star blinked. “Um, what?”

“You will understand soon enough,” the woman hummed.

Star was confused, but continued to talk to the woman, as if her strange icy blue eyes held her captive. “Who are you?” she asked.

The woman flashed a smile. “Oh, how rude of me! My name is Phaenna, and I am the soul of the very stone you hold.” She glanced down at Star’s arm.

“Wha-” Star began, following Phaenna’s gaze; she stopped as she noticed a blue, star shaped tattoo on her arm. Star’s eyes widened, and she reached down to the star, but before she could touch it, it fell off her arm and became a blue stone.

Star was so surprised she dropped the stone.

“W-w-wha?” was all her speechless mind could produce.

“Yes, this must be abnormal. You must be surprised,” Phaenna said, her voice as calm as ever.

Star recovered from her shock and slowly, cautiously, picked up the stone, “What is this and why did it FALL OFF MY ARM!?”

Phaenna giggled. “That, my young friend, is the Stone of Beginnings.”

The name seemed etched into the back of Star’s mind; she knew she had heard it somewhere before.

“Yes, I have heard that you have been deprived of the memory of the stone, so I shall remind you of its importance. The stone you hold before you is one of the three parts of a stone that used to keep the land in balance long ago—so long ago that even I have forgotten its name. The stone holds great power, and others have gone mad trying to awaken it so they can reunite it with the other pieces, for legend has it that a noble warrior will one day touch upon its surface and awaken it, traveling the land to reunite it with its pieces. And that noble warrior, my friend, is you. Now time is short, so I must go, but before I do I grant you three things: a way out of the Forest of Time, help once you get out, and your friends. Remember, young warrior, I will always be with you.”

With that, she disappeared in a cloud of mist. Star stood there, dazed for a moment, before she heard terrified screaming. She looked up to see six children come tumbling out of the sky.

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