Editor’s Note: This story may be too scary for younger readers, containing content that includes dragons and monsters capturing children. Read with caution.
By Emily Yui Yan NG, age 11, Hong Kong
I trudged through the hallway, into the study room. I picked up my pencil, turning my attention to a pile of homework. I hadn’t written more than two sentences when I heard a little rustle, and a little clinking sound on the mirrors of the hallway. I put down my pencil, pushed myself up from the table and peered outside.
A massive creature snaked through the hallway, knocking the mirrors lightly with its scales as it moved past. It had two horns and two big ears, followed by a menacing eye on each side of its scaly face. Its nostrils moved up and down, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Its tail lashed everywhere whenever it moved. It was a dragon!
Suddenly, it spotted me, giving me a cold stare. The dragon let out a roar that could rattle the heaviest chain in the world. It breathed fire everywhere. I screamed and ran out the door, barely escaping the wrath of the dragon’s fire. With the dragon following closely behind, it grabbed me with its sinister looking claws. Then, with a mighty leap, the dragon whisked me away. Within seconds, we had disappeared into thin air…
I appeared in a park, where it was night time. I decided to stay there for the night since the dragon wasn’t there anymore and obviously not going to take me home anytime soon. So, as I laid my head into my arms, I went to sleep.
I hadn’t slept for more than a few hours when I heard a soft voice chanting, “I am not afraid of anyone; my strength is immeasurable!” I lifted my head and glanced towards the direction of the chanting. I could barely see the dark outline of a woman in a black robe in the dim moonlight. The woman cackled as white light filled the sky. Lightning flashed and thunder roared. Then, she disappeared. The sky darkened again and I felt exhaustion wash over me. Soon, I was fast asleep.
I woke to find a lot of old people gathered around the benches as they stretched, with the sun’s rays reflected on their faces. Then I saw a piece of paper lying on the ground, so I picked it up and read with a husky voice from lack of water, “I am not afraid of anyone; my strength is immeasurable!” Wait! That sounded awfully familiar! Before I could realize what it was, I was covered in a blanket of incredible white light. I felt very dizzy and right before I fainted, the white light vanished as suddenly as it had appeared.
As my vision got clearer, I saw a black, gloomy-looking castle supported by dark clouds in the distance. The castle looked like a wicked grinning face that looked down at me. The broken windows formed the eyes, while deep, occasional cracks in the wall resembled the mouth. I walked towards it on dark, puffy clouds and when I reached it, I gingerly opened the door. Cautiously, I stepped in the dimly lit castle, except, there was no ground to step on. I screamed as I fell down, faster and faster.
I fell down with a thump, and stood up again feebly. I moaned softly, rubbing my aching back. As I felt my way around the room, I could feel that the walls were rough and moist. Somewhere I heard water dripping. “Who’s there?” a fierce voice thundered. Someone lit a torch on the wall and I gasped. Hairy, three-eyed monsters were guarding some poor, worn out children, who were all being chained to the wall. Their innocent, pleading eyes bulged out of their heads that were supported by their weak bodies. I turned my head just in time to see the monster on the left throw a used match on the ground. The three-eyed monsters all turned their heads, glaring at me. The largest monster yelled an order, and almost instantly I was being tied up and chained to the wall like the others. The chain was rusty and smelly enough to make a rat sick.
Soon, we were freed and led to a volcano. Thin streaks of lava escaped from its small cracks. The children leapt as if escaping a whip, ran towards the volcano and climbed up it as if a bull were chasing them. They were all ordered to gather the overflowing lava from the gigantic volcano in small bowls with lots of equipment to block all the heat.
I should’ve been thankful. I didn’t need to go gather lava and instead I was assigned to freeze it into solid wands. I was taught to whirl my hands over the lava in an ‘8’ shape immediately after sprinkling magic blue dust in the air.
As I threw another wand into a pile of the others, distracted, I saw a woman in a black robe riding a dragon giving orders to the three-eyed monsters. Then I realized that woman wasn’t just any woman. She was the woman who disappeared into the sky before my eyes, and that dragon wasn’t just any dragon. It was the dragon who captured me and transported me to the park.
That night, I decided to escape. The monsters guarding us were all asleep, so I stole one of their keys and unlocked my chain and all the children’s chains. I woke them up softly as not to wake the monsters up as well.
We all searched everywhere for an exit. Finally, we saw the hole from where we had fallen down right before becoming slaves. After searching for a way to go up for a long time, a ladder was found in a corner by a young boy with a nose that was familiarly large. Then, when everyone had used the ladder to climb out of the hole, we all stepped out onto the clouds. We were so happy to walk on the dark clouds again!
“How do we get down from the clouds?” a small girl who had curly hair whined after we have walked a while, looking up at me. Apparently, I was the oldest in the group.
“Well, I don’t know,” I muttered.
“I know,” a small boy peeped. “When I was taken up here, I had read the words ‘I am not afraid of anyone, my strength is immeasurable!’” he said.
“Right! And we want to go down, and since down is the opposite of up, we should say the opposite of ‘I am not afraid of anyone, my strength is immeasurable!’ ” another girl with straight hair chimed in.
“Yeah!” everyone else agreed.
We sat down on the puffy black clouds and thought. “The opposite of ‘I am not afraid of anyone’ is ‘I am afraid of everyone’,” I said.
“And the opposite of ‘my strength is immeasurable’ is ‘my weakness is immeasurable’!” the small boy with the large nose finished. “I knew we’d be able to find a way down!” he cheered. “You know, never give up! When there’s a will, there’s a way!” he chuckled.
That was weird. That’s what my teacher always says! How come this young boy knew all this stuff?
So we all chanted, “I am afraid of everyone, my weakness is immeasurable!” Suddenly, darkness filled the sky, lightning flashed and thunder was quick to follow. The clouds beneath us wobbled.
I appeared with the other children on the bench in the park the dragon had brought me to before. I looked around me, seeing all of our parents had come here to investigate. We all got up and raced towards them, wrapping them up in big bear hugs. When l looked around to get a good view of everything, I saw the boy with the large nose run towards my teacher with the same big nose as she embraced him warmly.
Before I could ask my parents how they found us here, my parents both exploded with news. “We were so worried about you!” mom cried.
“After we heard a loud noise, we came up to check what you were doing, but there was not a trace from you!” dad continued.
“I called all my friends and asked for advice and they all said they were about to call me about their children, that they were gone too!” mom exclaimed.
Interrupting each other, dad and mom told me about how the parents gathered together, how they found the objects each of us had left in the park, how they decided to wait in the park, and how we appeared when they almost gave up hope searching for us in the park.
Just then, my teacher came over.
“Uh,” I turned to look at her. “You see, after this incident, I didn’t really have time to finish my homework…” I said, studying my feet.
“You know what? This is the best homework excuse I have ever heard!” she said, rubbing my head. After all, what kind of teacher would she be if she still wouldn’t believe me?