Amazing Kids! Magazine

Stone Jungle

By Alexandria A. Hyers, Grade 8, Durham, NC

 

I had no idea why they were standing there. Their heads hung, rain dripping off of them. They were certainly mysterious, just as Stelle had said. I thought of her lying in bed at home, sick, her skin turning a gray tint that reeked of death whenever it claimed another shade of illness. I couldn’t bear it and returned myself to the investigation of the two. They were almost identical. Tall, thin, and graceful they were truly beautiful. They held hands, a grayish hand inside a rusty red colored one. Set into their eyes was their only other difference. The gray one had emerald eyes while the red one had alexandrite ones. I studied them as long as I could. The two looked like Stelle and I. They must have been twins as well. The gray one looked more like Stelle with her green eyes while the red one looked like me with my mutated purple eyes. They were humanoid but their grace was from another world. They didn’t move, they were stone statues cemented into place. They were the tallest things that resembled humans I’ve seen. They had their free hand extended and it pointed west. Their eyes sparkled when viewed from there but from every other angle they were blank and lackluster. I followed their hands to continue what Stelle had left for me.

The trek into the jungle was long. I heard the shifting of leaves that I swore were panthers coming to kill and eat me that turned out to be a leaf I kicked up. The vines strewn across the ground tripped me whenever I came across them and my hiking boots often lost footing even though they were built for jungle hiking.

I entered a clearing. Hundreds of statues sat around some on benches, some standing, some lying on the ground. They all, even the ones in a sleeping position, had their eyes open. I felt like they were watching me. I heard a rustle in the trees behind me. I turned, my hand on the knife in my pocket. Anything that actually could hurt me would kill me before I was in range to stab but I liked to comfort myself with the thought that I had something to protect me. Out of the trees it leaped. Claws extended from its paws ripped the air in front of me. I expected a giggle and a taunt to the animal in front of me but I instead, screamed. I didn’t stick around to chat after that though. I turned and sprinted away. My feet nimbly avoiding the vines that I had tripped on before.

The panther growled. It reached out and its hand just barely scratched my arm. I looked at the gash, woozy. I sprinted as quickly as I could, the sound of padding paws right behind me. I dashed to the side quickly. The moment my predator neared me, I swung with my knife. I connected with his back and he screamed in a satisfying way. Before I was forced to finish the fight, I sprinted away. I eventually realized how lost I was. I pulled out my GPS. It led me home, step by step.

“Stelle!” I call when I fling the door.

She sits up, her beautiful blond hair hanging in small curls around her neck. Her skin had turned a more violent sickly gray, her eyes still sparkling green. “Morning, Elisa,” she says between coughs. “How are you?”

“I’m well. Are you okay? It’s the middle of the night!”

She opens her mouth to respond.

“Never mind that, though. I found them. They pointed to-” I stop short a moment and cough, “-to a whole grove of them. I was then attacked by a panther and ran home.”

“That’s great, Elisa! We might figure out what they are soon,” she says, sounding more sickly than before.

Waves of nausea suddenly hit me and I threw up in the corner of the room. Afterwards, I blacked out to the sound of Stelle crying.

I came to, lying on the ground. I was staring at a familiar ceiling, a familiar face looking down on me, worry creasing her face. Water hit me in the face, running into my mouth like little salt bombs.

“What happened?” I ask Stelle between coughs.

“The same thing that happened to me. But your skin is turning a kind of sickly red rusty color.”

“Like the statues! Stelle can you light me a lantern?”

She complies and I grab some paper and a pen. “When someone comes into contact, they get this illness that makes them take on the qualities of the statue they touched.”

“But what if someone with blue eyes touched the stone?”

“I don’t think anything would. They need to match the eye color and gender before they begin to look like the statue. That’s why when you touched the gray statue with green eyes you got sick.”

“So, twins are ideal as well because they are identical. But, why? Who built these things and why?”

“I don’t know why. And I don’t know who,” I say miserably.

Just then, the paper I was sketching on caught fire from the lantern.

“Water, Stelle!” I shout.

She sprints out for it but when she gets back, the water isn’t enough. I can’t get up, my feet feel like stone. Wherever the fire touches turns to stone. The cottage burns down. Stelle is turned to a frozen embodiment of terror. We sit here, and I notice that I can still think though I should be dead.

Time passes. I count the days, losing count at three hundred. A year passes before I see someone.

“What are they?” someone asks. She reaches out and touches my arm. I try as hard as I can to squirm away.

Another girl walks up behind her.

“Kelly, do you have any idea what they are?” the girl that saw me first asks.

“I’ve no idea, Belle,” Kelly says and reaches out to touch Stelle.

I focus my energy as hard as I can and force all my willpower to my vocal chords. I manage to squeak out one phrase from my rocky vocal chords. “Help… me!”

Belle and Kelly turn and look at each other. I notice it’s easier to crack the rock around my mouth now.

“Break the rock!”

Kelly and Belle look at each other and run.

The rock sets again around my mouth. I allow myself to drop off and enter an endless sleep.