Story to Story II

Global Youth VoicesApril 20, 2022Time and SpaceFiction
Story to Story II

Artwork by Tanya Estigarribia Peralta, age 17

Welcome to Fiction, a brand new KidSpirit department! In this inaugural collaborative series, young writers around the world craft stories about the issue’s theme joined by an opening and closing sentence. Like many of the tales that shape our lives, these pieces flow into each other, creating a narrative that links contributors across time and space.

Katie Lamm, Tennessee:

She woke up in a bath of warm dawn. Even though it didn’t seem like there was any sort of heat, for it was dark with sprinkles of stars and planets standing by in the distance, her purple, spotted cheeks were tinted pink, and her skin was glazed with sweat.

She never woke up hurried or bothered. Her downturned chesnut eyes would slip open, sleep glazing over her irises, her full lips slipping into a grin.

For her, it was time to get to work.

Each morning, she rose alone and drifted to her other room in her ship to start work. Her long, dark hair would be twisted up into a clip, she’d crack her knuckles, and she’d give her long legs a stretch before she sat down on her pallet.

If she wanted, she’d put on some music. She played music from an old record player she had found years and years ago, and buzz echoed in each song played, but the dull yet romantic jazz always made her do work with a smile.

She spent her days sorting, organizing, taking notes, and planning.

She took care of the universe and all its parts.

Every day, from 8 a.m to 5 p.m, she’d sit down and plan it all out. She’d scan over important figures in time, look over massacres and study them, and make sure everyone was generally in their places before she’d commence time once more. Pausing and starting, pausing and starting — like an extremely complex TV show.

There were too many people to know, so she tried to hit the high points. Her favorite, although not the most well known, was Dolly Parton. Admittedly, she’d sometimes look ahead in Mrs. Parton’s life and make sure that she’d never break a bone, get in a car accident, things like that — which was virtually harmless in the grand scheme of things.

Less fun parts about her job were studying wars, apocalypses, or any violent accident that would turn the course of the universe. It was hard to watch, to pause and take notes, and then have to press play once more. She tried not to dwell on it too much.

She had a planner to keep track of her days. She had gone through many. Bookshelves upon bookshelves were filled with her planners, keeping track of every few hundred years or so.

One day, however, when she clipped up her hair, cracked her knuckles, and stretched her legs to sit down on her pallet and start the day’s work, she heard an awful, blood-curdling ringing sound echo through the halls of the ship.

She had no idea what it was — all she could hear was a tring tring, tring tring . . .

Omar Khawaldeh, Jordan:

She couldn’t reach the phone, so she was curious who was calling. She drank a cup of coffee, then she continued her life by getting ready for school.

She opened the door to start walking to school but she was shocked by what she saw: her house floating in space between the stars and planets. She thought of pinching herself to see if it was a dream, but she didn’t, because of how fascinating the view was. She realized that she should have fun in this once-in-a-lifetime moment, so she started jumping on the planets like they were rocks in a pond.

The time went by fast, so she was tired.

The girl went back home and was amazed by the view of the planets and how much fun she’d had. She slept, trying to understand what had happened.

The phone started ringing again, like an alarm telling her to wake up and use her time properly, telling her that she should spend it on something that she enjoyed, not on something useless. She learned to find the good in things, not the bad.

She woke up and started telling her mom what happened in her dream. Her mom said . . .

Sylvie Green, New York:

“Hold on,” and looked up, placing her crossword puzzle on the table in front of her. She took off her glasses and Charlotte noticed her narrowed eyes. “Did you say you dreamt that your father returned?”

“Yea, I know it’s impossible but it was a nice dream to have. He gave me this big hug and —”

“No, no, no, hold on.” Her mom’s eyes were wide now, as if the exhaustion from her long week at work had lifted, replaced by pure horror. “Did you say he came through our chimney?”

Charlotte rolled her eyes. “Yes. Were you even listening?” Ever since her father had died 14 months earlier, her mom had been distant. She worked extra hours and, when she was home, she wouldn’t pay any attention to Charlotte, focused too heavily on her phone, puzzles, and whatever else would distract from her misery.

“He fell through the chimney while ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ blasted from the kitchen.” Charlotte smiled softly, lost in thought about the days her dad would come home from work and play his favorite song, yelling “Ooka-Chaka Ooga-Ooga” as her mom shushed him, hiding her own giggle. “Then, he stood up, fixed his tie, and like I said, gave me this big hug and . . . ”

Charlotte paused. Her mother’s face had lost color and she was holding the table, as if to keep herself from collapsing on the floor.

“What? Are you okay?” Charlotte rushed toward her mom. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I thought it was kind of a nice dream actually.”

“No. It’s not that. Uh — it’s not a big deal. Go upstairs and watch some TV or something.” She didn’t move at all, too stunned to even blink.

“I’m not going upstairs.” Charlotte stood, waiting. “Hey!” she yelled, slapping the table in front of her mom, who flinched, awoken from a nightmare. “What happened?” Charlotte said softly.

“It’s just . . . uh . . . I had um . . . an awfully similar dream last night.”

Now Charlotte’s eyes widened. “What do you mean? Dad came back to life?” Her mom nodded. “Through the chimney?” Another nod. “While Blue Swede played?” A third nod, this time fast and aggressive, turning her head towards Charlotte.

“Yes. And he stood up, fixed his tie, gave me a big hug and —”

“Said, ‘I told you I would never leave you.’” Charlotte and her mom said this part in sync. Now Charlotte was really confused. She had thought maybe her mom was joking, but there was no way. What did it mean? Had his ghost visited them both in the night?

They heard a thud from the fireplace and “Ooka-Chaka Ooga-ooga Ooka-Chaka Ooga-ooga” began to play in the kitchen . . .

Onkar Borde, India:

"This is absurd! The neighbors will definitely file a noise complaint against us!" Isabella shouted, as she strained to get out of her cozy covers to find out what was causing the loud music. It was midnight, and the dazzling lights reflecting from the kitchen were too bright to see. She stomped her feet as she made her way into the kitchen, expecting her family to wake up. As Isabella approached the kitchen, she felt a wave of paralysis wash over her; she was astonished to discover all of the glass panes smashed, the utensils melting, and the gadgets going on and off automatically!

The intense light was emanating from a little spherical construction that had practically punched a hole in the floor.

The loud music emanated from the very same sphere. It radiated a bright white light that was powerful enough to heat the entire kitchen. Suddenly, the space had evolved into a mini-pub! Isabella was astonished. She gathered her strength and rushed to investigate the sphere. She felt its huge gravity drawing her down as she got closer, the objects around her growing bigger and bigger! Before she could comprehend what was happening, the melody faded away and the light went out. Everything around her vanished in an instant, and the weird vibrations knocked her out.

After a while, when the tremors ceased, Isabella awoke, owing to the terrible odor that pervaded the entire area.

She was still perplexed and had no idea where she was. She tried to stand up, but sudden fatigue dragged her down! Crawling, she began to explore the location. Ultramarine sky, gigantic and super-bright stars filling the horizon, no evidence of vegetation or wildlife, no sign of any other human. All that could be seen was an endless corridor with something flashing in the distance.

Helpless, she began to crawl toward the flashes of light. The view around her became clearer as she progressed nearer and nearer. The flashing thing was a sci-fi screen with a speaker on top.

“Welcome to the Interstellar Arena. You need to pass all the levels in this game to get out and return to Earth. If you fail, you will be trapped inside this passage forever!” the screen displayed.