- The Time Travel Machine *With new chapter titles!*
The story of a feisty, history-hating fifth grader who gets trapped in the past.
- The Jungle Princess
The story of a brave young princess whose island is invaded by a pirate.
More series: Coming soon!
The Time Travel Machine
Chapter 1: The Report Card
Emma Biddington tried to keep her eyes open in history class. That was the truth. But history could be so boring, and well, a nap seemed so appealing. Her fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Cocker, was talking about world history, when:
Emma’s eyes fluttered open. “Yes, Mrs. Cocker?” she wished she had been awake for the last half-hour.
“What time period are we learning about?” Mrs. Cocker’s eyes sparkled, as if she knew Emma had been asleep.
“Uh-well-um….The Medieval Times?” Nope. “The silk road?”
Mrs. Cocker shook her head no. “We have been learning about Ancient Egypt for the past week.”
Oops. There goes that A+, Emma thought to herself. She looked back up at Mrs. Cocker and sighed.
When school was out, Emma said good-bye to her friends, and walked down the pavement to her house. It was a considerably long trip there, so Emma planned what she was going to do when she got home. #1: Eat a snack. #2: Go outside in the woods and play. #3: Do homework until dinner.
The plan was a pretty good one, and Emma knew it. But when she finally reached her big, brick house, she wondered if her plan would go as, well, planned. “I’m home, Mom!” she yelled.
Mrs. Biddington stepped out of her bedroom.
“Oh, hi, Honey. I’m glad you’re home,” she said with a smile. “But we have something to chat about.” Emma didn’t have to ask what they were going to talk about, because she knew. It was about history. And naps.
“So, Emma, I’ve heard that you’ve been taking naps during history. Is that true?” her deep blue eyes searched Emma’s face.
“Yes,” answered Emma.
“That’s not acceptable, Sweetheart. I know you can do better than this.” Mrs. Biddington waved a report card in front of Emma. “A -C is not you’re best work.”
“Ok, Mom. I’ll try harder.” Emma said. She etched a large X on her chest. “Cross my heart.” Mrs. Biddington smiled at her daughter and kissed her lightly on the head.
“Ok, you can go now,” she said with a smile. “Just don’t forget to do your homework!”
Emma took the report and walked aways away. Then she read the note that Mrs. Cocker had written in her swirly, cursive handwriting: Emma is a very imaginative student. But, she does lack attention, and judging by her test scores, she can do better. Emma nodded. That was true.
After her snack of graham crackers and peanut butter, Emma walked out into the woods. As she practiced keeping her balance on a log, though, she noticed something she had never seen: a tall, box-like object that was spitting sparks. On the outside of a door were the words, “Time Travel Machine”.
Chapter 2: Into the Desert
Emma pushed a wisp of blonde hair behind one ear. Then, very carefully, she stepped toward the time travel machine. The strange contraption was spewing sparks, and shed a blinding light. Emma blinked, and not being able to contain her curiosity, touched the door to the machine. It felt like a normal old door, but Emma knew that it wasn’t. Who on earth would name their door “The Time Travel Machine”?!
Quickly, Emma twisted the doorknob, and slipped inside the machine. The door slammed behind her, and disappeared. In replace of it, was a large panel that lined the entire space (which was about the size of a closet) with thousands of buttons. A startling voice came from above the ceiling in choppy sentences, saying: “Welcome Time Traveler. What time period would you like to visit?”
Emma wondered if the voice could understand her. “Uh-well, what time periods do you have?” she asked.
“We have The Medieval Times, The Stone Age, Ancient Egypt-“
Emma cut the voice off. “Ancient Egypt!! I-uh-mean, Ancient Egypt, please.” This should be good, Emma thought to herself. The Time Travel Machine gave a jolt. Then, with a whistling sound, it soared upward. Emma felt like she was being sucked against the wall. Her cheeks shook and her voice was rattled.
The voice kept blabbering away. “Hello, Time Traveler. My name is Jim. I will be guiding your tour today. May I offer you some refreshments?”
Emma could barely talk, but managed to say, “My name isn’t Time Traveler…it’s Emma! And, no way am I going to eat! I mean, I can’t! I’ll spill as soon as a bite enters my mouth- or worse- I’ll upchuck!” Emma crossed her arms, and stared out the window. “Where are we, anyway?”
“We are almost to your destination, Ancient Egypt.” Jim answered. Emma nodded. Soon the machine that felt like a scary loop coaster slowed down. It hovered aimlessly above the boiling hot desert, which stretched for miles and miles.
“You’re dumping me here?!” gasped Emma.
“Yes, but I’ll be right here waiting to take you home. Enjoy your trip!” answered Jim, and Emma was shoved out the door. She looked hopelessly around, but everywhere was the same- hot sand. Emma plopped down in the sand, and noticed a camel off in the distance. On it was a queen riding on top. Emma stood to her feet and tried the best she could to run. The sand shifted and mounded under her feet, but eventually Emma made it to the camel.
The queen atop the camel was lovely: she had a long sheet of shiny black hair that flowed down her shoulders, wore a purple veil and outfit, and had chains of golden beads for a head dress. Emma watched as a young man helped her off the camel. Then, very carefully, Emma walked up to the queen and waved. “Hi!” she began, “I’m Emma Bidington! What’s your name?”
The queen stared at Emma with big, brown eyes. Then she answered, “My name is Queen Cleopatra. Hello.” Cleopatra bowed with elegance, something Emma didn’t have.
“Who’s that guy? Your son?” Emma asked, pointing at the man who had helped Cleopatra off the camel. The man blushed, and the queen replied for him.
“That is my servant, Nabeel. Now, stop chattering so, and get on the camel. You will die of thirst if you do not receive water.” And with that, Cleopatra clapped her hands and said, “Nabeel, get this girl on the camel, and put me in the front.”
Chapter 3: Confusion at The Castle
So, there Emma was, sitting on the camel behind Queen Cleopatra. She had never been on a camel, and the constant up-down of the camel’s footsteps felt strange.
Nabeel was in the lead, holding a thin string that connected to the camel.
When Cleopatra had said that Emma would die of thirst out in the desert, she wasn’t joking. The hot temperature had formed beads of sweat at the top of everyone’s foreheads.
Thankfully, the clan was almost to their destination, and in the distance, Emma spotted a great big wall that surrounded a city inside.
Nabeel took a key from his baggy pocket, and twisted it in the lock of the towering doors. They swung open with ease, and a man beside the door nodded in approval at Nabeel. Nabeel led the two girls inside, and Queen Cleopatra slipped off the camel.
Emma jumped off. “Thank you, Nabeel!” Emma called.
“That will be Mr. Nabeel to you,” Cleopatra yelled back.
Emma smiled. “Ok, yes you’re Royal Highness. Mr. Nabeel.” Nabeel bowed with grace, then walked the camel to a nearby feeding trough. “Good-bye!” Emma yelled. Nabeel waved.
Cleopatra smiled at her young companion. “Would you like to see my home?” she asked. Emma’s eyes widened.
“Would I? Uh-huh!” Cleopatra guided Emma along the bustling streets of the city. The queen wove this way and that to avoid the crowd, ignoring people’s calls as she went. Emma walked slower, taking in the sights and sounds.
Finally, Cleopatra stopped in front of her home, which was a castle with huge, beautiful doors. Emma stared in amazement. “Oh, no, no. You’re looking at the wrong thing,” Cleopatra said with a smile. She threw open the doors to the castle to show a beautiful, still pool of water.
Decorated columns lined the water, along with plants, which poked out from behind. Emma couldn’t believe what she saw.
“Do you go swimming in that?” She asked with envy.
Cleopatra laughed. “Isn’t that what swimming pools are for?” The queen dipped her toe in the water. “You can join me if you want,”
Emma grinned. “You mean it?” Cleopatra nodded. “Thanks! Wait till I tell Mrs. Cocker!”
Emma walked to the end of the pool and cannon-balled into the water. A wave washed over the giant pool area. Emma popped above water. Cleopatra was smiling at her. “What was that jump called? I really liked it.”
Emma pushed her wet hair up into a ponytail. “Oh, that? It’s called a cannon ball. I really like doing it.” There was a pleasant silence before Emma continued. “Uh, by the way, my teacher…you had one, right- gave me an assignment about Egypt. Can I ask you some questions about yourself?”
Cleopatra seemed used to kids asking her questions. “Yes, Child.”
“My first question is, where is your favorite place to hang out? You know, like, in the pool, at your friend’s house, etc.”
Cleopatra stared at her. “Where are you from?” she asked with concern.
I can’t ask her about T.V., fashion, or magazines. So what should I ask?!
Things were going to be a lot harder than Emma thought.
Chapter 4: Misunderstood
Emma stared at the little notepad in her hand and sighed. “Well, Cleopatra, here’s the deal: I’m actually from the future-so stuff you do will be different from the stuff I do. Do you kinda understand that?”
Cleopatra stared at Emma and shook her head no.
“Ok. That’s fine. It doesn’t really matter. As long as you know I’m not crazy, or trying to hurt you.” Emma pulled a pocket knife out of her pocket. “This has never come close to slicing anybody.”
Cleopatra kept a worried smile on her face, while she fumbled behind her back. She gripped a thin cord and then began frantically tugging on it. “Guards!” she yelled.
Emma jumped to her feet. “No!! Queen Cleopatra, please! It’s for chopping food, not people!” But Cleopatra didn’t listen. Guards streamed out of the doors. One grabbed her arms, and pinned them behind her back. Another grabbed the pocket knife from her. “HELP!” screeched Emma.
Everything was getting worse, and worse, but the worst thing was that Cleopatra had left Emma. Probably forever. And Emma would never get an A+ if Cleopatra was gone.
You can’t die in a time period you weren’t born in, right? Emma thought to herself. She really hoped not.
A series of guards led Emma out of the castle and through the village. Emma had no idea where she was headed, but she knew it wasn’t to a feast.
The guards opened the gate to the city, and circled it to the back of the wall, where a bunch of people were tirelessly working.
Emma gulped. There were lots of men and women with bony, slender bodies. They wore thin rags and were making blocks of clay for building, sewing clothing, and sanding away rough surfaces. Off in the corner, Emma noticed a muscular man with a long, curling wip. A tanned women was in front of him, shaking with fear.
“Get to work, Slave!” he bellowed, as he snapped the wip over the young women’s back. The slave let out a scream.
Suddenly, Emma realized why she was here: to work as a slave. This is wrong! Emma thought with fury. This is so wrong!
Chapter 5: The Wip Man
Emma turned around and looked at the large guard in front of her. She gulped before saying, “This is wrong! You know that, Mr?” The egyptian man stared down at her.
“Oh, sorry. I mean, Sir.” Emma was breathing heavily.
“Take this Rat and put her to work,” He said to the fellow with the wip. The guard chuckled. “Gladly!”
As Emma was exchanged between the workers, she began to wonder if she should button her lip. The Wip Man narrowed his eyes at Emma and glowered down at her. “Get working.” he snarled. Emma silently nodded, and stumbled over to where a boy her age was making bricks.
“How do you do this?” Emma whispered. The weak boy didn’t answer. “Eh-hem!” Emma called out again. Still no answer. “YOO-HOO!” she waved her hand in front of his face. The boy yanked her hand away from his face.
“Stop it! If I get caught, I’ll be wipped! So leave me alone!” he stalked off angrily.
Emma nodded. “Ok. I’ll be quiet,” she answered, and looked down at her work. Slowly, Emma grabbed some dirt and dipped it into water from a bucket. She cringed as the mud squished between her fingers, but knew that getting wipped would hurt more.
Emma let the mud drip from her fingers. Then, she turned to see what the person on her left was doing. The girl was packing the mud into a square, then putting it to the side, probably to dry. Emma looked at her own mud and shaped it into a lop-sided square. Then she took a deep breath and began the process again.
It was hard work, but Emma did it as best as she could. After a while, the sun began to drop behind the burning pyramids. I’ll never make it home again before school, Emma thought with dismay. She rubbed her tender fingers, and turned to see the Wip Man looming above her.
“Keep working,” he said. Emma swerved around and worked even faster. Soon candles were lit, and dark began to crawl over the camp. A guard kept careful watch. At last, though, a guard began dismissing groups of people. To where, I wonder? Emma thought.
She hoped she would be the next person to leave, but she wasn’t. Group after group left. Finally, Emma and three other people were dismissed. Emma followed in the back, wondering where her group was headed.
As they walked, Emma looked around, and observed her group. The leader was a tall, bent-over man about 65 years-old. The person behind him was a girl with long, ratty hair. The last member of the group was a lady with brown hair. Emma was dying to know where they were headed.
Chapter 6: Mosquitoes & Marian
Emma examined her arm carefully. With narrowed eyes, she swapped at the pesky bugs that constantly circled her. The lady with dark brown hair glanced at Emma with a bored expression, then turned away. Emma didn’t try to kill anymore buggies.
“Where are we going, Lady?” Emma asked.
The girl in front of her slowly turned and said, “To our Cottage.” Emma stared at her, expecting a longer explanation.
Finally, after no answers, Emma crossed her arms and replied, “Anything else?” The slave shook her head with a slow, sad face. Emma huffed. They were almost to their “cottage” (whatever that was). Everyone was completely silent, which aggravated Emma terribly. Silent was not a word in her dictionary.
At last, the group had made it to their Cottage, which was a run-down, stinky shack as big as Emma’s bedroom. The guard opened the creaky door, smiled an ugly smile, and said, “Welcome to your Cottage, Rats!” Emma burned with fury.
“Rat? Rat!? Really? While, what does that make you?!” she screamed. The guard stepped back in surprise. “Oh, I’m not done, Mister! Stay there…you…you…you ugly, good-for-nothing meanie man! UGH!” she stomped her foot.
Again, there was silence. The brunette haired lady stared with wide eyes at Emma, along with the rest of the group. The guard was even silent…but not for long. “Ok, you Rat! If that’s the way you want it, that’s the way you’ll get it!” He looked earnestly around, then bent down to collect a black wip. “Stand still.”
Emma suddenly felt a pang of fright. Her body tensed up, making it hard for her to stay calm. Whispers and murmurs erupted. Emma could here a few. “…she’s dead, now. Doesn’t weigh too much, I’d say.” Not helpful. A silent prayer arose to the heavens. Emma hoped that someone would do something.
The guard lifted the wip above his head, and cracked it on the dirt, sending a flurry of brown snow everywhere. Emma gulped. She glanced behind at the girl with ratty hair and studied her face. Was that- anger? She followed her stare, expecting it to land on her. But, to her surprise, it fell upon the guard. “Get over here,” commanded the man.
Emma inched forward.
“More,” the guard said through clenched teeth. Emma inched forward again.
One more step. The longer I can stall the better, Emma thought to herself.
“MORE!!!” Emma smiled smugly at the guard and stood dead in front of him. She could tell the cruel man was angrier than ever, and enjoyed teasing him. The Egyptian lifted the wip above his head. Emma screwed her eyes shut. He then moved it down with surprising force, just as Emma thought it was game over. She waited a few moments.
Emma thought she felt something grainy and moist under her entire body. She opened one eye and saw that the girl with the mussed hair had knocked her to the ground. She opened both eyes. The guard was staring at Emma, than at the rats nest girl. She was dusting off her hands, as if nothing had happened. “Thank you,” Emma whispered, as she scrambled to her feet. And for the first time since Emma’s arrival, someone actually smiled.
Chapter 7: The Humble Hero
Emma looked at the hero for a while, and then said, “So-uh-what’s your name?”
“Marian,” answered the girl quietly. “From Israel.” She pulled back her hair, and tied it as neatly as she could. “And yours?”
“Emma…and I would tell you where I’m from, but the last time I said that-well-I was put into slavery.”
Marian stared at Emma, and then said, “I bet your home country isn’t as bad as you think. I mean, it’s not like you’re not from the future or anything!”
Emma tried to smile, but inside her head she was thinking, actually I AM. She kept quiet, though.
Emma let her eyes drift over to where the burly guard stood. The man stared back at her. “Am I free to go to bed,” Emma asked the man, anger instantly burning inside her, “or do I have to work some more?”
Slowly, the slave master turned to look at her. “Yes.” he answered coldly.
Emma stalked into the small “Cottage”, along with Marian. The guard watched as the rest of the group entered the shack, and then clasped the door shut. Adding a lock, he smiled, and then walked away.
Emma sat next to Marian on the floor. There was a strange silence, but Emma decided to break it.
“Marian?” she whispered. Marian looked up. “I know this might sound….rude…but, how long have you been here?”
Marian’s eyes glassed over. “I don’t really want to talk about it,” she said, while staring at the floor. Emma felt very uncomfortable.
Eventually, though, she scrambled to her feet, and looked around the bedroom. A tiny, thin-looking cot was in the corner. Stretched out on it, was the old man. His eyes were shut, his body motionless.
Emma turned and noticed a slanted table. The young lady that had told Emma what the Cottage was, seemed to be playing invisible checkers with herself. Emma slumped against the wall and let out a long sigh.
Finally, Emma turned and noticed Marian quietly crying. Her head was in her hands, and her long ratty hair was brushing the floor. Slowly, Emma tiptoed over to where Marian sat.
“Listen, Marian,” she began. “I don’t know why you’re crying, and I’ve never been a slave. But I have a plan: I’m going to try to get us out of here…but I need you’re help.”
Marian swiped away her tears. “Are you sure it’ll work?” she asked, hope rising in her voice. Emma nodded.
“Ok,” Marian said slowly. “Just tell me what you need me to do.”
Emma smiled, and helped Marian to her feet. “Ok, first of all, do you know if there’s any windows in here? We could shatter the glass, and climb out.” Marian turned on her heel, surveying the area.
“No windows,” she finally answered. “but I have noticed a big hole in the ground-outside the Cottage! It has a piece of wood that sometimes covers it.”
Emma squinted, trying to picture what Marian was describing. “Oh! Wait, like, a sewer?” she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling.
Marian shrugged. “I guess so,” she answered. “But I’ve never heard of a sewer.”
Emma felt like slapping her forehead. “Of course,” she answered quickly, trying to avoid questions. “It’s from where I live.” Marian seemed to accept this answer.
“Now we just have to figure out how to get outside,” Marian said, while jiggling the doorknob. Emma groaned. “Oh yeah,” she answered slowly. “I didn’t think about that.”
Chapter 7: The Plan
Emma squeezed her eyes shut. Think! she urged herself. Come on, think! Emma’s eyes fluttered open. “I’ve got it!” she yelled excitedly. Marian glanced around the room and gave Emma a warning look.
“Shhh!” mumbled the old man in the bed.
Emma lowered her voice to a whisper. “Oh, right. Sorry.” Her cheeks burned a bright red color. “Anyway, I think I figured out how to escape, Marian….so here’s my idea: I tell the guard I have to go to the bathroom-he let’s me out to go-and I actually escape. It’s perfect!”
Marian stared at her with amusement. “The bathroom’s over there,” she said with a wave of her hand.
Emma glanced at a dirty curtain tied to the wall with a string. The “bathroom” was tucked away in a cob webbed corner, a few steps away.
“Behind that curtain?” Emma asked with disgust.
Marian nodded. “Okay, cross out that idea!” Emma said, discouragement filling her voice.
“Hey! Wait! I think I might have an idea,” Marian said, with a mysterious smile. “How about we crack that window open, and sneak out into the hole? Now, that’s perfect.” Emma tapped a finger to her chin.
“Hmmm…I don’t know. If the guard hears us, he’s going to kill us…and we kind of want to live. So, how about we dig a hole in the dirt floor here”-Emma tapped the dirt with her foot-“and dig all the way to the hole?”
Marian’s eyes lit up. “Let’s do it!”
Emma grinned, and began pacing the room. “Hmmm…shovel, shovel, shovel. Ugh! No shovel anywhere!” Marian silently searched behind her partner.
“Hey, Emma! Will this work?” she asked, holding up a long stick. Marian took a piece of flat wood and attached it to the stick.
Emma nodded vigorously. “That’s perfect!”
Very diligently, Emma began tossing away dirt with the “super scooper”, as Marian had named it.
Emma poked the stick’s flat top into the smooth, wet dirt, and scooped it upward. Then she kept going. Six hours later, there was a large enough tunnel for a child to crawl through. Emma was working very hard, even though she was pooped.
Marian was also working hard, constantly checking for any un-invited visitors, especially guards. When at last they had finished, the tunnel was quite lengthy, and dark. Yet, nevertheless, the plan worked.
The two girls carefully crawled through the under-ground tunnel, watching for any snakes or spiders. As Marian was following Emma, her knee landed on something sharp. She let out a yell of pain, and looked down to see the remainders of a plate. “Are you okay?” Emma asked with concern. With a laugh, Marian picked the plate up, and tucked it into the wall of the tunnel.
“I’m fine… it was just a plate.” Emma nodded, and turned away. After awhile, Emma whispered: “Almost there,” Marian peered over her shoulder.
After awhile, Emma whispered: “Almost there,” Marian peered over her shoulder, and saw that she was right.
They really were almost there.
Chapter 9: Scorpion!
Soon, both girls felt positively drained. Emma began to feel pangs of hunger, and Marian was getting thirsty. Both girls’ throats felt as dry as the Sahara Desert. And to top it all off, Marian was feeling pessimistic.
“I bet…we’re gonna die…from…hunger!” gasped Marian. She clutched her throat. “Or thirst!” Emma turned, and pulled a strand of hair from her sweaty face.
“Marian?” she asked, her voice ringing with anger, “Do you think this is helpful? Do you think this makes me want to keep going? Cause it’s not!” Marian’s face suddenly froze. She stared at her companion, obviously stunned at what Emma had said.
Finally, Marian mumbled “I’m…sorry,” and kept crawling. That was the last time she spoke for awhile. Emma sighed and slowly turned, thoughts churning in her mind.
I should say something, she thought. I mean, I was being kind of rude. Suddenly, Emma snapped into attention. Everything was quiet. Emma turned her head, looking around for Marian. “Marian?! Marian! Hey, where are you?!” All at once, Emma felt more frightened then she ever had. She turned around as best as she could in the small space, and yelled again.
With no success, Emma kept crawling. A hissing sound filled the air. Emma wasn’t sure where the noise was coming from, but she was quite scared. How far can a girl crawl in two minutes? she thought with exasperation.
Emma stopped in her tracks. What could be looming in the tunnel? Emma gulped, and slowly backed up. Her knee bumped into the plate the girls’ had found earlier. Wait! thought Emma. I thought Marian stuck this in the wall! Emma slowly looked down. A small, hissing scorpion stood right in front of her. “AHHH!”
Frantically, Emma picked up the plate and threw it at the menacing insect. “Get away from me!” she screeched. “Get away!!” The scorpion jumped at Emma. “No!!” Picking up the plate, Emma smacked the scorpion flat.
Carefully, she peeled back the plate and found the scorpion dead. “Phew!” Emma thought, setting down the object. I’m so glad that plate was in here! She thought. Emma turned around in the small space, but stopped. Emma had thought she had heard a familiar voice behind her. It was Marian!
“You’r back!” Emma squealed, swiveling around. Marian stepped over the dead scorpion and hugged Emma. “Where have you been?” the young girl asked. Marian smiled.
“Just a little ways up,” she answered. “I felt like you didn’t need me, and decided on secretly going back home.”
Emma turned to face her friend. “I really am sorry about that. Please forgive me.”
Marian nodded eagerly. “I forgive you.” she answered.
Emma thanked Marian, and then added, “Oh, and one more thing: I will always want you around. Ok? Now listen, I think we’re almost there. We’ve got to be. So are you with me, or not?”
Marian grinned. “Totally!”
Chapter 10: In This Together
Emma and Marian had been in the gloomy tunnel for at least a day now. Both girl’s were famished, tired, frustrated, and hot. But that didn’t stop them from anything, and soon, the end of the tunnel really did come.
The moment it happened, Emma cheered as loud as she could. It was a time to celebrate, a time to be happy. The tunnel caved upward, light streaming from the world above. “Oh, light!” screamed Emma.
Marian, too, was glad to see the streaming, yellow sunshine. “I think I will forever hate the dark now,” she mumbled quietly. Emma grabbed the sides of the tunnel, and lifted herself up.
“Come on!” she called. Marian scrambled up the hole. The sun glinted in her eyes as she swung her leg up, and stood on the sandy floor of the earth. Carefully, Marian surveyed the area. “Phew! No guards around here,” she quickly commented, twisting a lock of her tangled hair.
Emma nodded in agreement. “And boy am I glad!” Both girls slowly trudged across the vast desert. Finally though, Emma spotted the Egyptian town that Cleopatra had once showed her. Emma’s shoulders slumped as she thought about the regal queen. She really did believe Cleo was a good person, she just well-didn’t understand everything. Emma suddenly had an idea.
It was a very brave, dangerous idea. But that didn’t stop Emma from doing it. With a growing smile, Emma suddenly turned to Marian.
“Marian? I think I have a plan.” Emma stopped to look Marian in the face. “Before I met you, I kind of became friends with the queen, and went into her palace, and everything. I know it sounds crazy, but it happened. Really, it did.” Marian wore a solemn look on her face, as Emma continued.
“We really trusted each other, until…” Emma sniffed. “Until I showed the queen this,” Carefully, Emma pulled out her pocket knife. “Cleopatra thought that this was a weapon, but where I come from, it’s just a toy. Anyway, the guards tossed me into the slave place, and well, you know the rest of the story.” Emma sighed, and stared up at Marian.
“Oh bother. You probably don’t want to hear about all my problems.” But before Emma could say anything more, Marian stopped her.
“Hey. Who said anything about that? We’re in this together!”
Emma smiled. “You mean it?” Marian nodded sincerely.
“Of course! Now, what’s the plan? I want to hear it.” Emma grinned wider now.
“How ’bout I tell you now?”
Chapter 11: Sales Women
Emma smiled. “Okay, so here’s my idea: we go back to Cleopatra’s castle, try to talk to her, and explain that I’m innocent.” Emma rubbed her chin before continuing. “Of course, we can’t just walk in as run-away slaves, so perhaps we should come up with an excuse for entering the city.”
Marian listened intently, and then said, “Okay. Let’s disguise ourselves as best as we can for now, and come up with fake profiles. We can split up, and then meet somewhere when we arrive.”
“Perfect! I’ll say that I’ve come from a distant land to trade with Egypt. I’ll pack rocks in my pockets so they sound like a bunch of coins, and I’ll also make my appearance a little bit more rich looking. It will be the best disguise ever!” Emma said excitedly.
“Uh- okay. For my disguise, I’m going to be a thirsty girl who is looking for a sip of water. There’s a well really close to the Queen’s castle,” Marian quickly added. “And we can meet there, too.”
Emma nodded, and then both girls set off in two directions.
Marian went ahead of Emma, because she didn’t have to fix her appearance that much. The only thing that the girl added was a bit of dirt to hide the rosiness of her cheeks. Once finished preparing, Marian limped her way to the enclosed city. When she arrived, Marian banged pitifully on the big doors.
A man peeked his head out. “Yes?” he asked quietly. Marian slumped onto the hot, sandy floor.
“Please-do you have-water?” she gasped. The man gave an anxious glance about, and then opened the door some more.
“Well, yes, but I would get in trouble for letting you in. Oh!! Quickly, now! The well’s just ahead by the castle.” Marian smiled weakly, thanked the kindly man, and raced up the road. Once she arrived by the well, she gave a glance over her shoulder, and sat down. Emma should be here really soon, Marian thought. She bit her lip and waited.
Meanwhile, Emma was trudging towards the door at that very moment. Her pockets were filled with heavy rocks, her face wiped clean. To her disappointment, the young girl hadn’t been able to create her own stilts. And, as she drew closer to the gate, Emma was beginning to wonder if Marian had been smarter about choosing a cover profile.
Well, there’s no turning back now! Emma thought persistently. Very loudly, she banged on the door. After a moment of silence, the door opened, and the same man’s head reappeared. “Yes?” he asked, strain showing in his voice.
Emma stared him straight in the eye. “Hi Mr! I am your friendly, yet obnoxious sales woman. I have all the top bargains: fortune cookies from China, fuzz from Africa, and much more! But wait! There’s more to your offer! I’ll even throw in some weird foods from here that you want!” Emma thrust a slip of paper forward that said buy now.
“All you have to do is let me in to buy everything you see!” The man gave Emma a cross-eyed look, and then a bewildered one. “Emma?” he gasped.
Chapter 12: Cousins?
Emma stared up into the man’s brown eyes. “Nabeel?” she gasped in bewilderment. The man stared back at Emma.
“It is I,” Nabeel answered slowly. “And why are you here, may I ask?”
Emma gulped, and then poured out her story from the time she was thrown out of the castle, to the time she arrived at the well. She explained that the pocket knife was also not meant to threaten or hurt anyone.
Nabeel gave Emma an understanding look as she finished, and then bent down to her height. “I shouldn’t let you in, but I’m going to. You’re a good soul, Emma, and I believe that the queen will come to see that.” Stretching up to his full height, Nabeel continued. “Come on now! I can’t just let person after person in. I’ll probably get in big trouble for all of this.”
Emma smiled, thanked Nabeel, and raced towards the well where she was to meet up with Marian. Sweat trickled down one side of Emma’s forehead. “Hey Marian!” gasped Emma, who was out of breath completely. Marian’s face dulled as her friend drew closer.
Why did Marian look so…angry?
Upon arriving at the well, Emma vividly told of her adventures. After telling Marian her story, Emma realized that the two girls had to get a move on. “We probably should go now, Marian. I need to convince Cleo that I’m innocent before someone kills me.” The modern girls’ eyes twinkled as she said this.
Marian nodded, and stood up. “I’ll lead the way up to the castle doors.” she said quietly. Both girls trudged up the sandy slope and stood in front of the huge, gated castle. Emma held her breath as Marian pounded her fist against the iron gate.
There was a moment of silence before the door behind the gate swung open. Emma kept her eyes screwed shut, praying a silent prayer to Jesus. A clear voice echoed through the air. “Hello?”
Emma opened one eye. Before her, stood the tall, beautiful queen. “Emma! Uh-what a surprise…and Marian? I haven’t seen you for…quite a while.” Emma glanced at Marian. The young slave’s eyes were locked on the sandy floor.
“I’m here to let you know that this whole thing has been a HUGE misunderstanding.” Emma said desperately. Her large eyes stared up into the Queens’. “And that I’m innocent as a puppy.” she added quickly.
Cleopatra smiled weakly, but said nothing. This made Emma even more impatient than before. To show her impatience, Emma tapped a sneakered foot on the desert floor.
“If you have something to say, you will have to come to the Guest Room.” Cleopatra announced dryly. Emma nodded.
“Okay,” she replied, wondering what a Guest Room was.
“Right this way, Emma,” Cleopatra waved a hand towards the gate. Emma stood her ground, eyes locked with the queen. “Aren’t you forgetting someone?” she asked. Emma thought she saw a sharp look of anger in the women’s eye, but it soon disappeared.
A fake smile flew over the queen’s face. “Why, yes, of course. I almost forgot. Marian, won’t you join us?” The request sounded more like a command than a question.
Marian just glared, and soon noticed Emma saw it. “Oh,” she began, her eyes flaming. “You’re probably wondering why we are both so tense.” Emma was beyond wondering. She was way confused.
“Awhile back we had a disagreement,” started Marian. “That changed everything. When Cleopatra married Aziz, and became queen, two worlds began to form. She was queen in the Royal World, and I was a poor girl in the Poor World.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” asked Emma. She glanced over at Cleopatra.
“We’re cousins,” she stated simply. Emma’s jaw dropped.
“WHAT?!” she almost screamed. “You guys are…are cousins?!” Marian nodded, stone silent. Then, in a split-second, she darted off.
Oh no! thought Emma. The Time Travel Machine!
Chapter 13: Friends Again
Emma could barely think. Marian and Cleopatra…cousins? It seemed impossible. The queen who once seemed so regal and perfect had turned out to be…well, not perfect.Emma sighed. Instantly the phrase her mom had used so much flooded back to her. “Looks are deceiving, Emma. They really are,” Mrs. Biddington would say. Emma now knew her mother was right.
“Listen, Cleopatra. I have an idea. But I’m gonna need your help. Are you willing to hear me out?” The young queen lifted her eyes toward Emma. “Okay. Good. So you and Marian are different. I get it. But you’re still cousins. And you can’t change that, even if you don’t like each other.” Emma said.
Cleo stared hard at the ground.
“Anyway, I have a plan,” Emma added quickly. “A plan to bring you two together again.” And Emma began further explaining her plan in great detail. Once she was finished, Emma asked the queen to follow her into the desert. “Let’s retrace our steps- you know, the ones we took when we first met. I’m guessing Marian will be out there somewhere.”
Cleopatra agreed, and the two set off on their journey. They wound their way through a curious crowd of people. Peasants crowded around, watching their queen leave her kingdom. This was a very rare and strange sight! After exiting the gated kingdom, Emma pushed through the burning desert. “Are…we…almost to the..spot?” The queen gasped. She chugged some water down her parched throat. Emma answered only in a nod.
Hours later, both were delirious from the heat. “I think I see Mom!” Emma mumbled, as she pointed at a heap of gold sand. Cleopatra shook her head slowly.
“You’re just….imagining it, Emma!” But Emma was so weak she collapsed right there. Cleopatra’s eyes widened in horror. “What am I to do?” she asked. If only Marian was here, Cleopatra thought to herself. She would know exactly what to do! The water-deprived queen winced as the sun beat down on her back. I need help! But the queen could also stand it no longer. Her wobbling knees gave out, and Cleopatra fell to the ground.
Meanwhile, Marian was stumbling around the desert herself. She had more practice though, and had thought to bring water. The surviver had not yet become delirious, but was close to it. Now she wandered towards a clump of something. It looked almost like…was that…two people? Marian suddenly shook the thought off. I’m getting delirious- I know it! she thought fiercely. But her theory was actually correct. As she stepped closer, she fell upon Emma and Cleopatra! “Oh!” she gasped.
Instantly, Marian took action. She bent down, and poured the remainder of her water on both girls. It was only a couple of drips on their foreheads, but at least it was something. Marian tried her best to bring back Emma, and after seeing she was okay, attempted to help Cleopatra. Emma was awake and okay now, despite the fact that she was weak. Now both girls tried hard to wake Cleo.
“I can’t do it,” Marian gasped at last. Her eyes brimmed over with tears. “I don’t know what else to do!” Emma nodded, letting a wet tear slip down her cheek.
“You’ve done what you can, Marian.” she answered quietly. “You’ve done what you can.” There was a long pause of silence as Emma and Marian stared at Cleopatra. The only noise was soft crying. As Emma wiped away her tears, she noticed Cleopatras’ eyes flutter open. “Emma? Marian?”
Marian laughed happily. “It’s us!” she replied, as a fresh pair of tears rolled down her cheeks. “Oh, Cleopatra I feel so bad! I really do like you, and feel terrible I ran away! Will you ever forgive me?” she begged. Cleopatra grinned from ear to ear.
“Of course!” she answered. Both girls hugged happily, and then smiled at Emma. “What do we do now?” Cleopatra asked. Emma sighed.
“Well, you might as well know. I am actually from a totally different place: the future. I’ve been trying to tell you guys forever, but- but I was too scared. And I came here in a Time Travel Machine. It’s right over there, actually,” Emma said, as she pointed towards the machine. Marian’s jaw dropped. Emma carefully walked over to the machine and explained how she found it.
Then, very slowly she said, “Marian, Cleopatra- I belong in the future. I have a life of my own, parents of my own. And I need to go home.” Emma turned towards her friends. “You are both welcome to come. Will you join me?”
“I’m in,” Marian stated with a smile. Emma looked at Cleopatra.
“Are you?” she asked. Cleopatra shook her head.
“Dearest Emma, I too have a life of my own. I believe I should stay here. But I’ll miss you!” she added. Emma nodded understandingly.
“Okay. Let’s go, Marian,” she called, as she stepped up into the machine. As soon as Marian was inside, the doors slid closed. “Bye!” Emma called. Marian waved as the Time Travel Machine shot up into the air. Emma wondered what adventures she would go on next. I guess I’ll never know until they happen, she thought excitedly. And boy was she right.
The Jungle Princess
Isabelle wiggled her toes in the soft, golden sand. She was the only human being in the West Islands-a tiny paradise of clear streams, sharp rocks, and green forests. She was only 9 when she was marooned on the island. The story replayed in her mind, as if she was watching it happen right then.
Isabelle was on a large boat sailing with a group of pirates, The Skulls. The Skulls had brought her onto the boat, stealing her from the old, musty orphanage she once stayed at. Eventually, the pirates decided that the young girl was of no use to them. So instead of making her walk the plank, they sailed to a nearby island and marooned her. The Skulls figured the girl would die shortly after. But that didn’t happen.
Isabelle was the toughest girl around, and didn’t mind fighting for freedom. Yes, she was quite the warrior.
Now Isabelle was 12 years-old, with long, tangled hair that would swoop up with the wind. Isabelle glanced to her right, and smiled down at her pet parrot, Repeat. Isabelle had taught Repeat all the words she knew, and how to repeat them back to her. “Isabelle? Isabelle?” he squawked. Isabelle held out a finger for Repeat to balance on. “Yes, Repeat?”
“Yes, Repeat?” he repeated. Isabelle rolled her eyes at the bird and try to figure out what he wanted. “Yes, Repeat?” Isabelle glared at Repeat. “Button your beak!” she commanded, squeezing the bird’s beak. Repeat was finally quiet. Birds can be so brainless, Isabelle thought to herself. She scurried up the sand, and entered the beautiful forest she called “Palm Point”.
Palm trees stretched lazily at the front, followed by various kinds of trees afterword. Repeat flew behind Isabelle, his wings flapping with broad strokes. He was a loyal friend, even if he was sometimes annoying. The soft, lush grass beneath Isabelle’s toes felt good as she ran. Up ahead, Isabelle spotted a clear stream ahead. Dropping to her knees, she scooped the cold water with her hands, and drank it down. She didn’t realize how thirsty she was.
Life in Palm Point was wonderful.
Isabelle stood to her feet, and stepped a few feet towards her treehouse, which was made of planks of wood that had washed up on the shore, seaweed from the ocean, large leaves, and an old rag. She trudged up her wooden ladder, and stepped into the tree house. A small window shed splinters of light across the dark floor. Isabelle smiled, and got into her hammock, which served as her bed. She was proud of her work.
Repeat rested on the perch that Isabelle had built and tried again to speak. “Isabelle! Bad man! Bad man!” Isabelle rolled over and looked at Repeat. “What do you mean, bad man?” Isabelle asked with alarm. “Repeat? This is important. Where did you last see him?” Repeat flapped his wings, and soared out the window. “Come!” he squawked. Isabelle stood up.
She understood. Her island was in trouble. Isabelle knew that she would have to defend The West Islands.
To be continued…
Isabelle raced past the stream, through the wild jungle, and to the very edge of the forest, where she stopped abruptly. Carefully, she peeked through the palm trees and saw the remains of a boat. Planks of wood floated lazily on the waves, where a young girl clutched a piece.
The girl’s hair was twisted up in a bun, with a strand of blond hair dangling down. “Help!” she screeched. Isabelle rolled her eyes at Repeat, who stood behind her. “That’s not a man… that’s a lady!” Repeat seemed annoyed as well, and flew farther down the beach, as if to be showing Isabelle something. On the sand, stood a man.
He twisted his mustache, and greedily eyed the jungle. “Oh, yes, yes, this island is perfect,” he said to himself, with a yellow-toothed smile. Isabelle looked again at the water. But the girl wasn’t there. “Repeat, stay here. I think that girl is drown-” she didn’t finish, for she had already jumped into the water.
Feverishly, Isabelle searched underwater for the girl. Finally, she felt the child’s large hoop skirt brush her arm. Reaching down, Isabelle yanked the girl above water, and helped her to the shore. Coughing, the girl slowly pulled herself up.
“Are you okay?” Isabelle asked.
The young girl nodded and said, “I think so.” Isabelle smiled.
“Good, I’m glad.”
The child stood, and brushed sand off of her dress. “My name’s Elizabeth Courte,” she said, with an English accent. “What’s yours?”
Isabelle stood tall, and said, “Isabelle.”
“Oh, um, what’s your last name?” Elizabeth asked.
“Uh- well, you see, I don’t really know. I was abandoned here when I was young, and the pirates-”
Elizabeth cut her off. “Pirates? How fascinating!”
Isabelle frowned. “No they’re not. They’re horrible, murderous thieves!” Elizabeth didn’t try to argue.
Isabelle also didn’t feel like explaining her life story to Elizabeth, so instead she said, “Who’s your shipmate?”
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes at the man and huffed. “Oh, he’s the captain of my father’s ship, but he’s so greedy! He rammed the boat into a giant rock because he wasn’t paying attention. He was counting his money! So, that’s why I’m here.” Isabelle didn’t like the sound of this man.
“Elizabeth, get over here! Where have you been?!” he roared. Elizabeth looked hurt.
“As if you cared!” she cried. The man shoved her to the side. “Where’s that treasure chest?” he growled. What treasure chest? Isabelle thought to herself. “I’m not telling,” she said, placing her hands on her hips.
To be continued…
Isabelle locked eyes with the greedy, yellow-toothed man. Then, very slowly, she reached behind her back and tried to pull out her spear.
“Oh, no you don’t,” snarled the man, as he held out a pistol. “Don’t you dare make a move, or else-” he looked down at his gun.
Isabelle didn’t need any translations- she knew perfectly what he meant. But instead of giving up, Isabelle held out her spear. “How about a fight-or are you too scared?” she said.
“Ok, bring it on!” the man answered. Slowly, he pulled back the trigger, and- BANG!
Isabelle hopped to the side, and then realized with horror that Elizabeth was right behind her. There she lay, staring at her leg, which had been lightly hit by the bullet. “YOU! Ugh! I’ll get you for this you-you-” the murderous man gave an evil laugh, and turned to leave.
But Isabelle wasn’t finished with him.
Her spear whizzed through the air, and pegged him to a nearby tree by his sleeve. He wore a shocked expression, and then an ugly smile. “You’ll never be able to track me down, you silly, worthless little-”
Isabelle stalked up to him and grabbed him by the collar. “Don’t call me silly, or worthless again!”
The helpless thieve jerked back from Isabelle’s grip, and tore his sleeve in two, trying to get away. “I’ll find that chest myself!” he growled.
“No you won’t! You’ll never find it!” Isabelle yelled back angrily.
Then, Isabelle glanced down at her new friend and winced. Elizabeth needed help-and fast. So dragging her into the forest, Isabelle set her by a palm tree, and whistled for her pet tiger, Great Arrow. He was a great protector of Isabelle’s, and a trustworthy friend. She carefully lifted Elizabeth onto Great Arrow, and sent him off to her treehouse. “Be careful!” Isabelle called after Great Arrow. Then she picked up her spear, and narrowed her eyes. She had more work to do.
Swiftly, Isabelle swung through the vines, and dropped to the ground. Ahead of Isabelle loomed her giant trespasser. Quickly, she moved closer to her enemy. Then, Isabelle hopped into the tree above her prey, and dropped a giant net on him. The cruel man was caught. Or, at least, for now.
“Who are you?” Isabelle demanded. “You’re caught, so spill the beans, ‘k?”
The now-captive prisoner sighed, and glowered up at Isabelle. “Fine. Name’s Captan John.”
Captain John? Sounds familiar. Isabelle thought to herself.
“Captain of which crew?” she asked.
Isabelle gasped. The Skulls, her own-once-captors?! “Oh really,” Isabelle said with a smirk. “The Skulls? I remember them.”
“Isabelle?” Captain John gasped. “I thought you were dead!”
To be continued….
Isabelle narrowed her eyes at Captain John. “Well, I am alive, as you can see, and I’m not going anywhere!” She pulled the net off her prisoner. “But you, on the other hand, are. Now get off my island.” Captain John held out his pistol in a threatening gesture, and laughed.
“You really thought that I’d surrender without a fight? Because, I’d never do a stupid thing like that.” And with a chuckle, he disappeared into the jungle.
Isabelle despised The Skulls even more.
Reluctantly, she trudged along the spongy jungle floor to her tree house, where Elizabeth lay propped up by two pillows. She looked up at Isabelle and smiled the best she could. “You-you saved me!” she said weakly.
“I’ve never had a friend like you,” Isabelle answered. There was a moment of peaceful silence before Isabelle said, “Now, you got wounded pretty bad. I’m going to try to bandage your cut with this rag.” Elizabeth swallowed, and nodded as Isabelle wrapped the rag around her wound.
“By the way, uh-“ Elizabeth paused to wince at the pain. “I’m interested in your past. You know, what your life was like before you were here. You mentioned pirates…” she prompted. Isabelle smiled, and stood up to stretch her back. Rain gently drummed on the top of the tree house.
“Alright,” Isabelle replied. “I’ll tell you-but please remember, this is hard for me.”
Elizabeth sat up straight and nodded eagerly. “Oh I understand!” she agreed. Isabelle sighed, and then began.
“It all started one beautiful spring morning. My mother and father were sailing from Europe to Asia, and my mother soon became pregnant.”
“You mean, while she was on the boat?” Elizabeth interrupted.
“Yes. Now stop interrupting. Anyway, there was no doctor or anything, and eventually my mom was ready to give birth. My father searched everywhere on the boat, and found a young women who was training as a nurse.” Elizabeth was fascinated. “So, my dad begged for her help, and the lady agreed. And I was born. Healthy, and pretty…or at least that’s what my parents said,” she added quickly, seeing the suspicious look on Elizabeth’s face.
“I was raised on the ship. When we finally reached Asia, though, my family realized that we were actually not in Asia. So we got onto another ship. But, when I was seven, the boat was attacked by The Skulls.”
“Who’s that?” Elizabeth whispered.
“Just listen. They killed my parents, but captured me. I was so young, but so angry. The crew forced me to work as a servant, a cabin girl, a cook. Whatever job they didn’t want to do was given to me.”
As if in reply, the thunder cracked outside.
“Life was awful. I slept in a musty, dirty cabin served-well, let’s just say, living animals.” Elizabeth shuddered. “Mice in broth, was the usual. Anyway, The Skulls, who, to answer you’re question, were murderous pirates, decided they didn’t need me anymore. So, they docked at the nearest island, and marooned me there. And that’s pretty much it. I mean, I survived here for three years.”
“That’s awful, Isabelle,” Elizabeth said.
To be continued…
The pirate swung around, and grabbed a thorn out of his bottom.
Slowly, the captain stood to his feet, and looked around. He turned to his right. He turned to his left. Everywhere looked the same.
“Lost?” came a taunting voice from above. Captain John shaded his eyes to see Isabelle swinging from vine to vine.
“NO!” he yelled back. (But in his head he was saying ‘yes’ a million times. ) Isabelle dropped lightly to the wet ground.
She smiled at him, and sighed. “You know, I could easily get rid of you. But I’m getting lots of complaints from my….friends,” She figured that was the best word for the jungle animals, “and they want to deal with you personally.”
“You have friends?” Captain John questioned.
Isabelle laughed. “Don’t we all have at least one?” She wondered in her head, though, if Captain John really did have any. “Except maybe you,” she added quickly. Captain John glared at her. Silence.
“I’d like to meet these-what did you call them? Oh, yes-friends of yours.” His evil smile reappeared.
“Fine! But if you lay one finger on them you’re DEAD!”
“Alright,” he answered.
“Follow me,” answered Isabelle. Swiftly, she grabbed the Captain’s pistol from his belt. “And you won’t be needing this,” she added, tossing the weapon under a giant, menacing thorn bush. Now it was her turn for an evil smile. “Don’t fall behind!” she yelled, and pushed through a huge clump of elephant leaves.
Captain John realized there was nothing to do but follow, so reluctantly, he walked behind Isabelle. Every second or so, Isabelle would look behind her to double-check that Captain John was following.
When at last Isabelle and the pirate reached the treehouse, Isabelle swiveled around and said, “Now, I need to tell my friends you’re here, so don’t go anywhere or else-” she held up her clenched fist and glared. Captain John nodded.
He watched as Isabelle climbed up the complicated staircase and opened a large window. Every friend of Isabelle’s-or the birds she had befriended- flew out the window all at once. Repeat zipped out first, and attacked Captain John on the behind.
“OUCHY!!” Then it was the ground animals’ turn. From behind the treehouse, came Great Arrow, a cheetah, a hippo, and a great big bear. They lunged for the pirate.
Isabelle shut the window and turned to Elizabeth. She was sharpening one of Isabelle’s homemade arrows.
“Let’s go get that scoundrel!” she said with a smile.
To be continued…
Elizabeth nodded. “Ok. You go to his right, and I’ll go to the left.” Isabelle was excited, and really wanted Captain John off the island.
“Got it.” Quietly, she tiptoed down the ladder, around the back of the treehouse, and all the way to where Captain John stood. He was wildly waving his arms, in hope to fend off the animals. Isabelle looked at Elizabeth, and mouthed the words, “Go!”.
Then both girls moved behind Captain John. Then, at the same time, they jumped up.
“AHHH!” screeched Captain John.
Isabelle pulled out her spear, and poked the pirate’s back. “Leave my island now!” she bellowed. Captain John swerved around and, with a swift movement, knocked the spear from Isabelle’s hand.
“No. You leave. And tell those brainless birds, tigers, cheetahs-AH, GET IT OFF- and bears to back off!” he yelled back in pain. Isabelle swallowed.
Then, in a very low whisper she said, “Great Arrow, retreat. Tell the ground animals to leave. Repeat, do the same.”
Elizabeth looked at her with a long, confused gaze. Trust me, Isabelle hoped she got the message. She watched as her tiger lead his army away from the enemy. Repeat was a little slower.
“Learned your lesson? Learned your lesson?” squawked the parrot at Captain John. Isabelle was mad now. “Repeat, I said LEAVE!” Repeat squawked a few orders to his bird friends, and then flew away.
“Ah, Captain John,” began Isabelle, “you have a choice. Tell us where the treasure is, and we’ll safely deliver you back to where ever you live. Or, don’t tell us, and get forced off the island. Your choice.”
She glared at Captain John, all the while wishing Elizabeth knew what she was supposed to do.
Finally, Elizabeth left, climbing up into the treehouse, searching for weapons. Captain John had not noticed, still surprised by Isabelle’s obvious command over the animals.
“So what will it be?” Isabelle asked, tapping the jungle floor with her foot. “Time is ticking by…oh, and speaking of that, if you don’t choose something soon, I will properly dispose of you,” she motioned to Elizabeth, who staggered under the weight of all the weapons.
Captain John sighed deeply, as if thinking about what he should do. The lass could be lying, he thought to himself, but she could not be. I do want to see my family. Hmmm…
“Hurry up!” urged Isabelle, shattering Captain John’s thoughts. She picked a shiny sword off the top of the pile of weapons. “Or else…”
Captain John swallowed. “Fine. My answer is…..
To be continued…
“OWWW!” screeched Elizabeth.
Isabelle frantically tried to pull Elizabeth by her ankles from Captain John’s tight grasp, but the pain just grew.
With one final yank, Captain John had pulled Elizabeth from Isabelle’s grasp. “You won’t get away with this!” Isabelle screamed at him.
But Captain John was already gone in the distance.
Isabelle knew that Elizabeth would be as good as gone if she didn’t try to rescue her, so she didn’t wait a second before planning her attack. Isabelle had Repeat supervise the situation from the sky, and told Great Arrow to follow Captain John silently in the shadows.
Now if Isabelle could only get there fast. She looked around. What could she use to- Wait! That’s it! she thought, the treasure chest! If I can just figure out where it is! Suddenly, Isabelle looked down and spotted a treasure map. She swooped down, and picked it up, fingering the rough paper. On the front of the paper was the map part, and on the back of the paper was this strange riddle: “Twins are two. Two there is.”
Isabelle wondered what that meant. Still pondering, Isabelle followed the smudgy directions all the way to a rumbling waterfall she had named, “Thunder Falls”.
Isabelle gently placed the map on a seaweed-covered rock, and walked into the icy water. It felt good, tingling all the way up her legs and to her waist. She tried to think where a pirate would hide his treasure, when she felt water roar over head. Isabelle shot her hand through the strong waters and stopped. Was that the chest?
Isabelle stepped through the waterfall and stood, amazed at what she saw: a huge, pad-locked, treasure chest. Carefully, she lugged the chest back to shore. Once there, Isabelle smashed it open. Inside were two treasure chests: or twins! Isabelle smiled, and pulled out the first chest and hid it behind a bush. Then she put mangos in the larger one for fake weight. Carefully, Isabelle lugged the chest through the jungle and to the shore of the island. Captain John was in the middle of trying to reconstruct a boat, but was failing.
“Hey, Captain!” Isabelle yelled. She held up the chest for him to see. “Want it? Give me Elizabeth and it’s yours!” She tossed the chest across the sand.
Instantly, Captain John lunged for the box. “Oh, treasure! How I love treasure!” he mumbled. “Elizabeth, you’re free.” he added quickly. Elizabeth walked over to Isabelle, and gave her a confused look.
“Trust me,” Isabelle whispered. Elizabeth nodded.
Meanwhile, Captain John was loading the chest onto his tiny “boat”. He was walloping with joy, and didn’t even care if the boat was completely useless. Using a makeshift oar, Captain John paddled away. Once a good ways in the ocean, he opened the chest.
“WHAT?!” his shocked screams could be heard from the shore. Elizabeth still looked puzzled.
“There were two chests in one,” explained Isabelle. “The first one had the real treasure, which I hid in a bush. The second box was empty, so for weight I added mangoes.” she smiled smugly, and chuckled. “And he fell for it!”
Elizabeth smiled warmly at her new friend. There was a long moment of silence before Elizabeth then said, “Isabelle? I really don’t have a home now, since I’m shipwrecked. Would you mind if I stayed?” she looked hopefully at Isabelle.
“Of course!” Isabelle laughed. And the two girls walked hand-in-hand back into the jungle.