2010 Totem Head Story Contest Honorable Mention: "The Life of a Monster" By Emma Tavangari, 9 years old, Encino, California.
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Honorable Mention

Story Title: The Life of a Monster

So there I was, crouching behind the dumpster, hoping that they wouldn’t see me.  As they passed, I slithered out from my hiding place and darted across the alley.  I stopped behind an ice cream shop and wiped the sweat off my brow.

"That was close," I thought to myself.  In fact that was as close as it had ever gotten.  I’m Ricky Stein, a normal kid—well, as normal as you can be while being a monster.  A real monster.  Not one of those silly, furry creatures that humans call monsters.  My face is all human, but from my hips down I’m green, and I slither on the ground.  I’ve also got large claws that could rip through metal.  I spend most of my time trying to hide from a group of scientists who want to experiment on me and turn me into their command.  It was these scientists who made me what I am today.

When I was just a baby, the scientists took me away from my parents and held me prisoner in their lab.  They injected different chemicals into me.  One night my legs started to disappear, and I started growing claws.  I grew a snake’s body from the hips down, and my claws continued to grow.  My snake’s body started turning a sickly green, and my claws sharpened.  I escaped the next night.  With my newfound claws, I ripped through the metal chains that bound me to my cot.  I slithered out the door with hope in my heart: hope of a new life and hope of my new freedom.

At first, things were rough for me.  I was still a baby after all.  That first winter I almost starved, not to mention froze to death.  I didn’t have anywhere to go, so I ended up spending chilly nights shivering on the cement.  Life was hard, but as I grew, I became more accustomed to it.  I build a small shelter for myself in the park.  Fortunately, the scientists didn’t look for me when I was too young, otherwise I would have had no chance of escaping.

But the day came when they spotted me snatching food from the local grocery market.  And they pursued me for what seemed like years.  I was exhausted to points of unconsciousness, and starved to the point where hunger gnawed mercilessly at my stomach.  I needed food, and I needed it fast.  Then by some miracle, a girl in a flowing robe and adorned in expensive finery curiously peered at me from across the park.

At first I thought I was hallucinating.  If it were real, she would have run away screaming.  She cautiously approached me.  She stood next to me and saw my gray face.  She knelt down and put my head on her lap.  I was too weak to fight back.  As I rested my head against her legs, I collapsed and fell unconscious.

I awoke in a small, neat room.  The girl was staring at me intently.  I gathered my strength and tried to sit up.

"Easy there monster-boy," she said as she helped me up.

With her help, I was sitting up and eating a piece of buttered toast.

"Who are you?" I asked curiously.

"I’m Jocelyn," she said.  "And you are?"

"Ricky," I said.  "Um, thanks."

"No problem," Jocelyn stated.  "How did you get, you know, like a monster?"

I told her my story, and she listened, clearly fascinated.  I owed my life to her.  I couldn’t thank her enough.  She saved me from my worst enemies.  That’s why we’re standing here behind the dumpster, together, fleeing from the scientists.

Written By:  Emma Tavangari, 9 years old, Encino, California.

Link to Free Writing Contest for Kids

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