2012 Totem Head Story Contest Finalist:"The Mystery Box" By Kelly Maeda, 11 years old, Wildwood, MO.
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2012 Contest Finalist


The Mystery Box
Written By:   Kelly Maeda, 11 years old, Wildwood, MO.

So there I was talking on the phone to my friend Skye...

"We’re eating dinner at five tonight, okay?" I asked Skye.

"Yeah allright," she replied before hanging up.

"Mom, Kathleen and Skye are both coming to dinner tonight," I shouted down the stairs.

"Allright honey," said Mom.

Skye and Kathleen showed up a few minutes later carrying their sleeping bags. When my mom heard them enter she called out, "We’ll be eating in 15 minutes girls. Hope everyone likes pizza!"

"Yay," cheered Skye.

I helped my friends unpack their stuff until it was dinner time. After we finished eating our pizza outside on the porch, Kathleen suggested we go explore the attic of my house. "I’ve heard stories from the kids who used to live in your house that there are mysterious things up there," she said.

So we climbed the narrow stairway to the attic. Behind an old rocking chair Louisa spotted an odd looking box covered in a thick layer of dust. She tried to lift the lid but it wouldn’t budge. Looking around the room I spotted a key dangling from a piece of yarn that was tacked to the wall. "Let’s see if this will open it," I said barely able to contain my excitement. Maybe the box contained a pirate’s booty or who knew what kind of surprise. I handed the key to Kathleen who put it into the keyhole and slowly turned it. Skye and I took a hesitant step backward as Louisa slowly lifted the lid.

We peered inside to get a better look and saw some kind of round shape at the bottom of the box. All of a sudden the shape began to rotate turning faster and faster until it rose out of the box like a small tornado. Louisa was enveloped by the spinning vortex and...disappeared!

Skye and I ran towards the attic stairs to try get away but we didn’t go three steps when the swirling winds overtook us. I shrieked and grabbed her hand just before we fell, plunging through pitch darkness. We landed on our backs on a patch of grass and roledl right into Kathleen.

For a moment no one said a thing. After she had caught her breath Skye spoke up, "What just happened?"

"I don’t know but let’s get out of here."

Skye stood up swaying unsteadily. She slowly raised her arm pointing at something behind me. "W-what is that?" she cried.

Kathleen and I both looked in the same direction she was pointing. A bluish puff of smoke was coming from a small pot. Skye realized what it probably was, "A genie!"

She was right of course. It looked like the genies in all the fairy tale books we had ever read had come to life.

"You have become part of a game called Escape. You three must find your way out of this box before your time runs out."

"Why? What will happen if we don’t?" I asked.

"If your time runs out, you’ll turn to dust and never return home," the genie said. We were starting to not like this genie.

"How much time do we have?" asked Skye.

The genie pointed to a large hourglass which we hadn’t noticed before and handed us a back pack. "There are things in here that you’ll need to escape," he turned to go and added, "Oh, and watch out for the rats."

"What rats?" Skye said but the genie had already vanished.

"Well, that’s just great," I pouted.

"We don’t have much time, let’s find a way out of here," said Kathleen.

"How?" asked Skye.

"Are you guys good at mazes?" I asked and pointing at a labyrinth that had just appeared before us as mysteriously as the hourglass.

Kathleen suddenly remembered the backpack the genie had given them. "Let’s see if there is anything in here that can help us."

I peered inside the pack and found a piece of paper that read, "Cross the bridge just don’t look down for you will fall and you will drown."

"Is that the bridge?" questioned Skye.

Without stopping to answer Kathleen sprinted across, followed by Skye and I. It was too late when we noticed the other side of the bridge was guarded by a giant rat.

"Kathleen do something!" Skye shouted. Without thinking, Kathleen reached into the backpack and pulled out a tennis racket. She hit the rat with all her might until he went spinning into the air and disappeared.

We looked ahead and saw a red ribbon with the word "FINISH" stretched across the horizon. With a sliver of sunlight left and the hourglass almost empty we charged across the finish line. We were soon engulfed by the same kind of tornado that earlier had blown us into the game box.

When they opened their eyes they were back in the attic next to the now locked box.

"Let’s never open this box again," I said.

The three of us took the box outside each grabbing a handle and threw it into the woods.

A few days later, a couple of kids from the neighborhood came across an old dusty, wooden box in the woods...




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