SHORT STORIES FOR KIDS
Published by Dan Mazur at Shakespir
Copyright 2016 Dan Mazur
All who lived in the Kingdom of Masovia grew up hearing and fearing The Legend of the Sea Monster. The giant creature had lived for centuries in the Masuria Ocean but had never been seen. T’was quite the ugly beast with a big red eye, green scaly skin, and a mouthful of jagged yellow teeth. One day a group of fisherman noticed was growing increasingly angry. T’wasn’t a storm that had assailed their vessel but the legendary sea monster himself! Only one of the men survived the mayhem. The others had been eaten by the massive beast from the depths. Aye! The tall tale was true after all as the behemoth slithered closer towards the unsuspecting kingdom.
The Sorcerer warned the King that his kingdom had been cursed because of his selfishness and greed. The Royal Family lived in a luxurious castle surrounded by nobility while the villagers barely survived. Frightened for his people, the King besought the Sorcerer to make the creature go away. “The only way thou canst appease the beast is to offer him thy daughter, the Princess.” “Never! I shall assemble a band of warriors to slay the monster before he vanquishes all of my subjects.” “Oh what have I wrought upon my kingdom?” the King wondered aloud.
A Royal Proclamation was made requesting the noblest of warriors to defeat the sea serpent before he cometh ashore. Whomever slayed the beast would be offered the hand of the lovely princess in return.
The battle cry was sounded as a band of stout men readied to send the beast back to depths from whence he came. The sea serpent’s roar immediately struck fear into the hardest of hearts. The once heroic soldiers decided to drop their weapons and ran way seeking a safe place to hide.
Ben was a peasant who worked on his family’s farm, just outside the kingdom walls. He had heard that a massive sea monster was lurking somewhere in his midst. A humble lad by nature, Ben always fancied himself a hero that was brave and strong. “At nightfall I shalt slay the monster and win the Princess’s hand.” Whilst the rest of the village began drifting off to sleep, Ben would confront the creature armed with only his cunning and his steely resolve.
At dusk, the sun began to give way to the moon. Ben stole a fisherman’s boat and rowed out to the middle of the ocean where the monster decided to lay. T’was so dark that only the pale moon could provide him with enough light to navigate his way through the choppy waters. He rowed and rowed, his arms starting to ache, when finally he came upon the humungous beast. If he weren’t so menacing t’would truly be a sight to behold. The monster lay still as a cool ocean breeze lulled it into a deep slumber.
The gentle rocking of the waves against his boat had also calmed Ben’s raging soul. His eyelids growing heavy, he drifted off into a sleep so soothing and so sweet. He was awoken by the creature who let out the most furious yawn. As the monster opened its massive jaws, Ben’s boat and several fish were swallowed whole. Trapped inside a prison made of sharp, pointy teeth, his cries went unheard. Inside the creature were the bones of those fearless enough to venture where others dare not tread.
Ben feared he would be fated to spending his final days inside the belly of this behemoth. A comforting silence soon filled the anatomy of the savage monster. Soon Ben began to hear the pumping of the sea serpent’s heart. Armed with a knife and bucket of hot coals he stole from the Blacksmith, Ben cut the beast and scalded his heart with the contents of his rusty bucket.
The sea serpent howled in agony thrusting Ben and his boat to whence his odyssey began. “Ye shalt never plague the Kingdom of Masovia again you vilest of creatures!” Ben proclaimed. Fearful of being condemned to the gallows for his thievery, Ben was reluctant to come ashore. Waiting for him was the King and his daughter, the lovely Princess. “Thou hast saved my kingdom from the scourge of that wretched beast!” the King announced. Ben shared a bashful smile with the Princess as they both began to blush. Ben’s courage had won him the Princess’s heart. The pair were to be married and everyone in the kingdom was invited regardless of their social standing.
The fate of the giant sea serpent further added to the creature’s mystique. Many of Masovia’s people continue to speculate that the monster still exists as they are fearful of setting foot in the ominous sea. Some believe that the monster is biding his time at the bottom of the ocean plotting his revenge. Many bold and some would say foolish souls hath sought out the remains of the beast only to never be heard from again. Seeing the error of his ways, the King vowed to bequeath all of his wealth to the villagers who toiled in the fields for so many years. Their efforts would no longer go for naught. Until his passing, the King had transformed into a benevolent ruler known for his kindness and generosity.
When the king died, Ben inherited the crown and took his place on the throne next to the new Queen. He and Queen Remington began their reign as rulers of the Kingdom of Masovia.” “Huzzah for the new King and Queen!” their appreciative subjects sang in the streets as bells chimed and doves were released into the bright blue sky. The new Royal Family would continue to govern the Kingdom of Masovia as a fair and just nation. The royal couple were beloved by all of their subjects and would live happily ever after.
Every year our school would get to go on a ski trip in February. Unfortunately we had to cancel the past two years because there wasn’t enough snow. But this winter was cold and snowy. I couldn’t wait to snowboard with my buddies.
There it was. Mount Maze. This was my fourth time here but I never got tired of that beautiful landscape. Everyone on the bus pressed their faces against the window to get a good look at the mountain and the trees.
We weren’t allowed to go on the big hills. And absolutely nobody was allowed to go down the big slopes. We were warned to never climb aboard the ski lift. One kid did a few years ago and got sent home. I don’t know why. Looked pretty safe to me.
Snowboarding on the small hills was beginning to get boring. I liked the rush I got when I went down some of the bigger hills. I looked up at the people going up the ski lift. The view must be so awesome up there. But I shouldn’t go up there……..should I?
“Let’s go” my friend said. “I’ll be there soon.” “I can’t wait much longer Max. I’m freezing” he said as he headed back to the lodge. That’s what I should’ve done but instead I headed over to the ski lift and snuck on as a couple of skiers got off.
The view was incredible from way up high. It was also very cold. The wind had picked up and it was starting to snow. The ski lift started to sway back and forth and I started to get nervous. I turned around and yelled “stop the ride!” but nobody was behind me. I was all alone.
I jumped off the ski lift, closed my eyes and hoped for the best. I landed on top of mountain. “Nicely done!” I told myself. I could be in the X-Games with moves like that. I felt my board start to tip forward. Oh oh! I was starting to slide down the mountain!
So far, so good. I was gliding down the hill like a pro until I fell off my board. I ended up tumbling down the mountain. I did more rolling than sliding as everything started spinning around me. This was the worst ride ever and I wanted it to end.
Somehow I managed to survive my tumble. I landed in a group of trees that helped break my fall. Hey, where’s my snowboard? I just got that for Christmas and my parents would be so angry if I lost it. “Looking for this?” a voice called out.
“Nice to see you after all of these years Max.” It was Hank the Snowman. My classmates and I had made him three years ago. But why was he still here? He should’ve melted by now. “Here’s your snowboard.” “Yeah, uh, thanks” I replied still in shock.
“If you think a talking snowman is weird just wait till you hear what else I’d see.” “C’mon follow me.” I knew that I should’ve called out for help but after getting on the ski lift, falling down a mountain, and meeting a talking snowman I figured, why stop now?
Back at the ski lodge, Mr. MGee’s Grade 6 class was relaxing from a busy day of skiing. “Has anyone seen Max?” the teacher asked. “I thought he was coming back to the lodge with me but when I turned around, he was gone” Skip replied. “Oh no! Max is missing!”
“Have you ever heard of the Ice Age Max?” “Oh yeah. I like those movies.” “No, the one that happened millions of years ago. You see there are many different theories as to what caused it and why it ended. Was it an asteroid? Climate change? Humans?” “Boring! I came here for fun and not to learn stuff.”
“Well, this has been fun but I should get back to the lodge.” Just as I turned around a sabre-tooth tiger bit my snowboard in half. “Now Snarf, that wasn’t very nice. Max is my friend.” “Good kitty” I whimpered. “I thought they were extinct.” “They were but the planet is warming up so much that some of them are coming back and they’re a little cranky. “They?”
Back at the cabin, the Park Rangers tried to stop keep everyone calm. “Don’t worry. We’ll find your friend” the Rescue Team Leader said. “We have to act fast. It’s starting to really snow and it will be dark soon. I will let you know when we find him.” “Thanks Ranger” Mr. McGee said.” “We’ll do our best. Let’s go boys!”
“That’s Slick the Giant Sloth.” “Good day Slick. This is my friend Max. I’m teaching him all about the Ice Age.” “Fascinating. I know the wooly mammoths have been around. He’ll get a real kick out of seeing them in person.”
“Look at that Max. A herd of Giant Elk. Aren’t they majestic?” “They are pretty cool looking.” Suddenly they began to run away as if they were running for their lives. “What’s going on?” “Stay close to me” Hank warned.
“Who are those brutes?” I asked looking at a pair of burly, bearded men. “That’s Hanz and Franz. A couple of cavemen. Looks like they’re here for their supper.” “Oingo Boingo!” grunted one of the cavemen as they drew closer to Hank and I.
Snarf bolted in front of us and growled at the cavemen. They began running away with the big cat nipping at the heels. As I exhaled something occurred to me. I was going to be in so much trouble with my teacher and at home if I didn’t get back soon. I’d probably be grounded until the next Ice Age.
“What’s wrong Max?” “I’m cold, I’m tired, and I really need to get back to the lodge.” “Tell you what, I’ll take you to see the wooly mammoths and then we’ll help you get home.” “Deal!”
“Look! There’s a female over there with one of her babies. Let’s go take a peek.” “Wow! They’re so furry.” “I’m going to go for a wooly mammoth ride. Watch this. Yee Haw!” “Be careful up there. You don’t want to………fall.” “Ooofff!” Hank tried not to laugh as I landed head first in a pile of snow.
A member of the search party looking for Max found his red hat on top of the mountain. He called the rest of the team and soon more helicopters arrived. All of the buzzing from the helicopters started to make the mountain shake. “Oh no! Avalanche!” “What’s going on? Why are they running?” I shouted. “I think it’s an avalanche. Run! Run!” “What about you?” “I don’t have feet!” “Oh, right.”
As I ran I started seeing more and more prehistoric creatures. I saw a wooly rhinoceros, a Glyptodont, which was a big armadillo-looking creature (I just learned that today), as well as …..Mr. Snuffleupagus?
“I kept running from the avalanche but I had no idea where I was going. The last thing I remember I was face to face with an angry sabre-tooth tiger.”
I woke up in bed by a roaring fire as I could hear two men talking. “Poor kid is in shock. Found him lying in the snow babbling about the Ice Age” one of the rescuers said. “He just needs a good sleep and a hot bath. Kids and their imaginations these days.” “Yeah. I’ll be on the look-out for a wooly mammoth” he joked as the two laughed. “Alright, let’s get going.”
Tonight public speaking contest was held at Chet’s elementary school. The top five students were selected to present in front of the judges and family members. All of the contestants had to give a ten minute speech about their heroes. Everybody chose a family member except for Chet. He spoke about his hero, Captain Cool.
Chet’s Dad seemed a little upset to have not been chosen as his son’s hero. Captain Cool was Norseman City’s protector, a super hero with charisma and good looks. Chet came in second but didn’t seem too disappointed. His Dad smiled and hugged him as he returned to his seat. Chet fell asleep on the ride home while his Dad just stared in silence.
The next day was Chet’s birthday. He got lots of gifts from his friends and family. His Dad told him he had one more gift and slipped him an envelope. When he opened it up, Chet’s face lit up. His Dad had paid for his son to spend the day with Captain Cool, his favourite superhero! The Captain would be picking him up the following morning.
Chet could barely sleep that night. He was going to be Captain Cool’s sidekick for the whole day! It must have cost his Dad a fortune. No wonder he was working so many extra hours. Finally it was morning and Chet could hear a helicopter overhead. It was the “Cool ‘Copter.” His hero had arrived!
A booming voice came from the helicopter, “Chet Higgins, its Captain Cool. Are you ready to save Norseman City with me?” Chet ran outside where he hopped into the Cool Copter. He didn’t bother to say “goodbye” to either his Mom or Dad.
Chet couldn’t believe it. There he was with his hero Captain Cool looking for bad guys. “Hold on Chet, I see my arch-enemy The Dragon causing trouble again. Be right back.” Captain Cool jumped out of his helicopter, landed on his feet, and took out The Dragon with a laser blast from his goggles. “That was awesome!” Chet shouted.
“Where are we going now Captain Cool?” “I’m taking you to my secret hideout, ‘The Cool House.’ You’re the first person to ever see it.” “Wow!” The Cool House was on an island in the middle of the ocean. The roof opened up and Captain Cool landed safely inside. As he stepped out of the chopper Chet’s jaw dropped. “Whoa!”
“Did you build all of this yourself?” “No, I bought them with my allowance.” “Allowance? Aren’t you 30 years old?” “Yeah, but my parents promised if I fought crime they would keep giving me money. Plus being a superhero has made me famous, popular, and the ladies love me.” “I thought you did it because you were brave and wanted to protect our city?” “Meh” he responded.
“Okay bro, I’m heading out for the night.” “Where?” “I have a date. I’ll have my phone with me but only call if it’s an emergency.” “But I don’t have your number!” “Exactly.” “What am I supposed to do here all by myself?” “Uh, play with this sword!” “Ciao baby!” Chet was beginning to realize that his hero wasn’t that heroic after all.
While Captain Cool was on his date, Chet was getting bored. It was getting late and he just wanted to go home. Suddenly a loud alarm sounded before a voice said, “Special Alert! The Dragon has escaped and has been seen in the Fascination Street area of Norseman City.” “Fascination Street? That’s my street!” With no Captain Cool around, Chet decided to do something very bold.
Chet got into the jet and headed off to confront The Dragon. He didn’t know how to fly but somehow he got the jet started. He flew past the restaurant where Captain Cool happened to be having dinner. “That is so interesting Trixie, now let’s talk about me some more….Hey! That’s my jet! I gotta run!” “You’re very good looking Captain Cool, tee hee.” “I know.”
Chet had no idea what all of the buttons inside the jet did. He started pressing all of them to see what would happen. He pressed the red one and ended up being ejected from the jet. He ended up falling to the ground, right in front of The Dragon. Things were not looking good for Chet when he heard his Dad’s voice. “Get off my lawn!”
Chet’s Dad put on Captain Cool’s goggles and was able to shoot a laser beam at The Dragon. The goggles were so powerful that his Dad went flying against the house. “Dad! Dad!” Chet yelled as he ran over to his father who wasn’t moving. The police came to arrest the Dragon and an ambulance rushed Chet’s Dad to the hospital. And then Captain Cool finally appeared.
“Great work kid! Where are the cameras? I’m ready to do my thing.” “I thought you were my hero but you’re a big phony. My Dad’s the real hero. He worked hard to buy the best birthday present he could. Too bad that present was you, Ashley!” “Shhhh, how’d you find out my real name?” he whispered. Chet then knocked him down with a laser blast.
Thankfully his Dad was going to be okay. Chet realized that heroes don’t need to have special powers or wear cool costumes to be super. He had a great Dad who loved him and that’s all that mattered. A new poster hangs in Chet’s room now. And on that poster are Chet and his true hero, his Dad.
I was a happy 10 year old girl. I had lots of friends, loved going to school, dancing, and playing soccer. But lately I’ve been feeling afraid that something bad was going to happen.
I’d always get nervous before my Saturday morning soccer games. I was pretty good and it was fun. But I wanted to score every game. I had to be the best player on the field and I didn’t want to lose.
I always wanted have the right answer or say something smart. My hand was up every time the teacher asked a question. If I didn’t get all A’s I would be very disappointed in myself.
I had a long busy day and yet I wasn’t tired. I was wide awake. Why can’t I sleep? My heart was going boom, boom, boom. I tossed and turned kicking my blankets to the floor. I was kind of afraid to look under my bed for the blanket.
“C’mon Dee” I told myself, “You’re a big girl now. There are no monsters under your bed.” I felt around for my blanket on the floor. Got it! “See, nothing to worry about. There was nothing there except for a few toys and a green monster. A GREEN MONSTER???????
“Good evening. My name is Phineas Fergal. Don’t be afraid.” Snort! “I’m not! Ha, ha, ha!” “What’s so funny?” “My friend Remy has a budgie named Phineas and he poops all over the house.” “Um, okay. Anyways…..hey, are you okay?”
Suddenly I couldn’t breathe. I felt dizzy, like the room was spinning. I was all sweaty and my heart was racing. This was really scary. “Mom! Dad! I can’t breathe!” And just as quickly as that feeling came it went away. I ended up spending the rest of the night in my parents’ bed.
The next morning I was exhausted. I didn’t sleep a wink. And what was with that green monster named Phineas? Was he real? Was he a dream or a nightmare? I thought you had to be asleep to have dreams or nightmares. Just so sleepy……….
“As I got ready for bed, Phineas reappeared. He wanted to talk about what was bothering me. I don’t know why. I was fine. “Not tonight Phineas. I have school and ballet class tomorrow.” He seemed a little disappointed. “Okay then. Have a good sleep. I’m off to play cards with The Boogeyman and The Tooth Fairy. “
During the next couple of weeks I would have these little “attacks” where I felt like I was drowning. They were short but they made me so tired. My dance recital was coming up soon and I had rehearsals every night. Every time I made a mistake I would get so angry at myself. “C’mon Dee! You can do better!”
I used to be so confident. People always said that I was mature for my age. But now I doubted myself. I was afraid to do anything because I thought I’d make a mistake. Phineas tried to give me some tips but I just wouldn’t listen. I didn’t want to listen.
AT his card game, Phineas discussed his little friend with the Boogeyman and The Tooth Fairy. “Dee’s really a good kid.” “Do you have an 8?” asked The Boogeyman. “Go Fish! She’s just too hard on herself. She wants to be the best at everything. She’s afraid to make mistakes. I wish I knew who put these ridiculous ideas in her head.”
“I’m worried about Dee. She hasn’t been herself lately. She used to enjoy soccer and dancing but now she just runs up to her room when she gets home.” “I know what you mean Blanche. I told her to go out there and have fun. She told me she didn’t have time for fun.” “Hmmm. So it’s not her parents” Phineas concluded.
“And so my parents are going to buy me brand new ballet slippers for the recital. They totally think that I’m the best dancer, student, and daughter in the world. Don’t you wish you were me?” “Bingo! Now I know who the culprit is” Phineas said to himself.
“5 minutes until show time girls. Go make Madame Zelda proud!” Dee was feeling incredibly nervous. She was starting to have problems breathing. “Watch and learn Dee. Tonight is going to be my night to shine.” Dee started to feel woozy. “Okay girls, it’s time!”
“Pssst! Dee!” “Phineas? What are you doing here?” “You can do this. Don’t be nervous. You’re a good dancer. Go out there and have fun. That’s all that matters. Take deep breaths and try to think happy thoughts. You can do this.” “You’re right. Thanks Phineas and nice tutu by the way” she giggled.
I was so nervous as I stepped onto the stage. I tried to take deep breaths and think positively. But I started to panic. I couldn’t remember any of the steps! I nearly fell down a couple of times and thought about running off the stage. But then I saw Stella struggling. I felt so bad for her.
She tripped and almost fell. Then she started to cry so I scooped her up and finished the routine. The audience gave us a standing ovation. I looked over to see my parents clapping and crying as well as some other ‘friends’ of mine. This felt amazing.
“BRAVO! BRAVO! ENCORE! ENCORE!” the crowd shouted. “GO FISH!” “Shhh, we’re at the ballet” Phineas scolded The Boogeyman. Swan Lake Junior had been a success!
“Thanks Dee. You saved me out there” Stella said. “No, we did it together.” “My parents are going to be so upset with me. I ruined everything.” “Listen Stella, I learned that you don’t have to be the best at everything you do. All you can do is try your best and have fun.”
The weekends go by way too fast. I dread Sunday night. I start looking at the clock after dinner as every hour it gets closer to being Monday morning.
I do my best acting job every Monday to try getting out of having to go to school. But my Mom never buys it. “You’re not sick. Now get out bed and get ready for school.” Drat!
There was nothing better than a day or two away from school. I’d watch my sister leave while I relaxed on the couch. After “The Price is Right”, I would drink tea, eat Arrowroot cookies, and watch soap operas with my Mom all afternoon.
But not today. Nope. It was off to school for this guy. I was not happy about it. Maybe I would get a “headache” at lunch and call home for a ride. I just didn’t want to go to school. I took my time getting on the bus as the driver started to honk the horn.
I used to like school. I got good marks, played sports, and won spelling contests. But that was at my old school. Oh how I miss that place. I was a much happier boy back then.
I was at a different school now and didn’t have many friends. I was made fun of on the bus and in the locker room. Sometimes it made me angry. I was just quiet and not hurting anyone. Why couldn’t they just leave me alone?
I couldn’t wait until the final bell rang on Friday afternoon. I rushed home as quickly as possible. I had homework and tests to study for but that wasn’t going to happen. I was going to lock myself in my room and just hide. I was safe there.
Every weekend it was the same thing. I’d only leave my room for dinner, snacks, or to use the bathroom. Whenever the phone rang I would yell out to my Mom to tell whoever was calling that I wasn’t home.
I was failing tests and my grades were terrible. And honestly, I didn’t care. I was lost. My marks and attitude were terrible and I blamed everyone including my family. I didn’t want to listen to another lecture from my parents. They didn’t understand what was happening to me. Heck, neither did I. The only thing I could do was to RUN!
I was going to run away from my problems, school, the other kids, my family, my life, my feelings, my sadness, everything, and anyone. I’d run until I couldn’t breathe anymore. I’d run until I was a million miles from home. Just run.
I ran so hard and so fast. I was all alone and it was great. All I could hear was the pounding of my heart in my ears and my feet hitting the ground. I ran and I ran until I couldn’t run anymore. I ended up collapsing on the grass gasping for air.
When I opened my eyes, I noticed that I wasn’t alone. There was a strange looking creature staring back at me. It looked like a crab, a hermit crab. “Hello there. My name is Herman” the crab said. I couldn’t say a word. I’m not sure if I was more shocked at how weird he looked or by the fact that he spoke. Maybe both.
“Some family bought me at a pet store. They didn’t know anything about me. The kids were always trying to pick me up and play with me. I’m very shy so I found a shell and spent all my time in there. My family grew frustrated and bored with me so they just dumped me off at a beach. I was a “throwaway pet”.
I felt so alone after my family dumped me off. I just wanted to be by myself and didn’t hang out with other crabs at the beach. If it were up to me, I’d crawl into my shell and live there forever. But I wanted to live life and not hide from it. “So what did you do?” I asked.
“While I didn’t have many friends, I did feel comfortable with a seagull named Jonathan. I was very awkward around other animals. I also felt sad and I didn’t know why or how to fix it. One day I just decided to tell Jonathan how I was feeling. He just sat and listened. He let me talk and the next thing you know, I felt better.”
“And?” I asked. “And what?” “Is that it?” “That was only the beginning for me. These feelings will always be with me but I know how to deal with them now. I’m sure you have people in your life that you can talk to.” “I do, but I don’t want to bug them with this.”
“Talking about what’s bugging you takes a lot of courage Archie. But it’ll make you feel so much better when you do. It’ll really help you to come out of your shell. Get it?” It was such a bad pun that both Herman and I started to laugh. “Archie, where are you?” It was my Dad.
“I’ve got to run but I will take your advice Herman. See you later!” “Wait! Could you at least toss me back in the ocean before you go?” “Sure” I said as I sent him flying towards the beach. “Thanks!”
When I got home my parents weren’t mad at me at all. They were just worried. I took Herman’s advice and made time to talk to them whenever I felt sad or overwhelmed. And you know what, it worked. It felt like a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
Slowly but surely my grades started to improve. I went from a C average to getting A’s and B’s. I studied for tests and stayed after class to get help with my math homework. The old Archie was back baby!
At the end of the school year, my Dad took the whole family out to celebrate. “Hey, how about we go to Red Lobster?” “Nooooooo!” I screamed thinking of Herman. “I mean let’s go for pizza instead.” Then I sat back in my seat, closed my eyes, and smiled.
Imogen was so excited to be going on vacation with her parents. She had never been outside of Canada before. The moment the plane landed at the airport her face lit up. She was in a tropical paradise.
We quickly made friends with another family that were also on vacation. There was even a girl that was my age. And what was that? A parrot? This was going to be so much fun!
The girl walked up to me and introduced herself, “Hi, my name is Lily. What’s your name?” “My name is Imogen. We’re from Canada.” “Is that your parrot?” “No, he’s just a friendly boy that landed on my shoulder. I call him Chachi.”
We all went on a tour in a glass-bottom boat where we saw all kinds of fish and a big scary shark! It was so beautiful and relaxing being out on the ocean. I was in no hurry to get back to shore.
We had been out at sea for hours. It was time to head back. I looked over and saw a dark, creepy looking island and asked what it was. Lily told me that it was called “Monster Island” and that it was a very scary place where monsters lived.
I knew that monsters weren’t real but I kept wondering who really lived on Monster Island. I woke up early the next morning and before breakfast, I snuck down to the beach. Monster Island didn’t seem that far away. Hmmmm………….
“Hey there!” Lily called out. “You’re still thinking about Monster Island aren’t you?” “Um, not really.” I was lying. “Guess what? I have always wanted to go there too. Our parents think we’re in the hotel pool swimming. We can take the row boat there and be back for lunch.”
And so we headed off for Monster Island. I’m not sure if we were more afraid of what we would find or what would happen if our parents found out. The closer we got to the island, the colder it got. I should’ve brought a jacket. When we got there, it was actually nicer than we thought it would be. We could hear birds chirping and there were plenty of trees and mountains. And best of all, no monsters!
“That mountain is huge Imogen. How are we ever going to find out what’s on the other side?” Before Imogen could respond, a giant scooped up both girls and carried them over the mountain.
The giant carried us for a couple of miles before putting us down on the soft grass. We were too shocked to scream. Even though he was huge, he wasn’t very scary. He was actually very gentle. “What are you doing George? You know that you’re not allowed to bring humans here!” “If you don’t want me I can go off in the hills and find a cave. I can go away any time.”
“Don’t cry big guy. You did the right thing helping those girls” Lennie, the red monster said as he comforted the giant. “Well girls, I might as well welcome you to Monster Island.” “We’re not scary, we just look different. We only want to be friends with the humans, but they won’t give us a chance because of how we look. You shouldn’t judge somebody based on their appearance whether you’re a monster or a kid. That’s why we all live here together on Monster Island.”
“Please join us for lunch. We have lots of fruits and veggies. We don’t get many visitors and you girls are our only real human friends” Lennie pleaded. “Okay, but then we have to get back to our parents or we’ll be in serious trouble” Imogen added.
“Hey, has anyone seen the girls?” Imogen’s Mom asked. “I thought they were in the pool” answered Lily’s Dad. They all started to become worried and ran down to the beach where they say the girls’ footprints leading to where a rowboat once stood. “You don’t think they went to Monster Island do you? Oh no!” cried out Lily’s Mom.
They all quickly jumped into a speedboat and headed off to Monster Island in search of their daughters. When they got there they found one of Lily’s shoes. Fearing the worst, they went to look for their daughters on the creepy island.
“Okay you scary monsters, where are our girls?” Imogen’s Dad demanded. “Wait! Wait!” Imogen interrupted. “They aren’t scary monsters at all. They’re kind, smart, and really talented. Please give them a chance to show you how wonderful they truly are” Lily pleaded.
When the monsters came to the island, the people were scared at first but were quickly won over by the monsters’ warm hearts and gentle souls. A year later, the two families returned to the island to find that the monsters had become very popular, even forming a band. And what song were they playing you ask? Why the “Monster Mash” of course!
My parents and I were excited to be going on our first Mediterranean cruise and planned to visit many exotic locales. Everything was perfect from the food to the weather to the crystal blue ocean. This was going to be the best vacation ever.
Yep. Everything was perfect until I fell overboard after leaning too far over the railing. I yelled out for help but nobody heard me. I tried treading water but I didn’t know how to swim. I found myself starting to panic as I furiously tried to keep my head above water.
I must have passed out because when I woke up I found myself on a strange ship. When I opened my eyes it looked as though I was surrounded by pirates. Pirates? And what was I wearing? These weren’t even my clothes.
“Ahoy there matey. Me name is Cap’n Croc, ‘The Scourge of the Seven Seas’. I lost me arm and leg in a battle with a crocodile but I won the fight. Allow me to introduce me crew of salty dogs.”
“Me first mate is Davy Jones. That’s his parrot Bucko. And beside him are a brother and sister that have been with me for years. Jack and Jilly Ketch.” “Do I get a cool pirate name?” I asked the Captain. “Ha! Ha! Ha!” he laughed. “No matey, ye have to earn it.” Awesome! I was going to be a pirate……eventually.
This was not what I had in mind when Cap’n Croc talked about becoming a pirate. I was so hot scrubbing the grime off the deck. Suddenly Jilly yelled out “Shiver me timbers! Scoundrels approaching!” Doesn’t anybody speak English on this ship?
Cap’n Croc ordered Jack and Jilly to fire the cannons at the enemy ship. “1, 2, 3………fire!” They fired a few cannonballs at the ship resulting in a lot of damage. The ship was engulfed in flames. “Okay, let’s go!” Croc ordered. “Go where?” I wondered.
Cap’n Croc’s team easily defeated the other pirates and took all their gold and treasure maps. The Cap’n still had to find the gang’s leader, Admiral Skull who was once his best friend. That was before he double-crossed him, stole his gold, and left him in the middle of the sea.
“Aye, Admiral Skull. We meet again. I’ve been waiting years for this.” “As have I Cap’n. Now let’s finish this.” The two engaged in an epic sword fight. Just when it looked like the end for Cap’n Croc, Benjamin opened the door and knocked out the Admiral.”
This was the first of many victories for Cap’n Croc’s crew. Benjamin was becoming more comfortable with life on the high seas. He enjoyed the adventure, the excitement, and the wealth, even he though he didn’t earn it honestly. “Oh no!” he just remembered. “My family must really be worried about me!”
Benjamin’s parents couldn’t find their son anywhere on the ship so they went to talk to the Captain. “Oh dear. I promise that I will do anything I can to help you find your boy. I will alert the Coast Guard immediately. If I hear anything, I will let you know as soon as possible.” Benjamin’s mother began to cry as she feared that her little boy had fallen into the deep blue sea.
“Well done Benjamin! Look at the booty we have stolen from my rival.” “He, he, you said booty.” “What’s so funny? Anyways, we will eat, drink, and be merry. Time for us all to dance a jig and sing some sea shanties!” “Huh?” “A party Benjamin. We’re having a party.”
“So when do I get to be a pirate?” Benjamin asked the following morning. “Sink me! Ye want to be a pirate? Ye have yer sea legs about you. But you’re not ready yet matey. The scuttlebutt has it that there’s a luxury ship in our waters. We’re going to board the ship and take their gold!” Luxury ship? Cap’n Croc wasn’t talking about the cruise ship that his parents were on was he?
“Show a leg mateys! ‘Tis time we plunder! Thar be plenty of gold on that ship. I think we just hit the motherload!” Jilly called out to the crew. We all ran up to the outlook and saw a cruise ship off in the distance. It was the same ship from which I fell. What was I going to do? I couldn’t rob the very ship that my parents were on. I had to act quickly as Cap’n Croc ordered the crew to ready themselves for battle.
We followed the cruise ship for a few miles. Our ship started getting closer and closer before we all jumped aboard. I couldn’t let this happen. Pirates were cool in stories but they were not very nice in real life. I had to stop this……….but how?
“Ahoy there mateys! Me name be Cap’n Croc and this is me crew. We are here to take your gold and jewels and then we’ll be off. If ye work with us, nobody will have to walk the plank.” Everybody just stood there silent and afraid.
“Listen Jack Sparrow, I’m Captain Hornblower and this is my ship!” Cap’n Croc responded by lifting him up with his hook and tossing him to the floor.“Now mateys, fetch me their riches!” The other pirates began taking everyone’s jewelry, watches, and money when I heard a familiar scream. “No, my son gave me this necklace for Christmas!” It was my Mom!
These pirates weren’t so cool after all. They were just a greedy bunch of bullies. As I got angry, I picked up a sword that was almost as big as I was and prepared to defend my Mom. I poked Jack a couple of times before he finally turned around. “May I help you?” “Let’s fight!” “With you? That’s a good one!” he laughed. He dismissed me until I showed him that I meant business, cutting off a piece of his shirt.
And just like a scene out of a movie, I swung from a chandelier overhead and knocked out Jack Ketch. “Benjamin? Is that you?” asked his Mom. “Just call me Barnacle Ben!” “Okay Benjamin, but be careful” as she tried to remove some dirt from his face with a wet tissue.” “Mom! I’m a pirate now!” “Oh right. Sorry Barnacle Ben!”
Next up was Jilly. Despite her small size, she was still very dangerous. Barnacle Ben would have to come up with a plan to defeat her. “Hey Jilly, a couple of cute sailors are looking at you.” “Really? Where?” she asked as she got all flustered. She turned around and was arrested by two sailors. “Good job Barnacle Ben!”
Before Barnacle Ben and Davy Jones could engage in battle, a beautiful blue and yellow parrot flew onto Davey’s shoulder. For Bucko it was love at first sight. The pair started to kiss and cuddle. Distracted by the smooching parrots, Davy Jones was easily subdued. “Guess that leaves just you and me matey!” said a deep voice.
After defeating the rest of Cap’n Croc’s crew, I was no match for the pirate. We fought onto a long wooden plank. I lost my footing and held on to the plank with one hand as a sea full of hungry sharks lurked below. “It didn’t have to be this way matey. Join us. Just take my hand” “Never!” I shouted. “Ben, I am your father.” “No you’re not. That’s a line from Star Wars!” Slowly I was losing my grip on the wooden plank and feared the worst.
“You’re not the boy’s father, but I am!” And with that my Dad gave Cap’n Croc a knuckle sandwich. “Dad! It’s so good to see you again!” I yelled as he lifted me up from the plank. “Sorry sharks, no snack for you!” I nervously joked. Boy that was close.
Soon the Coast Guard arrived to arrest the pirates and collect all of the gold and jewelry they had stolen. Rather than have them walk the plank however, the ship’s captain came up with an even better idea to teach these rapscallions a lesson.
“Well aren’t you two the sweetest things. Now be careful with that bag. I was just telling my husband Jim Bob that we really needed a vacation. We had never been anywhere exotic before right J.B.?” “That’s right Betty.” “Anyway…..” And all the two pirates could do was to listen and nod over and over and over again.
“Thank you for choosing Pacific Princess Cruises. We hope to see you for next year’s cruise featuring The Wiggles” Jilly read without a hint of enthusiasm from a cue card. “Yeah, sounds great” Benjamin’s Dad muttered. “Where is that kid now?”
Meanwhile, below deck, the ship’s captain had a special task in store for the formerly fearsome Cap’n Croc. He had to swab the deck with a just sponge and a bucket of water. “Ye missed a spot matey!” Benjamin said as he and the ship’s captain shared a laughed while Cap’n Croc steamed.
It was 8 o’clock and a school night. Sadie had just taken her bath and was getting ready for her Mom to read a bedtime story. Sadie hasn’t been able to sleep very well as of late and tonight would be no different.
Sadie would toss and turn as she tried to get to sleep. She tried drinking warm milk and counting sheep but that didn’t work. She ended up having nightmares and would eventually spend the rest of the night in her Mom’s bed.
Every morning, Sadie and her Mom would be exhausted from not sleeping the night before. They couldn’t go on like this much longer. Something was bugging Sadie but she didn’t want to tell anyone. Not even her Mom.
Eventually Sadie would pretend to fall asleep while her Mom read to her. When her Mom left, Sadie popped out of bed and started to pace around her room. All the while an odd-looking character was standing in the corner of her bedroom.
“Hi Sadie!” a voice called out to her. “Who’s there?” she responded timidly. “My name is Sketti. I used to be your Mom’s imaginary friend when she was your age.” Sadie turned on the light to see a big blue and black creature with big eyes.
“Why can’t you sleep Sadie?” Sketti asked. “I don’t want to talk about it.” “It’s okay. I won’t tell anyone, I promise. I’m a product of your imagination. “Oh alright. I don’t like going to school anymore. I’m very shy and there are two older girls who call me names and pick on me every day.”
“That’s not good” Sketti replied. “When your Mommy was your age, she created me because she needed someone to talk to. Her parents were getting divorced and she felt very alone. Before I left, I promised her that if she had a daughter that I would be there for her too. So here I am.”
“I know that you like to paint. Why did you stop?” “I’m too sad to paint. I don’t enjoy it anymore” Sadie glumly replied. “I have to go soon but can you try painting something for me tonight?” Sketti asked. “I’ll try. Oh, by the way, why are you called ‘Sketti’?” “Funny story. When your Mommy was little she couldn’t say spaghetti so she just said ‘sketti’.”
Sometimes Sketti would come to visit Sadie only to find her fast asleep. She was tired from a full day of school and painting. Sadie’s paintings allowed for her to express herself without having to talk to anyone. They also made her feel better about her abilities. But Sketti’s work with Sadie wasn’t finished yet.
Slowly but surely Sadie was beginning to gain more confidence. She was painting every night and it made her feel like a new girl. It helped her to cope with the other kids at school and concentrate on her homework. Sadie seemed to be doing much better. That was until she was presented with a big opportunity to display her talents.
Sadie’s teacher asked her to create a painting for the school’s Art Contest. This made her very nervous. She got really uncomfortable when she was in front of her schoolmates. And an art contest was a lot of pressure. Was she good enough? What if something embarrassing happened?
It was nearly three o’clock in the morning when Sketti saw a light on in Sadie’s room. She was furiously painting away. She looked like she was worried about something. She stood there looking at the blank canvas not sure what to paint.
“Relax Sadie. You’re a great painter. You’re going to create something wonderful. The best way to get over your fear is to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Trust me. It works.” “I sure hope so. How ‘bout I paint you Sketti?” “Uhhhh, sure. Why not?”
The whole school had gathered in the gym the next day for the contest. Soon the judges would be picking the “Best Painting.” Sadie didn’t think that her painting was as good as the others but she was proud of what she made. She had a lot of fun painting Sketti and felt really good about herself. The principal told the students to be quiet as the winner was going to be announced.
“Oh no!” Sadie thought,the judges were the girls who had been so mean to her. “We are proud to award the Best Painting Award to Sadie from Mr. Durocher’s Grade 3 class. They gave her a medal and a certificate and then everyone in the gym cheered. She was so surprised that she almost felt like crying.
“So are you girls absolutely sure that this painting was the best one?” “Yes Mr. Paulo. Definitely.” “Okay then, Sadie has won our Best Painting contest.” Sketti, invisible to the principal, continued to stare at the girls. “Um, maybe we should go apologize for being so mean to her. She’s really a good kid” they nervously laughed.
Later that night Sketti came to say goodbye to Sadie. “I know what you did for me and thank you.” “What do you mean?” asked Sketti. “I know that you put a little fright into those girls. But it didn’t matter if I won the contest or not. I overcame my fears and am proud of myself for entering the contest.” She then gave him a big hug. Ewww! You feel like cold spaghetti!” Sadie giggled.
“You should be very proud of yourself. You were very brave and now everybody knows how talented you are. Don’t be afraid to talk to people about how you feel. It’s not good to keep it all in. Promise?” “I promise!” “And keep painting!”
And with that Sketti disappeared back into Sadie’s imagination. She never saw her friend again but was comforted by knowing that he was always around. Now whenever she’s feeling afraid or sad, she finds people to talk to whether it be her Mom, teachers, or friends.
A collection of stories for kids featuring monsters, pirates, a sea serpent, and creatures from the Ice Age. There are several pop culture references scattered throughout the book as well as a few valuable lessons about life (accepting one's flaws, dealing with problems rather than running from them, being kind to others, and more). Some of the stories are semi-autobiographical as the characters deal with issues that I have encountered as a kid and even as an adult.