The Exquisite Prompt Challenge
Januray Winners, Maguire: Level III
Check out the January winning entries in the grade 6-8 level.
A Doughy Encounter
Once upon a time, in the small town of Axleburrow, there lived a man and his wife. The man had flashing green eyes and fluffy white hair, his name was Alexander Ronaldo. He owned a bread bakery with his wife, Arvella. One night when Arvella had gone home to cook dinner, Alexander was closing up shop when he heard a small noise coming from the corner of the shop. Alexander was bending down to put some bread in the oven when he heard the noise.
"Hello, hello are you there?" spoke a small voice. Then a small Pillsbury dough boy crawled from the corner of the shop. "Wait, think before you cook that dough that poor, innocent, helpless, harmless dough."
Alexander who could not believe his eyes replied, "Baking dough is my job. I must make a living, plus it is just dough."
"Very well," said the dough boy bowing his head in dismay. "Then I must use force." When the dough boy lifted his head his eyes had turned red and the kind smile that had once rested on his head was replaced with a grim frown. Alexander's eyes opened even wider than already. Wider than Alexander even thought was possible. The dough boy opened his arms and spread out his fingers. Objects started flying around the room — spatulas, flour, pots, pans! They were flying everywhere but there main target was Alexander. A loose spatula zoomed at Alexander's foot. Alexander made a strong kick towards the spatula but it was quicker. It raced out of the way just in time, missing Alexander's foot and leaving it zooming towards the dough boy, thus kicking the dough boy into the open oven. All the objects dropped. Alexander raced to the oven and slammed the oven door shut.
The next day a small boy appeared at the shop with $5.00 to buy a loaf of bread. Alexander knew the perfect one to give him.
A Horse in Harmony Park
It was a sunny day when Leila left her house, walking to grab a soda at the pizza place across from the park. Her hair took its usual shape, a perfect blonde ponytail held in by a black scrunchie. Up and down it bounced, and Leila loved it. What a great thing, she had told herself many times, to have a hairdo as happy as you are. Indeed, her step was lively as any rabbit's, because Leila was, simply, a very happy person. It's not often you find a human being as nice as she- if a witch were to squeeze out every ounce of evil from her and unleash it upon the world, it would be about the size and shape of a ladybug.
The chime jingled as she pushed on the door. Sparkey's was the second-best pizza place in town, but what Leila really liked about it was its sodas. It had two cooler's worth, lined up like trophies- genuine glass bottles, every one. There was a new one there today, a pink, fizzing drink. "What's that one?" she asked the man at the counter. "It looks new." The man nodded. "We got it in just yesterday! It's made by a tiny little shop just south of here. It's all organic, one of the best things I've ever tasted." Leila smiled and placed three dollar bills on the counter. The man handed her the drink. The label had a picture of a white horse with a long, silver horn on its head. A pretty drink for a pretty day. Leila walked back out onto the street, soda in hand. The park was right there across the street. Leila's town had a very nice park. It had a duck pond, a playground, and a garden where flowers and peas grew. The rest of it was field and forest- and that was where Leila planned to spend the rest of the day. As she lost sight of the street, he sat down beside a tree. It was Friday, and Leila had woken up at six to go to tutoring. After that, there was a math test, and then needless to say, Leila was tired. She sipped her drink. Bubbles filled her throat, and the flavor was so good like strawberries and vanilla. Leila set the bottle down beside her and let the sun warm her skin. Before long, she was tuned out from the world.
She awoke when a raindrop landed on her nose. It was raining! How much time had passed? The foliage of the tree had reduced the rainfall to drips, but around her a storm was taking place. She was already wet; she needed to find a place to stay dry. Maybe it would be best to stay under the tree. CRACK! Lightning flashed, and Leila grabbed her soda and ran further into the woods. Thunder roared, and Leila sped down a hiking trail. At last, a pavilion came into sight. She would hide from the rain here. She looked at her pink, but less-than-fizzy drink. This was all she had until either the rain stopped or she gained the courage to walk home. She would have to make it last. She took a big swig of the stuff, and to her surprise, it tasted different than before- like a mix of cola and orange soda. She closed her eyes in bubbly delight, and stayed that way for a minute or two. Then she heard a noise coming from the opposite side of the pavilion. She opened her eyes and do you know what she saw? A horse! A white horse, dripping wet, sauntered up the steps and knelt to a resting position.
The horse looked up and realized that the girl was looking right at him.
"A horse in Harmony Park!" exclaimed Leila with a great amount of surprise. It wasn't very common to see horses in her town, unless the circus came. To add to her surprise, the horse straightened itself and shook its mane. And then it spoke.
"Not a horse, a Unicorn. See the horn? There's a difference."
Leila was speechless. Sure enough, it had a horn on the top of its head, gleaming like a pearl. Leila coughed. "So you're a unicorn? A talking unicorn?"
"Yes, I am," said the Unicorn. "I took it upon myself to learn English. I'm pretty fluent in it, you know."
"What did you speak before English?"
"Horse, mostly. If you think about it, I really am just a horse with a horn." The Unicorn remarked. "I also know some Japanese. I can say things like 'Kawaii' and 'Domo arigato'."
Leila nodded. "Of course, a lot of people can."
This was ridiculous, she had just met a unicorn and she was having a conversation about language! She had so many questions for a time like this!
"Why are you here, anyway? Are you magic? Can you grant wishes?"
The unicorn looked at her in a funny way. "Well, I suppose I'm here because I don't like rain as much as anybody else. I think you're here for the exact same reasons. Say, what is that in the bottle there?" The unicorn eyed Leila's soft drink. "It looks delicious can I try a little?" The Unicorn stuck out its tongue. "Pweeth?" Leila laughed at the sheer impossibility of it all. A unicorn was in the Harmony Park forest, asking her for some soda! She poured a bit into the unicorn's mouth, and he smiled as much as a unicorn could.
"Oh, wow! It tastes like Stars and Crabgrass!"
"Oh, yes! Crabgrass! Sweet, juicy Crabgrass. It's quite a treat on a rainy spring day like this one." The unicorn twirled and sat down again. "I guess I should introduce myself. Better late then never, I suppose. My name is Edney. And you?"
"Leila," said Leila. "Nice to meet you Edney the Unicorn."
Edney nodded. "You too, Leila-the-Human."
Another flash of lightning made them both jump, and a moment of silence passed before thunder clapped. Edney shook himself to get rid of the scare. Leila touched her ponytail to make sure it was still in place.
"I bet I'm going to wake up, and this will all be a stupid dream. There isn't really a unicorn in front of me. I'm still asleep under that tree."
Edney flashed a puzzled look. "I'm pretty sure that this is real."
Leila shrugged. "Same difference. What's the deal with you unicorns anyway? Why does nobody ever see you guys? Is it magic?"
"Oh, people see us. We just tend to keep to our own kind. Humans are kind of like that, too. They keep animal friends around, but mostly talk to other humans."
"But, c'mon you're a horse with a horn. Wouldn't somebody notice?"
The unicorn shrugged. "I guess we don't go around saying 'oh, hey, I'm a unicorn'"
Leila nodded. "So are you magic or not?" she asked.
Edney thought for a second. "I suppose so," he replied. "Most things are." Leila gave him a confused glance. "Well, think about it. The fact that we live and eat and talk is pretty magic. And computers? All of those smart machines are magic, too."
Leila wondered if the unicorn was confused or something. "No! Machines are technology. The difference is that you can explain technology. Magic is just spells and stuff."
Edney perked up. "Really? Can you tell me how a computer works?"
Leila sat in silence. She had to admit that she couldn't. "Well, there are these little wires, and they all store digital information as bits and bytes. And there's electronic pulses or something."
Edney smirked. "See, you don't know how a computer works."
Leila frowned in frustration. "But I'm sure a computer person could explain it!"
The unicorn shrugged. "Maybe I can find someone to explain how magic works. It's not just 'spells and stuff', people really study it."
Leila was silent. "I guess I never thought of it that way. I mean, no one really knows how atoms and molecules do stuff like make brains and nervous systems. If you think about it, I'm a magical creature." Leila smiled. "Magic is everywhere."
Edney nodded. "I bet you a nickel that that soda is magic too."
Leila picked up the soda and read the ingredient list. Made with: Carbonated Water, Organic juices, Natural colors and flavors, Magic. Sure enough, it was on the label. Leila took another drink from her bottle and laughed. Pineapple! This drink was crazy.
"Here I am, talking to a unicorn. What's with that?"
"Yeah, well, humans don't come along too often either. You don't see me freaking out everywhere."
Leila smiled and looked back at her soda bottle. "Hey, do you know where Loveless is? Apparently it's just just north, or south of here, I forget which." Edney turned his head and looked at the rain cascading from the roof of the shelter. "I never heard of it."
Once again, the conversation ran into a dead end, and nothing was left but the sound of rain and birds. Leila wondered how much time it had been. 15 minutes? 30? Who knew? Leila was getting used to the idea of a unicorn. Why would something so unreal become so natural the next? It was a surprise she didn't see them more often. After a while, the rain slowed to a steady tip, tap, tip, tap sound.
"It looks like the rain is letting up a bit."
Leila looked outside. Sure enough, the only water left was dripping from the trees. The two friends (Leila supposed they were friends now- she had a tendency to make friends with any animal, talking or not, almost immediately) the two friends stood up and started to walk in their different directions.
Edney turned. " hey, Leila. See you around, okay?"
Leila smiled. "Okay. Bye, Edney-the-unicorn."
And with that, they were off. Edney into the forest, Leila back home. She carried her bottle with her, but only a little was left. She emptied it into her mouth, and got a taste that she couldn't quite recognize. Sweet and earthy, then terribly bitter, and then a taste like like flying. "Stars," Leila said to herself. "Stars and Crabgrass."
Leila made her way back home and never really spoke about Edney to anyone but her cat. Nobody would believe her anyway, but Leila didn't care. Maybe she would see him again, maybe not. Nothing could really make her sad.
Because Leila was, simply, a very happy person.