Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young Writers in Action: An Unpleasant Surprise

Cat peeking out a doorway. Photo by Henda Watani at pexels.com

AN UNPLEASANT SURPRISE

by Audrey, 10, VIC

Sometimes people ask me, “Hey, if you were an animal, what would you be?”

I’d think, and then say, “A cat!”

I wonder what it would really be like…

I think cats are amazing creatures! If only I could stay up late exploring! I can’t think of anything bad about- oh wait, humans picking me up! I hate being picked up. I wonder if I should say anything else next time …

“If you were an animal, what would you be?” the new kid asks.

This time I don’t hesitate. “A cat! I love cats.”

After school, she comes up to me. “Are you sure you’d want to be a cat?” 

“Yes … why? What do you- OH!” I blink, and suddenly she’s like a giant! I close my eyes and rub them. Wait, why do I have paws? Oh no, she’s turned me into a cat!

“Turn me back into a human! I don’t want to be a cat!” I yell, but she just laughs. I must be meowing!

Suddenly, my friend Natalie appears out of nowhere! “Hey! I just saw you turn her into a cat!”

The new girl turns around quickly. “No, I didn’t! You’re going mad, Natalie.” She puts her hand on Nat’s forehead. Oh, that girl is infuriating!

Natalie moves away. “Then why is her bag there? Hair ties too! THERE’S CLEARLY A CAT IN FRONT OF YOU!” she yells.

“That’s MY bag, and I dropped my hair ties. That cat is a stray,” the new girl lies, turning red.

“I’d recognise Audrey’s bag anywhere. And those are her hair ties. I bought them for her birthday last year!” Natalie retorts, and leans forward to pick me up. “This is my friend, and you’re not going anywhere until you turn her back into a human!” I wave my paw and meow in approval.

Natalie boops my nose. “See? Even as a cat, she’s exactly the same person.”

The new girl sighs. “Fine. But it’s not going to wear off until tomorrow morning. She’ll have to stay this way until then.” 

“Drat! What will my parents say?” I meow.

As if she can understand me, Natalie strokes my head. “Don’t worry, I’ll tell your parents you came over for a sleepover. My parents will totally believe me. They believe anything I say!”

The new girl nods at us and runs off. 

The next morning, a bright sunny Saturday, I walk back home with Natalie. She waves at me goodbye. “Bye!” I yell.

Being a cat is pretty fun. I think. But I’d rather be a human.

Mum greets me at the front door. “Had a fun night? Lucky girl, I was worried you wouldn’t come home!” 

“I had a great night, thanks Mum!”

She winks at me like she knows a secret. “Staying at a friend’s house sure is the cat’s whiskers! I sure know what it’s like.”


Audrey is a frequent contributor to Alphabet Soup. Read another story by Audrey here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submissions guidelines. 

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young Writers in Action: MEOW!

MEOW! by Analia, 10, NY, USA

Black and white cat. Photo by Hugo Zoccal Fernandes Laguna on pexels.

“Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? ARE – YOU – LISTENING?”

Humans are so annoying. I just want breakfast! The humans don’t listen and it’s so annoying. They walk around the house getting themselves food and then they brush their teeth, then their hair, then they pack, and then at the last possible moment, they give you food! Maybe I’m just overreacting a tad bit. I mean it is possible that I’m the first thing they feed in the morning but get this, they wake up at 7:30 am!

It never matters how hard I yowl or scream or cry because when they sleep they never wake up unless they want to. When their eyes finally open, I take advantage. I’m actually in the middle of that right now. The owner just woke up and I’m begging her to give me my tuna, my water, and my dry food.

“Please! I’ll do anything!”

She doesn’t listen. In fact, she walks like a sloth to the kitchen. In fact, sometimes I wonder if she’ll ever get there. She finally does. Then, I wait. She takes care of my water first. Why? I need food, not water!

“Food first!”

She continues to wash out my water bowl. Sometimes, it’s pointless to argue. Finally, she’s done. Placing my water dish on the counter, I continue to follow her to the vault. A rusty midnight-colored cabinet with smoke-colored metal openings. You have to curve your fingers around the bars in order to open the cabinet. I call it the vault because there’s no way my delicate paws can open it.

She doesn’t even bother to examine what tuna can I have. She just takes the one in front of her. The green can. I alternate between purple and green. One is tuna and chicken and the other one is tuna and turkey. I always get them confused on which way is which so I call them green and purple. When she took the green can, smoke came out of my ears.

Green? Green! I had green yesterday! Give me purple! Outrageous, inconsiderate, foolish child! How dare you give me green two days in a row! I have a very delicate stomach and if you mess with my palette, you’re cleaning up the mess!

She gives me green. Some things you can’t fight. As she pours the tuna and some of its liquid into the bowl, I try to push her arms away. She fights back refusing to give me my first lick.

“Why? Why? Give me my food!”

Then, I learn the horrid secret she’s been keeping from me. The secret that makes my eyes water. She puts in antibiotic powder!

“Nooooooooooooooooooo!”

Then she lets me have it but I don’t want it. Not after she kept that awful secret from me.

In protest I march to the dining room table and lay down, making sure my white and black fur gets everywhere. Stretching out again, nobody notices the mess I’m making. She just continues to refill my dry food then moves on to the mutt’s food. The mutt they call a dog. The inferior puppy that’s been ruining my life for a year and a half now.

I continue to stretch out on the dining room table, knowing that my actions would soon bring attention to me. When the girl came for breakfast, she stared me down.

“Cookie, will you please move?”

“No!” I replied in a sarcastic tone to make sure my anger was expressed. I don’t think the message got across. I guess some battles you just can’t win.


Analia is a frequent contributor to Alphabet Soup. You can read her earlier work here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines.

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young writers in action: Cove Daisy

COVE DAISY by Audrey, 10, VIC

My aunt Daisy owns a cafe. The cafe’s name is Cove Daisy. My mum and I always order something there when we have time. Could be a blueberry muffin. Maybe some macarons! Carrot cake, chocolate fudge, choc chip cookies, or an American twist, whoopie pies! Whatever we order, it is always delicious, and that’s why I love Cove Daisy.

There’s a huge sign at the front of the cafe. It’s written in a beautiful font, and has a black outline. The words have a beach background, which I think is so cool. Inside there are cushions on the floor, and low tables with self-decorated menus placed on them. Of course, Cove Daisy is not a normal cafe. It is more like a fancy bakery. 

Every time you walk in, there is a faint smell of vanilla extract. It is always cozy and warm, which makes you super happy when you’re eating. But Cove Daisy doesn’t just sell delicious treats. It sells hot chocolate, and coffee. I don’t really get the point of coffee, and why adults like it so much, but I love the smell.

There’s two points in the day when you walk in and it’s packed. It’s before and after school, of course! I’m not the only kid who loves the treats at Cove Daisy. My friends – Charlotte and Nova – and I always head there before school for a quick pit-stop and after school if we’re hungry (which we always are!). Nova loves the energy balls, which have dates, coconut, and tiny bits of white chocolate. Our mums make Charlotte and I eat them, but we don’t like energy balls! We’d much rather have a cookie or a macaron. 

I love Cove Daisy because there are so many yummy desserts there, and they’re healthy as well (at least, that’s what I say)! I hope Aunt Daisy finds more treats to make next time I’m there!


Audrey is a frequent contributor to Alphabet Soup. Read a poem by Audrey here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young writers in action: Run of my life

RUN OF MY LIFE by Analia, 10, USA

Photo courtesy Anthony Moore at pexels.com. Image shows a child in a blue shirt running through a forest

“Get ready, set, GO!”

The air horn blared, breaking the silence. We all ran off, leaving behind a cloud of dust. In, out, in, out, my breathing went. A steady beat of determination in my breath ran through me all the way down to my feet, pushing me on. We entered the woods, a place of peace but not now. Now, it was a place of competition where we knew if we stopped we would never make it to the finish line. Jumping through the branches and sliding down the rocks, I felt the forest in my blood. I was impossible to stop, weaving in and out of different paths, following the red flags standing out in the green and brown. It went by in a flash, quicker than I imagined, and suddenly I was climbing my last hill. Completing my last descent. It was going to happen. Half a track to go and I was there.

Footsteps thudding. People cheering. I ignore it all and focus on the sound of my breathing. My heart leaps inside my chest. The final stretch, my running over in one step. Exhausted, I wasn’t sure if it was even possible to cross the finish line. My coach, Mandy, had decided to pursue the race along with me, and we crossed the finish line victorious.

“Go, Analia!”

My family cheered me on as I swept past them, completing the cross country 5K I had worked so hard to complete. Smiling in the sunlight I glance around feeling the support of all the other runners who had finished before me. I couldn’t wait for my next 5K!


Analia is a frequent contributor to Alphabet Soup. You can read her earlier work here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines.

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young writers in Action: Driving blind

 

DRIVING BLIND by Analia, 10, New York, USAFoggy mountain photo by Vincent Tan at pexels.com

Nothing. Just grey. Panic took control of me. Why did we have to drive at night? What if we were driving off a cliff? I was close to tears on the high mountain. My mum tried to put on a reassuring smile but it was clearly fake. I squeezed her hand so tightly it hurt for me as well. My sister was the navigator and my dad was the driver. Endless grey consumed us. The lights of the cars behind us shone but there were none ahead to guide us. We had to brake several times before the cars behind us got impatient. They weaved left and right, then passed us. They cruised ahead then halted as they became blind. I felt like I was in a horror show and there was no exit, no escape to leave. As the other cars regained their speed by turning on “fog lights” that we didn’t have, we almost lost the cars. That’s when the arguing began.

My sister thought it was best to increase speed so we didn’t lose our guiding light. I agreed with my mum, though, who thought it was risky to increase speed driving when we can’t see anything. My dad agreed with my sister so he started speeding up to catch up. I squeezed my mum’s hand and started to hyperventilate.  I couldn’t calm down. With my free hand, I put my hand on my heart and uneasily listened to the rapid beating.

As if the situation couldn’t get any worse, my sister announced, “There’s a sharp turn coming up.”

The large yellow signs with the midnight-coloured left arrows were the only help for us. Again questions invaded my mind. How will we escape this? Will we lose the cars ahead? Just then the car in front of us disappeared. A new question formed inside my stressed head. Was it condensed in the fog or lost to something else ahead?

Sadly, my dad didn’t share my same worries so we continued, but found the car again in front of us. As we silently drove, I continued to hyperventilate until at one point, it let us go. Clear from up ahead. This didn’t comfort me though. There could be more of those areas. I was tired and wanted to close my eyes but the fear overtook me. Squeezing my mum’s hand while listening to my heartbeat I continued to look up ahead but didn’t see anything but roads, jungle, and no fog!


Analia is a frequent contributor to Alphabet Soup. You can read her earlier work here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young Writers in Action: In Too Deep

Photo courtesy Kijal at Pexels

IN TOO DEEP

by Analia, 10, USA

The waves splash calmly against the small cruiser. The salty sea air tickled Erica’s nose as she leaned closer to the water. Dolphins splashed in and out of the water in glee, swimming next to and under the boat. Oohs and ahhs rose from her mother’s mouth as she fell in love with the dolphins. Erica’s sister stood off to the side recording the energetic creatures. Erica and her father stood silently watching the dolphins and leaned over the railing, smiles showing on their mesmerised faces. The driver of the boat often glanced to the sides at the dolphins around the boat. After a while, they left the pod and were consumed again by the endless water. The world seemed to come to a pause as they drifted. Erica only heard the occasional cry of a bird or the lapping waves against the boat. All land around them faded out of view and seemed to be swallowed up by the clouds. The sun beat down on them as it continued to shine.

As the driver once again glanced off to the side, Erica felt a bump. Then another. Everyone suddenly tipped left and right, dangerously leaning over. Her sister’s phone slipped from her grasp and into the ocean. Her sister groaned at her loss. Erica gulped in fear at her possible future.

“I hope we don’t end up that way.”

For once the driver spoke up. “I hope not. I wasn’t paying attention to the course we’re headed in. There is a bunch of sharp rocks in this area. As soon as the sharpest one hits, down goes the boat. We can try to abandon ship and swim to a small island we passed.”

Guilt passed in Erica’s eyes. “I don’t know how to swim. Maybe we can use life preservers.”

The driver’s face brightened at the idea then darkened again. He chose his next words carefully.

“There is a slight chance that would work BUT since we can’t swim, a boat would have to come to our rescue. There would be no boat out here in these rocks. There’s no way for me to turn around because the rocks would hit us for sure. We do seem to be reaching the end so maybe if we can just wait until then, we’ll have a fighting chance.”

Suddenly a bump hit the boat. Water started to seep in through various holes. It wrapped around their feet until the water was up to their thighs.

“We’ll never make it to the end like this.”

Another bump threw Erica over the railing. She reached her hands out for the rail but couldn’t grab onto it. With a splash, she fell into the water, clear of the rocks. The light above her faded away. She was consumed by the darkness. Erica didn’t know how to swim but she had seen her father do it when he attempted to teach her. She started moving her legs in a quick, swift, kick and batted her arms back and forth to escape the force of the waves. In a slow steady movement, she fought her way back to the surface. Lungs bursting, she felt like she would fall into the sea all over again but she didn’t. Determined, she slowly fought her way to the surface until she broke the water. Turning her head left and right, she spotted the boat with four little specks on it. Realizing that she could only stay on top of the water for so long, she waved her arms back and forth before starting to sink back into the water. Luckily, Erica’s message was caught and they charged ahead to her. Reaching down, they helped her up. Erica coughed up water and then looked around in confusion at the floating boat.

“How did the boat not sink?”

The driver gave a narrow smile. “We used goggles and your sweater to plug up the holes. It won’t last for long. We need to head back!”

“I’m game, as long as I don’t get knocked back into the water again!”


Analia is a frequent contributor to Alphabet Soup. You can read her earlier work here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines


Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young Writers in Action: Thirty Reasons to Read

Thirty Reasons To Read
by Zohar, 11, USA

  1. Pexels photo courtesy Amina FilkinsYou’re bored and have watched all of Netflix.
  2. You can’t leave your house, so why not leave reality.
  3. You can’t sleep.
  4. Why not learn about something new while having fun?
  5. You have some really good books at home but haven’t got a chance to read them.
  6. You “have to” read for school.
  7. Your brain will thank you.
  8. It keeps you busy.
  9. If you seriously don’t want to read, sort through your books, ex. alphabetically, by which you would read next.
  10. You are worried your dog will chew them up.
  11. Your books are taking up space.
  12. Your brain gets to relax and not stress over when your next test is.
  13. You travel around the world for free.
  14. Books make you laugh!
  15. Books make you think about things differently.
  16. Reading helps you write.
  17. When you finish a book, you feel like you climbed Mount Everest.
  18. Reading books helps you pay better attention.
  19. Books are genuinely fun.
  20. Who doesn’t want to time travel?
  21. You feel like you have ten million friends.
  22. Reading books helps you be more creative.
  23. It’s like you’re using all five senses when you’re only using one.
  24. Reading books answers your questions.
  25. Reading books make you look at things differently, ex. what would happen if a deadly virus would be on the loose?…(we still aren’t sure!)
  26. It doesn’t require much to read.
  27. Reading books makes you a better writer.
  28. Books can be used anywhere.
  29. Books could be life changing.
  30. WHY NOT?!?!

This is Zohar’s first publication at Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines.

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young Writers in Action: A Fresh Start

A FRESH START
by Analia, 10, USA

Backpack photo by Luis Quintero on pexels comThe bell rang, setting the hallways into chaos. Left and right kids raced past me in an attempt to get to class while I awkwardly stood there, confused. I patiently and nervously waited as the hallways cleared up. Now, I was the only one. Chatter rose from inside the classrooms around me but I was too scared to move. This was my first time transferring schools, and I was in the middle of 6th grade. The middle of the school year is always the worst time to transfer but it’s when my parents wanted me to take the step. There was nothing wrong with my other school. Normal class, normal teachers, normal lunch. The only thing was that it was an hour away. Now I understand why my parents wanted me to transfer but they could’ve waited 5 months. Then, I would’ve moved to another school like normal for middle school. My parents think it’ll be a fun experiment. I don’t agree.

“Excuse me, I don’t believe we’ve met,” a voice sounded from behind me. I turned to face a thin, tan man with a snappy suit on and a Starbucks coffee in one hand.

“Sorry, sir. I’m Lola. Lola Sanchez. This is my first day here and I was a little confused about where my class was. Can you help me find room 554?”

The man smiled, “Ah, as principal, you know these hallways like the back of your hand. Mr Johnson’s your teacher for this year. Just take a right up at that hallway then it’s the first door to your left,” the man explained as he gestured with his hands.

“Principal? I’m so sorry for wasting your time. I’m sure you have a bunch of important work to do. Thanks for the directions. Bye!”

Whipping the wooden door open, the classroom of 554 danced around me. The paneled walls didn’t have a speck of dust on them and I felt like I was floating on the newly mopped tiled floor.

Kids snickered as I nervously placed myself in an empty seat. Mr Johnson, who was wearing a suit like the principal, had curly blond hair and piercing jade eyes.

Mr Johnson barked, “Have a seat! You’re late!”

Mr Johnson continued to criticize other kids as I seated myself. Then, finally, he began teaching us. My head was in another place, though. My other school. It didn’t have the best principal but it had special kids. My friends. The stress of starting over was nothing compared to the feeling of not having any friends at a new school. No one to support you, just yourself. Sometimes, that isn’t enough.

After school that day, I walked over to Central Park where I spotted a bench to drown myself in music as I waited for the bus to pull up. When it arrived, I took off the headphones and climbed on. Staring at my phone, texts sprung out multiple times from my friends. They all wanted to know how my first day at the new school was. I didn’t think they would understand. At one point, they tried doing a group call. I ignored that, too. I looked my problem right in the eye, but not the solution. I thought seeing them would remind me too much of the life I left behind. What I would give to go back there again. I’m stuck in this school, now.

******

The next week as I trudged up the stairs to Mr Johnson’s class, something caught my eye. In a corner of the hall, a girl with shoulder-length blond hair was crouching down, trying to hide. I walked over to the corner and studied her face. It was the same face as mine, last week when I arrived. The same face of misery, confusion, and defeat.

“Hiding won’t help.”

The girl lifted her head so I could see her swollen crimson eyes.

“How would you know?”

Calmly I answered, “ I know because I came here last week and I tried to hide. People here don’t let you. What’s your name?”

“Jamie Hunter. What’s your name?”

“Lola Sanchez. Nice to meet you, Jamie. Do you want to team up so you and I can defeat middle school?”

A smile crept onto Jamie’s face, “Why not?”

I grinned as well, “We’ll make it into a game. Level 1: Surviving your teachers – especially Mr Johnson.”

“Check!”


This is Analia’s second publication at Alphabet Soup. You can read her earlier work here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young writers in action: The attack

THE ATTACK
by Analia Rivera, 10, USA

It was 8 pm. Attack time! In the morning, they just made noise, but at night they come to terrorize the house or anybody who dared to come too close. As we drove into the driveway, the cicadas bounced off the muddy CRV. We were trapped; there was no escape. If we got out, they would swarm. None of us were brave enough for them. We spent a half-hour trying to figure it out. Then, my dad got impatient and fled, slamming the car door. Approaching the house’s side door, he fumbled with the key in the inky darkness but couldn’t place the key in the lock. My sister shined the light from her phone to help. BIG MISTAKE! The cicadas were attracted to light and instantly made my dad their target. He screamed in terror as they attacked him. Pulling the door open, he lunged in and then closed it, leaving us still trapped in the car. We debated for another half hour on what to do. Then, a light flickered on outside at the other side of the house. We waited, hoping the cicadas would be attracted to it. Then it flickered off and was replaced by a light right where we were.

“Turn off the light! Turn off the light!”

My dad couldn’t hear us, but eventually, he did turn off the light. The darkness comforted us as we waited for the cicadas to evacuate our escape route. I was starting to get restless, and so was my sister and my mum. We decided to be quick and move. My sister, Indi, and I were right next to the unlocked door, but my mum was on the other side. We let her get out first and waited until she got to the back of the car. Indi and I opened our doors, joining my mum. Indi made a run for the door and was followed by my mum. I trailed behind, getting shoved left and right by Indi and my mum. The unpleasant sound of cicadas buzzed in my ear, and I could feel them attacking me. Indi and my mom were already in the doorway, and the wooden door started to close in front of my chestnut eyes.

“Wait!”

Sprinting into the doorway, I heaved a sigh of relief. We had won the battle, but the war was still to come. Some cicadas got inside, and now it was our job to dispose of them. Once that was done, the four of us laughed at our survival from the bugs and settled down on the couch. Then we heard the buzzing sound, inside! We missed one! Searching for it, we located it and calmed down except for me. I was thinking, and then I formed my practical question.

“Are there any more?”

The sound of the cicadas filled the endless night as we pondered the question.


This is Analia’s first publication at Alphabet Soup.To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines