Let's build a story!

Inside the Chest

by Lara Šaravanja, grade 8

After lunch I went to eat my candy in the bathroom hiding from my wife Jennie. As I was walking, something on the nearby desk caught my attention. It was an old photo album of me and my wife. I sat down at the desk and opened it. The first few pages were just us playing in the sand at the park or in my house. I was smiling as I recalled our old memories. From the moment I saw her when we were children, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Jennie had a short black hair and dark yet warm brown eyes. My mind couldn't help but to wander off to the most important day of our childhood, a day that changed our lives forever.

I had a chest in my old house where all my toys were stored. Jennie and I often played with a bear named Vernon, a squirrel named Rose, a bunny named Jackson and a fox named Joy. We have always wanted our toys to come alive, and that in fact happened. They're actually still alive, but are able to look like stuffed toys made in China. One day Joy the fox disappeared. I thought that Jennie had stolen it and got very angry at her. She swore she didn't steal her but I have always been a stubborn person even when I was a kid and I kept pushing the idea she was the culprit. In the middle of our fight we were pulled at some kind of valley inside the chest. It was very beautiful, but there were no trees or plants whatsoever. "Alex and Jennie, is that you?", a deep voice talked to us. "Y..yes, it's us", I said. Jennie put her hand over my mouth signalizing me to shut up by putting her finger over her lips. A huge bear with a bunny on his shoulder and a squirrel next to it showed up behind the hill surprising us. One part of me was telling my legs to run and take Jennie along, but the other part of me felt familiar with the animal gang in front of us. "Don't you recognize us? I'm Rose", said a squeaky voice of the squirrel, "this is Vernon", she pointed at the bear, "and this is Jackson.", signalizing towards the bunny with her head.

Jennie and I were shocked. Those were my toys, alive, breathing and talking!

"Alex, apologize to Jennie. She didn't steal Joy. An evil scientist known as Johnny who had cut down the trees and plants in this valley did it. She wanted to get our valley back so she went to his lab far away from here.", said Jackson. "Nobody has seen her since then." finished Vernon. "Then Alex and I will help you find Joy! We're more likely to find her when there's more of us.", said Jennie firmly. She's always been braver than me, even though I'll never admit it. "Great!", squeaked Rose, "I knew you were going to help us! We're going to be the strongest army in the world!"

"Isn't Jackson usually the one that never shuts up?", said Vernon. Everyone giggled.

"We already have an idea, we just need your help.", Jackson said proudly, " We're going to take the train to his lab and scare him, so we can persuade him to grow the trees back and release Joy. Of course, we can't show up in this clothing, therefore we’re going to dress ourselves in costumes so we look intimidating. "

Jennie and I looked at each other and nodded. I was given a dragon costume, Jennie was given a Native American costume, Vernon dressed himself as a pirate, Jackson had a knight armour and Rose wore a cape and a mask similar to Batman.

We went to the train station and jumped on the first train that came along. The sight was gorgeous, we saw pine trees, snakes, lakes, tents with campers in it, high mountains and silky white clouds. Dr. Johnny's lab was inside the castle. It was tall, old and a bit frightening. But I could easily imagine someone like dr. Johnny living there, it was very hidden, the space was big and it probably had all the equipment a scientist needed.

We stood in front of the gates determined to save Joy and the valley. Nothing would be able stop us when we were together. Vernon crashed the gates and the rest of us went in. Surprisingly, there were no guards protecting the gates. We searched the entire castle until we found his lab at the basement. I opened the door and everyone made a fighting pose. We looked like some kind of superhero crew. Dr. Johnny jumped from his desk, dropping all of his papers. "What are you doing here?!", he yelled collecting fallen papers. Rose didn't waste any moments and ran inside his pockets grabbing the keys of the cage Joy was trapped in. Dr. Johnny reached for her but Jackson threw himself onto him, making them both fall on the floor. I grabbed the potion that had "Fast plant growth" written on it and hid it into my costume. Jennie tied dr. Johnny by his ankles and wrists so he couldn't move. "You're going to spend the rest of your life in the dungeon because you destroyed our precious Valley.", said Vernon grabbing him by the collar of his lab coat. Joy hugged every one of us tightly saying "thank you" through tears of joy. When we came back, Jackson and Rose spread the potion throughout the valley. It still remains the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. So many trees and flowers, like heaven.

"Thank you so much for helping us.", the animals said. "We'll see each other very soon I promise.", said Joy. We teleported back to our world and Joy was in the chest. Jennie and I still visit the valley every day. We've been inseparable since that day.

mentor: Barbara Sliepčević

OŠ Ivana Filipovića