The story below is a winner from our Fiction Fantastic Young Writers Contest, open to all youth in Lane County. For more information on this contest, including how to enter, visit here. Support this program with a donation.
You can purchase this story in the 2018 Winners Anthology, Secret Keepers here.
“R.E.S.C.U.E” by Hannah J. Ellingsworth, Willagillespie Elementary School
Second Place, Elementary Level, 2018
Hannah J. Ellingsworth
Willagillespie Elementary School
My name is Baxter Gingernoodle. I’m a Yorkshire Terrier, and people call me tiny. Granted, I am tiny, but I do more than some people would think. My owner is Chloe. She is ten years old, which I learned at school. Dogs don’t go to school, right? Wrong.
I learned that most dogs only speak “dog,” a language that humans use to describe the way dogs speak to each other. But I understand several ways humans speak. That’s why I got accepted into SDSC. That stands for the Smart Dogs Spy College. Key word: spy.
This morning I got a text from my boss, General Carly.
Carly: Code red!
Baxter: What is the emergency?
Carly: SOS! The Operation is coming!
Baxter: Got it. I’m coming right now!
The Operation is our rival spy team. It’s made of all cats and operated by General Snowball. She is a dangerously cute cat. All that white fluff is covering the evil in her heart. I ran downstairs. “BARK BARK BARK BARK!”
“Baxter! What do you want? I just finished doing chores and I want to sit down!” whined Chloe.
“Chloe! I have to get to the school now! It’s an emergency!”
Of course, all she heard was BARK BARK BARK!
“All right! You win!” she said.
I dashed outside. As I entered my giant dog house, my blue hologram keypad popped up. I punched in my code, 666971770. My dog house buzzed as the yellow walls faded to dirt. I fell way down the long tunnel into the main room of the spy lab. I opened my eyes to the bustle of all the busy dogs preparing for the arrival of The Operation.
“Hi Baxter! I can’t believe you finally made it!” said my friend, Sadie.
So we waited. Hours and hours later, still nothing came.
“I can’t believe they didn’t show up!” I exclaimed.
It was absurd. The only thing that came was pounding rain.
Later, we got a report from the UCI. That stands for the Undercover Canine Investigation. It’s like an undercover dog police team that streams throughout five states. We have schools set up in Nevada, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
The report was about a string of robberies in Carson City, Nevada. The robberies were about missing supplies in pet stores. I was thinking, who in their right mind would want to rob a pet store? Oh!
“It’s obvious that The Operation did it.”
“That’s it! We have proof!” exclaimed Sadie.
“It’s not that simple though. The Operation is an experienced team. They wouldn’t do something like this unless they did it on purpose. I know Snowball and her crew have a plan. She’s smart, but we’re smarter!” But, then it hit me. “We have to stop them! Ally lives near there!”
Ally was a cat my family used to have. We did everything together. Then, we found out that Mom was allergic to cats. We had to give Ally to our friends, the Robinsons. I can’t imagine what would happen if she became part of The Operation. What if Ally was…evil? We had to save her!
“Baxter, we have business to take care of. We’re very busy holding back The Operation. I don’t have time for you to chat on the phone,” Carly told me.
“Aw, come on! I need to make a call for The Office. I know someone who might be a victim of The Operation! She is a cat I know, who—” I didn’t finish.
“Oh, no way! If she is a cat, I am not going to help her.”
I decided I had to take drastic measures. My plan was to sneak out of the school early so that I could go warn Ally before it was too late. “It may or may not work. Wish me good luck!”
Anyway, it was currently 8:39 p.m., and I was ready to go into action. I casually strolled over towards the big red doors blocking the entrance. I gave them a hard tug. Locked. I glanced around the hallway. I knew this place like the back of my paw.
I quickly and silently unlatched the silver door of the nearest fire escape. Next, I slowly dragged the door open. I felt the gust of night wind outside. There are six floors of the school. Most of which are underground. The only way to get in or out is to go through the sixth floor, because it is the only one that is above ground.
I stepped out and let the door slip shut behind me. The cool autumn breeze blew my fur in every direction. Then I looked down at the beautiful meadows below me with the red leaves and the green grass.
I let out a whimper and jumped back, suddenly realizing I was leaning over the edge of the railing. I silenced myself, for fear I was going to get caught. Almost as if my vision had come to life, I heard a voice. I saw a shadow darting across the field in front of me. I recognized the voice I had heard so many times before. It was Ally!
“Who’s there? Never sneak up on me!”
A bright light was shined directly at my face, momentarily blinding me. “Ally! It’s me! Baxter?”
I could tell she couldn’t find me. “I’m up here! I was about to go and save you but I don’t remember how to get down!”
“Well, my hero!” Ally rolled her eyes.
She is, what she calls, a strong girl power enthusiast. Ally believes that girls shouldn’t have to be rescued by boys. That they can do things themselves. I do like her in that way, because she never judges me for being best friends with a girl like some of the other dogs do.
She also believes that cats have different mindsets than dogs. By that, I mean that she thinks cats are smarter. When she says that, I always ask her, do cats have their own spy programs in five different states? Oh no. I forgot about The Operation. Since Ally’s already here, I can protect her from The Operation.
“Why are you here, anyway, Ally?”
The question echoed through the air, but was never answered. It was just then that I realized the flashlight had been shut off. The space around me was as pitch black as it was before. And I hadn’t heard Ally’s voice in a while, actually. Then it hit me…she was gone.
I started my slow descent down the ladder of the fire escape. The air was seemingly colder than before. Oh no! I almost slid off the ladder when I remembered something very important. It was currently 10:26 p.m., almost two hours later than when I left at 8:39! What if my owners found out about my career as a spy?
I get to leave school at 9:00. My owner, Chloe, gets home at 9:30. That gives me just enough time to pretend I’ve been home all day. I eat all my dog food, scatter some toys on the floor, and chew on some furniture. Chloe finds me at home, laying on our family’s tan couch, and snuggling up to my favorite blanket. So, what would happen when she got home and couldn’t find me anywhere? I was going to have a lot of explaining to do.
As these thoughts swam through my head, I quickened my speed down the ladder. As fast as I could go without falling, I made it down. About six rungs from the ground, I braced myself, and jumped. As soon as my paws hit the ground, I dashed down the path that led home. For a moment, time seemed to go in slow motion. I ran and jumped over fallen tree branches.
Finally, panting and exhausted, I returned to my house. Somehow, I’m going to have to tell Chloe about SDSC. Obviously, I can’t talk. But there is this one thing that I can do.
Completely prepared, I marched in through my doggy door.
No one was there. I tried Chloe’s room instead. She was sitting on her bed, reading Wonder. I whimpered softly, and she looked up.
“Baxter! Where have you been? I missed you so much!”
I whimpered. Not because I was sad, but because it was time. Time to spill out all of my secrets to Chloe. Next, I pawed at her computer. She quickly got the message and opened it up. Next came the hardest part.
I needed Chloe to open the notepad app. I know! I went over to her bookshelf and dragged out at drawing pad. At first, she was confused. Then I saw that ‘now I get it’ look on her face. She clicked on the app and I shoved my way onto her lap.
Chloe watched in awe as I begun to type. I typed out all of my spy info, including the fact that I know how to type. Pretty cool right? Do you really think a human could be this creative? Anyway, now that Chloe knew everything, she could help me rescue Ally!
Things did not go how I expected. Chloe seemed to think that something horrid was going to happen, that the world would somehow end.
“Baxter! We have to save Ally! They have her all tied up, I know it! Is the world going to end, Baxter? Is it? Please tell me you know!” she exclaimed.
I could tell Chloe was close to tears by now. I really wanted to crawl up in her lap, to tell her that everything was going to be okay. I wanted to tell her that I knew how to fix everything. But I couldn’t. Because I didn’t.
“I can’t, Chloe! Okay? I know you count on me to help you, to always be there for you. But sometimes it just doesn’t work like that! I don’t know everything and neither does anyone else.” I didn’t want to, but I typed out all of those words I said in “Dog.”
At that moment, Chloe burst into tears. I felt so bad. I just didn’t think I was ready for a mission like this. What if they hurt me? What if they hurt my family and my friends?
But then, Chloe stopped crying. She looked me right in the eye and said, “Baxter! I know you are so scared. Believe me, I know. Remember the time that we went bungee jumping? I was so scared. But I did it, and I had fun! Spying is your bridge! Once you jump, you aren’t going to fall. You are going to fly! You can change the world. You are a really brave dog. You are a hero! And heroes don’t change the world when they’re sitting on my bed!”
Chloe’s little speech was empowering. I am going to conquer those stupid cats. And when I do, I know at least Chloe will be proud of me. She is the most loyal sister ever.
“Don’t be scared, Baxter. I’m not supposed to tell you this, but you have something special that no one else has. A secret power, maybe?”
I wonder what she meant by secret power? Well, I always say R.E.S.C.U.E. is my favorite acronym; Ready, Energy, Save, Create, Unstoppable, and Elaborate. I am going to Take. Them. Down!
I nuzzled Chloe as a goodbye. After that, I climbed up on the bed and stared out the window. Perfect. Then, I hurtled out the window, imaginary cape soaring behind me, and silently landed on my feet.
I saw the look of anguish on Chloe’s face as she poked her head out the window to watch. I turned around and winked.
“Couldn’t you have taken the door?!”
But I didn’t hear her, because I was already running down the pavement to my fate.
“What is the puny mutt doing here?”
It was The Operation’s security guard, Butch. This was perfect.
“Oh Butch. You know what I’m here for.”
At first, he looked confused.
“Oh, right. The little cat. Boss wanted to talk to you about that,” he said.
“I bet you didn’t figure I was going to do this!” I grabbed his paw and flipped him over. He hit the ground with a thud. So easy.
I dashed through the entrance to the building. But, I just walked down the halls, attacking everything that got in my way. I started to hear a strange noise. It was a very loud buzzing.
I followed the noise until I came to a room labeled “Large Buzzing Generator.” I thought that must be some kind of code name. I heard a noise that sounded like fighting, too. That was it. It was time. I kicked the door open!
Snowball from The Operation was in there, too. Before me stood a giant, silver tank. I think Snowball saw me staring.
“It’s a 2,000-pound giant electromagnetic generator. It powers the entire building,” she said, smugly.
“Wait, why are you here, Baxter?” asked Ally.
“I came to rescue you! But, I guess you didn’t need it,” I replied.
“I don’t need someone to come help me. I have this under control!” She didn’t sound like she meant it.
“Oh. Well I—.” Suddenly, I was being lifted off the ground. “What are you doing?!”
“Throwing you in the pit!” cackled Snowball. She let out an evil, witchlike laugh.
It was then I noticed that there was an opening at the top of the generator. They were going to throw me in it! I also realized it wasn’t a generator at all, it was a pit for their victims!
I let out a scream as they climbed the stairs to the top. What was I going to do? There was nothing I could do. These cats were bigger than me, and stronger.
There was one thing I could do.
“Ally, you will always be my sister!” And they tossed me in the pit. I clung to the edge of the big, metal cave. Dove was lifting my claws from it, one by one. Below me, there was a vast sea of green, toxic liquid.
Dove and Snowball both grinned as they lifted the last claw from the edge. Then, I fell fifteen feet down to the toxic water of the pit. Ally shrieked, and then I was submerged.
I doggy paddled my way to the surface. I tried to avoid drinking the liquid for fear that it was poisonous. I had to find a way out. This would not be Baxter Gingernoodle’s last day! I was going to return from this mission to Chloe, who loved me. I gathered up all of my courage, and I swam to the bottom of the pit.
I knew it! There was a hole at the bottom. Just big enough to drain the pit. And, big enough for a tiny dog! I tried as hard as I could to swim into the drain hole. It sucked me up and led me down the tunnel. I rode the current like a waterslide all the way down.
Eventually, I stood up, and I marched down to Ally again. Once again, I kicked the door open.
“I, Baxter Gingernoodle, will not be defeated!”
I was met with stares of awe.
“Baxter, you’re alive!” exclaimed Ally with joy.
Snowball got right to the point. “Invincible, eh? Maybe we should defeat her instead!” She grinned, pointing at Ally.
“No, you won’t!” I screamed, infuriated.
Suddenly, they were hit by a force of electricity that not even Snowball was capable of. Where did it come from? I gasped. It came from me! My paws were crackling with blue sparks.
“Baxter, what is going on?” Ally questioned.
“What is happening to me?!” I shrieked, then I collapsed onto the floor.
Everything went black.
Next thing I knew, I was laying on Chloe’s bedroom floor. Ally was there, too.
“He’s waking up!” alerted Ally.
“What’s going on? What happened?” I asked, groggily.
“You electrocuted the cats, and then you passed out,” Ally said. “I found Chloe and she took you home,” she informed me.
“Where are the cats?” I asked, finally.
“They were found and taken to the shelter. All of The Operation was, actually.”
Then, I realized that Chloe couldn’t understand me talking to Ally. She handed me the laptop and I told her everything that happened to me.
“So that is the secret power that you told me about!” I typed.
“Yes. I really wanted to tell you, but I was instructed by your previous owner not to. I didn’t know how to activate it anyway, she wouldn’t tell me. It must have been a chemical in the toxic liquid!” Chloe replied.
Now everything made sense. I had superpowers! That was awesome! I could now do everything I had always wanted to do!
“It’s pretty cool. But, training on how to use them starts tomorrow,” Chloe told me.
“Aw man!” I typed. Then we all laughed.
The next day, I was promoted to General of The Office. I was the leader, head spy! A month after that, my story was in the paper, and later, made into a movie! Chloe got a ton of money and spent it all on me!
In two years we got a puppy! His name was Gizmo, and I taught him how to be a spy. Once I was old, I couldn’t be a spy anymore, and Gizmo took my place as General. I spent the rest of my life making inventions for The Office. Me and Chloe were famous, life was great, and I loved it like that.