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 2020 Winners Anthology Fueled By Fire here.
“Portal” by Allie Nichols, Douglas Gardens Elementary School
Second Place, Elementary Level, 2020
By Allie Nichols
Douglas Gardens Elementary School
I wake up to see my cat Chloe on my chest, purring as loud as a hair dryer. As I yawn and look at my clock beside my bed, I see—it’s 8:00! School starts at 8:05! I rush up, pushing Chloe, causing her to run off, and get a decent outfit to change into for a day. I run out the door of my room to make my lunch and fill my water bottle. I open the door and see Chloe in a box next to the door.
“Bye, Mum!” I yell and assume she hears me. I put my backpack on and run out the door.
I run down the sidewalk and don’t see any crossing guards for the school. I look both ways to see not a single car passing. I run out in the road, drop my backpack—and freeze. I look all around and everything is frozen. I see a darkish-purple hole that looks like a galaxy, maybe a few feet higher than me. “A portal?” I think to myself. Suddenly everything unfreezes and I trip, falling into the portal and I vanish.
I wake up in an unknown area resting on the cold grass. I lift myself up to see a big jungle-wood sign that’s a few feet high that says, “WELCOME.” I look around me to see nothing but tall grass and some big thick logs. I look behind me and see a whole ocean with a small island about a mile away. Plop! I look more into the water to see a calico cat in the water struggling to swim but can’t. I rush to the water, grabbing the cat while seagrass is moving through my feet and the bottom on my legs. I huddle the cat closer to my chest to get the warmth back. I get back on land and sit down, with the cat in my lap purring with contentment. I grab the logs and some dry grass, tying the logs to make some sort of raft. After that, I slowly fall asleep with the cat by my side.
“I’ll name you Anna,” I say to myself as I fall asleep.
I wake up with Anna on my chest and the sun just starting to rise. I pick her up to put her beside me. I get up to see a beautiful sunrise and . . . horses in the distance? I take a few steps forward to see more of the view. I crunch on some dead grass and a horse looks over.
“There’s about five horses,” I whisper to myself while I walk closer with excitement. The horses seem friendly.
A horse prances over. He has a black mane and a caramel brown body with white spots all over. As he stops in front of me, confused as if I was made up, he snorts. As he kinda shoves me with his long nose, I pet him on the head. He snorts again. As the sun rises more, he fades.
“Can I only see him at night?” I think to myself.
He fades even more, until the sun is all the way up and he fades away in pieces. I look back to see Anna still asleep. Walking over, I watch her slowly awaken. I sit next to her, getting some grass to tie on the bottom of the “raft” I made last night. I look out in the distance in the water and see a small red crab crawling out of the water chasing another crab that’s more orange than red. I grab the orange one and put it in the water again. The red one again vanishes into the water.
I look out into the sea and see the little island in the distance. I get up, grab the little raft, put it into the water, and sit on it. It holds me. I get off, grabbing the raft and pulling it out of the water. I pick up Anna and say, “We’re going to that island. Over there!” I say pointing out into the distance. “I have a raft and everything! And on the island, I see great big trees—those must be coconut trees!”
I grab some more grass and left over sticks. I put the raft in the water and sit down on it. It barely holds me. A little bit of water spills in and Anna sprints higher, getting on top of my shoulders. I paddle with my hands making little waves in the water. I cup my hands as if they were paddles so the raft will move faster. I stop for a moment and have the waves pull me farther out to sea. I lie down and Anna walks down the raft leaving little water puddles that the grass slurps up in a second. I lie on my stomach to see the water as clear as fresh glass with all different colors of coral surrounding the bottom of the ocean floor. I watch fish swim by with little fish following behind them. Closer to the bottom, I see a stingray pass with a long tail following behind as it swoops under me. I slowly fall asleep with Anna on my back, also falling asleep.
~ cRaCK! ~ The raft hits something, tearing it apart, and water starts flowing in. Anna falls in meowing. It’s the island! Grabbing her wet fur and putting her on the island, I grab onto a log, pulling myself to shore, and smacking my hands against fresh shells pulled in from the waves. I get on land and see a whole coconut in front of my face. I rush up, grabbing the coconut and walking to a huge rock nearby, and struggle to crack open the coconut. I finally open it, chug it, and looking down, I see a three-foot sea turtle looking up at me. I stumble down with confusion on my face. Looking up, I see a coconut falling from a nearby tree and it hits my head.
I wake up hearing a loud fan next to me, and smell fresh pancakes and tea. I open my eyes and look around.
“My room?” I think to myself. “How am I in my room? Was I just dreaming?”
I jump out of bed and swing my door open. I run to the kitchen almost tripping myself and I see . . . my mum! She’s here! I rush over to hug her as tightly as possible. I let go and grab a pancake and munch on it.
“Good morning, Allie!” Mum says.
I keep silent. She won’t believe my dream. I’m sure it’s real.
“When you were asleep, a calico cat stopped by and I fed her. She’s inside right now exploring!” Mum says. “Want to name her—”
“ANNA! I wanna name her Anna.”
“Anna it is,” Mum replies.