What Could Possibly Happen in 40 Minutes?

OK, so what could happen in 40 minutes?

For some, 40 minutes isn’t very long, as 40 minutes is just 20 minutes away from an hour. But as for me, 40 minutes quickly became the longest minutes of my life.

Here’s how that happened…

One day, I was sitting outside my front porch when I heard screams. The screams were coming from a house down the street from mine. I don’t know what was going on, but all I could hear was screams. Before I knew what was happening, the screams got louder and louder until they were no more. I also heard yells and the sound of an objecting hitting something. But I didn’t see anyone getting up to check out what was going on.

All it took was 40 minutes of screams.

And then there was silence.

Not the silence that permeated throughout my neighborhood.

It was the silence that spoke of death.

40 minutes after I heard the screams, I found myself running from my front porch and heading towards the house at the end of the lane. The yard was covered in plants that covered the house and the windows; all the windows were covered from the inside. The people who lived in that house appeared to be unfriendly and secretive. They never came out unless it was important and they never said a kind word to me or anyone else in that respect.

But now I saw the perpetually closed front door had been forced open. I peered inside, hoping to see a glimpse of life inside the dark house.

But I saw nothing but darkness and death.

I ran from the house and called the police, knowing that whatever it was in that house wasn’t fit for human consumption. As I watched the police walking into the house, I noticed that someone had hidden something important on the porch. The thing was a message saying, “They’ll never hurt her now.”

What was that about? Who was this “her” and why would “they” hurt “her”? Who were those people hurting? Was the hurting enough to warrant the deaths of the people living in the house?

Whatever it was, I’m not sure right now.

But all I know was that so much had happened in 40 minutes.

For me, I had witnessed a murder.

The Stalker (StoryADay)

Samuel Watson (a friend of Mara Llewellyn) can say that writing isn’t easy.

Especially when you have to deal with a stalker.

Sam had recently finished writing “Riddle Of The Stone Men” (novel 12 in “The Sally Montgomery Adventure Series” on Wattpad); he was glad that the series was finally over and he could start writing something else.

Little did he know he would have a different story to tell.

One weekend, he was leaving a high school party when the bus he rode in was involved in a fender bender. Although Sam escaped without injury, he woke up in a small room. The room had only a mattress and a typewriter. A girl was sitting in a chair in a corner of the room.

“Uh, who are you?” said Sam.

“My name is Libby Richards,” said Libby. “You must be Reggie Nelson, writer of “The Sally Montgomery Adventure Series“.”

“OK, what’s it to you?” said Sam. “What’s going on?”

“I’m on to you, Nelson!” Libby yelled as she stared at Sam. “You’re nothing but a homophobic jerk!”

“Excuse me, but you’re talking to a born-again Christian,” said Sam. “And what are you yammering about?”

“You killed Leon Levine in “The Outlaws of Pallas“,” said Libby. “He was my favorite character!”

“You must be kidding,” said Sam. “I know that most of my readers hated Leon and begged me to get rid of him, so I had to kill him off. Plus, he was being a jerk, and I don’t allow jerks to exist in my books. Now, if you think I’m homophobic, think again!”

“Nope!” said Libby as she slammed the typewriter on a nearby table and forced Sam to sit at the table. “You’re not going anywhere until you write me a story.”

“And what kind of story should I write?” said Sam.

“You will write about Leon coming back to life and him hooking up with Brock Farrington instead of Brock hooking up with Stella Avington,” said Libby. “I also want Stella, Daisy, and Eleanor to die and Sally to not have a boyfriend at all.”

Sam laughed, saying, “Well, you must be one of those crazy fangirls who like same-sex parings and hate straight pairings. And you want to break up canonically straight couples and kill the females in the relationship. What kind of writer do you take me for?”

“You will do what I ask, or I’ll destroy your family,” said Libby. “Plus, I’ll make it so the police will never find you.”

“You want to bet?” said Sam.

“Start writing!” said Libby.

Needless to say, Sam spent that weekend practically chained to the typewriter, writing a story that would only make him sick. He frowned, knowing that no writer should have to give in to a reader’s request. It didn’t matter if the readers wanted a certain pairing to happen or not. If nobody wanted a story about a straight couple, they could put down the story and read something else.

Of course, Mara received word that Sam had gone missing and not even the police or Sam’s family was allowed to look for him. But Team Sescape could.

After Sam completed his sixth bathroom break, Libby came into the room, saying, “And where is that story?”

“Here,” said Sam pointing to the manuscript on the table. “I hope it makes you happy, you freak.”

Libby picked up the story and read it, crying out, “OMG, I love it! That’s what your readers need to see. None of this “straights are better” crap! Plus, your faith has no place in your stories…”

“Oh that just tears it!” Sam snarled at her. “Just who do you think you are to say such horrible things to me? If your parents find out about the things you’ve done…”

“You don’t get to talk,” Libby snapped. “In fact, I’m going to break you in half!”

But she never had a chance, as Mara and her friend Tara Schindler burst into the room and subdued her, with Mara doing the Vulcan nerve pinch on Libby’s neck until she fainted.

“Thanks, guys,” said Sam as he saw Mara and Tara. “That girl made my life a living nightmare!”

“I’ve noticed when I got your text message,” said Mara. “Tara and I were working on a plan to rescue you. I didn’t think it would take us that long to find your location.”

“Get a load of this garbage!” Tara cried out as she read the manuscript. To Sam, she said, “Did she make you write this?”

“She did,” said Sam. “I can’t believe she made me write that crap! I mean, what is wrong with her?”

“Was she one of those crazy fangirls who held you hostage until you revived a dead character that she liked?” said Mara.

“Of course,” said Sam. “Libby was a crazy self-righteous fanatic who denounced my Christian faith and called me homophobic for killing Leon Levine! You both know how much of a jerk he was, and I never should have created him in the first place! But not to worry, for once she wakes up, she’ll find herself in a padded room. I will NOT be held down by anyone!”

“You should write about that for the student newspaper,” said Tara.

“And get rid of that garbage,” said Mara. “No one wants to read it.”

“Nope, we need it as evidence,” said Sam. “I’m sure a judge would be very interested to know what goes on in the mind of a crazy fan.”

To make a long story short, Libby was arrested for kidnapping and torturing a person under the age of 18 years (even though she was 16 years old). After the jury read Sam’s revised manuscript, they sentenced Libby to life at Blue Valley Sanitarium.

“Well, I’m just glad this is over,” said Sam as the Fantasy Writers club met in the library after school. “It sickens me to think that some people would want to twist up our stories to suit their own sick fantasies.”

“I’ve noticed,” said Mara. “I recently asked fanficsrus.com to take down a story featuring characters from my story. The site has yet to comply with my demand.”

“Such a shame you must do that,” said Tara. “Things like this make you want to reconsider being a writer.”

“Or not allow readers to create their own fanfiction based on your stories,” said Sam. “But let’s leave the debate for the professionals. We should focus on what we plan to write next.”

Little did Sam, Mara, and Tara (and the rest of the club) know that they had declared war on the fangirls…

The Second Deconstruction of Hansel & Gretel (StoryADay)

We already saw the story about how Eugene and Lena McMillan escaped from the circus with the help of their friends Josie Salamati, Seth Burke, Moira Downing, and Trixie Salamati, but now let’s hear the story about how the Teen Rebels helped to get rid of an evil curse plaguing their town.

During the 1880s, a group of wicked magicians placed an evil curse on the city of Montagne Beach, California. That curse resulted in the deaths of any mentally handicapped person living in the city. (It should be noted that no handicapped person lived to see their 10th year.)

After learning about the death of Eugene and Lena’s older brother Carter, Josie was determined to find and end the curse plaguing the town.

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Jo?” said Josie’s best friend Jacey Mayford. “You should know that playing with magic is a dangerous thing. Someone will try to stop you if they find out that you’re trying to stop the curse.”

“But we don’t have a choice,” said Josie. “We can’t afford to have any more children die because we knew about the curse and did nothing. You saw how most people in this town didn’t seem to care that Carter McMillan was found dead, and we both knew him. They didn’t care that Sheila Baines had him killed because I refused to let her bully me. I can’t afford another death on my conscious.”

“So, what are we going to do about the curse?” said Jacey.

“I have a plan,” said Josie.

Well, it wasn’t easy dispelling the curse, as Josie and the Teen Rebels discovered.

The first time they tried to break the spell, Moira and Trixie tried to get their hands on a book at the magic store. But the store owner saw them and confiscated the book, telling them to “be like the other kids and stop sticking your noses in the grown folks’ business”. Needless to say, both girls left the store empty-handed.

“Well, it was a nice try, but you should have seen it coming,” said Seth when the group met to discuss their failure to get the book. “But we’ll try again next time.”

“But it won’t be easy, now that people know we’re onto them,” said Josie. “So we better be careful.”

The others nodded, knowing that they wouldn’t get off with a warning the next time they were caught.

Of course, the second time, Josie and Seth discovered a hidden room at the Montagne Beach Sanitarium, where the birth records every resident born in Montagne Beach from 1845 to the present were kept. They found their own birth records and those of Carter McMillan, but had to leave the hospital at the last second when they heard a strange noise in the halls.

“Well, at least we know who the people were and why they did the deed,” said Trixie as she read the files. “But that still doesn’t explain why Carter and hundreds of other children died.”

“Well, I heard a rumor that the spell used was in a grimoire hidden somewhere in the city,” said Jacey. “But we need to hurry, as I hear there’s going to be a magic show at the Halloween ball.”

“So we can’t waste any more time,” said Josie.

“What should we do now?” said Moira.

“We put our heads together and come up with a plan to stop those evil magicians from causing any more trouble,” said Trixie. “And I know the best way to find what we’re looking for without anyone seeing us.”

Several weeks later, it was the night of the citywide Halloween ball. As they watched the other people dancing, Josie said, “I think I saw someone with the grimoire we’ve been looking for!”

“Really? Where?” said Jacey.

“Connor won’t like it,” said Josie.

To make a long story short, Josie’s boyfriend Connor Finnegan’s older (adopted) brother John had the grimoire and was preparing to do some evil magic when Trixie threw a lantern at him. The lantern broke and burst into flames, burning both John and the book. As the Teen Rebels watched in shock, Seth said, “I think we may have ended the curse.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that,” said Josie.

“Why not?” said Moira.

“Because who knows what evils we might have unleashed the minute we destroyed that book,” said Trixie. “I’m scared to know what will happen to us if those magicians foudn out that we destroyed their book and got rid of the spell.”

To make a long story short, the spell was lifted, with the people of Montagne Beach learning about the spell that hovered over the city. As everyone came to grips about the spell, the Teen Rebels learned that even though they stopped an evil spell from controlling their town, they weren’t finished fighting against evil…

The Third Ugly Duckling (StoryADay)

Micah Collins knew from the beginning that he was nothing like the Collins family.

While Dexter, Chelsea, Kristopher, Drew, and Kaylee had brown eyes, brown hair, and brown skin, Micah had blue eyes, reddish-brown hair, and cream-colored skin. While he cared about his family, he was also a target for the bullies who ruthlessly reminded him about his differences and implied that his birth mother must have thrown him away, because who would want an ugly boy like him?

It seemed like every day, people would see him and say, “Look, it’s the little vanilla boy! Why is he living with the chocolate people?” The kids laughed at him and the adults glared at him, as if he was sullying their perfect world with his presence. Micah was upset about the bullying, but he tried to hide it for his family’s sake. They had already gotten enough flack for adopting him, and they didn’t need any more unnecessary drama.

One night, Micah looked into the mirror and said, “Why am I so different? Why am I not like everyone else in my family? What’s wrong with me?”

Just then, a fairy came through the window. The fairy was tall with fiery red hair and orange eyes. Micah saw him and said, “Can you help me?”

“Why should I help you?” said the fairy.

“Because I’m not like everyone else and I want to know why?” said Micah.

The fairy stared at him, saying, “So you’re not like everyone else, and you want to know why? Come, I’ll show you.”

He grabbed Micah’s hand and led him through the mirror to a strange world. Fairies were everywhere, laughing as they flitted through the air. Micah found himself laughing for a moment, realizing that he was happy among the fairies. But that didn’t bring him any comfort, as he knew he would have to return to a cruel world that wanted to punish him for not living with a family that looked like him.

Just as he prepared to go to him inevitable fate, a fairy saw him and said, “I know why you’re different from your family.”

“Why?” said Micah.

“It’s because you’re a fairy,” said the fairy. “OK, you’re only a half fairy, but that’s part of the story. Look in the mirror and see.”

Micah stared into the pond and gasped as he saw his reflection. Here he was, in his true form. He had blue, silver, and purple wings on his back. His eyes was purple and his hair was golden blond. For a moment, he felt as if he belonged.

He couldn’t wait to tell everyone about the fairies tomorrow.

The Third Cinderella Story (StoryADay)

Amy was a normal girl who wanted a better life, but her stepmother Charlize and stepsister Maritza prevented her from living that life. Of course, they didn’t like her or treat her well.

But Amy would never give up, not matter what the circumstances were.

She learned about an audition to be in a movie directed by a famous movie director. Amy loved to act and she often participated in her school’s plays. But this was the big league, and she would have to fight scores of other girls to get the coveted part.

That meant she had to squeeze past Maritza to get to her goal. It would not be easy, however.

When Charlize found out about Amy’s plans to audition for the movie role, so she spread dirt and sand all over the front hall, forcing Amy to clean up the mess without using a vacuum cleaner. Amy grumbled and went to get a broom to sweep up the mess, knowing that Charlize had planned to sabotage her audition so that Maritza could get the part. (I don’t have to tell you that Maritza was terrible at acting.)

Nonetheless, Amy finished cleaning the front hall and went to the audition, where the first group of girls were rejected. She knew she still had a chance.

Unfortunately, Charlize (furious that Amy managed to outsmart her and make the audition) spilled several bags of pasta on the countertop in the kitchen and told Amy that she couldn’t go to the audition until she organized every piece of pasta. As she picked up each piece of pasta and put it back into its proper container, Amy wondered what Charlize had against her. She knew Charlize wanted Maritza to win the part (as bad as she was at acting), but she wondered if her stepmother wanted her to fail the audition as well.

After the counter was clean and the pasta was put back into the pantry, Amy went to the audition, where she survived the second round of rejections. But she knew it wasn’t over yet, not as far as Maritza and Charlize were concerned.

Safe to say, Amy wasn’t so lucky the third time, as Charlize (angry that Amy outsmarted her and went to the audition) locked her up in her huge room-sized closet and told her never to come out until the auditions were over. As she fumed over her stepmother’s latest treatment, a small fairy named Snowglimmer came to her, saying, “Why are you angry?”

“My stepmother has locked me up in her huge closet and won’t let me come out until the audition is over,” said Amy. “How will I get myself out of this situation?”

“Don’t worry,” said Snowglimmer. “I have a plan. We’ll disguise you. No one will know it’s you, not even your stepmother.”

“Are you sure this will work?” said Amy.

“Certainly,” said Snowglimmer. “Now, let’s see what your stepmother has for you to wear.”

Within a few hours, Amy stepped into the movie studio wearing a pair of knee-high boots, a short sleeveless dress, and a long coat. She also wore a choker, a shawl, and a brooch. She certainly looked the part of the character she was auditioning for.

As she performed, she barely noticed the audience and judges watching her. Even her stepmother and stepsister were watching her, not knowing who she was. But she remembered that Snowglimmer had told her to leave the studio by 3 o’clock or her disguise would fade.

While she was talking to the lead star of the movie, Amy heard her watch chime 2 o’clock. So to make a long story short, she fled from the studio, dropping her phone on the floor as she ran. Yet she was found in the closet when Charlize and Maritza came home from the studio. Maritza had been cut from the lineup, and the studio was raving about a mysterious girl who came to the studio and left without a trace, but left her cell phone on the floor.

I’m not going to bother you with details, so here’s the thing: the director and the lead actor showed up at Amy’s house with Amy’s cell phone. Yet Maritza tried to claim the phone as hers when Amy showed up and took it back, thus revealing herself as the mysterious actress.

As Charlize and Maritza protested, Amy said to them, “Oh, give it up, you two! The phone is mine, and so is the part.”

And that’s how this story ends.