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The Stone
Corinne, Age 11, Plano, IL

Once upon a time in a maple tree forest there lived a fairy named Marigold. She was a regular fairy with blonde hair, blue eyes, and freckles. She lived in a maple tree where there were lots of rocks, which she loved to collect. She spent hours looking for them, but today was different.

After minutes of pleading with her mom to collect stones she was thankful when she finally said yes. Her short, strict, brown-eyed mom usually said no. Also she wanted to get away from her blue-eyed, blonde haired freak-of-a brother who was being especially annoying today. So she grabbed a basket and ran outside.

Whenever she ran outside she saw the same thing. Her brothers’ tree was on the left and hers was on the right always with flowers around it. All the trees made a shadowy canopy where Marigold and her bother loved to have picnics. She looked around. Something felt different. Like something was there that there wasn’t before. Was it the flowers? Did someone plant a new tree? No. A stone! A big blue stone lying right on the ground where the trees started. Marigold was ecstatic. She had never found a stone this beautiful before! She ran over, picked it up before her brother could, and ran inside.

In bed that night she kept tossing and turning and then finally found a comfortable spot staring at the stone.  Right before she fell asleep, she heard a faint “Help!” She sat straight up and thought “Am I going crazy?” She looked around. The stone! It was rattling around and lighting up brightly. Through it’s brightness she could see the word “help” as if it was carved into the rock. As she picked it up it started talking. “You are the only one who can save me. I am captured by Ardamis the ogre. You can find me at… AAAHHH!” she shrieked as the stone went dark and quiet. Marigold started to panic and thought, “I have to find this girl”. Ardamis was the worst ogre in the forest. And everyone knew he was the best at torturing, too. She didn’t know what to do, so she decided to ask her friend Jack for help.

Jack was Marigold’s best friend. He had green eyes that were always alert. His hair was red, which she always thought was beautiful. And his face was sprinkled with freckles. He always knew what to do and had great ideas. When she got to his house, she told him the whole story. 

“Do you know the girl?” Jack asked her.

“No, I don’t think so."

“Do you know where she is?”

“She must be wherever Ardamis lives”.

There was silence.

“Jack?”

“Uh, Marigold, this will be very hard. Ardamis is the trickiest ogre in the whole forest... not to mention the meanest.”

“I know, I know, but, can’t we still try?”

“Yes, we can try. Do you have the rock with you?”

Digging through her pockets, she found it and handed it to him. He examined it and said, “It’s magical. Sent by another fairy. I’m guessing she must really need help.”

Suddenly the rock lit up again. This time it showed a picture of some type of waterfall Marigold had never seen before.

“Hey, I know where that is!” exclaimed Jack. “That’s DuLarda Falls. I was there walking once and something moved behind the fall. It stared at me with red eyes and growled.”

“Well, when can we go?” she asked anxiously.

“Right now if you want.” So they hiked over logs, twisted through trees, and swam through rivers. When they got there they noticed they were so anxious to leave they hadn’t brought any supplies or weapons.

“That’s easy!” Jack retorted and said a whole bunch of words from the Ancient Language Marigold couldn’t understand. Then POOF a whole pile of bows and arrows, slingshots and even a gold-bullet gun appeared.  Gold-bullet guns were rare and famous for killing ogres.

“Jack, I don’t think I can do this!” she choked.

“Yes, you can.” He encouraged her.

They swallowed their fear and walked up to the waterfall.

“Ready?” Jack asked “Ready for what?” a horrible voice said behind them. They turned around there right before them stood Ardamis. His eyes were a bloody red and his teeth were rotten and yellow. He stood at least 8 feet tall.

“You,” he pointed a crooked fingernail at Marigold,”must be the girl Emerinne was trying to reach. But there’s no way you can get past me. Who ever goes into my cave never comes out.” He laughed a horrid laugh.

“Oh yeah!” thundered Jack as he drove an arrow right through the ogre's shoulder. A deafening scream swam through the forest.

“Marigold! Go into the cave and find Emerinne. I’ll distract Ardamis!”

She ran for her life to the fall. There was a series of rocks you had to climb, so she climbed and climbed. Inside the cave was dark, cold, and misty. Not being able to see anything she called out, “Hello?”

“I’m back here,” breathed a voice. Running to the back of the cave, there was a torch and in the faint light laid Emerinne bound in chains.

“Marigold, you came!” she said excitedly. Marigold ran over and tried to untangle the chains.

“It’s no use, it’s locked. But the key is up on that shelf, over there.” She unlocked the chains and helped Emerinne to stand up.

“Thank you. So much.” She whispered.

“You're welcome. Come on we have to help Jack.” They ran to the front of the cave and climbed down the rocks. What they saw took them by surprise. Ardamis was dead, a gold bullet in his heart. Jack laid on the ground, dead, a spear through his heart. Marigold ran over and knelt on her knees beside him. She ran her hand through his short, silky, red hair and started sobbing. She sobbed and sobbed until Emerinne said they should head back. But she refused to leave him. He was her best friend!

“Marigold, we were born, we live, and when our time comes we die. It’s just the natural cycle of life.” So she got up and they went home. She didn’t want to tell anyone what happened to Jack. She felt terrible. It was her entire fault he died. If she hadn’t told him to come with none of this would have happened.

At the funeral everyone she knew came. Children, parents, aunts, uncles all came to pay their respects. People gave speeches and finally it was her turn.

“Jack was a good person. He was a friend to all of us… and even though he’s gone he’s still here with us. Watching over us with love and care. He was my best friend and I will treasure his memory forever.”

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