My daddy walks with me.
My daddy talks with me.
My daddy listens to my thoughts.
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Charlotte brushed her shoulder-length, golden blonde hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear while the sea breeze tried to blow it back. Her heart leapt at the sight of a ship out at sea as it rolled in the swell of the rising tide. Could it be a pirate ship? Why hadn’t she been more vigilant? If they came ashore there would be little chance of escape.
She spotted a smaller boat rowing towards her, heading straight for the beach. Her breath caught in her throat. What should I do? Is there enough time to save my little sister? Beth looked oblivious to the danger, chasing after a feather that blew away in the wind. By the time she reached her sister, they would be in clear view. Maybe I should save myself. At least one of us might survive. No. She couldn’t possibly leave Beth to the mercy of those murderous pirates.
Time ran out. It was now or never. The boat reached the shore, and its dubious occupants began to clamber out.
The loud cry made her jump. She snapped back to reality and spun around.
“Are you daydreaming again?” Her mum let out a frustrated sigh. She placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and steered her in the direction of the car park at the edge of the beach. “Can you help take some of this stuff back to the car, please?” She handed her an armful of bags stuffed with damp, sandy towels. “We’ve still got a lot of things to do before we go home tomorrow, and you haven’t even bought anything for your friends yet. If you get your skates on, you’ll have enough time to pop into the shops across the road.”
Charlotte wrinkled her nose at the thought of their holiday coming to an end, and cringed at the prospect of going back to school the following week. She scooped up her own towel and trudged through the sand, mumbling how unfair it was making her do all the work even though she was only ten. “I notice Beth’s not helping.”
Her dad grinned as she struggled to the car. “We’re going to grab some food. Take-away, nothing but the best for the last day,” he said as she reached him.
“Not McDonald’s again, Dad,” she remarked with a hint of sarcasm, dumping her load on the floor.
“No way! Fish and chips tonight.” He wore his silly grin that never failed to make her smile.
“Whatever!” She smirked. “Mum said I could have a quick look at the gift shops just across the road.”
He put the discarded bags into the car and slammed the boot. He slid his sunglasses up to his receding hairline, slipping his hand into his jeans pocket. “Do you need any money?”
“Nah, it’s okay. Mum gave me some yesterday.”
“Are you going to take Beth with you?”
She folded her arms and shifted her weight to one leg. “Do I have to?” She loved her six-year-old sister to bits, but she was the most annoying person in the whole world. “I’m not going to get much shopping done with Beth tagging along.”
His face brightened with a grin. “I’m only pulling your leg.” He nudged her playfully. “We’ll take Beth with us and meet you back here in ...” He paused to gaze at his watch. “Let’s say, in about fifteen minutes, okay? Don’t go far!”
She sighed with relief. “Okay. See ya later.” She left, fumbling through her pockets to check she still had her money.
Crossing the road, Charlotte admired the pretty seaside town lined with buildings all the way to the top of a hill, overlooking the sea. Interesting old houses displayed colourful shop fronts, and a local market filled any spaces in between. She ambled along the well-worn paving stones, not really paying attention to the task of buying gifts for her friends. With her hands in her pockets, she wandered past stalls that spilled out across the path, packed with beach balls and buckets and spades.
She paused for a moment outside an arcade, drawn by the sounds and flashing lights that filled the air around the neon-lit building. Fighting the urge to spend the last of her money on a teddy-grabbing machine, she continued to trudge up the hill, losing interest in her mission with every step.
Halfway along the road she stopped, stepping into an alley to shelter from the glare of the sun. She leaned her back against the bright-red tiles that decorated the archway. Each one contained a small figure. They reminded her of characters from a fairy tale. She turned to examine them closely, running her fingers over the textured surface. Something about them held a strange attraction.
She gazed into the alley. It led a fair way back, but in the gloom she could see the front of a grubby-looking shop with a large ‘Sale’ sign in the window. She strained her eyes for a better view, and wondered if she should have a look just in case she could pick up something unusual for Mum. After a moment’s thought, she decided she had nothing to lose and wandered a little closer, checking over her shoulder as she went.
Reaching the glazed shop front, Charlotte stood on tiptoes to see over the half-frosted glass that obscured her view of the inside. Despite being taller than most kids her age, the contents of the store remained a mystery. She paused at the door before giving it a shove and peering through the gap. Inside, it looked much smaller than expected, with tall shelves standing against the outer walls, each laden with an assortment of objects that appeared better placed in a junk shop.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, but curiosity urged her forward. She stepped inside. An old-fashioned till perched in the centre of a small counter at the far end of the shop. Behind it hung a set of drab curtains with tiny pinholes, allowing slivers of light to seep through. The whole place had an air of gloom and smelt musty and damp.
“Hello. Are you open?” Charlotte called out.
When no one responded, she browsed the shelves, discovering some odd, hand-carved figures, similar to the characters on the decorated tiles around the archway outside. She picked up one that resembled a garden gnome and turned the carving around, searching for a price label. Nothing. That’s not much help. She placed the grotesque figure back down.
A bright flash caught her eye when she turned to leave. She stared at a small bookcase resting against the back wall beside the counter. A gentle glow of green light illuminated the shelves, tempting her to venture further and take a closer look. She crept through the aisle and bent down to examine a small, glass snow dome nestled amongst a variety of clay pots. It looked out of place with the other articles displayed in the shop.
She reached out and touched the surface with the tips of her fingers. The cool surface tingled, a strange yet alluring sensation. With a quick check over her shoulder, she picked it up and tipped it upside down. She cupped the delicate item in the palm of her hand and held it close to her face. No snow.
Inside the crystal orb, a tiny globe like a miniature planet revolved in slow motion, casting eerie shadows against the dreary walls. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“Yes, it is beautiful,” a gruff voice sounded.
She spun around and stumbled back a step. Behind the counter stood a large figure wrapped in a gray cloak, similar to the drab curtains that hung behind him. From what she could see of him in the gloom, his scruffy, charcoal hair hung down to his shoulders. Dark eyes peered out below bushy eyebrows, making his thin face look gaunt and pasty. She shuddered. He gave her the creeps, popping up from out of nowhere and staring at her as though he had never seen a customer before.
“I am sorry if I surprised you. I did not mean to make you feel uncomfortable,” he said, as if reading her mind. “You are very welcome here.”
She put down the small ornament and walked along scanning the contents of the shelves, picking through the strange collection of knickknacks. The entire time, she sensed the old man’s stare following her. She considered leaving, yet the eerie glow from the snow dome kept drawing her gaze back to the bookcase. The temptation from its hypnotic light got the better of her, and she walked back to pick it up again. “How much is this?”
A broad smile lit up the man’s face. “Take it, child. I have no use for it in my shop.”
Her eyes widened. “What, for nothing? I must give you something for it. I’ve got money, you know.”
The old man shrugged. “Well, if you are that keen on striking a deal with me.” He raised one of his bushy eyebrows. “All I will ask is for you to take great care of such a beautiful item. Promise me you will be good and always tell the truth.”
“I always tell the truth anyway. I hate liars!” she declared, a little puzzled by such a strange request. “Is that it? Is that all you want?”
He bellowed with laughter.
She placed one hand on her hip. “What’s so funny, then?”
“I am sorry.” He leaned closer across the counter. His weather-beaten face creased with concern. “Telling the truth is not always an easy thing to do, especially when you find yourself in trouble.” His expression lightened. “I am Goffer, the shop keeper, and if I am not mistaken, you will find yourself in trouble if you do not hurry. Time is getting on.”
Charlotte glanced at her watch. “You’re right!” She rushed to the door in a fluster, but stopped before leaving. “Thank you! Thanks a lot. That was really nice of you.”
Goffer stood motionless, barely visible in the shadows. “I would not be so quick to thank me just yet.”
I had no idea why I was there. I hadn’t done anything, apart from not handing in History homework. And talking too much in Maths. And pushing over Matthew after assembly. “I haven’t done anything.” I said.
Miss Simpson held up a letter by its corner, as if it were a disc of dog dirt. “Your parents have written to confirm you’re leaving.” She looked at me. “Tomorrow.” She peered over the top of her silver semi-circular spectacles, retained on a chain around her neck, as if they would ever dare to escape. She was clearly irritated by the thought of any child wanting to leave her school. Not just any school, but her school. Her narrow lips, tightly moulded hairstyle, sharp features and practiced flinty expression made my knees shake. “I have the letter here.”
“I think that’s wrong,” I ventured. “I’m not leaving; I’m staying here.”
While Dr. Psych sat and waited for his next patient, Tac realized it was time to have a little therapy session himself.
“Dr. Psych?” Tac called out.
Dr. Psych looked around the office, but didn’t see anyone.
“Down here.” Dr. Psych looked at the aluminum can sitting on his desk.
“My name is, Tac.” Dr. Psych jumped up and locked the door. It just wouldn’t look right for a Psychologist to be talking to a can.
“What’s the problem Tac?”
“My life.” he sobbed.
“Tell me about it,” he suggested.
He shivered at the thought of having to recall his past. He gazed longingly out the window.
“Well… it all started when I was born from Mama Bauxite.
Misty watches Drake fly over to the island in the middle of the large pond. Drake looks out into the pond and sees his true love, Misty, and their three little baby ducks swimming on the other side of the pond. He quacks and quacks until she comes over and joins him on the island. Drake is very happy now that his family is close to him.
Drake, Misty, and their three little baby ducks live in a beautiful park with two ponds in Whitewright, Texas. Drake is very proud of his three little baby ducks. Their baby ducks are named Stone, Stormi and Wendy. Drake is the oldest duck in the pond and he is the ruler of the park. There are many ducks that live in the park. They are all different kinds and colors. Drake is black and has a red patch around both of his eyes. Some of Drake's feathers turn blue and green when the sun hits them. Drake is the father of many of the ducks in the park. Drake loves Misty with all his heart. He protects Misty and his baby ducks from danger. In fact, he protects all of the ducks in the park every day! Drake is big and strong. Adult ducks are fast fliers too. Drake is a Muscovy duck.
Most ducks are smaller than swans and geese. A baby duck is called a duckling or a chick. A female duck is called a hen and a male duck is called a drake. Ducks can be found in fresh water or seawater.
A squirrel named Rocky also lives in the park and loves to eat the pecans that fall out of the two pecan trees. Rocky has fun climbing up and down all of the trees in the park. Rocky likes to climb way up high in the trees. There are all different kinds of trees in the park. The trees provide good shade for everyone because it is so hot in Texas during the summer months. One of the trees has a huge split in the middle of it. Misty will make her nest inside that tree and lay her eggs in there every year during spring. That is where many of Drake's ducklings were hatched.
Spring is the best time to visit the park because you will see all the ducklings running around! The ducklings always stay close to their mother. They are cute and so much fun to watch. During spring all of the flowers are blooming and the park is just beautiful with rose bushes all around it.
The park has a walking trail where people come to walk when the weather is nice. The park has benches where people come to relax and read books. The park is so pretty during spring that they have weddings at the park.
There is a monument in the park that is dedicated to honor the memory of four fallen soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.
The ducks will walk across the road to the smaller pond. If cars come down the road, they always stop and let the ducks cross the road. The people all around the park love the ducks and will always watch out for them in the road. It is beyond cute when Misty and her three ducklings cross the road!
There are tons of fish that live in the pond. Sometimes you can see a turtle swimming around in the pond, or even a green snake! The turtle's name is Shelly and the green snake's name is Dracula. There is a huge bullfrog that lives in the pond and you can hear him croaking all the time. His name is Slimy. Slimy likes to hop from one lily pad to another and then dive down into the pond. He likes to reach out with his long tongue and grab a water spider.
Sugar ran out the front door to go to the barn. She was very excited because she was getting her two horses today. They were both Tennessee Walkers. One of the horses was black, and the other was white. She had to get the barn ready for her horses. She swept and cleaned the stalls out. Then she put out fresh food, water and hay in the two stalls. She had just finished when the horse trailer pulled up. Her horses were so beautiful! She named her white horse Jewel, and she named her black horse Stud. She had brought some carrots with her from the house. She gave each horse a carrot as a treat. They loved their carrots, and they ate every bite of them. She spent the rest of the day petting and brushing Jewel and Stud. She walked both of them all the way around the barn.
Her father had taken her to a horse farm the day before where she had picked out the horses she wanted. While they were at the horse farm, they got to witness a white foal being born! It was awesome! There was also a tiny black foal that was only two days old. Both of the foals were so adorable.
Sugar loved to go horseback riding, and she could not wait to ride her horses. She had always dreamed of having a black horse ever since she was a little girl. Now her dream had come true. She gave her father a big bear hug for buying her the two horses. They were his gift for her graduation from the ninth grade. She went to sleep that night and had sweet dreams about her two beautiful horses.
The next day, Sugar got up bright and early to begin doing her chores on the farm. She went to gather eggs from the chickens and feed them. She gathered all of the eggs and put them in a large bowl. She was hurrying so much that she dropped one of the eggs on the ground, and it busted open on the way to the house. She went into the house, and she washed all of the eggs. Then she put them in the refrigerator.
She had another chicken coop with several newly hatched chicks. Sugar walked out to that chicken coop and played with some of the fur babies. She thought they were the cutest little fur balls. Then she fed the chickens in that coop.
Sugar had a beautiful Collie named Biscuit who guarded the farm. She also had a huge spotted black and white Great Dane named Giant. She fed Biscuit and Giant their dog food and gave them fresh water. Biscuit and Giant protected everyone on the farm and all of the animals. She also had two donkeys named Pancake and Waffle that protected all of the animals from wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions. She fed Pancake and Waffle, and then she went to feed her two cats named Diamond and Stone. Diamond was a white cat with stunning green eyes, and Stone was a gray cat with pretty blue eyes.
Sugar had a white alpaca named Blondie. Blondie had the cutest face. The thick blonde curly hair on her head always made her look like she had just been to the beauty shop! She was very sweet and gentle.
She also had two goats. She had a black goat named Soda and a brown goat named Pop. She had a gray rabbit named Popsicle, and a black and white rabbit named Cookie. There was also a sheep named Buffy. There were four cows named Tic, Tac, Toe and Uno.
Roger is stuck in detention forever and the only way to escape is by uncovering a deep dark secret about himself and the people around him. From drawing his teacher naked on the blackboard to sabotaging the school’s science fair, Roger finds himself spending more time in the school’s detention closet than he does at home. Before he knows it, his once “Ivy League” world becomes relegated to a small dark space, where the only human interaction he has is with the voice of a mysterious woman who talks to him from behind the wall. Steeped in humor and suspense, this psychological thriller takes the reader on a journey through the mind of a disturbed teen genius who struggles to fit in at school and at home. Can Roger escape the shackles of his mind or will the lady behind the wall remain a mystery? This is Detention Land.
July 8, 2014, was a very special day at Linda's Bird House because that is the day I was born! I am a teeny tiny little bird. I looked like a little alien when I was first born! I was pretty funny looking because I didn't have any feathers yet. I really did look like some kind of creature from another planet! I am a female cockatiel. My breeder hand-fed me and hand-raised me, so I am very tame. I have a sister that looks just like me!
The cockatiel is a member of the cockatoo family. Cockatiels are native to Australia. Cockatiels can be trained to talk! The males are usually the only ones that will talk. A female can talk, but it is harder to teach them to talk. They are also harder to understand than the males. They love to whistle too! They are very colorful and the males are more colorful than the females. The males have white or yellow heads. The females have grey heads. The males and females both have pretty orange cheeks. There are several different kinds of cockatiels. They love attention and make wonderful family pets because they are very loving. They love to sit on your shoulder. Some cockatiels have lived to be 22 years old! Most cockatiels live about 15 years. The better care you take of your cockatiel, the longer it will live.
A nice woman named Barbara bought me from Linda's Bird House in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, as a gift for her mother. Her mother was afraid of me, so Barbara brought me to live in her house in Norman, Oklahoma. Her niece named me Anna after the star in the movie "Frozen."
Barbara had two parrots. One of her parrots was a Blue Quaker named Blue. Blue started bullying me, and one day he plucked out all my pretty long tail feathers! One of my tail feathers is still all chewed up on the end. Barbara was attached to me, but she knew she needed to find a new home for me because Blue wouldn't stop picking on me. Blue and I were always together, so I don't know why he did that to me! I thought we were friends. He was being a bad boy. It is not nice to bully someone! Blue was much bigger than I was. I screamed when he was doing it, but he wouldn't stop! He just kept on attacking me until he plucked all my tail feathers completely out! I think he was jealous of me! Barbara put me on her shoulder all the time and I don't think he liked her giving me all that attention. He wanted all of her attention.
Barbara gave me to her best friend who lives in Texas. It was a long trip from Oklahoma to Texas. It was late and I finally arrived at my new home. I was very scared. I hissed at my new owner the first time she tried to get me to step up on her finger. I hissed at her again later too. I bit her, but I didn't bite her hard. The next day, I wasn't as scared as I had been the previous day. I stepped up on her finger and she put me on her shoulder. I liked it up there. She was nice to me. She hand-fed me Cheerios and sunflower seeds. Oh how I loved those Cheerios! I loved all the attention too. I started whistling and having fun. I knew that she wasn't going to hurt me, so I wasn't afraid of her anymore. I stopped hissing at her and I didn't try to bite her anymore. She says, "step up" for me to get on her finger. Then she will say, "perch" and I step off on my perch. I have been trained to do this. I let her pet me all the time.
Barbara sent a bag of goodies for me to my new home. She sent a cage, a food bowl, food, two bird beds, some toys, millet spray, and a jungle gym. Yes, a jungle gym! She is such a nice person! I will miss her. She took such good care of me.
I heard two more birds in the house. They started singing and whistling at me. Then they started chirping at me. I liked it and it made me feel at home. I whistled back at them. I looked over and saw two yellow canaries in my room! Canaries are songbirds. The males are the only ones that can sing. Their names are Ricky and Lucy.
I am five months old now and my tail feathers are finally starting to grow back! I can't wait for my feathers to grow back. I need my tail feathers to fly! I have been at my new home for a week now! I have a HUGE cage where I can fly around inside my cage. My new owner lets me out of the cage every day too. She puts me on her shoulder or she puts me on top of the cage where I run around, play and eat. When she puts me on top of the cage, you can hear the pitter patter of my little tiny feet when I run around up there! She starts laughing when she hears it. She thinks it is so adorable. Sometimes when my owner puts me on top of my cage to play, I jump off and try to fly! I can't fly. My feathers have been clipped so I can't fly. Plus, my tail feathers haven't grown all the way back yet. It is good for me to try to fly. It is fun too! As soon as I land on the floor, I want to be picked up. I start screaming until my owner picks me up and puts me back up on my cage. I am afraid something will get me if I am on the floor. I don't like it on the floor at all! It is scary!
Dawn was nine years old, and she had been invited to go to a slumber party with a group of her friends from school. Her friend Lola, who was having the slumber party, only lived about a block away from her house. Dawn's mother had given her permission to go to the party. Dawn was very excited and couldn't wait to go to the party. She knew that it was going to be so much fun. Dawn and her family had just moved to town, and she was still trying to fit in with all of the girls from her school.
Dawn's mother dropped her off at Lola's house. There were twenty girls at the party. All of the girls were in the sixth grade except for Dawn. She was only in the fifth grade and a year younger than everyone else.
Lola had planned a scavenger hunt. She put all of her friends in groups of two girls and gave them lists of what they were searching for. Lola told the girls that they had to stay in their groups and not split up. They started off on their fun adventure going from house to house searching for all of the items on their lists. The first team to find all of the items on their list would win a prize.
Dawn and Mandy were put together as a team. While they were on their scavenger hunt, Mandy told Dawn that she wanted to split up so they could finish faster and win the hunt. Dawn didn't think that was a good idea, and she didn't want to cheat. Mandy started to get angry with Dawn, so Dawn went along with her. They split up, and each girl went to the houses alone. While Dawn was walking by herself and crossing the street, a car with one headlight and a broken windshield pulled up to her. The man inside the car reached over, and the car door flew open. He yelled at her, "Get in the car!" She took off running as fast as she could. She ran up to the closest house and rushed inside without even knocking! The elderly couple that lived in the house was sure surprised to see her come flying through their door. She told them that there was a man trying to force her to get into his car! They went outside and saw him just as he was speeding away. They told her that she was okay; he was gone now. She was scared so she ran back to Lola's house and told her what had happened. Now Lola knew that she had gone on the hunt by herself and that her team had split up to win the hunt. They were caught cheating! Lola was happy that Dawn was okay, but told her that was one of the reasons they were to stay in teams of two.
Soon, all of the girls forgot about what had happened. Everyone stayed in the front yard of Lola's house. They started tumbling in the grass and having fun playing together. It was starting to get very dark outside. Dawn looked down the street, and she saw the car with only one headlight coming again! She yelled at everyone to get into the house because that bad man was coming down the street again! Everyone ran into Lola's house. Lola ran inside and told her mother what was happening. Her mother came outside and didn't see the car with only one headlight. It was gone now. She told all of the girls to stay inside now because it was getting so dark. She went around locking all the doors to her house.
After that Lola started playing music. All of the girls started dancing and laughing. They were having so much fun.
Lola told everyone that they were going to have a séance. Then she said that they were going to try to talk to an old witch from hundreds of years ago. Dawn was scared and didn't want to have a séance. Everyone else wanted to have the séance, so Dawn didn't have a choice. Lola turned off all of the lights. Then the girls got in a big circle and held hands. Lola lit several candles in the middle of the circle. Lola told everyone that they were not to break hands during the séance or the person sitting next to them would have their eyes scratched out by the witch. Dawn was very scared now. They started calling the witch. She held on tight to the hands of each girl beside her. Suddenly, one of the girls holding Dawn's hand broke away from her. Dawn tried to grab her hand back and suddenly the girl started screaming, "My eyes!" Lola jumped up and turned the lights on. Dawn looked over at the girl sitting next to her. She saw blood around both of her eyes! Dawn started screaming! Suddenly everyone started laughing! It was all a big joke that they had played on her. She didn't think it was very funny, and it had scared her. The girl had smeared ketchup all over her eyes to make it look like blood. They had all planned this joke on Dawn. Everyone knew that Dawn didn't like séances and was afraid of them. Dawn was the youngest girl there, and she felt like they were all picking on her. She didn't think it was right. Lola's mom came in and told everyone they needed to settle down. Then she told them to start getting ready for bed.
When an attempted hijacking rattles a sleepy California coastal town, teenage detectives Dalton Fraser and Maddy Kane spring into action. With the help of a super-smart dog and a trained U.S. Navy dolphin, the teens investigate mysterious clues that lead them to uncover a smuggling ring. After their story is declared unbelievable by the small-town sheriff, Dalton and Maddy form a daring plan to catch Nico, the notorious ringleader, and lead the sheriff to his arrest. But the plan backfires and the young teens find themselves in more trouble than they bargained for, and Nico doesn’t want witnesses!
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