There was a powerful storm, and giant waves were crashing onto Mystic Island in the middle of the sea. A large ship was torn apart by the huge storm, and items from the ship started washing up on the beach of the magical island. Mystic the mermaid lived on the island along with three other mermaids. After the storm passed over, Mystic looked towards the sea and saw a crib floating. Then she heard crying coming from the crib! She swam out to the crib and found a little baby girl there. She swam back to the island holding the crib. All of the mermaids gathered around the baby. They thought the little baby was so sweet, and it was a miracle that she was alive.
Two of the mermaids swam out to look for the ship and see if there were any people lost at sea. They could not find the ship because it had already sunk. They did not find any people in the sea. They swam back to the island.
When Mystic was on the island, her tail would split and turn into human legs! When this happened, she could walk like a human. Mystic was very beautiful and had long green hair. Her pretty green eyes would sparkle in the sun. When Mystic was swimming in the sea at night, her tail would glow green in the dark! All of the tails of the other mermaids would glow in the dark too! The mermaids could all walk when they were on land. Each mermaid looked different. One mermaid with dark red hair, green eyes and a green tail was named Mena. Another mermaid with blue hair, pretty blue eyes and a greenish blue tail was named Eva. The other mermaid had black hair, green eyes and a silver tail. Her name was Zanita. All of the mermaids were very beautiful.
Mystic named the little baby girl Ava. Mystic raised Ava on the island. She taught Ava how to swim when she was very young. All the fish and creatures of the sea that lived close to the island knew that Ava was Mystic's child. The sharks would not harm Ava when she swam in the sea as long as she was with her mother or another sea creature. Ava's mother had always told her to never swim alone. Ava had a favorite friend that she loved. He was a dolphin named Kissimmee. Kissimmee would pull Ava all around the island while she held on tight to his fin. Kissimmee would put shows on for Ava all the time. Kissimmee would jump up out of the water and then dive back down. He could swim super fast too! Kissimmee was very sweet and gentle.
Ava loved swimming in the sea. She had a lot of friends in the sea. Ava swam in the sea with her friends every single day. She became a very good swimmer.
At night, the sea would light up with all the different colors of the sea creatures that glowed in the dark! It was so beautiful! Some of their lights would even blink on and off. That was Ava's favorite time to swim in the sea because she loved watching the light show. She could not believe the different sizes, shapes and colors of all the jellyfish.
Sea Tiger the tiger shark and Kissimmee the dolphin would always try to protect Ava from any sea creatures that might come from far away. Ava thought that Sea Tiger's stripes were so pretty. There was a huge whale shark that Ava would always see swimming around the island. The whale shark had pretty white spots on it. The whale shark would let Ava pet it! Ava loved to watch two large killer whales that would come around every now and then. The killer whales were black and white, and Ava thought they were so beautiful.
One day, Ava snuck out by herself to go swimming on the other side of the island when she came upon a large group of jellyfish. One of the jellyfish stung her! She screamed and swam back to the island crying. Her mother rubbed some sand from the island on the wound. The wound stopped hurting her, and then it disappeared! The sand from the island was magical and had healed her! After that happened, she always swam with her mother or Sea Tiger and Kissimmee.
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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.
There was a large group of beautiful wild horses that roamed free all around Mustang Island by the Atlantic Ocean. The wild horses loved to run and play along the beach and in the ocean. They would also run up and down the mountains on the island. The wild horses had been on Mustang Island for hundreds of years. Wild horses are also known as "feral horses." People came from all over the world to see the wild horses. The leader of the wild horses was a beautiful white stallion. The wild horses were mainly mustangs, but there were also a few other breeds.
The wild horses were all different colors. There were two other white horses, a couple of tan horses, a gorgeous black stallion with a white star on his head, several brown horses, some black and white horses, some brown and white horses, a tan and white horse, and a few gray horses.
There was a young girl named Makala that lived on the island with her parents. She had been going to the beach since she was a little girl, and she loved to watch the wild horses. She had been taking photographs of them on the beach and in the mountains. She thought it was so funny when the wild horses would start rolling on the beach. They were so much fun to watch. She was always so excited when there was a new foal born. The herd of wild horses was growing each year. Sometimes, she would bring carrots and hay to the beach with her for the horses. She would spread them out on the beach for them. Then she would move off so the horses would come over to the beach area to eat the carrots and hay. Then she could photograph them while they were closer to her.
Makala's room was filled with photographs she had taken over the years of the wild horses. Makala wanted to become a photographer when she was older.
One evening, her father told her that he had a big surprise for her. He took her outside, and one of the wild horses was inside their fence! He told her that he had paid someone to rope and capture the wild horse. Then he adopted the horse for her. He knew how much she enjoyed the wild horses. Makala walked out to the horse. It was not just any wild horse; it was the white horse that was the leader of the wild horses! He was so beautiful! She was very excited and could not wait to tame her horse. She named her horse Spirit.
The next day, she started working with Spirit to try and tame him. He started kicking the fence. He wanted out of the fence. He was very big and very strong. He did not like being captured. He reared up and started snorting! Suddenly, all of the wild horses came running up to her land! They had all come to see Spirit. You could tell that all of the wild horses were very upset. They were all making very loud noises. Makala started feeling bad for Spirit. She wondered if she should turn Spirit loose so he could run wild and free again with the other wild horses. She told her dad that she was feeling guilty for taking away the leader of the wild horses. He told her that they would have another leader very soon since their leader was gone now.
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.”
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!
Mango is a Sun Conure or Sun Parakeet, and Kiwi is a Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot. Their owner Trina lives in Oklahoma, and she bought both of them at a Bird Fair in Tulsa. Trina saw so many lovely birds at the Bird Fair that it was very hard to decide which birds she wanted to take home. She finally picked a Sun Conure and a Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot. She fell in love with all the colorful feathers that they have. Trina took both birds home and became very attached to them in no time at all. Trina thought they were both sweet and beautiful.
She put their cages close to a window so they could see outside. Her birds were able to enjoy all the wild birds and animals that came around Trina's house. Her house has a fantastic view of Keystone Lake. It is in the country surrounded by thick woods.
The next day she gave Mango and Kiwi a bath. She put both of them in the shower on a shower perch. They enjoyed their shower and then she blow-dried both of them until they were all nice and fluffy. Mango and Kiwi looked so pretty.
Mango loves to eat popcorn. He also likes to eat large noodles. He uses his feet like hands to help him eat. Trina took pictures of Mango eating popcorn and large noodles.
Trina has a large guard dog named Smoke. Smoke is a black Chow. He sleeps right next to Trina's bed each night. Smoke makes Trina feel very safe.
Trina enjoys the visitors that come to her house each day. She never knows what will show up outside on her back porch. She looked out one day and saw two turkeys stepping up on her back porch! Then the two turkeys jumped up on her back patio table and started eating the birdseed that she had put out for the wild birds. She thought that was pretty wild and loved watching the turkeys. One of the turkeys walked right up to her back glass door. Then the turkey spread its tail feathers all the way out. It was amazing to watch up close. Turkeys have beautiful feathers.
Trina has a large pine tree just outside her living room window in the front of her house. She planted the pine tree from a little seedling. There is a beautiful Mourning Dove who lives in the pine tree! Everyone loves to watch the dove from the front window. She named the dove Lonesome. She feeds him birdseed every day. There are also two stray chickens that showed up and now live in the thick bushes in the front of her house. She puts a pile of birdseed out for the chickens too. She named the chickens Butter Rump and Butternut.
It was very late in the evening and Trina was in bed sleeping when Smoke woke her up barking. He took off running to the back door barking even louder and growling. Trina jumped up and ran to see why Smoke was barking. Mango and Kiwi started screaming. She looked over at the back door and saw a coyote in her house! Smoke attacked the coyote, and the coyote ran back out the doggie door. After that scary night, she closed the doggie door so they would all be safe from wild animals coming into the house. She thought the coyote looked sick, so Trina took Smoke to the animal hospital. The coyote had bitten Smoke on his back leg. Smoke had to have several stitches put in his leg and they gave him a shot so he wouldn't get sick. Smoke was a hero! He had saved Trina from the coyote.
A couple of days later, Mango and Kiwi both started screaming. Trina ran over to look out the window to see what was scaring her birds. Her mouth dropped open. There was a large Black Panther on her back porch! She knew there were Black Panthers in Oklahoma, but she had never seen one. She thought it was gorgeous. You can live in Oklahoma your whole life and never see one. Suddenly, she saw another Black Panther! This one was smaller and came up right behind the large Black Panther. Both of the Black Panthers sniffed all around the back porch until the large Black Panther saw Trina. As soon as it saw Trina, it got spooked and took off running.
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