Believe

by Madeline Slogoff, age 10
Believe Maddie Slogoff is 10 years old and is in fourth grade. She lives in South Salem, New York. She has one sister and no pets. She has many hobbies, including writing, reading, soccer, and gymnastics. Her best friends are named Nikoleta and Haley. Someday, she hopes to be a house designer or CEO of a house design company. She also may want to be a doctor or author. She usually passes time by hanging with friends, playing with neighbors, writing intensely, or reading a book. She is awesome, but really humble.

“I have always trusted my sister, Annabelle Grace Stevens. I don’t think that she trusts me, but then again, doesn’t every sister think that her sister hates her guts?”

A tale of sister’s trust and an underground world where it’s all wrong.

 

Dedicated to Nikki And Cami

 

You are my best friends

I could never trade you guys

For anyone else.

I have always trusted my sister, Annabelle Grace Stevens. I don’t think that she trusts me, but then again, doesn’t every sister think that her sister hates her guts? Even though that she is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen or met, she covers it up. We all know why. She has a scar from 8th grade, where she had her skin cancer cells removed. There is a big scar left. She got a haircut that year, to cover it up, so there is always hair hanging over her face. The other side of her face is open. Annabelle is trustworthy. You can always count on her to tell secrets and they will not be told to any other ears.

Annabelle and I have a window that separates our rooms. When she sits and listens to jazz music, or watches a movie on her laptop, I watch her. She is too beautiful to ignore. Her ocean blue eyes and golden blonde hair blend with her perfectly tanned skin and amazing outfits that always match. I don’t know where she got all of those beautiful genes from — maybe Aunt Lucy, but the rest of my family is pale and plump.

I always feel nervous approaching Annabelle, because she is like the queen of the family.

“Annie, can I borrow your headphones?” I look at her.

She shrugs, “Sure, lil’ sis.”

She hands me the headphones and then goes back onto her phone. I walk back up to her with a promising look on my face.

“Lil’ sis, I have a birthday surprise for you for May 8th.” She winks.

I want to scream at her so badly right now because she knows that I hate surprises so much because you have to wait until somebody does something. I am not a patient girl, and can definetly not wait for a long time, because I like for things to happen, and to be entertained, and in my opinion, I rush life. I need to go a little bit slower because when you go faster, you cannot enjoy it.

RIIINNNGGG! My alarm clock goes off. It’s May 7th. I rub my eyes and stretch my arms out. May 7th. Tomorrow I am thirteen. My family is very Jewish, so I have to get a whole bat mitzvah. They are pretty psycho that I get to go to Israel, but we don’t have that kind of money right now. We will just do a regular bat mitzvah and then just go to NYC to a club and party. Ok, that’s small talk because my parents are almost broke. Well, except for the fact that I have a nice, comfortable house, not big. But, the perfect size.

I throw on one of my sisters old Beatle’s crop tops to wear to school. Until she comes yelling in from our bathroom. Her hair is put up in a turban, with a towel wrapped around her. She shows me downstairs to our creepy, dark basement. There are no lights down there, so we bring flashlights. The steps creaking noise stop, and Annabelle turns to me.

“I thought I heard mice down here,” she says. I look around by the light of the flashlight. I cling to Annabelle, even though I am fourteen years old. She turns on what I think is a newly installed light. Yep, I’m right. I see my whole family — yep, all 73 cousins, and my aunts uncles, grandparents, great grandparents, parents, friends, and all of my presents are down here.

“Surprise early birthday!!!” they all yell at me at the same exact time.

My favorite cousins and only best friends beside Annabelle run up to me with a 20 foot cake. I don’t know where my parents found the money to do all of this. No — they did not make — no — they did not make Aunt Josephine, owner of Kicks for Kids sneaker store — she did not pay for it. But, I know she payed for it, so I drop the cake back into the hands of Emerald and Kris. I pull her into a bear hug, and take in the wonderful scent of her new smoochy Gucci perfume from Michael Kors. I finally start digging into the presents, there are 72 though. That’s kind of weird, I think to myself. I look around and count them all twice. There are 73. I count the seventy third one as my sister, so I figure that she hasn’t gotten me one yet. And my parents will give me my presents tomorrow.

 

This is the list of all of my presents:

Alex and Ani ladybug bracelet

Gold necklace

New peach colored shirt with the words, “If you’re happy and you know it, go away!”

12 Abercrombie shirts

Nike sneakers (from Aunt Josephine)

A dress from Lord and Taylor

New nail polish set

Fitbit

Insurgent series

My favorite singer’s records

An iTunes giftcard

500 dollars that mom says are for college, but I think otherwise

A striped dress

A new bedroom remodel gift card for Pottery Barn

An art set

Converse shoes

Some skinny jeans

A scarf

Some bows from my cousin Jojo

More money

A bowl of my favorite candy

A leotard (I don’t know why)

Amazon gift card

New crop top

An awesome painting

A new pair of socks (thanks a lot)

Flats from Justice

2 pocketbooks from my favorite cousin

A key chain

A freedom flask

Some capris

Weight watchers 30 day trial (from Jenny) (Thanks a lot.)

Harry and David food basket

Stuffed animal from Ty

5 eos

Chair for my room

New flip flops

Bathrobe

Gummy bear light

Headband (I will never wear but thanks)

More rock crop tops

A hairbrush

More money that I can spend

A trip to the Plaza Hotel in NYC

A new nail polish set

More makeup

Pimple remover (thank you, god)

A little pet guinea pig named Fluff

Spray tan

Soccer ball (I don’t know where it came from)

A diary

New PB Teen pillows for my bed

Grape purple lip gloss

A bouquet of flowers

A membership on moviestarplanet.com along with a brand spankin’ new laptop

An Apple gift card for books

A head set

Silly putty

A magic 8 ball

Smelly erasers

Cool smencils that I will bring to school

A pencil that bends

Two pairs of leggings for next winter

A prom dress (I hug it for 20 minutes)

New pairs of socks from Nike

Great shorts from Aeropostale

A notepad with my first initial printed on it

Top hat (?)

Gift certificate to Crumbs

A new mini TV for my room

A turquoise beanbag

 

Wow, I have gotten so much, I better not act spoiled, and now I go around with my new notepad and write down my cousins names along with the present that they got me. It took a while because everyone was pushing and shoving. My oldest cousin turned on some pop music that set the mood and everyone started dancing. I just danced around the room, asking what presents people got me. It was pretty fun. But, then it was time to go.

I gave everybody the goody bags that were on the table in the basement. Hey, goody bags had a pencil, bouncy ball, two eos, and a note from me to each of my cousins. I thank Emeral and Kris for the awesome gifts. They all leave.

“Clean up!!!” Mom yells.

“I did not even set up this party! Why do I have to clean it up. Annie should really be cleaning it up. She set up the WHOLE thing!!!!!!” I yell.

It is a big mess, and one that I would not like to clean up.

“I will take away all of your presen –” Mom starts

“Ok,” I reply.

I waddle back downstairs in my old forever lazy and start picking up trash and papers. I clean up the fallen candy wrappers. I shut off the lights and step on the first stair when I hear a squeak.

“WEEEKKK,” says the animal.

I run upstairs and grab a fly swatter and then run back downstairs to look for the mouse. I walk around the basement in position that I am ready to karate chop it with the fly swatter.

“Hi yaaaaa!” I do a turn into a roundhouse kick.

Now, this is just getting weird. I used to take karate when I was an itty-bitty baby. I chuckle. I can imagine myself sucking on my finger and then my instructor comes over and I do a small kick and fall over.

I finally creep up to the mouse and swat it. It looks injured, but not killed, so I slam it with a baseball bat and it dies. I kick it over to the corner and get a wet paper towel to clean up the blood.

Mom comes down with a puzzled look on her face.

“Huh? What did you do here, honey?” she asked.

My face turns pale. Well, paler. I was cleaning out the old boxes with pictures of us. I gesture over to the piles of boxes with lots of content in them. Some boxes have so much stuff in them, that it has fallen over and onto the cold ground.

“I was just coming down to ask you what you wanted for dinner tonight. So, what do you want for dinner tonight?” she asks.

“Do you have any burgers in the freezer?” I ask her politely.

Mom nods her head and then runs upstairs. I can feel her panting when she gets to the top. I should really talk her into exercising. Maybe for her birthday, I should bring her to the gym. Would that be too obvious that I think she’s overweight?

Scratch that, I know that she is overweight.

Well, we’ll see what happens when her birthday comes around.

I eat my dinner and then wash the dishes and put them all in a neat row in the dishwasher. I then walk upstairs and take a shower while my parents look at all of my gifts and admire them. (I think mom stole my eos.) Whatever, parents will be parents.

After my shower, I come back downstairs to where Annabelle is sitting in the kitchen, crying. There is a pile of envelopes. I knock on the wall that divides the hallway from the kitchen. There are a few sniffles before I hear a reply from her.

“Come in.” She quickly shoves the papers in a drawer and starts to smile again.

I waltz in. Tear drops are glimmering on the old rusty granite. Her eyes are puffy and red. I pull over a chair and sit down next to her.

“What’s wrong, sis?” I ask her.

She turns away from me and pulls her arm out of my reach since I was stroking it. She mumbles something to herself that I don’t understand and then reaches her foot out and starts kicking the chair that is next to her to the side. Her hands are clasped under her knees, and she is moaning.

“UCLA. I-I-I-I didn’t g-g-g-g-et acc-e-e-pted,” she moans again.

“That’s weird. I thought that you didn’t want to go to UCLA! I thought that you wanted to go to Stanford. Or Harvard. Or Yale,” I finish.

I am just so confused right now.

“I GOT INTO HARVARD AND YALE AND PRINCETON AND DARTMOUTH AND BROWN AND…STANFORD!!!” she screams so loud that the house starts to shake and some things even fall.

“That’s amazing, sis!!!” I hug her. I do not want to be the one to let go of this. She suddenly yanks her arms away.

“You mean you don’t want me here!!” she says.

“I love you so much, it’s just great news but I wish that you would stay!” I reply.

“I was just kidding! God, little sis! Take a joke. Puh-leez!” Annabelle says.

I really want Annabelle to stop calling me little sis because it sounds like I am little and I really don’t want to be little. We are only four years apart. I think she should just call me Juliet like everyone else calls me.

But, she decides to call me little sis. It’s her decision anyways what she wants to call me. Everybody decides for themselves what they would really like to call me. You, reader, can call me Juliet.

I have to go to school tomorrow and be tortured unless one of my presents is a vacation somewhere. I need that. I have not been on a vacation ever in my life since I was 3 and went to Disneyland with my parents and their family friends.

I lay my head down on my pillow and start to slowly fall asleep. Tommorrow. Just a day away. My mind drifts off and my eyes shut.

“Rise and shine! It’s potato’s birthday!” My dad calls me potato because when I still wore diapers, mom handed me a potato and I dropped on dad’s head.

I scream. I am a teenager. No more, “You can’t date. Don’t go out any later then 7:00. You’re a little kid. No crop tops. No new phone!” God — the list could go on and on forever. You name it, my parents have forbid it.

I run downstairs to the kitchen. Mom is cooking walnut pancakes with berries. She put a dollop of whipped cream on top and got lots of syrup and sugar. I sniffed in the cool air and shifted my weight from foot to foot.

Mom stuck a corny candle in the middle of the pancake and then started to sing the song “Happy birthday.” Even if it was pretty corny, I was going to let my mom enjoy herself on my birthday even if I cringed at my judgment.

Mom was standing with her back to the counter like it was glued to it for the whole time that I ate breakfast. I tried to take small peeks, but she zigged every time that I zagged and then blocked every possible angle. She went down the hall to grab a snack. I casually stood up and walked over. Everything went black.

I wake up in my mother’s arms. Wait…let’s move back a second. How can my mother even carry 95 pounds? Anyways, all I remember was walking towards the counter. Boom!

“What happened?” I ask.

“You fainted a minute ago of shock. I guess of this….” She did not even have to keep speaking.

Well, to be honest, she was talking, but I was cutting her off. A phone. A new phone. Who wants to know what my old phone looks like? Basic math, just, two times dropped, thrown in toilet once, puked on three times, thrown by baby cousin, dropped in water for three hours four times. What does that equal.

A new phone. My love. I immediately add all of my old contacts and text my cousins. I upload Minecraft, Doodle Jump, Piano Tiles, Pinball, Facebook, and Circle and A Line. I am a phone freak. I guess you can call me that now. Now, what its my sister’s present for me? I wash the dishes and then climb up the stairs and brush my hair and get dressed. Annabelle is still asleep of course. I send music into her room to wake her up. The music of course does not wake her up. If you shot a gun five cm from her ear while she was asleep, she would not even hear it. I think that she really needs to get her ears checked out by a doctor.

I go into her room and punch her arm.

“Wake up, Annie!!!” I screech so loud that she principal calls later and asks what the noise was. My school is 8 minutes from my house.

She awakens just as I lift my arm, threatening to punch her. She luckily blocks her face with her pillow. I search like a bloodhound for my present. Nope, not it. I keep digging through the pile of stuff.

“Okay, okay. I will give you your present.” She opens a small bag that is beige colored and throws pixie dust on me. We both vanish.

The last thing I can remember is standing in my sisters room, about to bump my head. Now, I am in…???

I look around me from where I am standing and see about 60 monsters. Give or take. My sister is scooting on the ground in between the monsters and cringing I run through one ghost that is standing still, to get to my sister. We are suddenly on a monster street with monster people. There is a huge house that is also and inn. I whisper to Annabelle, but she doesn’t hear me. I whisper again, but louder this time. She doesn’t hear me. One monster walks over to me and throws a banana peel.

“I am not a garbage can, you freaks!!” I scream.

They obviously do not understand it because they speak monster language. Who I think is the king steps forwards, ahead of all of the other monsters who are gathered around me in a circle.

“Welcome…welcome to forgotten land. My fellow monsters here were actually humans, but they were transported from the real world by feeling forgotten. My fairy friend, Mary Ashley here, transports them back to Earth when they have gotten enough treatment. Not all of us are forgotten. Just some of us were born here and stayed here to make our lives easier. Like me. I speak part English, part Poovy,” he explains.

I try to escape from the circle of monsters standing around me, but there are rows and rows of monsters, and no openings. The king backs away, and laughs as he watches me try to get out. I finally look up to him and put my hands on my hips. He mouth speaks, “fine,” and then speaks in Poovy and apparently tells them to get out and make way for me.

I start to get thirsty after around Poovy time of 6 p.m. The Poovys offer me their gross water that is filled with earth worms, but I do not accept. Then one monster throws up cucumbers and asks if I want to eat.

“That’s just sick!” I say. It is really gross, but that’s what monsters do. From dinner, I thought that was just one bad thing that was going to happen. And…this was my birthday present. I am looking for my sister everywhere. She calls out my name, where she is in an alley with teenage monsters chatting and gossiping. I sigh. Some things just never change, wherever you go whoever you meet, they could still be gossiping. Annie waves me over.

“These nice monsters just told me that we are in an underground world!” Annabelle looks like she is excited to hear this.

“Why did you bring me here for my birthday!?” I hate it so much, but I just don’t say that because that would just make her cry.

“I didn’t have enough fairy dust to go to candy land, so I settled on this one,” she says.

Now we just have to find a way home. I pull her away from these freak monsters, and we run. For all these years, Annabelle has been missing for something for one day. And she does not ever tell us where she is going. Now I know that all of these years, she has been going to different worlds and explore new things. If she gets into a world, then she must know how to get out.

“There is always something that brings us home that is in the ocean. Where is the ocean?” Annabelle tells me.

We ask somebody who looks like they are the Poovy police where the ocean is, and he points down two streets, to the left, left again, and then a right turn.

When Annabelle and I are walking for a long time, we stop when we see the ocean. The ocean us just like a human ocean. No Poovys in the ocean! Thank you very much. Annabelle and I each get on a life vest and snorkeling equipment, and a boat brings us out far out.

I jump in the water, holding my breath before having to not breathe for a long time. There are what seems like Poovy creatures who are pretty scary. But, I can see resemblance with regular ocean creatures.

I am suddenly bitten by something and then everything goes black.

 

Juliet’s Funeral

I can hear my parents sniffling from inside my coffin.

“We let go of your dear daughter Juliet two days ago, on May 9th. She was very dear to all of us and had a love and passion to make each and every one of us feel nice and kind. She always made each and every one of us be noticed by her. Even if she had not many friends, she has ceased what she has and appreciates everything that she has. We will always remember her.” Everyone bows and my mom blows her nose.

Before everyone begins to cry, I sit up and open the coffin.
The End

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