“For some reason, Sandy couldn’t stand to see the fire filled sky, the scorched ground, the dark, dark world. She felt she needed to help…but why?”
It had been raining for weeks. At least, that’s what it felt like to Sandy. It had actually been raining for two days straight, and for Sandy, that was unacceptable. Especially on a weekend.
“What are you supposed to do in the rain?” she wondered. She spoke that aloud. “What are you supposed to do?” She stared gloomily out the window of her bedroom. She knew that other kids would probably be watching TV, but Sandy hated TV. When she looked at that screen of death, her eyes hurt like fire. Why would you want to watch something that you could act out yourself?
“Be quiet.” Sandy’s older sister Eliza’s snap from the other room jolted her back to reality. “I’m trying to text.”
Sandy saw that her 3-year-old brother, Dennis, was crying, yet he was still asleep. They shared a room, and she hated it.
“Be quiet, little brother,” she moaned.
“Sandy!” Her mother scolded, running into the room to comfort Dennis. “Denny has a name.”
“I know,” she admitted. “But at this time, I don’t like to use it.”
“Cassandra,” her mother sighed.
“Sandy,” she immediately corrected.
Her mother sighed again. “Just, please, Sandy, try to get along with your family.” Sandy could hear her dad snoring and she shook her head.
“It’s not possible.”
Before her mother could answer, Sandy pushed her way out the door and down the stairs to the basement. The basement was a comfort to Sandy. It was the only place that Dennis wouldn’t follow her to, the only place where Dennis’s cries were drowned out. It was the only place that Eliza would not bother her about her texting. It was the only place that Sandy could be alone on a rainy day. But only on a rainy day. Any other day, it was time to play outside. However, Sandy’s mom never allowed anyone to play in the rain (and she was still shaky about snow). She hated if anything in the house got wet. In the wintertime, Sandy and her siblings had to shake out their snow on the front porch before getting hot chocolate.
For Sandy, the rain was nothing. When she ran and played in the rain and snow, she felt nothing, only joy.
For Sandy, she always had to be doing something. And so she decided to search the basement, every corner, every box, every hole, for something to do. An adventure.
“But how do you search for an adventure inside?” Sandy wondered aloud.
“Do you always ask for help before you try?” The voice slipped through Sandy’s ears and rang in her head. The voice was like honey; however, she knew that even if you put honey on a rock, it’s still a rock. Sweet, but firm, and it made you swallow it with resentment. Sandy could easily picture the person’s voice as a honey-covered rock. Or, honey-covered rocks. The voice was like a chorus, with many voices singing in harmony.
“Are you one of my mother’s friends?” she asked suspiciously.
“Me, I am everyone’s friend,” the person said happily.
Sandy bit her nails and wondered if it was a mistake that she left the light off. “Show me your face,” she demanded.
“I will,” the person said. The light clicked on and Sandy screamed.
“What are you?” Sandy screamed, scrambling backwards. She tripped on her feet and fell onto her butt.
The girl (was it even a girl?) had purple skin, 3 ears, 16 arms, with 2 hands on each arm, 5 eyes, 2 noses, 7 mouths, 20 legs with 3 toes, and finally, wild blue hair.
“I do not know the meaning of your words.” All 7 mouths spoke at once.
“You’re not human,” Sandy concluded. “Are you from another planet? I come in peace!”
“Oh,” she nodded. “I come from the planet Qazxcvbnhgfdertyhjk.”
“What?” Sandy said.
“I said, I come from the planet Qazxcvbnhgfdertyhjk,” she repeated. “And I am Kliuhfhntfhszjmdgbhedxhnmghuk.”
Sandy sighed. “I should have known that this would never come easy to me, like everything else in this world.”
“In the language of the Earthians, I am Kayla, from planet Oba-Snorkel,” she explained.
“Get out!” Sandy shouted. She jumped up and put her fist up as if she were going to fight. “GET. OUT.”
“Why?” Kayla asked sweetly. “I bring you adventure.”
Sandy lowered her fists, and then put them back in fighting position again. “How do you know that I can trust you?”
“Because I am your only chance…” Kayla began to fade away.
“Good riddance,” Sandy thought. But one part of her felt the urge to go with Kayla. There’s nothing else to do, it said. She’s your only chance for an adventure. Sandy sighed, realizing that it was right. She had to go with this strange creature or else she would be stuck in the basement doing nothing.
“Wait!” Sandy shouted. “I want to go with you!”
Sandy grabbed Kayla’s hand. She felt like she was being ripped apart, slowly, part by part, piece by piece… everything was white… there was nothing… nothing…
“Sandy… what is this?”
“Denny’s voice,” Sandy thought. Then she realized in horror what she had just said. Denny’s voice!
“Dennis! Why, why, WHY do you have to follow me?” Sandy shouted.
All the pieces, all the parts of Sandy came back, and she wasn’t in the whiteness anymore. She was in a dark, dark world, with fire blazing the sky. No one was around but her and her brother. She felt clinging on her leg. She shook Dennis off.
“Mom and Dad are going to kill me for bringing you along,” Sandy moaned. “Why can’t you just stay at home, little brother?”
“I wike ‘venture, too,” Dennis said in his defense.
“Ugh,” Sandy groaned. To herself, she muttered, “I hate little brothers.” Dennis started to cry. “Oh, um, I didn’t meant it,” Sandy said quickly. “I don’t hate you.” Dennis cried even more. “Please stop,” she said kindly. Dennis didn’t stop. Sandy sighed and picked up her brother. “Come on, stop,” Sandy pleaded. “That’s not how you start an adventure.”
Dennis stopped crying. Kayla appeared behind him.
“You Earthlings are getting along. Good,” Kayla said happily. She looked up at the sky. “I could say the same, I wish, for the sky.”
“What happened to the sky?” Sandy asked. Dennis whimpered and hid behind Sandy’s back.
“Sky no goodie,” Dennis whimpered. “Sky bad.”
“Glornorks are the cause,” Kayla whispered. “Vicious monsters, they are. When there are a lot in one place, fire becomes the sky. They hate us, yes.”
“Hate is bad,” Dennis said.
“But our adventure in not that,” Kayla said quickly. “That is not for you, no.” She took Dennis’s hand. “Come along, child.” She waved at Sandy. “Let’s go, yes?”
“No.” Sandy stood tall. “I’m going to fix the glornorks problem.” For some reason, Sandy couldn’t stand to see the fire filled sky, the scorched ground, the dark, dark world. She felt she needed to help…but why? She had just met Kayla.
Kayla threw back her head and laughed. “You’re kidding, yes?”
“No,” Sandy said darkly. “I will succeed.”
Kayla, shaking her head, led them out of that empty place and to a village of huts. Huts with scorched roofs. Vendors were set in the center of the town. There was a small well in the middle of all the vendors. Little aliens played about, and everyone looked somewhat like Kayla, except some had turqoise skin and others had pink hair. Sandy shuddered. One alien was enough, in Sandy’s opinion.
“Come, earthlings, I will lead you to my home,” Kayla said cheerfully.
Dennis’s pudgy hand was suddenly not in Sandy’s hand anymore. She turned to see Dennis playing tag with two little…
“Are they called kids or…” she wondered aloud.
“No,” Kayla said seriously. “A goat’s babies, they are not, yes?” She held her sides as she chuckled at her own joke. Sandy rolled her eyes and ran to Dennis and pulled on his chubby arm.
“Let’s go!” she snapped. Dennis looked up at her with his big bulging eyes, tears forming. Sandy sighed. “Please, let’s go.”
Dennis waved goodbye to his new friends. “Bye, Sassoona! Bye Momo!” Sandy dragged Dennis over to where Kayla was.
“Dennis!” Sandy hissed. “Who knows what kind of alien germs those kids have?”
“No germies, Sanny,” Dennis assured her.
“Shh,” Sandy whispered. “Kayla could get offended.”
“No secrets!” Dennis shouted. Sandy hastily put a finger to her lips.
“Our destination we have reached,” Kayla shouted.
Dennis clapped his hands together excitedly and ran inside the hut, forgetting all about their argument. Kayla ran into the hut as well. Sandy walked in calmly. There were four rooms: two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen/eating area. A little boy pranced out of one of the bedrooms. Kayla scooped him up. “Roger, say hi to the earthlings, yes?”
“No,” Roger pouted. Kayla sighed and set him down. “Cooperative, Roger is not very,” she told her.
“BE QUIET, I’M TRYING TO LISTEN TO MUSIC!” The loud yell of a teenage girl made Sandy jump and think of Eliza.
“Ugh, Talia is so annoying,” Kayla whispered to Sandy.
“I CAN HEAR YOU, YOU LITTLE NITWIT!” Talia screamed, music blaring from the bedroom.
Boom, boom. Ba-ba boom, boom. Choca, choca. Chicka, chicka. Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba boom.
Kayla rolled her eyes. “Usually, Dad is here,” she said. “But he’s been gone lately a lot.” She dropped to her knees, feeling the dirt floor.
“What are you looking for?” Roger asked, turning around.
“Nothing, keep playing,” Kayla said hastily.
Roger shrugged. “Go hide,” he told Dennis. And then he began counting.
Ma, bé, see, lu, ca, ni, nu, la…
“Found it!” Kayla shouted. She glanced at Roger, who was staring at her oddly. “I mean, I found a dust crocodile!”
“You’re weird,” Roger said, and kept counting.
Kayla waved Sandy over to a small door. She lifted it, grunting as she did so. Roger had ran off, looking for Dennis. When she opened the door, there was a compartment with bottles and paper. Kayla thrust her hand into it and came up with a bottle in her hand labeled “Grandpa.” She poured the entire bottle onto three pieces of paper and started muttering a chant. Sandy could barely hear but she could just make out this:
“Ana benee lo
Con sa bùta
Men oo yatee
Con sa la ta bee tha
Men tee ta
Con a loo
And then, an old alien’s face appeared on the paper. “Kayla, is this an emergency?”
“Yes, Grandpa, a dire emergency,” Kayla assured him. “How to defeat the glornorks, I need to know.”
Kayla’s grandpa laughed so much that tears rolled down his cheeks. “Kayla, you’re funny! Now what’s the real emergency? And where’s your father, by the way?”
Kayla sighed and looked at Sandy as if to say, “See what I have to do now?”
“The real emergency, that is, Grandpa John,” Kayla said. “And Dad is…not here.”
John stopped laughing. “Kayla, the joke is over.”
“A joke, it is not!” Kayla insisted.
“Kayla,” John sighed. “Stop, okay? Stop. multiple people have tried to defeat the glornorks. They all failed.”
“Oh, Grandpa, please,” Kayla pleaded.
“I’m not putting my granddaughter in danger,” John said firmly.
“Please,” Kayla asked. “For me, and my friend Sandy.”
“Sandy,” John muttered. His mouth turned into a big O. “Show her to me.”
Kayla moved the paper into Sandy’s lap. It felt warm. John’s eyes turned huge. “She is here!”
“Huh?” Sandy’s face scrunched up in confusion.
“There is a prophecy that told of a human girl who would come to Oba-Snorkel and save the planet from their crisis.” He took a big breath. “You are that human girl.”
“What?” Sandy screamed. Her voice was down to a whisper now. “That’s not true, I’m not good enough to be a savior.” She sighed loudly. “Ugh, all the responsibilities.”
Kayla took back the paper and exchanged a rapid fire conversation in the language Kayla spoke naturally. Then, Kayla turned to Sandy. “Come. The way, I know.”
“What about Dennis?” Sandy asked uneasily.
“Too dangerous, it is, for a little kid,” Kayla said, shaking her head. Kayla tapped the side of her forehead, then shook her head. “Said Grandpa that when you defeat the glornorks, home, all humans will go.”
Sandy let out a breath of relief. Dennis would be safe and (most importantly) he wouldn’t follow her.
“First, the Kanooky Pits of Menniti-Lalo, we must go,” Kayla declared. She put the potion and the papers back into the compartment and led Sandy out the door. Kayla pointed to the left. “That way, the Kanooky Pits are.” Kayla pursed her lips. “Let us hope no tourists there are. You see, the burning coldness and freezing hotness mix is an attraction of tourists coming from other planets. It is like a, what do you humans call it? Oh, a pool, yes?”
“Yes,” Sandy muttered. She hoped that the “freezing hotness” was not so, well, hot. They went to the center of town where all the vendors were. They were shouting their prices trying to drown out everyone.
“Abalabas! Only la beniciis!” “Menalos, menalos, menalos! Ca beniciis!”
“DELABOTOES! BÉ BENICIIS!”
Kayla walked right past all of the vendors to the well.
“Where you going this time, Kay?” A vendor asked.
“The Kanooky Pits, Papa,” Kayla answered. Then, her face scrunched up in confusion. “Papa, you don’t work as a fruit vendor.”
Kayla’s dad dismissed the accusation. “I thought you hated the Kanooky Pits.”
“Sandy wanted to see them,” Kayla lied. Kayla’s dad didn’t even look at Sandy. “Have fun.”
Kayla jumped into the well. “Jump, Sandy!”
Sandy looked uneasily down the well. “I’m not fit enough to.” Suddenly, there was a big gust of wind. It started to pull Sandy into the well. She clung desperately to the side of the well. She turned around to find Kayla’s dad holding a flute.
“Good luck with the glornorks,” he said.
“How did you–” Her fingers were suddenly pried from the well and she was falling…falling.
And suddenly, she was at an entrance to a…theme park. There was a huge gate with a sign that said The Pits Park on top of it. Kayla was waiting by the gate.
“Quick, you took, for beginner,” Kayla observed. “Most newcomers take 1 hour or more. 10 minutes, you take. Usually, Papa would go with me, yes, but he has more important thing to do, obviously.” Her gaze averted to the floor, then she pulled Sandy’s arm. “Come, before a line there is!”
She started to run, dragging a reluctant Sandy behind her. “You wanted this,” Sandy told herself. “You’re going to have to deal with the Kanooky Pits, no matter how hot or cold it is.” Sandy sighed, realizing that she was right.
They came to a zig-zaggy line of belts connected between stanchions. “Control the line, is their purpose,” Kayla told Sandy. Sandy shivered, realizing that no one was in the line. They would have to go now. They ran through the zigzag line until they reached the front.
“Two Kanooky Pit Sensations, please,” Kayla said to the security guard.
He held out his hand. “Ten beniciis, miss.”
Kayla placed two coins in his hands and walked right past him. The coins were changing color in his hand. Sandy ran to catch up with her.
“What kind of metal is that?” Sandy asked.
“Menthalinee,” Kayla replied. “From planet Gagalooka. It’s stronger than your puny titanium. Almost unbreakable.” They stopped in front of two lava pits.
Not lava, Sandy thought. Kanooky.
It was orange-ish red, with blue running through it. When its bubbles would pop, it would spray purple liquid. “Kolani,” Kayla said of the purple liquid. “Healing powers, it has.” Then, she jumped into one of the pits. “Come on,” she shouted. “It feels good” Sandy sighed and looked uneasily at the Kanooky Pit. She closed her eyes, then jumped in.
Hot. The first sensation. Hot, hot, hot. Hotter than man could explain. She could feel herself sweating, blisters forming on her skin. “How am I still alive?” She thought. And then, the hotness went away and coldness seeped into her body. She relaxed, then immediately began to shiver wildly. She ran her hands up and down her arms, trying to create warmth. Through her suffering, she heard Kayla say something to the guard:
And then she was pulled under. She fought and fought her way, trying to reach the surface, but whatever was pulling her would not let go. So she went limp and let it pull her under. She held her breath, determined not to die. Her face was turning red from her holding her breath so much. She had to get to the top, had to find air…
She stopped holding her breath and found that she could breathe. Grasping the wonderful air into her dry lungs, she was pulled deeper and deeper…
She appeared in a cave, right next to Kayla. “The Asmanté Caves, this is,” Kayla said. “The main lair of the glornorks.” Sandy shivered, and looked over her shoulder.
“We have to stay very quiet,” Kayla whispered.
Sandy bit her fingernails, and fretted. I’m not good enough, she thought. What was I thinking? I can’t defeat the glornorks.
“I can’t defeat the glornorks,” she said aloud. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!” Kayla put her finger to her lips frantically but it was too late. The glornorks were already there. The glornorks were big, pale purple blobs, with red eyes. They reeked of onions, and made strange gargling noises. They formed a circle around Sandy and Kayla, shouting strange words, holding razor sharp blades. Kayla and Sandy moved closer together as the glornorks made the circle tighter and tighter…
Kayla gasped. “Dad?”
Kayla’s dad stepped out of the crowd, wearing a feather crown. “Hello, dear.”
“Why?” Kayla dropped to her knees and put her head in her hands. “Why?”
“I really wish you hadn’t gone looking for trouble,” Kayla’s dad said. His eyes turned red. Kayla quietly cried.
“How are you a glornork?” Sandy asked in disbelief.
“Kayla’s grandfather is not my real father,” he sneered. “He was a ridiculous fake father.” He lead one of the glornorks to the middle of the circle. “This is my father.” His father was a short glornork, with gray hair.
Kayla kept crying.
“I waited for the right moment to strike at my village as I did all the other ones,” he continued. “Now was the right time, I guess, since Kayla was all entranced by her grandfather’s silly prophecy.” He put his face right into Sandy’s. “How does it feel to be a failure?” He threw back his head and cackled evilly, morphing into a glornork.
The glornorks came closer and closer, led by Kayla’s dad…
Suddenly, Sandy felt something she had never felt before. It surged through her bones, and strengthened her body. She felt power in her lungs.
Confidence. It was confidence. A beautiful feeling she had never felt.
She began to shake. She shook with power with confidence. She got on her hands and knees and her whole body shook.
“Sandy?” Kayla asked timidly.
Sandy heard nothing. She shook and shook and then, BOOM! She wasn’t herself. There was light, powerful light, coming out of her. She was in the air, and she burst out of the cave, practically touching the fire sky. And then, there was a white light. Only light. Just white light.
And then, she and her brother were back in the basement. Sandy’s eyes filled with tears as she thought of Kayla.
“I’m so sorry, Kayla,” she said.
Knock knock knock knock.
“SANDY!” Eliza screeched from the other side of the door. “IT”S SUNNY OUTSIDE, MOM TOLD ME TO TELL YOU THAT. NOW I’M MAD YOU INTERRUPTED MY TEXTING,” Sandy heard Eliza shout. “YOU’RE SO ANNOYING”
Sandy grabbed Dennis’s hand and ran outside to the backyard. Eliza was sitting on a beach chair, texting. Dennis was standing next to Sandy, with his arms crossed, just like Sandy was doing. Sandy sighed. “Some things never change,” she thought. And she smiled. Somehow, she liked it that way.