The Missing Pencil (Part One)

by Sarah Rubinstein, age 10
The Missing Pencil (Part One) Sarah is a rising fifth grader who has been at Writopia for two years. She likes reading and writing stories involving magic and actually knows a few magic tricks. When she grows up, Sarah wants to be a movie director.

“It was 7:30 in Brucebury Town. Twelve-year-old Patrick Binny was putting up signs. He wanted the whole town to see his sign, so he circled the town and made sure there were at least four signs on every lamppost and tree trunk. His sign was one of those “missing” signs, and he really needed what was lost. Now, you would probably guess he lost his cat or his dog or his guinea pig. Maybe he lost a backpack or a jacket. Nope.”

     

Chapter One

It was 7:30 in Brucebury Town. Twelve-year-old Patrick Binny was putting up signs. He wanted the whole town to see his sign, so he circled the town and made sure there were at least four signs on every lamppost and tree trunk. His sign was one of those “missing” signs, and he really needed what was lost. Now, you would probably guess he lost his cat or his dog or his guinea pig. Maybe he lost a backpack or a jacket. Nope. Patrick’s sign read:

 

MISSING PENCIL

If found, call Patrick Binny at 262-593-7068

I’d really appreciate it!!!

:):) 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

REWARD:$700

 

I know. Crazy, right? $700 for a pencil? All the kids in Brucebury dug up their pencil cases and desperately brought all the pencils over to Patrick’s house.

“That’s not my pencil,” he would always say.

And they’d mumble things back like, “How would you know?” or “What a waste.”

One day, Patrick’s best friend Marty came over with a bucket full of pencils. After ten minutes, every single pencil was on the ground, but none of them were Patrick’s.

“Come on,” Marty whined. “Just take the pencils, and give me the money.”

“Sorry, dude. No pencil, no money,” Patrick answered.

“How can you even tell the difference?” Marty snapped.

“Oh, trust me. I’ll know when I see my magic pencil,” Patrick assured him.

“What ‘magic pencil’?” Marty asked, confused.

“It’s my pencil,” Patrick yelled.

“Look, if you really want this… ‘magic pencil,’ why don’t you tell us why it’s important to you… Tell us its story,” Marty suggested.

“Fine,” Patrick said.

 

Chapter Two

The next morning, Patrick woke up and ran across the hall where his mom was cooking breakfast. His dad was sitting on the couch reading.

“Hey, Mom. Can I invite some friends over later?” Patrick asked.

“Of course, sweetie. I just need to know who,” his mom said.

“Umm, let’s see. Marty, Stanley, Lola, and uhhh… Susan.”

“Sounds reasonable. I’ll call their parents.”

“Great! Thanks, Mom! Love you!” Patrick called to his mom as he ran back to his bedroom.

He went over to a cardboard treasure chest labeled PATRICK’S BOX OF THINGS. Patrick opened the box and slipped his hand into a secret compartment. He took out a velvet pouch from it. The pouch had the letter “Z” on it. He peeked inside and then stuffed it in his sweater pocket.

DING DONG!

The doorbell rang. Patrick ran down the hall as fast as he could.

He opened the door and said, “What’s up, man?”

“Hey, dude.” Marty patted him on the back.

Next to come was Susan. She only lived a block away.

“Hi, guys,” she said.

“Hey,” they answered.

All three of them went into the kitchen to get a snack. Stanley and Lola came a little later. After they played two rounds of Monopoly, Marty finally tapped Patrick and whispered in his ear.

“What about the… you-know-what?”

“Ohhh right!” Patrick whispered back. “Hey, guys! Come to my room.”

They all ran upstairs, following Patrick.

“Okay,” Patrick sighed, plopping down on a bean bag chair. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and felt the velvet pouch. “So everyone knows why you’re here, right?” started Patrick. Everyone nodded in agreement. “Well, now I’m going to tell you that story.” Everyone leaned forward in their seats. “Okay.” Patrick took a deep breath and then began.

 

Chapter Three

Two months ago, my mom planned a trip to New York City. The first thing we did when we got there was check into the hotel. Then, we went to our rooms and unpacked. Mom and Dad slept in the same bedroom, and I had a bedroom all to myself.

After I unpacked, I started decorating my bedroom with some of my stuff. My pictures, my book, and my clay statue from kindergarten. Then, as I was taping one of my pictures to the wall, something happened. And when I turned around again, I wasn’t in my bedroom… I was in Ethamopia.

“Wait, what’s Ethamopia?” asked Marty.

“Well, you’ll see if you let me tell the story. Now, let’s get back to it,” said Patrick.

As I was walking through the town, I felt like something was different about it. It wasn’t that the squirrels were purple and pink or that the whole town smelled like cotton candy. It was that everyone was two feet tall. And they had pointy ears!

While I was walking, since I was too busy staring at the people in the town, I bumped into someone else.

“Oh, sorry,” I said.

But when I looked up, I saw a girl that was my height. She had dark brown hair, and she was wearing a green beanie hat that was covering her ears.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” she yelled, and then she pushed me behind a bush. She hid with me. “What are you doing here?” she said again, this time whispering.

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

She folded her arms. “I know you’re not from Ethamopia,” she responded.

“Well, you’re not two feet tall either,” I said, annoyed.

“Yeah, but I have the ears.”

The girl pulled off her beanie hat, and I saw her pointy ears.

“Okay… ” I started. “That doesn’t mean anything. Plus, that doesn’t explain why you’re two feet taller than everyone else in the town.”

“Come with me,” she said, pulling me up.

“Where are you taking me, and are you going to tell me why you’re taller than everyone else?”

“Yes,” she said. “By the way, my name’s Rina.”

“I’m Patrick,” I said. “Now, Rina, tell me why you’re like a giant to the rest of the town!”

“Fine,” groaned Rina. “Once, a thousand years ago, there was a man named Gilbert Tallson. He’s actually my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-uncle. He lived in Ethamopia in the year 19. Everyone in the town was short at that time, except he wanted to be taller. Since he was very wealthy, he was able to pay for a shot that made him grow faster. He grew to five feet at the age of fifteen. But that shot stayed in his blood, and since I’m blood-related to him, that went through to me, so now everyone in my family is also tall.”

“Okay, so now will you tell me where we’re going?” I asked.

“Oh yeah, we’re going to my aunt’s house… well, my house. I live with my aunt. My aunt is really nice, and she always loves visitors,” Rina told me.

“But… ?” I asked.

She had a look on her face like she wasn’t telling me everything. “But I have a cousin that’s pure evil. Her name’s Minsy, and she’s twelve.”

“Well, I hope we don’t run into her considering we’re going into her HOUSE,” I screamed. We were walking on a brick path. The bricks were painted pink, yellow, and green. We walked into a big, white apartment.

“Here we are,” Rina said.


Chapter Four

Rina opened the big glass door of the building. We walked in. There were two big, red velvet chairs standing in the long hallway. Under us, there was a long, fuzzy, gray rug that covered the whole floor. Across from the chairs, there was a big, brown wooden desk. Behind the desk was a short man sitting in a blue desk chair. He was wearing a green shirt with the word “Joe” embroidered on it.

“Hey, Joe,” Rina said.

“Hey, Rina,” boomed Joe, spinning around in the chair so he could see her.

He did a little wave to me, too. I nodded back.

“So, um, not to be rude or anything, but about your cousin. What do we do so we don’t run into her?” I whispered, sweating.

I was really nervous because I don’t like meeting mean people.

“Easy peasy.” Rina smiled.

She pressed a dull, gray button for the elevator with her thumb. The elevator door opened.

“Woah,” I kind of yelled.

“Shhhhhhhhhhhh,” shushed Rina.

We stepped into the elevator. The walls were painted bright yellow, and there was a purple line that went horizontally around the elevator. The mirror wasn’t crusty. Instead, it was so clean that I could actually see my face in it, unlike other elevators.

“So how come this is what will drive your cousin away? It’s such a cool elevator,” I asked.

“Well, you see, before I came along and fixed this elevator up, it was the dirtiest elevator of all. It had dark gray walls, and the paint was chipped off. So basically, the walls were brown, there were scratches on the door, and the elevator was covered in guck,” Rina explained.

“Woah, so basically everyone tries to get away from it because they don’t know that it’s so awesome?” I asked.

Rina nodded.

“Wait, but one question, what happens if someone does come in?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” said Rina. “You know how I pressed the button with my thumb? Well, the elevator has a fingerprint detector now, so if it’s not my fingerprint, then gray wallpaper will cover the elevator, and fake slime will cover the mirror.”

She pressed a button, and we felt the elevator going up.

Ding. The elevator door opened. “Oops, I accidentally pressed for the wrong floor,” said Rina.

“Don’t worry,” she said, pressing the door close button quickly. But before the door closed, a girl that looked about our age walked into the elevator. She had short, blonde hair and pale skin. She almost looked like a blonde vampire without fangs.

“Hi Rina,” she said, waving. Rina tried to ignore her.

“Who is that?” I whispered to Rina.

“That’s Minsy,” Rina replied.
“Who is your friend, Rina?” asked Minsy rudely.

“This is Patrick. And we have to go,” Rina said, pulling me out of the elevator.

As we were walking, I said, “Are you just going to leave her in your elevator?”

“Nope. I always have backup in case of that.” She took a small remote out of her pocket and pressed a red button on it. We heard a scream. I think it came from Minsy.

“What did you do?” I asked her.

“Well, I pressed the button that made the elevator look really ugly. There is no way to reverse it unless you have the remote,” she said, waving the remote in the air.

“Cool,” I said. We kept walking, and the scene changed. Now, there was different wallpaper. We walked up to a blue door.

“This is my aunt’s room,” Rina said. We walked inside the room over to a woman sitting in a chair. The woman had brown hair and light green eyes. She looked nothing like Minsy.

“Hi, Aunt Mary,” Rina said, walking over to the woman. “This is my friend, Patrick,” she said, pointing to me.

“Well, hello there, Patrick,” Aunt Mary said. “I am Rina’s Aunt, but you can call me Mary.”

“Hi,” I said shyly.

“So, where are you from?” Mary asked me. “Not to be rude or anything, but are you from Ethilopia, by any chance?”

“Well, no, ummmm. What’s Ethilopia?” I asked.

“The east side of Ethamopia,” Rina answered.

“I’m not from around here, actually. I’m from uhhhhhh… ”

“He’s from the Other Side,” Rina whispered.

“Oh, you are!” Mary exclaimed. “Well, um, do you know how to get back home?”

“Yeah, that’s the problem,” I said. “I don’t. Plus, I think my parents are waiting for me back at home, so do you know how to get back?”

“No, unfortunately not. But I’ve really been wanting to visit the Other Side. It seems as if it would have a lot of interesting things there. Well, there actually is one person that knows how, but I’ve never gotten to speak to them.”

“Well, who is it?” I asked desperately.

“He is a wizard. No one knows him by name, though. He lives at the top of Ethamopia, in a tall tower. The problem is, to get in you have to pass a test and no one has ever, ever gotten into his tower.”

“Well, no one has yet,” Rina said.

“What are you saying?” I asked nervously.

“I’m saying that we can try to go to the wizard’s tower. He will probably help you because he has been studying humans from the Other Side.”

“Well, that’s a great idea!” Mary said.
“What’s a great idea?” Minsy asked, walking in.

“Oh, um, nothing,” Rina said.
“Oh, it would be actually wonderful if all three of you went out together on this adventure,” Mary suggested.

“Go where?” Minsy asked annoyingly.

“Why, dear, they’re going to try to go to the wizard’s tower. Rina wants to get her friend Patrick here back home.”

“Why can’t he just walk?” Minsy teased.

“Well, he’s not from around here at all,” Mary explained. “He’s from the Other Side.”

“Ohhh! No wonder he didn’t look like he was from around here. He looked as if he was Ethilopia, but I guess he could be from the Other Side too,” Minsy said.

“Okay,” I said, and all three of us headed out.

 

Chapter Five

“So,” I started as we were walking, “how are we going to find this wizard?”

“Well, I know someone that could help us,” Rina said.

“Hey, are we going in your secret elevator, Rina?”

“Yes, we’re taking that elevator.” Rina rolled her eyes.

Minsy held her palms up defensively. As we turned the corner, the wallpaper changed. Rina walked up to the elevator and pressed the button. All three of us walked into the elevator in silence, and no one said anything until we got to the first floor.

We stepped out of the elevator, and Minsy said, “So what are we doing on the first floor?”

“Well,” Rina said sternly, “we’re going to see Joe.”

“Oh, that doorman?” Minsy groaned.

“Oh,” I said. “Is that the doorman that said hi to you on the way in?”

“Yeah,” Rina said, annoyed.

She ran up to him and said, “Hi, Joe.”

“Hey there, Rina,” he said loudly, then turned to Minsy. “How ya doing?” he said in a small voice.

Minsy didn’t answer.

“Hey, Joe. Do you know anything about the wizard?”

“Oh, you bet I do,” said Joe, jumping up into the air and turning around.

We followed him to a bookcase behind his desk.

“Hmmmmm… the wizard… ” he said, running his finger across the spines of the books on the shelf. “Oh, here it is!”

Instead of pulling the book out, he pushed it into the bookcase. When he did that, the floor we were standing on started going under.

“Woah!” we all shouted.

Then, the floor stopped moving, and we were down in a big room. Each wall was painted a different color. In the center of the room was a big, round table with buttons all over it. There was a bed in one corner and a huge bookshelf in another. And in the back of the room, there were a few video games.

“Wow,” I whispered to myself.

“I know, right?” Joe said. “Welcome to my study-slash-house.”

“You live here?” Minsy asked, eyes wide.

“Yup! And over in that bookshelf, I have a whole collection of books about this wizard.”

He jumped over to where the bookshelf was and scooped a big purple book into his hand.

“Ah, Wizards, my favorite book. Here you go!” he said, throwing the book to me. “Open up to page nineteen, and you’ll see everything you need to know about him. But may I ask, what do you need to know about him and why?”

“Well,” Rina started, “Patrick here is from the Other Side. We’re trying to get him back, and we heard from Aunt Mary the only way to get him back is if we ask the wizard.”

“Oh, then this book will be very helpful, because it will tell you exactly where the wizard is,” Joe said.

He took the book from my hands and opened up to page nineteen.

“See here’s the map that will lead you to the wizard’s castle. It’ll also help you with other stuff.”

“Wait, but this page is empty,” I told him.

“Hmm, maybe it is,” said Joe, smirking.

He handed the book to Rina, and she said, “Great. Thanks, Joe! Now, how do we get out of here?”

“Oh, here. I’ll show you,” Joe said, and he walked up to a red “X” marked with tape and pressed a button. “Come on guys, stand next to me!” We all ran over, and the floor moved up back to where we were in the lobby.

“Okay, bye guys!” Joe said, waving to the three of us as we headed toward the door.

We waved back to him, and Rina said, “Hey, Joe. Do you want to come with us? You seem to know a lot about the wizard. You could really help us.”

“No, I have to stay here, though I would like to come. Tell me how it goes,” Joe said quickly, sitting back in his chair.

“Okay,” Rina said, and we walked out.

Once the door was closed, Minsy said to us, “He was just scared that he was going to get hurt on the journey. He probably did want to go.”
“That’s not true!” Rina said. “I know for a fact that he wants to come! He can’t though, because he works here, duh!”

Minsy crossed her arms and walked ahead of us.

“So, where are we going exactly?” I asked.

 

Chapter Six

“We have to follow the map,” Rina said, annoyed. She opened the map and pointed to a red dot on the map.
“We’re here,” she said. “Creepy. How did it know where we are?”

“No idea,” I said, shivering.
“Well, it’s probably magic,” Minsy said.

“You mean, like, real magic?” I asked.

“Sure, I mean it is a wizard we’re trying to find, right?” Minsy said. I shrugged.

Rina rolled her eyes. “Come on guys, we have to go. The map said this way,” she said, pointing to the map. When I looked over her shoulder, I literally saw the words THIS WAY on the map.

“Well, how do you know it really means the way that we’re facing now?” Minsy asked.

“Well, like you just said. Magic, right? I’m sure it’s this way,” Rina yelled, marching in front of us. Everyone was quiet for a little while Minsy and I followed Rina, who was still marching. Rina stopped. Minsy ran and I up to her. Suddenly, the map changed again. It had an arrow pointing right.

“So does that mean we have to go right?” I asked.

“No, it means we have to go to left… Of course it means we have to go right!” Rina said.

“Sheesh,” I said.

So, we turned right, and we kept walking until Minsy said, “Wait!” She pointed to the map. It seemed to change again. Now, it had an up arrow on it.

“So, does it mean we can go up or forward?” I said. “Because it can mean either,” I added quickly.

“Actually, I don’t know,” Rina said. “That’s a good point.”

“What if we split up?” Minsy suggested.

“That probably wouldn’t work, since we’re trying to get Patrick to the wizard. So if we split up, and the person who finds it isn’t Patrick, then how will they tell the others?” Rina said.

“Okay,” Minsy sighed.

I looked up and then looked straight forward, and then I looked back up. Now, there was a plane — or at least I thought it was a plane — flying through the air. I blinked, and it was gone, almost like magic.

“Woah!” I started.

“What is it?” Rina asked, nervously.

“I think I know what direction we’re supposed to go.” I pointed up to the sky.

Sure enough, in skywriting it said, Go up, then go straight. Sheesh. Why do I have to spell it out for ya? Thought you were smarter than that.

“How are we supposed to go up?” Minsy asked.

We looked back up at the sky, hoping for an answer.

Ay Dios Mio! Ya fly, duh. I thought that was clear in the other message?

Minsy shivered.

“How is that even possible?” I asked curiously.

“Magic,” Minsy declared.

“Seriously,” Rina muttered, folding her arms.

“Yes, seriously,” Minsy said. “And there’s no time for negativity. We have to learn how to fly!”

As she said this, Minsy jumped up into the air and made a Superman pose, but instead of falling back down (which, of course, would happen because, y’know, gravity) she just stood there. Literally hovering in midair right where she jumped up, Minsy was flying. And I’m not exaggerating!

“Wheeee!” she yelled as she went higher into the air. “I’m flying, yippee!”

Now she was pretty high. She was giggling like crazy. Then, I turned around to see how Rina was reacting to this. One corner of her mouth was kind of up, but when I looked over at her, she quickly straightened it.

“It’s awesome, right?” I asked Rina.

Rina shrugged like she’d seen it a billion times before.

“Do you wanna try it?” I asked, and she did that tiny smile again. “Okay, guess not. Bye!”

After I said this, I ran forward and then did a huge jump into the air. Soon enough, I was flying just as high as Minsy. I felt like I was in a mix between a rollercoaster and the Tower of Terror ride. It felt awesome! Soon, Minsy and I were flying over all the buildings. We flew down a little so Rina could hear us.

“Come on, Rina,” we yelled as loud as we could.

“Yeah, to get to the wizard we all have to fly up here,” I explained, still yelling.

“Fine,” Rina yelled back.

Then, she jumped into the air as high as she could, and soon enough, she was flying with us. We all started laughing. Minsy and Rina stared at each other and then turned their backs.

“Now, come on. We have to get to the tower. Chop chop,” Rina called, now flying higher than all of us.

“How are we able to fly like this?” I asked. “You know, other than magic.”

“Well, we learned about this in Mr. Galfrid’s magic mechanics class,” Rina started. “In the last lesson, we learned — ”

“That if you’re searching for the wizard you get ultimate power!” Minsy finished.

“Exactly, and one of the ‘ultimate powers’ is invisibility, so no one can see us flying and all that. It just makes the mission more secret,” Rina said.

My jaw dropped. I thought she was going to say something rude back, but instead she just said, “Exactly?” Looks like I brought these two together.

“What?” Minsy asked, looking at me.

I quickly shut my jaw. “Nothing! Hey guys,” I yelled, floating up ahead. “I think I see the tower!”

“Let me see,” Rina said, gliding to where I was with Minsy floating behind her.

She took out the map and saw a purple tower. She held it up to the tower that I saw in front of us.

“Yup, that’s it!” Minsy said excitedly, clapping her hands.

“Great,” I said.

Then, I flew down from above, down to the ground. I turned to them.

“Since we can see the building now, we can just walk to it,” I explained.

“Okay.” They shrugged, gliding down to me.

But as we were walking, I realized we couldn’t see the tower anymore.

“Wait, what’s happening,” Minsy said, angrily.

“Oh I know what’s happening,” Rina mumbled. “You know how everyone says the tower is on the tip of Ethamopia? Well, it’s actually on the tip. We can only see it if we’re flying high enough, and then we have to go through the door that is in the air.”

“Ohhhhhh. My bad. Come on. Let’s go back up,” I said, getting a head start.

I flew up into the air, and Minsy and Rina followed me.

As we were flying forward toward the tower I said, “What are we even gonna do when we get to the wizard’s castle?”

“I’m pretty sure we have to take some kind of test,” Rina told me.

“What do you mean ‘test?’” Minsy asked nervously.

“Like a test,” Rina explained. “It could be any type of test actually. No one knows. It could be a math test, the state test, a skill test — like running or something. It could be any kind of test! We’ll just have to find out.”

I nodded.

After a little while, Minsy stopped. “WAIT.”

“What? What is it?” Rina said.

“Well, have you noticed that every time we fly closer to the tower, the tower seems to be going, oh I don’t know, farther away,” Minsy explained.

“Oh yeah. She’s right,” I chimed in. “But how is that working?”

“Hm, I’m not sure,” said Rina, quickly thumbing through the pages of the book that Joe lent us.

I thought back to what Joe had said when we were in his study. “Open up to page nineteen, and you’ll see everything you need to know about him.”

“Wait! Rina, go back to page nineteen. Trust me,” I exclaimed.

“But that’s where the map is,” Rina said.

“Well, since it’s been changing this whole time, I think it’ll just tell us what we need to know, and right now we don’t need to know where we are.”

“Okay.” Rina shrugged and opened to page nineteen.

 

Chapter Seven

Minsy and I looked over Rina’s shoulder. Instead of there being a map, which there used to be, now there was a picture of the wizard’s castle, and in front of it was another picture of the same castle. Then, in front of the first castle, there was a dotted line leading to a red dot that said, YOU ARE HERE.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“I’m not sure,” said Rina.

We all were quiet for a little bit, thinking of what the two castles could mean.

“Wait!” shouted Minsy. “I think I might know what they mean!”

“What?” I asked desperately. “What is it?”

“Welllll,” started Minsy, “since when we walk, it looks like the castle is getting farther away, maybe the picture means that the first castle is a fake castle, meaning it’s just air, but it looks like it’s real.”

“Ohh, you’re right! So does that mean we’re getting closer to the real castle, but we just can’t see that we are?” Rina asked. Minsy nodded. “That’s actually… a really good idea!”

“Thanks!” said Minsy. “So let’s test it now.”

Then, the three of us started flying towards the mock tower. Eventually, the tower disappeared, but we kept flying. We knew from the picture that the real tower was straight ahead. We were getting really close to the real tower.

I was so excited. I flew ahead a lot and then looked back and said, “Come on guys!” to Rina and Minsy.

They flew up to me, and suddenly, Minsy screamed, “Owwww!”

“What happened?” Rina and I yelled, flying up to her.

“I have no idea!” Minsy said. “I was just flying, and then my head hurt, as if it got hit on a brick wall!”

“That’s weird,” Rina said, thinking. “Wait,” Rina said suddenly. She put her hand up as if she was feeling something. “That’s it! We made it to the tower. We just can’t see it!”

 

Read Part Two here!

 

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