Night at the Museum

        1st Place Winner of 2020 PENtastic Writing Contest.

        Annabeth held her breath as she circled around the dusty statues. Her class, room 6A, was on a field trip to the museum of Greek and Roman artifacts. Annabeth was happy to study all mythologies, though most of the class hated to read, and was already half asleep. Annabeth wondered why people didn’t like to learn. They should love to extend their boundaries! There was no end to learning. Another reason she was glad was - the field trip was on Halloween evening. Annabeth hated Halloween. She hated having goosebumps, she hated looking at zombies, she especially hated spiders with their beady red eyes. She was thankful to be in a museum of ancient heroes. 

       “Annabeth! Hey Annabeth! I found something!” A girl's voice whispered. Annabeth turned around to see a hazel-haired girl with large kaleidoscope eyes. “Hi Piper. What did you find?” Annabeth said. Piper Johansson was Annabeth's best friend. They had met in first grade and were inseparable. “It’s super cool!” Piper squealed. The two rushed towards a statue of a bulky man wearing a lion's skin cloak. “Hercules!” Piper said dreamily. Annabeth rolled her eyes. The pair were so different even though they were best friends. “I’m going to look for Hazel.” Piper said. “No need.” A feminine voice said. “Right here.” It was Hazel, a curly haired girl with skin the color of caramel. “What are we up to?” Hazel asked. Annabeth didn’t answer. Where was Mrs. Buckley? Where was the crowd of sleepy kids?

       “Shush!” Annabeth hissed. The other two girls looked at her, confused. “Our group is gone!” Piper said, a look of realization washing over her. Hazel looked like she had been hit with a frying pan. “They were here a second ago? We may have been separated.” She stuttered in her old accent. Piper groaned. Annabeth started calculating. She had ran away a few times and she had also been lost more than she could count. Being lost in a creaky old museum at nightfall was perfectly fine. Thoughts flew around her head like fireworks. “How about we go to the big three god’s section? I think that was what Mrs. Buckley said.” Annabeth concluded, her stormy gray eyes swirling with anticipation. The three girls rushed towards a dusty corridor until they ended up in a circular room of marbles. The left side of the wall was tinted green, and in front was a statue. A tall man with shaggy hair and beard was holding a trident made of prismarine. It was Poseidon. The middle wall was electric blue. Standing in front of it was Zeus, king of the gods, holding his mighty lightning bolt. The last one though, scared Annabeth out of her wits. The left section of wall had a statue of a tall gaunt man holding a crown of bones and wilted roses. Even in statue form, you could see the dark bags under his eyes and his twisted grin made the experience worse. “G-girls.. meet Hades, god of the underworld,” Annabeth whispered. He seemed to be staring at them. Suddenly, his shadow started to grow. It became a perfect illusion of a man in black, wearing a bony wreath.
        Piper stepped backwards with Hazel. Annabeth looked at it curiously. Then, purple slits appeared above where his mouth would be. Those were his eyes. Annabeth said the most sensible thing. “Run!!” she shrieked. The three girls charged down the halls until they reached a room of reflections. Hazel gasped and pressed her hands on her knees. “Where? Annabeth? Where are we? You know all about this place…” Hazel whispered. Annabeth looked up. This room was truly scary. The walls were dressed in navy blue velvet, and stand up mirrors were lined against the fabric. Purple fog floated around them. Looking in the mirrors, Annabeth felt weird. One image of her had glitter in her hair. Another had stunning brown eyes. She looked so… beautiful. That’s when she noticed a peacock blue statue in the middle of the room. She had long marble hair cascading down her back, and she wore a dress that flowed around her like water. Piper read the label. “Hera. Goddess of marriage and family. Wife to Zeus.” Hazel was staring at the goddess’s eyes. They were the color of ice. Annabeth caught her breath. “I- we should go. I don’t feel safe,” she whimpered. Hearing the fear in her voice, the other girls nodded, backing away. But blocking the entrance was more velvet curtain, nailed to the floor. “Well. If this place isn’t haunted, I’m a goat.” Piper said flatly. Hazel coughed. “Happy Halloween?” She muttered. Annabeth began to calculate the possibilities. She could bring out the Swiss Army knife from her boot and cut down the velvet sheets. Maybe she could start breaking the statue of Hera, who was now glowing eerily. Annabeth brought out her knife and began to cut the fabric, tearing a door. The trio ran out the hole and stared at Hera. Her statue was cracking. Underneath was human skin, sparkling with power. Her nutshell of stone fully broke to reveal the goddess of heaven. Her cold eyes bore into them, shining. The girls didn’t need to be asked twice. Annabeth, Hazel, and Piper ran for their lives.  

        The next room, the girls ran into seemed safe enough. Though the statues leaning against the wall said otherwise. “Why are there so many statues?” Annabeth asked, coughing from all of the dust. “Well because I made them of course,” a voice purred. They turned around. A woman with caramel skin and elegant body was standing over them. A black veil was hovering over her face, covering her face and hair. “W-who?” Piper whimpered. “Well, call me Mrs. M,” she said. “Don’t worry kids, you're in good hands. You are safe with Mrs. M,” Mrs. M said. Her voice washed over Annabeth like a dream. Yes. She was very safe with Mrs. M. “Oh okay…” Hazel whispered dreamily. Piper seemed to be in a trance too. Annabeth gulped. “How about some cake?” Mrs. M whispered. Her voice was like a lullaby. So hard not to fall asleep. Annabeth managed to say, “No thanks Ma’am. We’re fine,” Mrs. M hissed. “No no. Eat.” She growled, giving them cake. While Piper and Hazel chowed down, Annabeth shoved it away. “No no no…we need to go!” Annabeth pleaded. “ about you pose first?” Mrs. M said. “Pose?” Annabeth said. “For a photo of course! It’s good to have some statue models.” Mrs.M said. “C’mon Annabeth! Let’s do it! Stop worrying.” Piper complained. Annabeth huffed. “Fine,” she said coldly. “Okay! Sit down on this bench. I want Annabeth in the middle, Piper on the left, and Hazel on the right. Annabeth was about to consider how she knew their names, but she sat down. “Say cheese…” Mrs. M whispered. She lifted her veil to reveal green slits. “No!” Annabeth cried. She knew who this woman was. M stood for Medusa! She was making these statues! Annabeth pulled out her knife and shielded her eyes. Thankfully, Piper and Hazel did too. Annabeth charged and cut. She heard a horrible squishing noise. Medusa was dead. 

       Piper and Hazel fell out of their trance and stared at the head in disgust. “Well. That’s that.” Annabeth whispered. Suddenly, all of the statues in the room broke, and human beings stepped out of them. A few patted them on the back and cheered. “Thanks!” A girl with a golden apple said. A boy holding a harp smiled in thanks. “How about we go trick or treating now?” Hazel asked. The girls laughed and ran out of the haunted museum, dressed as Hades, Hera, and Medusa. Maybe Halloween and studies could go together.

Story prompt:

We took a field trip to a local museum, but my friends and I got left behind. We were stuck there for the night. The spookiest moment was when…



Aditi Ahuja - 7th grade

Aditi has lively and vivid imagination, weaving tales with such intricate details and finesse that it's almost impossible not to get lost in her world. Her vocabulary is strong, and so is the command of English language. As much as she enjoys building fiction stories, she simply detests writing formal essays!