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  The wind whistled cold lullabies to everyone that passed by. Thin tree branches, resembling bony fingers, reached out and touched each other’s shoulders. No one noticed a bit. But Emma stone noticed it all. She noticed how it was a summer day but no sun was there. She noticed how the salty ocean air  had disappeared. She also noticed that a cold hand of ice grabbed her. It twisted her shoulder and squeezed it with its claws.


     “Ahhhhhhh!” Emma screamed, waking up drenched in sweat. Again, she was late. She picked up her bag and ran outside into the chilly morning mist. Emma reached her classroom exactly before the bell rang. “Ms. Stone. I see you are late. Again. It is the fifth time this week! You know what that means…..” a voice said. It was her teacher, the meanest teacher in the whole school, possibly the whole district. Her name was Ms. Runt. She knew that Emma had come before the bell rang. But apparently she didn’t care. “You get sent to detention!” Ms. Runt continued. She pointed to the door. Emma walked toward it, not before seeing a shadow in the window. Emma sulked down a pea-green hallway until she stopped at a door labeled “detention.” She walked in and saw a kid. A kid. one kid, uno kid, one person. It was a girl with jet black hair with purple streaks. She wore a mini skirt that was black, unlike her purple shirt. The odd girl looked at Emma who only stared back. Emma sat in a chair and kept staring at the girl. “What are you looking at?” The girl growled as if she were a bear . Emma blushed, looked away and started tapping her elbows together. She looked at the window blankly. A black cat perched there, hissing at Emma. Before she knew it, detention was over. Emma walked to her locker and opened it. A small letter fluttered from the very top shelf. Emma opened it. Black smoke danced out. Emma started to read. “Dear Stone, I am the Scarlet Hand. I know everything. I take everything. I want to take your life. It is pure and it shall be mine…. one day…” Emma shut the note. It was strange, since she had met no scarlet hand and had no idea why a stranger would want to kill her.


Emma ran home. Her bed was the only place she wanted to be with. Soon, she was snoring away under her warm covers. Then, her dreams slinked out of the shadows. A small girl in a red cloak was standing in a dark room. Her face emitted light. She had yellow devil like eyes and her face had the same look as a murderer. “I have a kitty, a mommy, a daddy, but I don’t have a gramma or a doggy. Would you like to play house with me? We can cook onions. Guess what language I’m speaking. It’s gibberish.” Mommy said so. Emma looked beside the bed where a tiger was asleep. It was horrifying. The little girl danced around putting her hands on everything and leaving a blood red handprint. “Hmm. I don’t think you want to play house. Kitty, burn it down.” The big tiger yawned. Its breath was made of fire. Emma froze and pinched herself. She was awake. That’s. Better. She remembered the note. The scarlet hand. That little girl had red paint on her hand. Emma wanted to sleep again. She wanted to find out who it was. The dream came. It ushered her to sleep. Emma was crawling on top of rocks, trying not to fall. The girl in the red cloak smiled at Emma. “Wanna know a secret? I just sent a letter to a girl so that I can kill her. But shhhhh! Mommy and daddy said only three letters a month! This is my fourth.” The girl said with one quick breath.


Emma’s eyes widened. So, she got a note from a little girl? This was crazy. She pinched. Emma lay in her room, looking out the window. There was a willow tree, a pond, and animals. The thing she was most interested in was a girl wearing a red hat. She was calling out, “Kitty? Kitty? Where are you?” Emma almost recognized her. She went outside and said to the girl, “If you’re looking for a kitty, it’s probably in the pond by now.” “Gee, thanks! You deserve something.” She pulled out a birthday card and I read it. “Come to Mary Ann Jeanette’s birthday!” Emma hesitated. “No thanks,” she uttered and then turned back to the door. It had been a strange day for her. Getting a card from a girl who wanted to kill her, scarlet hand, really weird dreams…it had been a mess. Emma went inside, but the girl followed. “Take it! Take the card!” she yelled. Emma turned around and shoved the girl out of the house. As soon as Emma touched her, the girl became a stone statue of the girl in the red cloak. So, that was the end of the evil letters, Emma thought. But, when she finished that very thought, she heard a bell ring. It rang and rang. Emma looked everywhere for a bell. It seemed to be coming from a clock tower. Then, it hit her. It was all a dream. Layers of dreams piled onto one big dream. That only meant one thing. She was late for the class.


Instructions:


Elementary students were asked to write a story in about 250 words that involved a birthday card, a tree, a stranger, a cat, and a hat.


They were also required to decorate the story by using 5 strong adjectives, 5 strong verbs, 5 mystery/thriller/suspense words or phrases, and 2 figurative languages.

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    Mike and Jean Ross shuffled around their attic holding brooms. “I can’t believe mom made us clean the attic!” Mike whined. Jean got up, dusted her pants, and dragged a heavy box into sight. Mike looked at its contents. “On the bright side, mom also told me that we could keep some stuff,” Jean exclaimed. They dug around, but only found paintbrushes. Mike noticed a strange yellow glow coming from the corner of the room. He cautiously moved toward it. His eyes seemed to turn brighter every second he looked at it.
    Jean noticed his eerie trance and looked at it too. It was a tattered red diary. She opened its yellowing pages and squinted at the words. “Lemmie see it, Jean,” Mike said over her shoulder. “It says go to the left and find your treasure,” Jean said. Max sprinted to the far left of the attic. “What’s there?” Jean said, her voice echoing in the large room. “A dusty old mirror,” he replied grumpily. Mike wiped off the coat of debris that clung to it. It shone in the evening sun. Jean ran to him, accidentally flying into the mirror. “AAAAAHH!” she screamed. The mirror sucked her up! Mike screamed. He calmed down then carefully jumped into the looking glass. He collapsed onto the vivid green grass. His eyes swayed around looking for Jean. She seemed to be sitting on a rainbow.  “Ya, gotta try this, Mike,” she said, and then she slid down the rainbow and landed on a glob of golden…guitars. They had big eyes and five-inch teeth. “EEEK!” she yelled as she stumbled away. Cold sweat ran down her forehead as she ran toward Mike. He stared at his sister and walked away.
    They marched to a train station that had millions of trains lined up. “Get’cha tickets ‘ere, tickets for the trolley!” an ugly man screeched. The siblings got two tickets and looked at them. On the back it said ‘old rusty’. The tickets had tiny buttons under the words. The kids pressed the button and got transported into a rusted train. Soon enough, they fell asleep in the cold dark night. Jean woke up. It was sunrise. “Screeech!” The train stopped. Half of the train titled backwards. It was on a cliff! Mike in the meanwhile woke up. He felt strange. Blue light streamed around him. He lifted into the air. Then, floated out the window and saw the cliff. He saw the titled train! It was braking. “Now!” Mike shouted. His hand flung out. Aqua blue light shot out of his palm and hit the cliff. It turned into sturdy ground. Cheers and shouts filled the air. Jean hugged Mike then said, “Your treasure is at the left.” They walked left and found the mirror. The siblings jumped in and landed on their beds and fell asleep, not noticing the red diary glowing in the corner of the room.

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