Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Junk Food( 08/30/12)
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
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Looking Camden straight in the eye, she shoved the chocolate-covered, marshmallow-cream cookie into her mouth. She chewed it up, stuck out her tongue and then swallowed.
Camden’s face turned bright red and he grabbed Gracie’s shirt-sleeve. “Those were for my lunch next week! Some astronaut you’re going to be, you little hypocrite.” He stood with his feet apart and glared at his little sister.
Yanking her hand free from Camden’s grasp, she swiped away the remnants of chocolate from her mouth. “Whadaya mean?”
“Everyone knows that aliens harvest moon goo every night in order to make moon pies. Now they’ll have to go out and get more." Camden snorted. "Thanks to you, there's a good chance that the moon will get smaller and smaller until it totally disappears.”
“That’s silly! Everyone knows that the moon doesn't really get smaller--it just looks like it.”
“Well, sure, it changes over the month, but tonight, it’ll disappear--without a trace--just because you're a pig and gobbled up an entire box of moon pies. It’s called supply and demand. I learned all about it in fifth grade. Scientists having been predicting a disaster like this for years.”
Gracie shook her head as her eyes darted to the window. “I don’t believe you. First, there’s no such thing as aliens, and second, the moon doesn't disappear in one night.”
He leaned in, cupped his hand around his mouth and her ear. “I’ll prove it to you. C’mon, let’s go find the moon.” They slipped out the backdoor and Camden pointed to the sky. “Look the moon’s directly over the Stevens’ house. It’ll take the aliens about three hours to collect the goo. Come back then--if you’re not too afraid--and I’ll prove it to you.”
Swallowing hard, Gracie looked at the moon, then back at Camden. “Mommy’ll never let me outside that late.”
“Fine, I’ll help you sneak out, but I betcha the moon’ll be gone.”
Gracie licked her lips. “It’s a deal.”
They raced back to the house. After Daddy tucked Gracie into bed, her belly rumbled. She flopped back and forth, trying to catch a glimpse of the moon, but her window faced the wrong direction. She rubbed her aching head. Maybe Camden was telling the truth.
When she heard a tap on her door, she jumped out of bed and ran to the hall. Camden grabbed Gracie’s hand and they tiptoed to the backyard. Camden pointed above the neighbor’s house. “See, told ya, no moon! Poof, it’s gone. Forever!”
Gracie cranked her head back and forth. She sprinted to the edge of the yard. No matter where she looked, she couldn't find the moon anywhere. The sparkling stars proved it wasn't hiding behind a cloud. She dropped to her knees and started screeching.
Someone flipped on the house lights and Camden ran back inside, leaving Gracie all alone, screaming and sobbing. Mommy and Daddy ran outside and scooped her up. After a careful inspection for blood or bumps, Mommy cupped her hand under Gracie’s chin. “What’s wrong? Why are you outside in the middle of the night?”
Gracie trembled all over and goose bumps popped out on her arms. She buried her head into Mommy’s shoulder. “I...I killed the moon!”
It didn't take long to get the whole story. Mommy stomped off to find Camden. Daddy pulled Gracie up on his shoulders and jogged down the street. He pointed to the sky. “See Gracie, the moon was hiding behind the trees. Your brother was only teasing. I promise; moon pies are not made of moon goo.”
Gracie hugged Daddy’s head as he carried her back to the house. They passed Camden slouching on the couch while Mommy lectured him and waggled her finger in his face. Gracie turned around and stuck out her tongue.
The next day at lunch, Camden plucked a Cheet-o from Gracie’s plate. “You know these are dead caterpillars rolled in cheese, right?”
Gracie grinned at Camden, threw back her head, and screamed, “Mommy!”
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