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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gossip/Rumors (either or both) (10/28/10)

TITLE: Feet that Run
By Caitlyn Meissner


As I stand beside the pond, nibbling the cool, damp grass, I’m also watching for danger.

Hearing a splash, I freeze, head lifted, ears pointing straight up.

Nothing moves. Nothing stirs.

Slowly I lower my head and take a few cautious mouthfuls.

A twig snaps.

I jerk my head up, scanning the bushes.

Out pops a young fawn, just my size. It’s my best friend, Columbine.

I breathe a sigh of relief. “You scared me!”

“Sorry, Violet,” she says, coming close. “I wanted to know if you’d heard the news.”

“What news?”

“The man who lives at the edge of the forest is a wizard! He’s got a big garden behind his house, and any animal caught trespassing is turned into stone!”

“Who told you?”

“Oh, all the other deer are talking about it, but I’m going to see if it’s true.”


“I’ll sneak in there, and find out.”

“But what if he catches you? Suppose he turns YOU into stone?”

“He’ll never catch me,” she snorts. “Come on! We’ll go together, unless you’re scared.”

Laughing, she leaps back into the bushes, while I follow her bobbing tail. But when I see the wizard’s red roof, and his wooden fence, my legs start to shake.

I hang back in the shadows as Columbine begins sniffing the boards.

“Look!” she whispers. “There’s a hole, under the ivy.”

Using her nose, she shoves a loose board aside and squeezes through, disappearing from view.

I hesitate. Should I follow? My senses scream, “Danger! Danger!”

But then Columbine stamps her hoof. She’s waiting for me.

Holding my breath, I push through the rough boards until I’m standing by her side.

Wow! There really IS a garden here, huge, green, and growing. Sniffing, I recognize tangy apples, fragrant roses, and ripe tomatoes.

Columbine starts eating an azalea. “It’s delicious! Try some.”

I do, and soon we’re wandering through the garden, sampling the best of the flowers.

As I round the lilacs, I see something that makes me freeze.

Columbine bumps into me from behind. “What’s wrong?” She pushes past me.

There, on the grass, stands the frozen figure of a deer, enormous antlers crowning his head, his feet poised for flight.

“No!” I gasp, starting to shake. “It can’t be true.”

“Stone,” Columbine murmurs, circling the buck. “He’s been turned into stone.”

As Columbine stares into the strange deer’s face, the whole world seems to explode.


A resounding blast, a sharp crack, and the stone deer’s head snaps from his neck and tumbles to the ground.

Leaping into the air, the bitter gunpowder stinging my nose, I race with Columbine towards the fence.

“Tarnation!” A man’s voice yells.

Streaking to the hole, Columbine squeezes through to safety.

I try to follow, but this time I stick tight.

Bleating, I watch Columbine sprint away through the trees.

I struggle. I kick. I paw at the earth. It’s no good. I’m trapped, half in, half out of the hole.

Then I smell the man.

I freeze, shaking, listening as he tromps up behind me.

I hear the click of his gun, and I shut my eyes tight.

To my surprise, the man starts to laugh, his high, creaky voice shouting his mirth to the skies.

“If this ain’t the craziest sight I ever did see!” he cackles.

Stamping my hoof, I lash out at him with my hind legs.

He jumps back.

“Confounded critters,” he grumbles. “Wreckin’ my lawn ornaments! Eatin’ my plants!”

Something hard and cold presses against my shoulder. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the barrel of his rifle.

The man shoves the gun between me and the fence and pushes the loose board aside.

I spring through the fence and race for the trees. I’m free!

Two days later, Columbine comes to see me.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of things about you, Violet. Everyone says the wizard trapped you and tried to turn you into stew, but that you broke his magic wand and got away.”


“Yes! And if you did, we should go back to the garden. I’d love more of those delicious flowers, and now he can’t turn us into stone!”

At these words, I freeze, head lifted, ears pointing straight up. I look at Columbine, seeing her with new eyes.

“Danger! Danger!” My senses scream.

I start to run, away from Columbine, away from her stories, and from her lies.

And as I run, I laugh.

Now I really am free.

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This article has been read 476 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Catrina Bradley 11/06/10
Great POV! I like how you showed what the MC was from your descriptions in the very first line. Very creative, and the last line - a keeper!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/07/10
I loved this fresh approach. Children's stories have always been my favorites and you did a great job!
Amanda Brogan11/08/10
It's a modern-day Bambi! This was a cute story and ended with a great lesson on the danger of rumors. You really do an awesome job of bringing animals "to life" and getting the reader inside their furry heads.
Sarah Elisabeth 11/08/10
Love, love, love!

This was just too good. Super cute with a great message!
Joan Campbell11/08/10
This was so easy to read. Unique, fun and wise. It would make a gorgeous children's story. I did wonder why you didn't use paragraphs however - I think the flow would have been smoother if you had.
Rachel Phelps11/09/10
Such fun. I agree with others that it would make an excellent children's book. Great work!
Cheryl Harrison11/10/10
I'm so glad the man didn't shoot her! I enjoyed this. Kept my attention all the way through.
Carol Penhorwood 11/10/10
Wonderfully creative take on this week's topic! I actually liked your format. It felt lighter and more conducive to children's reading. Loved it.
Teaching and entertainment at the same time--how much better can it get?
Kate Oliver Webb 11/10/10
This is truly a masterpiece. I saw the fur, smelled the grass, felt the dew -- you really did it for me. And the message...well, it just couldn't get any better.
Lollie Hofer11/10/10
I found myself smiling throughout this entire story. It was fun to read with lots of action and likeable characters.
Edmond Ng 11/10/10
Very interesting take on the topic and a very enjoyable read. The way to get free from lies and rumors is certainly to flee.
Patricia Turner11/10/10
I'm jumping on the bandwagon with the children's book idea. This is cute - so animals can gossip too. I'm glad the man let Violet go so she could live to tell us her story.