Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)
TITLE: The Girl with the Sword
By Caitlyn Meissner
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“It’s perfect, Mom! See? It’s made out of plastic, not sharp, but strong enough for fighting. Oh! I just HAVE to buy it, Mom! Please???”
Three arguments and an empty savings account later, Kat purchased her first sword.
Days of waiting dragged by, slow, sluggish, interminable. But no hand rising up from a mysterious lake could have impressed Kat more than the mailman’s calloused hand on the day he handed her the five-foot-tall box.
“What’cha got in there?” he asked.
“Excalibur,” she breathed.
Kat and Excalibur soon raided Dad’s workbench for duct tape. After a full day cutting, sticking, and re-sticking, Kat finally concocted a scabbard that suited her. With Excalibur secured to her hip, she felt ready for action.
But, where to start?
Finding an ally proved unsuccessful.
“You want ME to help you sword fight?” Tracy-from-next-door asked, blowing on her freshly painted fingernails.
Kat immediately ran home and clipped her own nails as short as possible.
She soon discovered a mentor, a free e-book that taught sword fighting. For days Kat soaked up every word, learning footwork, guards, strikes, and the value of deep breathing. “A true warrior,” her mentor claimed, “should strive to be outstanding in every area of life.”
Kat pondered this statement before consulting a seer, one known for explaining the deepest mysteries.
“Outstanding,” she read, “projecting, distinguished, prominent.”
Still confused, she tried again. “Prominent, widely and favorably known.”
Enlightened, Kat shut the dictionary, her brain reeling with possibilities. Of course! She would seek honor and glory in the wide world, as the knights of yore had done. She’d become the most prominent, most outstanding warrior she could be.
Unfortunately, there weren’t many opportunities for a teenage girl to win honor and glory in the world. Kat, with Excalibur at her side, focused her attention on the city park, picking up trash, recycling beer cans, and pushing kids on the swings.
But one day, as Kat swept cigarette stubs out of the old picnic shelter, an angry scream shattered the stillness.
Dropping her broom, Kat raced off to investigate, and discovered two teenage boys playing “keep-away” with a doll.
“Give it back!” a little girl cried, while her younger sister wailed in the background.
“Make me!” the blond teen laughed.
“You’d better do it,” Kat said, advancing.
“Or what?” the blond teen sneered.
Kat drew her sword.
“Hey, Chad!” the blond called to his pal. “You hold the doll. I’ll get the sword.”
Kat stood still, Excalibur held in alber, or “fool’s guard.” Grinning, the teen stepped closer, reaching for her blade.
Ochs guard! Kat knocked his hand away.
Zwerchau! She smashed her sword against his head.
The blond stumbled back, swearing.
His pal advanced. Zornhau! Kat executed the “strike of wrath,” slamming her sword across his collar bone.
The two villains retreated, leaving their prisoner behind.
“You saved Lillianna!” the older girl exclaimed, clutching her doll. “You’re a hero!”
Kat suddenly felt ten-feet-tall.
“What’s your name?” the little sister asked, drying her tears on her sleeve.
“My name?” Kat stammered, visions of ecstatic parents, newspaper articles, and TV reporters flashing before her eyes. “My name is….”
A shattering “ROAR!” filled her ears. As if in a dream, Kat spun around to see a huge, scarlet dragon standing just behind her. With wings unfurled and claws outstretched, the dragon plunged straight towards her.
Screaming, Kat turned and raced for home. Burying her head under her pillow, she wept for a long, long time.
Kat waited a week before taking Excalibur to the playground again. As she trudged toward the picnic shelter, a hooded figure carrying a sword stepped from the shadows. “Halt!” a girl’s voice called. “Are you ‘the girl with the sword’?”
Kat drew Excalibur. “What do you want?”
“I want to join you,” the girl said, removing her hood, revealing a pleasant, freckled face. “I’ve been waiting for you. I’m Jill, the sister of the girls whose doll you saved.”
“Oh,” Kat answered, embarrassed.
“My sisters can’t stop talking about what you did,” Jill said. “Even my friends are talking about you. Everyone calls you ‘the girl with the sword.’ They say you’re making a difference. I want to make a difference, too. I even have my own sword. See?”
“It’s great,” Kat replied.
“So, can I? Join you I mean?”
On that day, the “Knights of the Round Table” joined forces.
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