Posted in fabo story, The Winners!

Sue Copsey’s Judge’s Report And The Winning Story!

Hi there scribblers! I couldn’t wait to see what you thought might be lurking in Ariana’s birthday box, and you didn’t let me down. Creatures included: a South American velvet-backed crystal lizard; a stuffed magma cube from Minecraft; an axolotl; a unicorn; a bouncing man-eating monster; five cats (one alien, one robotic); several dragons (one exploding, one chocolate-eating); a lizard wearing a top hat; a crowd of tiny blue Scotsmen; a winged tiger; a dinosaur, and three creatures new to science – a bonnie, a thunfp and a ribagim.

Now that is a pet shop I’d be interested to visit!

We had a total of 23 entries this time. There were some clever plot twists, a few with sad endings (sniff), and a fair few that were quite bonkers. (Not a problem – bonkers is good.) One story had an apology instead of an ending – Benjamin, I loved your story but it was cruel to finish on a cliff-hanger with a note that you ran out of time. Stories need endings. I might, however, forgive you because of this awesome line: “… always remember, power does not only lie in strength but also in responsibility.”

Some honourable mentions before I reveal the awesomest of the awesomes (and those of you from Croft Downs Primary, I bow down to your imaginations!):

In Grace’s story, Ariana’s low-fur cat, Oliver McClaw, dies saving her from the killer cat Macho. “She dug a hole and gently placed Oliver’s lifeless corpse inside. In stones around it she wrote, ‘Here lies Oliver, the most courageous of cats. RIP. I love U too.’” [sob!]

Curtis’s story was a rip-roaring adventure in which Ariana’s frog-like pet escaped and “bounced from house to house like a pinball in a machine”. Then it ate Kylie’s pet dog before going on to attack America.

Derek gave us a wish-granting unicorn. “The next day I was rich like James Hogster who is a random name I just thought of.” Not really necessary to the story, Derek, but you made me laugh.

I liked how in Hayley’s story, Ariana realised that even though she loved her pet blackbird, Death Star, it probably wasn’t right to keep a wild bird as a pet. She let it fly away home to its family.

Georgia, I’m not sure a komodo dragon would fit through a cat flap, but I’m glad it chased Kylie Cardoorsian down the street and ate her skirt.

My favourite character in Raya’s story was Mum, who was so laid-back in the face of the fire-breathing dragon that “Ariana wondered if some calm gas had possibly been sprayed at her.”

I loved Ollie’s dinosaur, who asked the family if they fancied a game of football. When Ariana said they didn’t have a football, it produced the bladder of a wild boar it had eaten for dinner, saying: “They can be dreadfully useful you know.”

Freddy’s Ribagim (thank you Freddy for the helpful pronunciation tip) had “great big brown eyes that looked like you could get lost in them for a million years”.

I also liked Alyssa’s animal, called Foofy, which said nothing but “meh”.

Kate’s winged tiger, Charn the Great, had “a gentle voice, like the wind whistling through the trees”. But Kate – your story turned out to be a dream. So did Ruth’s. Now what did Kyle Mewburn say about stories turning out to be dreams last time? Hm?

And while we’re on the subject of things not to do in stories, a reminder to check your words and spellings. If you don’t you might accidentally write “bananas” instead of “banners”. You know who you are! (Of course the children COULD have been waving bananas, but I’m not sure you could fit “Ariana you are amazing!” on a banana.)

Peyton, I really loved your story. It was well-written (“It was a full moon and the houses seemed to just glow”) with an important message. Ariana says, “I swore that for the rest of my life I would never judge people or anything based on their looks. Like they say, don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Similarly, in Xavier’s story, a dog that is “positively the ugliest thing that walked the planet” turned out to be a hero. Xavier cleverly wove Mr Fractal and his maths questions into the story – I was hoping some of you would do that.

Finn, your story was deliciously bonkers. I loved your little blue kilt-wearing men that exploded into Ariana’s kitchen, causing a “mess so bad you could hardly call it a mess”, and conveniently demolishing Ariana’s homework sheet so she’d have the perfect excuse for Mr Fractal.

So, having read such awesome plots, you get that I had a REAL problem picking a winner! But I decided that the most awesome of the awesome was Carly Atkin’s tale of a robo cat called Moon. Carly included Kylie Cardoorsian and Mr Fractal in her plot, making full use of the story starter, and her tale cleverly formed a circle – you’ll see how when you read it. Very satisfying. Some great writing too – Ariana didn’t just put her shoes on, she “had a furious battle with her laces”.

Well done to ALL of you, and Carly I will email about your prize!

Here is Carly’s story:

CARLY’S STORY

Ariana gazed out of her bedroom window at the street below. Her brain seemed to have logged off. Given up. It was all the fault of Mr Fractal and his “Ten Super-fun Maths Homework Questions”.

No, Mr Fractal. Making x “The speed of a Star Wars X-wing fighter” and y “Distance to the Death Star” does not make algebra FUN. It is still MATHS.

And now, to make life even worse, Kylie Cardoorsian was coming along the street, taking her new puppy for a walk. The cutest puppy EVER, she’d said at school. How maddening to find out that this was, in fact, true. LOOK at it! It was a walking ball of cuteness. Fluffy and white and tiny and gazing up at Kylie every few steps in adoration.

Ariana felt her brain rebooting, coming back to life as it was taken over by something green and monstrous … jealousy. Ariana’s mum had allergies. If a cat so much as peeped over the garden fence she would start sneezing loud enough to shake the house. So to make up for the lack of cat or dog, Ariana had been presented with a goldfish (boring, boring … dead), then a turtle (quite interesting … dead). For two years now, the family hadn’t dared progress to the next level of low-fur pet.

But tomorrow was Ariana’s birthday, and she’d been dropping some big hints (cute pet photos fixed to the fridge with cute animal magnets), sending a message that now she was older, she would be better at looking after a pet.
As she turned her attention back to Mr Fractal’s not-fun maths, she wondered if she’d be in luck.

* * * *
“Happy Birthday darling!” said Mum. On the kitchen table was a box – quite a big box – a promisingly big box – with a few holes in the top.
AIRHOLES!

Her heart in her mouth, Ariana carefully slid off the big red bow that was holding the box shut. The flaps sprung upwards.
Ariana took a step back. “What is that?” she said.

“A cat, darling,” Mum said.

“That’s not a cat!” Ariana spluttered.

“Well, no it’s not. I just thought you’d like a nicer pet as a change.”

“If it’s not a cat, what is it?” Ariana asked.

“She’s a robo cat. She will do anything you say.”

“Cool! Thanks Mum. She looks so real.”

“What do you want to call her?” Mum asked.

Ariana looked at the cat. She had a little tuft of white fur on her forehead. Her body was a light grey, and her eyes were a cold blue.

“I’ll call her … Moon.”

“What a lovely name sweetheart! Ok, open the rest of your gifts and get ready for school,” Mum said.

Ariana got the most gorgeous gifts. A rhinestone ring, a box of paints and a new tablet.

“Mum, can I please bring Moon to school? Mr Fractal asked me to bring something for show and tell,” Ariana pleaded.

“Well …” Mum hesitated.

“Please Mum. Please with strawberries and cream with a cherry on top.”

“Well … I don’t know … mmm … okay.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Ariana squealed.

Ariana rushed upstairs and threw on her school uniform. She combed her hair and had a furious battle with her laces. She grabbed her bag, shoved in last night’s unfinished homework, kicked at the clothes littering her floor, jumped down the stairs, two at a time, and ran into the kitchen. She picked up Moon and cuddled her close. She just felt so real.

“I’ve programmed her to do whatever you say,” Mum told her.

“Thanks Mum. See ya!”

Ariana set off down the road. UH OH. Alert Alert. Kylie Cardoorsian.

“What’s that you’ve got? It’s gorgeous,” Kylie asked.

“Thanks. This is Moon. I got her for my birthday.”

“I thought your Mum had allergies?”

“Um … well, promise to not tell?”

“I promise.”

“She’s a robo cat. She will do anything I say. For example, Moon, jump into Kylie’s arms.”

Moon jumped from Ariana’s arms into Kylie’s. “Wow!” Kylie exclaimed.

They had arrived at school. Ariana and Kylie walked into Mr Fractal’s room.

“Maths please,” he said. Mr Fractal took a quick look at the work and said gravely, “Ariana, please go to the headmaster’s room.”

Ariana knocked on the door and went in. She was standing behind some poor kid in the infants.

“Oh Moon, I wish this had never happened.”

Then she was moving back, back to Mr Fractal.

Talking backward with Kylie Cardoorsian.

Through the kitchen, back to bed.

She looked out the window.

Ariana gazed out the window at the street below. Her brain seemed to have logged off. Given up. It was all the fault of Mr Fractal and his “Ten Super-fun Maths Homework Questions”.

Posted in fabo story, Prizes!, The Winners!

Tania Hutley Announces the FABO Winners!

I got 29 FABO stories this time, and I was very impressed by your imaginations! Most of your stories were super scary.

A few of the stories were very short, which was a shame. If you wrote just four or five sentences, I didn’t feel that was enough to tell a satisfying story. In FABO we give you the beginning, but it’s up to you to write both the middle and the end. If you wrote something very short this time, why not try to write a longer story next time?

Honorable Mentions

Here are some of the stories that stood out for me:

Jessica’s story was scary, but it also had a great touch of humour. Jessica wrote: “I turn around to see who it is. A security guard. Just great. To make things worse he’s got a moustache. The moustached ones are horrible.” Brilliant, Jessica! I love stories that make me chuckle.

Kayla wrote two terrific stories, and they both had a very clear structure (beginning, middle, and end). In one, the heroine defeated a truly awful monster! In the other the heroine was saved at the last minute. Well done, Kayla!

Emily, your story was good but remember to use punctuation (full stops, commas, quotation marks). It’s more difficult to read your story if you don’t have them!

Rays, your story was great, but I wanted to know what happened next! Your ending didn’t seem to be the end of the story.

Angela had a very creepy clown in her story and I loved that he had balloon-smelling breath!

Georgia, I liked the ending of your story, and that it turned out to be a ghost tent that wasn’t really there.

Ollie, your story was super imaginative! I love that your hero found himself in a pharoah’s tomb.

Cassandra, good job with your story – the skulls were a nice touch.

Lily, I liked your story about werewolves. Good, descriptive writing.

Charli’s story was one of the few with something nice in the tent, so it ended well. Charli, I really liked that your heroine went back to the circus a second time to investigate the strange tent.

Tahlia, your story was very scary! Well done.

Suey, the python in your story was great! I was a little disappointed at first that it was a dream, but then when the snake crawled in her window it was scary again. I also loved this line: “Me and mum also joined in on the screaming and we produced the exact same sound which just shows how good I am at singing.” Well done.

Finally, Anika sent in a wonderful story, about a man with mechanical animals. I’m sorry, Anika, your story came in after the contest had closed so I couldn’t include it in the judging this time. I hope you’ll enter again next time!

The Winners!

The winners are Liadan and Mike, both aged 11. You both wrote excellent stories that held me spellbound.

Liadan, I loved your story! The spiders were scary, and your riddle had me scratching my head. It’s the letter ‘M’, right? Brilliant!

Mike, your story was wonderfully creepy! I loved the ending and how your hero was trapped there forever. It gave me shivers. One thing to remember for next time, is to use capital letters at the beginning of each sentence – it will make your story much easier to read.

I’ll email you both for your postal addresses to send out your mystery prizes.

Tania’s Story Starter

8f80b42defd4dd8335192da0bf092270My stomach felt like I’d swallowed a mess of snakes, and bile rose in my throat. I was squashed into a small hard seat, with sweaty people all around me. Clowns were racing around the circus ring in a tiny car, music blared from the overhead speakers, and everyone but me was laughing. All I could think about was how hot I was, and how awful it would be to throw up down the neck of the kid in front of me.

“You all right?” whispered Mum. She reached up to sweep my fringe back from my forehead, but I pushed her hand away.

“I’m going outside for a minute, okay? I need some fresh air.”

“Want me to come with you?”

I glanced over at my little sister, who was spitting popcorn crumbs as she laughed and bounced up and down in her seat. “No. I’ll come back in a few minutes after I cool down.”

“It’s hot in here,” she agreed. “But don’t be too long, or I’ll worry.”

I pushed out of my seat, clambered over the legs of everyone in our row, and practically ran out of the big top. As soon as the fresh air hit my face, I felt better. I wandered around the side of the giant circus tent, breathing deeply, cooling down. After the crush of people inside, out here it felt eerily dark and quiet.

Behind the big top were lots of other tents. Smaller ones. What were they for?

One tent in particular looked old and battered, and the entrance was darker than all the rest, as though the gloom was intentionally gathering in front of it. A weird picture was painted on the tent flap. I stepped closer, and saw it was a spooky face, with hollowed out eyes and a slash for a mouth.

A shiver ran down my back. Creepy much?

What on earth could the circus people keep in that tent? I looked around nervously, but couldn’t see anyone. Music still drifted out from inside the main tent, but it was muffled and my steps were soundless on the grass. Nobody would know if I went over and peeked inside…

Liadan’s Winning Story

Inside the tent there was a menacing silence that made my hair stand on end. I felt a scratchy tickling feeling as if ants were running down my back. Then I saw it-a giant black spider- it’s red eyes glinting in the light filtering through the torn tent flap. It dangled down in front of me on a silk rope easily half an inch thick.

“Aah!” I quaked, I was more afraid of spiders than I cared to admit and this spider was the size of my bed. I almost turned around and ran, but my curiosity overpowered my fear. It grew steadily darker as I crept further into the tent, until I was surrounded by an inky blackness as if a black velvet curtain had been drawn across my vision. I felt something hairy brush against me almost knocking me off my feet and suddenly all I wanted was to get out of there. This was way too creepy!

I turned around and started towards what I thought to be the exit, but the tent seemed to go on forever. After what seemed like hours I decided that I would rather the circus people catch me trespassing than be stuck in the tent forever.

“Help, I’m stuck in the tent with the creepy picture on the flap” I screamed, but my voice was lost among the sound of many people streaming out of the big top. Suddenly I heard a strange hissing sound coming from a spot a few meters away from me, and an old hunched-over man appeared.

“One riddle we will gamble. Your life will be the price,” said the man his voice strangely hissy like that of a snake. Before I had time to ask what he meant, he had asked, “What occurs once in a minute, twice in a moment, and never in a thousand years. You have ten seconds to answer!”

“Uh…time?” I replied.

“Wrong,” said the man. “Get her, spiders!” The huge spiders advanced on me, clicking their pincers menacingly.

“Ahh!” I screamed as the largest spider readied her bite. I tried to run, but my retreat was cut off by more spiders. The spiders just seemed to keep coming. There must have been hundreds in that tent!

Then the spider struck. I felt the pincers sink into my flesh. I thought about my family, just about now they would be wondering where was as my whole body went rigid.
I was left vividly aware, but unable to do anything as the spider wrapped its silk around me and I felt my innards slowly dissolve into a human milkshake.

Mike’s Winning Story

I peeked inside. it was cold and clammy. the flap waved gently in the light breeze as my eyes became accustom to the dim light.

i looked around at the interior of the shrouded tent and found to my surprise that it was littered with glass bottles of every kind. some were tall with swan like necks, some were short and stout with a rubber plug in the mouth. but the one thing the same was the fact that they all contained liquids. the bottles and jars were full of colored fluids and each had a small label on it.

I reached out and turned a bottle so the label could be seen. there, written in old ink were the words, powdered gold. she did this to many of the large bottles and found many grotesque names that sent a shiver up my spine. toads blood, squid pimples, even ground dragon spines. I shivered and sat down on the cold ground. i knew what it was. it was the house of glass.

I was still starring when the air around me positively shook as a stooped figure slunk into the room. he rose behind my head and i whipped around. he was a tall man who was heavily draped in sodden animal furs and wore a dark hood. i looked down and saw the numerous blades that hung from his scrawny waist. his voice was slow and raspy as he uttered the words that spelled doom.

“hello, I’ve been waiting for you here for such a long time. he grabbed my shoulder with hands like sandpaper and led me to a small hatch. he took a deep exhale and flicked a small red switch.

i looked as a small purple pot raced through a small transparent wire to a large device that had almost materialized out of thin air. a thin purple haze had began to creep in from the frame and in about a minute it was a large disc of purple that gave of purple sparks. i looked at the man and gave a quizzical look. he looked at my face and gave a leer.

“this, is the liquid-o-fire and this is how i get my precious liquids.”

i gave a gulp and looked into the haze and saw my future living in a compressed jar with no room to breath or move. the last thought i remember having was of mum, still waiting for me. that was the end of me. he shoved me in with his rough hands. what came out was not me. it was a sludge that had no form and no texture. and now i stand forever on his horrid shelf next to all the bits and pieces of other life forms. and sometimes i think that i can still hear my mum when we came to the circus.’It will be so much fun and you’ll never want to leave. well now I can’t.

Posted in fabo story, Prizes!, The Winners!

Kyle’s judge’s report

What an evil bunch of writers you are! Most of you seemed to enjoy the idea of turning your parents into slaves. And for all sorts of reasons, too. Emma wanted to use her slaves to fulfil a dream, Sophie was out for revenge, Nik wanted to prove mind control was possible and Hine’s parents were going to be substitutes for the dogs she wasn’t allowed to have. There were zombie apocalypses and plans for world domination, too, with a Shrek and a wishing well thrown in for good measure.

Lucas and Noah wrote terrific chase scenes which left me breathless. Emma created a lot of suspense before leaving the story hanging on a knife edge … literally. Phoebe ate 10kgs of chocolate before blowing herself up. While Jonas’ parents were turned into babies. And poor Natasha’s parents are still slaves giving her money every day.

Of course a couple of softies decided they preferred to have parents than slaves. Peyton decides – “a servant is basically like a mother but doesn’t feel love.” While Libby had second thoughts after forgetting Screw number 53.

Some very weird imaginations out there, I must say. Fantastic!! Excellent writing all round. Though watch out for using two words which mean the same thing – eg slowly slipped off Mum and Dad’s heads gradually.

A couple of stand-out bits for special mention –

Lily Pringle from St Martins for this great descriptive passage – My feet were drowned in my tears and my face was as red as a beetroot. Thousands of thoughts raced through my head like a cheetah running at full speed.

Two thumbs up for Dan Clarke from Tighes Hill. One for adding a little humour in the perfect moment. With his parents frying on the bed and the house starting to go up in flames, his character thinks – “I’ll get a big power bill after this!” And a second thumbs-up for the cliff-hanger ending – Two figures loom out of the smoke and a voice is heard, “Are you ready to die, son?”

Chloe Read from St Cuthberts made me laugh with her fabulous line – My science teacher; Mr. McArthy the man two years older than me, 20. He fell in love with me at first sight. He’d do anything for me. Not saying that I would return the favour.

And you can’t do much better than Meghan Valins from Evans Bay Intermediate – World domination, I think to myself, doesn’t come without its sacrifices.

It was incredibly difficult to pick a winner. As with any story it all comes down to personal taste in the end. So for me the story which stuck its nose in front of all the others and won by a tiny fraction was the one which showed the writer was really thinking outside the box. Instead of continuing the story, Ollie from Central School went back in time to tell us how we reached our starting point – and completely turned the whole story starter on its head. Suddenly the boy we originally thought was the hero (or villain) of the story is just another victim … of an evil dog. Brilliant! Well done, Ollie. Please email FABO to let me know if you’d like a copy of Megasaurus Mash-up #1 or #2 OR a set of my Pop Hooper’s Perfect Pets series.

Kyle’s beginning Sentences:

Dad started to roll over, but I held him down firmly. I couldn’t risk him turning onto his side. He might notice the tight metal band around his head. Or hear the mechanism softly ticking above his ear. Beads of sweat dotted my forehead as I waited. If he woke up now and saw the screwdriver hovering above him, he’d know right away what I was up to. My whole plan would be ruined.

With a loud sigh, his body relaxed. Deflating like a balloon. A second later he was snoring loudly again.

I quickly adjusted the band then tightened the last screw, locking the mind control crown in place. I glanced across at Mum sleeping peacefully beside him. Her hair had fallen forward, concealing her crown beneath a thick fringe. If you didn’t know the device was there, you’d hardly notice it.

Perfect, I thought.

I flicked the switches of the remote controls. Two small lights started blinking in the middle of my parents’ foreheads.

“Wake up,” I commanded.

Ollie’s Winning Story

The day before…

The dog with black and white fur, with sharp gleaming eyes, with a small fuzzy tail, had been in my room lying on my cozy bean bag.

“THAT’S IT!!” I yelled, “I DECLARE WAR ON YOU”. All the dog did was look up at me with cute adoring eyes.

“Why” I thought, “Does everyone find him so cute? When I say everyone, I mean everyone, my sister, my mum and dad, my friends, probably even the prime minister for all I knew”.

And then it hit me, I could create a device, so that the dog could understand me.

So I set to work, with thingamabobs & sharp dangerous knives, pulling & pushing things apart, then finally I was done.

I held it to the light admiring it, then I put some food together and called the dog over.

He slowly padded over to me, gobbled the food and stalked off without any thanks. “Typical” I thought.

As I went to sleep I had dreams of a glorious day’s ruling our dog MHAWHAHAHA MWHAHAHA.

But that wasn’t going happen as I would soon find out…

Meanwhile at the dog house (A.K.A the mansion)

“Put that there and then here, then done”, the dog picked up the strange device and slowly padded though to the boys bedroom and waited for him to wake up

As the dog waited for him to wake, he couldn’t help but crack into a small high pitched laugh.

As I opened my sticky eyes I saw the dog staring at me.

“What” I mumbled and I felt a small tremble though my body. The small dog looked me in the eye and woofed “Do as I say.”

”Yes master” I replied coolly.

Seven hours later

Dad started to roll over but I held him down firmly…

A couple hours later…

‘Yes’ they answered.

The dog slowly walked in like a general inspecting his troops,

“COME” he barked

“YES SIR” we all shouted back.

As we walked away I thought what would have been the last thought I ever had – “Wow he’s leading us to take over the world”…

Posted in fabo story, The Winners!

And The Winners Are…

I’m so pleased to report that the stories have been pouring in over the last couple of weeks, and there were some AMAZING stories to read!  It was difficult choosing only two winners because the standard of entries was very high.

If you haven’t won, don’t be disappointed! There will be a brand new story to write soon, and more prizes to be won. Next time it might be you who wins.

I really loved all your creative ideas. I enjoyed reading about a mudcake mountain and a Candy Queen, about aliens of all shapes and colours, and about a moon pool and the hologram of a city. There were fat baby kittens that looked like beach balls, and bullets made from candy floss. There were demons, and conference rooms, and an alien called Dean.

Wonderful Lines

Many stories had some brilliant lines in them! Some I particularly enjoyed were:

“Her father’s voice was thunder mixed in with a bit of static electricity…” (Olivia from Burnside Highschool)

“A tap on June’s shoulder makes her shudder and turn around so slowly that you can say the longest word in the world 10 million times before June has moved an inch.” (Katie-Rose from David Street School)

“…each leaf had a pair of eyes, each tree had thousands of leaves, and this planet had hundreds of trees, therefore roughly 200,000 eyes were all looking at her…” (Phoebe)

“The girl had wide but thin silver wings. The spirals on them started to swirl, twisting into June’s mind.” (Lela from Motueka South School)

“…she woke with a sudden startle of little creaters crawly on her back. To June they looked like aliens from outer space, oh wait she was in outer space.” (Ruth from Queenstown Primary School)

Twists And Turns

A few stories had some very clever plots:

Jack from Westport South School had a wonderful twist in his story. The planet was toxic and covered with smog… and that planet turned out to be Earth.

In E Wen’s story, June threw a spear at a man in a space suit, who turned out to be June’s father. (I’m so glad the spear didn’t plunge through his brain).

And in Tara’s clever story, it turned out that June was being controlled by Janette who was playing a video game!

Clever Endings

I always find it tricky to think of just the right ending for a story, so special mention goes to those stories with endings that made me smile:

“…she hopped into the newly mended space-craft. “Thank you!” She said, and flew back home. “What were you doing?” asked her Mum “Um.. Er.. I.. Nothing!” she stammered, “Nothing at all!” (Phoebe)

“June did get grounded, and she was only allowed to re-apply for her Landing Craft License two years after this story ends. But other than that, everybody survived the experience without too much hassle.” (Hannah from Queenstown Primary School).

“Later that night she wondered what planet she had crashed into, and if she would go there again. Well, she thought, there is always a new day ready for a new adventure!” (Lela from Motueka South School)

The Winners

Sadly, there can only be two winners. And here they are:

The winner of the 10 years and under category is Maria from Thorrington School in Christchurch (8 years old).  Maria’s story was beautifully imaginative, and her story was well thought out and had a lovely ending.

The winner of the 11 years and older category is Luka, who is home schooled (12 years old). Luka’s story was very well written and it had a fabulous twist. June encountered a human and we discovered that she was actually the alien.

Well done Maria and Luka! Your prizes are on their way.

Maria’s Story

The first thing that caught her eye was a cave, but it wasn’t any regular kind of cave. It was blue and purple. The walls were slimy and they wobbled slightly. Strangely enough, there was an entrance at the top rather than at the bottom.
The ground beneath June was bouncy – bouncier than a trampoline back on Earth. There were trees scattered all over the place. They were wobbly like the cave.
A skateboard was leaning against the cave. It too was wobbly and slimy.Then right before her eyes the weird cave disappeared!

June looked around in disbelief.
“Hmm,” she thought, “a disappearing planet.” Suddenly, the skateboard that had disappeared with the cave reappeared. “Oh dear,” said June to herself. “Finding out what planet I’m on is gonna’ be harder than I thought.”

Knowing how to skateboard, June jumped on the skateboard and tried to ride it. The wheels were so soft, squelchy and slimy that they wouldn’t budge. June decided to give up on the skateboard and explore the planet some more.

As she was about to set off, a creature came out of nowhere. June blinked twice and another creature appeared. Their heads were as small as a golf ball and they had one eye which took up their entire face, leaving just enough space for a tiny mouth. Their bodies were huge but their arms and legs were tiny.
“Goo wumf smaf jong!” said the first creature.

June looked puzzled. On this planet looking puzzled seemed to mean ‘say it again about 100 more times.’ So that’s what the creature did.
“Goo wumf smaf jong, goo wumf smaf jong, goo wumf smaf jong…”
June thought she would lose her mind if the creature didn’t stop. All she could think to do was to charge at creature. June ran at the creature and it worked. Maybe charging at someone meant ‘be quiet’ on this planet.

“Parf pof wa rafe?” asked the other creature. June shrugged. It did a triple back flip and landed on its belly on the skateboard. Without thinking June did a triple back flip and landed on her belly on the skateboard, right on top of the creature. June stood up and the other creature stood up too. Both creatures seemed to be giggling. The creatures shook their bottoms which June thought might be how these creatures clap.

June heard a rumble and thought, “uh oh, I’m starving.” She just needed something to eat, and somewhere to sleep, and somebody to play with. She made a list in her head:
-somewhere to sleep. My rocket.
-something to eat.
-someone to play with. The creatures.
June only needed to find something to eat and she guessed there was no way she was going to eat what the creatures ate. There was food in the rocket but June was tired of it. Then she had an idea. If everything was so soft and bouncy then maybe, just maybe it was… jelly.
“Could it be jelly?!” June shouted.
The creatures looked puzzled. The creatures seemed to have forgotten what looking puzzled meant on this planet.

Well, June hadn’t. So June started saying ‘jelly’ 100 times, but she only got to six times because what the creatures hadn’t forgotten was that if you charge at someone they’ll be quiet!! So the creatures charged at June! June stopped immediately.

Out of the corner of June’s eye she saw a big wobbly lump appear. It was the cave, back again. A blue and green hand beckoned the two creatures inside.
“Yes. My chance. Possibly. To eat. JELLY,” thought June.

She bounced over to a wobbly tree and licked it. YUMMY!!!!
It was jelly. She ate one branch. With a full tummy, and the sun setting, June walked to her space rocket, snuggled up inside and fell fast asleep.

June woke up when it was morning. The sun was rising. The creatures were already up, nibbling on the skateboard! “Spafa gowa!” June said, hoping it meant good morning on this planet. Then she pointed at the rocket and said, “it won’t go.”
Then one of the creatures said, “sick of jelly.” The other creature agreed.
“Great,” thought June. “They can speak my language!” Then she had another thought.
“Ah, I know,” June smiled. “You help me fix my rocket and I get you some food. Deal?”
“Deal,” the creatures chorused.

They got to work immediately. In no time at all the rocket was fixed. June raced into the rocket and grabbed two loaves of bread and her camera. She handed the creatures a loaf each and then took a photo of the creatures together.

Waving goodbye, she climbed into driver’s seat and drove off. June yelled at the top of her lungs, ‘pof wazy!’ which
meant ‘goodbye!’ “Hmm,” thought June, “what am I going to say to my parents?!”

Luka’s Story

June landed on powdery earth with a thud, and examined the exterior of the landing pod. Yeah, it looked beyond repair, with a giant, sparking hole in its side from the impact of the landing. She sagged.

Her parents rarely ever let her go out, and only let her go this time to get some milk from the nearest dairy, which was only about one light year away. As soon as she was out of sight of their home, she zipped off to explore.

Exploring had turned out to be a bad idea, as she only had practiced flying their spacecraft in a straight line. After about five minutes, a very important looking button started flashing red, and sirens started blaring. June checked the fuel meter. It was nearly empty, with just enough fuel for another two minutes.

There wasn’t a planet in sight to land on.

June panicked. In one minute the engine would run out of fuel and explode, along with June herself. She checked the monitor. The closest planet was 2 light years away at the least.

90 seconds.

There wasn’t enough fuel to get that far. She would only get about half a light year before the engine blew up.

80 seconds.

June suddenly thought of the boost button. That would use up twice as much fuel, but would get her closer to the planet, according to her parents. But would that be enough to land safely?

70 seconds.

June frantically searched for the boost button, her hands fumbling over the keys.

55 seconds.

June found a large white button that looked promising and pressed it hopefully. There was a metallic “ping”, and the smell of crispy potatoes started to waft out of the overhead microwave oven.

“Argh!” June cried. “Not the roast button!”

30 seconds.

She spotted a long, glittering button that she finally recognised as the boost button. She slammed the button down, and the craft started whizzing along at supersonic rates, and she could see the faint outline of the planet.

10 seconds.

June knew she wasn’t going to get there in time, yet she kept on frantically searching for a way out.

5 seconds.

Then – June remembered the escape pod. It didn’t have enough fuel in it, but maybe the force of the launch would be enough to get to the planet safely, or at least get away from the spacecraft.

2 seconds.

June unbuckled her seatbelt and threw herself into the escape pod at the back of the craft.

1 second.  June hit the launch button.

The spaceship exploded just as the pod launched in a blur of noise and movement. June was thrown
back with the force of the pod and instantly regretted not putting her seatbelt on. The pod flew for what seemed like ages before it landed with a crash on the planet.

June groaned and climbed up to the pod’s window, surveying the landscape outside. Masses of green foliage met her eyes. Cool, June thought.

She was just about to open the hatch when a thought struck her – would she be able to breathe the atmosphere?

June looked around the pod for a minute, trying to find some sort of technology to test the air.

Nothing was of any use. June decided to risk it and held her breath as she opened the hatch. She crossed her fingers and took in a deep breath.

The air was breathable. June grinned and hopped out of the pod.

After examining the pod’s damage June decided to abandon it to explore the forest of foreign plants (and possibly animals). After about ten minutes June heard a rustling coming from behind a bush. June grabbed a nearby branch and stepped away. June waved her branch around pathetically.

‘Show yourself!’ she shouted. What came out from the bushes disgusted her.

Pale, dry wrinkled skin, sickly grey hair, and gangly structure. It’s face was out of proportion, with an odd bony growth in the middle, under the sunken eyes and thin mouth.

‘What are you?’ June half shouted, still waving the branch. It stepped forward.

‘I’m a human. What are you?’ it wheezed.

“An alien,” said June, confused. “What on Mars is a human?”