3rd Place – Emily Morales


By Emily Morales

   July 21st started like any other ordinary day. Allison Davis woke up to her cluttered room and walked downstairs to eat some breakfast. She decided to eat some of her mom’s fresh-baked blueberry muffins with a blue liner, Ally’s favorite color because they looked like heaven on a plate. As Ally took her first bite of the muffin, the juices burst into her mouth, coating her mouth with the pure most sweet taste.

After munching down her entire muffin, she decided to look at the weather forecast for the day. The app said that today would be the 14th 100-degree day in a row. “Yes!” Ally exclaimed. Whenever the heat was completely unbearable, Ally would go to the library as an escape. The library was two blocks away from Ally’s apartment, so it was a great place to hang out during the summer. Ally quickly finished her muffin and ran upstairs. She scurried to her closet and threw on the first sundress that she could find. Next, Ally told her mother that she had planned on spending the day at the library.

“Again!?” her mother exclaimed.

Ally replied, “I just have to go ask Mr. Linden if he has any new books that he thinks I would like.”

“You can go, but please be back by supper,” her mom stated.

“Thank you!” Ally exclaimed as she ran down the stairs and out the door. Ally twirled down the street as cars sped past her. She felt ecstatic to be allowed to go to the library.

When Ally finally arrived, Mr. Linden, the librarian was excited to see Ally. Ally had a smile going ear to ear when she saw the rows of books just waiting there to be read. Mr. Linden had ALL different type of books ranging from books about being reincarnated to first baby books.

Ally had read about half of the books in Mr. Linden’s library and was always challenging Mr. Linden to buy more books. Today she curiously started looking around for a book that would take her on an adventure. She wanted a book where you had to make a choice and that choice affects what happens to you later on in the story.

After roaming through the two-story library, she found just the book that she was looking for. The rusty, antique book spine caught her eye and made a good impression on Ally. The front cover had a jungle scene that featured the words, “An Adventure Through the Jungle.”

Mr. Linden finally spotted Ally in a sea of books. When he saw the book that she had found, Mr. Linden was unsure if that was the right book for Ally.

“Are you sure that is the book that you want?” Mr. Linden inquired. “I have had quite a few people read that book, but none have loved it.”

“They say that book is sure to take you on an adventure,” Allie replied. “The book looks pretty interesting, and I am always up to a ‘choose your own adventure’ book.”

Mr. Linden and Ally slowly strolled to the circulation desk. Within twenty seconds the book was checked out to Ally.

As soon as the transaction was complete, Ally wanted to begin reading the book. Her self-control and patience would ALWAYS fail when it came to reading a new book. Ally sprinted to the closest bean bag in the library that she could find. Then she curled up in the homey sack of comfort and dove into her new book. The book was about six hundred and fifty pages long and would take Ally about a day and a half to read it. The book started with some ridiculously hard choices that would affect every decision after it just that much more important.

Ally spent the day in the library reading until about five o’clock. She frequently checked her watch to make sure that she would not read past supper. When she got home, her nose was greeted with the smell of a freshly baked chicken pot pie. That night’s dinner had a lot of tension, so it went by quickly.

After dinner, Ally ran upstairs to continue reading her book. Ally’s mom gave Ally strict rules about staying up and reading. Mrs. Davis had said that Ally could only stay up until nine o’clock. Before bed, Ally spent about three and a half hours reading before passing out with the book open to her right.

When Ally fell asleep, a crazy thing happened. The book, “An Adventure Through the Jungle” had taken Ally to the book’s setting. Mr. Linden was right. He had warned her about the book. And now it was too late. Ally was confused when she was placed in this new world. She did not know what to do or why she was in such a weird place. Ally’s room’s crunchy old carpeting had turned into a dense mat of grass under her unusually small feet. The sound of her parents’ snore was replaced by bird calls and monkey shrieks.

Ally discovered that the only way to escape this weird place was to reach the Only Way Out (OWO). Ally started her journey to escape the jungle and make it back to her home in the apartment.

Ally started to slowly stroll along a path when she came across a rickety bridge. The bridge was so unstable that it looked like a feather would break the weight barrier. The bridge covered a deep river that was full of hungry piranhas just waiting to munch on Ally for a late night snack. Ally broke a sweat when she saw the unreliable bridge. She weighed a little under the average weight for a 13-year-old teenager, so she knew she would break the bridge. But she knew what she had to do. She had to pull up her big girl pants and jump.

Ally was a fairly strong girl, so if she had a running start, she knew that she could make it. Ally ran back about 30 yards and started to sprint toward the river. She brought all of her momentum forward and jumped with all of the power she could. The heart in Ally’s chest started beating at least 115 beats per minute. Ally’s feet were flying back and forth trying to get just a little bit more power. She prayed with all of her soul trying to not fall into the starving piranhas. Finally, Ally’s feet hit the ground making it over the river. All of the sweat dripping down Ally’s back was worth it because she was still alive.

After the bridge incident, Ally knew that making it to the OWO switch was going to be a challenge. She started jogging to try and get to the switch as soon as possible. Ally was one of the fastest runners in her grade, so she wanted to use her strengths as an asset. She tried to embrace her inner Flash and run as fast as lightning. She also knew to be cautious because she did not want to awake any beasts in the jungle.

While Ally was sprinting along the path to try and get to the OWO switch, a pack of starving tigers started chasing right behind her. Ally was about to stop to catch her breath until she heard the sound of the loudest tiger growl at her.

“Oh, no,” she thought. “I cannot become a tiger’s lunch. I must reach the OWO switch.” Ally knew what she had to do. She went to the closest bush that she could find and hid. There were no other options, she could stop and be eaten by tigers or hide in a bush and hope that the tigers were stupid enough to forget about Ally. After twenty minutes of hoping and praying, Ally thought the lions were gone. Going as slow as a grandma in a wheelchair, Ally crawled out from her hiding spot and looked around. She started looking as thorough as possible. When Ally could not find a tiger waiting for her, Ally knew that it was safe to continue on her journey, so Ally started to run again.

Right as Ally thought to give up, she saw the prettiest thing that she had seen all summer, a switch on the floor a few feet away from Ally. She saw a switch with the letters OWO written in large purple letters. The sight of the switch made Ally run that much faster. It was within arm’s reach and all Ally wanted to do was collapse on the switch. Ally gently touched the switch with her left hand, and then the jungle slowly started to fade away.

The tigers, birds, and vines had all gone away until Ally was left sitting on her tiny bed. She was left wondering. Wondering about what had happened, would it happen again, and how could a book do such a crazy thing. Ally put on her favorite sweater, an old ugly Christmas sweater that fit like a crop top on top of her pajamas.

Ally quickly and quietly ran down the stairs and out the apartment front door. She did not stop running until she was in front of the library check out and return desk. Ally exclaimed to herself “This book is more of a curse than a blessing,” and she quickly returned the book and never had to worry about that curse again.