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Kids Adventure Fantasy

Isla Ellington was a young girl, only the age of ten. She had curly brown locks that flowed down her back, ending right above her tailbone. Her eyes sparkled with the lightest blue, reflecting the sky on a cloudless day. A small gap held place between her front teeth, making it an easy target for the kids at her school.


“Why don’t you get your teeth fixed, Isla? Or do you pronounce it Itha.” The boys in her class would smack each other on the back, congratulating the other on the insult. Isla had no trouble speaking and she found the comment senseless. They had no idea what they were talking about. So, she let it roll right off her, as she did for every other insult thrown her way. She passed through school barely talking to anyone or even making eye contact.


At the end of the day, she would ride the bus home to a small, dirty apartment complex. Most kids were off the bus by then and did not see where she lived—fortunate for her. When she opened the apartment with her very own set of keys, she would make herself an afterschool snack and sit down to begin her homework. She was highly organized, which made her an outstanding student. Every problem done by three o’ clock, every reading assignment by three-thirty, and every extra credit opportunity fulfilled. She would end her busy day by reading her favorite book: Matilda. She sometimes imagined herself as the brave, extraordinary little girl, even though her father was not terrible to her at all. He would arrive home at exactly nine o’ clock, just in time to eat a late dinner and kiss her goodnight. It maybe was not the ideal homelife, but she was sure it could be a lot worse. After her father said his goodnites, the day would end, and Isla would be fast asleep. This is how all days passed for the Ellington’s for a long while. That is, until one particular day.


On a chilly October afternoon, when Isla was dropped off at her apartment, she noticed a hunched figure shrouding around at the complex dumpster. A hood was covering their face and they appeared to be whispering to someone Isla could not see. Her heart thumped as she looked towards her apartment stairs, then back at the hooded figure. With curious steps, Isla made her way slowly to the mysterious person. Her limbs trembled and she clutched the straps of her backpack close to her body. The hunchbacked person slowly turned their head towards Isla, leaped up, and let out a shrill, terrified shriek. Isla jumped and let out a shriek of her own.


“Jeez almighty! You scared the living daylights outta me! What’s yer problem, sneaking up on little girls like that!” The person stomped their foot hard, making the hood slip behind their head and revealing a girl the same age as Isla. They both gasped. “Hey…yer a little girl like me. How ‘bout that?” The girl placed her hands on her hips and grinned a toothy grin. She stuck out her hand. “The name’s Margo. Margo Greene. The great scavenger of this whole nation! Well…this town at least.”


Isla eyed Margo carefully, caught off guard by her outgoingness. She had strawberry-blonde hair cut right above her chin and deep brown eyes. She bounced every time she spoke, causing her hair to bounce with her. Isla shyly reached out her hand to meet Margo’s. “I’m Isla,” she said.


“Isla? Isla what? You have a last name, don’t you?”


“Isla Ellington,” she said softly, keeping her eyes down.


Margo shook her hand forcefully up and down. “Nice to meet ya, Isla Ellington!” She smiled ear-to-ear and let go of Isla’s hand, turning back to her dumpster corner. “This was really just a pit-stop to where I’m really headed. Ratatouille wanted to check if there were any leftover sandwiches in the dump. They’re his favorite.”


“Rata—who?”


“Ratatouille! Like the movie!” Margo reached down and scooped up a tiny, black rat nibbling on a piece of cheese. Isla recoiled, covering her mouth with wide eyes. “What? He won’t bite.” Margo held him out towards her and rolled her eyes when Isla backed away. “Anyways, we were headin’ to the woods across the street to visit some family.”


“You have family in the woods?”


“Wanna come?” Margo asked, flashing her a malicious grin.


Isla’s heart skipped a beat at the offer. Go with her? Why would Isla ever go somewhere with someone who talked to rats? And to the woods? It was a scary place, already! She shook her head with a grimace. “I’m not allowed to go places with strangers.”


“I won’t take no for an answer, Miss Ellington!” Margo tapped her foot impatiently on the cement and the rat seemed to mimic her. Isla cast a worrisome glance at her apartment. It was too risky… “I’ll have you back before your parents get home.” Margo dragged out the ‘o’ in home and raised an eyebrow.


What a mistake this is going to turn out to be, thought Isla with a sigh. She screwed up her lips and with hesitancy, said, “Okay.” With that, Margo grabbed Isla’s wrist with eagerness and whisked her away.

 


The sun was setting by the time they arrived in the woods and the trees loomed over them. Isla hugged herself while Margo skipped along beside her. She held the rat in one hand and swung her other arm.


“Where are we going?” Isla asked quietly after several silent moments.


“You’ll see,” Margo sang.


Margo skipped and Isla trembled for a few more moments, pausing when they reached a large, dark tree. A door was intricately carved into it along with windows, pillars, and even a terrace. Isla had to arch her neck to see the entire structure before her.


“We’re here!” Margo held out both arms mimicking a giant hug and giggled. She knocked on the carved door three loud times and rang the doorbell once. After two beats, the door opened revealing a woman with the same strawberry-blonde hair and brown eyes, only her hair was much longer and eyes a lighter shade that shone in the sunlight. She wore a lace cream dress that draped over her body with grace and she had a single sunflower pinned to her chest.


“Margo, darling!” The woman’s voice was surprisingly much more sophisticated than Margo’s. Perhaps even slightly British. She held out her arms and Margo ran into them, hugging her tightly.


“Auntie Greene!” For a moment, Isla felt an ache in her chest and her face grew hot. She folded her arms behind her back, keeping her gaze down.


“Who’s this that you have tagged along with you?”


“Auntie, this is Isla Ellington. She lives at those apartments near the dumpster Ratatouille likes to eat out of.”


“Is that so?” Auntie Greene strolled her way to Isla, tipping Isla’s chin up to meet her eyes. They were sweet as honey when she looked into them. “You don’t have to be so shy, darling. Any friend of Margo’s is a friend of mine.” She smiled amiably revealing perfectly straight, white teeth. Isla pressed her lips together, feeling more and more uncomfortable by the family reunion. “Why don’t you come inside with us? Everyone will be thrilled to meet you.”


Isla stood still, urging her feet not to move. However, there was something about the treehouse that was mesmerizing to the eye, rendering her to learn more. Isla took Auntie Greene’s outstretched hand and followed her inside.


 

Earth. That was the only word clouding Isla’s mind as she stepped inside the mystical tree. Leaves fluttered down from above—some as large as the palm of her hand and as small as her pinkie finger—landing on her head and sneaking in her clothes. The inside seemed never-ending and people huddled around each other, dancing and laughing. They all wore olive green clothing—dresses, shirts, suits, hats, and even shoes. People of all different sizes and ages scattered the floor and some circled around the enormous trunk of the tree, centered perfectly in the massive room.


Isla took in everything, wanting to see more of this curious mansion. She had never seen anything so magnificent in her life. She rarely left her home back at the apartment complex and, when she did, it was simply to accompany her father for grocery shopping. “Wow,” she said. The words came out barely above a whisper, a small breath in awe.


Auntie Greene placed a hand on her shoulder, gripping a bit too hard. “Isn’t it wonderful?” Coming around to face Isla, she spread her arms wide, smiling brightly and gazing at the sky. “We are the Woodlandians. People of the Earth.” As she spoke, her cream lace dress turned into the richest shade of green. It sparkled like the grass on an early morning and had leaves sprouting like ruffles at the bottom. Isla watched with wonder as the woman transformed. She was beautiful. But she was also strange looking. Her brown eyes bulged out a bit more than before and her hair took on a wiry texture, making it shrivel up several inches. It made Isla’s stomach twist in a peculiar fashion, but she pushed the feeling aside.


Auntie Greene and Margo toured Isla through the rest of the treehouse. There were doors upon doors of the Woodlandian people, all dancing or carving or having tea with each other. The halls were covered in moss and Isla ran her hand along it as they walked. When they reached the end, a lofty figure loomed over them.


“Hey there, Jumbo Jaxton!” Margo waved with both hands, bouncing on her feet as if trying to match his height. Isla craned her neck as far as she could, barely sneaking a look at his face.


“Ah, I see Margo the Mischief-Maker is back. Kidnap a friend for yourself today?” The giant’s voice was a sharp falsetto, contrasting wildly with his burly size.


Margo placed her hands on her hips and sneered. “That’s not my name! And I didn’t kidnap her, I found her! Big difference.” Margo marched over to Isla and gave her a pleading look. “Tell him!”


“You don’t have to tell me anything, little girl. If you ever need to escape from this little terror, you come to Jaxon. Got it?” He bent down to Isla’s level, winking a giant eye. She smiled shyly, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. Margo stomped her foot and rolled her eyes, storming off in the other direction.


Hours passed as they roamed the mansion. Isla met more fantastical people of all shapes and sizes with wonderful talents. Many had different jobs within the tree that they distributed anonymously to the outside world and some simply lived their days lounging about. Isla learned that there were other trees within those woods and throughout the entire world. They were a long-kept secret and intended to stay that way.


“Now, Isla, you must listen closely. No one must know about this tree. We are a race of many but can quickly go extinct if others find us. Do you understand?” Auntie Greene’s eyes went rigid, her sweet, honey brown eyes taking on a much darker shade. A piercing chill went through Isla’s body as she nodded. She knew it could not be good if she disobeyed.


 

Margo and Auntie Greene led Isla back to her apartment complex just as the sun was setting. Isla had leaves stuck in her hair and she picked them out one by one. “Thank you for walking me home. I had a wonderful time,” she said.


“I knew ya would.” Margo beamed and twirled around, making her short bob twirl with her.


Auntie Greene placed her hands on Margo’s shoulders and rolled her eyes with mock annoyance. “Margo, dear, why don’t you head back to the tree? I’m sure your mother will be back from the river by now.” Margo began to argue but, with one sharp look from her Aunt, pouted and stormed back to the tree.


When she was out of sight, she turned to face Isla. “I’m glad you had a good time today, Isla. However…” she leaned closer and looked Isla right in her blue eyes. “Margo really should not have strung you along today. We do not usually welcome visitors of your kind. It’s quite dangerous.” Her voice began to take on a hard edge and was no longer a soft whisper. “We don’t let humans off easy, my dear.” She held Isla’s gaze for a minute more before straightening up. “So, please, do not come around to the woods again. Have a good evening.” She smiled kindly and waved with her fingers, pivoting in the direction Margo disappeared.


Isla stood grounded, staring off into the direction of the woods. A disturbing presence filled her body as she played Auntie Greene’s words in her head over and over again. We do not let humans off easy, my dear.


“Something tells me that’s not the last I’ll see of Auntie Greene,” Isla whispered. With one final look towards the woods, she made her way into the apartments to begin her nightly routine.

May 24, 2020 03:28

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47 comments

Laura Clark
22:47 Jun 21, 2020

Wow! This is such a cool little story! I loved the whimsical feel of it - it really reminded me of Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree, albeit updated. The characters developed nicely and it was so well described that I felt like I was there. If this is your novel, I’m sure it’ll be very successful!

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Maggie Deese
02:08 Jun 22, 2020

Thank you so much for the kind comment, Laura! I am so excited to start writing this book in Novemeber, especially with all the praise I've been getting for this story :)

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Laura Clark
08:41 Jun 22, 2020

How come you’re waiting till November?

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Maggie Deese
15:32 Jun 22, 2020

I am doing Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month)! It is a website that allows you to join writing groups and announce your projects. If you write 50,000 words in a month, you "win" and get some prizes! It's very cool :)

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Laura Clark
15:35 Jun 22, 2020

Ooh, exciting! Make sure you link any bits that you share somewhere on here as I’d love to read them!

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Maggie Deese
16:01 Jun 22, 2020

I definitely will! I might do that today so yall can see what I'm working on!

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Grace M'mbone
17:35 Jun 11, 2020

I most especially love the ending. It leaves me with an urge to know whether Auntie Greene and Isla ever met again and under what circumstances. Great job Maggie.

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Maggie Deese
17:58 Jun 11, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it :)

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Pragya Rathore
15:24 Jun 03, 2020

Wow!! This story was brilliantly written. The character development was certainly lovely. You have such a unique voice. It was amazing!! :) Please check out my stories too :D

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Maggie Deese
16:51 Jun 03, 2020

Thank you so much! I'd be happy to read your stories!

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Alyanna Sy
08:01 Jun 01, 2020

Wow, great job! I like all the imagery especially in the first part!

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Maggie Deese
13:46 Jun 01, 2020

Thank you!!

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Alyanna Sy
00:27 Jun 02, 2020

No problem!

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Sandeep T
19:04 May 31, 2020

You made me question my ten year oldself haha. It's really nice.. Hope the woodlandians are doin well in quarantine. Good luck!

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Maggie Deese
19:23 May 31, 2020

Aw I'm glad you enjoyed it! And yes the Woodlandians are doing quite well. They've been spending a lot of time with me lately but I think they enjoy it, haha!

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Sandeep T
02:28 Jun 01, 2020

Haha oh that's great, looks like you're collaborating with the wooodlandians to make something special then. Looking forward to it, have a great day

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Khadija S.
14:03 May 31, 2020

This is really pretty! I love the characters of Margo, and Auntie Greene especially!

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Maggie Deese
15:07 May 31, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked it :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:18 May 29, 2020

This is a lovely story! Beautiful descriptions! Great job.

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Maggie Deese
14:05 May 29, 2020

Thank you so much, Roshna!

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Felicity Edwards
10:55 May 29, 2020

Lovely story, great characters and just the right amount of menace from Auntie Greenie. I loved the ritual at the front door knocking and ringing the bell. One thing did not sit well though when you said "Ratatouille likes to eat out of." It is not good to end a sentence with a preposition. I quite envied Isla that visit. Thank you for the comment on my story too.

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Maggie Deese
14:04 May 29, 2020

Thank you for such a kind comment and for your advice! I truly appreciate it.

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Kelechi Nwokoma
23:08 May 27, 2020

Maggie, This is a really lovely story. The vivid descriptions of the people, especially the mystical tree, made me feel as though I was transported into Isla's world I also love how it ended. Reading it gave me a chill down my spine, but it was a nice ending to an eventful day that Isla had. Also, thank you so much for reading my story and giving me feedback. I really appreciate it. Great work, once again and keep it up! Kelechi

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Maggie Deese
23:43 May 27, 2020

Thank you so much. I'm so happy you enjoyed it and was able to feel transported into this world! Also, you are very welcome! You are a wonderful writer and I was happy to read your work.

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Kelechi Nwokoma
23:55 May 27, 2020

I'm so glad you think I write well, because I'm a little bit new to writing, and the reedsyprompts community. However, reading amazing stories, even yours, helped me grow as a writer in the short time I've spent here. Thanks, again!

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Maggie Deese
00:22 May 28, 2020

That is exactly what this website is for! I've been here since January and I think I have grown so much since my first story. I have no doubt that you'll grow into an amazing writer the more you practice.

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Kelechi Nwokoma
01:30 May 28, 2020

Awwwn... Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

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Maggie Deese
01:52 May 28, 2020

Of course! :)

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Manel Tairi
14:33 May 27, 2020

I loved it from the very beginning.

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Maggie Deese
15:56 May 27, 2020

Thank you!

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Laiba M
18:37 May 26, 2020

Hi Maggie!! You asked me to read your story and so I did :) it was marvelous! The descriptions were so illustrative and vivid, I truly enjoyed it! I read in your bio that you're working on a novel, I wish you the best with that :D

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Maggie Deese
18:41 May 26, 2020

Thank you so much, Laiba! I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this. This short story is actually the novel I'm working on! The prompts this week worked perfectly for my world and characters, so I decided to practice with it. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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Laiba M
01:37 May 27, 2020

You're welcome, I was happy to check it out! That sounds so interesting, hope it all goes well! I truly did, great job on creating such a beautiful world in a story :)

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Maggie Deese
02:16 May 27, 2020

Thank you! I am very excited to explore it more in my novel :)

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Laiba M
16:36 May 27, 2020

Yesss, I know it can be stressful and hard as an author so I hope you have a better time with all that :)

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A. Y. R
20:11 May 25, 2020

Woah! So many twists and turns in this story, I was hooked guessing where it would lead, and what an ominous ending! Left me wanting to read more!

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Maggie Deese
20:48 May 25, 2020

Thank you so much! I don't want to spoil too much, but this may or may not be my novel in progress ;) the prompts this week worked perfectly for it so I decided to write a little short story based on my world and characters.

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A. Y. R
20:49 May 25, 2020

Ooh! You just have to let me know when you've finished writing it! I'd absolutely LOVE to give it a read!!!

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Maggie Deese
21:29 May 25, 2020

Thank you!! I will! I'm in the planning process right now and I will be writing the first draft in Novemeber!

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Evelyn ⭐️
15:48 May 25, 2020

Loved this story! I re-read it so many times that I think I have memorized it! You are super talented, and I can't wait to read more of your work! Stay safe! -Evelyn

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Maggie Deese
16:10 May 25, 2020

Aw that makes me so happy!! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

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Evelyn ⭐️
16:11 May 25, 2020

Of course!!😄

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I really liked this story! Just a question, though, is the Margo in this story based on the Margo in John Green's "Paper Towns"? Keep writing, stay safe!

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Maggie Deese
04:37 May 26, 2020

Thank you! And nope, Margo is just a name I liked!

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Krishi Norris
14:50 Jul 31, 2020

Great story, Maggie! Mind checking out my first submission? Thanks!

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Lovely! Great write, the dialogue was also very interesting! 💖

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Maggie Deese
22:47 May 27, 2020

Thank you so much! That means so much coming from you! :)

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