The Stirling Arrow

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Dawn Kennedy thought she was a normal 13-year-old girl. She thought wrong. She had moved around with her mother, not staying in one place for too long. She never thought that it might be more than her mom's job. Dawn had moved into a new house, knowing she wouldn't stay there for long. Two nights in that house was enough to accomplish her mom's worst fear: A passage appeared under Dawn's bed. The gateway to Centrenia. Dawn knew something wasn't normal, a feeling she couldn't put her finger on. Something bad was about to happen, and she needed to stop it.

Eliza Starr
Age Rating:

Not Just a Monster Under My Bed

Whatever you do, don’t move into the old, broken-down house in Montana on Fable Drive. If you do, good luck. You’ll need it.

My name is Dawn Kennedy. Until a few weeks ago, I was a normal twelve-year-old girl in a normal house in a normal world.

I didn’t like the big city, so I wasn’t too sad about leaving my old house in Chicago. We had to move around a lot for Mom’s job, but we were finally having a permanent house. I was finally somewhere I could stay. I was excited.

I thought moving was a good idea… Well, a good idea until I saw the house. For all I knew, it could’ve had ghosts floating around everywhere.

I know what you’re thinking, “Come on Dawn, it can’t be that bad!” You don’t even know. It’s made of old wood that’s probably eons old. There are only two windows, and it’s still freezing, even in the middle of summer. We also get a pleasant view of the slaughterhouse. Lovely.

It took forever to get there. Around five hours in a car loaded with boxes, and a trailer stacked with even more boxes. It wasn’t too bad, though. I had my mom to keep me company. She talked about her job and the degree she was going to get.

“You’ll love it, Dawn!” she kept telling me. “There’s enough room for sleepovers and an amazing kitchen for baking!”

“You scared me!” She laughed. “Never do that to me again!”

While my mother made breakfast, I got dressed in a periwinkle-colored shirt and some jeans. I put my long wavy brown hair into a messy ponytail and started moving my things into my room. I had already assembled my bookshelf and put my books into it when my mom came in.

“Oh, Dawn,” she scolded. “You’re supposed to wait for my help!”

“Sorry Mom,” I apologized. “I couldn’t just sit around doing nothing.”

After we had finished my room, we moved onto Mom’s room. Once we set up all of her things, it was already time to eat again. We had sandwiches for lunch and we talked about where I would go to school in the fall and what my electives could be.

“I was thinking we could get takeout at that Chinese restaurant you like for dinner,” said my mom after we had finished eating our lunch.

My eyes lit up. “Really?”

My mom smiled. “Really.”

For the rest of the day, we just hung out. I read a couple of books while my mom looked at our bills. We took a walk, and it stunk, being next to a beef plant and all. We walked around the block and saw kids running around the yard, playing in the sprinklers, normal kid stuff. Definitely not what I’ve been doing my entire life. While normal kids were hanging out with friends, I was driving to an unfamiliar state, hoping my mom would find a job there.

“What is a pirate’s favorite letter?” asked Mom as we walked.

“I don’t know, what?”

“Well, you may think it’s R,” she said in her best pirate voice. “But a pirate’s first love be the C.”

I rolled my eyes and laughed. “Oh my heck, Mom.”

We walked back to the house and hopped in the car.

“Hey Dawn, how about some tunes?” asked my mom, turning up the radio.

For the rest of the car ride, we jammed to the most random music.

After we got home and ate, I got in some gray sweatpants and a blue sweatshirt while my mom set up the DVD player.

“I was thinking about watching a movie,” she told me.

“What do you have in mind?”

“How about Newsies?”

I grinned. “Sounds awesome.”

We settled on the couch with a million feathery blankets and started the movie. Mom and I belted all the songs as loud as we could. It was epic.

As soon as the movie was over, my mom yawned and told me, “Time to go to sleep.”

I wholeheartedly agreed. I was exhausted and could barely get off the couch. I went to my room and was only barely awake enough to stumble to my bed. I closed my eyes and fell asleep instantly.

I woke up to a sudden flash of light under my bed. I almost jumped out of my skin.

“Dawn,” my mom called. “Is everything all right?”

Why is she awake? I thought, checking the clock on my bedside table.

It was 2:19 in the morning.

“Mom?” I asked groggily.

Soft footsteps came up the stairs, and my door opened.

“Sorry Dawn, go back to sleep,” my mom said, closing the door.

After she left, I sat up in my bed, my curiosity spiked.

I grabbed a flashlight and got on my side. I found a door big enough for me to crawl through.

Weird, I thought. Didn’t see this here before.

I prayed my mom wouldn’t notice my absence as I clambered through the door. I know, probably not the smartest thing to do. But, hey, it was 2 am; the hour of impulsive decisions.

As I clambered through the entrance, I tried to keep track of the turns. “Left, right, another right…” I muttered to myself.

“Dawn?” I heard my mom yelling. “Where are you? Dawn?!”

“Darn,” I muttered. “Alright, Mom!” I yelled. “I’m coming back!”

She didn’t seem to hear me, no matter how loud I yelled. I tried to find my way back through the tunnels, but I just kept getting lost again. After being in there for what felt like hours, I crawled forward again.

As I continued, I yelped as I cut my ankle on a piece of black glass. It continued going deeper and deeper despite my attempts to pull it out. As I looked down at my throbbing ankle, I saw that glass covered the entire passage.

I started feeling nauseous and dizzy

The pain was killing me. Hopefully not literally. I started crawling through again, brushing some glass away with my sweatshirt covered arm.

After some time of crawling through the limited space, I collapsed and everything went black.

Suddenly, I was running around a beach I had never been to before, trying to catch a crab who kept scuttling away from me. I ran after it until the crab went under a slight wave. Then I realized I was alone. Then I started running as if my life depended on it.

I ran onto a hill overlooking a dark and dreary town full of fairies and dwarfs serving people. There was a slave market going on in the middle of town. Unicorns and pegasi were chained to awful, unstable buildings.

In an arena, there was a dragon and a man with a sword. The dragon avoided the man, fear in its eyes. The crowd’s cheering was louder than thunder. There was blood on the rocky sand and excitement rippling through the crowd.

“Keep going,” a woman’s voice whispered. “You have to prevent this terrible future Axel has given us.”

“Who’s Axel?” I asked, looking around for her but seeing no one.

“Your questions can only be answered only if you find us. He might be here.”

“Find you where? Who are you? How can I find you? Who might be here? Who’s Axel?”

“Answers will come once you find us,” she repeated, her voice starting to fade away.

“No! Don’t go!”

Then she was gone.

That’s the thing with dreams. They never let you know what you need to know, just enough to make you curious.

My eyes flew open. The first thing I noticed was the sharp pain throughout my body. I squeezed my eyes shut and took some deep breaths. I opened my eyes and realized that I was in a different section of the passage that I had fallen asleep in. One with no glass.

As soon as I sat up, I winced and bit my lip. Taking deep breaths, I kept crawling through the tunnels. As soon as I crawled around a bend in the passage, I found a door like the first, hopefully leading the way out. If all I needed was to go to sleep to find the exit, I thought, then why didn’t I do it sooner?

“Please,” I murmured, “Please, please, please let this be the way out!”

I needed some serious ibuprofen. I reached out my hand and placed it against the cold wood. I felt a powerful surge of energy humming against my fingertips.

I pushed the door, and it swung open. A sudden flash of light blinded me, the same from the first light under my bed when I first entered the passages.

I squinted and crawled through the door, not knowing who or what waited for me on the other side.

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