My NaNo story!

Chatterbox: Inkwell

My NaNo story!

My NaNo story!

This is my first time doing NaNo, so if you guys have I feedback, I really want to hear it!  

Okey-doke, I'm going to post segments of my NaNo story here every Wednesday. Or when ever I have one done. But probably on Wednesday. Anyhoo, I hope you like the story!

~~~

Chapter One

Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring....

Sasha winced. Even over the chatter that filled the lunchroom, the school's insistent bell rang and rang. It was necessary, sure, but why did it have to be so loud?

"There's the bell!" chirped Sasha's best friend, Dawn. She tossed her dark brown hair over her shoulder, scooped her sandwiches into her lunchbox (none to neatly, but that was typical for Dawn), and started walking towards the trash cans. "You don't want to be late for science, do you? Mrs. Merivale will be SO mad."

"I'm coming, I'm coming," Sasha said over the shrill ringing of the bell. Seriously, why didn't it just shut up already? She tucked her foil-wrapped leftovers into her lunchbox (much more carefully than Dawn had) and joined her best friend at the lunchroom doors.

As they entered the halls of their middle school, Stafford School for Intelligent Youth, Dawn began to chatter about the homework quiz they'd done the night before. "I mean, usually history is easy, but Mr. Preston threw us, like, TEN trick questions. I mean, come ON. Number four was NOT fair. How should WE know who Levi P. Morton was vice president to?! We've been studying the PRESIDENTS, not the VICE presidents. And number 8..." Dawn kept up a steady stream of chatter all the way to science class. Used to the constant talking of her best friend, Sasha walked alongside, only half-listening. 

She was thinking about the other homework she'd done last night, which was, incidentally, for science. Its questions had been as tricky as the ones for history. So tricky, in fact, that she was pretty sure that it had been given to her by mistake, and was meant for someone two grades older than her. She'd done what she could, of course, but it mentioned things that her older sister, Geneva, had talked about learning, and she was in high school! Sasha just hoped that Mrs. Merivale would be lenient, as she had a reputation for being the strictest teacher at their school. 

Her train of thoughts was interrupted by the second bell, which was even shriller than the first. "Eep!" Dawn yelped. "We'd better get going!" The pair quickened their pace, hurrying through the hallways.

When they reached the science lab, about half the class was already there. Dawn slid into her seat as Sasha approached the teacher desk. "Mrs. Merivale?" 

"Hmmm?" Mrs. Merivale was scanning some papers on her desk, most likely homework she'd already received. 

Sasha took a deep breath. "I think you gave me the wrong homework."

Mrs. Merivale looked up with a raised eyebrow. "Is that so?"

Sasha could feel her cheeks beginning to flush. She barreled on, pulling the quiz out of her bag. "See, the questions are asking about things that you've never taught us. Like question 10 talks about things my sister has mentioned learning, and she's in high school, so this might be the wrong quiz or something..." She trailed off. Mrs. Merivale was looking over her homework with an unreadable expression. Had she said something wrong? Or was it the right quiz after all, and she just hadn't been paying attention?

"This is the wrong quiz," Mrs. Merivale mused, and Sasha breathed a sigh of relief. "This is intended for 9th graders." She reached into her desk, shuffled through some papers, and finally pulled out a quiz. "Here you are. It's still due tomorrow, I'm afraid. I can't extend the deadline."

"That's all right," Sasha replied, relieved she hadn't gotten in trouble. She hurried back to her seat, pulled out her textbook, and waited for class to start.

By the time the third bell rang, everyone was in their seats, most people chatting aimlessly. Mrs. Merivale took attendance, then clapped to get everyone's attention. "Textbooks away, if you please," she instructed. 

Dawn and Sasha exchanged a puzzled look. This wasn't exactly normal. Usually, Mrs. Merivale started class by reviewing some piece of information or the last page or so of the textbook. Sasha tucked away her textbook with the rest of class, and wondered what Mrs. Merivale had planned. A pop quiz? She sincerely hoped not.

"Stand up!" She directed. This was even less normal. Chairs scraped against the floor as the slightly confused class stood up. Dawn shot Sasha a "what's happening?" look. Sasha shrugged and made a "how should I know?" face in return. 

"Now, we are going to do a little exercise. Form into pairs." Dawn and Sasha made a beeline for each other as the rest of the class dutifully shuffled around. "Now, one of you find three things that are alive, and the other should find three things that aren't. You have ten minutes. Go." All the teams scrambled off to find the items requested, most still shooting the occasional curious look towards Mrs. Merivale. 

"I'll look for the living stuff?" Dawn offered. Sasha agreed, and they split up. Sasha gathered her items, and within minutes, the entire class was seated again.  Dawn glanced over at Sasha's desk, then frowned, whispering, "You were supposed to find the not-living stuff!" Sasha's forehead wrinkled. "I know," she whispered back. "Then why-" Dawn started, but Mrs. Merivale cut her off.

"No talking in class, young ladies." Sasha and Dawn both blushed, but Mrs. Merivale was already talking again. "Now, take your items up to my desk, keeping it in separate piles, living things on the left, non-living things on the right." She waited until the class was settled again. "Now. In the living pile, we have a lot of different things. Flowers, leaves, a few test tubes full of mold... Seems that everyone's done a good job here. And in the non-living pile, there are rocks, fossils, more rocks, a dried flower or two..." Mrs. Merivale paused, picking up a leaf with a curious expression on her face. "Why is there a leaf in the non-living pile?" 

"That was me, Mrs. Merivale." The words were out of Sasha's mouth before she could stop them. Immediately, she wished she could take them back. The entire class turned in their seats to face her, their expressions ranging from huh to she's a weirdo. Mrs. Merivale raised an eyebrow. "Explain your reasoning, please."

Sasha squirmed under the weight of so many eyes upon her. "Um, I..." She took a deep breath. "A leaf isn't technically alive. It's part of something alive, but not alive itself. To say a leaf would be alive is kind of like saying someone's arm is alive. Which an arm isn't. Just to clear. Because the person's alive, but not the arm. Not that the arm is dead, it just isn't alive." Stop babbling! Just shut your mouth and get on with it! 

Mrs. Merivale nodded slowly. "Yes, I suppose that makes sense." Her eyes were nearly unreadable. Curious, a bit surprised, but there's something else, too. Suspicion? Interest? Sasha couldn't quite place it. And there's something about the way she was staring at her. Some edge to it that Sasha couldn't shake off. 

That gaze stayed with her through the rest of the day. All through Math and Social Studies, Sasha felt the echoes of that gaze on her. Whatever it was that she couldn't place lurked in the back of her mind. Even at home, petting her cat and eating dinner, she felt slightly unsettled, and she had no idea why. It was only once she was lying in bed, listening to her cat's rumbling purrs, that she realized what else was in that stare. She'd seen it whenever Mrs. Merivale had a new specimen to show the class, or a new chart to display. Fascination. Mrs. Merivale was fascinated by Sasha's answer. The last thought she had before drifting off to sleep was Why?

submitted by Snazzycakes, Eternalia
(November 4, 2020 - 7:02 pm)

Ooh, this is good! I like the aspect of mystery. Are you on the CB classroom on YWP? I am, and I'm _Honeybee_

Anyway, this looks great! I can't quite tell the direction the story's going in...realistic fiction? Mystery? Fantasy? Keep up the good work! 

submitted by Honeybee
(November 4, 2020 - 11:22 pm)
submitted by Top!
(November 5, 2020 - 1:49 pm)

Thank you! It'll definetely go in the fantasy direction in either Chapter 2 or 3. We'll see. And no, I'm not on YWP's classrooms. My parents want me to stick with the CB. 

submitted by Snazzycakes, Eternalia
(November 5, 2020 - 4:27 pm)

Wow! This is really good. I love the story so far and am interested in where this is going. I saw in your comment that it will be a fansty book, so I'm wondering how that will come into play. I'm super excited to see the next chapter of this book! 

submitted by Mango (AgentMango), age 11
(November 7, 2020 - 5:35 pm)

Thank you! I'm so glad you like it. The fantasy elements will be magic, witches, and dragons. Well, just the one dragon. But still. ;)

submitted by Snazzycakes, Eternalia
(November 8, 2020 - 11:34 am)

There was some trouble with my NaNoWriMo account, so the next chapter might be later than I thought. Sorry! :(

submitted by Snazzycakes, Eternalia
(November 9, 2020 - 4:56 pm)
submitted by toppity top!, age tothetop!, top top
(November 14, 2020 - 8:56 am)

OK, I'm really sorry about the delay. I've sort of been neglecting NaNo because homework. And school. And life. Anyway I'm really sorry. I have most of a chapter done, so I'll post what I have! I'm thinking from now on, on Mondays and/or Saturdays I'll post what I've written so far. So instead of whole chapters every couple weeks, it'll be parts of chapters once or twice a week. Sound good?

On that note, here's some/most of the next chapter!

~~~

The next day, Sasha was late to school. It wasn't her fault. Mostly her cat's, who had clawed her jeans, slept in front of several doorways she needed to get through, and had been about to eat her math homework before she had distracted him with a piece of string. By the time she had managed to scramble out the door, the bus was already gone. She had had to get her dad to drop her off on his way to work. As the car pulled up to the curb, she practically leapt outside and flew into the building and through the halls. She was lucky science was her first class. Mrs. Merivale was usually lenient and kind, only marking you as late if you weren't there when she began to teach. She slid into her desk just as Mrs. Merivale was about to move on and mark her as late. 

"Wait! I'm here! I'm here!" she gasped, plopping her backpack onto the floor. "Not late! Totally here!" 

A smile flickered across Mrs. Merivale's face. "Very well, Sasha." She marked her as present and pulled out a sheaf of papers from her desk. "In fact, you're just in time for the quiz!" 

Right on cue, a multitude of sighs, groans, and moans issued from the class. Mrs. Merivale wagged a finger. "Now, now, it won't be that bad." She put a certain emphasis on "that" that made her statement not that reassuring. "This isn't your typical quiz. It's actually to see if you would qualify for a special science program going on with a nearby middle school. Here, I'll explain if someone would be so kind as to pass these papers out."

A hand shot up from the back row. "Thank you, Devante," Mrs. Merivale said, handing him the papers. "Now. This program is intended to pair up like-minded scientific individuals in order to further introduce you to all the ways there are to view science. This middle school, Jermont Academy, is an institution..."

As Mrs. Merivale continued to explain, Sasha accepted her paper and scanned the questions. Mrs. Merivale was right. This was not a normal science quiz. The questions were all "What scientific study did you have the most fun practicing?" and "If your lab partner was wrong, would you point it out or keep quiet? Explain." and "What aspects of science do you dislike and/or abhor?" 

"Begin!" Mrs. Merivale announced. "You have 15 minutes." Sasha's head snapped up. "Uh, what?" she asked, but the rest of the class was already writing. Sasha winced. Too late now, she thought.

Ducking her head, she stared at the first question. Is dissection ethical? Explain. Sasha thought, tapping her pencil against the edge of her desk. It depends, she finally wrote. If you kill an animal simply for the purpose of dissection, that is not ethical. "Scientific research" is no reason to kill. On the other hand, if the specimen was already dead, it would be fine to dissect it. You are not taking anything from the creature or its ecosystem, and you are gaining knowledge in the process. Sasha stared at her answer. The question seemed odd. Was she misreading it? Was her answer the type of answer that Mrs. Merivale would be looking for. Should she change it?

"Two minutes gone, everybody," Mrs. Merivale announced. "Two minutes gone." But on the other hand, Sasha really needed to focus and finish. Deciding to keep her answer, she jotted down her answers for the other questions. She ended up being mostly finished by the time Devante came around again to collect their finished quizzes. 

The rest of the class was mostly uneventful. They were assigned another textbook chapter to read, discussed the meaning of the word "herpetology", and memorized another section of the periodic table.

By the time the bell rang, Sasha was totally ready for study hall. She was only mildly bored out of her mind by the endless repetition of "Sodium, Magnesium, Aluminum, Silicon, Phosphorus, Sulfur..." of the entire class. As soon as the bell rang for study hall, she stuffed her textbook into her bag, swung it over her shoulder, and walked over to the door with Dawn.

"Sasha? Will you come here for a moment?" Mrs. Merivale called.

"Uh oh," Dawn joked, sighing dramatically, "What did you do now?" Sasha swatted her friend lightly on the arm and turned towards the teacher desk. "Go ahead to study hall without me," she said over her shoulder. "All right," Dawn called back. "Meet you there!"

As Sasha approached Mrs. Merivale's desk, the teacher was sorting the quizzes into piles. She held up Sasha's. "I like your answers," she told her. "I would have said much of the same thing." 

Sasha nodded, but stayed silent. She knew this couldn't be just about the quiz. 

Mrs. Merivale continued sorting papers. "And you did quite well memorizing the section of the periodic table."

Again, Sasha nodded, waiting for the real reason she was here.

Mrs. Merivale kept sorting papers. Left pile, right pile, left pile, left pile, right pile, right pile...

Finally, Sasha couldn't stand it. She blurted, "Is this because I was late? It was a one-time thing, I promise. It won't happen again. It's just that my cat was being really distracting, and then I missed the bus, and then there was traffic on the road out of my neighborhood..."

"Oh, not at all!" Mrs. Merivale said, surprised. "You were on time enough. Distracting cats can happen to anybody." She continued sorting. Was Sasha imagining it, or was that apprehension on Mrs. Merivale's face?

"Then... what is it?" Sasha asked, unsure why she was here. 

Mrs. Merivale sighed. She set down the papers and turned sideways in her chair so she was facing Sasha. "There's no easy way to tell you this," she began. "But-"

"Am I in trouble?" Sasha interrupted. "Sorry. But... am I?"

To her surprise, Mrs. Merivale waved the question off like a pesky fly. "No, no, of course not! Quite the opposite, in fact." She cleared her throat. Sasha wasn't imagining it this time - Mrs. Merivale was definitely apprehensive. But surely it couldn't be that bad. Could it? 

"Sasha." Mrs. Merivale took a deep breath. "You're not going to believe me, but there's no other way to say it. You have the talent to become a witch like me."

For a count of thirty, there was complete and utter silence. Then Sasha burst out, "You can't possibly be serious."

"I'm deadly serious."

Sasha studied her teacher's face. Mrs. Merivale wasn't the type to play pranks, but what else could this be?

"Is this a joke?" She finally asked. "If so, it's not all that funny."

Mrs. Merivale sighed. "I didn't think you'd believe me if I just told you. But I can show you."

Sasha shrugged. "Sure." What was Mrs. Merivale going to do, wave around a wand? Mumble something and try to turn a student into a toad?

Mrs. Merivale checked her watch. "Study hall lasts for about an hour. That'll be plenty of time. To everyone else, I'll just be helping you with a question you had. Or something."

"Wait a minute," Sasha began, but Mrs. Merivale was already out the door. "This way!" she called.

Sasha hurried out the door and caught up to her teacher. "Where are we going?" she asked.

"Somewhere you'll believe what I told you."

"I mean," Sasha amended, walking quickly to keep pace with Mrs. Merivale's long strides, "Where exactly are we going? To another classroom?"

"I suppose it could be considered a classroom, yes," Mrs. Merivale mused. "Oh, and keep up, dear."

Sasha decided to try a different angle. "Is it one of the unused classrooms? Or maybe one of the storage sheds?"

Mrs. Merivale laughed. "You'll see soon enough."

Sasha gave up. Clearly, Mrs. Merivale wasn't going to tell her anything. And besides, it wasn't like she was a stranger. It was safe to go with her. Right?

Soon they reached the edge of the campus, and Sasha slowed. "We aren't leaving the campus, are we?"

Mrs. Merivale didn't seem to hear her, striding towards a scraggly patch of trees near a parking lot. Sasha followed uneasily. This was seeming less and less safe by the minute, but she couldn't back out now.

Mrs. Merivale slipped into the patch of trees, graceful and elegant. Sasha followed, much less gracefully and not at all elegantly, managing to get poked what felt like a hundred times. But she pushed through to the center of the patch and found herself in empty space. What had seemed like a cluster of trees was actually a ring, and at the center of it kneeled Mrs. Merivale, next to a small, blue-flecked glass orb on a metallic stand.

Sasha was officially considering the prospect of Mrs. Merivale turning out to be crazy when she was beckoned forward. 

"Be very still and don't distract me." Mrs. Merivale murmured, concentrating very hard on the orb. There was something about her voice that made Sasha lean closer. It was the voice of a storyteller, like smoke and embers. It made her feel safe and protected... That is, until Mrs Merivale added, "This could be fatal if my concentration was broken."

Sasha's eyes went wide, but before she could ask what the heck was happening or what exactly did she mean by fatal or whether Sasha could possibly take the not dying option or any other question she really felt like she should ask, Mrs. Merivale placed her hand on the globe. 

Immediately, the world around them snapped out of sight, as quickly and instantly as a snuffed candle. There was no darkness, but no light either. Sasha couldn't see, couldn't feel, couldn't hear. Her heart wasn't beating, and her brain's neurons weren't communicating. But had they ever? Did she have a body or a mind at all? It didn't feel like it. She had no memories, no soul. She was nothing, not even a thought. She was nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Noth-

And then it was over. The world was back, blue sky and golden sun, beating heart and thinking mind. Collapsed on a patch of lush green grass, Sasha took a shuddering breath and closed her eyes. She didn't trust herself to speak, not yet. Her mind was spinning and spinning around one thought. What the heck just happened?

She must have spoken it aloud, because Mrs. Merivale knelt beside her. "We Vanished," she said simply, "And were Conjured again. I forgot how disorienting it is your first time. I suppose I've gotten used to it."

"First time?"Sasha asked, still on the ground. "I'm pretty sure I'm never doing that again."

Mrs. Merivale smiled, but her eyes were rueful. "We'll see. Can you stand?"

"I - I think so." Sasha gingerly stood up, closing her eyes and swaying a little as she got a vicious head rush. Her mind was still swirling, but she was unhurt. She steadied herself on Mrs. Merivale's arm and opened her eyes. And for the first time, she noticed the scenery around her. 

~~~

Soooo not really a cliffhanger, but sorta. Ish. Anyway, the next part will be out soon! 

P.S. I changed Mrs. Merivale's character a bit/a lot, so if she's kinda different, that's why. 

submitted by Snazzycakes, age NEW PART!!, Dancing in the rain
(November 16, 2020 - 5:34 pm)

Top please!!!

submitted by SnazzyTOP, Topping in the TOP!
(November 18, 2020 - 8:51 pm)

@CBers, I really want your feedback. Please comment if you're reading this!

submitted by SnazzyTOP, age TipTopTip!, Topping in the rain!
(November 25, 2020 - 9:35 pm)