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The Half Missing Book
“Dean, nice of you to show up to class,” Mr. Mowry said sarcastically, as Dean walked into class late.
“I had to finish a test,” Dean responded back.
“It doesn’t matter,” continued Mr. Mowry, “Just take a seat. You’ve missed a lot already. Show me your homework from last night. Maybe you’ll have it, unlike everyone else.”
“What homework?” Dean asked.
“The five pages in your vocabulary book,” Mr. Mowry answered.
“I don’t remember you assigning that,” Dean responded.
“Everyone said that, but I know I told all of you about it. You can see that it’s on the homework board.”
“Well, if you ‘told’ us, then why do you think that no one has it?”
“That’s not the point. No one has their homework, so everyone gets a zero.”
“Oh, I get it,” Dean said with a cynical smile,” if you give all of us zeros, it’s easier for you to figure out our grades. We should have realized before that there was a reason that you’re not a math teacher.”
“That’s it!” Mr. Mowry screamed, “Get out of my class!”
“C’mon Mr. Mowry,” Dean started to say, “You were just so happy I showed up, and now you’re kicking me out. I think I’m getting mixed feelings from you.” The entire class cracked up.
“Make sure you have your book report on my desk by Monday,” Mr. Mowry said through clenched teeth.
“I’ll make sure it is. Have a great weekend!” Dean said sarcastically to Mr. Mowry.
“GET OUT!” Mr. Mowry was turning red, so Dean left the classroom and headed down to his locker.
Dean Calcot is an average ninth grader. He is a tall kid with brown hair and green eyes. He doesn’t mind school, but he thinks it’s boring. He loves to go to band, PE, and science. As Dean walked to his locker at Boston Public High School, he could already smell weeks’ worth of sandwiches from the kid next to him. Every day, Dean had to smell sandwiches that have been in this kid’s locker since the beginning of the year. He hated it. Dean decided to just leave. It was the end of the day, and there was no afternoon homeroom.
As Dean started to walk home on this cold January day, he thought about his book report. He had known about it for a while, but he still hadn’t started it. As he passed the Boston Public Library, Dean thought he would walk in to look at some books. As soon as Dean stepped foot into the library, he got a whiff of the musty smell of a stack of yellowing newspapers lying in the corner. He continued on, past the room he always went to as a kid. It was the room where story time was held. As he passed, he saw, through the corner of his eye, the kids fidget as the librarian read to them.
As Dean continued on, the constant flicker of a light caught his attention. He had never seen this little corner away from everything. The light was flickering right above a stack of books. As Dean walked over, the light went out. As he continued, he saw that the books were missing covers and many pages. Dean had an amazing idea that came to him as the light bulb turned on over his head. Dean decided he would read one of these books. With it missing so many pages, it would take half as much time to read. And that meant that the report would be half as long. Dean picked up the first book he saw and started to read.
All of a sudden, the light bulb went out. All Dean could see was white. He looked around again, and realized that he was in a jungle.
Leaves were rustling, birds were chirping, and, suddenly, there was a bang followed by a large rumble that was getting increasingly louder. Dean looked to his left and saw dust flying everywhere. He quickly jumped into the bushes right next to him. The dust came closer, and Dean saw that it was a pack of gorillas running away from something. They rushed right by him, followed by a guy with a gun. Dean realized that it was a poacher. The oddest thing was that it looked a lot like Mr. Mowry. Dean watched the poacher race by after the gorillas.
Once they were far away, Dean got out of the bushes and took a better look around. The ground around him was trampled from the gorillas. He walked to see where the gorillas came from and, on his way, noticed a lot of trampled ground. “I can’t believe this,” Dean said to himself, as he continued to look around. “This whole area is almost lifeless. The birds are not chirping, the leaves are brown and falling, and forms of life seem to have left. It’s like all of the animals moved on, like the gorillas. It’s amazing how in a couple hundred feet the jungle went from happy and full of life to dreary and lifeless.”
Just then, Dean heard a noise behind him. He turned around. It was the poacher. “Who are you and what-a-ya doin’ in these parts?” The poacher asked in a menacing tone.
“My name’s Dean and I have no idea how I got here,” Dean answered, still perplexed as to why this guy looked like Mr. Mowry.
“Well, I’m Derrick and these here woods are mine. So I’m gonna take you in fer trespassin’,” Derrick said.
“What are you, a cop?” Dean remarked. “I don’t see any badge.”
“No, I’m not a cop,” Derrick continued, “but these here lands are mine and nobody’s gonna tell me what ter do on my lands. So, let’s go and get in my jeep.” Derrick pointed to a camouflaged jeep that Dean hadn’t noticed.
“I’m not going with you!” Dean shouted. He turned and ran away. He thought that it was odd that Derrick didn’t follow him. Nevertheless, he kept running. He ran right into a rope snare. Derrick walked over.
“Now yer comin’ with me kid. Me and you are gonna have a nice little ride back to my cabin.”
Derrick used the rope to tie Dean up and took him to his jeep. He put Dean in the back, got in, and drove off. As they drove, Dean noticed that the farther they went the more barren the land got. Soon, they reached a log cabin.
“Home sweet home,” Derrick said. “You’re gonna stay here, while I go tend ter business back in the jungle. I’ll be back some time later. Don’t go nowhere.” Derrick left laughing at his own joke.
Dean was overwhelmed with what was happening. He looked around the cabin and saw animal heads mounted on walls, a coffee cup, half full, and small embers in the fire. There was also a very thick smell that Dean realized was smoke. He assumed that Derrick must be a big smoker. Dean’s wrists and ankles were starting to really hurt from the ropes that were tied so tightly around them.
Dean forgot about the pain for a minute and started to think. “How in the world did I get here?” Dean asked himself. Then, he thought about it. “I was just reading that book with all of the missing pages, and I ended up here. I guess that’s what I get for reading. I knew no good could come from reading. But I guess the only thing to do now is get out of here.”
To begin with, he had to get these ropes off. He looked at the embers again and thought that if he put the ropes around his wrists close enough, they would burn and fall off. So, he crawled his way over to the fireplace and placed his wrists over the largest ember. The rope got a small spark on it. The spark started to burn through the rope, and the rope fell off. Dean was thrilled. He untied the rope around his legs and stood up.
Now, Dean had to get away from the cabin. Night was starting to fall, and Dean could already feel the chill that night brings with it. From outside, Dean heard a very loud growl from a bear. Dean has been frightened of bears ever since he was a child.
When Dean was five years old, his parents took him to the zoo. That day, the zoo was introducing another bear to its grizzly bear exhibit. Dean was so excited to see this happen. He ran right to the front to get a good view. However, the zoo made a huge mistake. They thought they were introducing a female bear into the exhibit that already had a male bear, when they actually brought in another male. The two males met, and it went downhill from there. They started fighting, and one of the bears killed the other. The claw of the dead bear flew out of the cage and landed right in from of Dean. Ever since that day, Dean has been terrified of bears.
There was no way Dean was going to go outside now. How would he escape? He knew that things would only get worse when Derrick got back. He didn’t hear the bear again, so he thought that it might have left. Dean decided to go outside. There was still some light, so Dean could see a bit. He decided to follow the tracks from Derrick’s jeep. As he walked, he heard something in the distance. It was an engine. Dean quickly ran from the path and went to hide. However, the woods weren’t very dense, so he decided to keep running. He soon realized that he had no idea where he was.
Dean looked around for the tallest area and saw a hill. It wasn’t too large to climb, but it was the tallest thing around. He went to it and started to climb. It was very steep. Dean had to rock climb for ten or twenty yards before reaching the top. He looked around and saw Derrick’s cabin with Derrick’s jeep. The jeep was leaving the house. “Derrick must have noticed that I left,” Dean said to himself.
Suddenly, there was a large growl right in front of Dean. At that moment, Dean went still. His entire body was stiff as a board. All around him, the night went still in expectation of things to come. A huge sound erupted from the growling animal, as if a boulder fell off of a cliff. “Not again,” Dean thought to himself. “I’ll never get out of this alive.”
From behind Dean came, “There ya are. Thought I’d lost ya. Me an’ you are gonna have a nice little chat when we get back.” Dean turned around and was shocked that Derrick was able to find him. Before he could say anything though, another growl came from behind Dean.
“I see ya got yaself a little friend,” Derrick said. “Let’s go before yous two gets to know each other better.”
Derrick rushed at Dean, who was still too petrified to do anything, except turn back around just in time to see a huge grizzly bear emerge from the ominous shadows that the glooming trees shot down to the earth. The bear broke out into a run heading straight for Dean. Dean crouched down low with hopes that Derrick and the bear wouldn’t see him. The bear was closest to Dean. When it got to him, it leaped through the air, landing on Derrick.
The bear and Derrick fought each other all the way to the end of the cliff. At the cliff, the bear pushed Derrick off of him, and Derrick fell right off the edge of the hill.
The bear turned around and faced Dean. It rubbed its leg along the ground as if it was ready to charge, but then, it just lay down. “What’s going on?” Dean thought to himself. “The bear can take me out right now, but it’s not. Maybe it was trying to save me. I remember one of the animal heads on Derrick’s wall was a grizzly bear. Maybe this bear was trying to avenge the other bear’s death. Maybe bears aren’t so bad after all.”
Dean knew that his next decision would decide whether he lived or died. He took the chance and started to slowly walk over to the bear. Everything was telling him to turn back. The wind was blowing against him, the moon hid behind the clouds, the tree branches moved as if beckoning him to turn around. Nevertheless, Dean slowly walked to the bear. He reached the bear, bent down, and rubbed its head.
The bear stood up, looked Dean square in the eyes, and licked the side of Dean’s face. Dean was overwhelmed with relief and happiness. Just then, the bear bent down in a motion as to call Dean to ride on it. Dean got on, and the bear took off running right to the edge of the cliff. Without slowing down, the bear leapt off the cliff, and started flying. It turned its head to look at Dean and said, “See Dean, great things can come from reading.”
“Are you okay? Young man, are you okay?!?” the startled librarian asked. Dean opened his eyes and saw that he was back in the library.
“What happened?” Dean asked.
“This old light bulb fell from its socket and hit you square in the head,” the librarian answered. “Are you sure that you’re okay?”
“Yes,” Dean responded, “I’m okay. I don’t feel any pain.” With that, the librarian walked away. Dean looked at his hands. They were holding a book. Then, Dean remembered. He came here to read the book that was missing pages so that his book report could be finished quickly. He looked at the book again and realized that it looked brand new. There was even a cover. Dean noticed that the book was called Rufus’s Adventures in the Jungle. On the cover was a picture of a grizzly bear. It was the same grizzly bear that spoke to Dean only moments before.
Dean was shocked, but he also felt differently. He just couldn’t figure out why. All he knew was that he had to get his book report done, and he already knew the whole book from cover to cover. However, Dean wasn’t satisfied. He couldn’t figure out why. Then, he looked around the library again, and realized that what he wants is right in front of him. He decided that as soon as he was done his book report, he would start reading more and more books, because he now knows how much fun reading can actually be.