Amazing Grace This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     (Live commercial advertising the Amazing Grace RoomScanner, 2044, Estrella Galaxy, Planet Bob.)

Boy: Gee, Mom, Ican't find my baseball glove! I have a game in two minutes!

Mom: Don'tworry, Sweetie, I'll just turn on our Amazing Grace!

Boy: Ourwhat?

Mom: Our Amazing Grace, the room scanner!

Boy: Gee, Mom, howdoes that work?

Mom: I just press this button (Mom presses button) and itscans the room for your glove!

(Mom and Boy look at the room, amazed bythe glow from the scanner. Mom picks up glove from under the couch, which hasbeen highlighted with a purple light.)

Mom: See, that's all I have todo!

Boy: Gee, Mom, you're the best! (Boy exits stage left).

Mom(holding up scanner): What would I ever do without you?

Announcer: Yourthings once were lost but now are found, thanks to Amazing Grace: the RoomScanner! Make lost items a problem of the past!

On the screen flashed theface of a dimpled young girl with shining blue eyes and curly hair, her teethsparkling.

Grace gaped at the telemegavision and tried to suppress abitter chuckle. The little girl on the gel screen looked nothing like the realGrace McGavin, except for the eyes. Those enchanting and mysterious eyes thatlocked onto a person and saw through his or her hypocrisy and into the that theyall were and wanted to be. That domestic machine had spread to all 14 planetslike an infestation of flies, enabling her small family to buy their own planet:McGavitune. And it was all due to the incredible genius of a three-year-old girl,the real amazing Grace.

She sat there on the cold marble floor, drinkingblack coffee and brooding. Those remarkable eyes bored into the telemegavisionwithout watching the purple dinosaur teach children to find the exact square rootof pi. Instead, Grace floated off the floor of her palatial home and into her ownworld where children were swinging on an endless number of swings. (Crudeentertainment, but entertainment that Grace had never had the joy ofexperiencing. Nonetheless, after seeing it on the History Channel, the images ofchildren laughing as they swung never left her mind.) Rows of cotton-candy treeswere surrounded by life-size daisies and sunflowers as big as buildings. Here, noone could hurt Grace; this was her secret island getaway. But then, like asquawking bird, her mother's voice clawed through the air and pulled Grace out ofher imaginary world.

"Gracie? Was that your commercial I justheard?"

"Yes, Mother."

Mrs. McGavin squatted nextto her daughter, her silk tangerine poodle skirt hiding any notion that she mighthave any legs. "You know, Sweetie, your father and I are very proud ofyou," she said, her thick layer of make-up cracking as she smiled as gailyas the clowns that haunted Gracie's dreams, her teeth like porcelainbullets.

"Yes, I know, Mother."

"But, Sugar Muffin,your father and I were wondering if you could invent something else now.Something more useful and, ahem, more profitable," her mother's painted-onsmile reminded Grace of a lion baring its teeth before it made itskill.

"Yes, Mother."

"Because you know, Pumpkin,Jimmy Kemmel down the street created a bean that can grow from nothing but dirt!He has solved universal hunger, you know."

Grace's mother nevercalled her by her real name. Sometimes Grace wondered whether she were a littlegirl or a dessert.

"Yes, I know," shesaid.

"Well?" her mother paused. "Aren't you going to sayanything about that, other than 'I know?'"

"Why should I?"Grace knew she was testing her mother's limits and immediately witnessed her facego from ivory to deep purple. She swore she saw fangs instead of the usualpointed incisors in her mother's smile.

"That is it, Missy," hermother screamed as she rose from the floor in a great whoosh, towering over herthree-year-old. "Either you invent something quick or I'll be forced toterminate all your Emily privileges!" Emily the doll was Grace's soleconfidant.

"But, Mom!" Grace cried as she, too, rose from themarble floor.

"No buts, young lady. I won't be able to show my faceat the PTA meetings if you don't invent something great soon. I can't stand howMrs. Kemmel is always bragging about her son. 'Jimmy did this, little Jimmy didthat, and, oh! You just won't believe what little Jimmy did with the SuperHydraulic Intergalactic Transmitter the other day!'" she mocked in afalsetto voice.

During her mother's bitter ranting, Grace climbed onto thewindow seat and stared outside. The sky was a dark gray, the grass, even darker.There was no color in Winchestertonfieldville. Children had stopped laughingyears ago with the arrival of the brain-enhancing vitamins that were supplied toall pregnant women. The pills trained them all to be successful, law-abidingcitizens. They were all pawns in a tremendous political scheme to build therichest and most productive economy in all of the 40 universes. But Grace didn'tsee the black and white world that her body remained in, but traveled to aTechnicolor world full of gumdrops and gingerbread houses, of roses and larks,where hummingbirds and fairies danced under the smiling face of the silver moonthat emitted star dust and silk flower petals from her warmglow.

"Are you even listening to me?" her mother shouted. Graceshook her head, sure that she could almost smell the sweet gingerbread and rosesthis time. Fed up, Mrs. McGavin swished out of the room, mutteringbitterly.

Grace sighed and rose slowly from the window seat and began tomake her way to her bedroom. With each stair she climbed, a sob escaped the younggirl, the baby. A clawed hand wrapped its bony fingers around Grace's throat andforced cries from her. She hated to cry, but the fingers squeezed even tighterand made tears pour down her skin, skin the color of certain white flowers withsoft shades of pink and green.

In her bedroom, painted baby pink, her cribremained against the wall near a tall window that did not bring the sun'smidnight rays to comfort her. Lace and bows covered her bed and window, but therest of the room was a miniature office and laboratory filled with cherrywooddesks and globes of three-dimensional maps of the stars that Gracie had nevervisited. Odd machines tripped and jerked here and there, making replicas ofthemselves continuously.

Baby Grace looked through one of her manybookshelves and finally, after a moment or two, pulled out an album of herfriends, geniuses like she was, who had escaped her fate. There were hundreds ofthem, most from newspaper clippings and magazines. She'd never met any of them,but she knew them because they were just like her. They too were forced to becomethe leaders of corporate Esperanza, otherwise known as the United Galaxies ofEsperanza. They all shared the same countenances of middle-aged men and women,and they all shared the same blue eyes that contained all the vivacity and lifethat had not been expressed by their toddler bodies.

But, each child inthat book no longer existed in this dimension; they had long ago traveled to thesixth, following their self-inflicted deaths. The Baby Suicides, the press hadcalled it. Grace had seen the sixth dimension many times. It was in the placewhere you were just as you are about to sleep and your mind becomes faded andsharper at the same time. Where your thoughts have been put away and the dreamworld is preparing to take you, where angels press the valley between themountains on your lips and whisper, Close your eyes. Don't try to make sense ofit. You are going to depart this long journey of a world full of darkness andheartbreak. Close your eyes and it will soon be over, and then you'll come backwith us to your home.

Tears slid down Grace's cheeks and plopped onto thepages of the lost children. She heard her father come home, and tears overwhelmedher as she heard the screaming between her parents. They never used to be likethis. They were once a beautiful couple of Estrellans with shining blue eyes fullof hope. Money and power had corrupted them. Now hardly a day passed when herparents wouldn't argue over bills, lost loves, hurt, pain, and knowledge thatscreamed into their ears and made them bleed. Their hurtful words rose from thekitchen and thundered around Grace's small body.

Grace took her treasuredbook, hugging it to her chest, and climbed onto her crib, the white lace andribbons tickling her like wings. There, she squeezed her eyes tight and sobbed,releasing her pain and anger. With her eyes closed, Gracie did not notice thethick black smoke that had begun to creep under her door. She smelled it as itbegan to suffocate her but didn't care. Maybe it's the smell of the gingerbreadthat I left in the oven the last time I visited my Neverland, shedreamed.

Below, the argument between her parents was forgotten as theyescaped the flames and ran outside, forgetting their baby. The hot flames ateaway at the expensive furniture and clothing, killing the possessions they hadtreasured far more than their daughter, who was upstairs in a deep sleep. Thestifling scent of the black smoke transformed into the radiant aroma of freshlybaked gingerbread and chocolate-chip pancakes. The moon shown sweetly on thesmiling Gracie (an act so strange to her that it tickled her cheeks) whilefairies danced in her raven curls and stars skipped on her long eyelashes.Flowers and trees swayed, their enchanting and hypnotizing scent curled in andout of the warm summer breeze along with the snow that floated lightly down ontothe green grass. The mermaids with the green silk hair rose from the golden seato catch the snowflakes on their tongues and join Gracie with the lost childrenin their dance of love and freedom. Here, Gracie was young forever as she weptpearls and laughed tinkling bells, singing all the while in the forgotten tongueof the children: "Engat su bagat en la amour!" - "At last, I amhome!"

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

booklover966 said...
Apr. 17, 2013 at 9:16 am
i loved your story-you should keep writing. but i kind of got confused because some of the words were meshed together.
 
ultrabookworm said...
Apr. 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm
I loved your story, and your style was really interesting, too. Congrats on getting published, and I hope to browse some more of your works!!
 
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