In the Village of Icedale...

December 9, 2007
By Adeena Chefitz, New Rochelle, NY

In the village of Icedale, where ice perennially enveloped the streets, there dwelled an inquisitive nine-year-old girl named Stella Sufeley. The residents of the village all knew of the news and fables which circulated throughout Icedale. Stella usually ignored the myths; however, there was one legend which she sincerely believed existed – the legend of the bloodthirsty dog. People claimed that the dog, which lived in the Death-House, five doors down from Stella’s, slashed the skin off a girl named Annalise and clawed her to death. The dog’s razor-sharp teeth bit each of her eyeballs out and generated blood to plunge down her face. The woes of Annalise were claimed to have clamored miles from the horrific scene. After hearing the shriek of terror, the sheriff rushed to the sight, but, unfortunately, was too late. The dog and its two owners managed to escape into hiding. Accordingly, there was no evidence of who the dog and its owners were, but there was strong suspicion that they have recently returned to the Death-House.
Traditionally on Friday mornings, Stella and her two best friends Henry and Mathew would ice-skate to the park in the center of the village. There, they would play ice-frisbee, a game where one traditionally threw the disk in the air and the other two would skate and attempt to catch the disk. This Friday morning, as she passed the Death-House on the way to the park, Stella thought she heard a deathly bark echoing from inside the house.
“Did you hear that? I heard the dog howling inside the house! I am going inside to see if the dog is indeed prowling there.”
Mathew and Henry stood bewildered, for they had not heard anything.

“What did you hear? Stella you are the only one who heard the blare from the house.”
“Listen, I hear the woofs yet again from inside the Death-House.”
Mathew and Henry concentrated on the sound and heard the noise of which Stella was describing. Mathew then cautioned Stella:
“Stella, indeed a creature inhabits the house, but we shall not enter, lest, we are slaughtered, like Annalise.”
“You do not have to come along, but I will still enter the house.”
Mathew echoed his response to Stella quite boldly:
“Stella, it is devastating to be an onlooker to such folly. You are voluntarily enlisting yourself into death. Let’s just go to the park and discount the clatter from the Death-House.”
Henry, however, sided with Stella and argued:
“Mathew you are a craven man! All our lives, we have yearned to learn about the Death-House and its’ mysteries, and now is our opportunity to unravel the truth.”
Mathew was very timid upon entering the Death-House and skated back to his secure home. Henry, on the other hand, proposed no opposition and obediently followed Stella into the house. Stella and Henry walked daringly toward the house, unaware of the impeding danger which lurked there. They rang the doorbell. No answer. Again, no answer. Instinctively, they rang the bell one more time, but this time there was an answer.
“Children, please come in and have some tea. You must be shivering in this artic weather,” a friendly voice beckoned.

Without hesitance, Stella and Henry entered the house. The moment they placed their feet inside the house, they lost consciousness and swiveled through the air. They tried opening their eyes, but could only see black. They spiraled, without control, and were zapped into a different dimension - they were trapped.

This new dimension was based upon all of Stella’s fears and nightmares. When she traveled from earth to this new dimension, her shriek, which contained all her qualms, shaped the characteristics of this novel-like world.

Beastly monsters, trolls, and ogres skulked the land with saliva dripping from their moist lips, signifying their craving for food. The tainted smell of dead bodies emanated from the ground and suffocated the atmosphere. When inhaling the air, the taste of rotten fish engulfed one’s mouth. Frogs croaked, suffering from the stench of the environment. When the sun settled, howls from nearby forests broke the stillness, just as the faintest footsteps could be discerned when there is serenity. Brisk birds hovered through the sky, launching stinging-arrows at anyone in sight. Dead elves, reindeers, and goblins, rested along the streets as a result of the thrown arrows. Their blood caked to the pavement, and oily worms decomposed the remains. Darkness covered the land.
Stella and Henry lurked along a deserted field, unaware of the death-defying adventures which were awaiting them.

“Henry, we are trapped in a parallel universe!! We must contrive a route to escape this place. I have had dreams of being abducted from earth, and I know a way to return back home. Somewhere in this new world lies the Death-House. If we ring the doorbell
of this house, we will be transported securely back to earth. Thus, we must begin our quest of finding the………..Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

Stella heard the thumping of giant creatures coming from behind her. Thump Thump Thump. She whipped her head and saw many single eyed monsters charging at Henry and her. The plump beasts covered their green, slimy skin with dirty garments of white cloth. Their faces were encrusted with blood, revealing that they had just recently devoured someone to death. Without delay, Stella and Henry evaded death by darting out of sight.

Once their heart rates returned to equilibrium, Stella and Henry returned to their mission of finding the Death-House. They searched endlessly for a week, but did not unravel any clues to where laid the Death-House. When the last speck of optimism was about to disappear, Stella and Henry met Ochaka, the famous wizard. Ochaka was a short elderly man who had a long, gray beard to prove his age. He always carried a book with him and used his oval-rimmed glasses for reading. He never changed his clothes and wore an off colored white robe. When he spoke, the sound of his saliva pressing against his tongue penetrated through the air. His smell of cinnamon remained diffused into the atmosphere, even after his presence left. Ochaka was, undoubtedly, the most powerful creature of the land and had the powers of god. The sight of Ochaka spurred beams of smiles to appear upon Stella and Henry’s faces. Ochaka represented hope, and hope
meant survival. Inopportunely, Ochaka only spoke in the form of poetry; hence, his instructions for Stella and Henry were outlined in a poem.
Follow the Path
The one which seems right
If you succeed
You can determine the next trail
Stella and Henry could not decipher the message and continued along the gray-pebbled road. As they journeyed along the pathway, Stella and Henry noticed glowing
lights coming toward them. At first, they did not make much of it. However, when the illumination neared them, they realized that they were in severe peril. What they were seeing were firing-killing flies. These insects were composed of fire and struck any living creature in their path. Stella and Henry, fortunately, eluded death by scurrying to a secure cave.
Once in the cave, Stella heard a sinister voice.
“Sssssss Ssssss. Stella, I am Rapekey the clairvoyant snake. I know that you are trying to escape this dimension and return to earth. I have the power to transport you to the Death-House so you can go back to earth. However, I can only facilitate your needs, and I can’t take your friend, Henry, along too. The decision is yours - you can either return to earth alone or remain trapped in this dimension forever.”
Stella responded to the snakes offer and bellowed:
“I will never abandon my friend, Henry!”
Immediately, the ground beneath their feet started to quaver, and Stella and Henry pivoted frenziedly through the air. In a flash, they were back on earth standing at the
doorstep of the Death-House. Stella and Henry, instantly, realized the meaning of the wizard, Ochaka’s, poem. “Follow the Path, The one which seems right,” meant that you
must follow the path of integrity and make the moral decision. Stella exhibited allegiance to Henry by refusing to desert him and was, thus, worthy to “determine the next trail.”

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