Innocence This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 26, 2011
She saw the boy standing there, partially hidden by the shadows as she walked through the summer festival with her mother. All she could distinguish was the beautiful silver fox mask on his face, the twisted smile seeming to silently beckon to her. The startling sea-foam green eyes that stared at her from the holes of the mask had some hidden emotion within their depths, but she couldn't put her finger on it.

Cassie glanced away from the shadows and stared up at her mother, her dark blue eyes full of questions. Who was the boy in the mask? And why was he staring at her? She wasn't anything special. She was just plain tomboy Cassie; 12 years old; shoulder length black hair that spiked in the back with long bangs in the front and dark blue eyes that were full of naïveté. Pale skin that made her look washed out and a simple baby blue kimono -her mother was into the Japanese culture- with plain wooden sandals. In her hair, there was a plain blue rose that hung off the side of her head.

Yes... Just plain, boring Cassie.

"Momma," Cassie's tiny childish voice piqued as the brunette woman glanced down at her daughter, her dark blue eyes full of love.

"Yes Cassie?"

Cassie fidgeted and her cheeks flushed pink as she pointed towards the shadows, her hair falling into her face to hide her expression of embarrassment.

"There's a boy looking at me."

Cassie's mother's head shot up quickly and she tugged Cassie closer to her knees, a look of shock on her face as she surveyed the area. She didn't see anyone... But... Someone watching her daughter...?

As long as they didn't wear a mask -the symbol of the notorious gang, the Black Cranes- she had no reason to worry.


Cassie glanced up at her mother, a confused look on her face, as she tugged her mother's red kimono sleeve incessantly.

"Momma? What's wrong? Why was that boy looking at me so intently?"


"Because... He was dazzled by how pretty you are. So he couldn't keep himself from staring," her mother replied wistfully, a soft motherly smile on her beautiful face.

Cassie didn't understand that at all. If the boy in the smiling fox mask thought she was cute, why didn't he come over and tell her? Or tug her hair like Jess from English class did when he told her that he thought she was cute, neh?

Letting out an exasperated sigh, she grabbed hold of her mother's hand and walked through the festival, enraptured by the soft glow of the paper lanterns and the sweet music singing in her ears. In front of her, little children were racing around, tiny paper cranes folded neatly in their hands. She had always wanted to have her own paper crane.

"Look Momma! Paper cranes," she squealed as she released her mother's hand and raced towards the children, a small giggle escaping from her pink lips. The children smiled at her tantalizingly and began to scatter, leaving an abandoned pink paper crane on the ground.

Cassie blinked her eyes in awe as she crouched down and picked the pink crane up, holding the delicate crane in the palm of her hands with an innocent smile on her cherubic face. It was so beautiful, so well sculpted...

"You found my crane."

Cassie's head snapped up and she flushed at the blond haired boy in front of her. Her eyes traveled over his form, starting at his feet and drinking in his features, until her eyes landed on his face. Her breath got caught in her throat and she gasped as she was captivated by the boy's eyes.

His sea-foam green eyes were staring at her so intently, as if seeing through her...

Where had she seen those eyes before?

"I-I'm Cassie," she whispered softly, trying to ease the tense atmosphere that seemed to loom over the boy. Her blue eyes scrutinized the boy with curiosity, her attention immediately being drawn to his face. His honey blond hair framed his matured face perfectly, yet it looked like he just rolled out of bed.

"... I'm Tobias."

Cassie blinked her eyes in shock as his rough, matured voice filled her ears. He didn't sound anything like the boys at her school; his voice was husky and deep. She licked her lips tentatively and nodded, a small blush on her pale cheeks.

"T-Tobias kun," she murmured in her squeaky girl voice, her head tilted up to stare at Tobias in awe. He was super tall, at least 5'7. She wondered how old he was. Cus his voice sounded to mature for him to be a twelve year old like the other boys.

She really wanted to know more about Tobias kun. He seemed mysterious and different. Cassie always did find herself attracted to the different things in life.

Tobias blinked his eyes in confusion, his mouth twisted in an awed look, as he stared down at the smiling Cassie.

"Tobias... kun," he repeated, his beautifully strange eyes full of shock and his tone clearly stating that he was startled by her name for him. "Are you... Japanese?"

Cassie giggled as she picked herself up from her crouched position and dusted her kimono off, a soft look on her face as she shook her head and held her hand out. The paper crane sat on top of her palms, undisturbed, as Cassie offered the beautiful art back to Tobias reluctantly.

"No. My mother and I just like the Japanese culture," she admitted with a charming smile as she spun around on her tiptoes childishly, her arms clasped behind her back as she stared up at Tobias with innocent blue eyes. "Do I look Japanese? I don't think I look Japanese, neh, Tobias kun?"

She stared up at him with bright blue eyes full of innocence...

His throat tightened at that word. Innocence. Out of all the children he had lured away today, she was, by far, the epiphany of innocence. Her eyes were full of trust and her body language stated that she was willing to listen and follow this boy's judgments without question.

He almost felt guilty for what he was about to do to this little girl.

"I know a place you can get more paper cranes…" his husky voice whispered in Cassie's ear and he offered the unsuspecting girl his tanned, calloused hand, a fake, misleading smile plastered onto his matured face.

She always wanted to have her own crane.

"Take me to the cranes," she chirped eagerly as her small hand grasped Tobias's larger hand. She hadn't even noticed the fox mask lying on top of his head as the boy swept her away from the festival, a lone black paper crane replacing the spot Cassie had occupied only a few moments ago.

In the distance, the yells of a distraught mother filled the festival night, getting lost in the joyous laughter, the soft glows of the paper lanterns, and the sounds overhead as fireworks lit the night sky...

Join the Discussion

This article has 25 comments. Post your own now!

readaholic This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm
Great story, interesting plot and a nice twist at the end. Love it!
dolphinportkey7 said...
Jan. 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm
Terrifyingly written, Chanel. It's tragic, it's heartbreaking, it's scary, and there's something strangely beautiful about the way Cassie would trust the boy like that. 5/5.
alluneedislove3 said...
Jan. 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm
Wow. Geez. I loved it. The only critique I have is that the girl was supposed to be twelve, but seemed much younger. Besides that, just wow. It was amazing, left me wanting to cry. I love to draw, and I would love to draw a picture for it sometime. But really, really amzing. Just wow. Geez...I think I'm repeating myself? OH, and you definitely deserved an editors check. In fact, I am thoroughly suprised you didn't get published in the mag with that one. Thank you for the amazing thought-povok... (more »)
Come-n-Gone said...
Nov. 30, 2011 at 7:06 pm
awe... this is soo cute (: i love it!!!
Taphephobia This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm
Wow, this is really good. Honestly, this would be so awesome as a book. I know I'd love it!
Mystiecub said...
Nov. 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm




TheFutureAwaits said...
Oct. 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm
What a great story! Nice way to input the Japanese culture into a work of fiction!
Philosophication This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm
I really do love this story. It's fantastic. However, I would like to point out an itty-bitty thing... You used "epiphany" whan i think you meant to use "epitome". Other than that, fabulous. Keep up the good work!
ButterflyKiss replied...
Oct. 30, 2011 at 10:14 pm
Lmao Oh man! I feel stupid now! I knew it didn't sound right! xD That you for pointing that out!
Calliashi said...
Oct. 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm
amazing! I love the way you describe the story. Keep writing!
mmb77 said...
Oct. 18, 2011 at 7:44 pm
It's interesting. I think you made Cassie seemed way younger than twelve, more like seven or eight. It was a little hard to follow. I liked how descriptive you were.
Waffuleez said...
Oct. 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm
I WANT MOREEEEE!!!! This is sooooooooooooo good!! Poor Cassie :-(
DanielleMitchell said...
Oct. 9, 2011 at 8:53 am
Omg, this is soooo amazing! I fell in love with the story from the first sentence! You have to write more now! Over all this is 5/5 at least!
KrissyKarnage This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 8:28 am

I love the descriptiveness; It's compelling and pulls the reader in. You did an awesome job.


Love.Hate.Passion. said...
Oct. 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm

You must write now -.-

This was awesome and mysterious and suspensful.

5 Stars


juggaloscrub said...
Oct. 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm
I like the descriptiveness and the mystery. The ending makes me want to read more
ChocoMint said...
Oct. 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm
Very good writing stlye!  Great descriptions and good metaphors/similies.  =+D  I only caught a few spelling mistakes, but those were hardly noticeable.  Good job!
andromeda13 said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm
Wow that was uber good! :) I loved it! It was a good story line lots of mystery and it was about a frightning subject but it wasn't to creepy, which I like. Five stars! *****
IreneEYtonKratz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 3:50 am
Overall,very good story. I especially enjoyed your lovely analogies and precise, beautiful descriptions. You deserved the editiors choice :-) *****
ArchimedesWhite said...
Oct. 3, 2011 at 7:02 am
Cool story, and with a good plot. But one thing that bugged me a tiny bit- if she is so young and innocent, why would she use the word "Intently"? Sorry, small things like that stick out to me sometimes.
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