How A Childhood Legend Began This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   How a Childhood Legend Began

by C. B., Billerica, MA

A memory is made by a sequence of events that stand out in a mind to be extraordinary. An imagination holds the essence of what a child is. When these two elements are combined, a magical event occurs. The gift of an imagination and the power of a memory can create legends. And legends can live on forever. This was how a childhood legend began.

The setting was a clear, brisk fall day and the scent of fall blanketed the school yard. The recess bell, echoing for miles, had promptly rung at 10 a.m. as usual. Children cascaded out of the elementary school and ran toward the playing fields. The fourth grade boys all charged toward the largest baseball diamond for a round of kickball and the girls scattered all over.

Through all this normalcy appeared a miniature pack of girls aimlessly walking over to a clearing so as not to attract attention. As soon as they reached the clearing, they bolted into their own secluded alcove. Their eyes reflected the sheer beauty of the clearing. The season shone on the setting with a gentle whisper of wind that drifted the blazing leaves into a tornado of color.

The girls dashed over to the towering tree that overpowered everything in the alcove. The branches beckoned the girls to come forth and see its secret wonder, for in the heart of the tree revealed a hand-sized knothole.

This group of girls received their name from this secret in the tree. They were known only to themselves as the Knothole Gang. Their purpose was to preserve excess lunch money and hide buried treasure in the heart of the knothole. Every member had a different personality and a special talent. However, there was one quiet girl who had a hidden enjoyment. For she was the member of the group who was known for her stories and powerful imagination that could produce those legends. She perceived things differently from other people and she had the ability to make others witness what her eyes saw. As a result, this is the very power that launched this legend.

The Knothole Gang was finishing up with their daily routine of collecting money and transporting it into their tree when a bizarre thing occurred. One of the more boisterous girls noticed a demolished old tree house about 50 yards from the alcove. Something flashed in the quiet girl's eyes and the magic started.

The influence of events that had occurred a week before mixed with present circumstances to create the ingredients to produce a legend.

To start from the beginning: the week before, dogs were reported lost around the area of the school and there were rumors flying around school about what had mysteriously occurred to those dogs. The girls were very much aware of the rumors and decided that the tree house and its occupant might be involved. This was all the quiet girl needed to know to create the story. All of a sudden, the shadows of the tree house became human and transformed into an old man with a long metal gun. The more children who ran over to the scene, the more elaborate the story became. Soon piles of leaves transformed into dogs and with closer inspection, their heads appeared missing. This caused a screaming riot of children and a rushing of teachers from the playground.

The children were rushed into the safety of the school while the adults called the authorities. Events that occurred after this involved children spying out of windows as the police appeared from out of nowhere with blaring sirens. The intimidating officers vanished into the shadowy, concealed woods.

About fifteen minutes later the police entered the classroom and revealed to the children that there was a battered tree house in the woods that contained a scarecrow clutching a water gun left over from Halloween. After the police left, the teachers gave the children a lecture about letting your imagination get the better of you.

During the lecture, the quiet girl sat in the last seat and just smiled.

Six years have passed and the childhood legend that began at the school is still living strong, and the quiet girl is still smiling. c






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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