During one of the Creative Writing and Drama classes I facilitated at Get Active Sports’ fantastic Hillingdon summer holiday club a few weeks ago, I ‎created a mini story for the children to complete. In other words, I started the story, then asked them to develop it; pointing out that the best story would not only be scripted into a play and performed the next day, but also be showcased on OA Empowerment’s website.

Below is a summary of the foundation I laid for them.

‘Katie, a young, beautiful and adorable deer and her mother, Penelope, love to spend their Saturday mornings playing on the gorgeous fields, beside the great forest.

On this particular Saturday, Penelope and Katie saunter to the fields, eager to enjoy their much cherished time together.

“Mummy, would you mind if I run up and down for a while. I want to stretch my legs,” says Katie, as they survey the great expanse.

“Of-course you can, my love. But remember, the forest is out of bounds,” replies mum. She loves watching her daughter run up and down the fields; always so proud of how fast she is.

Katie gallops up and down several times, a quarter of a mile to the east, then a quarter to the west, all the while resplendent in beauty and grace. But before long she spots a wounded wolf cub, lying on the ground. The cub is in great pain, and seems to have been abandoned. Recognising she may be the cub’s only hope for survival, she heads towards it in order to help.

“Are you okay? What happened?” she asks.

Unknown to Katie, there are five big hungry wolves creeping towards her.

“Katie, ” shouts Penelope. “Katie, look behind you. Katie, run! Run Katie!!”

But Katie cannot hear her.

The wolves are getting closer, licking their lips as they approach their dinner.

Penelope frantically sprints towards her daughter. Never has she run so quickly. Faster and faster she goes, refusing to entertain even the slightest thought of her daughter’s slaughter.

“Katie!” screams Penelope as she grabs her daughter, who only now realises the cub isn’t wounded at all. They run as fast as they can in a desperate attempt to escape the wolves, straining every sinew with each frantic stride. But much to their horror, just as they start to get away, they see a herd of elephants running towards them; a hundred at the very least!

Now stationary, and not knowing which way to turn, Katie and Penelope’s hearts beat faster and faster, jolted by each thunderous thump of the approaching herd. To their left is death by stampede, and to the right is a tortuous demise by slaughter. Their only hope is to run towards the cliff. But what then? What happens when they get to the edge?

“Katie, the cliff is our only hope,” shouts Penelope.

“But mum, what happens when…”

“I know, my love. I know. But it’s our only hope. I love you, Katie,” says Penelope, sensing this may be their final conversation.

Together they run as fast as they can towards the cliff, before screeching to a halt at the edge in order to assess their impending fate. Peering down, they see nothing but a dark and misty fog; never-ending descent into a foreboding abyss.

“Mum, I…I’m scared,” says Katie, all too certain this is their end.

“I know, my love. But this is our only chance of survival. We just have to hope and pray that somehow we’ll be okay,” says Penelope, as they retreat several yards before setting-off on a hapless sprint towards their fate.

“Ready?” asks Penelope, turning to her daughter one last time.

“Ready mum,” replies Katie, tears streaming down her face as she senses their imminent death.

They run towards the cliff, increasing in speed as they approach the edge. With eyes firmly shut, they jump, outcome and destination unknown.

Down and down they fall – a never-ending descent into the chaos of the unknown.’

And that, my dear friends is the beginning of an epic adventure.

What happens next?

You tell me.’

In other words, I asked the children to write the full story – as told from the beginning, and how it unfolds in their own minds.

The winner was a very talented, creative, and highly focused nine-year-old girl, who presented her story to over ninety children and several parents (this is something I always encourage and coach children to do, as it helps them grow in Confidence and Self-Belief). And I must add that I was especially impressed with her confidence, coherence, and ability to maintain the attention of her audience.

This is her story – aptly titled, ‘The Unknown World’.

Chapter 1, the leap of faith

Katy was an admirably, attractive young girl, who was full of imagination and knowledge. Like her daughter, Penelope, was pretty too and cherished the times when she saw her daughter have fun and laugh. Today was like no other and they joyfully skipped to the field.

The field was elaborately done with bright neon grass and had colourful flowers swishing gently and swaying calmly to the wind. The Oak trees were dancing like professional dancers on strictly come dancing. Perched on the trees were birds chirping joyously and squirrels going into their shelter after their scavenge for food. The cute bunnies were burrowing themselves in holes getting soil all over their fluffy ears and bees were buzzing around the wonderful flowers. The butterflies, full of extraordinary patterns and designs on their delicate wings, were flying around.

The mother and daughter admired this sight every time underneath the blazing sun and could stand there on hours on end. After this, Katy went and played, laughing and running around until she spotted a worrying sight.

A wolf cub was whimpering down low covering its furry face. Katy towered over the wolf to check on it. From a distance, Penelope saw her beloved daughter in front of four growling, famished wolves getting ready to pounce. Penelope screamed, “Katy run, run as far as you can!” Katy didn’t hear so her mum sprinted towards her and yanked her away from this traumatizing trap. They ran like they had never done before, was this enough? Suddenly there was a colossal sized shake which made Katy skip a few heart beats. They saw a herd of elephants which could have stampeded over them and squashed them in an instant! There was only one way out, they turned left away from the snarling wolves and the mammoth sized elephants. What came before them was a petrifying sight, a long drop from the field. The water droplets didn’t even seem to land it just kept going and going. They kicked a few pebbles, it wouldn’t stop falling. Katy exclaimed, “Mum this is the only way.” As she told that the animals were closing in, they took a few steps back and held each other’s hands and leaped off the cliff…

Chapter 2 The ‘Impossible’ quest

The drop seemed endless and their screams echoed around the pitch black drop. Worries were roaming around in their heads, what if they never saw the light of day, or they never got home.

They held their breath as the fall came to an end. They landed in the water with humongous splash!

A dusty door with a golden handle stood deserted on a stone, cold floor. In curiosity, they tugged the door and surprisingly it opened. There was an overgrown garden full of spiky holly leaves and vines creeping up every second. They possibly could’ve been miles underneath ground, and there was a garden! They looked in disbelief with their mouths wide open then lights flickered on, there was habitat in an underground world!

There was a creek and an ugly man with cracked lips came out and stomped out and questioned, “Who are you, I’m the only one meant to be in this secret dimension!”

“I’m Penelope and this is my daughter Katy we want to get back to Planet Earth,” she stumbled.

“Ahhhh, but if you are clever enough to get in, you must be to get out,” he slyly bellowed,

The two just stared, infuriated; how that could be possible they thought to themselves. They had a challenging quest: to build a portal back to their home. He selfishly gave a few items with a smug face.

Katy began thinking how to stick the materials together with out any of the sticking materials. She thought to her self what all the books she read had in common had been:

Imagination!.

Chapter 3 making a portal

Katy told her theory to her mum and she thought it was a brilliant idea. She began to believe in all the magical things thought to be impossible. Her items began multiplying and turned out into an incredible teleporting machine.

The ancient, crooked man gave a slight smile and began to gleam and then he let them go back home. After a while of celebrating, Katy began writing a book about her exquisite adventures – which is what you are reading now!

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