Tabatha A. Yeatts
THROUGH THE KEYHOLE
YOUTH WRITING CONTEST WINNERS
Through the Keyhole #1 by Harry W. Yeatts Jr.
BAVA'S TRUE HOME
By Christa F.,
Winner, 11-12 year-old category
Before Bava, no dared to go near the gate. But she was never ordinary. She asked questions about the gate from birth. She’d wander among the fields harvesting while asking her siblings to tell her how Riza the Great shut the monsters behind the gate. She didn’t call them monsters though, she called them pets. This appalled her family of course.
“Honestly Bava, those hideous creatures are not pets! They are horrid monsters! Dragons, griffins, and many more! They most certainly do not deserve the name pets!” Holly would say. Holly had long brown hair and large grey eyes. Her face was always stern and she had rosy cheeks and virtually no eyebrows. Her siblings would always nod in agreement and continue on with their previous work. Since Bava was the youngest her opinion was worth very little. Holly, however, was the eldest and everyone adored her. Bava just wished someone would stick a dirty sock in her mouth. Once, while Bava and Holly where hanging the wash, Holly screamed and pointed to a large brown hairy spider that was perched in the basket of wash.
“BRANDON! COME SQUISH IT!” Holly screamed covering her face with her bony hands. The second eldest, Brandon, was in the barn milking one of the old cows. The scream startled him and he yanked too hard. The cow cried with rage and kicked him in the face. He cursed and covered his now broken and very bloody nose. Holly kept screaming through the entire thing. Bava held back a laugh and set her hand down. She waved the spider on to her palm with her free hand. She stood up and stroked it. Holly fainted.
“Don’t worry about her.” She told the spider as she walked slowly towards the forest. “She’s like Mother, she can’t bare the sight of anything that has more than two legs. So you have eight legs, that’s six strikes buddy. You weren’t hurting anyone, you just hitched a ride on a basket without meaning to. I hitch rides on wagons all the time, but then again I mean to do it. I get in trouble for it too. I like to see how long it takes for them to notice me.” Bava knelt down and let the spider scurry off her hand. It clambbered up the nearest tree and disappeared through the branches.
“Ba-va! Dinner!” Mother’s voice came from the house.
“Coming Mother!” Bava called.
The very next day Bava had to go to the small town of Forest Hills with Holly and her father. Forest Hills was always boring. No one every stopped to say hello or even smiled. In the fifty thousand times (or so it seemed) she had been there she had yet to see one single smile.
“Father, why does no one ever smile?” Bava asked as the wagon rattled on.
“Of course we smile.” Father said stiffly.
“No, I mean in Forest Hills.”
“Hold your tongue.”
Bava sighed, her family always acted like that. They talked to her in an annoyed voice, they never looked directly at her when talking, and she was always told to hold her tongue. When they reached Forest Hills she was told to stay in the wagon and wait. Bava stayed, not like there was anything to do. She stared up at the bright blue sky. There wasn’t a cloud in sight. While she sat there alone she began thinking of her family. The deeper into thought she got, the more she realized how badly they treated her.
“Bava! Come here and carry this flour!” Holly yelled, dropping three heavy sacks on the ground. Bava glared at her and shook her head.
“No.” Bava said defiantly.
“Bava do what your sister tells you to!” Father said sharply.
Bava jumped from the wagon and ran through the town. She shoved a woman struggling with a large bag of sugar. The woman fell to the ground and Bava kept running wit Hough so much as a sorry. The woman stood up and brushed the dirt off her gown. She watched Bava keep running without so much as a sorry. Little did Bava know that the woman was actually a fairy who had avoided capture by Riza.
“Your rudeness earns you a punishment.” The fairy said, but Bava could not hear. “You shall have to live in the Banished Lands, with my poor family.”
Bava came to a screeching halt and felt someone tugging at her arm. She looked and saw no one. But someone was tugging at her arm in short bursts. She took one step towards the direction, it kept tugging. Another step. Another tug. Two steps. Two tugs. She began running in the direction. She heard yelling behind her and she kept running, she wanted to see where this force was taking her. And soon she saw. It was a large wall, she saw the rough black stone and the chipping white paint. Poison ivy crept up the sides of the wall like snakes. A large stone door magically flew open, ripping the parts of the ivy that had grown over the cracks of the door. Bava was now going willingly, she was curious what was on the other side. She walked slowly into a large meadow, bordered by a large forest. The door closed behind her and at the end of the meadow Bava saw a creature. Her scales were milky white and her wings were large and leathery.
“A dragon!” Bava gasped, taking a few steps forward. “Hello? Dragon? What is your name?” She was testing the dragon’s speech abilities, she hoped it could speak.
The dragon turned her head to see a cute little human girl. They rarely got humans, she must have been punished like the other humans that had arrived. She smiled and walked slowly towards the girl. She was pretty with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes.
“Hello little child. I am Draca. What is your name?” the dragon replied kindly.
Oh! She’s even more beautiful up close! Bava thought. Draca’s horns where pearly pink and her eyes were a light shade of yellow. The spines on her back were pearly pink like her horns, she seemed like a beautiful creature from a dream. “Bava.”
“What a lovely little name.” Draca replied with a large comforting smile. “Bava, would you like to come to my cave with me? It will be getting dark soon, and you surely aren‘t sleeping out here.”
“Oh yes! Thank you for your hospitality!” Bava said curtsying. “I’ve always daydreamed about meeting a dragon! Your exactly like I imagined them, beautiful, kind, and very polite. But… can you really breathe fire?”
In response Draca pointed her head towards the sky and flames erupted from her mouth. Though after they reached a certain height the flames struck an invisible wall and they flickered out. Draca sighed and stared sadly at Bava. “It’s that spell. We can’t leave.”
Bava frowned and crossed her arms. “Well you don’t seem very dangerous to me.”
Draca sighed, “Well to many humans we are. Now come, we must get to my cave before night falls. I can’t see in the dark you know, and I highly doubt you can.”
A few years passed and Bava never aged a day. She was adopted by Draca and accepted by the other creatures. Bava became best friends with elves, dragons, griffins, pixies, fairies, and many other creatures. The only ones she never talked to were ogres, because they were too stupid to speak. Also she developed a habit of calling Draca ‘Mother’. One day Holly stumbled upon the wall. She had seen her sister run this way a few years before, maybe she went behind the wall. She found a small carved keyhole with the white paint falling off by the second. She peered through and saw the back of a girl running away from her laughing.
“Mother wait for me! I wanna go watch elves dance too!” Bava laughed as she rushed towards a large white shape. Holly squinted and saw what she thought was a dragon. She gasped and ran off, not believing that a dragon had embraced her sister as a daughter. It wasn’t possible! Though back in the village no one believed her so Holly let it go. Bava had found her true home, and it was clear she did not want to come back.
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