Monday, 30 November 2015

Puppy Town

As the blue mechanical brush swept through his satin white fur, and the steak scented bubbles covered him in a scent that made him ravenous, Fefurr watched the relaxation compartments go around. It reminded  him of a bike chain circling in a continuous cycle. He realised how tired he was, and decided that a beauty rest would do him some good, as he did not want to have bags under his eyes in front of the King. The glossy white finish to the walls drifted away as Fefurr closed his eyes and fell asleep…

He was woken by the sound of the bell at the reception desk. In a panic he looked at his watch, and gasped when he saw the time. “The King shall take off my head!" he thought. “I hope he is in a good mood.” He rushed out of the entrance, the right paw of the giant plastic dog at the front of the puppy parlour, and dashed off to the dogger bus.

The sausage-dog-shaped vehicle hovered over the bustling city streets, preparing to descend at the next stop, a couple of metres down the road. A black nose sat at the front of the bus, purple ears and tail behind. Circle windows were scattered across the sides of the vehicle, disguised as the dog's spots.  

As a result of Fefurr's lack of time management, he found himself frantically pushing through jostling crowds along with many other dogs. It was all tails and ears, as they tried to claim a good seat in the dogger bus.

Fefurr fortunately managed to get a seat before the bus was completely full to the brim, but he hadn't been able to call dibs on a front seat. The bus left the forlorn concrete, and picked up speed as it headed towards the palace. Many dogs had come off the bus, which left only Fefurr and two others to disembark at the last stop.

After a few minutes time, Fefurr found himself rushing down the gravel path that lead him up the hill and to the palace. Berry bushes that were sophisticatedly trimmed in all shapes and sizes, lined the pathway leading up to the grand yellow and purple doors. Two purple and yellow identical flags perched proudly on the top of the two side towers. A crown-shaped balcony sat neatly on the top of a giant marble bone. He continued up the pathway and reached the doors. He rang the bone shaped door bell an orchestra of barks echoed through the air. Eventually the sound of the barking died down and the grand doors opened. Fefurr's stomach was in knots as walked into the marvellous entrance full of detailed sculptures of past kings. A grand staircase lead up to some more doors that opened into the throne room. Suddenly, Madame Le Poof, the royal fur dresser, hurried over to him. 
“Where have you been? Hurry along now, if you're quick the King won't mind too much.” 
“I doubt it,” Fefurr contradicted. 

He moved up the stairs that were lined with smooth white marble. He hesitated a moment before reluctantly pushing open the doors. Fefurr slowly padded in, trying not to be noticed, but the door disobeyed his need and slammed loudly, letting a loud sound echo through the air. His eyes glanced around the room and up to the king. The King was a large, beautifully groomed German Shepherd. He looked like any other dog, the only difference being a sparking golden crown that perched neatly in place on the top of his head. His throne towered over everything in the room. 

“Sorry for my lateness, your majesty,” mumbled Fefurr, nervously waiting to be taken to the dungeons to be beheaded. 
“I hope that it had good meaning,” The King grunted, his dark blue eyes staring right at Fefurr like spot lights. 
“Yes, your majesty,” Fefurr answered looking at the ground.
“Just go and sit down,” The king demanded impatiently. 

Fefurr went and sat in his chair next to the King. It was a tiny wooden chair that had 'Fefurr McWoof, Kings Assistance' engraved in golden metal letters on the top. It looked like a pile of trash next to the King's marble jewel encrusted throne.

He sat there listening to the King blabbering on about how he needed a new pillow for his throne, because his old (two day old) one wasn't puffy enough. He then turned to Fefurr.

“Fefurr go to the royal cushion maker and order a new pillow. Tell her she has exactly 24 hours from now, I can't let my tail be any more painful than it is now." The King commanded.
"Yes, your majesty," Fefurr replied as he began to scuttle towards the door.
"Wait, wait, come back, you need the design. Make sure she knows to use every little piece of detail," the King boomed after him.
"Yes, your majesty."

Fefurr paced out the throne room doors, down the stairs and towards the tailor's room. "24 hours, all detail, 24 hours, all detail, 24 hours, all detail..." Fefurr did not want any mistakes because it would all be blamed on him. 

The tailor worked her hardest, and by the end of the day, the Kings pillow was complete and Fefurr was called to pick it up. He knocked on the King's door, and once again it creaked open, to reveal the King sitting in his grand throne.

 “I have your pillow, your majesty,” Fefurr started, hoping that the King would approve. 

“Um… it's ok, but a bit late,” the King stuttered. Fefurr took this as a compliment.

The king inspected the pillow, trying to find something wrong with it. "Is that done right?.. oh, yes. What about..."  But the King could not find anything wrong with the pillow and Fefurr was dismissed.

At the end of Fefurr’s busy day, he made his way back to the puppy parlour. Fefurr certainly did not want a repeat of what had happened earlier in the day when he lost track of time, so he decided he would spoil himself, and go to the puppy parlour again. As he was going around in the compartment, he finished off his beauty rest, this time ready for the next day of work. Maybe it would be a better idea to get his fur done in the evening, not the morning!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Melbourne Zoo

Trees on each side of me stand tall and proud, shedding leaves, brown and dull, to delight young children with their crackle and crunch. Speckles of yellow highlights the barks bumps and curves, making every little detail stand out, giving that lovely mystical effect.

 A tall concrete pole stretches up on my right, making a structure for people to walk through. The sun fights its way through the canopy of green, gleaming down at the puzzling intersection of winding paths, each one beconning for me to walk down it. 

I gaze at the dead leaves, showing no sign of life, thinking about how they usually dance and scatter around me, filling me with energy. Not today though. 

Flat rocks marking the edges of the garden make tables for parrots and sparrows, munching on their afternoon snacks of worms and fruit. Rainforest-like gardens seperate the dusty paths, but fill me with wonder at their beauty and magnificence. 

Down one track, children giggle and laugh with each other in the sunshine, mimicking the monkeys. I listen to their voices, tuneful and sweet, reminding me of the parrots that fly past my grandparents apartment, teasing their cat Indy. 

I was snapped out of my thoughts by my cousin Maya, imitating a little girl. I giggled at the memory, thinking of my times at Melbourne Zoo. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Orienteering at pines beach

They had arranged it to be on a Sunday. Probably because lots of people don't have things on on a Sunday afternoon, and they have just had a whole Saturday to rest, so they wouldn't be too tired. This suits me fine, for I'm not the sort of person who likes to spend their weekends relaxing with a hot chocolate and watching a good movie. I like to be active while I can, before school comes again, and cages me from all my fun activities.The sky sparkles at pines beach, and I sprint up the dusty track, ticking off markers until we came to a beach. I gaze at the dancing sand beneath my feet, thinking about yesterday's orienteering, and how it was much different to this. Putting all my daydreams behind me, I focus on getting Lucy and I to the next marker.

That's when the first wave of panic hit me.

"They've probably put it in the best hiding spot, so it's hard for even the most experienced orienteerers." I mumble, my voice shaky.
I scan the world around me. It has lots of different terrain, which makes that small difference, making a single tear fall from my eye. We are brave adventurers. Brave alright, but hopelessly lost, with no clue where to go next. I watch the water cascade up the beach, stealing empty shells, each with a story tell. I scramble up the tall sand dunes, and desperately flick my eyes through the forest surrounding me, searching for a path I would never find. The trees enclose around the beach, and suffocate my confidence. We are lost for good. With no mobiles, we would most likely never see our family again.

"W-w-where d-do we go?" I snuffle, each word filling me with an invisible pain.

"I'm, not sure… it should say on the map…" Lucy uncertainly replies. That's when I realise that she is as stressed as I am.
The sky, a blur of blue, looms above me, threatening nothing but sun and wind. It is mid spring, so it is not too hot, and not too cold. However I feel like I am an ant in a hot oven, with a yummy chicken pie, just out of a human's arms’ reach. The sun shines over the orienteering course, making each step heavier, each step slower, each step sleepier. 

That's when I saw the flash of gold.

My guardian angel, coming down from the heavens, signaling for me to come. I stop on the sand dune, a few centimetres from the girl. NOT my guardian angel, just a normal girl. She stares at me like I am an alien. I feel like telling her it is rude to stare, but the fresh smell of salt water smothers my mouth, and reminds me where I am.

"Please, can you help me," Then I remember Lucy "Um, us. We are completely lost!" She helps us, by guiding us in the right direction.
Soon after that, we find the marker, bright and visible with an orange flag beside it. We move on, thinking we are on a run of good luck, only to find we had made a wrong turn. I panicked too quickly that time. How would we get back? We were lost, alone, and this time had no guardian angel to guide us.But then I see the streak of orange, and I sprint to the finish line. We would come last, I just knew it.

But then, everyone goes through the same experience, which is probably why we came 8th.

The mystery of the dinosaur

For years, scientists have been studying dinosaurs, what they looked like, what they ate, and what caused their extinction.
They are almost certain that it was a meteor that made them vanish from this world. I believe this too, but what if it wasn't? What if something completely different happened? What if they all got ambushed by aliens? What if it was caused by something that we think didn't even exist then? I have proof. And you are about to witness it. (In words of course, I don't have video evidence.)

It all started with one trip to the beach.
I was running around, having the time of my life when… “Alyssa! Time to go!” In my anger, I sprinted towards the road, and tripped, landing on something sharp, which pierced my skin. I felt extreme pain, and when I opened my eyes, all I could see was red, racing down from the start line, the fleshy palm of my hand. I shut my eyes and let my mouth open quickly to let out an ear piercingly loud scream, followed by the salty water that cascaded down my cheeks.

In my my tears, I didn't see what was there that (out of all children) chose me to hurt, but mum told me it was just glass. I believed this for the short period of one year. After that, my brain started thinking more beach-like. A sharp stick maybe? Or a stone? Wait, maybe a shell? 
This last idea was the one that stuck. It made sense, didn’t it? I was running on a beach, fell over and cut my hand on a shell. But then my critical thinking came in. Mix that with a little imagination, and you get my thinking. “Since when have shells been sharp enough to cut through skin?” I thought, picturing me trying to cut myself with a shell. “Someone must have sharpened it, but why would they do that?” Then I remembered how I didn't see anything when I fell. “It must be old, buried under the sand millions of years ago, slowly getting closer to the surface of the beach with everything going over it!” I thought. “It could have been used to defend something from the dinosaurs!” I now wish that I had stopped and looked around, because if it had been used to kill dinosaurs, then it would be very important evidence.

A few years later, I was playing on the beach, collecting shells, (only the pretty ones of course) when I saw a knife, sticking out from under a rock. I peered closer, found it was not a knife, but a shell, dusted lightly in golden powder, standing out from the rest of the shells by its sharp peak at the top. I rested my hand on it to find it very rough, and then turned it so I could see the other side. It had a pearly texture, and was a rainbow of soft pastel colours, from the blue of the ocean, to the pink of the sunset. It was just like any nice paua shell, except for its pocket knife appearance. I turned it back over, and then saw it. The smallest detail, that seemed like the biggest. A tiny speck of red, on the point of the sharp bit.

For years, scientists have been studying dinosaurs, what they looked like, what they ate, and what caused their extinction. 
They are almost certain that it was a meteor that made them vanish from this world. But what if, just maybe, it was something completely different. What if, just maybe, it was a creature with a weapon. A creature with a shell.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

A gruesome discovery

Have you made a gruesome discovery before?
Perhaps you have a cat. They, being hunters, bring in mice, birds, and worst, rats. They would lie there, dead, in pools of blood, with scratches, bites, their insides and brains coming out. Or maybe you opened up your bag to find maggots all through it, squirming and wiggling maggots, or rotting celery, causing you to gag.
It just so happens that I live with a cat. And not just any cat, my naughty little rascal Astro.
My tale starts a while after dark, the noises of the night were stirring through my room, yet I was not bothered by them, for I was in a candy filled dream land.
Shadows crept around my very pink room, not taking any care not to wake me, the little girl lying in her pink bed, up.
Suddenly the candy melted, and I was woken to the sound of scuffling beneath my bed. 
"What's that noise?" I thought to myself.
Cautiously, I stretched over the edge of my bed. 
Cautiously, I peered under the bedside table.
I lay back down, trying to go back to sleep, listening to my own breathing, staring at the roof, getting the feeling that I wasn't the only living thing in that room.
The scuffling started up again.

Nervously, I crept my hands to the edge of the bed.
Nervously, I pulled my head over the edge…
And much to my annoyance, there was still nothing.
Reluctantly but persistently, I stayed there, watching, waiting.

That's when I saw it.
I skipped a breath, and threw myself back onto the bed.
I looked back, this time through my fingers, growing angry with my cat.
For there, beside my bed, sticking out from under a book, was a hairless, shining, light brown tail. 
What was this my cat had brought in for me? A mouse? A rat!?
I reached out, ready to squirm at the sight of intestines all through my book, sticky, gooey intestines, maybe even a juicy heart in there for good measure.
I was shocked.
Suddenly, the rat scrambled up the side of my bed, I jumped off, screaming my head off.
It followed me, and I jumped over it, back onto my bed. "What if it has rabies?"
Mum came in to see what the fuss was about. She told me to stop screaming like a chicken who had lost its head, that it's only a small rat, and that I was giving her a headache.
I stopped screaming, but did not take my eyes off that rat. It might have been small, but you know what they say about scorpions, the smaller, the deadlier. But then, big things are dangerous too, and it could turn into a giant rat at any time.
Mum chased it out of my room, and I snuggled down into my duvet, feeling the warmth engulf me.
In my life, I have seen many gruesome things, such as rotting apples. In these situations, I find it best to try not to panic, and stay calm, because panicking isn't going do you any good, is it?
Of course, that is easy to say when you don't have a rat in your bed!

The arts reflection

Yesterday, on the 17th of September, He Tangata and lots of other people from Waimairi school, went on a journey to the city of Christchurch to perform and build connections with our audience.
I think that our performances went really well (at least, the ones I saw did) because the audience occasionally made sounds like "wow," and "cool!" 
My favourite part was when we were doing our play, and we bowed and then everyone clapped and cheered. My proudest moment was when I finished saying my last line, it really made me feel good because I had expected to forget lots of my lines in my nervousness, but I remembered most of them, and that felt really good. 

I found it challenging to connect to the audience, because I was talking to Naima, but I had to include the audience, so I faced them, but then that felt weird, because I was supposed to be talking to Naima.
I had my body facing the audience though, and I was projecting my voice, so I think that was making connections with my audience. I know that the community connected with me because they cheered, clapped, and to me they seemed interested. This made me feel very relived that they liked it, because I had been working so hard, and after it my friends mum came up to me and said she really enjoyed it, and she was amazed how I learnt all those lines in such a short time. That made me feel wonderful.

I saw the audience showing manaakitia, because they were watching, and they were a very polite audience. For example, they weren't shouting to their friend that was over the other side of the play, and they were sitting quietly enjoying the show.
I think it is important to show manaakitia and be a polite audience because then the actors feel like their play is interesting, however if the audience were shouting and talking to the person next to them, the actors would feel like their play is boring and no one wants to watch it.
I think that they were also showing kotahitanga because they got up at the end and started dancing. This is showing kotahitanga because they are being together, and making friendships. 

I think I can keep connecting to my community by playing the flute, and singing. There are lots of ways you can keep connecting to your community, and I think I am going to practice a few things to do at Monday meet up.
It is important to keep connecting to the arts because then people watching will feel happy, and grateful.
The community responded with smiles and laughs, and at the end they all got up and started dancing.
I think that this is very good, because it shows the audience is enjoying themselves.
I am going to keep connecting to the community through the arts, and I hope you do to.

Monday, 3 August 2015

A blurry mind

I ran around the beach, screaming constantly at the waves as they chased me up and down the sand. What fun I was having that day.
I giggled as I fell over in the sand, swept my arms over the golden powder, and pictured myself a beautiful angel.
I never wanted to go home that day.

Unfortunately, that was not to be.

I heard Mum call to us that we were leaving. A flood of anger washed over me, for I was only little then, and suddenly the sparkling waves that were so fun before, turned a dark red. I did not understand why we had to leave so early! It was only 3 o'clock! Why did we have to go? Why?

I ran over to the road by the beach, for the car was on the other side. I heard the voices of my parents behind me, urging me to wait for them. Why would I need to wait for them? There were no cars coming! Even if there were, I was old enough to cross the road myself, wasn't I?

I kept running.

I was right on the side of the road now, and I was just about to cross… When I stumbled. I felt my feet slip out from underneath me. Instinctively, I reached my arms out in front of me.

The pain was immediate. It stung, made my eyes well up, I had no idea where it came from. I was confused, dizzy, and there was blood everywhere. Would I die? Would I be alright? Tomorrow would I still have my right hand? All I knew was that it hurt like crazy.

And it was as bad as it felt.

"What happened?" I wailed. 
"You fell onto glass" my mum replied.
I made the worst decision of my life just then. I looked at the cut.
Instantly, I shielded my eyes. The cut was big. It had sticky white stuff around the side, and the blood was infinite. 
I was shoved into a car. Whether it was my car, I did not know, for I was blindfolded with tears.

My mum drove me to the chemist, who handed me a cream and some plasters to put on it. When we got home, mum applied the cream, and bandaged my hand on top of the plaster.
My cousins came later that day, and I had lots of fun playing with them, except I could not climb trees, because it still stung a bit.
On the bright side of things, I now knew more than one reason why you shouldn't run towards roads. And, I would have an awesome tale to tell for the rest of my life.

And you've just read it.