*by Annie (March 2006, age 8)
Yuji had always hoped to see the end of the rainbow, and now he FINALLY had his chance. It was Saturday, he was free, and a rainbow had just appeared over the horizon. Yuji decided to follow that rainbow to the end.
The road leading to the end of the rainbow was perilous. Yuji would have to cross the Death River, pass through the Dark Forest, and confront the most horrible foe imaginable--the Slithering Serpent. Yuji did not know of these perils.
Yuji wanted to start immediately. He packed a week's supply of food and drink, a flashlight for traveling in the dark, and a sleeping bag. He thought he was ready, but that was only what he THOUGHT.
It had been an hour since Yuji had set off. He was exhausted, but tried not to show it. Suddenly, the leaves on the trees started rustling. "Ai Ai Ai Ai Ai!!" A weird-looking creature shot out of the trees. (Well, Yuji was in fantasyland.)
"Who are you?!" Yuji questioned the creature.
"Nayr, Nayr!" the creature squeaked. Obviously, it couldn't speak.
"I'll call you Nayr," Yuji proclaimed.
Nayr climbed onto Yuji's shoulder. "You want to come along with me?" Yuji asked. Nayr nodded. Yuji now had a cute, furry companion to accompany him. (He was kind of ugly, but cute all the same.)
A couple of minutes later, they reached danger #1. The Death River. Yuji stared. "What is this?!" he spat.
"Nayr," Nayr peeped. He frantically waved his hands around, then pointed to the river.
"Hmm...river?" Yuji asked.
Nayr nodded, then fell to the ground.
"Death?" Yuji impatiently guessed.
Nayr clapped his paws and nodded again.
"River of Death!" Yuji gasped. He and Nayr would have to cross that river to get to the end of the rainbow. The whole thing was raging rapids, and Yuji could see an enormous shadow under the water.
This was the bravest thing Yuji had EVER done. He stepped into the wild waters of the Death River.
He was surprised by how warm the water was. It was also extremely shallow. Then he looked under him. He was on the back of a huge creature. Suddenly, it jumped up. Yuji clung on with all his might. The creature spoke, "I am Einna!"
Einna snapped at Yuji and Nayr, "Get OFF of me!" Yuji reluctantly let go. He fell into the rapids. Nayr squeaked.
"Nayr!" Yuji cried. Nayr had fallen off and was being swept away. But Yuji HAD to keep going on the path. He would have to leave Nayr. Then Einna suddenly dove down into the water. She came back a minute later carrying Nayr. Nayr chattered excitedly.
"I wish to accompany you," Einna said.
Yuji thought for a minute. "Sure, but won't you miss the water?"
"Are you kidding?!" Einna laughed. "I'm made out of water!"
Yuji stared at her. "You are not an animal?"
"Of course I am," Einna snapped. "But my tail stores water, so it feels like I'm in water everywhere."
"Oh," Yuji said. It did not make sense, but...oh, whatever!
When the traveling trio climbed onto the muddy bank, they were gasping for breath. "That wasn't much of a death river," remarked Yuji.
"Only because I was there to help you!" laughed Einna.
Yuji snarled, "Oh, I did not NEED your help, but was nice enough to accept it!!"
"Is that so?" Einna teased. Yuji blushed bright red. "Thought so," she laughed.
"Humph!" Yuji stuck his nose in the air and led the group onward. Little did he know that Nayr was going to be the next hero.
Yuji began complaining as night started falling. "We are never going to reach the end of the rainbow!"
"Stop complaining already," spat Einna crossly.
Yuji was quiet then. In fact, all was quiet. They reached the Dark Forest just as night was falling. Yuji gulped. "Er...should we wait until morning to in THERE?!"
Einna unhappily nodded, but Nayr angrily shook his head. He chittered furiously at Einna.
"He says that if we stay out here, the ghosts will get us while we are in a deep sleep!"
Yuji didn't want to admit that Nayr was right, but he was!
"Nayr has a strategy. If we think happy thoughts, the ghosts cannot harm us!"
Yuji sighed, "All right, if we HAVE to go..."
Nayr smiled at Yuji. Then they headed into the spooky forest.
A day later...
Yuji opened his eyes. He couldn't believe it was morning, and he had made it. The ghosts had put them to sleep by lulling them. But still they were happy. They passed through the Dark Forest easily.
But now they had to face the ultimate peril! The Slithering Serpent...
"AAH! I can't believe I ever fell for this!" the self-confidant Yuji screamed.
Xam's tail was wrapped snuggly around Yuji. Yuji had to escape the serpent's tail, or crush it. Einna warned him that he would be up against an extremely formidable foe. If he survived, he would see a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Yuji thought for a minute. The serpent was evil. So maybe...he should think good thoughts! He thought of the rainbow and of his new friends. Slowly, he began feeling stronger. He broke through the serpent's rough, textured scales.
"Yaaa...you defeated me...aargh! Ugh!" And blink! Flash! The Slithering Serpent was gone.
Finally, Yuji reached his goal, the end of the rainbow. Einna stared nervously at Nayr when Yuji demanded the pot of gold. But Yuji already knew in his heart...there was no pot of gold.
O.K., so maybe Yuji didn't get his pot of gold, but the important thing was that he had had fun, and he had made new friends. No treasure could beat that!