Ch. 1: A Normal Day

It all started as a normal day of school. Jeffrey was the only one absent. Ms. Hoffman was grumpy as ever. The kids trudged to school through the cold Colorado air. There were light flurries, though the sky was clear. All nine kids took there seats at their icicles of a desk. Everyone shivered as the cold wind whipped the windows. But not because of the wind, because Ms. Hoffman, the sixth grade the teacher, had entered the room.

Ms. Hoffman was the kind of person whose soul was too evil to describe. Gee, I wonder why she works with children. She wears a black skirt and black shoes every day. She always wears that old-fashioned, puff-sleeved, only-your-grandma-would-wear-that-kind-of-thing shirt. It was in an off-white color on this particular day. She carries a brown-leather bag, and her red-framed cats-eye glasses are celebrating their fortieth birthday this fall. Her face is permanently etched into a scowl, and her gray hair is secured into a tight bun at the nape of her neck.

She glanced at the children sitting in their rows. Row one consisted of Leia, Josh, Turtle, Jacob, and Jamie. Row two was Elizabeth, Demetri, Bella, Sam, and the empty seat reserved for Jeffrey.

The day went as usual. Ms. Hoffman taught class while the children tried their best not to cry, or run screaming, or (in Demetri's case anyway) severely injure their awful teacher-like creature. Then the bell rang…

Ch. 2: The Sleepover I Never Had

"Now class," Ms. Hoffman cackled, "you will all be staying after school for forty-five minutes because each and every one of you went against my rule and blinked on more than four occasions today."So the class stayed frozen in there seats, too afraid they may never see light if anyone made a complaint. Or a noise, for that matter.

About twenty minutes into their time, everyone heard a loud crash. Mr. Kollasel, the blind janitor, had just locked Ms. Hoffman's sound-proof door.

"No!" Ms. Hoffman pleaded, "You can't leave me stuck in here with these… these things!" But, of course, no one heard her cries. "This is all your fault!" Ms. Hoffman declared, throwing one scrawny finger toward the class. That was too much. They had had it! Despite her threats, Turtle, Jacob, and Demetri tied up their teacher and locked her in the closet. Jacob grabbed her 12 packs of microwavable hot dogs on the way out. He slapped it on an empty desk in the center of the room. Then he jumped on the table and declared "tonight, we feast!"

"Ew!!!" Bella shrieked, flicking her dark ponytail behind her shoulder, "I hate hotdogs!"

"Fine then," Sam replied, "you can starve. More for us." He said as he threw the packs into the microwave and cooked them (not exactly 'according to the directions').

"Um, aren't you dufuses worried?" Elizabeth questioned.

"Should we be?" Josh answered, "Hey! It'll be like the sleepover I never had. I'll even paint your nails, Turtle." He joked. The guys all laughed.

"You paint mine and I'll paint yours." Turtle threatened. She fixed her baseball cap so that it fit snug over her dark, wavy hair that was braided tightly down her back.

"Chill. Joking," Josh answered.

"What about our parents?" Leia asked "My phone's in my locker."

"Mine too," Jamie agreed.

"Ha! Not mine," Jacob announced, pulling his sidekick phone out of the pocket on his khakis.

"Leave it to your not following the rules to get us out of this mess," Turtle chirped.

"Right, because you always follow the rules… Tabitha!" Demetri barked.

"Call me that again and I'll punch your face in," Turtle defended, scowling as her real name was mentioned. Everyone took one involuntary step away from Turtle.

One by one, the children called there parents. Every adult was too worried about their kid to have a thought like 'gee, let's go unlock the door and get them out of there' cross their mind.

Ch. Three: Hot Dogs

Just then, the microwave beeped. "Hot dogs anyone?" Sam asked. Leia, Elizabeth, and Jamie each had a hot dog. Turtle had two, and the guys? Their hotdog eating experiences went something along these lines:

"Anyone up for an eating contest?" Demetri asked, confident because of his size that he was going to win, though he was not much bigger than Jacob.

"I'm in," Jacob declared, "Sam, are you up for it?" he asked. Sam nodded his head, a wide grin spreading across his face.

"Me too," Josh added.

The remaining hotdogs left them with sixteen each, and three leftover. "First one finished wins," Jamie declared, "on your mark, get set, EAT!" You could say they took off. The tension was between Demetri and Jacob, though Josh wasn't far behind. No one even paid attention to Jacob's 'sidekick' Sam, who was gobbling away. After some intense competition, and only two hotdogs left for Demetri and Jacob each (which could be devoured instantly by two hungry sixth grade boys) Sam broke the silence.

"Done," he announced.

"What?" The girls asked simultaneously. (Even Bella who was completely and totally grossed out by all this paid a glance in his direction)

"I don't think I'll ever eat another hot dog again." He declared. Jamie, (the judge) and Turtle (who was cheering wildly for Jacob due to the 'Tabitha' remark from Demetri), went to check his dish. Low and behold there it was. Empty. "Well," the flabbergasted Jamie announced, "I guess… Sam won." Josh, Jacob, and Demetri dropped their hotdogs on the floor.

Ch. Four: The All-Nighter

"Wow Sam," Demetri chuckled, "I didn't know you had it in you."

"Me either" Sam agreed.

"Hey, what are we going to do about spending the night? The ground looks kind of… hard."Jamie asked

"I say we pull an all-nighter!" Josh exclaimed.

"Um, no. I can't stay up all night." Elizabeth gulped. "Never could, never will."

"Oh don't be a wimp Liza." Turtle challenged (greatly expressing her sympathy).

"It's not so bad, all you have to do is… stay up all night," Jacob joked.

"Gee, thanks Jake." Elizabeth mumbled.

"It's okay Liza; I'm planning on getting some sleep tonight too." Bella declared "After all, we have school tomorrow."

Ch. Five: Never

"Thanks Bells," Elizabeth said. Just then everyone heard a loud rumbling.

"What was that?" Demetri asked, startled.

"My stomach," Bella blushed, "I didn't eat anything, remember?"

"There are still three hotdogs left," Leia stated, as Turtle put all three into the microwave to re-cook. "Bella, you have to eat something,hotdogs are good, you'll see." She put them on the extra paper plate and set them in front of Bella.

"I will never eat a hotdog as long as I live," Bella declared.

"Fine. Close your eyes," Leia instructed. Bella did. "It's an ice cream sundae. Eat it."

"I don't like ice cream" Bella whined.

"Do you eat anything?" Jacob asked.

"Shhh," Leia hissed, "It's a big pile of spaghetti. Eat. Now." Bella's stomach growled again.

"Fine," she snapped and she shoved the first one into her mouth. "Yum," Bella said after she chewed slowly. Everyone cheered. Bella opened her eyes and finished the hotdogs.

"I guess forever is shorter than it used to be," Sam chuckled.

Ch. Six: The Prank

After Bella and Elizabeth were asleep, Demetri, Jacob, Josh, Sam, and Turtle decided to use the inconvenient place they were stuck in for the night to bring out their inner mischievousness. To pull a prank. Deciding that Bella had suffered enough with the hot dogs and all, they agreed that the prank was going to have Elizabeth's name on it. They hunted around the room for supplies, each gathering certain things, and coming up with everything they needed.

The feathers from a pillow, the pillow case they came in, a jar of honey from Ms. Hoffman's refrigerator, a ball of yarn from her latest knitting project (apparently, whoever she was making that for had three arms and no head), and two heavy rocks (who knows why that was under her desk).

They filled the pillow case with feathers first. Next they tied a knot around the rock at one side of the rope, with the pillow case next to it. At the other end of the rope, they tied the other rock. They hung the contraption from the ceiling above the two sleeping girls, so that the rock end hung above Bella, and the rock-and-feathers end was above Elizabeth. Then Turtle, who had been waiting oh so patiently for this job, got the honor of coating Elizabeth's arms in honey.

The idea was, in the morning, Bella would sit up and bump the rock, while this one went up, the one on the other end would go down. The feathers would spill all over Elizabeth, and stick to the honey. Then she would wake up looking like a chicken. A good plan, but could their 'genius minds' pull it off?

Ch. Seven: Teaching Utensils

While Turtle and the guys pulled their prank, Jamie and Leia have their own definition of fun.

"Hey, Leia." Jamie whispered, so as not to wake the two girls sleeping.

"Yup?" Leia asked, ignoring Jamie's attempt to be quiet.

"You know how the guys found those huge rocks under Ms. Hoffman's desk?"

"Yeah, that was kind of creepy. What do you think she was going to do with those anyway?"

"I don't know," Jamie admitted, "throw them at us."They both laughed.

"I wonder what other weird things she has lurking around the classroom," Leia wondered aloud.

"Are we thinking the same thing?" Jamie asked.

"Most likely," Leia answered, "you know what they say: great minds think alike"

"Yeah, and ours do too," Jamie laughed.

So the two girls scanned the room until they knew it upside down and backwards. After what felt like two hours of searching (carefully avoiding the closet their teacher was locked in), Jamie found a suspicious-looking bag. They opened it and inside was the weirdest thing any teacher could ever have: a medieval flail.

"Some teachers use time-outs as punishment. Some use writing sentences," Jamie declared, "ours likes to use an older method."

"Eep." Leia chirped.

Ch. Eight: A Braid

At about six in the morning, Elizabeth woke up. Before Bella. That was mistake number one. The pranksters had been planning this. When they saw her move, they all pretended they had fallen asleep (they had really been playing truth or dare and this saved Turtle from having to cut off the end of her braid-thank you Elizabeth). The first thing Elizabeth noticed was that she was covered in honey.

"Ew!" She shrieked. Everyone pretended to wake up, and Bella really did. She sat straight up. Mistake number two. They had overestimated her height. Bella's head just missed the rock. She wasn't distracted with sticky arms, so she noticed the large contraption above her head.

"What is THIS?" She yelled.

"Wow," Jacob whispered, "that girl sure can scream."

"Ow." Josh whispered tugging on his ear. Elizabeth got up, purposely stepping on Turtle's long braid lying on the ground along the way. She stormed over to the mini refrigerator, found a bottle of water, and poured it on her arms to wash away the sticky. Then she marched over to where the pranksters were sitting and dried her arms with Demetri's sweatshirt that was sitting next to him. She tore apart the contraption, and Bella stood up.

Turtle, however, was in desperate need of revenge for the whole stepping-on-her-braid thing. Turtle got up, despite Jacobs attempt to hold her back and stormed over to the girls.

Turtle was very protective of her braid. She wished she was still wearing shoes. Oh well. She smirked. Then she kicked Elizabeth in the shin. Hard, to. Turtle wasn't the kind of person to let anyone get away with that. Elizabeth's mouth dropped, so did Bella's. Sam couldn't keep from laughing. Jacob stood.

"Now you've done it, Turtle," he growled.

"She knows the rules," Turtle grinned in a saccharine voice, much higher than her usual tone. That was true. Turtle and Elizabeth had known (and despised) each other since the first grade. Elizabeth knew just as well as anyone that no one got away with touching that braid. Not without a huge purple blotch on their leg, they didn't. No one except Leia.

Turtle went over to Leia, who had seen the whole thing, and sat down. Leia took apart Turtle's tangled braid, and then re-braided it. No one could braid better than Leia. Not in Turtle's opinion.

Ch. Nine: Two Wacky Things

Later that morning, about two hours later to be exact, Mr. Kollasel unlocked the door, still completely unaware of the children that had been locked in the room all night. Everyone ran home. Not worrying about the cold.

The second that Bella got home, her mom asked her if she wanted something to eat.

"Hot dogs," She replied, "and an ice cream sundae."

On the other hand, the second that Sam arrived at his house his mom had a surprise for him- all you can eat hot dogs!

"Ugh!" Sam groaned.

Two wacky things happened then.

The first one was that every parent got a call from the principal saying that they wouldn't have school that day because there teacher had gone missing, the next day they had a substitute.

Before the substitute got to class, Jacob, Turtle, Leia, Jamie, Demetri, Josh, Sam, Elizabeth, and Bella checked the closet. No one was there. But attached to a second medieval flail was a note:


The second weird thing was also discovered that day: no Jeffery. He wasn't there the next day either, or the next. In fact Jeffrey was never seen again.