Interpretive Essay 2011 Winner

Allyson Pang, grade 5
Maryknoll School

The Story According to the Cave……

I am one of the best-kept secrets in Clarksville.  I am a cave.  My home is in a forest with trees all around.  I am hidden by so many bushes that no one has ever found me.  I have endless tunnels and my walls are made of massive cold, damp rock.  I often shelter animals during the cold winters.   One winter a pregnant mother bear gave birth within my walls.  In the spring, she and her cubs left.  Sometimes foxes wander in when it rains but they always leave after the clouds blow away.  I was created millions of years ago. 

I was born with special abilities that no other cave has.  As a little cave I did not know my power until something happened that changed my life.  This is the story I have to tell….
One fall day, I sat watching the squirrels as they collected nuts for the coming winter.  Suddenly, I heard the rustling of bushes from the outside area.  It sounded like the crackling of autumn’s dry leaves.  Footsteps were coming toward me.  Suddenly, two tall men came out of the ferns and bushes.  One of the men had slung a dusty, old backpack over his shoulder.  He had short, brown, wavy hair filled with dried leaves from the shedding bushes he had recently crawled through.  On his face and around his nose and under his eyes were many light brown freckles.  He seemed to be about 40 years old.  I decided to call this man Hodge.

The second man had muscles which matched the intense expression on his face.  I decided to call this man Harry since it seemed to fit him.  Harry wore jeans with holes in them.  His shoes were aged and torn apart.  They slowed him down as he walked.  He was rubbing his sweaty forehead with his dirty hands.  He took out a tiny metal remote control and pressed a button.  A light scanned me giving off a shiny blue light.

          “Looks better than our old cave,” Hodge said, looking at me with a look I could not read.  Gary nodded approvingly.  “I agree, it’s vast!”

The two men looked at each other and left.  Soon, they came back with a rock.  I realized that it was not a rock but a scanner for scanning something.  It seemed as if they had created a rock disguised as a scanner but I still didn’t get what they were scanning.

All afternoon, the two men took notes, built, and did many operations on me.  When they were finished, they sat down on some benches they had built inside me.  I watched helplessly as Harry took out a tiny remote with many individual buttons on it.  He began pressing these buttons and the world around me began to disappear.  Time flew past me in brilliant shades of color yet this happened so quickly and quietly that it was confusing.     Suddenly, a pitch-black world stared back at me.  There was no sign of light.  It was as if the world I grew up in didn’t exist anymore.  Sitting inside me, Harry and Hodge were happy, but I was scared to death.

          “Nice job, bro!  This cave is perfect!”  Hodge said, getting the remote and pressing the buttons to get back home.  Harry smiled.  “I agree.  This cave will be the best time traveler ever, “ he said.
When the men left, I returned to my original home.  I was still recovering from what had happened.  Days went by.  Winter was coming.  One day I heard the rustling of bushes and a man and a woman came out.

          “Hodge and Harry have been here” the man said, touching my rock walls with his hand.

          “We need to stay here in case they both come back,” the woman said, flipping her light brown hair.  With a quick nod from the man, they both zipped into one of my tunnels. 

          “We’re ready to go,” Hodge said.  “Come on!   We must get those children!”  “What children were they talking about?” I wondered. 

I soon got my answer.  One hour later, they returned with a large number of children.  Everyone had been hiking.  The children were all different.  Some of the faces were Asian; some were Caucasian, African and even Indian.  They filed into me but had to stop at the rock scanner to touch and feel its coldness.  I watched the scanner scan each child’s hand as they felt it. 

“Welcome to the cave!” Harry said, smiling at all the children.  I saw Hodge take out the remote and press the buttons as he had done the last time.  Hodge closed the entrance door.  The children began to panic and scream.  I watched as they were transported into total darkness.  Now I clearly understood my power and destiny.  That was the reason these two men used me.  My power was and is time travel. 

          “Calm down, everyone!”  Harry shouted, wildly waving his arms.

          “Listen, this isn’t going as planned.  I didn’t want to do this! Just be quiet!”

The men began to shout loudly and the children began to talk even louder.  Suddenly, from the back of one of my tunnels, a man and woman appeared.  Immediately, the fighting stopped.  All attention turned to them.   Would they save the day and the children?

Read the book “Found” by Margaret Peterson Haddix to find out.  You will be surprised at the fate of all those innocent children. 



The Process

    After I read “Found”, I started off with a draft.  I checked with my language arts teacher every day.  I thought of an even better story when she helped me.  I typed it up and redid some typing with my librarian to make it even better.  She made some corrections and I did the typing at home.  Here is my essay!