Semifinalist in the Totem Head's Story Contest 2014 
- 86 semi-finalists out of ~1000 submissions.
So there I was, sitting on a tree swing in my backyard and trying to study for a geography test. I found it surprisingly difficult to concentrate. The sun was shining and the adorable baby squirrels were chasing each other up the trunk of an elm tree. I absentmindedly kicked the ground, watching the fluffy little creatures play, when my foot hit something hard.

I set my atlas on the ground and dismounted from the swing. I scrabbled around in the dirt until I unearthed the hard object. It was not a rock, nor was it any kind of crystal. What I didn’t know was that it would turn out to be more amazing than any kind of treasure.

It seemed to be a small velvet-covered box. I opened the box and discovered an ancient watch. It dangled on a thin golden chain and was still working.

However, it was set at the wrong time, so I carefully turned the dial on its side. Suddenly, everything around me started spinning as if in a vortex and I was falling through a blue tunnel! I had no idea of what had just happened. I screamed as I fell through, and the tunnel twisted and turned.

A few seconds later, I fell out of the tunnel and onto a hard, wooden floor. I looked around myself in bewilderment.

I seemed to be on some kind of ship. I was sitting on the ground behind a barrel that smelled vaguely of apples. I looked through small holes in the side of the ship and saw the ocean, which looked almost angry as it tossed the ship around on its turbulent waters.

I could hear people talking around me. Peering discreetly around the apple barrel, I saw two middle-aged men deeply engaged in conversation. They were talking in a foreign language and were dressed like the people of centuries ago, in formal-looking black coats and breeches. To my horror, one of them stepped closer to the apple barrel I was hiding behind. I shrank back against the ship’s wall, frightened.

The man reached into the enormous barrel and took out a brownish apple that was extremely overripe—in fact, way beyond overripe. Without looking very closely at the squishy, moldy fruit, the man took a big bite. His disgust was obvious.

Aargh! Bleah!” he exclaimed, and then shouted something in a foreign language. He tossed the rest of the revolting apple back towards the barrel.

Except, he missed.

The putrid apple sailed through the air in a slow, graceful arc before landing directly on my head.

Yeah. A disgusting, revolting, putrid, sickening, repulsive, and TERRIFYING moldy apple had just gone splat on my head.

How was this my life?!

I screamed shrilly as vile-smelling apple juice flowed down into my face from my hair.

All at once, the apple barrel was flung away from in front of me. I found myself gaping wordlessly at the furious face of a fifteenth-century sailor.

He shouted something loudly in the same unknown language. It could only have meant, “We have a stowaway!”

Upon hearing this statement, several more sailors came rushing over to the site of the stowaway spectacle. Many of them pointed at me excitedly and discussed in very loud voices the mysterious girl who had unwittingly stowed away aboard their ship. Some of them seemed to be more interested in my clothes and “odd” hairstyle. One man even pinched some of my Forever XVI shirt’s fabric between his fingers and called his comrades over to examine it.

The man who had discovered me, who seemed to be the captain, called for silence above the deafening din. Everyone immediately quieted.

The captain pried my fingers away from the atlas I was still holding. I hadn’t remembered bringing it along. Only then did I notice that I was wearing the golden watch. I didn’t remember putting that on either. But then again, what had ever made sense about this highly unprecedented adventure?

The captain’s expression changed suddenly as he flipped through the pages of my atlas. He looked VERY interested in the atlas. He stopped at one of the pages, studied it very carefully and traced around the shape of an island with his finger. I held my breath.

And then the captain barked out an order.

Several sailors rushed to find a thick rope. The realization hit me all at once—I was going to be tied up! Two sailors marched towards me carrying the rope. They took away my watch and atlas and then used the rope to tie me up very tightly.

I was marched down to the ship’s cabin. The walk to the cabin was difficult, mainly because my ankles were bound together tightly and I was being half-dragged down the steps. I was locked in a plain room (a prison cell, I thought) containing nothing but a jug of water and a pallet on the floor. I felt exhausted from all the stress and grew sleepy. When I woke up, one of the sailors got me some fruit and a strange kind of bread, which I devoured hungrily. Over the next few days, nothing changed much. I was generally treated kindly, given adequate food and drink but was not allowed to leave my cell. I was often sea sick and nauseous, since I was not accustomed to sailing for so many days on end. I tried in vain to explain to the sailors that I meant no harm but they didn’t seem to understand anything I said; so I gave up and prayed hard for some help.

One day, after what seemed like an eternity, I heard heavy footsteps and the captain entered my cell. He no longer seemed furious; instead, he had an excited expression.

He untied me (what a relief), chattering in what sounded a bit like Spanish. Through his frenzied hand gestures, I gathered that the ship had finally reached land.

He led me onto the deck, where many people were already disembarking. I stepped onto dry land for the first time in approximately forever.

I took in my surroundings. I was on a beach. There were a few people around who weren’t from the ship; they looked like they were from India. The crew was gathered around me. Many of the sailors had expressions of reverence and admiration on their faces.

“What?” I asked. When nobody answered, I asked again, a little louder. “WHAT?”

The captain smiled at me and handed me a scroll. It was rolled up and tied with a long strand of red ribbon. I considered opening the scroll but then frowned. I’d had enough of this nonsense; I just wanted to get home!

The watch was probably the key to getting home. I needed that back more than I needed this scroll. I tapped my wrist, gestured madly that I wanted what had been on my wrist and glared at the captain.

He suddenly seemed to understand. He took the watch out from his pocket and handed it back to me. I immediately started to turn the dial. Just as before, I fell into the endless blue tunnel, which twisted and turned…until…

PLONK. I landed face first onto the weed-filled flowerbed at Proxy High School.

I looked around at my surroundings. They were familiar and comforting. Momentarily, I wondered if my adventure had been a dream.

And then I saw the watch on my wrist, its gold chain glinting in the sun.

On August 3rd, 1492, the captain of a ship and his crew looked around themselves in great bewilderment as the girl they had wrongfully held captive miraculously vanished.

The captain slowly unrolled the yellow scroll sitting on the ground. A ruby-encrusted, beautiful, gold bracelet fell out. He picked it up.

The captain fervently wished the girl had read the scroll. It said:

Estimada niña,

 Lamento mucho el haberte capturado y amarrado como lo hice, fue un grave error de mi parte. No me percate de que poseias la informacion para poder navegar mi barco de regreso a la India. Tu libro de mapas nos ayudo a entender nuestro posicionamiento para poder asi emprender nuestro camino. Por favor acepta este tesoro como muestra de mi arrepentimiento. Te deseo un retorno exitoso.

Atentamente,

Cristonal Colon

Which, translated into English, meant:

Dear girl,

I am very sorry about capturing you and tying you up. It was a grave mistake on my part. I did not realize that you had the key to getting my ship back on track to India. Your book of maps showed us exactly where we were and where we needed to be. Please accept this treasure as my apology. May you have a safe journey back to your homeland.

Sincerely,

Christopher Columbus

Columbus had arrived in India like he meant to, not the Americas.

Without knowing it, the stowaway girl had changed the course of history.

 


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01/21/2016 10:42am

Can I simply just say what a comfort to uncover someone who actually knows what they're discussing over the internet. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must check this out and understand this side of the story. I can't believe you aren't more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

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02/12/2016 8:28pm

I'm more than happy to discover this web site. I need to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to check out new information in your website.

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03/12/2016 11:43pm

Really? He arrived in India? I can't believe this.

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03/28/2016 7:17am

He was a great captain and a true son of his motherland!

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Had your adventure been a dream?

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