Highly Commended Story - Lost Lavender
“Lost Lavender” by Erin Jaeyeon Kim, ICAN British International School, Cambodia, is the Highly Commended story in the sub-junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Erin has lived in the US, South Korea and Cambodia, yet she feels like Korea is her true home. Things she enjoys are reading, writing, playing the violin and piano, travelling with her family and playing with cats. She is in love with Harry Potter books nowadays, and wants to be a great writer like J. K. Rowling. She also thinks becoming an actor is not a bad idea. People she loves most are her family and friends. One thing she mulls over recently is how to improve her confidence, and as one way to do so, she took part in this story writing contest. She always waits for ideas to come to her for new stories.
It all started on a warm, sunny day. Usually, as soon as I hopped out of my school bus, my beagle Lavender would run over to me and lick me all over. Then I would say “Good girl, Lavender” and pat her on the back. The thing I loved most about Lavender was her eyes. They would sparkle at me as if she was saying “I love you!” But today, I saw no beagle greeting me, no wagging tail. I didn’t worry one single bit and went inside my house expecting she would be there. Strangely, no barking…no barking at all! “Where’s Lavender, Jack?” Jenny, my little sister, asked me with a worried look on her face. My head was about to burst with hundreds of horrible thoughts.
I plopped myself down to the sofa and picked up some books to read. Reading didn’t help me feel better without Lavender cuddling up to me. I tried to pretend Jenny was Lavender, but she was much noisier than Lavender, asking too many questions. Besides, I didn’t have to read it out loud for Lavender as I did for Jenny. While I was reading ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ Jenny suddenly sprang up and ran off to the back yard. “Jenny, where are you going?” I yelled. I ran after her and saw she was heading into the woods. She stopped at some point murmuring “Hey, where are all those mushrooms I saw before. They looked exactly like the ones Alice ate.” While looking around with her, I noticed something weird: a tiny bump on one of the tree trunks nearby. I dusted off all the dirt on it and found that it was…a door knob! “Cool!” Jenny pushed my hand away and twisted the doorknob. Creak…
“Don’t…” But it was too late. Jenny stepped inside even before I finished my sentence and I had no choice but to follow her. We froze for a moment. Then Jenny said “Wow!” I suddenly felt less brave and turned around, but there was no door anymore. It had vanished!
‘Maybe, just maybe, Lavender is here?’ My heart filled with hope. The first thing that appeared was a big banner hanging from somewhere. It said ‘Mirror World.’ To me, it looked like some disco party was happening there. Lights of different colors shone as the mirrors everywhere filled the place with rainbow shades. Then I heard a faint barking sound, “Woof.” “Lavender!” Jenny gasped. There was a beagle not very far from us sniffing around as if it was looking for something. Jenny ran to the beagle then…Bang! She bumped into a shiny, clear mirror and the beagle, or the mirror image of a beagle, was gone.
My heart sank with disappointment. “Jack, there is another door…” Jenny whispered. This time the door, covered in vines, was so small that we needed to kneel down and crawl to pass through it. There was also a banner with ‘Jungle World’ written on it. Leafy trees, monkeys, colorful tropic birds, crocodiles…Crocodiles! Looking around, I found we were stepping on a tiny bit of ground, and the ground was in the middle of a huge lake with hungry crocodiles. ‘Uh oh…’ I thought. “Yay!” I suddenly heard Jenny’s voice full of excitement. She was swinging on a rope. How could she feel brave enough to swing on a rope when hungry crocodiles were under her? But then I realized it was the only way to get out of here. I got myself together, grabbed the rope and swung. I felt like I was flying and landed with a thud. “Come on, Jack!” Jenny called out. I dusted myself off and ran to Jenny.
An old, shabby cottage came into sight. We knocked on the door but no one seemed to live in the house. We opened the door and found the place was filled with bones. Not bones like skeletons, but bones that dogs would love to gnaw. ‘Lavender would love this place.’ I decided to take some bones with me, and then the house started shaking. I felt no ground beneath my feet. “It’s going to be okay.” Shivering in fright, I said as calmly as possible and held Jenny’s hand tightly.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself lying in my back yard, still holding Jenny’s hand and the bones. I looked around to see if Lavender was here. She…wasn’t. I tried not to cry, but I couldn’t help it. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I knew I wouldn’t see Lavender ever again. “Jack!” Jenny’s eyes widened. I wiped my tears and looked up to see where she was pointing. There were beagles! Not one beagle; but lots of beagles! There was also a sign that said ‘Which one is Lavender? You have one minute to think – from unknown.’ A timer next to the sign started. I searched for Lavender, but couldn’t find her. No beagle had sparkling eyes like Lavender. But I had to say something. There were only five seconds left! “There’s no Lavender” I said sobbing. Then, magically, a beagle appeared out of nowhere and ran over to me. She was very dirty, covered with leaves, twigs and dirt all over her body. When she looked up at me, I realized she was…Lavender! “Where have you been Lavender?
I hugged Lavender and Jenny. I was crying again, but this time, they were tears of joy. Lavender licked the tears and gave me that look I missed so much like she wanted to say ‘I love you!’ with her sparkly eyes. ‘I love you, too’ I thought as I rubbed her warm belly. ‘I will never lose you, ever again.’ And that was true for ever and ever.