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Peer Work

Home  >  Peer Work
By Mariah Young
Genre: Fiction Level: Elementary 4-6
Category: UAA/ADN Creative Writing Contest

Mariah Young

Chapter 1: Me

Hello my name is Willow. I am an old, short, peridot green leaved willow tree.  My leaves sag a few feet from the ground. Lots of people come and visit me. Young people, old people, people looking for shade on a sunny day. But there are a few I want to share with you.  Here is my story. 

Chapter 2: Tracy

In one of my many days, a blond girl runs up to me with tears in her eyes.  She sits at my roots.  She just sits there and cries.  She cries till the sun sets over the horizon and the moon rises on the other side.  She looks up at the moon, wipes her eyes and walks away.  That morning the girl walks back up to me and touches my trunk .  She says, "Hello my name is Tracy.  Thank you for last night.  I needed a shoulder...or should I say trunk to cry on.  My dog ran away three weeks ago.  Yesterday I went to look for him and I saw him, but he ran away from me."

She traced a carving in my trunk that was once carved by a man some time ago.  She was silent for a moment.  "His name is Pinder."

Two Days Later

Chapter Three: Benjamin

Not a lot of people came to visit me for a while but that night a boy in a black sweatshirt with a red backpack walked up to me.  The boy was holding a long Silver rod with more pieces of smaller metal sticking out of the bottom.  He walked up to me and set the contraption down just outside the border of my leaves.  "It's a beautiful night for stargazing, wouldn't you say?" 

I thought it was but I could not tell him.  "I'm Benjamin by the way.  I just got a new telescope for my birthday last week.  I turned 14.  I know I should not be out right now but tonight there is supposed to be a shooting star.  My mom said that I needed my rest for school tomorrow and said that there will be more shooting stars.  Shooting stars are cool but finding constellations are my favorite thing to do.  I feel kinda silly talking to a tree.  I know you can't hear me but for some reason I can't stop."

 Oh how I just want to be able to tell Benjamin that I can hear him, how I think it is a beautifutiful night, and how he should not have snuck out, but my thoughts were cut off because Benjamin started talking again "Oh look there it is!"

It was beautiful.  It looked liked a streak in the sky.  Benjamin stayed with me for an hour or so just looking at the stars then said goodbye and promised to come again soon. 

Chapter 4: Jim

            There is a middle aged man who comes usually  once a year.  This year he came and traced the markings he once carved, to surprise Sara.  His wife to be.  They came every weekend.  One day they walked up to me and Sara was wearing a ring on her ring finger.  I was so happy for them.  One day they stopped coming at all. A few months later Jim came and set a rose at my roots.  He took one look at the carving he carved two years ago and bursted into tears.  He said, "She's gone.  Sara is gone.'' he barely got the words out.  "Cancer took her from us. She loved us.  I remember when I carved this" he pointed to the heart in my bark "I proposed to Sara on the other side so she would not see it remember?  When she said yes I took her over here and showed her." 

She scolded me as she was totally and wholeheartedly against vandalism.  I loved Sara.  She believed you could hear us.  I hope you can or else I'm just talking to myself.  Today was supposed to be are third anniversary since we started dating." 

He said with sadness in his eyes. "The night before she died she made me promised to take care of you.  To make sure other people know that no matter what it was that they fight for what they believed in."  

I was surprised he got this far without breaking into tears.  "She believed in you.  Now it's my turn."

Chapter 5: Dog

There is a dog and coming here a few weeks ago.  I call him Dog.  I think he is a stray.  He comes and barks at a squirrel or a butterfly.  He usually does not come near me.   One day he walks right up to me and looks at the base of my trunk.  Then at the top of my leaves and sniffed my trunk.  Then he made any trees worse dreams come true.  He lifted his leg and peed on me.  It was so gross.  Dog just trotted away like nothing happened, like that was completely normal.  Well guess what Dog? It's not!  That's a fire hydrones job. 

Chapter 6: Me

It was a rainy day.  Not many people visit me on rainy days but a wise ash tree once told me that you never appreciate company until it is no longer there.    Most of my life has been spent alone so I think I appreciate my company.  I don't get much though.  Well human company.  I get all sorts of animal visits.  Dogs, cats, deer, squirrels, owls, and one time I even saw a bear.  I also see plenty of bees.  They are so annoying.  They just fly around me and go Bbbzzzzzz.  That noise drives me mad!

Chapter 7: Mystery man

The rain eventually cleared.  I hope I see a rainbow soon they are so pretty.  Ouch.  Standing in front of my trunk was a man in an orange vest with gray shiny stripes over his shoulders and had two pockets on the chest part of his vest and two on his stomach part.  He was also wearing a yellow funny hat.  How did I not see him walk right up to me. Wait.  How did I not see him till he STAPLED a paper too me.  It felt as if someone pinched me.  Hard.  One of the worst parts is that I may never know what that paper says.  Well I will get over it sooner or later. 

Chapter 9:  Lots of visits

Lots of people came to visit me Tracy came four times and Benjamin came two more times as promised but I haven't seen much of Jim lately though. I have even seen Dog.   I still haven't gotten over the paper stapled to my trunk.  I still don't know what it says.  But I can only imagine.  It is probably is a flyer for a costume party or something.  If only I could ask my visitors what it said.  Tracy and Benjamin read it.  But they read it in their head.  Once Tracy read it her eyes welled up and said, "I don't want you to go!'' and sat at the base of my trunk.  I don't know what it said to make her cry but it definitely wasn't a party.

Chapter 9:  The Note on String

The paper was still stapled to my trunk when Jim walked up to me a week later and when he was a few feet away there was a breeze and my leaves moved with the wind to where my trunk was  visible .  As soon as his eyes saw the paper he started to jog towards me.  When he reached my trunk he read the paper aloud.  It read, "To whom this may concern on the date of September 8,2021-September 14, 2021 at 4:00 pm this tree shall be removed from the premise.  You may not walk 10.5 feet from this tree within these dates.  If you have any questions call at this number (202)-555-0129.  Thank you.  Sorry for the inconvenience."  Jim looked shocked.   But soon that expression faded and turned into determination.  Jim turned away from me and spirited away.  I was stunned!  Did I hear him right?  Were they going to cut me down?  No they can't.  They just can't.  There's just so much I haven't seen!  Heard!  And there is nothing I can do.  I've heard rumors that once a tree is cut down they turn them into paper.  I have exactly one month to live!  That is a terrifying thought.  I have never thought how I would die but I never thought it would be like this.  I hope more people come and visit me!  Have I have so many people I want to say goodbye too.  My thoughts eventually quieted and I started to calm down when I saw Jim walk back up to me a few minutes later.  He had a piece of paper in his hand and a piece of string was in the other.  He looped the string to the papers hole on the side and tied it to one of my branches.  He read it aloud it read, "If any one cares about this tree as much as I do then help me save it.  I made a promise to my wife to protect this tree and its history.  Now the promise I made needs to be reinforced.  Meet me at this tree on August 10th at 4:00 pm.   We will try to save this tree and its history."  Then he gave me a big bear hug and walked away.  He was going to try to save me!


Dog has been coming for an afternoon nap recently.  He will come and walk in a few circle and plop himself down and just sleep.  After his nap he will get up and stretch.  Then he will go and play.

Chapter 10: The Meeting

Jim got to the meeting thirty minutes early.  Tracy was so happy when she read the note and Benjamin was all smiley.  So it turns out that Tracy and Jim know each other from school.  But that was not even the biggest surprise.  Tracy and Benjamin came with their parent and when Tracy's dad saw Jim he broke into the biggest smile and said "I should have known this was the tree."  Then gave Jim a big bear hug.  And Jim laughed and said, "What are you doing here?" 

            "Well Tracy dragged us here saying it was important to her that we come.  So here we are.  Wait are you the one running the show here?"

            "Wait what's happening?"

             Her father sighed and said, "Don't you remember Jim?  You know we were college friends.  He came over for like every football game.  Well I guess you were only seven so." 

            "How is Sara now a days?"  Then Jim's expression went dark and he explained.  "But enough of that.  Let's save it for another day we have a lot to work on." 

 Two days later

"Okay does everyone know the plan?"

            "Okay" Jim said when everyone nodded "We have about one month."  So let's get started.  Tracy run home and print the petition."  "Aye aye Uncle Jim!" and she sprinted away.   A few minutes later she came back with a stack of papers a inch high.  The sight of paper made me shiver but I have faith that the plan will work.  They plan to get the town to sign and Jim said we would run the campaign for two month.  We need 100,000 signatures for it to be legal.  They were going to divide the papers and the ground and split up to knock on doors for signatures. 

20 days later

They had asked everyone in town but only have 99,900 signatures.  They need one hundred more.  Jim and Tracy's dad are going to drive to a neighboring town to gather some more.  We only have ten days left.  It takes a day to drive there.  They plan on staying two days at most.  They should have plenty of time.  Right?  I just hope they know what they are doing. 

Chapter 11: Not going as planned

It's been three days.  They have been in the neighboring town for three whole days.  From what I have heard Tracy's dad [ whose name is apparently Brandon] and Jim are now stuck in the neighboring town.  Apparently there was a flood and they cant leave.  Tracy's eyes welled up as she broke the news to me.  I was told Brandon and Jim couldn't drive through the high waters.  She told me that they won't be back in time for the dead line.  They had to stay until the waters reduce.  They had all 100,000 signatures with them.  I will die soon. 

Chapter 12: Hope

I have to put on a strong "face" for Tracy and Benjamin.  ‘Til the very end.  I will have hope for life ‘til the end.  I believe they tried their hardest to save me and I can live or, should I say die, with that.  Even if they could come home now, it would take a day long drive to get here. 

 Three days later

September 7, 2021

"I don't want to lose you," said Benjamin. "Tracy and you are my only friends and there is nothing we can do." Then a phone rings.   I hear a shout.  Someone was calling Benjamin's name. 

A few minutes later

"My dad is on his way home.  He might get here in time after all.  He said that a person picked him up on their boat and they said they will take him to a shallow parts of the water and he can taxi the rest.  He will have to pick up his car another day though but there is still hope." Tracy practically shrieked!

Chapter 13: The End

It is September 8, 2021.  My execution day.  They still are not back and it is 3:00pm. I shall die in one hour.  Maybe I will see Tracy or Benjamin at school but in the form as paper.  Will I be able to think still as paper? What if I don't get turned into paper, what if I get carved into a bench? These are horrible thoughts. Think happy thoughts Willow!  They tried their hardest.  I am glad that someone loves me enough to do this for me!  One by one they say their goodbyes even the parents. 

It's now time lots of yellow machines and people in those weird vests.  They tell Tracy, her mom, Benjamin, and his parents that they have to leave but they don't go.  They move closer to my trunk and hold hand and circle around me.  That's when I heard a bark.  Then I see Dog barking at a man who is trying to move him away from me.  Tracy ran over to Dog and shouted "Pinder!" 

Dog well Pinder tackled her and licked her face.  Apparently Dog was her missing dog.  She gave him a pat him and a hug around the neck and joined everyone else around the tree.  They were given another warning the construction workers said they have to leave or else the cops would be called.  No one move the shouted in unison "No". 

The machine started up and that's when a cars parked in the parking lot when someone came out they shouted to stop the Machines.  It was Brandon.  He took all the papers and signatures out of his bag and gave it to the person in charge.  Before I knew it the construction workers were leaving and I was still alive.  I was going to live another day.  To see Tracy and Pinder play around me.  Another night with Benjamin stargazing.  Another chat with Jim.  I survived.  I knew they could do it and this is my story. 

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