Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Crown of Inferno & Blood

Once upon a time, a princess bargained for a wish to a demon.

***

“I wish for the power to protect my kingdom and shower it with boundless fortunes.”

The demon raised an animated eyebrow. “Are you willing to pay the price, if you make that wish?”

“If it helps me to save my kingdom from war, then yes.”

A smirk crawled onto the demon’s disfigured face, and he gave her a wishbone. “You can wish for anything you’d like. But beware that your wishing days will come to an end.”

***

“My dear Solene, you have an incredible power. One that can bring boundless fortunes to your kingdom. But it can bring destruction and chaos to it as well.”

“How do I control it?”

“Use it with great care. Until you reach the age of twenty-one, you will be able to control your power. But once you turn said age, you will never be the same princess as you were before.”

***

It had been seven years of showering Acordia in heavenly fortunes, and since the war she had won. However, those seven years of wishing had taken its toll on the young Princess Solene.

She must choose between staying with her family and risking their lives in peril, or isolate herself and win a battle inside herself.

The frost-crusted and snow-plowed gravel crunched softly beneath the sole of Solene’s lace-up boots. Her hands, freezing cold and ghostly pale from lack of sunlight were tucked inside the scarlet coat she had draped on. She hadn’t bothered to put on a pair of gloves; her body was able to withstand the weather far longer than the average of a normal human’s.

            Despite the sharp, raw weather, soldiers were wandering across the frosted streets – their occasional barks of orders cutting through the hushed air. Acordia, even though powdered by mounds of snow and crusted by frost, obtained its own beauty even in the iciest conditions that would have aroused aversions in other countries. Winter captured Acordia in an ink black-and-white way, yet with light hints of winter-ish blues and mild floods of soft tawny emitting from streetlights. 

            Cast by pools of ghostly light and wintry atmosphere wrapping around Solene’s quivering figure, a feather of cooling warm air left her breathing lips and her hair – loose, curled, and inferno red – collected a lace of snowflakes. With both hands pulling the edge of her coat together, her mundane thoughts couldn’t help but wander to the recent flashes of fire, smoke, collapsing shards of glass and ceramic and wood, and so much crimson stained everywhere.

            She had lost control of her power. And she knew it wasn’t safe anymore for her kingdom if she were to remain here.

            One of her hands peeked out of the sleeves and trailed its fingers across a bush of silver roses – one of the wishes she had used her wishbone for. They looked mesmerizing under the feathers of snow and patterned frost. She held onto a rose, staring at it longingly – if only she had a second. Before she could even scrutinize the shape of its flawless, yet dangerous beauty, a spark of fire blossomed from the mere touch of her fingertip and instantly ravaged the entire bud of rose, reducing it into nothing but ashes. 

            Solene watched – a horrified and pained expression etched on her pale face – the ashes scatter from her fingers and soar in the wind.

            It was time for her to go.  

***

Fog crept into the kingdom. Threads of translucent grey and white rippled across the gentle waves of Acordia. An opaque bank of clouds formed above the vacant sea, rolling closer toward the land of silver roses. The mist grew and rose higher as it crawled under an old bridge, blossoming and swallowing it whole.

            The dark mist obscured lit torches and bonfires, leaving feeble spots of red-orange floating amid the grey clouds.

            Parents ushered their children into their straw-made cottages they called home. Arriving sea fishermen scampered from their once colorful boats, each carrying a bag of krill they could only provide for their families’ hunger.

            The palace garden was blanketed with silver roses that shone brightly regardless of the thick fog that became a nuisance to many eyes. Stable keepers guided frightened horses to their stables. Soldiers exited the courtyard as the fog swept everything under their bone-chilling wisps of thick grey.    

            Beyond the castle walls, the King and Queen of Acordia were pacing around in the throne room. The three-month pregnant Princess Faye watched her parents tread in haste and anxiety, as she nestled in her vibrant violet throne, concern swimming in her emerald eyes. Her husband, Prince Wesfall, caressed her shoulder, giving her a touch of needed comfort.

            Queen Aeda remembered those 6205 days when her oldest daughter would come home every dawn with abnormal scars and bruises painting her face, arms, abdomen, and legs, or the occasional scorch marks on her back and chest. Most of those dawns, she would carry more than a thousand pounds of fresh meat for their subjects to feed on.

            The Queen remembered how relentlessly she, her husband King Orion, or the royal doctors asked if she had gotten hurt, and her forced joyful answer would be the constant “I’m fine.” or “It’s nothing.”

            She couldn’t help but wonder what her daughter had been hiding from them for such a long time.

            It had been seventeen years since their oldest daughter, Princess Solene, disappeared.

            It had been seventeen years since the guards began their endless perilous search throughout archipelagos and kingdoms from near and far.

            It had been seventeen years since Acordia’s subjects suffered from starvation and desired decent meals. Something other than their daily krill and salted grain.

            No one knew for sure where their dear Princess had gone. And they were beginning to lose hope.

***

A distant archipelago traveler arrived at the Acordia palace. He asked for the King and Queen’s attention. “I have brought both wonderful and devastating news!” he exclaimed as he knelt on one knee before the royal couple. “The Princess Solene is alive! She is imprisoned in a tower on a remote island on the far side of the globe, by a dragon!”

            The King and Queen were delighted to hear that their daughter was alive, yet were beyond horrified of the dragon. So, to save Princess Solene’s life and bring her back home, they challenged the Prince Kais from a nearby kingdom to travel distant lengths to the island where the Princess had been held captive, alone. If he succeeds, he will be wedded to the Princess and stand as King of Acordia.

            The thirty-five-year-old Prince Kais, who was eager to rule her beautiful kingdom, accepted the challenge and set off.

***

It took Kais five years to reach the island. By the time he set foot on land, the moonlight flooded his ailing features that he had obtained from five years of endless journey. His skin had folded into wrinkles. His once bright blue eyes had dulled into a drab shade of blue-grey. His once athletic, muscular figure had turned frail and limp.

            He rubbed his exhausted, ailing eyes with the back of his hand. His blurred vision cleared and a lofty tower loomed in the middle of the island. Just the mere sight of it encouraged him to drag his feet toward it.

            The white-bricked tower shadowed over him as he stood right in front of the heavy-looking door. He was disgusted and terrified to see dried stains of blood splattered across the walls and valley near. The skeletons of numerous animal corpses sat still as swarms of flies and insects decomposed what was left of its flesh and organs. Some of them were still fresh, as if they were hunted a while ago. 

            He cringed in fear. He knew slaying this dragon was definitely not an easy task.
            His hand reluctantly pushed the colossal wooden door open. Its hinges creaked as it swung open, curdling his ears.

            The inside of the tower was dim, only a few strands of moonlight fought their way in through the apertures of the dwelling. The spiraling staircase appeared fragile; the wood of the stairs were beginning to crack and fall off. Cobwebs blanketed every part and corner of the room, prompting him to crinkle his nose in disgust even more so.

            Slowly and cautiously, he crept up the seemingly endless stairs. He made his way up to the highest and only room in the tower. He guessed that the place might have been where the Princess was imprisoned in.

            A lashing sound came from behind him; like the sound of the wind or a blade cutting swiftly through the air. Another lash resonated through the room. Then, he felt heavy, warm, relentless breaths heaving a weight upon his shoulders and back. A tingle of scorching heat poked his neck and he jumped and shrieked.

            He swiveled around in an instant and came face to face with a dragon.  
      
            However, this dragon was unlike any other dragon he had ever battled. The dragon was, surprisingly, appealing and elegant. Its scales were the color of scarlet, with hints of blood red. The horns protruding from its head entwined and curve into a unique shape resembling a crown. Its vivid green eyes lit up the entire room. They felt as if they were piercing into his soul, reading his thoughts and learning his past.

            What caught his attention the most was the large necklace twined around its scaly neck. The necklace seemed to be made out of pure white gold, and a hand-sized rose-shaped ruby gemstone embedded into the center of the necklace glimmered in the dark. Elaborate swirling details were carved into the gold piece, replicating a rose’s stem. Dark pink diamonds dotted along the details, accenting it beautifully.

            The dragon’s pupils were slit, aggression burning in its intense eyes. It opened its jaws. Electric blue light mixed with vivid red at the mouth of its throat. Acetylene and oxygen-shaped plasma began to form into a ball as it assessed for the right time to strike its ball of fire.

            Prince Kais’s eyes bled tears, crouching down with both his arms shielding his head, as if it would protect him from the searing plasma. “Please, I beg you. Don’t kill me!” he cried, yet he was smirking in malice under the cover of his arms.

            Recognition flashed across the scarlet dragon’s eyes for a brief moment. Its once slit pupils widened as the aggression in its orbs melted into wonder and curiosity. The dragon closed its gaping jaws, swallowing the fire within it. The creature tilted its head to the side, both of its eyes appearing rather cat-like.

            Prince Kais noticed the dragon ceasing its assault and took this moment as an opportunity to unsheathe his sword, pointing the tip of his blade dangerously close to the creature.

            The dragon’s former cat-like eyes transformed back into their aggressive and slit state. Its clamped jaws curled into a deadly snarl, baring its razor-edged teeth and keen fangs.

            Kais penetrated his sword into the dragon’s right front leg, creating a noticeable gash. Silver blood poured out of the wound like a river. The dragon whimpered as it stared at the slash painfully. It whipped its slender head at the one responsible for its wound and growled stridently. The sound could compete with the booming rumbling of thunder. Its jaws enlarged. And with a strong, quick lash of its tail, Kais’s sword was knocked out of his grasp. 

            Prince Kais collapsed to the cemented floor defenselessly – his sword clattering and skidding across the room. The winged creature strode closer to the Prince, cornering him onto a balcony. It gave out a penetrating roar, making his limbs go limp.

            Its teeth lengthened further. The Prince quivered. Before he could process what it was about to do, the dragon swooped down its head and chopped his head off with one clean bite.

            Prince Kais’s head rolled across the ground, the petrified look still etched on his still face. The fresh meat and blood spilled from the chopped-off neck; the mere sight of it building a river of rich red provoking the dragon to lick its fangs, thirsty for the presence and taste of blood everywhere in its throat and tongue and lips.

            The colossal, yet slender figure of the scarlet-scaled dragon was replaced with a lovely young woman. Her inferno red hair cascaded down her back, a few stray strands dancing over her moonlit features. Fire rose in her keen green eyes under the soft pools of light the stars and moon created, and they scorched a path through the air. Her pale skin mirrored the moon’s delicate color. A white-gold crown on her head wavered in white flames like millions of scattered searing stardust that had been pieced back together through the flames of inferno and the seas of blood she had created. Oddly, the crown didn’t burn through her head like it should have done; it eradicated into actual white fire.

            Even after twenty years living in the middle of nowhere, she didn’t gain a single wrinkle or strand of silver in her hair, or any other changes an average human would have gained throughout their adult years. The beauty she possessed at the age of twenty-one stayed true to her features. 

            Grinning maliciously, she watched the dead Prince’s skin pale. Then a pair of fangs bore from her mouth. She knelt down and pierced her fangs into his neck. Blood surged through her throat, the thick and salty taste of it sending satisfying tingles through her taste buds. Her pupils grew into slits as hunger took the best of her. She continued to devour every ounce of blood streaming through the corpse’s veins.

            Her blazing crown and red hair gathered the crimson liquid from his beheaded self.
            Satisfied and full, she removed her fangs from the impaled spot. More blood from the wound streamed as one with the blood that was flowing from where the Prince’s head had been. The blood made its way across the balcony and rained down the ledge, forming a waterfall that would terrorize every person or thing witnessing the sight.

            The sight of Princess Solene who turned into a blood-thirsty beast, and the blood that rained from the tower.

Dedicated to my fiery little sister, Asha.
Fairuza Hanun, 24/09/2016 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cerebral Palsy





What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy (CP) refers to neurological disorders that appear in infancy or childhood.
Cerebral Palsy affects the muscle movements, preventing people with such disorder to be unable to move their muscles to do certain activities properly.

The majority of children having Cerebral Palsy are born with it, although it may be detected a few months or years later.
The signs of Cerebral Palsy usually appear before a child reaches three years old. The most common is the lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes; walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes; crouched gait; 'scissored' gait; and muscle tone which is either too floppy or too stiff.

Other neurological symptoms that commonly occur in individuals with CP include seizures/convulsions, hearing loss and impaired vision, bladder and bowel control issues, and pain or abnormal sensations.

A small number of children have CP as the result of a brain damage within the first few months of years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse.
The disorder isn't progressive, meaning the brain damage does not get worse over time. Risk factors related to CP do not cause the disorder, but could increase the chance in having a child with CP. Cerebral Palsy is not hereditary.

Is there any treatment?
Cerebral Palsy cannot be cured.
However, some treatments can improve a child's capabilities.
In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental diseases or learning new ways to accomplish tasks that challenge them.
Early interventions, supportive treatments, medications, and surgery can help many individuals improve their muscle control.

Source: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/cerebral_palsy.htm
              gillettechildrens.org

Monday, May 23, 2016

To the Greatest Mom

Aku ingin bercerita tentang peran Mama-ku dalam mengajarkan dan membudayakan menulis dan membaca dalam hidupku.

Sejak aku beranjak umur empat tahun, Mama menyuguhkan aku banyak sekali buku-buku. Pada awal-awalnya, buku-buku tersebut hanya 5-7 halaman – sangat tipis dengan banyak ilustrasi berwarna-warni. Ada beberapa yang berbahasa Inggris dan ada yang berbahasa Indonesia. Setiap hari, setelah belajar dan sebelum tidur, Mama akan selalu duduk disampingku sambil membacakan salah satu buku yang ia telah beli.

Karena sering mendengarkan Mama membaca, aku menjadi terbiasa membaca kalimat-kalimat dan mengingat kata-kata dalam buku. Dan dari situ aku mulai bisa membaca sedikit demi sedikit, walaupun hanya bisa membaca satu buku cerita. Buku pertama yang kubaca adalah cerita mengenai perjalanan liburan seekor beruang bersama kudanya, dan seekor katak yang ternyata telah bersembunyi didalam ember pakan kuda. Tidak hanya itu, Mama juga membuat kalimat-kalimat yang di-print dan di-laminating untuk berlatih membaca. Meskipun awalnya aku agak lambat membaca, Mama tidak memaksa aku untuk belajar dengan cepat.

Take your time,” kata Mama.

Ternyata membaca itu tidak semudah yang kupikirkan. Butuh hampir satu tahun untuk hanya belajar membaca buku cerita tersebut. Setelah aku mulai lancar membaca, Mama mengajarkan aku menulis. Dari kata ke kalimat dan akhirnya menjadi sebuah cerita pendek.

Karena aku senang membaca dan menulis, Mama membuat perjanjian bahwa satu bulan sekali, kita akan pergi ke toko buku. Biasanya kita bisa menghabiskan 1-2 jam di toko buku hanya untuk memilih buku tepat yang ingin kita baca.

Lama-lama aku mencintai menulis dan membaca, dan dari situ, aku suka membuat cerita-cerita pendek dan essay Sains. Aku latihan setiap hari, mengasah kemampuanku dalam menulis dan merangkum sub-subject Sains.

Sampai sekarang, Mama mengarahkan aku untuk menulis buku karena kesukaan menulisku.

Author's Note:
Hi, everyone! I know it's been a while, but I've been gathering up some stories and summaries for me to upload in my blog, so I hope it would be worth the wait. 
So, anyway, happy (late) International Mother's Day! (which is supposed to be on the 8th of May)
See you in more of my posts! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy World Water Day 2016!

Water is an important part of our life. We use it to carry out our daily activities. If we use and treat it the wrong way, we might end up losing it, so we have to save it as best as we can.

Indonesia has over 5,590 rivers, most of them short and steep. Yet, people treat them incorrectly. Even though Indonesia’s water source is about 21 percent total water resources in the Asia Pacific region, clean water is becoming a serious problem in the country. Recently, about 80 percent of 250 million people in Indonesia have no access to piped water. Due to the difficulties and limited access to clean water, a large number of people still rely on rivers to carry out their daily activities; washing, drinking, and bathing. And it is a huge problem that so many people rely on rivers and lakes while others keep trashing and polluting water.

Waste puking from sewers and large pipes connected to factories and homes cause a serious damage to water and the living organisms that live or rely on it. Garbage thrown into riversides, which is then carried by the waves into the water, is also causing water pollution. Oil shipped from country to country often leak, poisoning the organisms in water. Though, not only water pollution brings serious damage to our needs for water, the impact can also hit on the living organisms in need of water, such as fish and many different kinds of farm animals we consume. We would starve and thirst.

There was an indication that people in villages who use rivers as drinking water tend to decrease from 22.8 percent to 22.5 percent during period 1999 until 2002. There are several factors causing the degradation of water resources’ quality in Indonesia, such as domestic waste and pollution. About 56.15 percent of households dispose their domestic waste directly to the river body.  (http://www.wepa-db.net/policies/state/indonesia/indonesia.htm)

As of 2015, an average person in Indonesia can produce 0.7 kilogram of waste per day. With 250 million people, a staggering 175,000 tons of waste is produced each day, amounting 64 million tons per year, according to data from the ministry. This waste is mostly dumped into landfill.
These landfills are struggling to cope with the ever-increasing waste as the population grows and the people consume more and more. 


For example, South Tangerang, a 147-kilometer-square city with 1.4 million people, is lacking an adequate number of temporary trash disposal sites (TPS). Many of the existing TPS are not functioning properly, forcing a large number of residents to burn their trash and suffer through the negative effects of air pollution.
(http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/10/09/indonesia-state-waste-emergency.html)

If we don’t reduce the amount of waste we produce every day, we would very soon run out of landfills and instead dump our waste into the rivers, lakes, and seas! Think of all the pollution we might cause.

And think about all the lives of many other animals! Oil lingering on water birds’ feathers poisons them, preventing them to be able to fly or survive in winter. Fish, dolphins, migrating whales, and sea turtles that get tangled in plastic and garbage, driven into sea shores would have a hard time getting unstuck and returning to its natural habitat – especially if people never tried to help them out, only satisfying themselves with photographs of the animals.    

Water animals are not the only animals suffering through water pollution; land animals which need water to bathe in and drink would suffer through the same things as well, leading them to death!
This isn’t only important for Indonesia, it’s important for all countries in the world!

Don’t wait for other countries to make amends; start now. Stop saying in the social media that you have to save water and preserve nature; start doing what you’ve always said. Although, words can provoke the minds of other people, do what you think is right before telling others to them too. 
Remember, actions speak louder than words. Once you do something good, others may follow.  
And because of that, it is crucially important to save as much water as we can;
-         When it rains, place large buckets under your drain pipes. The buckets collect the rain water and you can use it to water your plants or wash your car; you won’t have to waste it then.
-         When you wash the dishes, don’t run the water out, fill it into a pail and wash your soapy dishes there. That way, you won’t have to waste too much water.

You see, there are a lot of ways to save water, and use your creativity to save it! Reduce the waste you produce every day and stop littering. Use eco-friendly items that might help protect the environment.

One small change can make a big difference, so start making one now.

That is why we celebrate Water World Day; to remind the world how important water is to us.


SAVE WATER and HAPPY WORLD WATER DAY 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

To Reach the Cloud of My Dreams



Why do people need to have dreams? Having dreams is important. Sometimes, people do not know what are their dreams, what they want, and what will they do in their future. It is ironic! 
When people have many dreams about their future, sometimes it can last, and sometimes it can change. Dreams can be carried as a vision. A vision is what you see in the future and what you want it to be.
Dreams and Visions are a bit different; Dreams are only a 50 percent positive, but Visions are 99 or 100 percent positive in a focus way; how unique you are in your profession, which university will you go to, what actions will you do to enter it and who will you collaborate with.                                          
As what I’ve said before, dreams can change any time. And that happened to me; I change my dreams for most of the time. When I was 6 years old, I wanted to be a Doctor. It was quite interesting, but a bit creepy – imagine if a dead body walks out of the hospital – that was my cousin’s silly tale. They used to tell me that learning how to be a doctor is fun, so I thought maybe I could be a doctor one day. 
Then, somehow it changed when I started to read many books and watch designing & science programs in TV channels.
From every knowledge that I’ve got, I want to be a great writer that writes cool stories and a great Animal Scientist with a hobby of interior designing. Time after time I’ve realized that this wasn’t  just a dream, but a vision. And I’m very sure about it.  
           
All that I did to reach those visions are my passion. A passion is something that you really love to do all the time. I’ve been reading lots of books like novels, encyclopedia, and biography, surfing the internet and watching some TV shows of knowledge to reach them. Those are my true passion.  
Doing those stuffs is my everyday life to fill in my spare time. I enjoy most of my time doing them. Sometimes I go with my Mom to the places I love most after she finishes her work in her office, like; the book store, the library, the movie theater, and go to the National park on holiday weekends.                              
I don’t really enjoy most of the libraries here, because they only have a few authors. The book store is my most sacred place. Without a book in this world, makes my world, and I think other people’s world narrow and dark. Books are the windows for us to see and travel many different and unique worlds without having to move our feet or go anywhere.
           
Books spread our imagination and dreams wider; they fill up the blank pieces of paper with ink which I’ve always imagined that each drop is a thought or memory that you share to the world. Writing a book is to write down your feelings and clear your full working mind into a calm one.                                                              
It’s like writing poetry and letters to your family or other loved ones.                         
You would share your feelings to your Mom, wouldn’t you?               
Well, writing a book is like that too. 
I hope you now know that reading and writing is an important thing…
Well, now, back to the topic.
           
A dream is like a cloud, a cloud that floats way up in the sky. And under that big cloud, there are some small clouds which form your life steps. You must walk step by step up the small clouds to reach the big cloud. Those steps can help you to reach it, like the stairs that leads to your favorite room in your house.  
           
What I’ve done in my life are my steps, like entering this speech contest is my opportunity to be a famous entrepreneur. And I’ll do my best to make my family proud of me.     
When I grow up, I want to have college in a foreign country. But I don’t know where, because I’m still considering it. I realized, I have to search some information
for a college. Some of those became my judgment; among others are University of IOWA, and University of Colorado. I think I’d prefer to go to IOWA, since I'm more into literature.  But, how can I get a scholarship to go to that university? I have to do that by doing actions.
           
My actions are searching information of each university, study hard and study smart on subjects that I love most, ask other people who has an experience of studying there for more information, surf the internet and read lots and lots of books.
Study hard is to focus on the subject that I love and that’s connected to my dreams. And Study smart is to find a way to reach my dreams faster. Choose an effective way and decide how creative/unique I am in that profession.
           
After I’ve done the three of them; vision, passion, and action, I think I’m already near my dream cloud. So when I go to college and then graduate from it, I need to collaborate with someone that has the same dream as I do, with a kind heart and someone truthful and loyal, because none of the professions can stand alone, but they need to synergy with each other.
           
Example, if you want to make a movie, you don’t just need an actor or actress to do it. You’ll also need a camera expert, anime/cartoon maker, sound man and some musicians, right? If they work together, they could make amazing movies, don’t you think?   
Who knows, maybe you and your partner can make a company together and make a success. Finally, you’re in the cloud of your dreams! 

QUOTES ABOUT DREAMS
“Go, live your dream” -Tangled
“I can live, I can fly. Chase the wind and touch the sky!” - Brave
"Go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others think it." - quotesgram.com
"The best dreams happen when you're awake." 
"A dream without ambition is like a car without gas...you're not going anywhere." - Sean Hampton
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." - C.S. Lewis  



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Lucky ~a short story~

Lucky woke up from the pitch black darkness and found himself locked in a cage placed in a strange dark blue-colored laboratory. It was a bit chilly, despite the fact that the AC wasn't on. The Golden Retriever dog shivered in cold. Suddenly, he was greeted by a displeasing hum followed along with heavy footsteps walking down a hall of the entrance of the lab.

          That person who made all of the heavy noises revealed himself, before sliding his ID card into an electric scan machine which could recognize the identity of the person who came in. Beep…  The scan machine made a sound. Lucky knew he was in trouble because the man injected some liquid into a syringe then, the man walked towards Lucky’s cage.

          Lucky walked backwards and bumped into something which was a sharp pin. Oh, he wished this was all a big nightmare… He wished he was back in his warm comfy home with his own loving family who loves him every bit as much as they love each other. So, to ensure himself this was all a nightmare, Lucky pinned his front left paw with the pin. Unfortunately, it didn’t work… It was all real.

          The man unlatched the cage’s lock and pushed the liquid into Lucky’s small hairy ginger body. Lucky yelped in pain.

          Blue-ish atoms swirled around his body and Lucky’s yelp turned into a cry. “OW!!!” That made the man astonished at the power of the liquid.

          Lucky noticed that the latch was still open, so this was a chance for him to escape! He bolted in a high speed – which was pretty amazing and shocked for him to know – towards the opening latch. In less than 30 seconds, Lucky managed to escape out of his cage and the creepy lab.     

          Now, that’s how Lucky got his amazing powers. Once he escaped the building where the lab was placed in, a little girl picked him up out of nowhere and gladly took care of him with her father.

          The girl was called Elsa, Elsa Carpenter.

~~*~~

Elsa Carpenter was a peasant, poor 12-year-old girl who is sold to a rich couple to be a house maid by her own father since she was 5 years old. Her father did that just to get a simple trade of a red tablecloth, a female goat, and a busted sewing machine because he wanted to be a professional tailor.

          All that was left for her was a Golden Retriever dog which she raised since it was a puppy and found it in the middle of the streets, an unruly dirty notebook which she usually cleans up with a wet tissue, and an old ink pen. She kept her notebook and pen because she liked to sketch and write some short stories.

          Elsa was hired to do 2 house chores by a rich young couple who owned a large mansion in Los Angeles, California. Doing 2 house chores – which were laundry and cooking – was a bit hard, especially when it comes to cooking. She really sucked at it. Elsa couldn’t even season, boil water, or make a simple sunny-side egg. The laundry was quite easy to do for her, but not cooking.

          Every dinner, she gets a big pinch to the ear from the groom and the bride just sat down on her part of seat, staring off into deep thoughts of La La Land without even standing up for her young maid, although she wished that Elsa was her child.

          The groom’s wife, Miley Underwood, wanted to have a baby since the beginning of their marriage, but her husband, Michael Underwood, didn’t want to have one, so he told his wife to have a birth control injection which left a disappointed feeling for her. Even though Elsa might not be good at cooking, her loyal and cheerfulness brings happy thoughts to her.  

          “I’m sorry, Sir.” Elsa apologized to the groom who she calls Sir or sometimes his name. She just made a mistake on her Meat Loaf’s seasoning, which made the couple’s tongues really spicy.

          Michael gave her a hard pinch right on the ear where it hurts most then released it when Elsa cried harder. “You better make good food next time. It really matters to have perfect gourmet food if you’re a rich business man.”

          Elsa gulped hard, trying to resist the pain that was caused by the pinch from the ear. “Y-yes sir.” She hated it when Michael gives her pinches.  

          Michael and Miley never gave food to Elsa or even a warm drink whenever it rains or snows. She only drank sink water and ate cheap rice pudding which she buys along way the streets of Temecula.

          So, when Michael and Miley eat restaurant food in the mansion, Elsa stood blankly in the corner of the dining room, staring at the delicious food that the rich couple was eating. Every food looked so delicious and sweet in caf├ęs, restaurants, shops, and bakeries. Elsa really wanted to eat them so badly, only, she didn’t have enough money. The salaries that Michael and Miley lent her were only a few cents.

          One night, after the rich couple ate dinner and gave their little maid another hard pinch, Elsa’s chores were finally done and now it was time for her to sleep. Once she cleaned up the last plate and placing it back in one the cupboard drawers, she walked hastily off to her small bedroom under the third-floor stair chambers.

          Sure it was a long way from the kitchen which was in the very corner of the mansion. But somehow, she’d gotten used to it.

          The stairs were about 5 feet wide and marble tiles covered the whole steps with a long red carpet covering the middle part which if you stand on straight in line can fit for 2 persons. Perfect for a rich couple, don’t you think?

          Walking to a third-floor stair chamber sure was exhausting, especially when the mansion has 12 floors and the stairs were really long. 
I wonder how the couple could succeed to get through these stairs. Their room is on the 6th floor. That’s impossible for me to reach. Elsa thought.  

          Elsa pounded on the door quietly before there was a short pause, and then a key flew out from under the turquoise blue door. The one who flung the key out was actually her Golden Retriever dog, named Lucky.  

          “Thanks, boy!” She chirped happily, turning the key in the doorknob to unlock her chamber door. A light and friendly ‘Woof’ greeted her when she finally opened the door.

          Suddenly, the ginger-haired dog leaped from Elsa’s hard sponge bed and cuddled its owner with its furry legs, preventing its claws from leaving a scratch on her face, but turns out it left a few light scars that you can hardly see from afar.

          “Come on, boy. Let’s read ‘The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories’.” Reading had been Elsa’s favorite activity to fill out her spare time. Even though it was 9 PM, she still sits on the head of her bed, reading endlessly with her favorite books.                     

          “I’m so happy you’re here, Lucky. No one would ever let you in, especially Michael.” The canine nuzzled into Elsa’s lap while she read one of the short tales of ‘The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories’.

          It was true, Michael hated dogs and he preferred Lucky to be outside in Elsa’s small house. The staircase closet is where she sleeps when she’s punished, but the place where she actually lives in is a simple small house at the back yard with the other maids. 
          The strangest thing happened,

         “I’m happy that you’re here too, Els.” Lucky said, shaking his tail happily. Elsa dropped her book and stared at her Golden Retriever dog in disbelief and amaze.

          “You…talked…” Elsa stuttered, amazed.

       “Oh, yeah, about that, I got poisoned by a crazy old mad scientist before I met you. And I got the power to talk and have human intelligence. Pretty cool, right?”

          Elsa made sure this wasn’t a dream, so she pinched her arm and she didn’t wake up. This wasn’t a dream! The girl tried her best not to scream in delight, because this was actually the greatest moment of her life.

          “YAY!” Elsa screamed – I mean squealed – in delight which made the butler, Heathcliff open the door and ask her.

          “Are you alright, Ms. Carpenter?”

          “Uh…yeah, I’m fine.” She replied. Heathcliff closed the chamber door shut and left the hall. Elsa then turned to her talking dog.

          “That was close.” The girl wiped a sweat from her forehead with a quirky laugh. “So, you’re like a super dog or something?”

          “Quite close… Hey, by the way, I know you’re having problems with your cooking.” Lucky told his owner as she sat down on her bed continuing to reading her book.

          “Oh, really?”

     “Yeah… You know, Elsa, maybe I could teach you how to cook. My brain is programmed to have high IQ intelligence, so I think I can teach you.” He wiggled his tail around excitedly. Elsa’s face lit up and she placed down her book on her ragged woolen blanket.

          “Really? You think you could do that?” Her frown turned upside down into a smile.

          “I promised to take care of you in return, because you took care of me, so yeah. I can teach you. When should we start?”

          Elsa lifted her index finger onto her chin as a gesture of thinking. “I know!” This time, she lifted her finger in the air. “Michael and Miley said they would be having a holiday to Florida for 4 weeks, starting from tomorrow! So, in that time we can learn how to cook! This is going to be so good!”

          “Cool! I’ll see you tomorrow Master.” Lucky dug himself into a hole under a loose tile and disappeared underground.

Miley and Michael Underwood were having a trip with their family and family-in-law in New Mexico. The Underwood couple actually wanted to have some amazing time in New York, but one of their cousins was getting bored of modern light cities, so, they went to New Mexico.
          It was very hot and sunny, thank goodness they brought themselves their hats or else they would get sunburn… After eating tacos for lunch, the couple separated from their family to explore more parts of the city, until they arrived at a poor village where the two saw children and old people who looked starving for food.
          Suddenly, a 40 or so year old man approached them. He was wearing a dirty old loose t-shirt, a pair of ripped trousers that reached until his calf, and torn sandals.

          “Excuse me, rich couple; I have a child who really needs a job. She’s for sale. Would you like to buy her and hire her as your loyal servant?” The man asked Miley and Michael after he bowed at them.

          Before replying, Miley gave a glance at Michael who was giving her an I-don’t-want-to-have-a-child look. Being a woman who had always wanted a child, Miley ignored her husband’s look and replied to the man:

          “May we see her?”

          The man nodded and led the couple to an old shack where a 10-year-old girl was reading a torn book – which she got from a trash can – on her hay bed. The girl looked up from her book when Miley, Michael and the man who is her father stepped into the room.

          “Papa, who are they?” The little girl with short bronze hair tied into two messy braids, asked her father.

          “They’re a couple who are going to hire you, dear…” Her father explained. Elsa nodded and forced a smile at them.

          “Ah, yes. I will leave you three alone. For some privacy, that is.” Elsa’s father walked backwards to the front door to leave the shack.

          Miley knelt down onto her knees to face Elsa by her height and smiled warmly. “Hi…” The woman greeted her. Elsa returned a smile, this time not forced, as she buried her face behind her book shyly. “I’m Miley Underwood. What’s your name?”

          “I-I’m E-Elsa, Mrs. Underwood.” The little girl stuttered her name. The little girl still smiled at the woman’s kindness.

          “Wow, Elsa. That’s a beautiful name, but I find it quite hard to believe that a Latin girl has a European name. Your parents must be wonderful at names. And you look absolutely adorable.” Miley admired her young soon-to-be-maid. She turned to her husband with a stern look. “Isn’t that right, Michael?”

          Michael returned a stern look as well at his wife and said as he took a glance at his Swiss Army watch. “Yeah, yeah, whatever. Come on, honey. We’ll be late for dinner.” Miley also glanced at her Swarovski watch, just then she frowned.

          “It’s still 4 PM, Michael. We still have 2 hours left to join Mom and Dad for dinner. Besides, you don’t want this poor girl and her father to die of starvation, wouldn’t you?” She reasoned.

          “Yeah...but-”

          “No buts. You and I need to talk. Now.” His wife snapped at him. She told Elsa to stay there for a minute while she and her husband have a talk, which probably will leave many snapping or scolding or even hissing.

          The two got out of the shack and sat on the porch floor. They weren’t used to sitting on dusty floors, but they had to since there was no other place to sit on. At the same time, the couple glared at each other, completely angry.

          “What is wrong with you and children?!” Miley hissed, almost slamming the wooden floor. “You always think they’re annoying things, well you’re annoying as well!” Yup, they often fight about this whenever Miley adored kids.

          “Because they will only cause problems, mess, and chaos! That is why I don’t want us to have our own child!” Michael hissed back. His wife tucked a strand of her long ginger hair and sighed deeply, sinking her eyes down in despair. Sometimes she wondered why she married this guy. 

         Defeated, Miley massaged her temples. “Fine… We won’t adopt her as our daughter  until she does her work perfectly. I really want a child, okay Mike?”

          “Not a single flaw, okay? We also need to know her loyalty and kindness before we adopt her.” Michael still sounded stern and a little bit furious. Miley nodded.

          “Yes. But only if you pay her to go to public school and also buy good clothes for her.”

          “I promise.”

          The two entered the shack again to talk to Elsa and her father again. Miley told the girl’s father that she and her husband would accept to hire Elsa. After stuffing up her stuffs into a rumpled sling bag, Elsa carried her Golden Retriever dog, Lucky, outside to meet Miley and Michael. She waved back at her father who was carrying a bag of money and a few items which were given from the rich couple.

          Since that day, Elsa got separated from her father to live with the Underwood. At first, their family was a bit uncomfortable with her presence. But not long after that, they all became welcoming and friendly to Elsa. Back to California, Elsa became a cooking and laundry maid.         


“We’ll back in 4 weeks. Stay out of trouble.” Miley touched the tip of Elsa’s nose with a soft smile. Miley had been treating Elsa like her daughter, only she doesn’t stand up to her when Elsa got punishment.

          “Okay.” Elsa giggled slightly.

      “You can crawl into the library anytime you like, Elsa. And there are some candy bars and potato chips in the fridge, you can enjoy them for a snack if you like.” Miley added. She knew how much her maid loves books, so she decided to put on a little holiday for Elsa. “But no sneaking into our suite, okay? In the meantime, try to improve your cooking.”

          “I’ll try, Miley. Thanks.”

          “Come on, sweetheart. We’re gonna be late.” Michael said coldly to his wife, and then turned to Elsa. “Don’t ever try to make a mess. Or I will punish you with a lot of pinches when we get home.”

          Elsa gulped nervously. “Yes, Sir.” She liked being with Miley, but her husband is too cold.

          The young rich couple climbed aboard their limousine and drove off, leaving her with the other maids and Heathcliff.

          “I’ll be in the library, Heathcliff!”

          “Of course, Miss.” Heathcliff smiled softly to the cheerful child.

          Elsa ran off to her chamber to grab Lucky to the library.

      “Come on Lucky! We’re going to the library!” The girl laughed in joy as she took Lucky in her arms and brought him to the library with her favorite book, ‘How to Steal a Dragon’s Jewel’ by Cressida Cowell.

          “They allowed you to?”

          “Of course, Miley allows me. Not her cold husband.” She said, glaring slightly at her master's photograph on the wall that she passed. 

         “I thought we were going to learn how to cook.” Lucky remembered yesterday’s promise.

          Elsa stopped her tracks and face-palmed. “Oh my God, I forgot! Let’s do it afterwards, okay?”

          “Fine.” Lucky gave her a poker face which made her laugh; a dog making a poker face, who knew? 

Between the stacks of books on an antique wooden bookcase, Lucky found a book that interested him: ‘Desserts That Don’t Require an Oven’.

          “What’s this?” He asked inquisitively. The ginger-haired Golden Retriever dog grabbed the book in between his teeth and carried it to the table where Elsa was busy reading a new book – more like an encyclopedia – called ‘Electricity & Magnets’.  

          “Elsa! Look what I’ve found!” Lucky barked at her.

          “It’s just a boring cookbook, Lucky. What’s the benefit of reading a cookbook? You can’t learn how to cook from a book.” Elsa looked at the cookbook Lucky brought boringly which made the dog look displeased.

          “How can you know if you never tried?” Lucky shoved Elsa out of her seat. “Come on! Let’s try these amazing recipes.” The two walked into the kitchen downstairs.

          Lucky quickly flipped open the cookbook and the pages stopped on a dessert called Nuttella Cheesecake. He licked the edge of his lips before grabbing the ingredients for the food from the fridge.

          “We’ll make this!” Lucky said.

          “Okay.” Elsa replied while taking a look at the recipe.

~~~The recipe~~~

‘NUTTELLA CHEESECAKE’

Ingredients
·         -400g cream cheese
·         -400g digestive biscuits
·         -80g icing sugar
·         -120g butter
·         -400g nutella

       How To Make It:

1) Melt the butter and a table spoon of Nutella together

2) Crush up all of the biscuits and add in the mixture of butter and Nutella. Mix until it resembles wet sand.

3) Put the mixture into a 22" spring form cake tin and using a smooth object, press the biscuit mixture along the bottom and the sides of the cake tin. When that's ready put into the fridge

4) Now, put the cream cheese, rest of the Nutella and the icing sugar into a bowl and mix. 

5) Take the biscuit mixture out of the fridge and spread the Nutella and cream cheese mixture into the tin.

6) Put back into the fridge for 3/4 hours to set

Note: **you could also sprinkle crushed flake on top of the cheesecake to make it look even nicer**

~~~End of the recipe~~~

Lucky gave a few examples of how to shake the whip cream can properly, mix the coloring food, cookies & other ingredients with the cheese cream, melt butter on a pan, and arrange the appearance of the food.

          Elsa followed the steps quickly and she did it!

       After about 25 minutes, the two finally finished making their own Red Velvet Cheesecakes. The Cheesecake didn’t use an oven because the recipe said so, and the result turned out to be exactly the same as the picture in the book.

          “Looks so delicious!” Lucky tasted Elsa’s work of food, and once he finished the whole dessert, a smile crept up on his face. “The dressing is perfect, the taste is absolutely sweet and delicious, and…it’s just amazing! Great job, Els.”

          “Thanks, Lucky!” Elsa thanked Lucky for his compliments. “I really had fun today… This is like my first best achievement in my whole childhood life.” 

          “How about we try the other recipes?” The fluffy dog inquired.

          “Sure! Sounds fun.”

          Trying the other recipes were a lot of fun. They made pancakes with Green Tea Kit Kats for the topping, Mint Oreo Icebox Cake, Ferrero Rocher Pie, and some S’mores Bars. The two shared the treats they made with Heathcliff and the other maids, meanwhile doing that, Lucky stayed shut, not talking a single word, just barks.

          “Wow… Who knows cooking can get so much fun?” Elsa laughed, satisfied as she easily flipped another pancake in the air and let it flop down on the fry pan.

          “Told ya.” Lucky rolled his eyes, smiling.   

          
Four weeks had passed, and Elsa’s cooking talent had developed better and better. She was confident that her food would be really tasty for the couple’s Welcome Home dinner. Another maid insisted that she would cook for them, but Elsa was sure her cooking lesson had paid off.

          “Please welcome, the Underwood couple!” Heathcliff announced at the front porch when Miley & Michael’s limo pulled in.

          The kind butler opened the limo’s back door which revealed Miley in jeans, a plaid scarf and a plain red blouse & Michael in jeans also, plain green scarf and a horizontal-striped shirt. It was quite chilly outside, considering that it’s almost winter and its night time.  

          “Welcome home, Miley!” Elsa leaped into Miley’s open arms for a hug. “How was your trip to Florida?”

          “It was amazing, Els. I’m so happy to see you again.” Miley said to her little maid as she snuggled deeper into her warm hug.

          “Me too…” Elsa replied.

          “Honey, what are you doing?” Michael asked coldly…again.

       “Hugging Elsa. Is it a problem?”

     “She’s your maid! Filthy, stupid maid! Don’t you ever hug her again!” More harsh and cold words came out of Michael’s mouth to Miley. Of course, Elsa was a bit offended with his words.

         “Alright, alright.”

          As the couple walked inside their mansion, amazement filled their eyes. The whole mansion was clean! Shiny, spotless and arranged beautifully!
          Wait. What’s that smell? Delicious scent of food and warm beverages floated out of the golden-walled dining room.

          “What’s that delicious smell?” Michael inquired suspiciously as he slowly entered the dining room.

         And there he saw…food and warm beverages settled down nicely on the marbled dining table finished with the beautiful arrangements of plates, bowls, and cups & glasses.

          “Bon appetite, Sir.” Elsa said happily, feeling really satisfied with all her work. Yes, reader, all of the arrangements and design for Michael & Miley’s ‘Welcome Home’ event, especially the dinner.

          Elsa helped Miley settle down on a golden-colored fabric-covered chair, as well as Heathcliff to Michael.

          “Here we have roasted Cajun Meat Loaf and fries for main course, Lobster salad for starters, and different desserts; Red Velvet Cheesecake Scones for Michael, & Ferrero Rocher Pie for Miley. Enjoy…” The little chef, Elsa, introduced the food to the Underwood couple. “Oh, for beverages, we’re serving warm Nutmeg & Cinnamon Eggnogs.” She added.

          “Thank you, Elsa.” Michael thanked the little maid, – for the first time – happily. “I hope these will be delicious.”

          The Underwood couple finished their whole food and drink in exactly the perfect pace as mannered people should. As the two wiped the some leftover crumbs from their lips with lovely embroidered napkins, Michael said.

          “Elsa, I have to say, your food is really delicious!”

          “Thanks.”

      “And we really wish that you would accept our offer to be our first daughter…” What Miley and Michael last said was beyond of Elsa’s wildest dreams or wishes.

      The couple both agreed to adopt Elsa because she had achieved something incredible for them both, and because Miley really wished to have a child as bright as Elsa for a long time. It took a while for Michael to realize that she’s a special child who can melt the heart of a cold person and that she doesn’t deserve a slave life like this, not after all this.

          “Really?” Elsa rubbed her eyes in disbelief.

          “Yes.” Miley giggled and Michael smiled at Elsa’s reactions.

     “I-I…” Elsa took a short glance at Lucky who secretly spied at them from the kitchen and now, gave his master a trusting wink. “…I’d love to.”

          The couple squealed happily as they hugged their now daughter before Lucky revealed himself to them.  

          “And welcome to the family too, Lucky!” Michael embraced Lucky with a hug too.  
       The next day, after signing the adoption papers, they all became a complete happy family, and as a bonus Michael was now not as arrogant and selfish as before. All thanks to the lucky dog…Lucky.