The Unfathomable Mystery of River Street
written by Jeff Kinney
At first, Jarrod Pyle thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. Or that he hadn't quite woken up yet and was still in that half-sleep, half-awake state where you're not quite ready to leave your dreams behind. But after rubbing his eyes and looking out the window, then rubbing them again and focusing – REALLY focusing – he knew something was seriously wrong.
And so Jarrod stepped out his front door in his tee-shirt and underwear, which he ordinarily would not have done, since Betsy Littleton lived right next door and she was always taking pictures on her phone. But Jarrod wasn't even thinking about Betsy and her camera, and in fact he didn't even notice her standing at her own front door wearing her pajamas and staring out at the street, slack-jawed.
There were lots of neighbors standing in front of lots of front doors doing the same thing Jarrod and Betsy were doing, all facing the street, or at least what used to be the street.
At first glance, it looked like the street was very wet, or maybe covered in a sheet of ice. Which would have been weird, because it was June, and the last time there was any ice to be seen in Jarrod's neighborhood was in February, when the last icicles melted from people's gutters. So it wasn’t ice where the asphalt should have been, but water. Lots of water. Too much water.
While most of the neighbors stood frozen on their front porches, Jarrod took a few steps towards the street. He was barefoot and was surprised that when he stepped onto the grass, it wasn't wet. Not even a little. Up to that point Jarrod thought that there had been a freak rainstorm that had flooded the street, so it didn't make any sense that the grass was dry.
Jarrod took a few more tentative steps toward the curb and ran the rest of the way, stopping in his tracks just at the edge of his lawn. Jarrod's momentum almost carried him forward over the curb, and he did a kind of crazy dance as he tried to regain his balance. He could feel Betsy's eyes watching him make a fool of himself and he was certain she was getting this all on video.
But Betsy Littleton was the least of his concerns at the moment. Because stretched before Jarrod was a sight beyond believing. Where Jarrod's street had been just the day before was water… crystal blue, and deep. So deep, in fact, that Jarrod couldn't see the bottom.
Jarrod peered into the depths and marveled at the sight below. In the water were schools of large silvery fish moving in unison. Deeper still was what looked like a sea turtle gliding effortlessly through the water. Still further down was the unmistakable shape of a shark prowling the depths. The sight of the shark made Jarrod's blood run cold, and he almost lost his balance all over again.
Jarrod took a few hasty steps and looked up the street, where several of his neighbors were taking trancelike steps towards the body of water that had replaced their street. And as they did, a thought popped into Jarrod's mind: "I guess I'm not going to school today."
written by Lana M.
After thinking for a short period of time on what to do next, an idea popped into Jarrod's mind. Jarrod thought at first he could swim along the streets to his favourite shop to find out if the shop had been closed. Suddenly he remembered, the water had been made filthy with antiquated rubbish and dirt.
Thinking more about a way to get to the shop, Jarrod looked out the window and stared at the sapphire, wavy flood wondering how it had happened. Jarrod stood there, still staring at the blue ocean and then suddenly another idea popped into his head. "Eureka!" he shouted out loud. He ran as fast as a cheetah to the basement and discovered his Dad's ancient boat, which he'd used in the past. Jarrod looked at the orange, inflatable boat, that was not yet inflated, and he began carrying it upstairs from the basement.
From the corner of his eye, Jarrod saw a neon orange life vest, so he placed down the inflatable boat and ran swiftly to the life vest.
Slowly after collecting the boat and life vest, Jarrod walked up to his room and gently placed both of the objects down and raced to the kitchen. Jarrod collected his big backpack and placed fresh vegetables, which would give him energy; cold water, which would get rid of his thirst; and wooden oars, which he would control the orange boat with. Jarrod put on the backpack (while leaning a little back) and went to collect the vest and boat. He then put on the life vest and went downstairs.
Opening up the uninflated boat, Jarrod then blew the large boat and gently placed it into the foul ocean. He jumped in and then suddenly… a large wave hit and took him away. This was just the start of his incredible adventure…
written by Sophia C.
He was moving at a high speed which made it a very bumpy ride. Jarrod clung onto the boat as if his life depended on it. All of a sudden, whoosh! He was on top of the high, crashing waves, riding them like a surfboard. He had no idea what was going to happen on his way to the shop. It was a sweet shop, he loved sweets.
Just then, Jarrod heard a voice calling from somewhere. It sounded like a little girl's voice (maybe she was about 6 years old) he thought to himself. He looked behind him and could now see the girl, clinging desperately to a floating log. Oddly, she looked very clean in that vile, dirty ocean. He stretched out his hand and carefully helped her up into the boat. It was Angelica – his friends little sister - she had blue eyes and long blonde hair. She was wearing a baby pink jumper with black leggings, which were now ringing wet. "Angelica, why are you in the water?" asked Jarrod
"Well, I had fallen asleep, leaving my bedroom window open. Whilst sleeping a huge wave swept me straight out of my bed and through the open window. I was woken up by the screams of my little brother, who was floating next to me in this dirty water. I tried to get to him but it was too late, he started to drift away from me," she explained.
Jarrod told her that he was going to his favourite sweet shop and because Angelica loved sweets too, she soon forgot about her missing brother and focused on this 'sweet adventure'.
Sometime later, the sweet shop 'Sweet S' (that's the name of the shop), came into view and they were finally there.
To their disappointment, the shop was closed. Jarrod could see that the windows had been boarded up. It looked completely abandoned. Jarrod sat down and thought about where to go next. He reached into his backpack and pulled out 2 long, orange carrots, which had some strange markings on. As Jarrod passed Angelica the carrot, Angelica couldn't help but wonder why the carrots had some weird symbols on them. Jarrod and Angelica both started to munch. These were no ordinary carrots. The carrots had a magical effect on them. While they sat eating the carrots, Angelica and Jarrod started to get a weird sensation in their stomachs. As they looked at each other, they realised their bodies started to fade away. Whoosh! Suddenly they found themselves standing inside the sweet shop.
"What are you doing here?" said a soft voice…
written by Reagan V.
Jarrod and Angelica immediately spun around. Right in front of their eyes stood Mr. Sweets. He looked different, much older. His shiny brown hair was now a dark gray. His sparkling, kind, blue eyes were now a dull bluish-gray. His pearly white smile, (which always shocked Jarrod since he was the sweets king) were now yellow! It was like as the town got more different, he got older and aged. He used to look like mid-20's, but now maybe late-80's? Jarrod didn't know.
"Uhhh..." He didn't know what to say, what should he say?
But then Angelica piped up, "We have no clue what happened. We ate these magical carrots and then poof! Here we are." She sounded adorable. She looked adorable! If Jarrod was Mr. Sweets, he would've thought that this girl was full of it!
But Mr. Sweets was different. His expression was grim, but he looked as if he was remembering something. And then all of sudden, like a light bulb effect, Mr. Sweets was sure excited about his response!
"Yes! Yes!! Finally, someone who understands!!! Did these magical carrots have markings on them? Like this?" Mr. Sweets pointed to a poster with black engravings. They looked sort of Chinese. Jarrod and Angelica nodded their heads in unison.
"Ah, yes! You see, there have been many sightings, disappearances, and encounters that were associated with these two symbols recorded throughout history. These markings seem to appear every 100 years. In fact, usually the markings cause weird things to happen over the course of a week," Mr. Sweets explained. At this Jarrod grabbed and pulled Angelica behind the abandoned counter, and they both ducked down.
"Are you thinking what I am thinking?" Jarrod whisper shouted. He wasn't sure how he felt about this recent discovery, and he wasn't sure if it was good.
"That we have this whole candy shop to ourselves and we still haven't eaten a single sweet yet?" Angelica exclaimed. Jarrod rolled his eyes; Classic 6 year old girl.
"No," he responded. "You know how Mr. Sweets said that these markings cause weird things to happen over the course of the week?" Jarrod asked.
"Duh! But that's not important," Angelica responded. All Jarrod could do was stare at her, a complete and legit glare.
"Oh, my, god! No! The street turned into a river less than a week ago, the markings obviously caused it! Connect the dots!!" Jarrod screamed. He didn't care if the Mr. Sweets heard him. He needed Angelica to understand!
"But what about the markings, what do they mean? Could they maybe bring my brother back?" When she said this, her lip started to quiver.
"Don't worry. We'll figure it out! It's okay," Jarrod convinced her. But what Jarrod didn't mention was that he knew these symbols, he'd seen them before, way at the beginning of this disaster. He recalled a dream he'd had. It was the night before the street and the town had turned into a river.
At around midnight, he'd had the dream. He was walking down his street to the candy shop. "Sweet S" actually. Then all of a sudden a storm had started to brew. BOOM! thunder, CRASH! lightning. And it was at that moment, at that lightning bolt which had hit the street, the symbols gleamed throughout the sky. The street had started to crack, and then the whole street disappeared, and this now iconic river that everyone knew had replaced his street. As soon as this happened Jarrod had awoken, but it wasn't 'till today that he realized what it meant.
"What are we going to do now that we know what will happen?" Angelica asked.
"We're gonna wait until the week is over. Then everything will be resolved." Jarrod explained.
After the week went by everything seemed to be back to ordinary, at least to Jarrod's neighbors. He and Angelica seemed to be the only ones that still remembered when the street became a mysterious (and really filthy) river.
But he was also wondering where Angelica's brother was, he hadn't come back yet. But he soon forgot about that. The only thing that he could still never shake off was the feeling that something wasn't how it should be, yet he couldn't quite put his finger on it…