by Kevin J. Doyle -
Mia looked over the spiky green weeds and brown swamp muck that lay before her. Thick, sticky air pressed her skin. The only sounds were the trees creaking and tons of bugs buzzing. She peeked over her shoulder at a shadowy, creepy forest and knew she couldn’t turn around.
Far in the distance, a bright grassy meadow and cool blue river could be seen. To reach those, she’d have to make it across the swamp but something about that gooey mud looked tricky. It was bubbling and burping with strange slurping noises, almost like it was breathing.
Mia picked up a stick and tossed it into the swamp. It stuck straight out for a second but then sank right in - as if it had been eaten up! She’d have to use her magic floating stones to get across so she pulled two from her backpack.
She tossed the first stone into the mud. Thankfully, it sat right on top without sinking. Mia leaped on it, dropped the second one in front of her, and hopped to that one. Then, she reached back to pick up the first stone, turned and tossed it out in front of her. After leaping to that one, she repeated the steps and began moving smoothly across the swamp.
Soon, a small weed covered hill appeared in the middle of her path. This seemed like a good place to rest. But when she jumped to the hill, it rumbled and rose up under her feet! Mia stumbled back to one of her floating stones. Now standing before her was a big creature that was shaped like a man, but made from the weeds and mud of the swamp.
“Hello,” said the creature in a deep voice.
“Hel-hello,” said Mia. Her head told her to run but her legs were frozen solid...