First draft of a children’s book. Illustrations yet to come.
The Cloudiest Day
Ellie and Alexia looked up at the sky. It was a beautiful blue.
There were rolling white clouds racing above their heads, and suddenly Ellie gasped and pointed up.
“Do you see that?” she asked in shock.
Alexia stared up, squinting at the clouds, and her jaw dropped.
“Those clouds are moving!”
“I think they are having a race,” Ellie said.
Ellie’s eyes widened as the clouds began to take form, and soon she and Alexia were laying down in the grass to watch the entire race.
Alexia pointed up at the cloud who seemed to be ahead.
“Look,” she exclaimed. “It seems to be a rocking horse!”
“A rocking horse?” Ellie giggled. “How could a rocking horse be in a race?”
High above the girls’ heads, in the sky, the clouds were racing with all their hearts. It was true, the rocking horse seemed to be ahead. They all wanted to win very badly, so that they could be the first to share their special gift with the world below. The rocking horse was panting as it pushed itself along.
“I have to win this race,” it thought to itself. “My gift is important. It is to face all odds faithfully, knowing that even when things seem impossible, they will get better.” And the rocking horse pushed itself as hard as could be.
“That rocking horse sure seems brave,” Ellie said with a smile.
“Yes it does,” Alexia agreed.
They stared at it in admiration until Ellie noticed another cloud passing it by.
“Do you see that?” she asked her sister.
“I do!” Alexia said, staring at the next cloud with wide eyes.
“It’s very important for me to win this race,” the man in the boat thought to himself, huffing as he rowed with all his heart. His boat was very heavy, and piled high with boxes and bags. “My gift is very useful. If I win, I can let everybody know that with a little bit of hard work, you will be able to go far and bear even the heaviest burden. Working hard will get you everything you need.”
The girls watched as he dipped his paddle in the water, pushing himself speedily past the rocking horse.
“I don’t know who I would rather see win,” Ellie said with a frown.
“Neither do I,” Alexia agreed.
Suddenly, another pair of racers appeared behind the rocking horse and the boater, and the girls became distracted by the plight of a terrified rabbit and a mean looking snake.
“I know this is scary,” the rabbit huffed as it ran, glancing over its shoulder as the snake bared its fangs. “But our gift is important, and if I don’t give it to the world then I fear that nobody else will.”
“Yesss,” the snake hissed as it chased the rabbit through the bright blue sky. “If I don’t try to catch this rabbit, it will never find its courage.”
“And if I don’t face my fears, I will never grow stronger,” the rabbit agreed, hopping quickly. “That is my gift to the world – the courage to see past fear and learn your strengths through your challenges. We have to win!”
“We mussst,” the snake agreed.
Ellie and Alexia watched with wide eyes as the snake chomped down at the rabbit. Its tail almost got nipped. The rabbit ran faster with a laugh, and winked down at the girls. Alexia held her hand over her heart, worried for its safety, when Ellie pointed to the sky above the pair.
“Oh wow, look!” she exclaimed. “Do you see that giant snail?”
Sure enough, a giant snail was trailing along, sliding above the rabbit and the snake.
“I really need to win this race,” it said in a low voice. “If I don’t, I can’t share my gift with the world. My gift is special. Without it, how would people know that it’s okay to go slow? I want to give the gift of patience, because sometimes, the biggest and best things take the most time. What was once small and slow can become very large and powerful.”
And with that, the snail’s size brought it beyond the rabbit and the snake. Although they were moving as quickly as they could and the snail was very slow, they stayed under the shadow of the giant snail.
“I bet the snail’s going to be the one to win!” Alexia cried.
“Not so fast,” Ellie countered. “Look!”
Alexia craned her neck, and noticed a woman in a rocket ship zooming by.
“Who is that?” she asked, delighted by the woman’s brightly colored rocket ship.
“I don’t know, but it looks like she’s winning!” Ellie exclaimed.
“My gift to the world is very special,” the woman said, pulling a lever to give her ship a boost in speed. It shuddered beneath her and she began moving very quickly. She found herself traveling far past the rabbit and the snail and moving far past the man in the boat.
“I want the world to know that even girls can do amazing things. In fact, anyone can do anything they set their minds to. My gift is to show the world that we are all very special and full of amazing potential.”
The girls watched in awe as the rocket ship gleamed in the sky, but it stopped short of a huge horse, running powerfully along.
“You will never win this race,” the horse taunted. “For I am large and independent, and my gift may be the most important.”
“What is your gift?” the woman called from the window of her rocket ship.
“I must show the world that it is okay to be wild, and okay not to be tame. We have many carefree instincts that make life fun, so we can live it like a game. Things aren’t so bad when we give ourselves a chance to laugh and to cry. Hello is just hello and good bye is just good bye.”
And with that, the horse lept over the other clouds and sprinted into the lead.
The girls watched with wide eyes as the horse galloped powerfully, striding over the other clouds with ease. It seemed that surely, this majestic creature would win the race. It was so proud and so sure of itself.
“It is very independent,” Alexia nodded.
“And very strong,” Ellie agreed.
“But look,” Alexia said. “There is one last racer we haven’t seen yet.”
A little seahorse was pushing through the sky. It looked like it was swimming as fast as its fins would carry it.
“Nothing will stop me from winning this race,” it panted. “My gift is the best of all. I was given the gift of parenthood, and I must tell the world that it’s okay if your children fall. It’s okay if they learn for themselves, it’s okay if they ask questions. What isn’t okay is to shut them down and crush their independence.”
The little seahorse pushed past the other clouds, in a rush to catch up to the horse.
“Yes, being independent and powerful is important, but it’s more important to be gentle. To let others come into their own and accept them no matter who they become. Without my gift, all the others may be destroyed. And so I must win at any cost!”
The girls watched as the race became more intense than anything they had ever seen before. All of the clouds seemed determined to overtake the others, and were moving as fast as they could. The girls felt sorry for them all, and wished the race would stop so that they could all rest. Neither Ellie nor Alexia knew which cloud they wanted to be the winner more, and so they held hands tightly, hoping that it would be over soon so they would be relieved of their suspense.
The race was tied, with each cloud neck-in-neck. The girls’ hearts thudded in their chests as they awaited the results of the race. Suddenly, a deafening boom pierced through the sky, and the girls watched in horror as all the clouds began to collide. The beautiful white puffs turned grey as the clouds merged together, and Alexia and Ellie were unexpectedly caught in an abrupt downpour.
The rain drenched the girls, and Ellie, being the older sister, threw her coat over Alexia’s head to shield her from it. They tried peering up at the sky, but the rain got in their eyes and they knew it was time to go home. The race was over, and it seemed that none of the contestants had won. The girls walked home, close to tears.
The next day, Alexia and Ellie woke up to a clear and beautiful day like the one before. Normally they would have been excited to go outside, but both of them felt their hearts were heavy with sadness.
Still, they decided to go out and face the day anyway.
“Do you want to go back to where we were yesterday?” Ellie ventured. “Maybe we can find out if anybody won the race.”
“I suppose so,” Alexia agreed. “I can’t think of anything but those poor little clouds.”
When they went back to the field, the girls gasped. Where they had been lying the day before, there was now a field full of people growing. The girls ran through the field, looking at each one in amazement.
“Who are you?” Ellie finally asked a small woman.
“Why, I’m just here to share my gift with the world,” the woman answered softly, looking around sleepily.
“What is your gift?” Alexia asked in a gentle voice.
“Well, I’m not sure,” the woman said thoughtfully. “It feels as if I have several. Maybe I could just pick and choose!”
The woman chuckled to herself before getting comfortable in her leaf again and falling back to sleep.
The girls walked through the rows curiously. All of the new people said the same thing. Each of them wanted to share their special gift with the world, but none of them were quite sure what it was. The only thing they knew for sure was that they had plenty to choose from.
The girls walked back home, puzzled, before they finally realized what had happened.
“All of the clouds have won the race!” Alexia exclaimed. “It must have been a tie.”
“Or maybe it was never a race at all,” Ellie considered. “But they only thought that they were racing. They had to run hard until they crashed and became the same cloud so that they could work together.”
“Maybe that’s why all these people are growing right where it rained,” Alexia said. “Maybe the rain was special, and they are all here to show their gifts to the world.”
The little people began slowly waking up, and soon the girls heard laughter and singing bursting from the field. It brought smiles to their faces. It was the most beautiful sound the girls had ever heard. Soon it was overtaken by soft snoring again, and the girls giggled.
“When they are done growing, they will show everyone else how wonderful they are. I bet the world will be a much brighter place,” Alexia said.
“Do you think we have the same special gifts they have?” Ellie asked. “And maybe they’re here to bring it out of us?”
“I don’t know,” Alexia said, peering out the window over the field of happy, sleeping people. “But I’m very glad they’re here.”
“So am I,” Ellie agreed, joining her sister at the window. “I wanted all of the clouds to win, and it looks as though they have.”