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2 Essays

 

1

*ALASKA*

LOST IN THE TUNDRA

0O0

Written by: Kylie

               

Lost in the Tundra

I am in a kayak in the Bering Sea.  The large shadows of the mountains in the distance stand tall, as I watch the sun slowly set.  My kayak shakes and the water starts to make a circle of ripples.  I look down into the murky waters and hear a large wail.  The tiny boat starts to shake furiously as I look around in panic.  Suddenly, a giant Bowhead whale breaches and sends me into the dark depths of the sea.  I struggle to get to the surface but the unbeatable waves pull me deeper and deeper until everything goes black.                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                       

          

I have come to Alaska to investigate the “Annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race”.  I am an investigator in training.  There has been a very mysterious mystery two weeks ago at the trail.  A young native was going over a small part of the course, and it was dark, just about pitch black.  He had only a small oil-lit lantern to light his way through the ice cold night.  A little old women who owned a cottage near by sworn she had heard a large cracking sound, the sound of splitting ice.  The next morning, he was no where to be found.   But now, my whole trip for investigation went down the drain, because I don’t even know where I am.

I awaken in a small canoe.  “Good.  You’re awake,” said one of the two natives that were paddling. 

“We were beginning to think you were never going to wake up,” said the other. 

“What… Wait… Where am I?” I asked, looking around.

“Pakak here saw your kayak tipped over.  He jumped out and started looking for you,” said the native who had talked to me first. 

“Yeah, he saved you just in the nick of time.  He went underwater, grabbed you by your shirt and dragged you to the surface,” said the second one with a smile. 

I looked at the broad dog as he popped his head up from one of the seats.  He was a beautiful dog, a black and white husky with a diamond on his forehead. “What does Pakak mean?” I asked, still confused. 

“One that gets into everything,” they both replied at the same time.  I shivered in the ice cold wind. 

“Oh, and by the way,” said the first Inuit,

“I am Suka, and this is my brother, Puqik”.                                                                           

                                          

           “You’re familiar with Alaskan territory…aren’t you?” questioned Puqik.

           “Umm…Yeah?  Yes! Know exactly where I am.”  I was lying.  I had no clue where I was.  My compass was broken from the whale, and the wind seemed to change directions. 

“Ok, but just to make sure, you can take Pakak.  He will stay with you always” said Suka.

“He seems to have taken a shine to you” said Puqik.  I patted the fluffy dog as he put his head on my lap. 

“Thank you.  Thank you very much” I said with a smile.  I’ve always loved dogs.  I wonder if he’ll help me so I don’t get lost, I thought to myself. 

The boat pulled along-side some BIG land .

“Were letting you off at Point Hope” said Puqik.  “Oh…um…great!  That’s great!” I said lying again.  I stumbled out of the boat while Pakak took an elegant leap. 

“That ice sure can sneak up on you, can’t it!” said Suka.  “You better be careful or else your going to get a concussion”said Suka, laughing quietly.

“Thank you Suka, thank you Puqik!  You saved my life.  But I really have to go now” I said, looking at them sympathetically. 

“Your welcome” they said together.  The two pleased natives paddled off quietly into the sea. 

“Well, buddy, it’s just you and me now.  You and me.”

“It’s probably about -20° F right now”.  Pakak looked at me and seemed to smile. 

 “Well, we have a mission.  We have to get to Anchorage to solve that mystery.  Are you going to help me?” I asked, expecting an answer.  Pakak wagged his tail.  I’ll take that as a yes”.  All of the sudden, Pakak skidded to a stop.  I bumped into him, but being the big, muscular dog that he is, he didn’t budge.  My heart skipped a beat.

 

            

  I lead Pakak behind a big rock.  I kneeled behind a smaller one.  I looked at the herd of feasting musk oxen.  Ow!  I thought to myself.  I had sprained my ankle before I had come to Alaska, and now I was sitting on it, and it hurt REALLY, REALLY bad.   I tried to shift my position with making as little noise as possible.  I made it!  I had an itch on my nose, so I scratched it, so but just then, my elbow bumped the rock.  It tumbled down the hill and landed at the biggest musk ox’s feet.  I froze.  My eyes were shut tight and I looked stupid.  The musk ox with the rock stared at me.  It scratched the ground and snorted.  I got up slowly noticing that Pakak was getting ready to run.  I did the same.  The wind hit my face as I followed Pakak in a full sprint, my ankle still throbbing.  I heard the loud stomps of musk ox hooves following.  I didn’t dare look back. 

I followed Pakak into a small dark cave.  It was a little strange for me to be panting with my tongue hanging out, other than the dog who was perfectly fine.  The not-so-bright musk oxen ran right past the cave we were hiding in.  We were safe.

Since Alaska in over 570,347 square miles (or more than twice the size of Texas), I have a lot of land to cover before I get to Anchorage.  Pakak waited until the rampaging buffalo were completely out of sight, then he went outside and looked at me as if he were saying “Come on!  Get up!  We have a mystery to solve!”  I struggled to get up trying not to put any weight on my ankle.  I think I’m going south.  We passed many snow-covered rocks.  I stood on top of a bigger rock and looked out into the beautiful land.  I thought I saw lights!  I ran toward them with the dog following close behind. 

“Look, Pakak!  Look!” I looked at the small cottage. It was surrounded by snow and pine trees.  Wood smoke was coming out of the chimney.  I ran to the door.  A quiet knock was all I made when a elderly lady came to the door.  “Hi! Ummm…help?” I said nervously.  She took one look at me and said,

“Oh!  Come in!  You must be freezing!” 

I felt much refreshed after a nice cup of hot cocoa.  She had given me a backpack, a map, a compass, a book with information on Alaska, and a bottle of hot cocoa for the rest of my adventure.  Apparently, I was just north of Fairbanks.  I had made good time.  Pakak was very happy with his new chew toy she had given him to keep him occupied along the way.

  

  

           Hours passed.  “Was Alaska the 49th state or the 50th state to join the United States?” I asked Pakak.  I pulled out the book the lady had given me.  “Lets see.  Aha.  49th state.  It says here that Hawaii was the 50th state.  Huh.  Pretty cool.  Ooo!  This is awesome!  The biggest snowman ever built!  It’s name is “Super Frosty”.  Wow!  It’s 63.5 feet tall!” I said, amazed. And…Look!  Did you know that Mt. McKinley can be seen from Mt. Sanford in Alaska?  That’s 230 miles away!  Wow!” I exclaimed.  Uh huh, uh huh, wow.  Population is only 551,947.  I would of thought there would be a lot more with such a huge state.  It says here that  Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas.  That’s HUGE!  Pakak just looked at me and continued to chew on his chewy bone.  I tucked the book back into my backpack.  “Well, were off again” I said.  There came to be more and more houses and cabins and people we passed by.  The people were very friendly.  Each person we passed by stopped, said

“hello”, smiled, and patted Pakak on his head.  We saw cars pass.  I stopped at a small café called “Java King” and asked for directions to Anchorage.  When I opened the door, a small bell jingled.  Pakak waited patiently outside. 

“May I help you?” said a man behind the counter. 

“Yes.  I need directions to Anchorage” I said. 

“You have no map?” he said. 

“Yes, I do, but I don’t really understand the symbols, roads, and arrows.  Maps confuse me” I said.  “Well, I’ll give you directions, but I’ll tell you, it would be much easier to get a ride from someone” he said.  “Ok.  We’re in Fairbanks and you have to get to Anchorage.  First, you start out going north on Fairbanks St. toward Billys Ln.  Then, turn left onto Geist Rd. and take the Parks Highway ramp.  After that, merge onto AK-3.  Turn right onto S Glenn Highway – AK-1.  Continue to follow AK-1.  Turn left onto Gambell St.  Turn right onto E 9th Ave.  Turn right on Fairbanks St.  Turn left.  Turn right” he said. 

“Thank you.  I think I’ll just take a car, though.  It’ll be much easier” I said. 

           “Ok.  Were getting a ride first thing in the morning” I said, walking out the door.  “Wait!  Does this café have a room I could use tonight?”  I said, coming back in. 

“There is if you donate $75 to us” he said.

            The room was nice.  It had one queen size bed, a small bathroom, TV, and a window.  I let Pakak sleep on the other side of the bed with me.  He snored all night.

           The next morning, I got a ride.  “Pakak!  Get your head back inside the window!” I said, laughing.  The young womn driving laughed quietly. 

“I like your dog” she said.  “He has a great personality.”  The dog brought in his head and licked her face.  She laughed again.  “Ok, here’s your stop.  Anchorage.  The Iditarod Trail.”  The young woman stopped the car. 

“Thank you SO much!” I said. 

“Your welcome” she replied as she waved to Pakak and I.  We stepped out of the car, and she drove away. 

           “Pakak!  We made it!  Yeah!” I said, jumping up and down.  “Now, since this year the racers took the southern trail, we of course have to search there and around”. 

           “Ok, here we are.  The southern trail.  We should interview around first.

           Pakak and I hiked up a couple of hills, and finally saw a cabin in the distance.  I knocked on the small door.  It was the old lady that heard the crack in the ice.  “Hi.  I am here investigating the disappearance of Amaguq Kinguyakki” I said.  Amaguq Kinguyakki was the native that had disappeared. 

“Oh.  Nice to meet you” said the elderly woman.  “My name is Qannik Miki.  And yes, I was the one that heard the crack” she said. 

“Do you know anything about his disappearance?” I asked.  “It was 1:13 AM when I heard it”. 

“Was it very loud, was it soft, where did it come from?” I asked. 

“It was loud enough to wake me up, and I think it came from that direction.”  Qannik pointed west. 

“Ok. Thank you!” I said, off to where she had pointed.  I kneeled down at the unseen ice.  Carefully, I brushed the light dust of snow off the ice.  Sure enough, there was a crack almost three times the size of me.  Pakak started sniffing frantically.  He had scented a trail!  He led me up four large hills and through the thick woods.  We were way off the race trail, but right on the mystery trail.  All of the sudden, he stopped.  He slowly lifted his head.  There sat before us was a small log cabin.  “Good job Pakak!  You found us someone else to interview!”  I patted the massive dog’s head as he wagged his tail.  Once again, I knocked on the door.  Another Inuit came to the door.  “Hello, I’m uhhh…yes, I’m -” I stuttered.  The man that stood before me was about 6’5 feet tall and just stood there with a straight face and folded arms.  But it wasn’t long until a warm smile lit up his face. 

“You shall not be frightened.  Come in” he said.  The dog pranced in.  I slowly walked in. 

“I’m uh…here to interview you about the disappearance of-”  “Me?” said another voice in the back.  I looked in surprise at Amaguq Kinguyakki.  He was sitting down in a chair by the small fireplace and covered in bandages. 

“Sit down.” said the tall native.  “I am Cikuq Taqukaq” he said with a warm smile.  “I saved Amaguk from the ice.  He fell into it not knowing it was there.  Luckily I was close by so I heard him and ran as fast as I could.  I pulled him out with my spear.” said Cikuq.  Amaguq nodded his head.  “He is very weak. I took him back here, fed him, and cleaned up his wounds.  He is better now but still needs rest.”  Pakak ran over to Cikuq and gave and him a congratulatory lick. 

“Wow” I said.  I had been writing down the whole story. 

“Am I the only one who knows this?” I asked.  “No your dog knows.” he replied.  “Yes you two are the only ones.  You may go back in town and use a telephone to tell your people.” he said. 

“I’ll be back!  Thank you!” I shouted, running out the door. 

           It took a while to get back in to town – I had to walk first until I saw a car which was in about 15 minutes.  Then I got a ride.  Once again, Pakak enjoyed it a lot.  All he did was stick his head out the window. 

           Finally, we got back to Fairbanks.  The bell jingled as I walked into the “Forget Me Not Espresso” café again. 

“You’re back.” said the man behind the counter.

 “Yes.  I need to make a phone call.” I said.  The man went towards his big mess of papers and dug out a cordless phone.  He handed it to me and said “anything else?”  “I’m fine.”  I called the people I worked with. 

“Hello?  Yes!  It’s me.  Uh huh, uh huh.  I have something to tell you.  I know.  Guess what?  The mystery!  I, well, me and my new dog, solved the mystery!  I know!  I will be back around…11:30 on Tuesday.  What’s the dog’s name?  Oh.  Pakak.  It’s a Siberian husky.  One that gets into everything.  Yes, he’s very curious.  I know!  It’s so exciting!  Yup!  He was rescued by a native named Cikuq Taqukaq.  Wow.  Uh huh.  Yeah.  Ok?  Thank you so much!  Bye.”  The people at work were so excited!  I was all set, too.  Now all I had to do was get help for Amaguq.

           An ambulance arrived carrying Pakak and I.  They brought Amaguq to the public hospital, and Cikuq was awarded with $2,000 for saving and taking care of Amaguq.  Eventually, Amaguq healed and Pakak and I were in the Anchorage newspaper, called the Alaska Journal of Commence.

           Now that Pakak and I solved the mystery we were – and always will be – partners.

            At home in New York, I look back on my adventure.  I had saved the newspaper Pakak and I were in and framed it. It sits on my shelf where I can always see it.  “DOG AND GIRL SOLVE MYSTERY, NATIVE AWARDED” it says in big bold letters.  There’s a picture of Pakak and I on the front of the paper and I was given a plaque that says “Youngest Alaskan savior of 2005”, and Pakak was given a box filled with doggy toys.  There had to be a least 30 toys in that box! 

            Pakak had also been given an LL Bean dog bed that was so comfy that I slept in it once.  He was so happy!  I wondered if he was EVER going to stop wagging his tail. 

           It was about two weeks later after the dog and I arrived home that I got the letter.  It was from Amaguq.  He was so thankful for the discovery and Cikuq.  He was fully healed and back home from the hospital, but he still needed to take it easy.  He said that Cikuq had bought a Siberian Husky with his award money and named it Pakak Jr. 

            As I sat at home, I looked out the window.  I remembered the whale, Suka, and Puqik. I remembered the buffalo and the pain shooting through my ankle, the old lady, the café.  The whole trip was flowing through my head.  I remembered Quannik, the split in the ice, Cikuq and the sudden voice of Amaguq. 

“This adventure” I said to myself, “I will never forget.”

By:  Kylie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

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Essay 2

         Illinois

My Very own Mystery

By Jack

Jack’s adventure throughout Illinois

My Very own Mystery

          

As I walk down the street of this colossal city, I can’t help but notice what’s around me. When I look to the left I see stores, street vendors, and people of all sorts. As I look to the right, I see cars and buses rushing by. I hear the honking of horns, the hollering of pedestrians, and just regular city life. As I look up, I see towering buildings (at least 150 feet tall) that seem to be attached to the cloudless blue sky! They have so many stories and windows, you couldn’t even imagine.

           Right as I turn off of Roosevelt, and onto Lake Side Drive, my breath was taken away at this fantastic sight. I saw the Field Museum approaching out of the distance, standing side-by-side with an early mourning sunrise. Right then I thought,        `“I have to go there”.

           The Field Museum had a huge staircase leading up to four columns and then the entrance. It looked somewhat like an old Greek temple. On top of the roof, there were three arrowhead-type objects. Then I walked in.   

           There was an unsolvable murder in Chicago, Illinois. Since I am one of the better detectives in my company my boss asked me to travel there.

           I couldn’t afford a plane, so I rented a boat. I sailed on Lake Erie for two days, then up to Lake Huron through Lake St. Clair. After that, I went to Lake Michigan and into the third largest city in the U.S., Chicago. I sailed into St. Lawrence Seaway, and rented a car.

           My boss faxed me a ten-page document of background information. I also read an old newspaper article about a murder almost identical to this one. So I spent most of my nights aboard the ship studying ‘til 3:00 A.M., and waking up at 7:00. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was tired during my investigating. I am trying to solve the crime, so I am interviewing people in Chicago. My first stop is at the Field Museum (on Lake Side Drive near the outside skirts of Chicago) to find Herman Fitzgerald. I was approaching the front desk of the Field Museum. “Excuse me, but is Herman Fitzgerald here?”      

           “No. But are you a detective, because he left you some papers.”

           “Thank you that would be perfect.”

Here’s what the papers said, “I am sorry I am not here right now, but I am in Rockford. But here is some inside information about this recent murder that I think is very useful.”

           All of a sudden a man in a hooded sweatshirt and bright yellow pants with black stripes knocked into me! The paper went flying into the fire that I was sitting next to. He quickly got up and ran away toward another exhibit.

“Hey! Get back here.” I yelled, but he was already gone. So now I am off to Rockford for a personal visit with Herman Fitzgerald.

           I took off and started on Route 90 heading northwest to Rockford. I was traveling looking at all of the rivers that I passed (like Des Plaines and Fox River). About half an hour later I felt drowsy …HONK! My head hit the horn as I fell asleep.

           “Where am I? What happened to me, and how? Oh yea, I must have fallen asleep,” I said aloud. “What are those car tracks doing there, and where is my car? I have to follow them.” As I was walking, I heard an enormous splash. Then I saw my car sinking in the Rock River! Somebody jumped in the river and swam away. I only saw his pants. They were bright yellow with black stripes.

Now where have I seen those pants before? What am I talking about, now I am going to have to hitchhike to Rockford to see Herman Fitzgerald myself? I wondered.

           About seven minutes later, a Nissan Extera drove up and picked me up.

“Where are you headed?”

“To Rockford if you would be so kind.” We drove for fifteen minutes and then we were in Rockford.

“Here you go.” Then he drove away quickly.

           Let’s see now, where to start, I was pondering. Ah, here’s a good place, Broadway Food and Liquor. I walked in and there he was sampling the vodka. “Hello sir, I am Jack Guba, and I am working on the case of Charlie Chang. I heard you have information on it.”

“Oh, hello, let us go to my hotel room and talk.”

So off we left and went to his hotel room at Hampton Inn. “Here we are, so let’s talk. I was at the crime scene when I saw this guy. He was up to no good.”

“Excuse me but what did he look like.”

“I couldn’t tell because he had a hooded sweatshirt on and bright yellow pants with black stripes.”

“Wait! That same guy knocked the papers that you wrote in the fire at the field museum, and wrecked my car. Are you sure it was him?”

“Yes, I followed him and saw him kill Charlie Chang. He did it on the fourth floor of the Field Museum.”

“Why didn’t you tell anybody?”

           “He saw me so I had to run. I got in my car but he followed me in his. I didn’t have my phone with me either, but luckily I lost him in the streets of Chicago. Then I came here.”

           “How come nobody else saw him do it if it was at the Field Museum?”

“It was already closed so me and Charlie were just locking up. He went to turn the alarm on. I saw the guy in the cameras and went after him. That’s when I saw him kill Charlie.”

“How come the alarm system is on the fourth floor?” “Because that’s where the manager’s office is, but he left   already.”     

“Oh, okay I got a plan so listen up.

                                                                  ***

           What’s that? said the murderer to himself. Oh, that’s the detective. He started running after him and soon caught up. “Hah! I gotchya! Hey you’re not the detective; you’re that guy that was at the Field Museum.”

             Then I jumped out of the bushes and grabbed him.

“Nice job Herman, you distracted him for me.” Then the man bit me and started running! “Ah my hand, it’s bleeding. That filthy no-good murderer, I’ll get you.”

           I started chasing him and he went into one of Illinois’ many prairies to follow him (they have so many they call it the “Prairie State”). “Hello. Police, this is Jack Guba, I need back-up. I have found the murderer but we got a runner.”

“Okay where are you?” “I am right by the woods next to that big prairie. It’s on Route 88 outside of Rockford.” Then I had to hang up because the murderer was losing me.

           Then my foot caught a weed and I tripped. I was laying there for a little bit groaning and moaning.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”             

           I had just heard a blood-curdling scream. It sounded like an old woman, and it came from the woods. I got up and ran into the woods. I took a sharp left turn and…“Thud!”

           Oh, my aching head. That hurt whatever it was. I got up and saw a dent in the tree in front of me - it looked like a head. “What am I supposed to be doing?” I thought aloud.

“What were you doing is the right question.” Said an old woman. “Just look at yourself just laying there. With a goose-egg that’s the size of a… goose-egg. We need to get you cleaned up.”

           We went back to the old lady’s cottage and she got me some ice for my head. By now I knew what I was looking for before.

“May I ask you a question Ma’am?”

“Sure.”

“Why did you scream?”

“Oh that, it was nothing important.”

“I need to know.”

“Okay. Some man was walking across my lawn. He said that he was going to go to Springfield to see his cousin.” “Thank you, I must go now.”

“No! You must stay and get better. By the way where are you from?”

“New York.”        

“Oh, goodie then. Did you know that I was alive when Al Capone (one of the greatest mobsters ever to live) was still in business around Chicago? He was born in 1899 in New York, not Illinois.”
“Ma’am I have to go right now.”      

“How about the First Illini, did you know about them. They were the first people to live in present day Illinois. They arrived about 10,000 years ago. These people were Native Americans. Also, in the 1500’s several tribes came together and formed the Illinois Confederacy. The tribes were the Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Michagamea, Moingwena, Peoria, and Tamoroa.”

“That’s nice, but I need to go.” Then I got up and started leaving.

“Are you sure you don’t want to hear about more people? Like Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, or even Jane Adams.” Then I left her cottage, found Herman’s car and started driving to Springfield on Route 88.

           Ring- Ring-Ring. “Hello.”

“Hi Jack, this is the police. Where are you? We have been looking all over for you.”

“Oh, I’m on my way to Springfield, that’s where the murderer is going.”

“Oh okay then. We’ll contact their police department.” “Thanks a lot. Bye.”

           As I was driving I noticed all of the prairies and woods there was in Illinois. Illinois is a very flat state. Its highest elevation is 1,235 feet at Charles Mound. There was also a lot of corn in Illinois and the purple violet flower (that’s one of their leading crops and their state flower).

           It takes three hours to get from Rockford to Springfield. So I had only about ten minutes left after driving for 2 hours and 50 minutes. Then about ten minutes later I entered Springfield and went right to the police station.

           “Excuse me but is Sergeant Wilson here, I think I am expected.”

“Oh yes right this way please.” The man at the front desk led me to the Sergeants office.

“Hello Sergeant.”

“Hello Mr. Guba. We have been tracking the cars that have come into Springfield.”

“Thank you. Did anyone come in with a blue hooded sweatshirt on? You might have been able to see his pants.                 They were bright yellow with black stripes.”

“In fact we have, I’ll take a couple of officers with us, and I can show you where he went.”

           We went to this apartment on 32nd street. As we went up to the door, and we were about to open it, the murderer ran out. He ran right past us and out to the street. Then he looked back and started to laugh.

           “Hot Dogs, get your Hot Do…… uh!” The murderer ran into a hot dog vendor. Finally, we caught him.

           About 7:30 pm, there was a knock on Herman Fitzgerald’s door.

“Oh hello detective.” He said as he opened the door.

“Hello. Look who we got.” Then we shoved the cuffed murder in the doorway. After we told Herman what happened, he told the police what happened at the Field Museum.

“But Herman are you sure this is him.” I asked him for the hundredth time.

“Yes that’s him, I’m sure of it.” said Herman

           “All I wonder Edward” (which was the murderer’s name.) “was why did you kill Charlie Chang?”

“You want to know why, you want to know why. I’ll tell you

why. I killed Charlie Chang because he was the guy who

turned me in to the police. He cost me ten years in jail. That’s why.”

 “What did you do?”

“I had stole money from a bank.”

So we caught the murderer, and threw him in jail. The trial was soon taken to court, but nobody represented him, and it was a victory for the Chang family.

When I was going back home, I couldn’t help but think of my adventure. Yes I was tired and I wanted to see my family, but what a great time and experience I had. I got to see the famous prairies of Illinois and the “Windy City” of Chicago.

What about the people I met, wow. Herman Fitzgerald, Sergeant Wilson and his squad. Even the old lady in the woods, she was something else. But who would have thought a hot dog vendor would have caught the murderer? He was awarded you know. But one thing I learned from this, is that life is a precious thing, and you shouldn’t mess with it no matter what. What a great adventure, I will never forget it.            

By Jack

 

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