Writing Catalog

Blair Pichola

Grade: 12

Rocky River High School

Instructor: Ashley Morris, Erin Voight

Beyond the Hill

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Beyond the Hill

As the sky was turning gray and ashen the shrubbery sparked with tangerine flames. The crunching snow on the ground did not melt nearly as fast as it should have.

Her fair skin and light hair reflected the crazed red ambers in front of her. The forest fire should have been terrifying to her.

She should have run away, trying to get to safer grounds. However, the flames inspired her, whispered continue.

This is exactly what she did.

She dashed into the enlightened woods with the spirit of a lively fox, and the mind of the sharpest owl.

She dashed into the forest before she had the time to change her mind. She will get to the top of this mountain, she needs to.

Soon the sound from the harsh winds was overbearing the sound of the crackles from the fires. The air was bitter and cold.

It reminded her of her first adventure.

She was only about nine years old when she decided to cross that cold wet river, on a November's evening. At that time she didn't know that, because it had rained the day before, the river was ice cold, and overflowing with rushing murky water. She was an oblivious but also confident swimmer, having fun with the trout that laid below.

The thing that chilled her to her bones that day was the air that was foul and bitter, gasping for air wasn't good enough. Getting out of the freezing water she decided to investigate the stench. Having followed the stench with soggy clothes she reached a cabin near the woods. Icicles now formed from her hair, and her toes were numb.

Opening the fragile cabin door she discovered that bitter cold days did not lead to better treasures and treats.

Dark red stains on ivory antlers, twisted hooves, silent tears, and milky white eyes.

She ran as fast as her tired and sore feet could carry her back home.

Clutching her white cloak closer to her chest, she steadied on. Moving swiftly, enjoying no company other than her own.

The forest turns dark, the sun is down, the sky is changing from deep violet to indigo.

Her hopes are still not wavering.

Traveling on only icy rocks her body becomes sore and stiff. Squinting her eyes to focus on a faint light up in the distance. The icy wind bites the tip of her nose and seeps into her clothing.

As she approaches the cave she hears a melody. The sound tastes like the first sip of warm herbal tea while warming up next to a campfire. Something she desperately needs right now. She moves closer to the man's voice.

Almost there.

When she leans up against the cave entrance to catch her breath from the inclining atmosphere, the mystery man turns around.

Something she would have never expected was to find the one thing she came up the mountain for, the compass with her name engraved upon it in the hands of this young man.

They didn't say anything for a while.

She needed her compass back, immediately.

It holds the power to show her where she is supposed to go. Without it she has been lost, but determined to get it back.

"Jen?" The man said her name with little confidence.

Before answering she observed his appearance more than before. He was taller than her, with dulled bronze hair, fairly handsome but with a turned nose, while wearing a simple scarf over his long dark cloak.

"Who are you and how did you get that compass?" Jen sharply asked.

"My name is Cameron, and this compass washed up on a rocky river's coast." He said truthfully.

"Up until this point it has caused me nothing but trouble." Cameron said, breaking the silence once again.

"Since I've lost it I have only been brought bad luck." Jen replied.

Pointing to the fire he states, "I was going to burn it since it has only brought me bad luck."

"Wait, don't, it's mine." Jen sternly replies while walking towards Cameron, holding out her hand."

He tosses the compass to her, like an old worn piece of cloth.

"Thank you," She says while breathing out a breath of relief.

Looking down at the compass she realizes that it is rusted with green in some areas, and she has to chip off some dirt that was stuck in the engraving to reveal a better picture of her name. Wanting to leave and get on with her new journey; finding out where to go next, Jen turns on the balls of her heels to exit the cave. Sparing no more for the time the stranger she just met.

"Wait!" Cameron called out to her.

He continued. "If I ever did find the owner of the compass and it led them to their next journey safely, I was wondering if I could come with you? So it might end my streak of unfortunate events."

Jen stood there and listened while he talked contemplating if she should let him come with her. Ultimately she agreed and decided to stay in the cave, with a glowing fire, for the night.

Once Cameron and Jen stepped out of the cave, the morning sun felt like heaven on Earth to their skin. Nodding to Cameron she started towards the place her compass wanted her to go. It took about three more days for them to make it fully across the mountain to a brisk and fast paced river.

Looking across she spotted a small wooden cabin.

Looking down into her hands she noticed the compass pointed right at it.

"Is everything okay, Jen?" Cameron asked while glancing at her.

"Something's off, the compass would never lead me back here." Jen states.

Moving across the river, and approaching the same old creaking door that she opened over 10 years ago. Cringing while opening the door.


A deer with four pointed antlers rushed out of the door, galloping across the snow, like it always should have.

Cameron and her watched as the deer ran far away from the cabin, for good.