The Runaway Chronicles

Hey reader, write your name, age and sign here to see a ghost  behind you!

Name – ________________________________ Age – ________________________________

July 12, 1853

I hate you! I muttered in a voice in which I could be sure that  Henry didn’t hear. I hate you all, I whispered as Henry stuffed  a crumpled-up paper into my shirt. And with a sniff, I ran into  our little dormitory. That is, if you can call it a dormitory. 

Hi, my name is Tom Beards. I’m 8 years old, going to become  9 next week. Don’t worry, I’m not like them. I’m a nice boy. But  everyone thinks I’m the bad one. I’m not as strong as that bully  Henry and his sidekicks, so fighting them back is not an option.  I’m an orphan, with no friends to celebrate with and no one  to wish me. I wish my parents were here. See, life here is very  difficult, going through this every day is torture. Anyway, got  to go. The lunch bell just now rang. Is that correct vocabulary?  Who cares? This is my diary, not the English teacher’s. Anyway,  I have to go. If I’m late, there’s a possibility of me starving  tonight. Bye, bye! 

July 13, 1853 

Do you think it’s fine for me to write my secrets here? You  are my best and only friend, so I can trust you with my  secrets, right? Alright, our cafeteria runner’s (The guy who  gives food in the cafeteria) name is The Dragon. We call him  that because – 1. We don’t know his name 2. He looks like  he learnt cooking in prison 3. He’s super-strict and scary.

My next secret for you is – 


That was close! I’ll tell you what happened. I was writing  about The Dragon, when suddenly Henry called me a wimp  to be writing in a diary and that friends like you were meant  for girls. I’ll tell you why he did that. He wanted to see me  writing down all my secrets and tell the entire class what I  was writing. And he started chasing me around the class.  Luckily, the teacher stepped in and saw it and did not want  an explanation. So here I am, in detention and Henry is giving  me icy stares because he is missing the peak bullying time  and so am I. If possible, I would spend my life in detention,  rather than sleep in the same dormitory as Henry. So, back  to where I was – My Secrets. I may have a crush on Holly, the  cutest girl in our class. You promise to keep it a secret, right? 

July 14, 1853

Life here is seriously miserable. I would rather die than live  with Henry and his servants. Well, I’m not going to live here  or die. I’m going to run away from here. Anyway, no one here  cares about me. I’m serious. Yeah, don’t believe me! Henry  wrote a stupid love letter to Patty, the fattest and stupidest  girl in our class, in my name! I’m so running away! 

July 15, 1853

Hi. Keep quiet. I’m almost out of here. We just have 3 more  hours to daybreak. Yeah, yeah, I should have left at midnight, but Henry forced me to listen to his story about the scary  ghost. I took a lot of choco-chip cookies that were kept for  the principal’s son. Since I was not stealing, I just left them a  note to show them I am not afraid of them.

So when I ran into the forest, I could see a glowing light and  I hid behind a tree and I saw a woman who looked kind of  like me and she kept walking and then she vanished! I’m not  making this up! Really, I saw a woman! And along with her was  a girl who looked just like Holly. She did not disappear like the  lady. She kept walking and since I did not know what to do,  I followed her, and she led me to a good lot of food, enough  to last till I die! I tried to thank her but she was gone. If you  didn’t know, I can climb trees like an expert and Henry and all  the others called me a monkey, but Holly liked my talent. See,  she looks only at the positive in everything, which is why I like  her and she was also my friend. I wish she was here with me  and not still stuck there. And now I am going to sleep on the  tree. Talk to you soon!

Oh my god! You will not believe what happened to me! I was  sleeping on the tree and suddenly, I felt my feet being tickled  and when I looked at what was happening, a girl was sitting  there! And not any girl, Holly! She asked me what I was doing  here and she asked me if I know her sister, and I replied that  I do not know if she had a sibling and then she screamed,  “Sally!” and the same vanishing girl who led me to all this food suddenly appeared and waved me a ‘Hello’ and said  that she knew my mum. I was so happy and asked where she  was and Sally or whatever that ghost’s name was suddenly  sung a poem that went like this

Reverse the changes done,

Let her see her son.

His life has been hard, 

Let her prayers be heard.

In life he shall shine, 

The skill of understanding is mine.

And the woman who I saw first suddenly appeared and I  asked, “Nice song, but where is my mum?” “Don’t you see?  She’s in front of you,” she replied. “Hello, son,” said the lady in  a sweet, yet creepy voice, sending chills down my spine. 

July 16, 1863

I’m sorry I didn’t finish yesterday. I just felt really sleepy. So,  like I was saying yesterday, that lady just said, “Hello, son.”  And I thought, ‘my mom’s a ghost?’ And like she had read my  thoughts, she looked into my eyes and said, “I am not like the  evil spirit Henry was talking about.” I asked her, “How are you  a spirit? Where’s dad? What’s the name of the creepy girl who  Holly is calling a sister? What’s -” 

Before I could continue, she shushed me. “Shoosh!” she said.

“I will explain a bit, some bits you have to figure out on your  own.” 

“Alright,” I replied. 

Mom continued, “Your dad and I both studied in the same  orphanage and just like you, when we became adults, we ran  away together. We both got jobs in a shop. And soon, with  the blessings of the local priest, we got married. And once  you were born, I got sick. Real sick. And before we knew it,  I died. I had an option of going to heaven or roaming round  Earth as a powerless spirit. I knew this day would come, so I  chose to be a powerless spirit. And after my death, your dad  abandoned you and became a pirate.”

I asked mom who the creepy spirit was again. The spirit herself  replied, “Hi. My name is Sally. I’m Holly’s sister. I died after I  accidentally drowned in the sea. I met your mom’s spirit, she’s  such a nice lady! We will pop up at random moments to help  you and Holly in case you both get in trouble. All the best.” 

And then I noticed Holly also carrying a heavy bag with her  and I realized she is doing what I’m doing. Holly told me that  all the years we spent in the orphanage, mom and Sally were  watching us. And Sally told Holly what I was doing when she  saw me writing in my diary and she quickly packed because  she said she wanted to come with me. And for the same reasons. “So, is everything settled?” Holly asked with a yawn.  She sounded sleepy. “Yeah,” I replied, stunned by what I just  saw. So, Holly and I went to sleep on the tree trunk.

This morning we woke up very early, ate some things from the  big pile of food I discovered yesterday and started trekking.  But I was tired from yesterday and Holly kept screaming into  my ear and tickling me! She told me that officials may come  searching for us! So, we began trekking and suddenly I felt  my big toe bleed. And when I looked at what hit me, I saw a  compass. Holly helped bandage my toe and I picked up the  compass which had a crumpled-up paper in it. I’ll take it with  me for safekeeping and I’ll stick the note here. We’ll eat a few  cookies and blueberries in my backpack. 

I’ll tell you what was in that note –

The luck hidden in this is unknown

Keep this compass, it brings good luck

Only the destined one will find this

Follow the directions into a new life

If you misuse this you will regret 

And the fact you saw this you will wish to forget.

And then suddenly, Sally and mom appeared in front of us,  frightening me. Sally told me she wanted to see the note  and when I held it up, mom gasped. And then they started whispering and then mom told me to follow wherever the  compass points. And I asked them who is Maximillian, mom  told me it is one of the things I have to find out on my own.  And I asked her why she wouldn’t tell me, she actually gave  me a ‘don’t-think-you-are-getting-away-with-that-mister’ look. And then she disappeared. 

So first it pointed right and after a long time it pointed left.  Before turning away, we heard a rumbling sound. Was a storm  coming? But the sky seemed clear and then we noticed the  storm coming from our stomachs! How embarrassing! And  suddenly the compass pointed straight and we could hear  mom tell us to follow it and with no other choice, we followed  it. And it led us back towards the city. We felt nervous as there  were missing posters all around with our faces in it. 

Oh. My. God. 

There were pictures and descriptions of us and the compass  was pointing straight! What to do? What to do? What to do?  And there was one of Holly too! We had only two options:  1) Starve to death to avoid being caught. 2) Go out in the  public and risk being caught.

Sally came. Will tell you if I’m going to starve or get caught!  (Soon!)

Four minutes later…

Wow. We are so not going to walk there without getting  caught! Soon, there will be a poster in the newspaper:

 Dead Children Found in Wilderness

Two days ago, the dead bodies of two children who were  reported lost were found dead in the wilderness. The bodies  looked malnourished, leading officials to believe that the  children could have died from starvation. And blah-blah blah…

Sally and mom are thinking about something. I asked them when  they would come up with something. Sally gave me an annoyed  look and mom gave a ‘show-some-respect-or-you’re-dead and-just-so-that-you-know-she’s-elder-than-you’ look. I said  sorry and Sally’s sweet smile replaced her grouch, angry face.

Two Hours later…

Sally helped us (Thank You Sally). She just waved her arm  around our faces and then I heard Holly yelp. When I looked at Holly, it wasn’t Holly, there was some stupid-looking, ugly  girl in her place and I jumped back, yelping. And then that girl  asked me who I was and I said, “Hi, my name is T-Brad.”

Then Sally told me that the creepy girl was Holly, and Holly (creepy girl) looked at me and asked, “Tom?” And I understood  it and so did she. And suddenly, I felt a wad of cash in my hand  and I knew it was Sally. “Thanks, Sally,” I said and we went to  a nearby store and bought some food and ate like wolves.  Anyone in the shopkeeper’s place would have looked at us  with disgust and chased us away but this lady was a friendly  woman and she just chuckled and said,” You guys are hungry,  aren’t you?” And Holly nodded in between mouthfuls. She  asked,” Where do you live?” We exchanged nervous glances. 

Suddenly she stood up with a serious face and walked into  her shop. And suddenly we heard mom telling us to follow  her. With no choice left, we snuck into the storeroom. We saw  that she was talking to no one in particular. We were standing  near the door and she just couldn’t see us. “Max, did you give  the compass to these kids? I tell you – I saw the boy holding  it.” And suddenly a male voice replied out of nowhere, “Yes,  Martha, and the boy’s behind you. She suddenly pulled out  a knife and turned around. “Who’s there? Oh, you.” Suddenly  mom and Sally appeared and went to her. And then we spent  the next two hours explaining the whole situation to her and I  asked who ‘Max’ was. 

She just pointed to the empty wall. Even though we could  catch small glimpses of him, he kept fading away. And then  the girl introduced herself as Martha – ‘I take care of ghosts  and unwanted spirits.’ Whatever that means. Then she handed us a big bag of supplies and told us to take care. 

July 19, 1863

(I’m sorry I did not write yesterday) Wow! You will not believe  what happened yesterday! We kept following the compass  directions and we got led into a beach and no one was there.  No surprise. It was midnight. And we saw a ship. The compass  pointed straight, towards the ship. With no choice left, we  went in. We hid in an old room, in a clean spot. 

Two hours later Holly suggested seeing what was going on  as we suddenly felt a jerk. But my leg fell asleep! However  much we tried, my stubborn leg wouldn’t move. Then a person  entered and he looked like the last time he bathed was three  years ago. He had some weird-looking cloth tied around his  head and a glass bottle in his hand and when he saw us,  he went, “Ahhhhhhhhh!” and soon we were on the deck of  the ship, waiting for punishment for trespassing into their rum  sock room. 

The captain on board was Blackbeard and the guy we saw  was Jack Sparrow and…….. where was mom? She is never here  when I need her. So, first Jack suggested making us walk the  plank. A guy came running and the guy looked like a zombie  and he said that they needed the ship cleaned. Blackbeard  thought for some time and then he told us, ‘If you want to live,  you have to do some work.’ So three long, dull hours later, we finished and I could tell that he was impressed. He asked  us our name and this time, he had a kind, caring voice. And  when I told my name, he just blinked five times and he passed  out. Literally. And Jack accused me of killing the captain and  when the guy woke up, he kept apologizing for treating me  badly and then he told me I was his son. What!? I’m a pirate’s  son! Does that mean he was mom’s …… husband?! Now it  makes sense! The compass did lead to my dad and that was  what I wanted and mom was right! Sometimes things are not  what they look like! Anyway, it looks like I’m on your last piece  of paper. 

Mom would not let me introduce her to dad and dad  adopted Holly and now we are siblings! I will miss  talking to you and I drew something for you too! Bye!




Rachel is an eleven-year-old who lives in Chennai with her parents and brother. A voracious reader, she loves swimming, watching TV and sewing. She loves spending  quality time with her books and kindle. She reads the same old  books over and over again without losing interest. Her brother  loves irritating her and pranking her which leads to fights  which make sure that she gets enough (and more) physical  exercise and she cannot let a day pass without talking to her  best friend. She is very good at playing ‘busy-at-reading-so I-cannot-play excuse’.