Flows to Bay

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
November/December 2010

Catherine Pugh

Madison shivered in the biting wind. She swayed precariously as the cable car lurched along the cables. It probably wasn’t safe to be hanging on with only one arm, but the other was cradling The Wish Horse to her chest. A quick glance confirmed that her parents were nowhere nearby. Flexing her wind-chilled fingers with anticipation, Madison pulled the pencil out from behind her ear. The peeling paint rough against her back, she slid to a sitting position, looping one arm through the rail so she wouldn’t fall. She opened The Wish Horse to the chapter that she was working on. Pencil point flying over the pages in her notebook, she began to write.

Jenna gazed in astonishment at the stallion. “But… that isn’t possible!”

Mr. Harling nodded wisely. “We have the legal records to show it.” Jenna glanced down at her feet, struggling with the…

A drop of water blurred the next letter she was writing. Madison looked up at the flat gray sky. Another drop landed on her nose. Raindrops fell slowly at first, then faster and faster. Madison stood up slowly, awkwardly, leaning on the cold metal of the railing. A sudden gust of wind caught her by surprise and she cried out as she lurched forward. Instinctively, her other hand swung forward to grab the railing and the manuscript flew out of her hand.

Flows to Bay dropping a book

“No!” she screamed in horror as the battered notebook tumbled onto the slick black pavement

“No!” she screamed in horror as the battered notebook tumbled onto the slick black pavement. Madison released her grip on the car and lunged for the novel. Her arm was wrenched brutally as someone caught her and dragged her backward. Heart pounding with terror, she dimly heard her father yelling above the wind.

“What do you think you’re doing, Madison? That is unsafe and…”

“Dad!” she called desperately. “My book! It’s blowing away!”

“What book?” her dad asked as he pulled her into the hot and crammed interior of the cable car.

“The Wish Horse!” Madison didn’t have time to explain. She jerked out of her father’s grip and leaped off of the cable car. Luckily, there were no cars on that side of the road that moment. Scanning the asphalt desperately, she caught sight of the book. Pages flipping in the wind, it was being blown across the road and into the gutter. Her sneakers thudding on the street, she sprinted forward just in time to see her precious novel, the result of years of work, tumble down the storm drain.

Flows to Bay black book

Madison dropped to her knees in the river of dirty water that was rushing down the gutter, pouring in a miniature waterfall into the gaping hole that was the storm drain. Her hand shot forward, feeling wildly around the cold and wet interior of the drain. Surely something that large could be stuck inside the opening? No, all she felt was empty air, and when she leaned forward all she saw was the four-foot drop into murky blackness.


That’s possibly the angriest I have ever heard him, reflected Madison dumbly. The sounds of people, buses, and shops faded away. Madison was left alone in a world of silence, staring at the blue painted sign on the curb that declared in white letters:


San Francisco remained mute as Madison’s mother pulled her away.

Flows to Bay Catherine Pugh

Catherine Pugh, 12
Saratoga, California

Flows to Bay Rebecca Bihn-Wallace

Rebecca Bihn-Wallace, 11
Baltimore, Maryland

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