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Thump, thump, thump. My heart beat like an animal, slapping its tail on the ground. Wiggly worms crawled in my stomach. My mom called it “butterflies in your stomach.” I looked up to see a domed spiraling ceiling, the only window.

I nibbled my fingers and desperately tried not to cry.

“Tamari, you’ll have fun,” my mom said to me in a gentle voice. And right after she finished her sentence, a lady appeared from down the hall.

I darted behind my mom’s pink dress as fast as an arrow and buried my head in it.

I squeezed my eyes tightly, letting hot tears crawl down my pale cheeks.

My mouth was held shut by my dry bony hands.

Oh, why did my mom take me to rock-and-roll school for my birthday present? She knows I am shy!

My teacher came click-clacking over in her high heels. The sound echoed across the empty huge, dim room.

My teacher immediately saw me and exclaimed, “Well hello! You must be Tamari, right?”

“Uh huh,’’ I whispered, wishing I could disappear.

Wet sweat rolled down my messy brown hair.

“We’ll go now,” my teacher, who had red cheeks and a big smile she couldn’t wipe off her face, told my mom.

Mom, please don’t leave, I thought furiously. Then the teacher pulled me down the hall.

Dim lights shone on the eerie cold quiet hallway. A discomforting smell of leather combined with sweat filled the hallway, as if hung by an invisible string. Rock-and-roll music sounded from each closed door.

Rock-Star Nightmare going outside
Suddenly a familiar girl’s voice called out, “Tamari! Over here!”

My hands brushed against the white bumpy hallway, and the ceiling was low. The place looked like a prison.

Please don’t cry. That will be embarrassing. I really wish Kamary, my best friend, was here. I hate this place, I thought.

My legs felt like Jell-O as I wobbled nervously with my teacher, who held my hand, pulling me across the hallway. Our footsteps rang throughout the empty hall, as the red-and-white stone floor creaked. The sound of the air-conditioning system echoed through the halls. The hallway was an endless row of gray doors.

My eyes started to leak out cold wet tears, like a broken pipe.

Please, I want to go home. Please, I don’t want to stay. I hate my mom. I hate my teacher. I hate this place. But, worst of all, I hate being shy, I thought.

“No need to cry. You’ll have fun,” my teacher assured me in her loud jolly voice. “N-no I-I won’t,” I stammered. “I-I I’m t-too shy.”

My teacher bent down and whispered in my left ear, “You’ll have fun,” wrapping her warm hands around me. The rock-and- roll music got louder and louder.

I walked slower and slower.

I don’t like this. I want to leave, I thought.

My heart beat with every step I took. A yummy smell of a flowery perfume took over the discomforting smell. Suddenly a familiar girl’s voice called out, “Tamari! Over here!”

I quickly turned my head to see a blond curly-haired girl wearing a blue T-shirt and gray long pants which stretched down to her ankles. It was Kamary, my best friend!

I raced over to her as fast as I could and wrapped my arms around her.

My heart felt like it got filled with hot chocolate. My eyes filled with joyful tears as I tried not to cry, but it was hard. I could feel the smile growing on my face. Relief filled my forehead and my pale cheeks turned as red as an apple.

My teacher smiled and walked over, with her hands on her hips.

I could barely hear her say, “I told you.”

Yes! She really came! I never knew she would come. Thanks, Mom, for bringing me to the awesome class, I thought.

“This place is so nice,” I told her happily.

“Yes,” she exclaimed, “with you around.”

I felt like I was in a man’s best dream.

Together, holding hands, we walked down the hallway to our classroom. It turned out to be all right. Rock-and-rolling is what makes me feel joyful, like a dreamy piece of dark chocolate that flows over your heart.

Rock-Star Nightmare Brian Qi
Brian Qi, 10
Lexington, Massachusetts

Rock-Star Nightmare Thomas Buchanan
Thomas Buchanan, 13
Newalla, Oklahoma