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Fly High in the Sky

Olivia Judertt is determined to bring color to her gloomy, gray town

A young girl walked through the gloomy roads of Brickville. As she walked, some rain began to fall.

Huh, the girl, whose name was Olivia Judertt, thought. What perfect rain for flowers.

Olivia loved her town, but it had no real color. She also didn’t like the fact that the town had no flowers.

Olivia hated gloomy and gray things. She was very fond of flowers and color. Olivia loved coloring more than sketching, and she would rather get a colorful paint set than a phone as a gift. Her room was painted rainbow, and the first time you set eyes on it, you had to shield your eyes: the colors clashed together so much and it was too bright.

So when she noticed that the town was missing color and flowers, her two favorite things, she decided to change that.

One day she hopped into the kitchen with a new idea forming in her mind. “Mom, Dad!” she exclaimed. “I would like to plant some flowers in our backyard!”

Mrs. and Mr. Judertt laughed uneasily. “Oh, silly girl,” they said. “The soil in our backyard isn’t nice enough for some pretty flowers. Besides, the weather here is very foggy, and flowers need plenty of sun.”

Stubborn Olivia refused to give up. She emptied her piggy bank and walked to the closest flower shop.

Olivia looked around the flower shop. Lots of colorless, grown flowers covered one side while seeds were stacked on top of each other on the other. She walked around, trying to pick out the just-right flowers. All the flowers there were expensive and not very colorful.

“This is hopeless,” Olivia grumbled after half an hour of searching for the perfect seeds.

Then something caught her eye. On the top shelf at the back of the store, sitting proudly right behind two really ugly flowers, was the most beautiful and colorful flower Olivia had ever seen.

Olivia scrambled around for a stool to stand up on. She found one, climbed onto it, reached high, and brought down the flower.

“Oh, it’s just a package,” she said to herself. The name on the package really drew her interest, though. It read, “THE FLOWERS THAT LIVE FOREVER.”

“That will be perfect!” she exclaimed as she took it off the shelf and brought it to the counter for checkout.

Olivia brought the flower package to the checkout center. She waited in line patiently with her heart thumping excitedly in her chest.

When it was her turn, she put the package in front of the clerk. The clerk looked at her strangely.

“Where’d ya get this package?” he asked. “We don’t have no flowers that live forever. This package right here must be a fake. And where are your parents, kid?”

“My parents are at home,” Olivia answered truthfully. “And I insist on having these seeds. I want them no matter what.”

The clerk sighed, shaking his head. His red, fluffy beard swayed as his head shook. “Kids these days,” he muttered.

Olivia left the flower shop feeling both happy and excited. She had finally bought flowers! This was her big day!

But she also felt that something fishy was going on with these flowers. The clerk had said that he’d never seen flowers like those before. He didn’t recognize the flowers either.

Whatever, Olivia thought. He probably just doesn’t know the flowers in the store well enough.

She raced over to her backyard and planted the flowers, following the instructions on the package.

When she’d finished planting, she ran back into the house to get her flower pillow. The pillow used to be gray; now it was rainbow. Olivia had taken out her homemade colorful permanent markers and colored every inch of the pillow to make it as colorful as possible. She had named the pillow Colory.

As she started going back outside, she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned around. It was her mother.

“Olivia, honey,” Mrs. Judertt said kindly, “where are you going in such a hurry with Colory?”

“I’m going to show Colory the flowers I planted!” Olivia said cheerfully.

Mrs. Judertt’s jaw dropped and Mr. Judertt dropped his mug on the floor. As soon as the mug touched the ground, it shattered into a million pieces.

“You did what?” Mr. Judertt asked sharply.

“I planted flowers!” Olivia said happily.

“Lead me to them right away!” he ordered.

As he passed Mrs. Judertt, he whispered: “Get me a small knife.”

Mrs. Judertt nodded quickly and went into the kitchen.

Olivia led her father to where she had planted the flower seeds. In this short amount of time, the flowers had already grown an inch.

“These flowers grow pretty quickly,” Mr. Judertt said, trying to sound cheerful.

“I know,” Olivia said, nodding and smiling thoughtfully.

Mrs. Judertt arrived with something clutched in her hand. She went straight to Mr. Judertt.

“We can’t get caught with colorful things!” Mr. Judertt shouted. “We must still keep colorless so no one will think we’re crazy and insulting!

“Mommy,” Olivia said curiously, “what’s that in your hand?”

“Nothing you need to worry about, sweetie,” Mrs. Judertt said sweetly.

She slipped the knife into Mr. Judertt’s hand when Olivia wasn’t looking. Mr. Judertt held the knife at the ready.

Olivia turned around just in time.

“No!” she screamed, flinging herself toward her father, “No! Please! What are you doing?”

“Get out of the way!” her father roared, “I don’t want you to get hurt!”

“Don’t. Mess. With. Me. And. My. FLOWERS!” Olivia said through gritted teeth, pulling on her father’s arm to stop him.

“We can’t get caught with colorful things!” Mr. Judertt shouted. “We must still keep colorless so no one will think we’re crazy and insulting! The town is still grieving from the hurricane, and we must grieve with it!”

Suddenly Olivia stopped pulling. Mr. Judertt knew he had just spilled the beans. He dropped the knife and clapped a hand over his mouth. Mrs. Judertt stared at the ground.

“A hurricane?” Olivia said slowly. “Grieving? How do I not know about this?”

“You were not yet born,” Mrs. Judertt said softly.

“I mean, why didn’t anyone tell me after I was born?” Olivia asked.

“We wanted you to have a happy, carefree life with no hurricane and no grieving,” Mr. Judertt sighed. “We should’ve told you. But even if we had told you, you were too little to understand.”

Olivia stared at her parents for a long time. Then her face lit up.

“That’s perfect!” she cried, dancing around. “I’ll make everyone happy by planting flowers in their backyards!”

“Don’t you dare, Olivia!” Mrs. Judertt yelled as she chased after her daughter. Of course, she was too slow.

Olivia took the rest of the seeds and raced around Brickville, planting flowers here and there. As she ran around planting all the flowers, people peeked through their drawn curtains and gasped. They knew that the mayor was going to talk to them about disrespecting the ones who had died during the hurricane.

The flowers grew fast. Soon, colorful flowers were all over town. The mayor of Brickville, Mayor Incolore, was angry that a little girl was planting flowers all over a grieving town.

“This Olivia Judertt must be stopped!” he declared over the radio one morning.

When Olivia heard the news, all she did was plant more flowers. She didn’t care what other people thought.

Someday, she told herself. Someday they will understand.

For his family’s safety, Mr. Judertt found another house and they moved out of town. The Judertt family’s old house remained empty. No one wanted to move into a colorless town with a mayor screaming for some innocent little girl to be stopped.

*          *          *

One day, Mayor Incolore retired. He was very old now, and he was tired of looking around for Olivia Judertt. The next mayor was Mayor Apono. This mayor didn’t care about the flowers. Instead, he focused on more important things, like raising money for the poor.

“Before, we were all looking backward and to the past,” he said, “But the thing we should have been doing and will do is look forward to the future and make the world a better place. The past is past; there’s no way to change it. The hurricane must always be in our history, but that doesn’t mean we should be grieving all the time. Brighten up and think about what the future holds for us!”

Soon, people from other towns heard about this amazing place with beautiful, colorful flowers that never seemed to die. They heard about this nice little girl who had planted them, and how the goodness and cheerfulness in her heart never seemed to end. Rumor has it that it was the kindness of the little girl that made the flowers so colorful and long-living. Tourists came from all over the world, and the money that the flowers made for Brickville cured all of the town’s troubles.

People started liking the flowers. In fact, the people took exceptionally good care of the colorful flowers in their backyards! The people watered them and let them have plenty of sunlight. They also picked out any weeds growing anywhere near their precious flowers.

Mayor Apono was named best mayor of the decade, and Brickville had its happily ever after. Sure, sometimes there were small problems here and there, but all in all, Brickville was a lightened, colorful town. Olivia’s dream had come true. She had helped the people in need, and now the town was colorful. Although Olivia wasn’t there to see it, all her hard work paid off.

Now people were fighting over Olivia’s old house. Everyone wanted to live in the house of the girl who had changed the town.

Brickville and its amazing flowers are still there today.

Always remember: a good heart can change the world.

Iris Chen
Iris Chen, 10
Rye Brook, NY

Sloka Ganne
Sloka Ganne, 11
Overland Park, KS