Ailbhe Miskella – Candyland
By Ailbhe Miskella
We walked through the long dappled grass of the local woodland, I could feel a warm breeze slightly, ever so slightly, swaying my hair into my eyelashes and it also appeared to be gently pressing against the fragile little flowers perched amongst the long green grass. The location of this beautiful, natural woodland was only approximately ten… maybe fifteen minutes away from my little home in Sea-Free! Today was Thursday…which meant it was my turn to go mushroom and herb picking. It’s always very thrilling and we always bring a picnic and have competitions, like who can find the first or the biggest mushroom and who can find a certain type of herb in the quickest amount of time? I insisted on bringing my two best friends along with me; Abigail and Lizzy.
We had just settled down to eat our delicious picnic that Abigail’s mother had prepared especially for us. We had gathered very few mushrooms at this time so I decided that we’d better hurry up and get started with playing our traditional games. Just as I made a stand, we were all immediately eaten up by an enormous sinkhole that formed from nowhere. Thoughts raced through my head and I’m sure through the other girls, too. Then we entered what seemed to be a magic porthole of some sorts. It was multi-coloured and very flashy…like a kaleidoscope. Was this what heaven looked like? “No,” answered Lizzy, “This is magical”. Abigail was still trying to discover what had just occurred.
Before we knew it, we were facing the biggest, most magnificent gates my eyes had ever laid eyes on. They were tall and elegant with candy canes as their rails. On top of these enormous gates read CANDY LAND in the brightest shade of red and pink in the entire Universe! “Okay, I’ve changed my mind … this is Heaven”, decided Lizzy. We stood there in awe staring in through these gates. Abigail was still speechless.
Then, the gates opened. “Welcome to CANDY LAND, here are your free tickets to enjoy everything inside these premises”, cheered a friendly Gummy bear! Abigail finally opened her mouth but to no avail, as nothing emerged. She was in absolute awe, and there’s no other word to describe her expression. “Oh, I must warn you to look out for the Popcorn Pirates; they’re trying to transform CANDY LAND into CRISPY CRUNCH COUNTY by capturing our innocent civilians, they disguise themselves and blend in with the crowd, so don’t get tricked. Enjoy your stay!” warned the Gummy bear.
I entered first as I’m the most courageous and outgoing, although I didn’t know why the others were so scared. The place was made of candy for crying out loud. Cotton Candy clouds; pink and fluffy, Gingerbread houses; Home SWEET home! Kit Kat bars as benches, Candy cane gates and doorways. The mountains are giant American Hard gums, the swimming pools are Raspberry jelly, the rafts are sugar cubes, the bean bags are Jelly Beans and even the people are edible. They’re Gingerbread men, Gummy bears or Jelly babies.
Eventually Abigail spoke, but she came out with something… Odd. “I could bet 50 edible money sheets- that everybody in the delicious looking jails around are Cannibals.” I looked at Lucy, who looked directly back at me. I knew we were both thinking, What the? Only 5 minutes here and already, she’s mentally sick. Anyway we made it to Hershey’s Hotel, which also came as a free gift with our free tickets. We booked a room for three and headed up the Rich Chocolate Stairs. I realised that there weren’t any other Humans around. It puzzled me and left a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t like it. I was about to tell the girls we had to leave CANDY LAND because our parents would be out in search of us but….
Then I saw the bedroom. My heart did 100 superfast summersaults when I saw it. I pinched myself to check if I was dreaming. But Nope, it was real. So, we dived onto the comfy Jelly bed that awaited each of us. The pillows were plump marshmallows and the windows were gelatine! “Guys, one night that’s all, we’ll leave tomorrow.” I ordered. They agreed. Since we had no luggage to unpack, we went down for our supper in the Buffet. This was not like most buffets. It only consisted of sugary foods like jellies, chocolates and fizzy drinks. Whilst we were ordering our deliciously sounding fattening food, a seemingly friendly man in a hat and long coat offered to show us a tour of the Hotel. We accepted the offer and off we went. He told us we’d explore the outside first, so we followed on behind him.
All of a sudden, the seemingly nice man yanked off his coat and hat. He was a Popcorn Pirate. How were we so stupid, to fall into the hands of him. He pushed us into a large Candy Cane Cage, situated in a Crisp Cart and locked us up. Things just weren’t going to plan whatsoever. We were then driven to CRISPY CRUNCH COUNTY. “I wonder if anyone saw him kidnapping us”, questioned Lizzy. “I doubt it, they would’ve tried to prevent it from happening, if they were in any ways decent!”, murmured Abigail. Tears were starting to form in her eyes. This was too much for her. I decided to tell her to think positive and to be strong and brave.
Within a few moments later, the Popcorn Pirates locked us up in a neglected cell. I recognised the voice of the Gummy Bear that gave us free tickets. He was in the cell behind us. “Come here to me”, he whispered. “All of you girls have strong, hard teeth so you’ll be able to eat your way out. “Mine are only made of jelly, much too soft to chew through candy”, he declared. “You can rescue us prisoners and free us from our misery”, he chanted. We began to chew and chew and chew as fast as we possibly could.
After about 1 hour of long laborious work, we had eaten three full cell bars! We then had to repeat this method of procedure 3 more times so we decided to each take a cell. Suddenly, we heard footsteps coming towards us. Abigail panicked so we told her to keep eating the candy, and that we’d fight off the popcorn baddies, after all they weren’t that big. “Charge,” roared Lizzy as she ran towards the evil pirates. We kicked and punched and screamed with all of our might. We weren’t going to lose a fight against Popcorn!
The fight belonged to us. We won. Two 12 year old girls, against ten armed Popcorn Pirates. We were so proud of our achievement and Abigail had freed the hostages.
On my way out of the prison doors I saw a map of the Universe, including Earth. That was the good news. Now the bad news…. It was 250 million galaxies away. We need that portal it’s the only connection between us and Earth, I thought to myself. Maybe, since we helped free the civilians of CANDY LAND, I think the Gummy Bear might direct us towards Earth. And I really hope he can help us.
Once we arrived back at CANDY LAND the Gummy Bear granted our wish and we said our last goodbyes. I didn’t think I’d feel emotional but I did. I was never going to be able to come back here and we had promised CANDY LAND that we wouldn’t tell anyone about what really happened. We re-entered the portal that looked like a kaleidoscope. It whirled and swirled and twinkled and sparkled. It was amazing.
When we made it back to the woods, they looked the same as ever. Beautiful, still, natural and green. Then I heard a distressed call. It was my mother. She was calling for us. “GIRLS, GIRLS, please come home, where are you Grace. Come home”. We raced down the bumpy forest path towards her. She caught sight of us and took a sigh of relief. “I’ve been worried sick about ye’ lot”, she bellowed. “Mom, we’re fine, can’t you see, so stop shouting and take a chill pill”, I said softly. “You’re right, you’re right, so how many mushrooms did you get?” We looked at each other, and stuttered. “AMmm…am.” “Ye forgot didn’t ye, ah well I don’t mind as long as ye had fun!” Mom giggled. “This was the most far flung adventure I’ve ever had” sighed Lizzy. “And the last, you’ll ever have!” I laughed.
Ailbhe Miskella, 6th Class, Craughwell NS, Co. Galway