Category Archives: Original Short Story

Original Story “Grandfather’s Box”

Here’s another short story!

Grandfather’s Box

by Phoebe Eckstein


Magic streamed from the box, like long white ribbons unraveling. Amazed, Arthur watched as a fantastical world appeared before him. There was a castle floating in the middle of the room, sized for people no bigger than his palm. It had small cobble stone walls and covered with bright green walls. Arthur reached out to touch it, but it wasn’t solid like stone. It sort of felt like jelly.

Small people also were emerging from the box and gliding toward Arthur. Within a moment, floating around Arthur were miniature royalty, wizards, families, children, and animals.  The people were dressed for summer, with dresses, short-sleeves and shorts. They were walking through the air on small yellow cobble stone paths that floated on nothing. Tiny buildings of all kinds – shops, houses, mills, and other structures – also drifted at the end of the paths. The people chatted with each other as they strolled in and out of shops, and waved to Arthur. It looked like a whole village had been shrunk and was now hovering right in front of him. But the most wonderful thing was not the people, or the floating castle, or the bright colors. Instead of birds flying through the sky, there were tiny dragons of all colors flittering over the floating village. They looked like miniature lizards with wings and flying in circles and spirals, chasing each other, and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Their scales shimmered like precious gems.

When his grandfather had told him there might be something interesting in the old, wooden box, Arthur had never imagined anything quite like this. At nine years old, he had already stopped believed in magic. Well, until now. But, he still couldn’t believe it.

As he gazed in amazement at the people, dragons, and structures floating in front of his eyes, a princess slowly stepped forward, or rather floated from the castle toward him and stopped a mere few inches in front of his nose, which almost caused him to cross his eyes. She had a red and pink gown and long flowing brown hair. Her cheeks were rosy red and her eyes were as green as the grass outside.

“I am Princess Alessandria, and this is my world. These are our people, and this is our home.”

Before she could continue, an overjoyed fairy with shining white hair, blue tipped white wings, and a star-tipped wand flew up toward Arthur and circled around his face.

She tapped Arthur on the nose with her wand, and then chuckled.

“I am the fairy godmother. This box contains our land and many, many others.”

Even though they all so were small, Arthur couldn’t understand how their village, much less many lands, could fit inside the box. “I guess its magic,” he thought to himself.

The Princess smiled and then continued.  “We came to greet you. Because you opened our box, it is now your duty to protect it. We will trust in you, and hope you will protect us from all dangers, as many have done before you. But now, we must return so we can go on with” she hesitated, “our lives. I do hope you understand.”

Before Arthur could try to figure out what she meant, all the tiny people waved and called their good-byes. Even the tiny dragons seemed to wave as they turned toward the box. Then, as swiftly as they had come out, all the yellow cobble stone paths twisted and turned towards the box, and everyone, including the animals and dragons, raced down the paths, closely followed by their little shops and houses, and the castle.

As they disappeared from sight, Arthur’s eyes widened and he quickly closed the wooden lid once the last bit of enchantment disappeared. He then hurriedly pattered down the stairs to the kitchen where his grandfather was making tea.

“Well, did you find anything interesting? Exciting? Maybe magical?” his grandfather inquired with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Oh, Grandpa!” Arthur set the box on the table, and ran to embrace him.

“Ah yes, when I was a boy I would peak into the box quite often,” his grandfather said as he patted Arthur on the head. “Just think, a whole other world in the palm of our hands.”  Then, as the lines grew taut across his forehead, he looked squarely into Arthur’s face and said sternly, “But, we must be very careful. They are now your responsibility. Do you understand?”

Arthur nodded nervously not quite sure what his grandfather meant.

Then, as if someone had pulled a light switch, the kettle on the stove whistled and his grandfather’s expression instantly returned to its normal cheeriness. “Ah, there we go,” said his grandfather as he turned around. “My tea is ready.”  And he went to tend to the kettle.

Arthur sat down at the table and gazed at the box. There really was magic in the world, he thought. Just the thought of it all made him smile.


Original Story “Antarctica”


This is another excerpt from the book I am working on. I  posted my the first excerpt in June here.



By Phoebe Eckstein

With the help of their dragons, Olivia, Sophie, and Ezra had just “jumped” again across thousands of miles. And now, they were in Antarctica on their quest to find Xcalabi’s secret base. Xcalabi, an evil magician, was planning a war to destroy Khaliyah. With the help of an old friend, the kids had learned the location of the base. Xcalabai may have made a mistake by not protecting his base against intrusion by kids. Now they were off to find it, without adult permission.

As they landed their dragons onto the icy ground, Olivia took in the sight, and the cold. It was freezing! Colder than she had ever thought cold could be. When she looked around, everything was white. It seemed to go on forever. There might have been mountains in the distance, but everything blended in like an endless fog.

Olivia was glad for the magical clothes that they had smartly brought with them on the quest. They radiated heat and helped take the bite out of the frigid air. Unfortunately, though, they didn’t fully cover her ears and nose, which felt like frozen popsicles.

Olivia looked down at the map they had spread out on Hale’s vast back as the dragon’s warm breath steamed around them.

“Where are we?” she asked sniffling. “Antarctica!” Ezra yelled over the freezing wind.

“I mean, where are we on the map?” she hollered back, emphasizing “we”.

Ezra looked around and pointed to a number of red and blue metal structures off in the distance. “That could be one of the research bases that we learned about. Maybe Halley or Neumayer or Belgrino,” he said.

Bel-gra-no.” Sophie corrected Ezra, as she shifted her backpack. “Belgrano’s is supposted to be mostly red. And from the pictures of the bases we found, I think this one’s Halley,” she added. Olivia nodded her agreement while clutching her arms closely to stay warm.

The three children climbed back onto their dragons and flew slowly toward the base, careful not to be seen. When they got close, Olivia told Sophie and Ezra to wait for her and flew Hale upwards a few thousand feet.

She looked down at the ground so far away. For a second, she thought how awful it would be to fall from this height. But she quickly cleared her head and looked at the scenery below. The shore of the Weddle Sea was to her right; the landmass that was Antarctica was to her left. In the far distance, in between the snowy gusts of wind, she could just make out a mountain range. She then had Hale fly back down to Sophie and Ezra who were waiting patiently on their dragons, Neva and Inferno.

“The Weddle Sea is over there,” she said pointing northward. ”So, we should go…that way,” Olivia said and pointed forwards and a little left.

After an hour and a half of flying through the bitter cold, the mountain range slowly came into view. It was hard to tell the snow-covered mountains from the white blanket around them, but Olivia could tell from the shadows among the folds and crevasses of the mountains.

“The Shackleton Mountains,” Ezra said with some doubt in his voice. “At least, I hope so,” he added quietly. “So, we should follow the range toward the South ‘till we get near the end.”

Ezra had quieted down considerably from his usual excitable self. The long trip and the cold seemed to have sapped his energy.

A half an hour later, they reached the last large peak in the range. They descended to the ground and began searching on foot for the entrance to Xcalabi’s secret lair. They walked around the area for hours, but found nothing. By then, night had fallen and the cold was so bitter it hurt to breath.

“I’m hungry, guys. When can we eat?” asked Ezra for the eleventh time.

“Maybe we should set up camp and rest, and then decide what to do,” Sophie suggested.

Olivia agreed. They got out the tent and stared at the pile of fabric and metal sticks.

“Is there an instruction manual?” Sophie asked.

“What’s that?” Olivia asked and bent down to examine it. It was a small yellow tab with the words “PULL ME” printed out.

“This seems a little like Wonderland.” She observed.

“Well, pull it!” Sophie said, as she knelt down to do it herself.

Like any good magic tent, it instantly sprang up. It was a metallic silver color that seemed to glow. Other than the glowing silver, Olivia thought it looked like any other non-magical triangular tent.

Olivia and the others crawled inside. There was a small booklet in the middle of the floor. Sophie knelt down and picked it up.

Quickly leafing through it, she exclaimed “Hey. This tent is pretty cool. It automatically stays at 70 degrees inside, And get this! Its walls are super strong and sturdy and can stand up against high winds, hail, calder showers, and charging herds of rhinos!” Sophie looked around and saw Olivia’s and Ezra’s doubtful stares. “No. Really! It says so right here!” she cried out. Then, more thoughtfully, she said, “I wonder what calder showers are.”

Olivia opened the magical freezer-backpacks and brought out some sort of frozen, purple-ish vegetable for Inferno to instantly heat up. Or set on fire.

Once they put the small fire out, Sophie declared that dinner was ready.

“Ok, well, what should we do now?” Sophie asked, as they ate.

I think we should just go home,” Ezra said sounding dejected. He had barely touched his dinner and was absentmindedly moving his food from one side of the plate to the other. “I don’t think we’re going to find the stupid entrance.”

“We can’t go back now,” Olivia said adamantly. “Not after all we did to get here.”

“But Kaivan never told us where to look!” exclaimed Ezra. “All he said was that the entrance was at the end of the range at the base of a big mountain with a pointed top. But he never told us exactly where!”

Ezra got up from the floor and started pacing across the tent. “The end of the Shackleton Range is huge! We don’t know where to look! It could be anywhere around here!” Ezra said, his voice rising in pitch.

“Ezra! Calm down! Please,” Sophie responded nervously, not knowing what to do.

“But, there’s no way we’ll find the entrance, Sophie!” Ezra pleaded. ”We should just go home,” he insisted. “It’s not worth it! I’m cold, and this whole quest thing is pointless!” he yelled. He then added quietly “I wish Mom was here. And Dad.”

“Ezra! Calm down now!” Sophie insisted.

“No! I’m done with this whole thing!” Ezra yelled, and ran outside of the tent.

Olivia and Sophie could hear Ezra yelling outside running around the tent.  Olivia looked at Sophie and gulped. Sophie sighed and put her face in her hands. A few seconds later, they heard a rumbling slowly growing in strength.

“What’s that?” Sophie asked with concern in her voice. “I don’t know,” Olivia answered as they both stood up. As the rumbling increased, it also sounded as if it was getting closer and closer. Then Ezra yelled, “Sophie, Olivia! Get out!!!”

“What?” Sophie asked as she looked toward the entrance of the tent. At that moment, Ezra flew into the tent and tumbled to the ground.

“Guys! It’s an avalanche! We’ve got to get out of here right now!” But before they could even move to leave, snow followed Ezra through the doorway, and they heard something smash into their tent.


Original Story “The Council Meeting”


This is another one of my original short stories. In fact, it’s part of a book I’m working on.


The Council Meeting

By Phoebe Eckstein

Olivia and Sophie watched secretly from behind the banister at the top of the stairs. Down below, members of the council of Eres had just assembled in Sophie’s living room, actually her parents’, for an urgently called meeting.

“Yesterday, after the… incident I started gathering all of the information I could about the base,” said Kaivan, the oldest member of the council. “And knowing Xcalabi, I’m quite positive that he enchanted it so no one can enter uninvited.”

“So, you’re saying, no one can go into Xcalabi’s base undetected? We can’t send anyone in to learn what he’s doing?” Ms. Loretta asked exasperatedly.

“Well, I‘ve sent magical scouts to the base, and it turns out that his spell does not prevent everyone from going into the base.” Kaivan said, emphasizing the word everyone. “You see, I believe it only prevents adults, at least, adults from Kaliyah.” Then, as an afterthought, he added, “Though, I’m still not sure about adults from Earth,” as he slowly rubbed his right earlobe and looked off into space.

“Where is the base, anyways?” Ms. Loretta asked with a bit of apprehensive curiosity.

“Well, I’ve located it in Antarctica, near the south end of the Shackleton Range.” Kaivan answered absentmindedly, still rubbing his ear and thinking about sending adults from Earth. “This time of year it should be around 35 degrees below zero. Really quite cold! And snowy, I think. Or is it hail? You know, it might be a mix of both. I wonder how Xcalabi heats up his base. Magic or geothermal? I’m guessing—”

“Uh, excuse me Kaivan. You mean to say that we could send a child into the base?” Mr. Paxon interrupted curiously.

“Nej. Untinkable! Sendeeng a child on such a dangorous meeshon.” Absolute not!” Mrs. Kato scolded with her thick, authoritative accent.

“I was just kidding.” Mr. Paxon responded softly, although no one seemed to hear him.

“Actually, Paxon has the right idea. Sending a child might be the only way.” Kaivan said thoughtfully.

“Und you too? Vee are NOT sendeeng a child on this meeshon!” Mrs. Kato scolded, outraged and gripping the armrests of her chair as if trying to squeeze the last drop of water from a rock.

“We were only considering the idea, Madam Kato.” Kaivan said calmly.

“And you vill do no more zen conseeder it. I vill not allow it to happen!” Mrs. Kato exclaimed, her eyes nearly bulging from their sockets.

“And so it won’t.” Mr. Paxon muttered. “Meeting concluded.” He announced abruptly.

“Vat? You colled a meeting yust to deescuss sendeeng a child to Xcalabi’s base?” Mrs. Kato asked, outraged.

“Madam Kato, please.” Kaivan said calmly.

Mrs. Kato pursed her lips, but didn’t say anything.

As the council members slow rose and left Sophie’s house, Olivia and Sophie watched nervously from above. Everyone seemed tense, even scared.

Kaivan opened the door, then turned to thank Sophie’s parents. As he turned back toward the door, he quickly glanced in Sophie and Olivia’s direction and winked before slipping away.

Olivia looked at Sophie. Did Kaivan know they had spied on the council? Did he really just wink at them?

As they quietly snuck back to Sophie’s room, Sophie said eagerly, “That was a short meeting. But anyways, do want to go?”

“Go? Where?” Olivia asked.

“The circus!” Sophie said sarcastically. “No, Antarctica. You heard what Kaivan said. Only a kid could do it.”

“You’re not seriously considering this, right?” Olivia asked slowly.

“Yes, I am!” Sophie said stubbornly, slightly raising her voice.

“First of all, it’s dangerous,” Olivia said. “second, we could get in to big trouble, third, we could get hurt, fourth, Antarctica is a long way away, fifth, Kaivan said you could freeze to death, sixth—.”

“—In other words, it’ll be risky. But, you know that old saying, ‘What’s life without risk’?” Sophie asked.

“Yes, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean confronting the most dangerous magician in history.” Olivia countered.

“Well, you don’t have to go.” Sophie said tauntingly. “And, ask anyone I know. I am very stubborn.”

Olivia stared at her. She had no doubt that Sophie was stubborn. But, it couldn’t really happen. Right? Her parents would never in a million years agree to such an adventure. Then again, it could be an incredible quest.

“Well, if you’re going alone, then I guess I have to go with you.” Olivia said slowly.

“Oh, goody!” Sophie exclaimed and hugged her friend, lifting her off the floor.

At that second, the door opened. Ezra, Sophie’s younger brother, walked into the room.

“I want to go with you.” He said with a bit of a whine.

“What? We’re not going anywhere.” Sophie said sounding annoyed.

“Yes you are! You were just talking about it. I heard you,” Ezra said accusingly.

“Oh, Ezra, just leave us alone!” Sophie exclaimed.

“But I wanna go with you!” He insisted.

“No means no!” Sophie said.

“Well, I’ll tell dad, I’ll tell mama” He sang, looking quite smug.

“Well, maybe we should let him,” Olivia whispered into Sophie’s ear. “If he tells on us, well, then… I mean, If we go, that is.” Olivia continued whispering.

“Oh, we’re going.” Sophie grinned.

“Okay, fine, Ezra, you can come.” Sophie announced with a sigh.

“Awesome!” Ezra exclaimed. “We’re going to Antarctica! We’re going to Antarctica!” He sang as he jumped around the room.

“Ezra! Shush!” Sophie demanded. “Mom and dad will hear you.”

“When do we leave?” he asked, quiet once more.

“First thing tomorrow morning.” Sophie announced.

Olivia shook her head, and wondered what had she gotten herself into.


Original Story “A New Home for Cookie”


Hi everyone! This month, instead of a book review, I have something different! I have an original short story! I decided to change it up because I thought it would be fun. So here it is!

A New Home for Cookie

By Phoebe Eckstein

W-w-where am I? It looks like a big shelf, but not like the one in Lidia’s room. How did I get here? It’s kind of cramped with toys, furniture, and- and all sorts of pots and pans. It’s really dusty. What is it all doing here? And why am I here? I was in a bag, and then I was suddenly here. Oh, Lidia! I miss you so much!

I remember when I first came to you. You were four years old. I was your new best friend, fresh from the toy store. You so loved my short, furry chocolate brown fur, big black eyes, and chubby face. I guess I still look pretty much the same, except for my left ear, which Mama sewed back on after the cat tried to play with me. You always took such great care of me. Now I also have that sky blue ribbon that you gave me all those years ago around my neck. Hanging from my ribbon is the small cardboard tag that says ‘COOKIE’. You wrote that in your best handwriting when you were six. Oh, I miss you Lidia …

We had so much fun playing together, and you always took me everywhere with you. Do you remember the times we made pillow forts on the couch? I was Captain Cookie and you were Marshall Lidia. We had to protect the fort from the evil Sorcerer Whiskers and the dangerous Pirate Coco. I know I was such a lucky bear to have someone like you, someone who cared for me so well. But what happened? It was soon after your fourteenth birthday, I remember you and Mama talking about me going to Charity. But, you never told me who Charity was. Will she come to get me?

Oh, wait! Someone’s coming. He doesn’t look like Papa. Papa always wore ironed collared shirts. This man is wearing an old gray T-shirt. Maybe he’s Charity? He’s picking me up! Wait, what happened? I can’t see! Oh no! I’m in a bag again. I don’t think I like bags very much.

I wonder where we’re going? Oh, what’s going to happen to me?  Where is Charity taking me? I hope I’m going back to Lidia. I miss her so much. Why did she send me to Charity? Did I do something wrong? Oh Lidia…

Hey, we stopped! What’s going on? Where am I? Look! There’s a tiny tear in the bag. I can see a room. I think it’s a little house. There’s a small bed in the living room, next to the kitchen. But there’s not much furniture here. It looks as if there’s only one window.

Someone’s saying something. They’re yelling for someone called Alison to look in a bag. Oh my! I hear running footsteps. Someone’s lifting me out of the bag. Ah! It’s a little girl, about the same age as Lidia was when I came to her. But she doesn’t look like Lidia. She has shiny, dark brown ringlets, much darker than Lidia’s hair, big brown eyes, and a cute button nose. She is wearing a simple lilac dress that doesn’t look like anything Lidia would have worn. But I like it. And look! She has dimples! I love dimples!

Oh! She squealed just like Lidia did when I first came to her. She must be Charity. She’s hugging me tight. It feels so good to be hugged again.

Wait! Someone just told Alison to go play outside. Maybe this girl isn’t Charity. This must be Alison! Well, that’s okay. I know I’m going to like my new home.

But I wonder what happened to Charity?