Katie Bieker

Author – Science, Environment, Travel, Children's Books

Kelly’s Chimney

Two Saturdays ago, I found out that my chimney is magic. I live in a very old house. My moms told me it was built before Grandma and Grandpa were born. So that’s pretty old. My room looks like my all of my friends’ rooms except that it has thick, chipped wood around the windows and dark, heavy metal plates over the vents and electrical outlets. The ceiling in my room is slanted into a triangle because my room is in the attic. The attic of a house is the small space at the top right under the roof. Some attics are scary, dusty and dark. But not mine. It has pink walls and cream colored carpet.

My magic chimney goes right through my room. There is no fireplace at the bottom; the chimney goes all the way into the basement where the old furnace used to be. I guess you don’t believe me that it’s magic. None of my other friends do either. Mama just said, “That’s nice dear,” but Mom listened to the whole story. She might believe me. One person definitely believes me. Margaret definitely believes me because she was here. It was the magic chimney that brought her all the way from 1926 to meet me.

I’ll tell you what happened. I was playing a card game in my room. It was just the easy game where I put picture cards down and try to find their match by turning them over. Just when I matched the strawberries I heard scuffling in the chimney. That was weird. It stopped, so I kept playing. After I matched the horses, I heard, “Thump thump.” Okay, that was really weird.”

“MOM!!!”

I chose to holler rather than go down stairs. That drives my family a little crazy.

“MOM!!! I think there’s something in the chimney!!!”

I could hear baby Annie crying. They were probably busy.

“What, Kelly? Come down here so I can hear you!”

I listened for a second. I didn’t hear anything else and I didn’t want to stop playing.”

“NEVER MIND!”

I went back to my game. After I matched the cars, I heard a voice.

“ARGH! Help! Help, I’m stuck! Oh no! Help help!!!”

It was coming from the chimney!

“MOM!!! MAMA!!!!”

Nobody came up, they probably couldn’t hear me. The yelling continued and the pounding got harder.

“HELP! Let me out! Let me out!”

“MOM!!! MAMA!!! Come up here NOW!!!”

Suddenly, a wispy hand popped through the brick, then another hand and a foot. The foot had on a black shoe and, as the leg popped through, I saw tall black socks that went all the way to a bruised kid knee. It looked a lot like mine. I was pretty much freaking out.

Finally, a whole little girl body came through into my bedroom. At first she looked a little like smoke, but then she got firm and very real and she looked just as scared as me.

“Wh… wh… what happened!?! What did you do!” she stammered, gasping and panting.

“Me? I didn’t do anything! How did you get in the chimney!? Are… are you ghost?”

Suddenly, the girl seemed to realize that she didn’t know where she was. She started to look around and her eyes grew wide.

“I… I don’t know. This is my room. But it looks really different. I don’t understand. Who are you?”

“This is not your room. This is my room. My name is Kelly.”

“Uh… my name is Margaret.”

Margaret started walking slowly around and started touching things. Her clothes weren’t as goofy as her shoes and socks. She had on a short yellow dress that ended above her knees and a navy blue sweater over it. It looked like something I would wear. Her hair was short and tucked behind her ears. She stopped and stared at the light on the ceiling, then at my CD player, and then finally at the TV. I was watching a nature show about spiders. She stared and stared and then started to cry.

“What… what is that? Oh this is all very scary. What did you do to my room and what are all these things with lights?  I don’t understand. I want my mom and dad!”

I started to feel sad for her. She was obviously crazy.

“Woah, woah, woah, Margaret. Take it easy. It’s okay. I’m not mean and I’m not a witch. Sit down. Do you want a Kleenex?”

“A… a what?” she sobbed.

All of a sudden my heart jiggled and my breath caught. Holy cow! She didn’t recognize most of my things, she thought this was her room, she didn’t know what a Kleenex was… I looked at her shoes again. And where did she get shoes like that?

“Margaret, do you know what year it is?”

She frowned at me.

“Yes. Don’t you?”

“I know that it’s 2013.”

There went her eyes again, real big and real wet.

“Oh! Oh no no it’s not,” she cried. “It’s 1926 and I want you to stop this!  You’re playing a trick on me and it’s mean!”

Okay, that was getting annoying.

“Now look here! YOU came all the way from 1926 into MY room! I’m not mean. YOU are the one who must be a creepy ghost or something.”

She sniffed again, but started to calm down. I handed her a Kleenex and she stared at it and then blew her nose.

“It’s just a handkerchief. Why didn’t you say so? It’s not a very nice handkerchief…”

“That’s because it’s made to be thrown away.”

She looked at me like I was nuts.

“Am I dead?”

“I really don’t know.”

We sat quietly for a bit. She handed me the snotty Kleenex. Does ghost snot have germs or are the germs dead too? I tossed it and washed my hands just in case.

And that’s all she wrote. This afternoon at least…  I don’t know how long this story’s going to be. I could see it being anything from a longer picture book to an older kid chapter book depending on how excited I get. I could always go back and mature the language if it gets too long for young kids. We’ll see. Feedback is always appreciated and helpful!

© Katie Bieker, 2013.

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9 comments on “Kelly’s Chimney

  1. slepsnor
    February 15, 2013

    I love the overall story and the character interaction, but I was confused on something. Would someone from 1926 jump the idea of witches and magic so quickly or at all? I kind of expected her to be Amish or from an older time when she talked about evil witches. Maybe I’m wrong, but 1926 feels too modern for the witch accusation unless she grew up in a family that had a deep belief that evil witches existed.

    • Katie Bieker
      February 15, 2013

      Hmm. I see your point. But I’m having trouble decided what she would think had happened to her if not magic. She’s not going to think about time travel, probably. Not right away at least. Not aliens either. That’s what I would think. 🙂 Maybe if I refer to “tricks” being played instead of magic and witches. I just figured that a kid in the 20s would have been more likely to be reading stories and witches and magic than stories about time travel… but I dunno. Ya know, maybe I don’t have to address it at all… just a sec…

      • slepsnor
        February 15, 2013

        It’s hard to say. The science fiction of the time seems to be a lot of lost world stuff, but War of the Worlds was made in 1898. The Time Machine was in 1895, but the girl seems way too young to have read those unless she did it on her own. 1920’s really seems like it was the really early stages of the sci-fi movie genre.

        Maybe it depends on how the girl thinks she got to the strange room.

    • Katie Bieker
      February 15, 2013

      There! All better! Thanks for the suggestion.

      • slepsnor
        February 15, 2013

        You’re welcome. How old is the girl supposed to be again?

      • slepsnor
        February 15, 2013

        I just re-read the part where they meet and I think it’s pretty funny that Kelly jumps to the ‘I’m not mean and I’m not a witch’ thing. That sounds very kid-like since she was going on about magic earlier. Great job.

        • Katie Bieker
          February 15, 2013

          Yeah, I thought about what you said a realized that she just doesn’t know! She’s a kid. She has no idea what’s happening. It’ll be tweeked within an inch of its life still, of course. I just slammed this out in a few minutes because my daughter was upstairs in her attic room (that happens to have a chimney going straight through it). I could hear her talking to herself… or WAS she talking to herself…

          • slepsnor
            February 15, 2013

            My son talks to a ghost in the corner of the living room from time to time. I’ve heard my parents try to convince him that he means coat (it hangs out next to the coat closet), but he’s adamant that it’s a ghost. It’s pretty funny to watch.
            For a story that was slammed out in a few minutes, you did an amazing job. You can easily get away with tweeking it to within a yard or two of its life.

  2. mandyevebarnett
    February 15, 2013

    Totally absorbing – I loved the conflict between the girls – well done. I would love to read more.

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This entry was posted on February 15, 2013 by in Writings and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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