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Fantasy & Sci-Fi Books for Kids

500-Word YA Version of Coyote & Roadrunner by Henry Herz

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“Boys are so lame,” thought Riona, as she walked home from middle school. Her auburn ponytail swayed gently back and forth – a metronome for her thoughts along the tree-lined route. She loved the birch trees’ contrasting black and white bark, and how the leaf-laden branches formed a living canopy over the narrow suburban street.

“Why did stupid Wylie have to go and whisper that he wants to kiss me?” she fumed. “And right in the middle of math!” Riona kicked a stray pebble off the sidewalk, letting it feel her wrath as it tumbled helplessly over the curb and onto the warm asphalt. “He’s a nice guy, but he doesn’t get special privileges just because we’ve known each other since second grade,” she stewed.

A week later, Riona wondered why the determined Wylie kept following her. “He trails me home every day, like a friendly puppy dog,” she thought, rolling her clear blue eyes. “But, he’ll never catch me. At first, he stayed well back – as if I wouldn’t notice. Now, he’s increased his pace to narrow the gap.” Riona picked up her own pace, and couldn’t help but smile at Wylie’s tanned arms swinging gawkily in time with his long strides.

Riona remembered how sitting behind Wylie in class was always entertaining. His shirts were never tucked in, and he twirled his pen when he was bored. Wylie always managed to make wisecracks just loud enough to elicit snickers from nearby students, without being overheard by the teacher.

The following week, Riona was walking home from school, savoring the smell of a neighbor’s brilliant yellow rose bushes. She looked behind, and saw that Wylie had begun jogging. “Seriously!?” Riona said, as she broke into a jog too, her loose backpack bouncing up and down. “On the bright side,” she thought, “I’ll be in great shape by spring’s end.” Riona smirked as she considered,“I gotta’ give Wylie credit for his perseverance.”

As summer approached lazily, Riona’s jogging didn’t prevent her from spotting new dandelions poking up defiantly from cracks in the pavement. Periodically, she’d toss a glance astern to see if her relentless admirer was gaining on her. Riona noticed that the bright sun accentuated the piercing green of Wylie’s eyes.

With May’s arrival, a very fit Riona was relishing her daily jog home when a quick glance backward revealed Wylie in hot pursuit, sporting a new pair of Acme Roller Skates! Ahead, she saw a line of string tied across the sidewalk, as if to warn pedestrians of wet concrete. She smiled when she saw the sidewalk was old and worn. “It’s a ploy by Wylie,” Riona realized. She gracefully vaulted over the string. Moments later she heard the string snap and her inept pursuer tumble to the ground.

“You’re so lame,” Riona told the prostrate Wylie, as she reversed, knelt down, and gave him their first kiss. Meep meep.

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Author: Henry Herz

Children's book author

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