Amy Cheng

Courage Is Overcoming Fear

Gale tilted her chair back precariously, while Sara watched on nervously. “Don’t worry!” Gale exclaimed, putting her arms behind her glossy, black hair. “I’m not going to fall!” Her dark brown eyes were amused at Sara’s concerned expression.

            “I’m not worried about you,” Sara retorted, flinching slightly at the bald-faced lie. “I’m worried about our project!” She jerked her chin toward the delicate glass castle on Gale’s lap. They—meaning her, Gale, and Jace—had just finished it, after laboring over it for several weeks. The assignment had been to make a castle in which a character from a fantasy tale might’ve lived in. Jace had been the one to gather the supplies and do the measurements. He was too indolent to actually make it though. No surprise there. He practically specialized in laziness—“conserving energy” as he called it—so the girls had been the one to make it.

            “Don’t be such a worrywart!” Gale dismissed Sara’s worries with a flippant wave of her hand. “Nothing’ll happen!”
            At that moment, as if to contradict and undermine her words, a gust of wind blew in through the open window, causing papers to flutter in Gale’s face. Gale reached up to bat the papers away, but lost her balance.

            After a stunned silence, in which Gale sat among their previous chef-dœuvre, Sara said, “You are an incorrigible liar.”

            Gale acquiesced Sara’s statement quietly. After a pause, she said, “Do you think we can make another one?”

            “No,” Sara replied. “It’s due tomorrow.”

            “We can make something anomalous,” Gale suggested.

            Sara had a very, very bad feeling about this.


“What is this?” Sara let the warm sand trickle through her fingers. “Sand? I’ll kill you if this is just another one of your caprices.”

            “You should join the Club of Flatterers,” Gale said sarcastically. “You would meet each and every single one of their requirements.”

            Sara sighed. “I’m sorry you have no appreciation for my quick-witted comments.”

            “There’s nothing to appreciate,” Gale shot back. “Anyway. This will surpass all other projects! It will be a pre-eminent castle!”

            “If it isn’t, we’ll be in an adversity,” Sara said curtly. “And our grades will decline precipitously.”

            Gale pointedly ignored her. “I have yearned for my whole life to get my hands on this!”

            “Drama queen.” Sara rolled her eyes and twirled a lock of hair around her finger.

            Once again, Gale ignored her. “Ask me what it is,” she instructed.

            “What is it?” Sara asked obediently.

            “Moon powder!” Gale proclaimed with a flourish.

            “What!” Sara jumped up. Moon powder was a highly dangerous substance. Keep it near with you and go to sleep. That’s all it took to conjure things. Whatever you dreamt of would come true in a heartbeat. Even nightmares. “Didn’t you read the caveat?”

            Gale laughed. “Don’t worry!”


At school, Gale brought the project. Sara had left as soon as possible, not wanting to stay any longer with the gourd containing the moon powder. Sara was unsure what Gale had done with the receptacle, but the need for a fruit container was small, so it had probably been tossed away in the rubbish heap.

            Sara blinked and rubbed her eyes. The spider was still destroying the school. It was grotesquely gargantuan, and its main focus was on razing the school to the ground. The only good thing Sara could find about the situation was that she would be able to skip the history test in third period.

            She shuffled to Gale, hissing, “What did you do?”

            Gale glanced at her. Sara could see that she looked sallow and emaciated. “I had a nightmare.” She sounded contrite.

            Thank you for pointing that out, Captain Obvious, Sara thought, but she held her tongue. Instead, she whispered, “What should we do?”

            “Get a flyswatter?” Gale suggested facetiously.

            Sara gave her a dirty look.

            “Sorry. I couldn’t resist,” Gale said, with a touch of hysteria.

            Sara didn’t blame her.


Sara crooned under her breath, as she had been instructed to do. She had volunteered to eradicate the spider. After all, you made the mess, you cleaned it up. Apparently, Gale didn’t think that way. She was the epitome of cowardice.

            A boy in the school whose father was with the government had equipped her with the essentials: a gun containing who-knows-what, padding made of light, flexible material, and a flashlight. One shot from the tranquilizer, or whatever it was, would kill the spider on the spot.

            She hoped.

            Up close, the spider’s appearance petrified Sara. She couldn’t help but whimper as she shrank from the cerise eyes. It was a bad mistake. The spider spun around to face her, and Sara was unable to tear her eyes away from the spider’s eight feral eyes. Her heart was thumping against her ribs so hard; she wondered why they weren’t broken yet. Her breaths came in quick gasps and she practically keeled over when her eyes alighted on the wicked sharp fangs that gleamed like polished ivory. Luckily, she didn’t, but she still felt light-headed and foggy.

            The people out there are depending on me, she thought. It was starting to seem like her mantra.

            She straightened up and pulled the trigger.


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Amy Cheng.
Published on on 01/26/2009.


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