ASK Part 9

I pulled at a piece of my peeling skin. I couldn’t stand how much the sunburn itched! For once in my life, I wished for winter. But at least we wouldn’t freeze to death. Then again, we might burn to death in this weather. I longed for home. July in California felt so much better than this. Ginny burned most of us all. I sunburn or tan a little in the summer, but Ginny only has two skin shades, pale or burnt.

“I wonder what Arlene has been up to,” I said. It felt weird using her real name. And being on this island with her creeped me out. I knew if she recognized me, which she probably did, she’d want me dead for sure. “We haven’t seen her since her fake death.”

“Well, our seeing her would prove she isn’t dead, and she doesn’t want that,” Natalie said.

“What did she look like when you found her?” I asked.

“She had blood on her shirt and face,” Natalie said.

“A lot of blood?”

“Not a ton.”

“Were her eyes open?”

“No, they were closed.”

“Everyone I saw dead had their eyes open.”

“She’s probably trying to figure out who she wants to kill next,” said Ginny.

“Oh, I’m so thirsty!” Natalie said. “Will someone please come with me to the pool to get water?”

“Are you sure that would be safe?” I asked.

“I’ll go with her,” Rupert said. “Natalie’s got one of the knives. We might be okay.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. We should all go together,” I said.

“I don’t feel like getting up. My ankle still hurts,” Ginny said.

“Well, okay, but be careful,” I said to Natalie. “But if you aren’t back in five minutes, I’m never letting you out of my sight again.”

“Thanks,” Natalie said, and she and Rupert crawled out of the tunnel. They walked away.


A few minutes after Natalie and Rupert left, Ginny said, “I wish it wasn’t so hot. Or, at least that someone had found us by now and we were in the air conditioning someplace.”


“Yeah, but what are we supposed to do but just try to live?” I said. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I originally meant survive the island environment, but Arlene was more likely to kill us. I wondered if we would make it off this island, or if we’d eventually be killed.

Natalie and Rupert still hadn’t returned after several minutes.

“I’m going to go check on Natalie and Rupert. They’ve been gone way too long, and having the two of them out there with Arlene Smith-Kensington freaks me out.”

“Wait, Shayne! Don’t just leave me here by myself!”

“Don’t leave the shelter. You’ll be fine.”

I left the brush and started in the direction of the water pool. A scream pierced the air. I ran. Natalie screamed again, this time longer. I ran faster. How stupid could get? I let her out with just a little boy. Now, Arlene was attacking her. Natalie screamed a third time, but stopped abruptly, as though someone covered her mouth. I raced on.

“Natalie? Natalie!” I shouted.

When I came to the pool, I found her. I covered my mouth.


Tears ran down my face as I looked at my little sister on the ground, covered in blood. I didn’t believe it. Natalie couldn’t be dead. I had just seen her alive fifteen minutes ago. She wasn’t really dead. But as I looked at her, there was no way to convince myself of a lie. Why would Arlene do this to her? Natalie never had an enemy in her life. Why?

I sat next to Natalie, took her hand and cried. I think I sat there crying for at least half an hour.


“I’m sorry, Nattie. I’m so, so sorry.”

And I truly was. For everything. So often Natalie had kindly pointed out some flaw in my character and I always retorted instead of thanking her and trying to work on it. I’d been a horrible sister to her and to Ginny.

“God, forgive me,” I whispered. It was the first time I’d prayed in years.

I had wasted so much time in pride and selfishness. I could have had such a better relationship with both my sisters and with God. And now, it was too late for me to ever fix things with Natalie. It was too late for me to tell her how wrong I’d been and how sorry I was.


ASK Part 8

“So, I wonder if this ‘ask’ stuff has anything to do with figuring out who the killer is,” Natalie said.

“All I can think of is ask who the killer is,” Ginny said.

“No, because why would anyone admit to being the murderer?” I said.

“Maybe it has something to do with killer. Like a trademark or an identity,” Rupert said.

“You know, that’s not a bad idea, ARRR” Ginny said.

“ARRR?” I said.

“That’s what my friends call me, because my full name is Rupert Ronald Rutter. I like it. It’s like I’m a pirate,” Rupert said.


“Oh. So, what names have ‘ask’ in them?” I said.

“I don’t know if any do,” Natalie said.

“How about Alaska?” Rupert said.

“Alaska? Who’d name their kid Alaska?” I asked.

“I know a girl named Alaska at school. And hey, I could think of worse names than that. What about Queenie, Prudence, and all the names of Miss Prudence’s cats?”


“I can’t think of any other names that have ‘ask’ in them,” Ginny said.

“Maybe this person kills people for a company and the letters stand for the company,” Rupert said.

“What kind of company sends people to kill people except mafia and terrorists?” I said.

“Good point.”

“What about initials?” Natalie suggested.

“You think maybe someone here used a fake name?” Rupert asked.

“Well, if they’ve killed other people before, don’t you think they would change their name?”

I sighed. “Well, initials really limits things. It could be any combination of A, S, and K names. It would take us forever to figure it out. If we’re even right that they are initials. And we don’t even know if it stands for a guy name or a girl name.”

“Well, there are more girls than guys on this island, so there’s a better chance it’s a girl name,” said Natalie.

We listed all the A names we could think of. As far as I could tell, none of these names meant anything.

“A, S, K. A, S, K,” Natalie said.

“Maybe we should work on the last name and come back to the first name later. That could narrow it down a bit,” Ginny suggested.

After listing a bunch of K names, I felt no closer to figuring out what ASK meant until Rupert said, “What about Khan? Or Kensington?”

“Kensington! Arlene Smith-Kensington!” Natalie said.


“What?” Rupert asked.

“When I was 10, I testified against a woman named Arlene Smith-Kensington for killing her husband and son. It’s Caroline!” I said.

“Are you sure it’s her, Shayne?” Ginny said.

“I’m positive. Her hair is a different color now, and she’s wearing color contacts, but it’s the same face! I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. If only I didn’t have this stupid bad memory!”

“But, Shayne, they sentenced her to life in prison. How could it be her?” Ginny said.

“I bet she escaped. Remember that talk Mom and Dad had, all quiet, and Mom said, ‘No, we shouldn’t tell Shayne. We don’t want her to worry’? That’s what they were talking about!”

“So, we’re here on this island with a convicted murderer who probably wants us dead?” Rupert said.


“Maybe we should pray, then.”

“That’s a great idea. Would you like to, Rupert?” Natalie said.

“What, out loud? Well, I mean, I guess I could, but I’m not really good at it yet.” We bowed our heads and Rupert said, “Uh, okay. God, I think we’re all kind of scared right now, even me. Please keep us safe and get us off this island. Let the girls get back to their parents and please give me a good family one day. Please, don’t let Caroline come after us. Thanks for dying for me and becoming my Father. Amen.”

“Well, now, you don’t only have a Heavenly Father, but you also have sisters and brothers, because everyone who trusts Jesus is God’s child. So, we’re your sisters,” Natalie said.

“Yeah, welcome to the family, ARRR,” Ginny said.

A smile lit up Rupert’s face.



ASK Part 6 (2)

“Shayne! Shayne!”

I woke up. Natalie and Ginny crouched in the doorway of the shelter.

“Shayne, we just found Caroline dead!” Natalie said. “We need to hide! Daniella killed her and if we don’t hide, she could come find us!”

I sat up fast. Caroline was dead? Then she had needed help when I heard her scream. And what did I do? Nothing.

“Come on, Shayne! Rupert’s outside. He thinks he knows a place we can hide,” Ginny said.

“Okay,” I said, my head still swimming with the fact that Caroline was dead. That just left Daniella and us kids. Who would die next? I was terrified. I wanted to scream or cry or break something. I wanted to be off this stupid island and safe at home. But I had to hold it together for my sisters.

We went outside the shelter.

“Come on, guys,” Rupert said. “She won’t find us where we’re going.”

We followed Rupert through the forest, past where the ferns grew, to an overgrown tangle of thorns and bushes.

“If we go in here far enough that she can’t see us, she might not bother coming in to find us,” Rupert said. He pulled a knife out of his pocket, got on his hands and knees and said, “I’ll clear a bit of a path through here.” He crawled through the brush, cutting away branches. When he made a kind of long tunnel through the thorns, he said, “Come on in, guys.”

We crawled in after him and sat


“Look what we found near Caroline’s body, Shayne,” Rupert said, holding out the knife, whcih I recognized as a knife from the pile. “And the word ‘ask’ was there, just like with Liam.”

“Guys, I feel bad. I heard Caroline scream, but I just stayed in the shelter. I tried to make myself believe she just stubbed her toe or something. But I kind of had a feeling. I just didn’t want to believe it. If I’d gotten up and done something, Caroline might not be dead.”

“Did you confess that to God? That will probably help you feel a little better,” Natalie said.

I didn’t answer. I really didn’t see the good that would do.

Later that day, Rupert used the knife to cut away more thorns so we all had room to lie down. By that time, it was dark, and I surprisingly fell asleep right away. I slept for a little while, but then I woke up again. I groaned. Why couldn’t I just lie down and sleep normally?


ASK Part 5

Later that day, Liam said, “Okay, any ideas about a shelter?”

“They taught us how to build one in Scouts,” Rupert said.

“All right, I assume you all want to stay together. So how about we make a guy shelter and a girl shelter right next to each other?” Liam said.

The thought of sleeping in the same shelter with a possible murderer creeped me out, but then, Rupert faced the same position alone. Still, creepier.

“Do you think you’ll need any help from an experienced shelter maker?” Rupert asked.

None of the adults answered, but Ginny said, “Yep.”

“All right. First, we need to find a tree to build against.”

The seven of us walked through the woods for a while, searching for a tree that would work. Caroline tripped, screamed, and then got up and said, “Oh, I think I sprained my ankle!” She limped over to Liam, grabbed his arm, and said, “Oh, Leo, I need help! I don’t think I’ll be fit to do anything strenuous like build a shelter. Can you help me get to the pool? I’m going to die of thirst! And I think water will do my wound some good.”

I rolled my eyes. Caroline wasn’t even bleeding.

Liam sighed, and then said, “I’m sure Daniella would be more suited to stay with you and let you rest.”

“Oh, but Leo, then you wouldn’t be there to protect me!”

“Someone else can go, too. Uhh…”

“I’ll go with you,” Natalie said.

“There. It’s all settled. Daniella’s pretty tough and she and Natalie will be glad to stay with you, won’t you, Daniella?”

Daniella glared at Liam, but she took Caroline’s arm and with more control than I would have managed said, “Let’s go get you that water.”


Daniella and Natalie put their arms around Caroline and helped her limp away.

I thought Liam did a pretty rotten thing, leaving Daniella with Caroline, instead of going himself but I didn’t blame him that much. Who’d want to spend time with her?

The three of us kids continued through the forest with Liam. I wondered if we had just left the murderer behind, or if he stayed with us. After about ten minutes of searching, we found a  tree that had several trunks coming from it  to build both shelters against.


“This is a great place. And it’s not super far from the water, either,” Rupert said.


“All right, kids, let’s go back and tell Daniella, Natalie, and Miss Whiny-Butt that we found a place,” Liam said.

We found Daniella, Natalie and Caroline at the water pool. Caroline gasped as we came up, and then put a hand on her heart and exhaled when she saw it was us. Daniella rolled her eyes.

“We found a good place for shelters,” Ginny said.

“Oh, is it very far?” Caroline asked.

“Not very,” Rupert said.

“I’ll need help getting there,” Caroline said quickly, looking at Liam, but before Liam could respond, Natalie said, “I’ll help you, Caroline.” Natalie always took unwanted jobs to spare other people.

When we reached the spot, Natalie helped Caroline sit on the ground.

“Well, we should lean sticks or some tough grasses up against the tree, then fill in spaces with leaves and mud. Caroline could do the filling in,” Rupert said.  “And we could lay the life raft on top of the girls’ shelter for extra protection.”

“Okay, Daniella and Ginny, go with Rupert to get that life raft, and the rest of us will start gathering sticks,” Liam said.

Daniella sighed and jerked her head, I think, half nodding, and half flicking her black side bangs out of her eyes. I heard her mutter, “Can’t do anything without bossing me around, can he? Just like my ex-husband,” as they left.

Natalie, Liam, and I gathered sticks from the ground, but Caroline just sat there.

When Ginny, Rupert and Daniella returned, dragging the life raft, we showed Rupert the sticks we found. Rupert instructed in finding the best sticks and sent Ginny, Natalie, and Daniella in search of taller sticks. Meanwhile, Rupert and Liam leaned the sticks against the tree. Rupert told me to pile up some mud and leaves for Caroline. After I had a pile, Rupert told me to let the air out of the life raft so we could put it on top of the shelter. I found the air valves and opened them. Then I lay on my stomach on the raft to push the air out. Rupert proceeded to tell Caroline how to put the mud and leaves in the cracks.


“Eww!” Caroline said when she picked up a glob of mud. She dropped it, splattering some mud on Liam’s boardshorts. He clenched his teeth, I think to bite back what he wanted to say.

Daniella and the girls came back with sticks and we continued building. We finished the shelters in about thirty minutes.

After we finished building the shelters, I felt so ready for bed, even though the sun hadn’t set. The heat could really drain you of all your energy. When I voiced this, Caroline exclaimed her exhaustion.

Pretty ridiculous, considering she did the least amount of work of all of us. She mostly had sat there and eventually Rupert and Liam finished filling in the mud.

Caroline went into the girl shelter.

“You guys come here,” I said to my sisters and led them away from everyone else. “I really want to go to bed, and I don’t want you guys out there alone when there’s a killer.”

“But Liam, Daniella and Rupert are still out there. If we stay with them, we should be safe,” Natalie said.

“Still, I don’t want you out with those creeps without me.”

“But Rupert’s not a creep,” Ginny said.

“No, but then which of the grown-ups did it?” Natalie said.

“I have no idea,” I said.

“Well, I guess, let’s go to bed, too, Ginny.”


It seemed like sleep took forever to come. Despite how tired I was, I couldn’t get my mind to calm down. Aunt Lorelei was gone forever. She would never come over or laugh or listen to country music again. She would never hug me again. I missed her so much.


ASK Part 4

Oh, sorry for the inconsistency. I had to change a character’s name. The man is named Liam, not Mikaio.

Caroline’s scream echoed. A little later, she, Daniella, Liam and Rupert came up. I don’t remember a lot of what happened. I was still really shocked. Voices asked if we were okay. Caroline acted all dramatic and everyone looked at us with confused and sorry expressions. Voices jumbled together. I tried to make them all out.

“Are you girls all right?”

“I wonder why the word ‘ask’ was written there,” a high-pitched voice said.

“I don’t know, but I’ll find the killer!”

“Calm down, and have some sense, boy!” a low voice retorted.

“Maybe people live on this island and weren’t happy to find an intruder,” another voice said.

A whimper. “Natives! Oh, Daniella, how dreadful!” The high voice.

“Come and sit down,” someone said, and took my hand and led me to a place where I sat.

“Caroline, you stay with the girls while Daniella, Rupert and I go search the island for natives. We should always have at least three in a group, so no one else winds up dead. And we should check the community pile to see if any knives are missing,” Liam said.

We were near the site of the previous night’s fire, but we sat in the shade of the trees.



. I put my arms around both my sisters. I didn’t know what else to do to comfort them when I felt the same way they did. Caroline, my sisters, and I sat silently for a long time. Aunt Lorelei is dead was the only thought that went through my mind.

A twig snapped.

“Oh, my goodness, natives! Natives! They’re going to finish us off!” Caroline exclaimed, throwing her arms into the air.


But a native didn’t appear behind Caroline. Liam came up, followed by Daniella and Rupert.

“No, it’s just us,” Liam said.

“Oh, my goodness, Leo! It’s just you!” Caroline said, gasping, jumping up, and grabbing Liam’s large bicep. “I thought for sure that horrendous native came back for another murder!”



Liam rolled his eyes and wrenched her hand from his arm. “From what we can tell, there aren’t natives here,” he said, some of his annoyance with her coming out in his tone.

“What, you mean…?” Caroline said.

“Yes. Someone right here did it.”

I looked around at each person’s face. One of these people killed my aunt? That was even worse than a possessive native killing her.


My sisters and I had survived with these people and we were supposed to be helping each other. How could we do that if we didn’t know who we could trust?

Caroline panted, like she might pass out. “How can we all be safe, Leo?”

“Like I said, always have at least three people present in a group. That way, whoever the murderer is, they won’t take the chance of revealing themself to the third person. And a knife is missing from the community pile.”

“Oh, Leo, it’s so scary! I feel rather faint!” Caroline said, grabbing Liam’s arm again.

“You’ll be fine. And don’t call me Leo. My name is Liam. Anyway,” he said, jerking from Caroline’s grasp. “Is there anything any of us can do for you three right now?” he asked my sisters and me.

“Well, if you want, I could use some help burying my aunt. I don’t want my sisters to see her like that,” I said.

“Of course. We adults can do that. Right, Caroline and Daniella?”

Daniella shrugged, and said, “Yeah, sure.”

“Ugh, do you know how long that would take?” Caroline exclaimed. “That would be so hard!”

“It wouldn’t be hard if you didn’t whine and just dug,” Liam said. “You should come, Caroline. It’ll help toughen you up.”

Caroline looked slightly put out at Liam’s insulting her toughness, but what did she expect? Probably also the fact that Liam had no interest in her, despite her flirtations, upset her. If I was a guy, though, I would have no interest in her either. She was so annoying!

“I could help if you want,” Rupert said.

“No, you stay here. You don’t need to see that again either. You’re only, what, nine?” Liam said, walking backwards in the direction of Aunt Lorelei’s body.

Rupert shrugged and said, “Yeah.”

“Well, I guess we will, to be a help to you in this hard time, Shayne,” Caroline said, making it obvious in her tone that she still didn’t want to. She put her arm around my shoulders, as if she thought that would comfort me.


. I pulled away. She looked at me. “Sunburn,” I said. Also, I didn’t want her touching me.

She ran to join Liam, who turned around and picked up his pace to a fast walk, leaving her. Caroline then tried to converse with Daniella, but Daniella made no motion to talk back. Liam and Daniella were acting really immature. But who would want to talk to a person who irritated the fire out of everyone?

Rupert knelt by the place the fire was the night before. A pile of sticks lay nearby. I guessed someone gathered them last night. He rubbed two sticks together. I rolled my eyes. I doubted he’d actually be able to start a fire.

“I’m making a fire so if any planes pass overhead, they’ll see it and rescue us,” Rupert said.

I couldn’t have cared less about a fire in this sweltering weather, but the idea of planes seeing the fire made sense. I did want to get off this island.To be honest, though, Aunt Lorelei’s death had kind of driven thoughts of getting off the island from my mind.

Actually, Rupert did get a fire started. Then, he joined us. I sat there a while, until I felt like I’d die if I didn’t get water and something to eat.

“Anyone know where we can get some water?” I asked. “I’m so thirsty.”

“Earlier this morning, I explored a bit and found a pool of water. I drank some, and I’m still alive,” Rupert said.

“Great. Where is it?” I said.

“Do you think we’ll be safe?” Natalie asked.

“It’s no safer here than anywhere else on this island. Plus, I don’t think any of you guys killed your aunt, and I didn’t, so the murderer isn’t even with us right now. And we’ll be safe in a group, like Liam said. Besides, we need water,” Rupert said. “Come on, I’ll show you.”

Rupert led us through the trees, past where we slept the night before. The shade of the trees made me thankful; the ground didn’t burn my feet so much. After walking a while, we reached a small, round pool about five yards from the base of the mountain. I looked up at the mountain. A dark hole about 90 feet up looked like a cave. Too bad. No way would I climb that high, otherwise, I’d stay in there. I knelt, cupped water in my hands and drank. It was so refreshing, despite its lukewarm temperature. We all drank some.

When we’d finished drinking, we searched for food. Rupert showed us where he found the berries the day before, and we ate enough to fill us up. Rupert said he needed to add wood to his fire, so he gathered up sticks. Then, we went back to the edge of the trees near the fire and sat in the shade. Rupert went and put the sticks on the fire, and then sat next to Ginny.Ginny and Rupert chatted, but Natalie and I didn’t say much. I didn’t feel like talking, still caught up in the fact of Aunt Lorelei’s death. How would Dad and Mom feel? I longed for them and home more than anything.


Natalie put her head on my shoulder and looked up at me. “Shaynie, I want to go home,” she whispered.


I put my arm around her and leaned my head on hers. “I know. So do I.”

A little later, Rupert said, “Hey, guys?”

“Yeah?” we responded.

“I know you’re really upset about your aunt and I hate to bring it up, but I can’t get this really weird thing out of my mind. Next to her body, there was a word made out of sticks. It said ‘ASK’.”

“That’s weird,” I said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ginny said.

“The only thing I can think is that the murderer wants us to ask who it is. But I’m not asking anyone. I don’t want to be killed. But I guess it would be okay, because I would go to Heaven,” Rupert said.

“How do you know you would go to Heaven?” Natalie asked.

I wondered how she managed to link practically everything to the gospel.

“Umm, I think that if you die as a child you go to Heaven. Or it’s if you’re a good enough person.”

“Well, God made the first people perfect, but they did something wrong. Wrong things people do are called sin. We all sin. And sin can’t be around a perfect God,” Natalie said.

“Hey, I’m not that bad a person,” Rupert said.

“But still, you’ve done at least one wrong thing in your life, right?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Well, because God loves us so much, He came to earth as a baby named Jesus, grew up, and let men kill Him to take the punishment for our sins. But because Jesus is God, he came back to life three days later, and now He’s in Heaven.

“So,” Natalie continued, even though Rupert started doodling in the sand with a stick, not paying much attention to her, “if we believe Jesus is God, came to earth, died for our sins, and came back to life, and we trust Him as the only way for our sins to be forgiven, God becomes our Father. Then one day, whether we die, or He comes back to earth, He’ll take those who have trusted Him to Heaven to live there with Him forever. He loves you, Rupert, and He wants to be your Heavenly Father.”

Rupert didn’t respond.

The adults came back a few hours later. It scared me to know for sure that my aunt’s murderer was in our company. Caroline complained that she would die of thirst if she didn’t get water “right this minute!” So we showed the adults the pool. When we got there, Caroline hesitated. I guess she thought there might be something harmful in the water, but her thirst seemed to overcome her fear, because she took some in her hands and drank.

“I want to see the grave,” Natalie said.

“Are you sure that would be a good idea, sweetheart?” Caroline said.

“I want to see it,” Natalie said, a little more firmly. “It’ll help make it real to me.”

“Of course. You girls can come with me,” Liam said.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see it. I already knew Aunt Lorelei was dead. I had seen her body with my own eyes. But my sisters hadn’t. They would probably want me there. So, I got up and went with them after Liam. He led us to the place where I had found the body.

The freshly dug dirt had a cross made of sticks sticking out of it.

“The cross was Daniella’s idea. She thought it would be a nice touch,” Liam said. “Do you want me to say some words?”

I shook my head. Words would do no good. He hadn’t even known Aunt Lorelei. What good were words when my heart hurt so much?

Ginny put both arms around me and her head on my shoulder. Natalie hugged me from the other side. They both were crying.



I wanted to cry too. But that would mean I was weak, wouldn’t it? I didn’t want Liam to see me cry and I didn’t want my sisters to feel like I was weak.

We stayed there for a while, not saying anything.


Then Natalie said, “Well, at least she’s in Heaven. We’ll see her again.”

“How do you know?” Liam said.

“Because she believes Jesus is the only way to Heaven and that He died for her. Do you believe that, Liam?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I should.”

“Well, I’ll pray for you.”

We left the grave and joined the rest of the group back near the water pool.

-Shayne (and MorganAshley)


ASK Part 3

I awoke shivering. My clothes still weren’t dry. I sat up from leaning on Aunt Lorelei’s shoulder and rubbed my sore neck. I wondered why no help came yet. I looked around. Everyone in the life raft was awake, but no one said anything. The many bodies, life rafts, and pieces of the ship dwindled to only a few overnight. I assumed they must have floated away or sank. Off in the distance, to the right of the raft, I could have sworn I saw land.

“Hey, guys, is that land up there?” I said, pointing.

Aunt Lorelei turned to the right and looked where I pointed.

“You know, Shayne, I think you’re right!” She looked around at everyone else. “Guys, does that look like land to you?”

The other people looked.

“I think it is. Let’s paddle toward it,” the blonde lady said.

Using our hands or whatever metal pieces from the ship we found still floating around, we paddled slowly but surely toward land. It took us somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour to reach a beach. Beyond the beach grew a thick forest, and a mountain peeked over the treetops. I got out of the raft and plopped onto the sand. I lay on my back and just rested.


Aunt Lorelei and Natalie thanked God aloud. The rest lay on the sand near me, except the man and the black-haired woman, who pulled the raft far enough onto the beach for it not to get taken away by the tide. Then they collapsed onto the sand with the rest of us. I fell asleep again.



When I woke, the sun just peeked over the horizon. The sunset colored the sky orange and purple. I sat up. Everyone else sat around a fire a couple yards away. My skin burned. I guess I got sunburned while lying there. I wished I’d thought of that earlier.

“Aah!” one of the women screamed as I approached.

“What’s wrong?” Aunt Lorelei asked.

I sat down next to Aunt Lorelei as the blonde lady said in the most disgusting, high-pitched, whiny voice I ever heard, “These mosquitoes are just dreadful! I can’t stand bugs! Why are they still attacking me when there’s a fire?”

I already didn’t like her. I couldn’t stand her voice. Maybe that was mean.

“Shayne, you haven’t met everyone yet,” Aunt Lorelei said and motioned to each person as she said their name.

She motioned to the black-haired lady. “This is Daniella.”

Next the blonde lady. “Caroline.”

After her, the man. “This is Liam.”

And finally, the boy. “And this is Rupert.”

“Hi, I’m Shayne,” I said.

“Hi,” the two ladies responded, Caroline still swatting around her face. Mikaio nodded, and Rupert straightened his round glasses, and then waved.

“Here, Shayne, eat some of these,” Aunt Lorelei said, handing me a baseball cap full of berries. I thanked her and put some in my mouth. The idea of eating out of someone else’s sweaty old hat made me cringe, but my hunger overcame that. At least the berries were pretty good.

“Where did you get these?” I asked.

“I found them, and gathered them in my hat. Since I’m a Webelos Cub Scout, I know what kinds of plants are safe to eat. And if there are any animals around here, we can eat them, too,” Rupert said.

“What in the world is a Webe-what?” I asked.

“Webelos Cub Scout. It’s what you are right before you become a Boy Scout. You can’t be an actual Boy Scout till you’re ten. Well, not you, but you know, a boy.”

“Well, good,” said Aunt Lorelei. “With your experience, Rupert, you’ll definitely be a help.”

Rupert smiled a super conceited-looking smile.

“Does anyone have anything to kill animals with?” I asked.

“Well, some things from the crash washed up onto the shore. There are a couple knives,” Aunt Lorelei said. “We put everything in a community pile so everybody can use them if they just happen to need them. Not that a lot of the stuff is super useful.”

“What’s in the pile and where is it?” I asked.

“We put it over next to the life raft,” she said, pointing. “A deflated floaty ring, a few ship pieces, a wooden cutting board, a broken CD case, a bedpost, and three knives with sheaths.”

“Well, I certainly wouldn’t use a knife. I couldn’t dream of killing an animal. That’s so gross and cruel!” Caroline said.

“So, Rupert, do you have any parents?” Aunt Lorelei asked, ignoring Caroline.


“But what about the woman on the boat with you?” I asked.

“Oh, you mean my foster mom. My real mom died a few months after my seventh birthday. Then I got put into foster care with this awful woman named Miss Queenie. See, she doesn’t let me have or do anything, except Scouts. She only took me on the cruise because I won it in a sweepstakes. I needed a parent or guardian and she wanted to go, but she wouldn’t have taken me unless she had to. She would have made me stay with her mother, Miss Prudence.”

“Is Miss Prudence any better than Miss Queenie?” Ginny asked.

“No! She’s so old and she has twenty cats and she made me memorize all their names and which ones are which, and she calls me ‘sonny boy’ and her house stinks.”

“What are their names?” Natalie asked.

“Watson, Gladys, Elliot Ness, Matilda, Archibald Hammerstein the third, Oscar Schnarfenbergendorf, Ralphie, Jehoshaphat, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg-”

“Okay, I’ve heard enough,” I said.

“Aren’t they horrible names?”

“Yep!” Ginny and I said at the same time.

“Well, sorry about your mom,” I said. “I  mean, your real mom. I guess you don’t miss Miss Queenie very much.”

The others murmured their regrets.

“Thanks,” Rupert said. “It’s not like Miss Queenie wanted me. She only took me in for the money. Nobody ever wanted me. I’m just a useless orphan.”

“You’re not a useless orphan. And I know someone who really wants you as part of His family,” Natalie said.

“Yeah? Who?” Rupert said, as he crossed his arms.


Here she goes again! I thought. Natalie took every available chance to talk about God.

Caroline looked over at Aunt Lorelei and said, “I always love to see religious children. They’re so nice.”

Aunt Lorelei smiled.

“Yeah, that’s nice, but a big invisible guy in the sky doesn’t sound like great family,” Rupert said.

Natalie looked disappointed, but she didn’t push the point.

We sat around the fire, talking about whatever we thought of. I learned that Daniella was a divorced hairstylist who worked at a fancy salon. The hairstylist part explained the blue streak in her hair. Liam was a single businessman who spent all his free time at the gym or surfing at the beach. Caroline said she’d had a husband and son, but they died in a car accident, so she lived alone and taught preschool. After a while, Daniella said, “Well, I’m tired. I’m going to go find a place to sleep.”

“Okay, good night,” Aunt Lorelei said.

“I’m going to go to sleep, too,” Caroline said.

“All right. You three girls find a good place to sleep and I’ll be there in a bit. I want to do something,” Aunt Lorelei said.

“Okay. Good night, Aunt Lorelei,” I said and gave her a hug.


My sisters did the same.

“Well, see you, Rupert,” Ginny said.

“See you guys tomorrow,” Rupert said.

Natalie, Ginny and I waved to Liam, and left to search for a place.

We found a spot under the low hanging branches of some trees and lay down.


Falling asleep took me longer than normal. My sunburn hurt a lot and I couldn’t get comfortable on the rough ground.

I had an awful dream. A blonde girl stood on the witness stand, testifying she saw a lady kill a man and a little boy. Then, the judge pounded her gavel, and sentenced the woman to life in prison. As the police led the woman out, she stopped in front of the girl and glared at her with piercing green eyes.


“I’ll get you one day. You will pay,” the woman whispered so just the girl could hear. The woman continued to glare at the girl as the police took her away. The girl screamed.

I jerked out of sleep. That scream sounded so real. But now, no noises came from the dark. The dream probably just made me think I heard a scream. I dreamed that a lot and it always felt real. My sisters, but not Aunt Lorelei, lay on the ground beside me. I figured she must have decided to sleep somewhere else. Maybe she couldn’t find us. I lay down again and went back to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, Aunt Lorelei still wasn’t there. I got up to search for her. I walked along the beach at the front of the island. The sand burned my feet. The sea had claimed my flip flops the day before. I found no sign of her. I decided to look in the forest. I walked through the forest for a while, looking under trees.


Not finding her, I almost turned back, when red sand caught my eye. It looked like blood stained the sand. I jogged farther into the forest, following the blood trail, and then screamed at what I saw. Aunt Lorelei lay on the ground, bloody slashes covering her body, soaking her clothes. Her eyes were open and glazed over. Tears welled up in my eyes. I dropped to my knees, sobbing into my hands. I couldn’t think straight. Why would someone kill her?



Natalie and Ginny’s voices surprised me.

Oh no, how can I tell them?

I ran away from the body, not wanting them to see it.

I found both my sisters a little way away.

I tried to compose myself, but I was breathing hard, and I started crying again.

“Guys, oh my goodness, blood,” I panted.

“Oh my word, Shayne, what’s wrong? You look awful. What happened?” Natalie said, putting her hand on my shoulder.

“Dead,” I forced out.

“Who’s dead?” Ginny said.

“Aunt Lorelei.”

“What? Shayne, how?” Natalie said, tears forming in her eyes.

“Found her dead. Blood all over.”

Both my sisters started crying and hugged me. I hugged them, not sure what to do. I felt helpless. We just hugged and cried for a long time.


Then, a thought occurred to me. Someone on this island was a murderer. I didn’t know who it was, but I had to protect my sisters from them.

ASK Part 1!

So, I’m finally posting ASK! Shayne will be narrating from here on. 🙂 Enjoy.


“Ginny! Where did you put my shoes?” I yelled as I strode down the hall to her room.

“I put them back in your room,” the younger of my two sisters called back.

“They aren’t there,” I said as I entered Ginny’s room and put my hands on my hips. “Why can’t you borrow anything without losing it?”

“What’s all the yelling about?” my other sister, Natalie asked, poking her dark brown head in the doorway.

“Ginny lost my gray Converse. Again,” I said, rolling my eyes at Ginny.

“No, she didn’t. You left them by the front door yesterday.”

Seriously? I forgot that? And of course, Natalie would remind me. She always tried to fix other people’s problems.

“Oops,” I said and passed Natalie to retrieve them.

“You should try to stop yelling at her,” Natalie said, following me down the hall and downstairs. “Most of the time you yell at her, it’s for something you forgot.”

“I’m just a bit stressed, okay? Aunt Lorelei is gonna be here in ten minutes and I’m not even half packed.”

Natalie shrugged and walked away. I rolled my eyes and sighed. Natalie always told me to do something or other, despite my two years seniority.

I went to the front door, picked up my sneakers, and then raced to my room to keep packing. Our dad’s sister, Aunt Lorelei, invited the three of us girls to go on a cruise. Even though I’d anticipated it for weeks, I forgot we were leaving that day. Natalie, the ever-prepared one, packed a week in advance and helped Ginny do the same. She reminded me, but I had other things to do at the time, like message my best friend on Facebook. The doorbell rang just as I zipped my duffle.

Hi, Lorelei!” Mom’s voice echoed up the stairs. I grabbed my duffle and carry-on. As I headed downstairs, I listened to my mom and dad chatting with Aunt Lorelei. The contrast between Dad and Aunt Lorelei’s Texas accents and Mom’s Scottish one made me smile. Though Dad and his sister were both from Texas, their family had moved to California when they were teenagers because of my grandpa’s job. But after my grandparents passed away and Dad met Mom, they decided to stay in California, Dad because of Mom, and Aunt Lorelei because Dad is her only relative.

Both my parents stood by the front door with Aunt Lorelei.


“I saw on the weather channel that the next few days are supposed to be rainy. I hope the gray skies clear up for you,” Mom said.

“Yeah, that would be good,” Aunt Lorelei said. Then when she saw me, she said, “Ah, all packed, I see.”

“Yep, just in time. I forgot it was today,” I said.

“You’ve always been forgetful like that, Shayne,” Dad said as he put his arm around me. “Good thing you’re good lookin’ like your father, or we mighta sold you to the drug cartel.”

Mom giggled as I wrinkled my nose at Dad.

Natalie and Ginny raced down the stairs, suitcases in hand.

“Hi, Aunt Lorelei!” Natalie said, dropping her suitcase and giving Aunt Lorelei a hug.

“Hey, y’all!” Aunt Lorelei said, hugging Natalie. “Let’s go put your stuff in the car, then we’ll come back to say goodbye.”

She led us outside to her shiny aqua blue Camaro and popped the trunk with her fob. We put our luggage inside, and then walked back to the house.

“Have a good time and be safe,” Mom said as she hugged me.


“I’m sure we’ll all have a great time,” Aunt Lorelei said, hugging Dad. If only she’d been right.

After we girls hugged our parents about three times each, we headed for the car.


“I call shotgun!” I yelled and raced to the passenger seat door.

Aunt Lorelei laughed. Once in the car, Aunt Lorelei put on her large sunglasses, turned on the air and cranked up the country music. Aunt Lorelei was cool. Not only could she pull off those shades amazingly with her blonde bob but she wore stylish, expensive clothes, drove a Camaro, my favorite kind of car, and she was taking us on a cruise. I wanted to be just like her.

“We should pray for safety before we leave,” Natalie said.

“Good idea, Nat,” Aunt Lorelei said as she turned the music off. “Go ahead.”

As she prayed, my mind drifted to what we would do on the cruise. Yeah, I accepted Jesus as my Savior at VBS at age seven, but God didn’t matter much to me any more. After seven years, church and Christianity just got old and boring.

After Natalie said, “Amen,” Aunt Lorelei turned the music back on and said, “Okay, let’s do this thing.”

We drove about thirty minutes to the pier. Aunt Lorelei parked, and we got out and unloaded our luggage. Then, we joined the masses of people heading toward the cruise terminal.

“Okay, girls, we’re going to give our luggage to one of these porters over here. They’ll bring it to our rooms,” Aunt Lorelei said.

Aunt Lorelei had enough money that this wasn’t her first cruise. She knew the drill. When we reached the porters, we handed our duffles and suitcases to one of them, but kept our carry-ons with us. We thanked the porter, Aunt Lorelei gave him a tip, and we moved with the rest of the crowd to a building. Inside, we stood in a long line. Once our turn, each of us had to let them search our carry-ons. Then, we had to step through a metal detector. Our earrings set it off, because all of us except Ginny wore them. When the security guards realized that was all, they let us through. Then, Aunt Lorelei handed our passports, her credit card, and some other papers I didn’t pay much attention to, to a uniformed man at a desk to our left. After a few minutes of looking the documents over and doing something on a computer, he said, “All right, ladies, you’re all good. Welcome to the Pacific Mermaid.”

We left the building and another worker showed us where to board the cruise ship. Once up the ramp, we walked through a kind of open, roofed hallway on the outside of the ship, then through a hallway inside the ship. After that, we stepped through large glass double doors into the most luxurious, huge place I’ve ever seen. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling and red and gold jacquard carpet covered the floor. Matching red couches sat around the room, most filled with people.

We went to the safety drill so, as the ship staff told us, we would know what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency. Then, we decided to go to the pool. Aunt Lorelei warned us ahead of time to pack our swimsuits in our carry-ons since the ship’s staff would send the rest to our rooms.

As we made our way to the pool, a lady in a floppy sunhat bumped my side with some of her overabundant bags. She acted like she didn’t even notice. I turned to look at her, scowling. She scolded a brown-haired boy about Ginny’s age with more bags to be careful not to break her stuff.


I gave the boy a sympathetic smile, and then kept walking.


The water felt so good. I love swimming. The crowdedness of the pool didn’t stop me from having a good time. My sisters and I went down the five huge waterslides several times. I don’t like heights, but waterslides are the exception. Who can resist the awesomeness of waterslides? Well, Aunt Lorelei can. She said she was too old for that kind of thing. But people older than her went down the waterslides. She just didn’t know what she was missing. While we kept riding the waterslides, Aunt Lorelei sat in one of the chairs around the pool, tanning and chatting with a woman with long blonde hair. Aunt Lorelei waved to me. The woman said something to her, she responded, and the woman waved, too. I waved back. The boat set off while we swam. A few hours later, it started to rain, so we wrapped in our towels and followed Aunt Lorelei to our rooms for showers. One of us would share a room with her, and the other two would have the other room.

“It doesn’t matter to me who goes where,” Aunt Lorelei said.

“Could I share with you, Aunt Lorelei?” Natalie said.

I groaned inside. “Aunt Lorelei, couldn’t I share with you?” I said.

“No, Natalie asked first. There’ll probably be another time when you can share with me,” Aunt Lorelei said.

“Okay,” I said, annoyed. I would rather have shared a room with Aunt Lorelei or even Natalie than Ginny.

Aunt Lorelei gave me the key to our room, and we went in. It had brown carpet, two twin beds, a round window centered on the same wall as the bed headboards, and a large dresser with a mirror. We had to sort the luggage around, because whoever delivered it put it all in our room. Then, we took showers. Both bedrooms had their own bathroom. While Ginny showered, I got my stuff unpacked. Might as well use the dresser, since we’d be in there for a week.

“Can I borrow your brush?” Ginny asked, coming out of the bathroom and rubbing her hair with a towel.

“Didn’t you bring your own?”

“I’m not sure where I packed it.”

“Fine, just don’t lose it,” I said as I grabbed it from my bag and handed it to her.

She brushed her wet red hair straight, braided it, and then handed the brush back.

“Thanks,” she said.


“Did you leave me any space in the dresser?” Ginny asked.

“No. First come, first served. I’m going to go shower.”


After a delicious dinner of steak, loaded baked potatoes, and salad, we went to the concert hall, where a music group performed. The huge place could probably hold at least a thousand people in its soft burgundy seats, and a huge stage stood at the front.

The music wasn’t my type, being country, but Aunt Lorelei loved it. She and Dad only listened to country. After the concert, we went back to Natalie and Aunt Lorelei’s room. We played some Dutch Blitz, about the only thing Ginny and I both liked, because of our determination to beat each other. Stubborn and competitive Scottish blood, I guess.

After that, we headed to bed.

“Shaynie, can I borrow your pink headband tomorrow?” Ginny asked, pulling up her covers.

“Didn’t you pack anything?” I asked as I flipped the light off.

“I don’t have a pink headband and the outfit I’m wearing tomorrow is pink.”

“As a matter of fact, I forgot to bring it.” I sighed as I got into bed. No matter how hard I tried, I always forgot something.

“Did you bring your pink barrettes?”

“No. You lost them five months ago, or had you forgotten? If you always want to borrow my stuff, why don’t you just buy your own? Then, if you lose it, I won’t care.”

Ginny turned toward the wall, and from the way she breathed, I could tell she was trying not to cry.



“It’s fine, Shayne,” she cut me off. “I’ll just do something else with my hair tomorrow.” She stayed quiet for a minute, but then she said, “Good night.”

“Good night.” I shouldn’t have exploded on her. After all, she didn’t make money babysitting all the time like I did so she could buy stuff. But she did lose things sometimes. I didn’t want the stuff I put my money into getting lost.


“Hey, Shayne, wake up!”

I opened my eyes to find Ginny’s hazel ones inches from my face.


“Dude, Ginny! Personal space!” I said, pushing her away and sitting up.

“I tried to wake you up, but nothing works except yelling in your face. Anyway, Aunt Lorelei says to get up because breakfast is in half an hour.”


I got up and got ready, and then we headed to the dining hall.

After breakfast, Aunt Lorelei made us play shuffleboard. I thought only old people liked it, but it wasn’t too bad. After that, we headed for the arcade, Natalie’s choice. Suddenly the ship lurched and threw us forward and against a wall. My scream joined the screams of others.

A yell of, “We’re sinking!” echoed through the ship.

The four of us grabbed each others’ hands. The ship lurched again, causing us to let go of each other and bang into the walls.

“God, protect us,” Aunt Lorelei prayed out loud.

A man over a loudspeaker said, “Everyone please remain calm. The engine of the ship has malfunctioned in such a way that the ship can no longer sail. It’s storming, and this has already caused damage to the ship because the ocean floor is very rocky. Everyone please stay calm and come to the main deck for evacuation. Be advised that it is raining, so be careful to follow the instructions of the ship staff.”

“That’s really weird. Cruise ships don’t tend to get problems like that. Come on, girls,” Aunt Lorelei said, moving ahead and leading us down the hall to the main deck.

It was hard to walk, because the ship kept swaying. Some people tried to comfort small children who cried, but they looked just as worried and scared as the children. I couldn’t help being scared myself.

“Girls, don’t worry. We’ll get in a life raft and everything will be fine,” Aunt Lorelei said.

The ship’s crew distributed life jackets to the passengers and gave instructions as to how to enter the life rafts. At our turn, they gave us life jackets. As we put them on, they told us to jump into the chute one by one, and get out of the way of the chute right away. They said not to leave the life raft and to remain calm because help would arrive soon. They also warned us that since it was raining, we should huddle together for warmth. We went down the chute and found seats in the life raft amongst some twenty other passengers. I noticed that boy and his rude mother I saw earlier sitting in one corner of the life raft. Icy rain fell on us. Wind rocked the raft and blew straight through my clothes. Ginny huddled against me, digging her chin into my shoulder. I elbowed her.

“Personal space,” I said.

Ginny stopped leaning on me, and leaned against Natalie on her other side. I hoped help would come soon.

Aaaand, that’s the end of part 1! What do you think? This was the longest part, but I hope there were enough pictures to keep your interest.

-Shayne (And MorganAshley)

A New Look

Hey guys!

Lately, I hadn’t really been drawn to Natalie, because her hair has lost its curl, so I straightened it. Because of that, it’s just been kinda blah and had a lot of flyaways.


Natalie and I decided it was time for a change.
Introducing the new Natalia Grace Brown!

I ordered a wig from Beautifully Custom. They make beautiful, colorful wigs for AG dolls!

This is the Dark Glazed Cherry Heat Safe Elegance wig. I love it so much!


It’s so soft and thick!


It has mostly dark brown underneath, with some lighter brown and red and blonde highlights.
It looks brown inside, but really red in the sun!
I put Natalie with other dolls with semi-similar hair colors to compare.
Kendra (right) has lighter brown highlights, but they are thicker and with less colors than Natalie’s.
Carli’s (left) hair is way browner.
It’s closer to Alissa’s (left) hair color, but with more variation and a brighter red.
Alissa’s hair on left and Natalie’s on right
Showing more of the color variation


I really like this picture!
Length comparisons. Natalie’s hair passes her bottom, Kendra’s comes to her waist.
Next, I did a small photoshoot to get her new profile pic.






I really liked this one, but then it got blurry and I couldn’t duplicate it. 😦











One of these will be updated to be her profile picture soon.

What do you think of Natalie’s new look? Do you have any custom dolls? If you plan on customizing any dolls, I would definitely recommend checking out Beautifully Custom.


Doll Christmas Outfits

Hey! I actually managed to get my dolls dressed for Christmas the day after Christmas. Some are fancy and some are more comfy. I didn’t have enough to do all in the same kind of clothing.

Johnnie Ray

I based Lorie’s outfit on the adorable hat my brother Nathan got me for Christmas.


You can’t see very well, but she’s wearing the new Felicity shoes my brother got me. I had lost one of mine a long time ago and kept the other in the hopes that one day I’d fine the other one, but Nathan got me a new pair! Thanks, buddy!


She’s wearing the last present for my dolls that Nathan got me, new purple glasses! I put them on a few dolls, but when I put them on Bella, I was like, “They are so hers!”

Aren’t they cute? I’ll have to do a photoshoot with her soon so her profile pic can have her in her glasses.

I hope you enjoyed. Which outfit is your favorite? Did you all have a good Christmas? Any new additions to your AG collections?



New Dresses

Hey girls! So, today, my friends Miss Gina and Miss Judy from the Etsy shop 1UniqueDollyBoutique came over to get some boy dolls from our Etsy shop DollClothesbyBella. Miss Judy gave me some new doll dresses she made!

Ginny, Natalie, and Maridelle are modeling for me. Please excuse their messy hair.
This one is my favorite! It has a black bodice with a white bow and a magenta skirt with white lace and a magenta rosette at the waist.


It comes about an inch from the doll’s ankles.


When I saw this dress I immediately thought it needed to go on a redhead.
And I thought this color would look good with Ginny’s eyes. I had a hard time getting the light to shine well on her eyes.
It has a layered skirt.
The bodice is all sparkly!
The last dress is green with white contrast on the bodice and a flower with a pink bow and some braid trim.
Matching trim. This dress is about the same length as the pink one.


Which dress is your favorite? Thanks, Miss Judy!