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THE GIRL WHO TRAVELLED THROUGH TIME by Avrie Ng, 1st Prize (9 Years & Under)

April, 2019
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Lucy dropped her bag onto her desk under her bunk bed. She climbed up the ladder and plopped onto her pink bedspread.

“Great.” said Lucy. She had to do a report about a natural disaster that occurred in the past. Her eyes swept around the room, looking for inspiration on what she could write about. Her eyes landed upon her large library of storybooks. What could an 8-year-old write about? Up in the corner, she spotted her beloved collection of Harry Potter books. Lucy easily found her favorite book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was a story of how Harry Potter went through time to save his godfather with the help of his friends and a Time-Turner, an object that would bring people through time.

“Homework can wait for a while.” Lucy thought to herself as she decided to indulge in her favourate activity – reading - first.  It didn’t take long for Lucy to be immersed in the familiar story she had read countless times. But for the first time in her life, Lucy felt a mad desire to find or make a Time-Turner and travel through time. There was only one problem. There was no such thing as a Time-Turner in real life. Much like Santa Claus and tooth fairies, a Time-Turner was but a figment of the imagination, albeit an intriguing one.  What amazing possibilities there could be if Time-Turners did exist!

Suddenly seized by an unexplained impulse, Lucy decided to go for a walk at the nearby park to ponder on how to make a Time-Turner, her school report forgotten in the instant. She grabbed her trusty bag which she took everywhere with her. It was filled with her favourite things:  snacks, a camera, pens, a notepad and a Swiss Army knife. She was headed toward the door when there was a loud bang.  Lucy raced out the door and looked down the corridor. Standing there was her annoying little sister, Ophelia.

“Hi, sis!” said Ophelia cheerfully.

“What was that bang for?” groaned Lucy, annoyed that her daytime reverie had been interrupted by her noisy sister.

“Have you seen Nuggets? I was going to give him a bath.” Nuggets was their dog, and hated baths.

“No”, said Lucy. Ophelia huffed and skipped down the hallway, searching for Nuggets.



Lucy walked into Brightfield Park with a spring in her step. The crisp air of springtime was especially bracing. Her attention was caught by an unusually luminous, lilac coloured flower. Thunk! She walked smack into the branch of a tree. Lucy stared at the giant tree in front of her. She had never noticed it before. Were her eyes playing a trick on her or was there something faintly shimmery about the bark of the tree? Lucy blinked her eyes. She must be mistaken. Nonetheless, the low, thick branches of the tree made it perfect for climbing.  Minutes later, Lucy perched on a branch of the tree. From her vantage point, she could see a hollow in the trunk a little above her head.

“That would make a cosy hollow for a family of squirrels,” Lucy thought to herself.

Then she noticed a small purple light shining from the hollow in the tree. Lucy squinted, and stood up to explore. The mesmerising light filled the entire hollow, which now appeared larger than she had first thought. She put her head in to look for the source of the light and before she could stop herself, Lucy was sucked into the portal with a huge whoosh!


There was a huge cloud of dust, then the cloud cleared.  Lucy was in a patch of wild flowers. She felt as if she had been wrung dry like a piece of cloth and put through a rollercoaster ride. The same purple light light trailed across the flowers and vanished into the hollow of a tree nearby. In front of her was a gigantic bay, across which were many old houses all made of rock. It looked like an old and ancient town. Behind the houses stood a tall, imposing mountain with a depression on the top. It looked like a volcano. Lucy rubbed her eyes in disbelief. Where was she? Whatever happened to Brightfield Park? Lucy spotted a sign near a trail some distance away. She walked over and read, “Pompeii, 5 miles ahead”.

“Pompeii?” Lucy was so surprised that she spoke aloud to herself. She recalled what she had read about the ancient town that had lay undiscovered for centuries. Lucy knew that Pompeii got buried alive by the volcano nearby, Mt. Vesuvius. Could that monolith of a mountain she was looking at be the famed and dangerous Mt Vesuvius? Had she gone through time from the present to the past? She decided not to get too close, so she stayed at the shore of the bay facing the town and the volcano.


Lucy decided to make the best of a very strange situation. She took photos with her camera to document her experiences in this unfamiliar land. Across the field, she spotted an elderly peasant woman walking by.

“Excuse me!” Lucy ran towards the woman, hoping to get a clue about where she was and how to get home. “Excuse me!”

The woman did not notice Lucy, however, no matter how loudly she spoke and did not even respond to the tap on the shoulder that Lucy gave her in exasperation. Soon, the woman was out of sight, humming to herself. Puzzled, Lucy wondered, “How could she not have seen or heard me? I was right there in front of her!”

Clearly, something very odd was going on. Lucy figured that she had accidentally entered a time travel portal and had become 

invisible and inaudible to people of the past. Unexpectedly, this realisation broght an element of comfort to Lucy, who began to relax and enjoy herself. She had been afraid of being seen and being asked questions. Now she could run freely with no worries.


Lucy walked around the banks of the bay until she found a great oak tree. She climbed up the tree and settled on a branch not too high or not too low from the ground. She pulled out a sketchbook and began to sketch Mt Vesuvius and the busy town of Pompeii right at its feet.

Lucy pondered to herself as she drew, “So this is what Pompeii looked like before…..”

A sudden, loud rumbling interrupted her thoughts before she could reflect any further. Lucy gasped in fright as the ground began to shake. It was an earthquake!

Suddenly, ash and fire began spewing out of the mouth of the volcano! The sleeping giant was erupting! Lucy watched in horror as the lava flowed down and started engulfing the village. She knew it would come around the bay and start chasing her. Lucy packed up her things and ran back to the hollow tree with the strange purple light that had taken her to Pompeii. Lucy climbed up the tree and looked through the hole. The purple light was still shining as bright as ever. Without any hesitation, Lucy stuck her head into the hollow much like she had done earlier. With a whoosh, it sucked Lucy through it and back into the the hollow tree in Brightfield Park. She turned back to see the glowing light, but it had faded away.

Lucy wandered back home and found Ophelia, who was washing Nuggets. She gave her a hug, thankful to be back in the safety of home and her loved ones. Lucy wasted no time in rushing up to her bedroom and reading up about what had happened to Pompeii in the past. She did as much research as she could about volcanic eruptions and wrote her report about a natural disaster that occurred in the past: the eruption of Mt Vesuvius that buried the ancient Roman town of Pompeii.

Lucy reflected on the near-death experience that had happened to her. Now is better than the past because you can learn more from history and you can use those lessons to improve the present. Mankind has learned how to reduce deaths from volcanoes like Mt. Vesuvius.

When Lucy read her report out loud to the class, hers was the best in the entire grade!




By Avrie Ng,

Shanghai High School International Division


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