Janell looked at the track and stroked her dragon steed, “We can do this, girl…” She looked at her best friend, “Ready, Taliba?”
Taliba smiled nervously, “I think so. I’m so excited! But nervous.”
“Yeah, It’s always like that- I remember the first time I raced! I almost got sick!”
Taliba giggled, “Yeah, I remember.”
Janell began to speak again but a man stepped out in front of the line of riders.
“Ready?” He shouted. Janell and Taliba mounted along with all the other dragon riders.
“Get set!” Janell made sure her safety rope’s hook was on right, checked her compass and then her speed meter to be sure they were working. Then she checked her footing and glanced at Taliba, giving her an encouraging smile.
“Go!” Swooshes, claps, and shouts filled the air as the racers and their dragons lept into the air. Janell gripped her saddle tight as Kendra, her dragon, flew vertically up.
“Level out!” She shouted. Kendra spread her wings to glide then forced them back pinning them to her body and dove. Janell knew that gravity’s pull would help give them speed with less work from Kendra. As they sped up the ground moved closer to their sight,
“Kendra! Up!” Janel instructed. Kendra spread her wings again and flapped to keep her built up speed but to stop their approach to the ground. Janell glanced quickly around to mark where the other riders were and see if Taliba was alright. Taliba waved slightly and smiled competitively. Janell grinned.
“Okay, Kendra, keep going!” She shouted, “Let’s try and pass Roc and Mysty!” Kendra obeyed and flapped hard speeding up their approach. The form of Roc and Mysty got closer and closer. Janell glanced behind her and noticed several others were also gaining on them.
“Reference points*,” Janell thought, “Since the grounds moving, we must be.” She looked at the closest approaching competitor, “He doesn’t appear to be moving from me as the reference point so we must be traveling the same velocity*.” She looked at her compass and speed meter, “North at 150 feet a second.” She smiled and patted Kendra, “Keep it up girl!” Janell looked at the approaching figure of Roc and thought, “He must be going under the speed of 150 because we are catching up.”
Roc glanced over his shoulder and scowled. “Think you can pass me, Janell?” He shouted, “I win every year, and you know it. You’re last every year, so forget it looser.”
Janell frowned slightly, it was true she always lost but he didn’t have to rub it in.
“We can do it, girl,” she whispered, “We aren’t going to give up are we?” Kendra shook her head in agreement and raised her wings then forced them down pushing through the air as hard as she could. A burst of speed responded and they zoomed closer to Roc and his steed.
Janell looked down to the path they were following and saw that it was turning, “Kendra! We need to change velocity, North-East at the speed of 140; we have to slow down a bit because of the poles they set up this year!”
Kendra made a clicking sound in reply and allowed herself to glide into the turn, the wind pushed against her and slowed her down to the needed speed. Jenell looked in front and noticed Roc hadn’t changed directions or slowed down. He continued straight as if to cut by the winding path and head immediately into the straight path.
“That’s cheating!” Janell thought, “But it is quicker… And none of the judges are out here…” For a moment she almost turned Kendra, but shook her head, “I’m going to do this right. That’s not what God would want me to do. *He’s my steady reference point, I’m suppose to look at Him for guidance. He never moves in His perfect ways so neither should I move from doing right.”
She smiled and looked forward as she and Kendra approached the poles and began navigating between them. “Left! Right! Left!” Janell shouted the instructions in a sing-song voice to keep a pattern. They made it past the obstacles and she looked behind her again. She smiled seeing Taliba behind her but no one was catching up to her. All she needed to do was to pass Roc. She looked ahead and tried to locate him.
“He’s already so far away! And he still seems to be moving away from me! He must be going really fast!” Janell shook her head and sighed.
“Kendra we have to go faster to catch up to Roc! Think you can speed up?”
In response, Kendra flapped faster and harder and Janell could see that from her seat on Kendra’s back they were getting closer.
“Yes!” Janell exclaimed, “Keep going, Kendra! You can do it!” Roc and his mount got closer and closer. In agitation, Roc looked back and kicked his dragon faster, but still Janell and Kendra gained on him.
Then Roc threw something at them! Kendra swerved to avoid the object.
“Hey!” Janell shouted and clutched the saddle as Kendra jerked to the side. Roc sped ahead. Kendra flapped to regain her forward momentum but couldn’t seem to catch the same speed.
Taliba caught up and gave her a half-hearted smile.
“You alright?” Taliba called. Janell nodded.
She sighed as she saw the finish line approach and Roc crossed it first.
“Oh well,” Janell patted Kendra’s neck, “Better luck next time for us. At least we didn’t cheat.” Then she glanced at Taliba and laughed, “Bet I can beat you to second!”
Taliba took the challenge and shouted, “Faster, Akili!”
Kendra nodded and sped up, diving for the finish line then leveling out for landing. Taliba laughed and landed beside her. Then they waited for the other riders to arrive. Once everyone made it the dragons and their riders lined up for the announcement of the winners.
“In third, we had Taliba Justice and her mount Akili!” Janel clapped for her best friend and waved as Taliba and Akili walked to the front. Excited, Janel bounced a little awaiting the second place announcement, “Seconds better than none!” She thought.
“In second is-” the announcer paused as man walked up and whispered something to him. The announcer nodded. Janell and the other riders looked around curiously and shifted nervously wondering what could be the matter.
“My apologies, everyone, I’ve just been informed that a group of observers saw. Roc bypass the obstacles, therefore, disqualifying himself.” Janell glanced at Roc and saw his angry red face, she looked away.
“Therefore, in third place, we have Caleb Dovin and his dragon Donavin! Taliba, you and Akili are now in second place and in first place we have…” Janell grinned as the announcer exclaimed, “Janell Everest and her steed Kendra!” She squealed with delight and hugged Kendra, then she walked up to the stand.
She gave Taliba a hug and they laughed patting their dragons and smiling at the crowd as each was handed their award.
“Great flying,” Janell said and gave Taliba another hug then high-fived Dovin. The three winners exited stage high fiving and began discussing celebration with all the other competitors.
Janell looked around and noticed Roc’s absence. Curious, she looked around and noticed him standing alone near the finish line.
“Maybe I should invite him… sure he cheated and was mean but that doesn’t give us the right to leave him out… Besides, we all make mistakes and even I was tempted to cheat. He just needs a second chance- a new reference point, one that shows him the Rock that never moves. Not one that seems to be stable just because it’s moving in the same, wrong direction as oneself. We can always see clearly when we know that God is true and stable, maybe I should show that to Roc, or at least show him I’m not angry,” Janell thought. She gave a quick glance around and slipped out of the crowd, running over to Roc.
“Hey,” She said. Roc turned around and glared.
“What do you want?” He asked bitterly, “Come to make fun of me? Tell me cheaters never win?”
Janell shook her head, “No, I just wanted to say good flying- you really are great at getting Mysty to follow your commands and a really fast flyer.”
Roc blinked, “Really? You’re not mad I cheated and threw stuff at you?”
Janell shook her head, “Nope. Hey, if you want you can join us. We’re all going to go have a picnic and celebrate.”
Roc shook his head in disbelief then nodded and gave a half-hearted smile, “I guess I’ll come…”
Janell smiled and nodded, “Great! See you soon!” Then she turned and ran back to the group.
*Reference Points: Janell used herself as a point of reference from her to the other rider from this point it appeared that the other rider wasn’t moving, however when she used a reference point from the ground to looked as if the other rider was moving, and so was she. Look for other instances of Reference points in the story.
Extra Explanation of Reference Points: From what you use as a reference point is very important. If you placed an object on a table and looked at it it wouldn’t be moving, right? But someone in on a dragon would think it is moving, and the dragon would look like it’s moving to you. In these instances, there are different reference points. When you look at the dragon and look at the object you are the reference point for which you are gauging the object’s movement. When the dragon rider looks at you or the object you appear to be moving because it is the point of reference.
* Velocity and Speed are two different things. Velocity has a direction and speed put together like North at 150 feet per second. See if you can find other times where Janell used Velocity.
*God being a reference point:
In this story Janell compared God to being a reference point, a Rock, and she says he is steadfast. Deuteronomy 32:31 says “Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves judge this.” and Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” So if God is our Rock and He is always the same, and all His plans are the same (Psalm 33:11), and His love lasts forever (Psalm 136), everything about Him is steadfast, then when we look to Him as our reference point for doing anything, we shouldn’t find ourselves moving away from Him; we should find ourselves in line with His word. The world’s reference point is themselves, they think their own ways are right (Proverbs 21:2) so they live gaging everything off what they think is right or is better for themselves. But only God knows what is best and His way is the only right way. For the world’s rock isn’t like ours, and when we live in a way that is different from theirs they will notice. So we should live always looking to God to do our best to follow Him and by our actions lead others to Him. (James 1:22 and Matthew 5:16)
Work Cited: Exploring Creation with Physical Science 2nd Edition by Dr. Jay L. Wile (Chapter 9 for Reference Points and Velocity)
All pictures are my own.
Credits: To mom for taking pictures of my paintings for me, my little brothers, Mattaniah and Zechariah, for being the first kids to listen to my story, and Nastassia Naskov for helping me proofread.
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.