2016 Honorable Mention: THE SLEEPING STORY by Ben Handzel

So there I was climbing the dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore with my sister, Olivia. I had just approached the top when I heard a sound, which sounded like a bear’s call. I wasn’t sure, so I asked my sister, “Did you hear that sound?”

“What sound?” she asked.

“The one that sounded like a bear calling to it’s cubs,” I added. I climbed to the top of the Dune, which was a long way up nad I looked for Mother Bear. When I looked in the direction of the sound, all I could see was a pile of recently turned over sand and a patch of brown fur. I said to Olivia, “Look! It’s a patch of brown fur and I bet it’s from a bear.”

“Silly Ben. Your imagination is running on overtime,” she said, as she walked away.

I jumped down to the little crater of sand, as I investigated I realized that it wasn’t brown bear fur. It was poop. It looked like it did come from a full grown bear because it was oddly prodigious. Then I heard the call again.

I tried to follow it again, and I bolted towards the direction of the sound. It lead me to the bottom of the sand dune. That’s when I saw it. A wooly mammoth! As I came close, I realized it was a behemoth of a bear in a little, deep ditch in the ground. When I walked up to the beat, I asked the bear, “Are you the bear, who traveled across Lake Michigan?”

The bear said, “Yes, I am, and I am glad you know who I am. Also, I was wondering…do you know where my cubs are?”

“Yes, they are now at the North and South Manitou Islands,” I replied.

“Where are these North and Sound Manitou Islands?” the bear asked.

“They are in Lake Michigan near these sand dunes.”

The bear asked, “Can we go there?”

“Sure thing!” I said. The bear and I headed to the Manitou Islands. When we got to the shore, I though, “How are we going to get to the Manitou Islands? Should I be telling my parents about this?” By the time I looked back at the lake, Mother Bear had already started swimming.

“Wait up!” I yelled to her. She stopped and looked at me. “I can’t swim all the way to the Manitou Islands!” I yelled.

“Why not?” she yelled back.

“Because I am a weak swimmer!” I shouted, which wasn’t true. I just didn’t like swimming.

“Well, how are we going to get there?” Mother Bear asked.

“Ride in a boat or fly?” I offered.

“How are we going to find an airplane or a boat?” Mother Bear asked as she started to swim back.

“It says you can rent a boat on that sign,” I said.

“And we have to give the man something for that?” Mother Bear asked.

“No,” I replied. The real reason I said that was that I though the man would be afraid of Mother Bear and would just run away. I just didn’t think Mother Bear would understand that.

“Let’s go!” Mother Bear yelled.

“Coming!” I yelled back.

When we approached the man, he ran away just as I thought he would. Mother Bear asked, “Why did he do that?”

“I have no idea,” I replied.

We quickly boarded the boat and headed to the Manitou Islands. When we arrived, started looking for the bears. Mother Bear said, “Let’s call the cubs. Their names are Jimbo and Syd.”

We yelled for the cubs and ran around looking for them. People on the island gave us weird glances but we continued our search. We looked all over the island in caves, in a birdhouse, and in a deserted hut. Where else could we search?

“How about the lighthouse?” I suggested.

Mother Bear asked, “What’s a lighthouse?”

I answered, “It’s over there!” as I pointed to the lighthouse. We ran to the lighthouse, opened the door and yelled, “Jimbo! Syd!”

We heard a muffled sound coming from the top of the lighthouse, so we climbed the two hundred and fifty-six stairs to the top of the lighthouse. As we came over the last ledge, we saw two brown balls of fur curled up next to each other. Mother Bear chuckled and said, “You two really took a wrong turn on Lake Michigan Boulevard! You two must be hungry!”

“Mother!” they both exclaimed, as they ran to Mother Bear.

“That was quite a detour! You know we are moving to the mainland in the sand dunes of northern Michigan! There’s a shelter and plenty of food there. Best of all, it’s named after me, Sleeping Bear Dunes!”

“How can we get there? Can we take jet skis? Please, please, please!” said the cubs.

Mother said, “No, we will just ride in the boat. Next time we can find some jet skis. No jumping off the boat!”

I drove the bears back to Sleeping Bear Dunes and everyone lived sleepily and happily ever after!