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  1. My Mountain
    Nate Weil

    I woke up early that fateful morning... I was excited. Today I was going to do it! I started my mountain at about the size of a small cup. But slowly, as the morning wore on, it grew. By the time lunch was over, it was the size of a crock-pot, maybe bigger. I cared for my mountain. I sang to it. I talked with it. I sat in front of it for endless hours, just looking at it. I ate dinner hurriedly, and rushed back to its side. By now it was almost a mature mountain. Tall, proud, and beautiful. At bedtime, I smiled. I had grown the perfect mountain in my own house! On my way to bed I said goodnight to my parents.

    But before I could escape my dad said, "You still have to do the dishes John," and with a defeated sigh I trudged back to the kitchen to dismantle my mountain.
  2. My Pet Daddy Longleg
    Nate Weil

    I have a pet daddy long leg. That may sound weird, but it gets weirder. I hate spiders. Why do I have a pet spider then? Mom. Well, in conjunction with my uncle. Oh yeah... my deceased uncle. It was his last gift to me. Unfortunately he wasn't aware of my... problem. Then he died. So now, because Mom's so sentimental, I'm stuck with the creepiest creature on Earth. Until it dies. Which, if all goes well, will be... soon. In fact, I hear Mom screaming now. Bye!
  3. The Valley
    Nate Weil

    "Thanks," I said gratefully, accepting his outstretched hand. I had wanted to be alone, just me and nature. But I couldn't refuse my old friend, and now I was glad I had his assistance.

    I climbed up onto the rock, and sat down on the ledge. Sighing contentedly, I looked out over the valley. It looked like a miniature version of The Garden Of Eden, only in Mississippi. And we were the only ones who knew about it. Me and Lewis had found it when we were ahead of the camp, and decided not to tell anyone. And now that we were old men with nothing pressing to do, we frequented the place periodically.

    "I never get tired of it," he said reverently.

    "You and I both," I replied. "If Heaven is half as beautiful as this valley, I'll be happy there fore eternity."

    The Sun slowly sank lower. The sky turned orange, the clouds a fiery red. And as the Sun slipped behind a cloud, a litter of sun rays were born and scrambled off their separate ways.

    As the sky darkened, stars started populating it, honoring the two with their beauty, while the two greatest American explorers got up to go back home.
  4. What I Didn't Do
    Nate Weil

    I left my body with a feeling of content; I had lived a happy, full life and I wasn't that bad of a person if I do say so myself. I didn't do anything especially good like going to a third world country to help out but I donated to charities regularly, I went to church, I believed in God. So I really wasn't worried as I lined up with the other souls freed that day, waiting to be admitted into Heaven or sent to Hell. Saint Peter was at the front of the line, sitting at a table with a big book in front of him. The gate to Heaven was right behind him, standing open invitingly. Each soul walked up to him, and he sent them through. But once in a while he frowned and crossed their name off the list, and a lightning bolt carried that person away. Finally it was my turn. He nodded to me after a moment and sent me in. I noticed in his book that the next person's name was red. I looked back curiously just in time to see a lightning bolt strike him and he disappeared forever. With a shudder I turned around and hurried over to the other souls that made it through. No one spoke, we just stood there, looking around, seeing how many souls were left.

    Finally the last soul made it in. He came over, and we waited for a moment. Then God came through the gate and walked through it to us. After him came a number of angels equal the the number of souls standing there. Each angel was carrying knitting supplies. They gave their knitting supplies to us, until we each had what we needed to make a quilt.

    We picked up our stuff, and God said, "Begin." I started knitting little squares, and as each one was completed it floated over to the other squares I had done, attaching itself to add to the quilt. Then it showed something good I had done in my life. Then a horn blew, and we all put our stuff down. I looked around at the group. My quilt was a little more than halfway done, some others had done better, others less. God looked at our quilts, then we received new supplies.

    God told us to begin again and make new quilts. So we started working on another quilt each, this one without images on it though. It was just a plain white quilt. After a while, a horn sounded again and we all stopped. Looking at my new quilt I saw that this one was different. It was full square work of art, but it had holes all over. It looked very ragged indeed. I noticed that most others were the same. We looked at God questioningly, waiting for him to say or do something.

    After looking at them, God said, "Your first quilt was made of everything good you have done in your life." He paused for a moment. "I would like to congratulate all of you, because those quilts, even the lesser ones, were fine quilts indeed." We looked at each other, all smiles but God wasn't finished. "Now, your second quilts. Those quilts are also made of good deeds. But unlike your first quilts, they show you how much more you could have done that you didn't do. They show opportunities to do good that you passed up for one reason or another. And that is what really matters. Some of you gave all you could, though you had little. Some of you hardly gave anything, though you had plenty." I looked at my second quilt again, and it looked more ragged than before. My face fell, I was ashamed. Now my quilt was showing every time in life that I could have helped someone, but didn't. It showed when I bought an item for pleasure instead of donating to charity. Some were crying now, some were just standing there, not sure what to do. After a while, God said, "Though some did better than others, you all made it through the gate for a reason. You have all been tried, and found deserving of my kingdom." And with that, everything went white. When I regained my sight, I was in Heaven.
  5. Writer's Paradise
    Nate Weil

    I was out in nature, miles from civilization, relaxing against a tree in a bed of moss. At my disposal, from spring to winter, were the four seasons. A flute, accompanied by an African drum, set the mood. The trees joined in with their quiet, shy voices, little more than whispers. The sun was just starting on its long, slow journey to bed, giving me plenty of time to write.

    I drew inspiration from nature. Birds, clouds, storms, waves, volcanos, everything. It was all spread out before me, all I had to do is choose my destination. I moved to the beach as the sun drifted down lazily. It hid momentarily behind a cloud, and a litter of sun rays were born, and they scampered across the sky in all directions. As the sun slipped below the horizon, I moved closer to my fire, its glow surrounding the immediate area with a warm atmosphere. An ocarina lent its sad, longing tune to the soundtrack of my fantasy. Finally, the crowning moment. The stars came out to play in the protective arms of the Milky Way, which arced majestically across the night sky. Lying on my back, I started counting Heaven's citizens but of course I had to give up, so I settled for admiring their endless beauty.

    As reality returns, the last wisps of my dream drift away, and my room returns to normal. But, looking down at my once empty sheet of paper now filled with beautiful, elegant words, I'm reassured that Writer's Paradise really does exist.