What Lurks Beneath … Palisades Village

The following piece, written by James Marks, earned second place in the Scrawlers category in the 2019 Friends of the Palisades Library Summer Writing Contest—all of which featured the theme, “Palisades Tales: From the Mountains to the Sea.”


Two days before school lets out at Eton in England, Harry Steinberger breaks the news to his friend James Goldstein about plane tickets. “Hey, I know you’re here on track & field scholarship so since money is tight, I bought you plane tickets to Pacific Palisades with me!” said Harry.


On the 11 hour flight from LHR to LAX Harry had a chat with James.

“Hey James, my great-great-grandpa knew yours, so I know that there is treasure buried in the ground that your family is supposed to own where Amazon Books now is. However, it is guarded and only super powers from a Chimera can get through the guards. I thought you might have wanted to know that, because then you would have money for food and comfort instead of living on the edge all the time.” said Harry. James’ mouth fell open, but nothing came out because James was shocked in amazement. “Well looks like we will be at LAX soon.” said Harry. Once at LAX Harry and James took a car to Harry’s Aunt Kate and Uncle Eric who lived in the El Medio Bluffs.


Safely at their house Harry did research on chimeras.

“James, I did some research and chimeras have supposedly been spotted at McConnell’s ice cream shop so tonight we are going to check it out.” said Harry.

“Wait what?!!” shouted James.

Uncle Eric came into the room.

“Uncle Eric, James and I are going to an overnight Star Wars fest at the Bay Theater” said Harry.

“Okay” said Uncle Eric. Harry grabbed his uncle’s dart gun, and smuggled it into his backpack. They went to the fest and got seats 3 and 4 in row A at the Bay Theater.

At 11:00 pm at the fest, Harry takes James outside on the sidewalk in Palisades Village and whispers to James “We will be able to catch the chimera soon.”

“Wait, we went to this fest just so we could catch the chimera?” says James.

“Yeah” said Harry. As they walked and talked, they made their way to McConnell’s. James really wanted a scoop of Dutchmen’s Chocolate, but Harry told him to “shush”. There were some rustling noises by the freezer case and Harry whipped out his uncle’s dart gun and shot an arc of darts swiftly over the case. “GAH!” Screamed James “You never told me you were going to take out the chimera with tranquilizer darts!” “It was the only way” said Harry. Slowly James and Harry lugged the chimera back to Harry’s house.”


Harry and James slept for the night while hiding the chimera in the attic. When they woke Harry asked his Aunt if she could cook some rare steaks for breakfast, and handed her the chimera hearts to roast. Aunt Kate thought it was a bit of a weird request but didn’t mind doing it. “Well, let us see how well my Aunt and Uncle cook.” said Harry. Once they had their chimera hearts, they decided to take a nap so the super powers from the heart could sink in. (Harry’s Aunt and Uncle were excellent cooks.) When they woke up, they decided to test their powers before the search for treasure. It turned out that they could breathe under water, teleport, fly and get super human strength. Finally, they set out on their quest. They started by teleporting to the treasure tunnels under Amazon Books and then sprinting to the treasure.


It was an underwater tunnel maze so they were glad that they could breathe underwater. They got confused and lost at first. After several attempts, when they finally found the treasure they were amazed. In front of them was a clear cylindric box filled with gold and jewels, like pirate treasure. Harry and James each grabbed an end of it and tried to teleport home. But they teleported into a curse that sent them back to the tunnels. They said a spell and managed to break the hex curse and successfully went back to Harry’s house. The treasure was put in the mail and it got safely to James’s family. Harry and James flew back to Eton and had a happy spring semester.


James’s family was less worried about money. He was able to concentrate on school more and his grades improved. They had fun and a lot of good times and James won some medals at track and field since he had his superpowers.