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  • E. J. Nowicki

The Five Fliers: Part 1

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

With the welcoming weather of Spring, I invite everyone to have fun with my new short story series, The Five Fliers! Stay tuned every Thursday in April for the next installments. Print the puzzles, solve them yourself—play along!


Part 1: The Dragonfly Dragons

Before you know, good luck will come raining down.

Tracy tilted her face up. The clear, beautiful blue sky didn’t show any signs of rain...the plain old raindrop or the good luck kind.

Mrs. Jenkin’s backyard was as big and open as Tracy remembered from the year before when her mom joined a parents’ group from school. Now that weekly meetings were open in-person again, she hoped to see all the other kids.

But for today, it was only her and Aiden.

Aiden was nice...but he never stopped moving!

Tracy watched as he ran from one side of the yard to the other, zigzagging on a stone pathway between empty garden beds.

The snow was gone and the weather getting warmer.

“Do you want to race?” Aiden called, his long arms waving.

“We already raced—you beat me!” she called back.

“We can race again!”

“No, thanks.”

“I guess I’ll have to race myself!” Aiden laughed, his short blond curls bouncing. “At least I’ll always win!” Tracy didn’t point out he’d win regardless since he was much faster than her.

She wandered over to the garage where her and Aiden’s backpacks leaned against the bricks. Getting back to in-person school was fun, but also hard.

She got lost trying to find her classroom. Then, she got the first question the teacher asked her wrong. And it had been so long since she’d seen some of her old just wasn’t quite the same.

She could use some good luck.

Sometimes, she wished she could just do her puzzle book instead. And today, her mom’s eyes gleamed when she had handed over a folder with extra special puzzles.

Tracy opened the folder and found...nothing. It was empty! Except for a sticky note:

Tracy’s mouth flopped open. Her mom tricked her!

Laughter bubbled up as she tucked the folder away. Her mom was right.

“Hey! Aiden!” Tracy ran through the yard. “Any good ideas on an April Fool’s prank I can pull on my mom?”

They talked and plotted all the way until the “Time to go!” call came from the back door.

“We’ll keep thinking.” Aiden grinned as they ran to their backpacks. “It’ll be even more of a surprise to have the joke not be on April Fools Day!”

“I don’t know if it works like that,” she said. “But swapping toothpaste for the cream in a cookie sandwich might work.”

“See you next time!” Aiden hoisted his bag over his shoulder. It seemed heavy.

As she put her own backpack on, she noticed a sad piece of paper stuck under a rock.

“Aiden! Is this yours?” Tracy called but he didn’t hear. How could he when he was probably running a race against himself?

“Aiden!” she tried again but the door to his van shut and started down the driveway.

Oh well, she’d give it to him next week.

The paper was thick and a weird light-yellow. Is this what parchment was? Strange.

And then, before her eyes the top of the parchment, that is the empty parchment, filled with black splotches. The blots smoothed and stretched into letters.

Tracy gasped. How could writing appear out of nowhere?

Down the street, Aiden’s van turned the corner and disappeared out of sight.

It couldn’t hurt to have a look.

It was a puzzle, if she ever saw one. And Aiden wouldn’t mind if she worked on it...she wouldn’t even write on the parchment. She’d copy it on a different piece of paper.

No, Aiden wouldn’t mind.

What harm was there in doing a puzzle?

Aiden’s backpack slid off his shoulders. He must have been tired—it felt heavier. Before it dropped to the ground, he remembered Grams didn’t like things clogging up the floors.

Clogging up. Her words! Like a toilet being clogged! He laughed as he carried his bag to his room.

When Grams moved into the basement there was a lot to get used to. Six months later and there still was a lot to get used to.

But Grams didn’t care if he clogged up the floor in his own room. He stepped on a dirty sweatshirt and pushed a miniature plane out of the way. He dropped his bag next to the table by his window—


“Whoa!” Aiden jumped and grabbed the first thing he could reach—a broken pool noodle.

It sounded alive!

Since he’d released his secret pet frog last week, he knew he didn’t have anything in there. Did Froggy-skins have babies or something?

Frogs lay eggs...they turn into tadpoles...they need water…

No, it wasn’t anything Froggy-skins did.

Aiden jabbed his bag with the blue foam noodle.

The zipper burst and his room filled with zooming, flying...creatures!

He dropped to the ground but the creatures didn’t come after him. They buzzed happily around the ceiling.

Aiden slowly lifted his head and realized, with relief, he’d closed the bedroom door. At least they were contained.

The creatures were like nothing he’d seen before. Long, long, long, skinny tails. Sleek bodies. Heads that resembled...well, they were what he’d think of as dragon-like with scaly skin and protruding snouts. Each one was about the size of his forearm.

There were five of them, all flying with two sets of clear wings that buzzed so fast Aiden could hardly see them.

For the most part, the creatures were white with gray bellies, but each one had a splatter of color along their tails and around their necks.

Light green. Dark green. Purple. Orange. Pink.

Purple and Dark Green dived for Aiden’s desk. Orange and Pink went for the table. Light Green landed on his bed.

“What are you doing?” Aiden watched in amazement as the dragon-like creatures pawed at his notebook on the table. “Are you looking for a piece of paper?”

Light Green hopped twice, looking at him, as if to say, “YES!”

To Be Continued...


Play along! Solve the puzzle!

Click below for a printable PDF:

(Answer Key Posted in Part 2)


Enjoyed Part 1?

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Disclaimer: These are just my thoughts and opinions to be taken in a non-professional manner. All worksheets on my site are free to use. All content/stories belong to me and need permission if used in any way other than personal use. Thanks!

This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places or businesses, and incidents or events, are a product of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, alive or dead, places or businesses, events or incidents, is purely coincidental. The author does not have any control and does not assume responsibility for other websites and their content.

© 2021 E.J. Nowicki All Rights Reserved. This short story may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the author, E.J. Nowicki, with the exception of brief quotes used in any comments or reviews. You can send a permissions request on my CONTACT page.

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