I won Story Star's Children's Fiction Story of the Year for "Captain Nolan the Sandbender Saves the Ocean." It was inspired by a trip to the beach with my grandson Nolan. Here's the story again:
Nolan grabbed his blue bucket and shovel and raced to the
ocean, filling it with sea water to build the biggest sand castle ever.
Again and again he filled his bucket as his sand castle rose towards
the sky, two then three stories tall with towers, walls, a drawbridge,
and a moat. He carefully set pieces of shells, sand dollars, driftwood,
and stones into the sides of the castle as armor.
On his last trip to the water, Nolan noticed the ocean had changed to a
dark black blue color, and this time his bucket felt heavier. As he
turned towards his castle, a wave crashed behind him with an angry loud
clap. Water raced ahead of him and he ran to protect his castle.
Luckily the moat captured the sea water and his sand castle was safe.
When Nolan dumped the bucket of water into the center courtyard of his
castle, out fell a lobster and a large shell of an astonishing
iridescent purple-blue-pink color.
The ocean gave another loud roar that caused Nolan to drop his bucket
and shovel, close his eyes, and clasp his hands over his ears.
When he opened his eyes, he was surprised to see the lobster frantically
waving his claws trying to get Nolan’s attention. He stared as the
lobster began to speak.
“You must help us. I am Lord Lobster and this is my Lady Sand Crab. We
are the Rulers of the Cold Ocean. Evil Earl the Moray Eel is the Ruler
of the Warm Ocean and he is trying to take over our territory. He has
destroyed our home, threatened to eat us, and has all the creatures of
the Cold Ocean living in fear.
Nolan looked at the other people on the beach around him. They didn’t seem to see or hear the talking lobster.
“But how can I help you?” asked Nolan.
“We see you have built a magnificent sand castle that meets all of our
needs as Rulers of the Cold Ocean. We want to move in,” said Lord
Lobster. Lady Sand Crab sat atop Lord Lobster’s back as he climbed to
the top of the castle and set her on the highest tower. “This is a
place fit for your beauty Lady Sand Crab.”
“This suits us perfectly, young man. Now, if only we could send Evil
Earl the Moray Eel back to the Warm Ocean, we could get back to life as
Before Nolan could answer, the sky turned dark. The air smelled of
rotten eggs and tingles ran up and down his arms. He looked up to see a
sky full of ferocious-looking black winged creatures flying in battle
“Oh no, they have found us! We truly do need your help. Lady Sand
Crab, it is time to give super powers to our rescuer,” Lord Lobster said
as he pinched Nolan on the big toe. Suddenly Nolan’s bucket became a
shield and his shovel a magical sword.
“You are now Captain Nolan the Sandbender. You have the power to push,
pull and shape sand to use it as a weapon against Evil Earl the Moray
Eel and his band of black attackers.
Captain Nolan the Sandbender took a few practice swings with his sword.
It sliced through the air, bringing up clouds of sand that swirled and
opened into shapes in the air like fireworks, arrows, balls, missiles,
and giant clouds.
He flung his sword towards the sky and sand particles flew towards the
black formation of creatures at great speeds, knocking them sideways and
ending their attack. They scattered in fear for they had never seen
such power in the sand before.
One of the larger flying creatures at the front of the formation swooped
out of the sky towards Lady Sand Crab. Captain Nolan the Sandbender
instinctively jumped in front of her and flung another sand missile at
the creature. It fell to the ground screeching and clawing its way
toward Lady Sand Crab.
As it moved toward her, it changed shape into Evil Earl the Moray Eel.
It gave a scary snarly grin as it slithered closer, its mission to
destroy them. But Captain Nolan the Sandbender was not going to let that
happen. He knew he had to try everything in his new power to defeat
Evil Earl the Moray Eel and return the Cold Ocean rule back to Lord
Lobster and Lady Sand Crab.
Captain Nolan the Sandbender waved his sword and created balls of sand
that flew towards the eel catching him and hurling him out over the
ocean. The last sand ball hit him directly and he gave a cry of defeat
as he fell helplessly into the Cold Ocean, never to be seen again.
“Thank you Captain Nolan the Sandbender. You have defeated Evil Earl
the Moray Eel and his band of black winged creatures. Now Lady Sand
Crab and I are safe and we can restore order to the Cold Ocean,” said
Captain Nolan the Sandbender waved his magic sword and the sand flew in
the air in a swirling flowing spray that covered the sand castle. When
the sand settled, the sand castle was magnificent again. The drawbridge
was open to receive Lord Lobster and Lady Sand Crab. Towers rose from
each corner and the walls surrounding it were decorated with sea shells,
sand dollars and sparkling agates of beauty.
Lord Lobster lifted both claws and clicked them loudly. Suddenly a
legion of lobsters came from the ocean and surrounded the sand castle.
At his command, they lifted the castle from the beach and slowly moved
it towards the ocean. Waves broke over the castle, but it remained in
one piece as they disappeared into the depths of the sea.
Captain Nolan the Sandbender watched them leave with pride. He had
defeated Evil Earl the Moray Eel, protected Lord Lobster and Lady Sand
Crab, and built them a glorious sand castle to replace the one that had
been destroyed. All would now be well with their Cold Ocean Kingdom.
He turned back to the beach. Gone was the glorious sand castle he had
designed and built for Lord Lobster and Lady Sand Crab. In its place
was the sand castle he had started to build earlier in the day. His
shield and sword were again a bucket and shovel. He began to notice the
sounds and smells of the beach and the warmth of the sun. He saw Grand
Poo Bah and Grand Poo Mah sitting in chairs just a few yards away.
A flash of color from the middle of the sand castle caught his eye. He
dug into the sand and found a large perfectly shaped iridescent
purple-blue-pink shell. Lady Sand Crab must have left it for him.
He picked it up and walked towards Grand Poo Mah. “Look at what I found
in the sand! And you won’t believe who it belonged to.”