SLCL received over 250 entries for the 2019 Write Stuff Contest!
Here are the top two entries for grades 6-8.
1st Place: Cackle by Elise H.
My eyes opened to see a wet dog nose right in my face. I patted Buddy’s head, but when he looked up at me, he froze. I sat up and watched him with concern. Buddy followed my movements and slowly stood. His lip curled in a soft growl. He backed off my bed, and when I tried getting out as well, he started barking at me. I stopped moving, confused and a little afraid. I heard Mom coming down the hall, she opened my door to say something, but when she saw me, she paled, her eyes as large as saucers. She fumbled for something behind her. Her mouth opened and closed as she stammered.
“Mom?” I asked, scared.
She brought her hands back in front of her holding the decorative dish that always sat on the little table in the hallway. She held it before her like she couldn’t decide whether to use it as a weapon or a shield.
“Who are you?” Mom asked.
“What? I’m- I’m your son!” I said desperately, tears welling in my eyes. “I’m Peter!”
I saw no spark of recognition in her eyes. “I don’t know who you are or why you’re in my house, but you should get out.”
Tears spilled down my cheeks, “But-- Mom-- Why?”
“Get out of my house!” she yelled.
Buddy snarled as I walked slowly to the door, Mom stepped out of the doorway and grabbed his collar. I hesitated, turning back to her, “Mom… please.”
Her eyes flashed with recognition. But then they clouded over, literally, as if clouds had filled her eyeballs.
“Out!” she yelled.
I ran down the hall and out the door as fast as I could. I sprinted into the surrounding woods, but my vision was blurred with tears and after several minutes of running, I tripped over a rock and fell to the ground.
Crying with hurt and confusion, I sat up and curled into a ball, shuddering with sobs.
After a while, I stopped crying and sat there numbly.
“Why didn’t she recognize me?” I asked the air.
I didn’t expect a reply but I got one. A dry, crackly male voice like dead leaves crumbling to dust cackled maniacally, “No one remembers yooooouuuuu. You’re nothing to everything!”
Startled, I surged to my feet, “Who said that? Come out or I’ll find you myself!”
“Ooooooh, feisty!” the voice chuckled. “I might as well show myself. Then you can spread word of me with tales of power and fear!”
Leaves rustled to my left and I whipped around to see a dragon… of sorts.
He was roughly cat-sized with washed out blue scales. Trailing from head to tail was tangled, whitish-yellowish fur. His few teeth were chipped and yellow, and his talons and horns were worn down to dull nubs. The dragon’s angled snout was like a sideways pyramid, with a forked tongue that flicked in and out of his mouth. The most startling part of his appearance was his eyes; they were an endless blinding white.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I am Cackle!” the dragon answered in his dead-leaves voice.
“A fitting name” I said snidely.
“I know right?” he agreed.
“And you’re blind?” I guessed.
Cackle glared in my general direction, “Obviously. But anyway, I’m the one who put the spell on your mother and that dog. They don’t remember you!” He cackled.
Before he could say anything else, I had him pinned him to the ground.
The dragon writhed and shrieked beneath me, “Let me gooooo!”
“Shut up!” I snarled, and he promptly shut up. Anger bubbled inside me, threatening to explode. “Reverse it or I’ll pull the rest of your teeth out!”
Cackle’s blank eyes widened, “You would never! And how would reversing it benefit me?”
“I would,” I threatened. “But if you reverse it, I won’t.”
“Fine!” he relented after a moment. Cackle closed his eyes for a few seconds and then opened them.
“There,” he said grumpily. “Thanks for ruining my fun.”
Before I could reply, he disappeared from underneath me as if he’d never been there. Frowning, I stood and walked back to my house.
Once I finally made it, I saw Mom walking around the house, calling my name. When she spotted me coming out of the forest, she ran up saying, “Peter! Where were you?”
“Peter?” I asked. “Who’s Peter?”
A dry, crackly voice like dead leaves crumbling to dust cackled in the woods, “You said to reverse it!”
2nd Place: Morbum by Quin W.
March 17th, 3104
The sickness spreads fast. Doctors and scientists say there’s no cure. First you feel light headed, then you start to lose your memory, then you go blind, then you die. They call the sickness ‘Morbum’, in latin meaning ‘the disease’, there is nothing better to call it, it’s not spread and there is no way to know why it hits.
Morbum does not pick sides, it does not care who it takes, Morbum is the most common cause of death. Morbum is what takes all love and hope and smashes it apart, like a boat wreaked by stormy sea.
You know the trail of havoc Morbum brings, the tears, the pain. I know it too, we all know it. Morbum will take us all. I’m not pessimistic, I am just truthful.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was my 15th birthday. I woke to birds chirping their sweet song. But when I walked down stairs the joy of the birds music left me.
There she was, my mother, the only family I had left. Sitting, staring out the window.
“Mom?” I had asked. But no answer. My mother had gone to bed with a stomach ache last night. Morbum usually starts with a headache, but sometimes……
“Mom?” I asked again.
“Who are you?” She asked, looking at me. I remember the terror I felt, the sinking pit of dread. I had slowly approached her.
“I’m your son” I said. She just stared at me with dull eyes Just a blank stare, like a dead
“I don’t have a son” She said. And then I knew, Morbum had taken her, just like my father, just like my sister.
I do not recall what happened next to the fullest, it was mainly a blur. I had called the M.C.F (Morbum confrontation facility). They came fast, almost as fast as the disease itself. And they said the words you all have heard.
“I’m sorry, she’s gone. We will take her now.” And against my protests they tooks her empty shell away from me. I heard her screams as the doors on the van closed. I never saw my mother again, but the M.C.F contacted me a few days later saying that she had passed away.
After my whole family died I dedicated my life to stopping Morbum. I have worked day and night for 47 years. 47 years ago my mother died and I have not stopped working since. I have been posting my research daily, I hope it helps in the future.
Today I’m starting to feel sick, maybe just a headache, maybe not.
I’m sure we will defeat Morbum. As sure as I am the wind will blow.
I just hope I am still here to see the day we do.
Goodbye, I wish for this to not be my last entry, but if it is, just know, I believe.
I believe in our future. I believe in a world where our children can live happily. I believe in love, I believe in hope.
-----This text is from the last entry of scientist David Shannon [born April 2nd 3042, died March 23rd 3104]-----