Winners of the 2018 Teen Writing Contest

The Powell River Public Library would like to thank all the writers who submitted their work to the first Teen Writing Contest. There were many great submissions, and it was wonderful to see everyone’s work. A first place winner and a runner up was select for fiction and poetry in the senior and junior teen categories.

The winners are:

Senior Poetry Category

First Place:

Chameleon

By Misty Macdonald

 

Among the leaves

Within the trees

The animals reside

 

Different in their merry way

With no desire or will to stay

In the jungle in which they confide

 

A ranked society, the mighty, the bold

And the others that exist, merely there to be told

Forced to swallow their pride

 

A standard is set

And if it’s not met

They’re rejected by those who abide

 

But what if the life of a chameleon I finally see

Is just too far from what I wish to be

And I don’t want to be like the rest.

This jungle is a place where you’re put to the test

Where acceptance is our only request

The thought of originality repressed

And trying to fit in makes us anxious and stressed

 

Will you be true to yourself instead of letting them win?

Or hide amongst the leaves where you choose to blend in.

 

Runner-up:

Unrequited Love

By Saverio Colasanto

 

Unrequited love of pure intention

For a girl as sweet as a girl can be

Prettiest of all as far as I see

Leaves longing and hope for satisfaction

For if she loves me it’s with discretion

Perhaps not known to her identity

That I love her unconditionally

For she has my true appreciation

Unrequited love is good to capture

And while it takes up most all of my days

It is a feeling that cannot be fought

Happiness of affectionate nature

Any spark of hope will set it ablaze

For your love in return is what I’ve sought

 

Senior Fiction Category

First Place:

One Buzzy Day

By Lauryn Mackenzie
Once upon a time, there lived a bumblebee named Alfred Apis who felt nervous about going outside the honey nest. His nervousness started to get worse when it came time for the older class’s annual class trip to the outside. Alfred knew it was very important to leave the nest and learn how to hunt for pollen, but the idea made him feel like he could not breathe.
Alfred left school that day to go back to his part of the honeycomb to see his mother. Tomorrow was the school trip to the outside and Alfred thought talking to his mother was his last chance to get out of it.
“I don’t want to go outside the nest!” Alfred cried to his mother as he entered the house.
His mother was always patient with Alfred ever since she had gotten him after the queen laid him as an embryo. It so happened that it was the same queen that had laid her. Alfred’s mother could see that he was very nervous about going outside the nest, but she thought it was time he left and started his new life as an adult honey bee.
“Alfred, you are almost 18 days old, you can’t live at the comb forever, without going outside. You have to leave so you can feed the nest,” Alfred’s mother implied.
Hearing this from the one bee Alfred had ever been close to, telling him to leave only made him more anxious.
“Please Alfred, go on the trip tomorrow, it’s a class trip and it’s only for a short time,” Alfred’s mother said with sympathy.
That night Alfred could not sleep, as all he could think of was the outside. When he did finally fall asleep, memories of his past attacked his dreams.
Alfred was only 6 days old when he and his class learned about the outside. Excitement and wonder filled the class of high energy pupa. A day of learning how to fly in storms, the problems of flying high on smoke and how to find the perfect flower was ended with a class trip to the flying pad where adult bumblebees leave to the outside. It would have been like every other class trip to the flying pad, but this time it was interrupted by humans. Humans had always been the biggest problem for the bees and the younger class saw firsthand what one human could do to a helpless nest. The next few moments felt like forever for young, naïve Alfred. The human had brought out the hose, and soon the streets were filled with water. The flying pad had to be evacuated as bees everywhere flew to safety. In seconds, guard bees, with the help of civilian drones and worker bees, risked their own lives to sting away the human. 20 helpless honey bees were killed and many more injured in critical condition after The Great Attack of 2018.
No adult bees fully knew how to care for the traumatized pupas, being so young and so new to the cruel facts of life, so the adult bees moved on with life. No one talked about what had happened after that horrible day, leaving Alfred alone with his thoughts and beliefs that he outside was grim!
The sound of his alarm woke Alfred from his restless slumber of nightmares. He was shaking not just because that’s what bees do, but because today was the day he must leave the nest.
“Alfred honey, do you want something to eat before you leave for school?” Alfred’s mother called from downstairs.
“No, I’m not that hungry,” yelled Alfred to his mother downstairs as he quickly got ready.
As Alfred flew downstairs his mother made sure he had enough to eat by holding a plate of honey and beebread to him. “You will be doing a lot of flying on your trip, are you sure you don’t want anything to eat?” she asked doing her motherly duties. Alfred did not answer the question as he left the comb and flue to school.
On the fly to school Alfred started to feel sick, his thorax ached, and his abdomen started to burn. His two stomachs started to feel like a giant knot and he didn’t know why. The closer he got the school, the more his stomachs hurt. Alfred thought the only way to get his body to stop hurting was to fly faster, but it led him to lose breathe faster. His heart started to beat quicker, and his aorta started to pump faster.
Alfred finally got to school but the pain all over his body didn’t go away. Alfred didn’t know what to do. He felt dizzy from a lack of breath and before he knew it, he fainted.
Alfred woke up in a place he hadn’t been to in days; the part sick room, part guidance counsellor room. Due to budget cuts, the two rooms had to merge and have Dr. Buzzley (the only bee at school who had a PhD in pupa counselling, as well as her level 2 first-aid ticket) be in charge of the room.
“Good morning Mr. Apis, how’s the head?” Dr. Buzzley asked looking over to him.
It shocked Alfred that he was laying down inside when what felt like moments before he was outside rushing to school.
“What happened?” Alfred asked dizzily.
“You fainted a couple of minutes ago. A couple of the younger students saw you fall and thought you died, so they called me over. Luckily you didn’t die but expect some shocked faces from the younger pupa today,” Dr. Buzzly answered as she grabbed a pen and paper to start taking notes.
“Ok Mr. Apis, I am going to ask you a couple of questions quickly, so I can get you on your trip to the outside on time,” buzzed Dr. Buzzley
As soon as Dr. Buzzley announced that to Alfred, she could see the yellow drain from his face, and his wings slowed to a small pulse. She could tell that something was wrong with Alfred.
“Alfred, is something wrong? Did you faint because you’re worried about going outside?” asked Dr. Buzzley.
Alfred didn’t know how to answer; maybe it was because he hit his head hard on the ground or because no one has ever asked something like this before.
“Bees your age always get nervous about going outside, Alfred. I know what happened when you were younger. It’s okay to be scared and nervous about the outside,” Dr. Buzzley said. “I am here to help, Alfred. Something like the horrors you saw at such a young age must have really messed up your thoughts about the outside.” She added.
“I never thought I had a problem because I thought I could get over it.” Stated Alfred.
“Post-traumatic stress disorder is not a problem Alfred. Everyone has issues with their minds that are not all problems, it’s just a way of living life differently. I think the only way to help this
issue is to talk about it.” Dr. Buzzley had helped many bees before, so she was quick to know how to help Alfred.
“I’m going to dismiss you from going on your trip and we can talk about everything that makes you worried. I will also speak to your mother about this and find a new way for her to approach your anxiety at home,” Dr. Buzzley told with a buzz. Dr. Buzzley gestured to the counselling chair on the other side of the room and says, “Mr. Apris, I would like you to tell me everything.”
Alfred saw Dr. Buzzley every day and talked about everything he had kept to himself. He learned ways to talk to his mother about his anxiety, how to deal with having panic attacks and most importantly, he learned he was not alone when it came to his fears. Talking helped him meet new bees with the same fears, but with different pasts. Alfred finally felt happy and at peace with life. Maybe one day he will be able to go outside. Until then Alfred will continue to talk about what is happening to his emotional being.

 

Runner-up:

Momma Was Right

By Nyah Christie

My hands clam up as I see my phone light up beside me. I let it buzz for a second, she can’t know i’ve been waiting all day for her call. I can’t be too eager. With ease, I reach for my phone and answer, “Um, hello? Is this Mattie?” I stumble, puzzled by the voice. My silence interrupts the next words I am going to say.

“Jessica, it’s so nice to hear your voice,” Mattie begins.

In my head, I have never imagined her to sound like that. I’m suddenly nervous to open up to her: this is nothing like our text messages. I’ve let the silence go on for too long. “… so how was your day?” I sheepishly ask. I don’t actually want to know how her day was, probably one of the reasons why I am lacking friends in the first place.

“That’s not what I’m phoning about. Why does it matter how my day was?”

Startled by her response, I start to reply, “Well, um…”

“Are we meeting later? Yes or no?” she interrupts.  I scramble for words to respond, “Where were you thinking you’d like to meet?”

“Dinner would be nice. I’m thinking that diner downtown, the one everyone has been talking about. Have you heard of it?” Mattie asks.

“I think I know the one, but maybe we could do something more casual, less busy,” I say.

“Um, my suggestion it is”, she replies.

Taken by surprise, I let the silence take over the phone line again. Mattie never seemed to be this pushy and controlling before, but maybe it’s just a bad day, I think to myself. Conversation was so easy with Mattie when we were messaging, I felt like we really were friends, I’ve told her so much. The silence settles over the phone call again, and I start paying attention to the details. I hear Mattie breathing on the other line, something isn’t right. No, this is good. I’m finally reaching out. I can almost feel the missing piece of me coming back together. Momma would be proud.

“Life isn’t all about making friends, Jessi, you’ll always have me,” Momma would tell me. If only she were here to tell me that now. I feel lost. The online world is the only place I feel comfortable to turn. Despite everything Momma told me, I’ve made a stranger my friend, but it isn’t as bad as Momma made it seem. I miss her every day. I wish I could tell her all about my new friend, Mattie. She’d be so pleased to see me reaching out. But would she? I’m so confused, I almost don’t even know who I am anymore. I say to myself again, this is a good thing, you’ve made a friend, but I keep thinking about what Momma used to tell me: “Never trust a soul you’ve never seen.” My thoughts keep running through my head, what if my gut is right, maybe Mattie isn’t who I thought she waー

“Are you going to answer me or what?”

Shoot, I’m still on the phone. I look at my watch, my mind has been wandering for minutes. “Oh, um … I’m so sorry, Matt, my mom just was talking to me …” which was a lie, “… I just had to ask her about tomorrow night.”. I’ve pretty much told Mattie everything, except about my momma, I can’t bring myself to tell anyone.

“Let her know you’re safe in my hands, no need for her to worry,” Mattie insists, “… we won’t be out late.”

The feeling in my stomach comes back; something is off. Everything is great, I tell myself. I can’t let my imagination get to me, this is the start of a new page. “Okay Matt, I’ll see you tomorrow, meet at my house around 7:00 pm.” I kindly give her my address, and our call ends. I pace back and forth, anticipating tomorrow night’s even

It’s a new day, and my mind is set back in its normal state. Today, I meet my best friend, Mattie. I finish applying my last coat of polish, and my phone lights up. ‘New message from Matt’. I open it right away. It reads, “On my way! Can’t wait to see you.” It’s almost time. I squeal with excitement, a new friend, someone I can trust, tell everything. I’ve waited years for a friend like this, and I finally have one. I hear a soft knock at the door. My hands clam up. I don’t answer it for a second. I can’t come across too eager. She can’t know that I’ve been waiting for her knock all day. With ease, I reach for the knob, twisting it ever so slightly. The door pushes open, and suddenly I’m taken by someone I have never met. The feeling of his foreign hands forcing me into the back of a blacked-out car sends me into a state of shock. I lie there in silence. I have no choice but to let this happen. The strange man gets in the front seat and steps on the gas. Heart beating faster than ever before, my hands are shaking. No one to help me now. Momma was right, she was right all along.

Junior Poetry Category:

First Place:

Queens

By Maya Laramee

They say we’re nothing without our kings that cower in the corners,

Nothing without rings on our hands and veils on our heads,

Our feet have been bound.

Our heads – covered,

We speak, but no one can hear a sound.

We have been concealed for too long,

Did they forget that we’re beings too?

Did they forget we have feelings too?

Thoughts, emotions, ideas – hidden away,

We have the power. Sideways, diagonally, backwards, forwards.

We were born as queens, not pawns.

Checkmate. I win.

Junior Fiction Category:

Darkness

By Maya Laramee

“The darkness crept up on me as I entered the forest. Each time I blinked, the sun inched away. Trees surrounded me, watching my every move. My legs ached, but I continued pedaling. There was a clearing full of light that I passed, but soon enough it disappeared, inviting the darkness back. The gravelly trail turned into dirt, sticks, and large rocks. I turned right, steering onto another path. My tire slipped off of a rock, and I almost lost my balance. The canopy was heavy, and the sun was nearly gone. My lungs burned as I forced air in, just to push out more air. The pedals kept turning, over, and over, and over. The left edge of the trail led to a steep drop off. I leaned towards the forest, away from the edge. The wind howled innocently as trees jumped out in front of me. My tire dipped into a hole, sending me into the air as I pedalled out of it. I rode through a patch of dry sand, gritting my teeth. I shivered as a drop of rain landed on my arm. Within minutes, the rain was pouring down on me and my bike. I stopped and closed my eyes. After taking a few breaths, I braced myself for the pain and started to pedal once again. The wind had died down completely, but so had the light. The sun had completely vanished, and the moon wasn’t taking over yet. The tires of my bike spun uncontrollably as I pedalled. I fought the darkness and kept going. My heart pounded against my lungs, filling my body with pain. It was pitch black, too dark to see. I stopped, laid my bike down on the ground, and sat down next to it. I hugged my knees to my chest and leaned against a tree. The rain drenched my clothing.” I was warm. The fire crackled gently as I curled up under the fuzzy blanket. My grandfather’s voice warmed up the room even more. Cookies and hot cocoa were passed around as he told his story. I nibbled at my cookie as he talked. Although the darkness in his story and outside was too much to bear, inside was warm and filled with light.