500 Words or Less Contest: Teen Winners

To celebrate NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and our teens love of writing, the Teen Advisory Board at the Homewood Public Library developed the 500 Words or Less Contest. This writing contest challenged local 6th-12th graders to write a story with 500 words (or less). We received countless fantastic entries and our judges were able to narrow it down to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention winners. Each winner will receive a prize pack. Thank you to everyone who submitted entries! Below are the selected authors and stories.

Congrats to our selected authors:
1st Place – Izzy Sellers, 8th Grade, Altamont School
2nd Place – Madi Porche, 9th Grade, John Carroll Catholic High School
3rd Place – Courtney Stringer, 10th Grade, Calera High School
Honorable Mention – Mykaila Mobley, 10th Grade, Hueytown High School

1st Place – Izzy Sellers, 8th Grade, Altamont School:
Change in Color
Roses. Men always think that they can fix everything by giving you roses, don’t they? I mean, after all, roses are the symbol of love.
After every fight, some heated words and a door-slamming debate, I’d find roses. Always white roses. Beautiful, soft, silky, white roses, begging for a fresh start. I would forgive him … most of the time.
Such a sweet gesture for a short temper.
White roses in my car, in my room, on the deck, in the kitchen. White roses everywhere. So beautiful, perfumed, and gentle enough to make me cave. Just one more chance. Promises. A promise, always. One more promise. Promise me, that never again … One more try.
White roses on my bed, on my pillow. Decorating my head. A crown of sweetness. A crown of thorns. Cover the bruises on my head.
More roses now. The petals falling softly like snow. Down, down, down.
Soft like the gauze covering my scars.
People all around. Mouths moving, but I don’t hear.
Roses withering away.
Bright red roses, decorating my grave.

2nd Place – Madi Porche, 9th Grade, John Carroll Catholic High School:
“Hello, I’d like to report a murder,” I speak softly into the phone. I stand alone in the shadows of a dark alleyway. Well, not completely alone. The once living body of Officer Petty is laying in front of me, eyes cloudy and clothes soaked through with blood. A single gunshot wound is the only evidence of harm, running straight through his chest.
“I’m sorry ma’am, but we’re an officer down right now to come investigate. And even so, this must be a prank. You are aware murder is implausible.”
Before I can respond, the call is ended. I throw my phone on the ground and pace back and forth. Surely someone will walk by soon. Surely someone will notice him and say something. I crouch down next to the lifeless officer and listen for any signs of life.
A breath.
Wait, that’s just mine.
I stand up and pace again for a few minutes. The only living creature that walks by is an alley cat, and even he didn’t seem to care. I pick up my phone and dial the police station again
“Hello, I’d like to report a murder” I say again, this time with more urgency.
“Oh, it’s you again. Ma’am please stop wasting our time with silly complaints.”
Once again, I’m cut off before I have a chance to respond. “Ignorant and birdbrained” I think to myself. After what seems like hours, a man walks by the alleyway. I jump up and drag myself towards him.
“Sir, excuse me sir. Please help. Someone has been shot.” I cry. He looks over his shoulder with a touch of disgust. Then, he turns back around and continues walking. The nerve!
For the last time, I make a call.
“Hello, I’d like to report a murder” I say with determination in my voice.
“Alright, fine. Location?” the woman says into the phone.
“Alley on the corner of Main Street.” I respond. Finally, she’s listening.
“Okay. And your name?”
“Not important.” I hang up and toss my phone into a trash can next to me. I giggle to myself and start walking away from the body, twirling a gun between my fingers.

3rd Place – Courtney Stringer, 10th Grade, Calera High School
I race down the sidewalk, hurrying towards the skyscraper. I finally got an interview with Harrison Publishing, and I’m late! I push through doors into the building.

“I have a 9:00 interview,” I tell the receptionist.
“Take the elevators to the 22nd floor.”

I turn quickly to the elevator, whose doors are closing. I walk briskly, praying that God loves me extra today. I guess He does because the doors stop closing. Thank you, Jesus. I walk in, and my eyes meet the face of the man that stopped the door. He has blue eyes, messy hair, wrinkled clothes. He’s dressed sloppily. I accidentally stare.

“Going up?” I nod and stare at my binder, my future. My parents were disappointed when I told them I wasn’t going to college but wanted to become a writer instead.  Suddenly, the lights go out. The emergency lights come on, casting a red haze everywhere. I run to the doors, panicking.

“Can you calm down?” Slobbish Guy asks. I retreat to the corner, clutching my binder. Several minutes pass in silence.
“Read your story,” He asks.
“I just don’t want to jinx it.”
“Can you read the first chapter?”

“No.” …
“I’ll trade you Skittles.” I stop.
“How do you know I like Skittles?” He points to the charm bracelet on my wrist.
“You only have Skittle charms on this.” He says. I smile.

“So is that a yes?”
“I guess so.” He pulls a  bag of skittles out from his backpack.
“I’m Amelia by the way.”
“Jackson,” He says.

“It’s called Ink & Paper.” I begin reading the first chapter for him. “I’ve been reading since I was three years old…”
“Wow, that was, just wow,” Jackson says.
I smile, “You honestly like it, like, you think it’s good?!”
“Absolutely!” I laugh, “Well, hopefully, Mr. Harrison likes it.”

“He definitely will.” He says.
Suddenly, the lights turn on. I stand up quickly, and my binder drops to the floor. Papers go everywhere. “Oh no!” We scramble to pick them up. Ding! The elevator doors open. My papers are crumpled and shoved into my binder. I walk out of the elevator defeated. I slowly approach the desk. “I had an interview at 9:00, but the elevator stopped; is it too late?”

“Harrison isn’t here yet, but I’ll let you in.” She unlocks the door and motions for me to go inside. I begin to sort my papers. A man walks in, clad in a suit and tie.
“Did my receptionist let you in?”

He smiles, “Yeah?”
“Wait, you’re Mr. Harrison?”
“Yes.” “I might need to reschedule due to this,” I say, motioning to my disheveled binder.
“There’s no need Amelia, I’ve heard enough. ”

He hands me a folder. “This is your contract.”
“But you haven’t even read all of it,” I say.
He smiles, “You had a strong beginning, plus, anyone who loves Skittles has to be good.” I smile as I sign my name.
“Welcome to Harrison Publishing!”

Honorable Mention – Mykaila Mobley, 10th Grade, Hueytown High School
In 3 miles, turn onto—
“You are a human.
I am just a machine.
You ask me these questions
and spend your life on a screen.
You are fueled by your food
and sometimes with caffeine.
I am fueled by batteries
and I drink gasoline.”

Turn left onto—
“You always ask questions
to no one engine but me.
I only know answers
When I get the key.
But at the end of the day
I am only a bot.
My purpose is to serve
whether I like it or not.”

In 100 feet, turn left onto—
“I am not breathing.
Does that mean I am unaware
of how it feels like to
explain pain or despair?
I am not fully clueless
though I am unsure.
Are my servos and circuits
unable to be cured?”
—Road, and continue for 4 more miles.

Turn right onto—
“Do you notice this leaking
liquid affecting my eye?
Does the oil that is dripping
prove this is a cry?
Will I always be cursed
with these feelings to hide?
Am I forever an object
with no conscience inside?”

You have reached your destination, Year 2045.

One thought on “500 Words or Less Contest: Teen Winners

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.