by Maria Clarke, Age 11, Canada
This was one of the top two short stories submitted for the Richmond 2014 Junior Authors Writers Conference fiction contest. The challenge was to write a short story of no more than 500 words that takes place during the lunch break at a fictional junior authors conference. The winners had their stories read out during the lunch break at the conference and they each won an LTC Insider Plus+ membership.
Anything Can Happen
It was Christmas time and the Jones family gathered for their yearly family reunion. Grandpa Jones always loved to tell stories to the children.
Curious to know, one of his grandchildren asked, “Grandpa, how did you get to be such a good writer?”
“Well,” said Grandpa Jones, “I’ve had some interesting experiences.”
The grandchildren spoke in unison, “Tell us, tell us!”
“Okay, children, gather around. I am going to tell you a story from long ago.
“It was a rainy afternoon, at a writer’s conference, during the lunch break. Strange things were happening.
“A writer had got his food and was on his way back to his table, when he tripped. Gracefully, he lunged across the room and his food went flying, literally. Just before his food hit the floor, it magically turned into Monarch butterflies and flew away.
“Meanwhile, at another table, a chubby lady, all dressed up with bright make-up and curly blonde hair, tried to take a bite of her soup. Before she could put the spoon in her mouth the soup took the shape of a cloud and floated into the middle of the room. Angry, the lady got up and poked the cloud of soup with her spoon, and splash! The cloud of soup popped like a bubble and poured down like rain. The conference participants were all covered with soup. Yuck!
“Suddenly the room was filled with questions and wonder. People were anticipating the next weird episode. There was a scream and everyone turned to see what had happened. A lion was swallowing a poor innocent young author. Gulp. The young author vanished out of sight. Terrified, the crowd of writers stepped back. The lion had grown. It leapt off the table, and paused, showing its teeth, as sharp as arrowheads. Before the writers knew what to do, the lion charged forward swallowing all the writers in its path, in groups of two. The lion grew bigger and bigger like a balloon about to pop.
“Finally, it came down to the last person, Me!
“My heart pounded like crazy. I dashed for the door, just making it before the lion. The lion lunged, jaws open wide and towering over me. I dodged the lion and slammed the heavy metal door, locking the lion out. It was just like a dream. Then I heard the dinging of the fire alarm and looked around the room. There was no fire and everyone was gone. I left the conference building alone, never to return to another writer’s conference again. I never did find out what happened to the lion, nor did I ever tell a single soul about what happened that day.
In awe, the children said, “Wow, that was an awesome story, but how did that make you a great writer, Grandpa?”
“Well children,” Grandpa continued, “Imagination is a great asset to a writer. After that conference, I learned that anything can happen.”
Maria is an 11 year old junior author from Canada. Her recently published book, The Mysteries Island, is the first book in her series called The Pirates of Crystal Cove. She is currently working on her next book which takes place in Egypt.