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       2014 Pickford Community Library's Young Writers Workshop Anthology of Short Stories, Flash Fiction, and Essays, p.1

           Pickford Community Library Young Writers Workshop
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2014 Pickford Community Library's Young Writers Workshop Anthology of Short Stories, Flash Fiction, and Essays

  2014 Pickford Community Library's



  of Short Stories, Flash Fiction, and Essays

  Chelsea Ross, Edyn Nettleton & Amy Lehigh

  Copyright 2014 by Chelsea Ross, Edyn Nettleton, Amy Lehigh

  All rights reserved.

  ISBN 13: 978-1-63324-002-5

  10: 1633240029

  This is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The authors guarantee all contents are original and do not infringe upon the legal rights of any other person or work.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

  The views and opinions expressed in this book may not be those of the publisher.

  Table of Contents

  VETERANS DAY ESSAY, 2013 by Chelsea Ross

  LOCKED AWAY by Eden Nettleton


  Introduction by Dar Bagby

  Foreword by Ann Marie Smith, manager, Pickford Community Library


  Thanks to the Pickford Community Library and its manager, Ann Marie Smith, young people in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula have the opportunity to attend the Young Writers Workshop where they learn the basics of writing and publishing. They attend a series of sessions, free of charge, for an hour every two weeks throughout the school year. Dar Bagby of Brimley and Janet Beasley of Florida volunteer their time to meet with the participants—Janet via Skype—and share their knowledge of the literary field.


  Welcome back to the Young Adult Services Center at the Pickford Community Library. Have a seat with me at the red table, and get ready for an adventure. You are about to reenter the amazing world of the Pickford Community Library Young Writers Group. The reading lamp is on!

  This new e-book was developed under the professional guidance of Janet Beasley and Dar Bagby, the trailblazing author/illustrator team of the Hidden Earth Series. This is the second year they have volunteered to lead workshops every other Thursday evening at the library. This year they conducted two courses: one for "newbies" and one for veterans. These innovative programs in creative writing afforded students real insights into the world of publishing. We are honored to have the opportunity to showcase the creative visions of four members of this group: Jessica Arman, Amy Lehigh, Edyn Nettleton, and Chelsea Ross. We are very proud of their work!

  [Our anthology is easy to find in the library catalog: search “Pickford” at https://gldl.info or go directly to https://tinyurl.com/othco3l. You can also access the anthologies using the Digital Libraries tab at www.pickfordlibrary.org]

  There have been a lot of changes at the library during the last years, but some things stay constant--I'm still the library manager, and I'm still the number one fan of the Young Adult Writers Group and its mentors. When I sit at the red table and reflect on what has been accomplished here, I can't help but think, "this is the stuff dreams are made of." (It's not grammatically correct, but if it worked for Bogey in "The Maltese Falcon," it's good enough for me.)

  Thanks for coming--and please keep coming back! You're always welcome at the Pickford Community Library. There's always something new on the horizon.

  Ann Marie Smith

  Pickford Community Library Manager



  Chelsea Ross

  Every community, no matter how small it is, should have a memorial for their local veterans. These soldiers have impacted our country in tremendous ways and do not deserve to go unnoticed. Our community has a veteran memorial; however, it is a rock with a plaque and a flag on it. I believe something more magnificent is needed. If I were to design a local veteran memorial, I would make sure that each and every soldier was recognized, there would be flags, a rock garden, benches where people could sit and enjoy, and a pond in the center.

  It is extremely important to recognize our local veterans. They fought for the freedoms we enjoy every single day and risked their lives in doing so. Don’t you think the least we could do is give them, and their families, a place to visit which would show our gratitude for their service? I think a beautiful granite wall that contains the names of those who died in conflict, those who were still missing, and even those who are still alive, would be a beautiful addition to a memorial and would show the community all their small-town heroes.

  The United States flag is a symbol of our great nation, of our freedom earned. It not only represents who we are, but also what we stand for and what we believe in. Our flag is often taken for granted and its powerful symbolism ignored. Having our flag present at a veteran’s memorial shows what they originally fought for—freedom. In my memorial, I would have a flagpole built into the stone pathway leading up to the memorial. The flag would be a full-sized (3' x 5') flag.

  Next, I would want a peaceful rock garden. It would be filled with red, white and blue petunias representing our nation’s colors. The monument would be built on a hill with the rock garden built into the front. In the middle, there would be a staircase and a ramp to take you up to the monument. I believe the rock garden would bring a natural and beautiful peace to the memorial that would also create a feeling of tranquility.

  And lastly, I would love to have a pond in front of the granite wall. The pond would have a metal-scrap eagle fountain in the middle of it, and there would be benches for seating on both sides. The benches would give the veterans and their families a place to sit down and enjoy the beautiful monument dedicated to them and their service to our country.

  The veterans served for our country and freedoms. They are the reason we are speaking English today and not German, Russian, or Japanese. They protected this country with their lives against foreign powers and enemies. We should remember these soldiers for that fact and that they have made America what it is today—a free nation.

  Chelsea Ross has been an avid writer from the time she was little. She has always enjoyed telling stories and writing essays. Born in the small town of Pickford, Michigan, she has been given a lot of free time to let her imagination run wild! Throughout her high school years, Chelsea has been involved in her local library’s Young Adult Writers Group. She has won awards for her essay writing abilities—all first place. When Chelsea is not writing, she enjoys spending her free time camping, hiking, swimming, singing, and walking her dog, Max.

  * * * * *


  Edyn Nettleton

  Sunlight shining through the big stained-glass window of my room hit my face and woke me up. I stretched and swung my legs out of my bed, my feet hit the icy cold floor, and a shiver went up my spine. I put on a pair of slippers and walked over to my wardrobe. Mother has always preferred that I am fully dressed before coming down to breakfast. I chose a blue satin dress, slipped it over my head, and began the 240-stair descent from my tower to the main hallway. When I finally reached the hallway I started toward the dining room, passing by the hall of rooms I used to share with my siblings. Father had spent a lot of
money on those rooms, but how was he to know his children—all but me—would die of disease before they could use any of the rooms?

  I reached the dining room, smoothed down my dress, and ran my fingers through my hair. To mother, presentation is everything. I pushed through the doors and made my way over to the table. A servant boy pulled my chair out for me. I gave him a brief nod, and father waved him away.  I stared down at my bowl of oatmeal—my mother and father were having bacon and eggs—but no meat for me; it could be under cooked, and I could get sick. I looked up. “My room was very cold this morning,” I said.

  “Yes Miri, I’m sorry, but there is no way to get heat up to that tower,” my mother said.

  “Yes Mother, I know, which is why I’m asking, why can’t I have my room on the main floor where my sisters and brother were?”

  “You know we are trying to keep you safe from anything that could cause you harm. You’re the only one we have left,” my father said.

  “Yes I know, Father.” I finished my breakfast then asked, “May I be excused?”

  “Yes you may.”

  I ran up to my room and put on a simpler dress. I slipped on some boots and hurried to the stables. Luckily no one was around. If anyone ever caught me here they would report it to Father, and he would give me a big lecture about trying to keep me as safe as possible. I walked over to my favorite horse, Cecily. I quietly stroked her mane until I heard a sound behind me. I swung around ready to defend myself. I realized I had never seen this stable boy before, and I thought, Maybe I can get away with it for today.

  “Who are you?” he asked.

  “My name is, umm…Miri. What about you?”


  “What are you doing here?”

  “Didn’t you hear? I’m the new stable hand.”

  Before I could answer, someone cleared his throat behind us. “Excuse me princess,” he spat. “But you’re not allowed to be here.”

  “Princess?” Finn asked.

  “Yes, she’s the princess, and she’s in big trouble,” the head stable man snapped as he grabbed my wrist and marched me toward the castle. I shot Finn an apologetic look; he still had a confused look on his face.

  We entered the throne room. My father stood up and walked toward us. My mother had a worried look on her face.

  “Miri where have you been?” my father asked.

  The stable man answered, “She’s been in the stables. I’ll let you handle her now, your majesty.”

  My father looked at me angrily. “Miri, go to your room. I do not want to speak to you now.”

  I walked up the stairs to my room and changed into my gown once more.

  A SERVANT GIRL CAME UP to my room with a tray of food. I asked her why I wasn’t to eat dinner with my family. She said my father and mother did not wish to eat with me. “There was another outbreak of the plague in the village. Yes miss, it be the same plague that killed your siblings.” In a quieter voice she said, “I assume that your parents want to keep you up here so you do not catch it yourself.” She helped me dress in my night clothes, and I ate my dinner slowly. She took the tray and left me alone. I crawled under the covers.

  I was awakened by the sound of something hitting my window. I got up and looked out to see Finn.

  “Hey I have something to show you! Jump down; I’ll catch you.”

  “Ok I guess…are you sure you’ll catch me?”

  “Trust me, I’d never let you fall.” He smiled at me.

  I took a deep breath and jumped. As promised, he caught me. He looked at me for a second before setting me down on the ground. We walked through the woods for a while until I heard running water. We pushed through some trees, and I saw a huge waterfall with some caves around it. I looked around, amazed; I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. I saw Finn staring at me, smiling.

  We decided to go check out one of the caves. When we got to the top of the cave, Finn pushed me into the water! I screamed as I fell through the air, but he dived in after me. We hit the water at the same time. I splashed him when we came up, and he laughed and splashed me back. We swam to the shore. I lay down in the soft grass and looked at the stars.

  Finn joined me. “Good night,” he whispered as I drifted off to sleep.


  “Hmm, what?”

  “Come on! You have to get back to the castle before they realize you’re gone!”

  I shot up. “Oh no! Did I sleep here?”

  We ran all the way back to the castle.

  How are we going to make it through the main entrance? Avoiding the staff was going to be difficult until I remembered the secret passages. I grabbed hold of Finn’s hand and pulled him along through the dark hallway, feeling the walls for a door. Finding one, I pulled it open.

  “Where are we going?” Finn asked.

  “I don’t really know, but it’s better than being seen by the guards at the main door, don’t you think?”

  We came to the end of the tunnel, opened the door, and fell right into the throne room! A look of relief washed over my parents’ faces, but it was quickly replaced by anger.

  “Miri, where have you been! We checked on you this morning and you were gone!” my father yelled. “We told you that you weren’t allowed out of the castle!”

  “And to think, you were with this stable hand the whole time!” my mother said.

  “From now on you aren’t allowed out of your tower.”

  “But, Father, what about Finn?”

  “You are no longer allowed to be in contact with this servant.”

  “Please take her to her room,” my mother said to a servant.

  THE FIRST FEW DAYS WERE extremely boring until a servant girl named Maya started to bring me my meals. We would sit and talk until she had some other job to do.

  I missed Finn. I wanted to talk to him, but I wasn’t allowed out of my tower. Then I got the idea of writing him a letter. In it I said: Dear Finn, I first would like to apologize about my parents; they are very over protective of me. I hope we will be able to talk sometime soon. Thank you for taking me to that waterfall. It was a wonderful night. I don’t usually get to leave the castle. Sincerely, Miri

  When Maya brought food to my room, I asked her, “Would you please deliver it to Finn in the stables?”

  She looked at me sadly. “Miri, I’m sorry, but Finn caught the plague. He is in the village with his uncle right now.”

  “Oh no! I have to get him the medicine from the castle doctor! Maya I need your help.” She agreed.

  “Will you get the medicine?” I asked her. “And a map of the secret tunnels that stem from the castle to the village.”

  That night she brought everything to my room. I thanked her. Then I looked at the map. It showed a door in the wall halfway down the stairs. I followed the map, which led me through a tunnel. At the end of the tunnel was a boy with a horse. “Maya told me to wait here for you and give you the horse when you came.” He held out the reins.

  I took them from him and thanked him. I mounted the horse and took off toward town, asking everyone I met if they knew where Finn’s uncle lived. Someone gave me directions, and once I got there I saw a doctor inside. I heard him say, “If we had the right medicine he would be better almost instantly.”

  I walked in. “You mean this medicine?”

  “Miri, you’re here!” Finn said.

  “Yes I am, and I brought you medicine.” I gave the doctor the small vial of liquid.

  He made Finn swallow some and then gave him some water to wash it down. “You are no longer contagious, nor do you run the risk of dying. You may feel tired for a short time, but now you are well enough to return to the castle.”

  I took him back to the castle with me on the horse.

  “MIRI, WE TOLD YOU NOT to leave your room.”

  Finn spoke up. “Your majesty, if I may, I would just like to state that Miri saved my life. She’s my best friend, and I would do anything to make
sure she doesn’t get hurt. Just please don’t confine her to her room.”

  My parents smiled at each other, then at us. “We’re very sorry Miri. We were just trying to keep you safe because we love you.”

  “I know. I love you too.”

  3 years later

  I'm so happy, it's my coronation day! I can't believe I'll be a queen. I've dreamed of this my whole life. I'm extremely nervous though.

  “Miri, are you almost ready?”

  “Yes, just a moment.” I looked one last time in the mirror. I wore a white dress with little diamonds around the neck, long satin gloves, and my tiara, which would be replaced by a crown with a dark green emerald in the center. I opened the door and walked out. Servants clapped as I entered the hallway.

  I stood right outside the doors to the throne room, took a deep breath, and pushed through the doors. My stomach did backflips when I entered the room. Everyone turned to stare at me. Suddenly remembering to walk, I began moving my feet, and they carried me to the front of the room. A man held out my orb and scepter. I took them and faced the audience. The man read a long speech in Latin, then I turned around and returned the orb and scepter to the pillow, and the people clapped.

  I walked out of the doors to see my parents. “Honey, we are so proud of you!”

  “Thank you Mother.” We hugged.

  Finn grabbed my hand. “Come on, I have to show you something!”

  “Okay, but let me change first.” I went to my tower and changed into a simpler dress. I heard a sound at my window; I looked out and there stood Finn.

  “Jump out,” he said.


  “Yes you've done this once already!”

  “Fine.” I took a breath and jumped.

  Finn caught me then set me on the ground. “Come on.”

  We walked deep into the woods until I heard rushing water. We pushed through a few more trees until we reached the same waterfall he had taken me to before. “You've already taken me here.”

  “Yes I know,” he said, smiling.

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