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       2016 Pickford Community Library's Young Writers Workshop Anthology of Short Stories and Poetry, p.1
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           Pickford Community Library Young Writers Workshop
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2016 Pickford Community Library's Young Writers Workshop Anthology of Short Stories and Poetry
2015-2016 Pickford Community Library's

  YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP

  ANTHOLOGY

  of Short Stories and Poetry

  Ashton McConnell, Emily Roe, Grace Snyder, Selah Preston and Sydney Johnson

  Copyright 2016 Ashton McConnell, Emily Roe, Grace Snyder, Selah Preston and Sydney Johnson

  All rights reserved.

  Thank you for uploading this ebook. This ebook remains the copyrighted property of the authors, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

  Please visit us at: https://www.jlbcreatives.com

  Table of Contents

  Introduction

  Stuck on Replay by Ashton McConnell

  About Ashton McConnell

  The Huntress by Emily Roe

  About Emily Roe

  Wind, Blood, and Stars by Grace Snyder

  About Grace Snyder

  Truth Is...by Selah Preston

  About Selah Preston

  The Shine of a Star by Sydney Johnson

  About Sydney Johnson

  INTRODUCTION

  Supporting young aspiring writers; teaching young aspiring writers how to become authors; informing young authors about becoming published: these are the reasons for the Pickford Community Library’s Young Writers Workshop.

  In August 2012 a Pickford High School student, Chelsea, approached the Pickford Community Library Manager, Ann Marie, about having a writing class at the library. Ann Marie, being the innovative person she is, decided to make Chelsea’s request a reality, so she asked her English Language Specialist friend, Dar, and Dar’s business owner/author/sister, Janet, if they would be interested in teaching some classes. Dar and Janet, being the education supporters they are, jumped at the chance to talk to young people about becoming legitimate players in the game of literature.

  Within less than a year those six young writers had become published authors under the name of a trade publisher! How many young people can say they have been published that early in life? They paid nothing for the writing course, nothing for the publishing process, and received no royalties; their stories were available online for $0.00.

  Now, in 2016, the Young Writers Workshop has grown to thirteen aspiring authors who come from all over the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Those who have published in previous anthologies have the option of writing a novella for free publication and, to date, four of the students have had their own individual novellas published as eBooks by JLBCP.

  The eBook anthology you have downloaded and are now reading—2015-2016 Pickford Community Library’s Young Writers Workshop Anthology of Short Stories and Poetry—is the culmination of five of the students’ hard work at learning how to write, writing, re-writing, being professionally edited, re-re-writing, and finally achieving publication. This anthology presents short stories in the genres of fantasy, paranormal, sports fiction, and fictional romance, and it also includes poetry, all by 12-to-16-year-olds who love to write. And it shows!

  JLB Creatives Publishing

  Stuck On Replay

  Ashton McConnell

  I was staring out the dirty car window at the old, faded-white house in front of me. The roof was missing shingles, and the house needed a major paint job. The yard was full of weeds and overgrown grass, and despite it being summer, the sky was gray, making the house look haunted and dreary.

  “We’re going to live here?” I uttered unbelievably. “In this run-down piece of junk?”

  My mother turned around and gave me the same smile she’d been giving me for weeks since she told me we were moving. “You’ll get used to it after a while, Sweetheart. The inside is quite nice, despite its exterior.” She put her hand on my dad’s arm lovingly. “Your father and I are going to fix it up a bit—it’ll look brand new once we’re done!”

  I rolled my eyes. “I’ll still hate it,” I stated, crossing my arms over my chest in disgust.

  “Oh, grow up, Tanner! Complaining isn’t going to do you any good at all now, so why don’t you shut it?” my older sister demanded, annoyed. She flipped her long white-blonde hair over her shoulder in an I’m-Cooler-Than-You way. When she did that, I wanted to strangle her—or rip her hair out so she couldn’t flip it anymore.

  “Why don’t you take your own advice, Celeste, and close that huge mouth of yours?” I snapped back with lots of vehemence. “Or do you need help? I can supply the superglue if you like. I think I’d be doing everyone a favor.”

  Celeste opened her mouth to speak but my dad looked in the rearview mirror and shook his head at her. “Don’t even start, Celeste, just ignore him or you’re going to end up getting in trouble too.” Then my dad looked into the reflection of my eyes. “And you, Tanner, need to knock it off. You’re fourteen and I expect you to act your age.”

  “But she started it!” I protested loudly, pointing accusingly at her.

  Celeste looked dumbfounded and gave an unbelieving gasp. “Why do you blame everything on me? If a bird just randomly falls out of the sky and dies, you’d blame it on me!”

  “Maybe I would; your face kills.”

  “Ugh!” Celeste screamed in rage, taking off her seatbelt and opening the sliding car door. “I’ve been stuck in the car for far too long with him!”

  I snickered as her voice faded the more she put distance between us, which drew scowls from both of my parents. I sat back and just shrugged innocently, but my dad pointed to the trunk of the car.

  “You can carry Celeste’s bags inside now, Tanner.”

  Oh great, I wasn’t just her brother now, but her butler too!

  ***

  After the next few hours of actually unpacking my older sister’s belongings and having her tell me where to put what, I honestly wanted to tell her that she could put her stuff in a place where the sun doesn’t shine. Of course I knew that if I told her that, she would go to my parents and I’d have even more work to do. I had no doubt that it would all be for my sister. Honestly, I didn’t want that to happen because I would be in jail for killing Celeste. After all, there’s only so much a boy can handle.

  Once I was done playing slave, I managed to unpack most of my stuff. Except for my sister, the rest of us didn’t have many belongings. My sister and I had been dumped off at my grandparents’ place for only a few days while our parents moved our stuff out, so today was the first time we actually saw the new house in person. Unfortunately, my parents had picked my room out before I even got there, and I wasn’t surprised to find that it was the smallest bedroom in the house.

  I had a problem with big changes, and moving houses is one of the worst and biggest changes anyone could ever make on my list. We didn’t even need to move. It was just something my parents thought was better for us. I don’t know how they thought a rundown house could ever be better for us. All I knew was that this was not good for my mental and emotional health.

  The house didn’t prove helpful for my sleeping schedule either. Tossing and turning, and constantly hearing the creaks and groans of the house was enough to drive anyone mad. Throwing back my covers, I made my way to my window and, with great difficulty, pushed it open, letting in the cool breeze. Maybe even the sound of the wind and rustling of leaves on trees would help me sleep better. I started to back away from the window, and that’s when I saw it.

&n
bsp; Away from the glow of the streetlights and submerged in darkness was what looked like a gray figure starting to drift across the street. Though I could only see part of its body, I knew it was moving pretty fast. I squinted trying to make out more details, but the figure was too faint and seemed to be flickering.

  Wait…flickering? I blinked and looked closer but the figure had already disappeared and been replaced by darkness.

  Shaking my head, I let the curtain fall back into place and retreated back to my bed, drawing the blankets up past my chin. I lay awake, going over and over in my head what I saw, trying to make sense of it. After what seemed like a long couple of hours, exhaustion took over, and I drifted into sleep.

  ***

  Even after a few nights of seeing this gray figure crossing the street from our house to barely the middle of the road and then fading suddenly, I refused to tell my parents. Just like the adults in paranormal books, they wouldn’t believe me. And telling my sister would be even worse; she’d say I was just seeing things, and she’d tell everybody she knows that I was crazy. But I didn’t think I was crazy.

  On the fourth night I waited quietly in my room, and when it was two minutes to 11:44—the usual time the figure appeared—I made my way downstairs to the living room. I went to the window, pushed the curtain back, and waited. I was lucky my parents had to get up early for work, so they went to bed before midnight. I would have a hard time explaining why I was up so late.

  The figure appeared out of nowhere at the same time and place it always did. It wasn’t as faded as it had been but was, instead, bright and luminous, almost like it was light itself. Although it was almost too bright to look at, I could still make out a few details. It was a girl with silvery white hair that hung past her shoulders. The rest of her body was the same color as her hair. She was wearing a nightgown, and slippered feet peeked out at the bottom. I could see her whole body this time, like she was an actual person in front of me.

  She was running down the driveway, reaching her arm and hand out like she was trying to get a grasp on something before it was too late. She was still running until she was a couple of feet into the street, where she collapsed and lay motionless. I kept staring as the phantom girl faded quickly out of sight, the darkness swallowing her up just like it had every night since I had seen her.

  I still stood at the window for a few minutes afterward, taking in everything I saw and wanting to ask so many questions. I couldn’t help but replay the scene in my head and think that it looked like she was reaching out for help, that she was falling and trying to stop. I knew it was my imagination running wild, but I couldn’t help it.

  It was like the girl was stuck on replay, appearing at the same time and place, doing the same things, and always ending at the same point. Except for tonight… Tonight she seemed to have hit the end of her journey—her fall.

  ***

  I woke up in a manner in which I hoped never happened again.

  “Tanner, get up. Our parents have been calling your name and want you downstairs.” She was silent for a few seconds, and despite me already being slightly awake, I was trying desperately to ignore her and go back to sleep. “Tanner Redford, get up right now! I know you’re not braindead. As much as I wish you were, you still have to get your lazy butt up out of that bed and go downstairs. Get up!”

  My sister was obviously losing patience and, without warning, she grabbed my arm and pulled. Even though I was hanging half out of bed already, it still hurt when she pulled me onto the floor and away from the beautiful things I called my pillow and blanket. She let go of me and I sat up, scowling at her and rubbing the now sore spot on my arm.

  “You’ve been asleep all day, so don’t look at me like that. Go downstairs and see Mom and Dad. You’ll regret it if you don’t.” Celeste ordered, pointing toward my bedroom door.

  “Fine,” I grumbled. “Just get out of my room. Your presence is contaminating everything.”

  My sister left with a roll of her eyes, and I heard her retreat back to her own room. I quickly pulled on some clothes and hurried downstairs, not bothering to fix my hair. My mom was waiting for me when I reached the bottom of the stairs. She grabbed my hand, eagerly pulling me outside.

  I was surprised to find my dad standing in front of the car with a kennel at his feet. Beady, brown eyes were peeking out at me. I was still half asleep so I was both excited and confused, my mind still trying to keep up with what was happening.

  “We’ve noticed that you’ve been having a hard time dealing with the move, so we decided to get you a friend!” my mom remarked, trying very little to hide her enthusiasm. “Your dad and I were hoping this would help make you feel better.”

  My dad opened up the kennel, and a small dog came running out, no older than 4 years. I knelt down on the ground and called to it softly, gesturing for it to come toward me. When the dog finally came to me, I gently picked it up. It was light, and its fur was tan and black. It was the prettiest dog I’d ever seen.

  “It’s a boy Shiba Inu. We grabbed everything you’ll need to take care of him, and he’s properly trained already. I hope you take care of him responsibly.”

  While I listened to my dad talk about how to take care of my new dog, I was also trying to think of a name for him. When my dad finished, I thanked both of my parents multiple times and told them the name of the dog. “I’m going to name him Wesley, after my dead uncle.”

  “I love it, Honey. I think it’s really nice,” my mom said, to which my dad agreed, and that’s good, because it was his brother’s name. All of a sudden the dog jumped from my arms and raced toward the house and through the open doorway, disappearing from sight. I started to hurry after it, not entirely sure where it was until I heard the shouting. I gave a short laugh and hurried up the stairs and into my sister’s room.

  “Tanner! Get your stupid dog out of here! Go! Shoo! Get out, you pile of ugly fur!” My sister was in the corner of the room with a hairbrush in her hand while my dog sat in the middle of the floor, staring at her. I wanted to take a picture of her cowering, worried about a small dog touching her. “Get your dog out of here! He’s going to get hair everywhere!”

  “Celeste, he’s harmless. He’s just checking things out. Don’t be so cruel,” I said, coming into the room and picking up my dog, who was still staring at my sister intently. Celeste regained her composure and went to her mirror, where she began to brush her hair.

  As I stared at her through the mirror, I couldn’t help but think how much she looked like our mother. She had the same white-blonde hair, pale skin, and slim body as I did, but that’s about where our similarities ended. She had smoother features than I did and hazel eyes, as opposed to my bright blue ones, which I received from our dad. She was almost a foot taller than I am, which she inherited from our mother. I would never tell her this, but she was beautiful.

  “What are you staring at?” my sister snapped with a weird look on her face.

  I wanted to make a smart aleck remark, but I held back and shook my head. “Nothing,” I replied quietly, walking out of the room with my dog.

  ***

  Wesley proved a handful to take care of, as he was very active and curious. Although my sister didn’t like him, we often found Wesley near her, and he was staring at her most of the time. He was a very peculiar dog, but it didn’t stop me from loving him all the same.

  When I got into bed that night, Wesley came and rested himself near my feet and didn’t move. I was both happy and comforted that he was there; it took no time at all to fall asleep. Of course, I wouldn’t stay asleep for long.

  A few hours later Wesley jumped to the floor with a thump and started to bark. I woke up in a panic, realizing that if he kept barking it would wake up the whole house. My parents needed their sleep, and since Wesley was my dog, I would get in trouble for ruining it.

  “Wesley, be quiet!” I hissed, getting out of bed and trying to calm him. His response to me was running out the room. I
chased after him as fast as I could, trying to make the least amount of noise possible. “No, Wesley! Wesley, get back here!”

  I followed him downstairs, where I found him sitting near the front door. He barked again, and I hurried over to unlock the door, thinking he just wanted to go outside. Once I opened the door, Wesley took off into the night, where I lost him to the darkness. “Wesley! Come back here!”

  I took off running, letting the door slam shut behind me. Since I couldn’t see where he was, all I had to follow was his bark. Sadly, my search didn’t last long since I accidently woke somebody up.

  “What are you doing out here Tanner? Get inside right now!” my sister demanded angrily as she stomped down the driveway toward me. “It’s almost midnight. Are you stupid? Actually don’t answer that; it was rhetorical.” Celeste came over and started reefing on my arm in the direction of the house.

  “No, wait! Celeste! Wesley is—”

  “I don’t care about your stupid mutt, Tanner! If the dog has any brains, he’ll come back in the morning.” Celeste gripped my arm tighter as my dog continued to bark. I turned my head back toward my dog—realizing he wasn’t actually running anywhere—right as I saw two bright lights come around the corner. As the car neared, the headlights gave me enough to see by to know that Wesley was standing in the middle of the road, still barking.

  “Wesley!” I yelled, yanking my arm as hard as I could away from my sister’s grip. My attempt at freedom succeeded, and I bounded quickly toward my dog. My sister tried swiping at me several times as she began to chase me, but she missed by a small length every time. I was aware of my sister screaming my name and telling me to stop, but I didn’t listen, thinking only of my dog. Why wasn’t Wesley moving out of the way?

  I reached the middle of the street and ducked down to pick up my dog just as the car put on the brakes, the screeching echoing through the night air. I scooped up my dog and squeezed my eyes shut, quickly diving out of the way. I landed hard on my side just as the car stopped. I heard a high-pitched scream erupt immediately. I opened my eyes slowly to see Celeste lying on the ground in front of the car, unmoving and eerily silent.

 
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