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Read the Young Writers Contest Grand Prize Winner (High School)!

In April, the Camp NaNoWriMo Young Writers Contest challenged writers to submit a 300-word story that began with a storm. From over 600 fabulous entries, we chose two Grand Prizes and three Honorable Mentions. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did! (For more stories, check out the Young Writers Contest forum thread.)

Grand Prize Winner (High School) by Megan Mechelke

It was raining in the Library. Ropes of sloe-black ink slithered from the rafters like roots in a desert.

Cashmir, the janitor, scratched his graying tuft of hair. “Looks like another pipe’s burst, Frank.”

Frank, the ferret, poked his wriggly pink nose out of Cashmir’s pocket. “I swear to Joe; don’t they pay someone to keep this place up?”

“That’s us, Frank.” Cashmir flipped the peeling red switch and with a creak-pop-squelch and a low thunder roll, the emergency ventilation system coughed itself awake. A slimy river of ink skittered over his shoe, muttering to itself in a language long dead. “Looks like the basement’s flooding.”

“They don’t pay me enough for this,” Frank grumbled, burrowing down indignantly.

“They don’t pay you at all, Frank.”

The Thought Library was the nexus of every nascent pondering in all the universes, and Cashmir was Head Custodian. Naturally, he barely made minimum wage.

“For a Thought Library, there sure is a lot of ink,” Frank observed.

“Yep.” Because what were thoughts without ink to give them life? That, Cashmir reasoned, was why people put engravings on tombstones. Thoughts died, but the written word was life eternal.

Here lies Cashmir…

…and then what?

“…and it makes such a flimflamming mess…”

Well, thoughts often did.

"What do they think they’d do if we left, huh? What if we just up and disappeared? Who’d fix their pipes then? No one, that’s who.”

Cashmir came to an abruptly disturbing realization. For a man who practically ran the Thought Library, he’d contributed very few thoughts of his own.

What if they just disappeared?

What would he leave behind? Is this how he would be remembered?

Here lies Cashmir…

Cashmir abandoned his toolbox in an oily swirl of ink and began to write.

author photo

Megan Mechelke is a word-enthusiast with a passion for writing, reading, and the theatre. Megan will be entering her senior year of high school this fall. Her other interests include corny TV, fresh strawberries, and too-loud music; she also enjoys borrowing far too many books from the library and falling asleep while reading. Megan is currently working on a total rehaul of an ancient draft, but she is easily and frequently distracted by the thousands of new ideas stirring in her mind. 

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