Young Writers Contest Honorable Mention by Annabel Richter

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.)

Honorable Mention (High School) by Annabel Richter

Violet is cooking breakfast when she hears Nana hollering from outside. It’s raining, and the droplets leaking from the ceiling echo in the tin pail next to her. The scent of mildew and bacon hangs heavy in the air, and at the sound of her grandmother’s voice, Violet flinches. She turns off the gas and runs out of the kitchen, her feet slapping against the tile. Nana doesn’t like to be kept waiting. 

Her slicker hangs on a coat hook in the foyer. She pulls it on and rushes outside, slamming the door behind her.

Nana is waiting by the henhouse, her thin arms crossed tightly against her flat chest. Her naked, bird-like legs shiver defiantly against the cold. The flowered fabric of her faded dress is barely visible below the edge of her yellow jacket, and she is wearing her worn leather brogans. A bag of feed lies on the ground next to her, and the hens peck furiously at its contents.

“Move your hiney, Vi,” Nana barks. Violet hurries toward her. There is a sharp glint in her grandmother’s beetle-black eyes; sharper, even, than the edge of the hatchet she holds.
Violet’s stomach twists violently.

Nana bends down to grasp one of the hens. Dumb innocence gleams in its dark eyes, and it cackles, frightened, as its fat body is lifted off the ground. The old woman presses the struggling creature into Violet’s unwary arms, her deep-creased face thrown into shadow by a distant flash of lightning.

“You do it quick, now, you hear?” Nana hands her the hatchet and, when the child hesitates, gives her a push.

Violet walks slowly to the dark-stained stump by the chicken-wire fence and holds down the hen. Its soft, speckled feathers pulse against her palm.

She raises the hatchet. 

author photo

Annabel Richter is a full-time fan of all things space (as in, the endless expanse of black stuff looming just beyond Earth’s atmosphere), Marvel comics, and hedgehogs. A rising junior, she hopes to publish her first novel before she graduates high school. In her free time, she enjoys playing field hockey, reading, knitting ugly hats for her friends, running, thinking of new ways to incorporate peanut butter, her favorite food, into every meal of the day, and, of course, writing.