Entries 2021


Sky SANCHEZ – The Winged Adventures – was in 3rd grade at Palmetto Elementary School. Teacher: Lissette DeAlejo.

Excerpt from the story
Once upon a time there was a smart girl named Flarissa. One morning she woke up and she was as small as an ant. She was tiny, but she also had new dazzling wings. But her wings seemed enchanted. She couldn’t make them work.

All of a sudden, the wings started flapping and she began flying somewhere. It was a far trip across the world. She knew she landed in Egypt because she saw the Pyramids. She didn’t know why she was there.

A strange looking businessman came up to her and grabbed her by the ear. He dragged her into a pyramid. It was dark and then suddenly torches lit up all around her. When she turned around, he was gone. That’s when she saw it. It was a gold puzzle piece, sparkling in the distance. She raced over to grab it, but right when she got near the piece, she heard a voice.

“You must finish the ropes course up ahead. That will lead you to the mysterious tiles. You must figure out which tiles to step on from the pattern on the wall. If you complete this test, you may then get the first piece of the puzzle, which will help you turn back into a regular-sized girl again. Good luck!,” said the voice……..

Olivia BUENO – Implode – was in 8th grade at Gulliver Preparatory School.

Excerpt from the story
…….. “Hello and welcome to the National News Hour. I’m Jenny Abrams. Breaking news tonight: history is being made by the new Cosmetic Science Institution, taking the world by surprise. News of their new advancements spread across the globe like a wildfire. This is a massive step in the advancement in society, bringing new opportunities. Yet how far will it go and how much influence will it have? Joining us is the CEO of the Cosmetic Science Institution, Mikael Zahk.” She turns to the man beside her. “Hi Mr. Zahk, thank you for joining us today.”

“Thank you for having me.”

“Mr. Zahk, your invention is taking the world by storm. Tell us a little about your discovery.”

“Yes, of course. We are excited to take a role in the advancement of robots and androids. Our prototype is different from all others before it. Model 66X has improved cognitive abilities, the ability to process information and produce thought, and most importantly, the ability to learn from its environment. The android’s carbon fiber coating and thought process similar to our own makes the Model 66X feel like a real human.”

“People seem to be interested in your new line of androids, the DuplicateSystem correct?”

“Yes, the DuplicateSystem is a custom-made android, fabricated to look and act exactly like yourself. We collect your memories, emotions, and personality on a Brain receiver drive, and download it into the Model 66X android. It is basically an exact copy of yourself who can do all the work for you when you’re feeling a bit tired. Not only that, but with the help of its artificial intelligence, it can complete those tasks better than you.”

“I know we all need a little break sometimes,” said Jenny with a chuckle.“How did you come up with this idea?”

“It’s a funny story actually. I was sitting alone in my studio on a Tuesday night, feeling drained and tired, since I did not achieve the level of quality that the company was demanding. I had created a DoubleSystem prototype which was supposedly ‘better’ than me, yet my company was not satisfied. And then it occurred to me. Since I am the ‘worse’ version, what if I get discarded and forgotten? It’s funny, isn’t it? My copy sitting next to me thought so too. We laughed thinking of the chaos it would cause in the world. Maybe we were a little envious of others, and wanted to bring a little mystery. Bring this place down along with us, watch it burn. Maybe we wanted the world to burn and we would laugh and laugh. It’s funny, isn’t it? Watching the world burn and burn―” ……..

Emily CHAFFINS – Mango – was in 12th grade at Fl. Virtual School.

Excerpt from the story
April 2nd, 1999

To my children, Eva, Laura, and Enrique Pinto:

I, Cecilia Campana Pinto, being of sound mind and memory, do make and declare this to be my last will and testament.

I’ve never written anything like this before, and I’m not sure how to begin. Rique is helping me write this. It’s good to have a lawyer as a son. He’s standing by the kitchen window, pretending not to watch me, but I know he is, and that he’s amused, frustrated, and sad all at once. Maybe this isn’t exactly how a last will and testament should go, but I like it better this way – like a letter, instead of a dry document that has no soul.

The doctor says I have a month, maybe two, so I need to get my affairs in order.

Charlotte agreed, grudgingly, to be a witness to the will, along with her husband, and she is sitting across the kitchen table from me, glaring tearfully at me. She doesn’t want to admit I’m sick. Poor old Charlotte. She was such a good friend to my mama, when Charlotte Johnson, as the head housekeeper at the hotel, gave Mama a good job and steady friendship. She looked after me when Mama passed, and she will likewise look after all of you. She is a grumpy but kind old lady, and I hope you all won’t tease and bother her too much! It doesn’t help that she hates kids.

Well, there’s not much in the bank, but I split it evenly among the three of you. It was hard to get Rique through law school, even with his scholarship, but, if you live carefully on Rique’s and Laura’s salaries, there’s enough for Laura to finish her last year at Miami Dade College, and for Eva when the time comes. The house will go to Rique because he’s mostly responsible for paying the bills, but it really belongs to all of you, especially Eva, because she is only sixteen.

And now I want to mention the most important item I am leaving you. It’s for all of you. It is the photograph enclosed in this envelope. Black and white and stained at the edges, with five smiling people in it. They are all clustered around a table with a basket of mangos in the center.

I don’t have to look at it to describe it detail for detail. That photograph is a memory seared in my mind. Do you know, I could describe my whole life like that basket full of mangos – some sour and stringy and hard to eat, but most overflowing with sweetness………

Cecile ETZBACH – Aestivation – was in 5th grade at Pinecrest Elementary School.
Teacher: Emily Peruyera.

Excerpt from the story
…….. I remember my grandfather, even if it’s just a fragment of his memory that remains, hidden away deep inside me. I was very small when he left, but I recall the many times he brought me to the ocean and gently taught me how to swim. He reassured me that I was safe in the water with him, and that no harm would come my way. I still can picture the warm feeling I got when he was by me, and how he always seemed happy and calm. I wish that this state could’ve remained.

I’m eleven now, and my mother is gone, too. I remember that when I would call her “Mama”, she always had a vague, confused expression cross her face, but she never seemed to mind. I remember how she promised me that she wouldn’t ever leave, yet here I am now, without her. I won’t deny the fact that she may be dead, but I won’t lose hope in her ability to live, either.

My name is Maren. I live in a small island cabin with my father, and we have everything we need; fresh meals, shelter, and each other. Ever since Mama’s disappearance, Dad’s been by my side and he has guided me through the difficult phase of recovery. He sets breakfast out for me every day before he leaves for his boat. He says it’s only a matter of time until I’ll move on with life and forget about Mama, but I don’t believe I’ll forget. It’s especially difficult at night.

A soft breeze traveled through the air as I made my way down the porch staircase and onto the sand. The shore was unparalleled; it was a place of freedom and I felt like I was in absolute control. As I walked towards the low-tide ocean, I noticed an object, curved and glistening, buried deep in the sand. Intrigued, I reached for it and observed what I was holding. It was a conch shell, reminiscent of one Mama had showed me months ago during our final walk together………

Pia STUYCK – Mysterious Doors of Merriland – was in 3rd Grade at Coconut Grove Elementary. Teacher: Kate Arsham.

Excerpt from the story
…….. Penelope Judd is a short and skinny little girl. Penelope is very adventurous and very smart. Penelope is so smart that she is the reason schools created A++! When she isn’t doing schoolwork, Penelope likes to swim with her little dog, Abbey. Abbey is tiny and fluffy and cute. Abbey likes to chase Midnight, the neighbor’s beloved cat, around the neighborhood.

One day, Penelope was walking little Abbey through the neighborhood with her best friend Sara. Sara is very tall with a long nose and big, poofy curls that go down to her knees. Suddenly, Penelope gasped because she saw a big portal of green and grey swirling mist behind a tree! Midnight was sitting in front casually licking her paws. As soon as Abbey saw Midnight, she took off and disappeared into the portal. Penelope was dragged behind Abbey into the green mist! Sara hesitated. She had no idea what was beyond the portal, but she knew had to be brave. Her friend was in there! She ran and leaped into the portal………

Giulia TROIA – The Whimsical Flower – was in 7th grade at St. Agnes Academy.
Teacher: Katherine Greg.

Excerpt from the story
…….. Kim-Joy gazed in wonder at the blur of colors. In front of her stood a huge field of flowers, filled with vibrant colors. A breeze gently caught the air and Kim-Joy breathed in, happily. She could detect the faint scent of magnolia. The flowers swayed with the breeze and they seemed to dance in unity, swaying back and forth, their delicate petals gently moving along with the wind. With a burst of joy, she raced down the hill upon which she stood and ran through the maze of colors and scents. Her senses seemed to scream with happiness as she raced the breeze, being careful to not step or crush any flowers in her path. Suddenly she halted. “Wow.” She muttered under her breath, as in front of her stood a tall and graceful flower. It was bigger than any of the others, a pale pink with delicate spots of yellow. Kim-Joy had never seen anything like it. “Kim-Joy! Dinner!” She suddenly heard her mother call her from the spot where she had stood on the hill. She snuck one last glimpse of the beautiful flower before racing back the way she had come. She vowed to herself that she would return tomorrow, to study that magnificent flower.

The next morning, Kim-Joy was ready to go. She had her little backpack already filled with essentials because she thought that perhaps she would spend the whole day outside, in the field, amongst the flowers and nature. She was about to leave her room when suddenly her little brother came bounding inside. “Kim-Joy! Hey, where are you going? Can I come with you? ……..

Katriona PAGE – The Freedom in Flying – was in 11th grade at St. Louis Covenant School.
Teacher: Elena Ruiz.

Excerpt from the story
…….. “What smell is that?” Abel leaned down to sniff her wrists. “Jasmine?”

“No, magnolia. You bought it for me two years ago. Christmastime.”

“Right. Well, it was a good choice. You smell lovely.”

She smiled at him faintly, catching his eye in the bathroom mirror before he turned away. Maybe to fix his cufflinks, or order the taxi, or say goodbye to Lu.

She realized the white on white on white — marble and tile and LED lights — was too harsh, too intense; it washed her out and flattened her best features (a strong, finely-sculpted nose and chin).

Perhaps her jewelry was distraction enough. Chandelier-style earrings with diamond teardrops. Stacks of gold bangles. Her wedding ring, of course.

She felt no special attachment to material possessions — the inevitable product of a life spent surrounded by far too many nice things — but she slipped it off regardless and dropped it on the enamel tray. It tinkled like a miniature wedding bell. Had there been wedding bells when she married Abel? Yes. Yes, she was pretty sure there had.

“We have to leave now,” he said, so she slipped on her heels — the soles fiery, brilliant red to match her dress — and draped her coat over her shoulders, kissing baby Lu on the way out.

“Who are we meeting again?” she asked in the taxi. Not that it mattered; these were her husband’s dinners, and she was an accessory.

“Nathaniel and Rita Glasper. Senior executive at L.M.”

“Ah.” She wondered if they had a child.

“Hey,” Abel said, and reached for her wrist. Here it was, the warning. “Keep it together, okay?”

“I know.”

His clutch tightened, nails cutting. “They’re important.”

“I know.”

She felt a momentary loosening and followed his eyes to her finger, where the ring had left a ghostly imprint.

“We’re here,” the driver said, and Abel slipped his hand from her wrist and interlocked their fingers, tracing circles in her palm………