Another week, another kidlit contest, another prompt that seems totally uninspiring until I figure out how to make it work with my brain and the things I love to write about. The words skeleton, creep, and mask don't really live in my world- I'm a total wimp when it comes to all things spooky. But I'm always amazed at the magic that happens when I start to look at the possibilities beyond the first impressions. And I'm proud to share this little story that clocks in right at 100 words.
Thanks for reading!
Emma knew Grandma’s room was off-limits, but Grandma was busy doting on trick-or-treaters.
Emma had tried every lock in the house with the tarnished skeleton key she discovered glinting under the basement stairs. All except the cedar trunk at the foot of grandma’s bed.
Emma crept upstairs and waited until the doorbell rang to creak open the bedroom door. She knelt by the box and the key gave a satisfying clunk in the lock.
“You found my key.” Emma startled at Grandma’s voice. “Go on.”
A golden mask glimmered beneath the heavy lid. Grandma smiled. “You’ve unlocked a magnificent memory.”
I'm Ciara. It's pronounced Key-are-ah, and it's a good story.
I'm from Vermont's green mountains and Nebraska's golden plains. I've lived under Seattle's sweet grey skies since 2013.
I'm a writer and a dancer and a teacher and a human. I make art and magic and, on occasion, cookies.
I didn't think I wanted a blog, but I must be doing it for a reason. I usually have reasons for things, but I don't always know what my reasons are.
Anyway, I don't plan to be here much, but I might pop in from time to time.
All my best,
I'm excited to be sharing my first writing contest entry today! I'm proud of this little story and the threads of myself that are woven into it. I'm also really thankful to Fall Frenzy for the opportunity and inspiration to stay up until 4:30 in the morning bringing it to life, and to my critique partners for the accountability and quick feedback for revision!
Claire knew the spell for spring. At the end of winter, she mixed herbs and light, water and warmth into her cauldron. Green steam swirled up from the pot and slowly, slowly, the prairie bloomed into life.
But today was the autumnal equinox. As autumn witches prepared the prairie for winter, the grasses turned gold, then brown, then dusty white. Claire stood in the rustling stalks, her face red as the maple grove.
Claire understood the cycle of the seasons—growing, fullness, fading, rest. She understood the plants withered now so they could grow again in spring. But she felt like she was withering, too.
She cradled a thin stem laden with seed pods and pictured its roots spreading deep under the soil. A thought unfurled. Even through the dead of winter, the prairie must stay alive underground.
So Claire mixed herbs and light, water and warmth, into her cauldron again. Green steam swirled up from the pot and disappeared. But when she cupped the seeds and brushed her fingers on the ground, she could feel it—a single drop of spring in every seed and every root to keep them warm through the winter.
By Ciara McCormack Greenwalt