What Happened to Our Love

Qualified Entry: Fiction Category

By: Rhema Aletor

I hate it when I can’t concentrate; I hate it when the shape of my home- made bread look more like an experiment than a delicacy. Angrily, I push the pan into the oven, no longer minding how the bread would turn out; they would definitely look like my mood at the moment, but I didn’t care. I turn my back on the kitchen and make my way to the living room, which is looking all scattered and unkempt. It’s barely past five in the morning; the whole house is still asleep, somehow, I can feel the motion of their slumber. Continue Reading


The Price of Perfection

Qualified Entry: Fiction Category

By: Hannah Middlebrooks

Every day she boarded the train at 7:13 am.

She was precise and exact, which is what I loved most about her. She was simply never late.

Occasionally I would see her come ten minutes early, but days like that were rare. However, despite their rarity, those days were my favorite. They were the days which I craved. These days always seemed a bit brighter than usual because it was evident that, for her, they were tinged with a bit of hope. Continue Reading

The Writer

Qualified Entry: Fiction Category

By: Sophia Estrada

The writer. The paper. The thoughts. All these elements were important in Jessie’s life. She was the writer, she loved her paper, and she had the thoughts. Jessie never really thought of herself as a writer, more as a normal girl. Quite frankly, she never even though of herself as a “normal girl.” She always escaped through her thoughts, during class, at home, even during important lessons. She was one of the “outcasts” at school. She had her own friends that liked her for who she was. But she never really liked herself. Others thought she was just a quiet nobody. Her home life was no different. After supper and homework, Jessie went to her sanctuary; her bedroom. There she would write what was on her mind, and what she didn’t want on her mind anymore. Jessie was a quiet girl, which her parents worried about. Continue Reading

On Fireflies

Qualified Entry: Non-Fiction Category

By: Yifan Xu

Pulsing is defined by vitality: the rushing of blood, the rhythmic recurrence of strokes and electricity, the contractions of life, the abrupt repeated emissions of light. The word itself consists of two syllables –reminding us of events that consist of two phases: the coming and ebbing of the tide, the turning on and turning off, the waxing and waning of the moon. It is more intentional than flickering or blinking because it is more physical than pure light. It includes the ability to course through arteries and veins, it implies the beating of the heart, the closing and shutting of eyes on a bright day, the coolness and heat of a cloud passing quickly by on a sunny afternoon, the earth circling around the sun so that you can feel champagne bubbling up your nose on New Year’s Eve exactly once every twelve months. It implies a circle and a repeating path. Pulsing seems innocent, oblivious even –it believes in the continuation of life. It seems to believe that everything ends at the beginning in a consistent, beating manner. Continue Reading

The Exodus North

Qualified Entry: Non-Fiction Category

By: Robbie Cox

I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Circle City.  However, when I was three my parents came to the Space Coast of Florida on vacation and never went back.  My dad had fallen in love with the beaches on his visit and decided Eau Gallie was going to be the new home for his family.  The odd thing is that I don’t recall going to those beaches much as I grew up, but he was content, so it was all good.  As it stands, however, outside of an occasional visit to see relatives back in Indianapolis, all I remember of the city was that it was cold and dirty; I abhor cold and I detest dirty.  I wanted nothing to do with the city of my birth, so when I was told that we were moving back there at the beginning of my sophomore year, I was pissed. Continue Reading

Journey Into Destiny

Qualified Entry: Fiction Category

By: H.M. Gruendler-Schierloh

Elisabeth hugged her parents and little sister goodbye on the crowded platform. Tears running down her quivering face gradually nestled in the cotton collar of her white T-shirt until its embroidered rim felt soaking wet.

“Now, don’t be silly,” her mother said, her voice hoarse with suppressed emotions. “It is only for a short time and remember, this is supposed to be an educational project as well as a big adventure.” Continue Reading


Qualified Entry: Non-Fiction Category

By: Jerry Paine

The Dramatic Story Of A Life Saved On Nuttings Lake And The Heroes Who Did It

It happened in an instant. I dropped my canoe paddle in the lake and as it started to float away, I instinctively reached over the side of the canoe to grab it. Bad move. In the blink of an eye I was dumped into the middle of Nuttings Lake in December with no life jacket. As I struggled to right my canoe and retrieve fishing rods and tackle boxes, the numbing cold water brought me to a stark reality. The clock was ticking. I had little time. I had to make decisions fast. Continue Reading

Shadows of Death

Qualified Entry: Fiction Category

By: Diana Ng

I am on an island floating in a galaxy.  The sky is a gradient of pink and purple with tufts of white clouds and clusters of stars scattered about.  There is a giant tree with curtains of green leaves and the tall grass sways as the wind swirls my long black hair around me.  I sit underneath the tree, cross my legs lotus style, close my eyes and begin to meditate. Continue Reading