February Flash ’24: Youth Division

Tween Division Winner

“The Mistake” by Gemma Skinner

Hi! My name’s Vanessa Von Bell. But you can just call me Vanessa. My family and I live in a snow globe. I know, it’s pretty cool, literally. But we have to live in a tree. Living in a tree is not fun, but living in a snow globe is, especially for someone who loves the snow, like me. Every day is Christmas here, too!

I’m going to tell you a story of how my house became not-a-tree. But um, yeah, I kind of made a mistake during Christmas. So, here’s that story.

I just woke up. I could smell bacon. Grandma was cooking for us. I heard my brother, Troy, banging on my door. He does this every Wednesday. My parents were at work. That’s why Grandma was cooking for us. She doesn’t make bacon as good as dad. But I mean, it’s bacon, right? Who doesn’t love it?

I was in bed on my phone until my mom and dad got home. Right after, grandma left. Troy was playing with his cars and bear toys. I was ready to pull down the tarp that Santa put on the tree this year. I knew it was so Troy couldn’t peek at the presents. Today was a special day, and I’m glad Santa didn’t spoil him because he’s already pretty spoiled. It feels like he’s got a million cars and a million toy bears.

I didn’t think that I would get presents because I covered the bathroom in rose petals, though, there was a present for me. My mom and dad were smiling, tired from work, they said in a quiet voice, “go on, it is your Christmas present, after all.”

I gave them a big smile. While Troy was playing with his new gaming console, I opened my present and there was a big red color burst! I looked around. Everyone was stuck to the floor except me. The whole house, even the windows and my phone, were turned into rose petals. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had wished for roses. As you see, it didn’t work out so well.

I wondered if I was dreaming. I saw a toy. Not Troy, a toy, from when I was one. It was a toy owl, and it was the only other thing that wasn’t turned into roses other than me. And owls like trees.

The house became a tree house again. So, I realized after that, little things are still important. My home is a big thing, though!

a blue snowglobe with a house and tree inside, covered with snow

Teen Division Winner

“The Big Brother Robot” by Napoleon Read

Michael hears the bells ringing but does not want to put the effort into getting up. “Michael wake up, wake up,” says a small whisper. “Wake up, the Council is coming.” When Michael hears this he jolts up out of bed.

“I need to get to the bunker.” He runs past his kid brother, Peter, who throws himself flat on the wall. “Where’s my knife, where is it?” says Michael, scrambling under his bed, before he sees the glint of the knife edge in the corner of his bed. Grabbing it then scrambling out from under his bed, he rushes to the couch pushing it to the side, before he jumps down the man-sized hole.

After crawling for what felt like years Michael finally hears the sound of rushing water. Michael tries to go as fast as he can but because of the lack of light he goes too far and drops ten feet into the concealed sewage river. Diving down into the murky water Michael’s lungs fill with water before he floats up unconscious. Peter runs down the tunnels and sees Michael laying on the ground, Peter immediately starts doing CPR after a while Michael starts throwing up water.

“Michael, Michael, you alright?” screams Peter, “Michael don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.” Peter slams on Michael’s chest and gushes out water.

Michael, still foggy, wakes up. “Where am I?” whispers Michael.

“We are by the sewage river, you never made it to the bunker,” cries Peter of joy that his brother is still alive.

Michael gets up slowly and a jolt of pain goes through his whole entire body. “Ow,” Michael falls back onto the ground. “I think my ribs are broken.”

“Do you think we can bring you to the hospital, even if you are wanted?” Peter says while helping Michael back up to his feet.

“I think we can, but we have to disguise ourselves as someone else.” Michael tries to walk over to the bunker but his body is shutting down on him. “Peter, I think you will have to carry me…e.”

So Peter picks up Michael and walks a couple hundred feet to the bunker but each step feels like a mile. When he gets there he opens it and sets Michael down on one of two beds and walks over to the closet, the only other piece of furniture. He opens it up and sees a whole bundle of clothes. He grabs the ripped up clothes so the hospital won’t be suspicious of Michael’s injuries. He throws them on top of Michael’s clothes and himself and then starts his way to the nearest hospital.

When Peter arrives at the hospital the building is tattered and is weathered from the rain and wind. He is exhausted and when he sees a nurse he asks her, “My brother he is seriously injured, he needs help immediately.”

The nurse turns towards him and replies, “That is what they all say.”

“No seriously he needs help, he has a couple broken ribs,” Peter cries out.

“Well then you need to get into that line over there and hope that it moves real fast,” the nurse says with a little bit of aggravation. When Peter sees what line she is talking about, he almost passes out from how long the line is, it stretches all the way outside of the 100 foot corridor. Peter carries Michael over to the back of the line, but as soon as he gets there, a small explosion goes off inside of the building. The force shakes the tattered building, sending glass and other heavy objects falling on the line of people. Peter rushes in to take cover but Michael weighs him down so Peter is slowing down but as he is going a piece of twisted metal comes falling right in front of Peter. He runs around the twisted piece of metal and rushes into the hospital. Nurses and doctors rush in checking people to see if they were hurt in the blast. The same Nurse comes running over and starts to check on Michael. “Oh my, his ribs are really broken. Doctor, doctor, we have a serious patient over here,” shouts the Nurse.

“Let me take a good look at him,” as the doctor started to check him, then he realized, “Oh, my someone brings me a gurney.” Someone comes rushing in with a gurney and props it so they could pick him up. They wheel him into a x-ray room and start taking pictures then they find out that it is worse than expected that his ribs are broken but they are not made of bone they are made of metal everything inside of him is metal. “NO, NO, IT CAN’T BE, IT CAN’T BE.” cries Peter.

“I’m so sorry,” replies the doctor, “but we can’t cure him, and he is too dangerous to be around people, so we have to put him down.”

“NO, NO, NO,” wails Peter. “Someone please help me get him out of here,” asks the doctor.

A nurse comes walking over and grabs Peter by the shoulders and gently but with a firm grip guides Peter out of the room. The nurse brings him over to a chair and sets him down. Peter sits there for what feels like an eternity, going back through all the memories of him and Michael. Peter stands up and starts to walk over to where Michael’s room is and opens the door and cries out “I … I don’t care if he is a robot, let me and him live together in a remote area.”

“I don’t know but maybe we could let that happen,” says the doctor.

After several months of paperwork, the government allows Peter to live on a secluded island with Michael.

the top half of a shiny white robot with a blank face