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Power of the Pen Winning Entry 1

Grace Mullet 

“Light Over Darkness”

Prompt: The list. Use this key word as the central theme of your story.


I peered patiently through the small crack in my cubbyhole. There sat Amber at her furnished oak desk. She was using a magenta crayon as she wrote down a small checklist of things needing to be colored. I bit down on my lip and crossed my non-existent fingers for luck. Suddenly she stopped and rose silently from her chair. Amber made her way over to my home – the crayon cubby – and shifted around through its contents. She selected navy, granny-smith apple, chestnut and ocean. “Please, oh please pick me!” I muttered in desperation.

I, Sunshine, had never been used. In fact, I was so brand new every other crayon made fun of me, mocking my loneliness.

I felt something foreign touch my wax and I jumped, unaware of what was happening. Then, I was being lifted into the air. It was amazing.

“Whee! Look at me guys, I’m flying!” I rejoiced, although no one seemed to care. As I was being carried, I took in the environment. Everything looked so different out here. And beautiful, absolutely beautiful. The yellow sun streamed in through the glass window and lit up everything. Ah, so this is the life of a crayon.

Amber set me down gently on the soft wood. I shifted slowly, just enough to sneak a peak at the checklist Amber had made earlier.

                        ‘Meadow of daffodils – check’

                        ‘Small stone cottage – check’

                        ‘Large thunderstorm – check’

                        ‘Rays of sunshine – no check’

I only then noticed a beautiful drawing to my left.

        The details were astonishing, each strand of grass in the meadow was as delicate as the feather of a cockatoo. The bricks on the cottage were intricately patterned, each having a unique design of its own. It took my breath away, and I felt honored to be a part of it.

       However, overhead of the beautiful scenery a dark, ominous storm loomed. As threatening as it seemed, I knew that I would be the sunshine – the hero.

       “Psst, psst. Hey Goldie, over here!” a sneer came from the crayon box. I rolled over and sneakily (as not to attract Amber’s attention) and peeked in. there sat Midnight, the meanest, most nasty crayon in the entire room. I swallowed the collection of saliva in my throat and called forth my courage.

       “Yes, Midnight?” my voice shook like whiskers on a mouse.

       “So word in the box is that you’re finally been given a job. Is that right, squirt?” he mocked.

       “Y-yes sir. That is right.”

       “Well you see pip-squeak, your job is to break through the storm I’ve created above that cottage over there.” He motioned towards the artwork. “And that just breaks my heart that you’re gonna fail your first job.” I knew his heart was perfectly fine. Just as I was about to test my sass, I was lifted away from Midnight and towards the drawing.

      Amber used a gentle touch as she gracefully glided my point over the cardstock. As the padding on her thumb nudged me along, determination filled me. I could beat Midnight’s storm, and I would. There was no way I could fail the last line on Amber’s list.

      I used my strength and pushed down harder, causing a strong, dandelion color to spread like mustard across snow. Harder and harder I fought, pressing back on Midnight’s storm with as much force as I could muster. When suddenly – SNAP!

      I tottered over and laid on the wood in unbearable pain. I dared to open my eyes, only to se a gut-wrenching sight before me. My perfect, unused point had snapped off and was lying an inch away. I groaned and closed my eyes trying to block out the pain. Just as I was about to slip into darkness I was flying again.

      I was half aware of being placed in a miniscule, cold hole and suddenly I laughed. A whirring noise was heard, and I could barely contain my laughter, it tickled. After a few minutes of this I was removed and to my surprise a new point was formed and the pain evaporated.

      Soon enough I was back to fighting back Midnight’s ominous storm and within minutes I had won. I did it! I was so happy I felt like a piñata ready to burst. Then, Amber lifted me and I saw fearless Midnight in all irony, pale and upset.

      I can clearly remember the amazing feeling of pride and contentment as I was used to check off the last box on the list. 

Power of the Pen Winning Entry 2

Alisha Hershberger – “Mr. Giggles”

Prompt: Obsolete. As years go by we no longer have use for some things. Write about one of them that we no longer need.


I scavenged through my room. I turned over my bed; sheets were draped halfway off of the mattress. My drawers were all pulled out of the dresser. All of my belongings were scattered across the floor and I tried not to trip over my mounds of clothes.

        I stomped into the middle of the hallway where everyone could hear me. “Where is Mr. Giggles!” I screamed. My little bother Matt stepped out of his room looking annoyed. Meanwhile, my dog ran downstairs with her tail between her legs frightened by the tone of my voice.

        “I haven’t seen your crummy old stuffed rabbit. Why do you still have that ball of worn out stuffing anyway? It’s not like you need it anymore, you’re already ten years old.”

        I scowled at my brother. “He is not just some stupid toy. He is a companion. A friend who listens to my problems.”

        Matt rolled his eyes. “I feel sorry for that stuffed bunny. I wouldn’t be able to take it if I had to listen to you gab all day.”

        I huffed an impatient sigh. “Just help me find him.”

        “What makes you think I’ll help you?”

        A smirk appeared on my face. “Well, I do have money and a full Hershey’s bar left.” I could see the excitement in my seven-year-old brother’s eyes, though he tried to contain it.

        “Alright, let’s start downstairs.”

        We entered the basement together in search of Mr. Giggles. I began to look at the left side of the room while Matt looked on the right. It wasn’t long before I heard Matt call my name.

        “Um, Callie you may want to see this,” he pointed to our dog’s bed. I let out a small gasp when the horror was revealed.

        There on my dog’s bed was a beheaded Mr. Giggles. His stuffing was sprawled across the ground. Gingerly, Matt picked up Mr. Giggles and his head.

        “I’m so sorry for your loss. Now can I have my prize?”

        “It’s upstairs,” I replied numbly. Matt jogged up the stairs just as my mother entered through the front door.

       “My word, Callie what happened? You look as though you’ve seen a ghost.”

       With trembling hands, I presented my injured friend. My mother looked at me with concerned eyes.

       “Are you alright sweetie?”

       I didn’t answer. I just stared at my brown bunny who was drained of his stuffing.

       “Tell you what,” my mother began. “why don’t you gather up his remains and I’ll try to sew him back up.”

       I watched my poor pal during his surgery. My mother tried to carefully lace his torn body back up. After a painful wait, my mother finished the surgical procedure by reattaching Mr. Giggles’ head. Finally, my little munchkin was fixed. I grabbed him quickly and headed to my room.

      However, as I was about to put Mr. Giggles on his pedestal, Matt’s words ran through my head.

      It’s not like you need it anymore you’re already ten years old.

      He was right. All I ever did with Mr. Giggles was sit him on a desk or talk to him. I really don’t have use for him after all. I had stopped playing with toys for two years now.

      I bravely marched into the kitchen and handed my mother the bunny. “What are you doing?” my mother questioned.

      “I want you to give this bunny to one of the kids at the orphanage you work at.”

      Baffled, my mother took Mr. Giggles. “Are you sure?”

      I nodded. “Mr. Giggles is a toy he needs to be played with. I can no longer do that for him, so I want to give him to someone who can.”

      My mother gave me a warmhearted smile. “That is a very nice thing for you to do Callie. I’m sure one of the kids would love to have your bunny.”

      I warm bubbly feeling rose up in me. I felt good about giving someone else an item I no loner have a need for. For I know it will make them happy because they can use it. 

Power of the Pen Winning Entry 3

Power of the Pen

Kayli Keim – “When You Outgrow Your Mother”

Prompt: Outgrown. Write about something that is no longer an important part of your life.


Finally! The day of my salvation has come. I am a teenager. There must be nothing greater. Childhood was perhaps slightly sweet, but those days are no longer a part of my life. The tween stages were awkward, I mean really. Either you tower over everyone or you are trampled underfoot by a herd of elephants.

        For me, a teenager saved by entering the wise world of the elderly, there will be no more running for protection. I doubt I will ever say the word “mommy” again. Within a year surely I will have outgrown even mother. My mother will be like that terribly ugly reindeer sweater I’ve finally outgrown. No reason to keep it? No reason to save it? Well then, good-bye!

        Tonight I have the privilege of tasting adulthood for the first time. I’m going to the movies, with a boy! “Bzzzz!” He’s here!

       The two of us are siting side by side in a pitch black movie theater. A joly runs through my spine from the thrill. The screen lights up. Images blur across the screen as they are projected.

       They’re boring of course. Boys don’t seem to mature as quickly as girls. Even as teenagers they watch stupid shows about guns and war. My mother would argue that their choice of movies alone proves they are not worthy of even being in existence to girls (a.k.a., me) as their choices simply prove they aren’t mature. However, I always argue back, with a sigh, “But they’re boys!”

Bang!” the slamming sound awakens me from my daydreaming. In my fright I garb the hand of the boy next to me. He glances my way, but his glance turns into a warmth filled gaze. A dreamy look comes over his eyes. His face seems to be nearing mine, his nose is soon millimeters from mine. As his lips pucker though, I realize his intentions and scream, “What do you think you’re doing!?”

        He looks at me like his actions were very obvious. In his immature state of mind he is probably also wondering why I don’t have a dreamy gaze on my face. He once again puckers his lips for an answer. Frustrated, I let out another yelp and smack the ridiculous face he has put on. I run out of the theater to the amusement of onlookers and to a very befuddled boy.

        I streak past buildings, racing time itself to escape the horror of a boy whom I had been with. I happen to catch a glance of myself in a storefront and notice my demeanor is much changed from the afternoon. My face is plastered with a mask of hurt and my once perfect curls flying behind me are surrounded by salty tears, flying in the night air.

My feet stumble across the doorstep of my house. I push open with the little strength that hasn’t been sucked out of me. I am met by a startled mother. “Mommy!” I cry.

        “What’s wrong honey?” she asks me with a puzzled look.

        “Oh mommy, boys are so mean.” She cradles me in her arms as I sob. She comforts me with her love and consolation, “Yes honey, I know.”

        As my dad approaches our huddle, I murmur to my mother, “I’ll never outgrow you again, we’ll always fit together perfectly.”

Power of the Pen Winning Entry 4

Aleah Schrock – “I’m a Suffragette Now”

Prompt: Outgrown. Write about something that is no longer an important part of your life.


“JESSICA!” and I was beset upon by a mob of primped, stylish and surprisingly strong (as proven by their kidney-bruising squeezes) mob of girls.

        “Oh, uh, hi Beatrice.” I greeted the girl in the red dress with a waist so tiny it almost wasn’t there. “What are you doing here?”

        She tittered with a giggle that was immediately copied by the rest of her minions. “Oh, Jessica! Always a joker, our little Jessie!” She squeezed my cheek with two fingers that probably could have cracked walnuts. “You know why we’re here! For the ball!”

        I froze in mid-spin. “B-ball?” I sputtered in shock. “What ball?”

        “Oh, stop kidding around, Jessie!” “The one being thrown here!” “You know!” “Why else would we be at this building?” The chorus of voices almost burst an eardrum.

        “Oh, there must be some mistake. I was told there was to be a convention. Isn’t there? In the auditorium?” Suddenly, light flashed across the sky and the murky, gray thunderheads released the torrents they had held all day. Rain splattered the cobblestones, and immediately all the modes of transportation on the street, from buggies to automobiles, started trying for a free lane, somewhat noisily.

        Beatrice rolled her eyes and placed a patronizing hand on my shoulder.

        “Now Jessica,” she began. “Who told you that?”

        “My…” I paused for a second, until realization hit me like a raindrop smacking the pavement. “My father. Duh, I’m so stupid,” Since when did he want to go to a suffrage meeting? He’s tried to stop me all the other times. Ugh, I am way too gullible. I glanced down at my silk dress, embroidered with Belgian lace. “And dress up? I can’t believe I fell for it.”

        “Well…” Mary, another cohort of Beatrice, suggested. “Why don’t you go to the ball with us? It’ll be fun!”

        I groaned. Dancing with every foot-crushing oaf of a boy there, eating dried, chewy hors d’oeuvres and gossiping until my mind felt like a stuffed pillow wasn’t exactly fun. But two pairs of, again, surprisingly strong hands, drew me into the ball. And before I knew it, the sounds of Mozart were assaulting my ears and the scents of too much cologne and perfume were suffocating me.

        And then I was tortured for two hours straight, forced to waltz and foxtrot with every boy who asked me by Beatrice, forced to consume very piece of stale food that came my way by Mary and finally forced to gossip with every matron who appeared by whichever flotilla of girls happened to be by my side at the moment.

        I would have rather been burned at the stake. Okay, not literally, but I’d outgrown this and it wasn’t important anymore.

        Finally, after much cajoling, promising, coaxing and downright lying I managed to get outside, into the downpour which still hadn’t stopped and hailed a cab, which barreled through the streets of New York City like the driver was insane.

        When I got to our mansion, I stormed straight into my father’s office, a maiden on a mission.

        He was sitting behind his mahogany desk, his black suit immaculate, his silk tie straight, smoking a Havanna and reading the Times, his salt and pepper hair combed, every strand in place.

        “Father!” I glared at him, hoping that maybe, just this once, looks could kill, channeling my inner Medusa.

        “Not now, Jessica.” He dismissed me with a wave of his hand.

        I didn’t take no for an answer. Instead I marched around and yanked the cigarette out of his mouth, ignoring his cry of protest. “How dare you!” I reprimanded. “Do you know how much I hate balls?”

        “Jessica, honey, it was one night! And you used to love partying! What happened to my little girl?” he set down his newspaper and looked up, his voice almost sad with his defense.

        I rolled my eyes. “Here’s what happened, father. I grew up. That’s not for me anymore. I don’t care about waltzing or gossiping. That’s the old me. I’m a suffragette now!”

        And I left the room.  

The covers of the local edition of The Budget are uploaded weekly. It should be noted that the paper comes out each Wednesday. It is available for purchase at The Budget in Sugarcreek as well as through a subscription. In addition, there are various businesses that offer the newspaper for sale.