Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Write Across Ontario: Grade 7 Winning Story by Tamara Fuller

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Write Across Ontario

Open Book loves nothing more than discovering young talent, and we were honoured to partner with Planet IndigenUs and IFOA Ontario for the 2013 Write Across Ontario contest. This year's winners are Tamara Fuller (Grade 7) of Poplar Bank Public School in Newmarket and Sydney Kondreska (Grade 8) of Ecole Gron Morgan in Thunder Bay.

For the Write Across Ontario contest, Grade 7 and 8 students were asked to write a story of 500 words or less that began with a tantalizing and imaginatively challenging story starter by Aboriginal and Canadian author Brian Wright-Mcleod.

Geoffrey E. Taylor, Director of the IFOA, was once again thrilled by the output of our student writers. “The magnitude of the work and the originality of students throughout Ontario is phenomenal,” he observed. “To have the students take a story started by a well-known, published author and turn it into something that is their own is an experience unlike any other.”

As for Open Book, we found that every young writer who was inspired to continue where Brian Wright-McLeod left off took the plot in a different and surprising direction. Though the final decision wasn't easy, we found that the winning writers told their stories with verve and originality, while preserving the tone and the sense of mystery from the story-starter.

Congratulations to Tamara Fuller and Sydney Kondreska!



After a few hours, the men emerged from the dome-shaped structure. The bite of the night air grabbed their very beings as the warmth of the fire greeted their bodies. Madison and Buck slowly swirled onto their backs down onto the cool pine-nettled ground. Exhausted, they looked up at the stars — they felt a new and different peace — something neither man had ever felt before in their lives and for the first time in many years, they felt relaxed and calm. Their damp bodies glistened against the firelight like the stones that surrounded the fire.

Later, Johnny Buck and his grandfather spoke candidly to the detectives about their case — from their own understanding after considering what Madison had explained to them.

“You say you met this spirit face to face and it also entered one of your dreams,” Buck recalled.

Madison confessed, almost hesitantly but with relief knowing that he was now speaking to someone who understood: “Sometimes I’ll see a shadow move ahead of me or like something’s behind me, then when I turn and there’s nothing there — I feel it — but nothing’s there.”

Buck became solemn, “It’s watching you.”

Madison felt his stomach twist uncomfortably as he recalled the eerie memories of that night. The detective watched intently as Madison was engulfed by this horrifying living nightmare.

* * *

I let my eyes trail off the neglected, cold concrete floor up to where a radiant green glow was emerging from the staircase. I knew this was the end. What made me decide to go on such a suicidal mission? Then suddenly, hooded figures started flowing in from all angles like thousands of uncontrolled birds. I shot Buck a worried look, just to see that he was mirroring my face. The most logical thing to do was to run but I sensed that these strange figures would be faster than a hunting tiger.

While I was thinking of a way to get out of the trap, Buck was on the ground attempting to strike one of the creatures. With my body working more than my mind, I dove into the crowd of dark shadows and scrambled to my feet to meet Buck’s limp arm. He was petrified. I slung his torso over my shoulder and froze. I stared into the green eyes of a transparent tattooed man. His mouth moved in odd ways and if I didn’t know any better I would say he was reciting a long, convoluted manuscript in a different language. Buck released his tight grip on my shoulders and hopped down stumbling to keep his balance. The hooded demons blocked his way from exiting. The piercing screams rang powerfully as my fearless friend panicked and fell to the ground.

I crouched urgently, trying to avoid the man’s terrifying gaze. Cautiously, as I crawled through the charcoal cloaks, I realized they were programmed to destroy us. I scurried helplessly toward Buck, dodging hissing hoods and menacing stares from the man. As I finally reached Buck I remembered my knapsack on the ledge of a metal wall. I jumped up and ran to the side of the cold building grabbed my bag, and reached in to get a flashlight and water.

With the hoods watching my every move I gathered my strength and courageously went up to the tattooed man. With the figures getting more fierce and protective, they moved closer making sure I didn’t do anything horrid. With a loud click I opened the water and sprayed it on the tattooed man. As I watched him howl angrily, I flashed the blinding light on his white skin. Without any knowledge of ghosts or immortal creatures, I had no idea if this was going to anger or distract him and give us a chance to escape. To my surprise, his skin started to peel off in sheets of white cloth while the black hoods retreated quickly. The man’s screams rang through the halls as he cried his final word, “MERCY!” His body disintegrated into oblivion. When we escaped we were greeted by black skies and powerful rain hitting our trembling bodies.

Read the Grade 8 winning story by Sydney Kondreska of Ecole Gron Morgan in Thunder Bay.

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