Rose Million Healey Winner

This week, we honor five very talented young writers, all from our summer camp workshops. These five young ladies were selected as the winner and finalists of our 2010 Rose Million Healey Award in Short Fiction, which was founded by Patrick Million to honor of his Aunt Rose Million Healey, the woman who most inspired him to pursue writing.

The contest winner, Keri, is also published in the latest edition of Emerge: Youth Voices in Ink, but you can also read her work here. In the subsequent days, we’ll be publishing the work of our four finalists.

The Song of Words

At the corner of Fourth Street and Elm, an office with glass walls towered over the city. Looming like a great shadow, it glared through its windows at the people strolling down the sidewalk. Bright dresses, paint-splattered shorts, men carrying guitars and whistling as they walked—all these people bent their necks and hurried past the glass building. To them, the air seemed fouler on this block, so thick and suffocating they could hardly breathe. Only suits passed through the building’s flapping doors. Crunching numbers in their heads, the suits rushed to their cubicles, blind to anything but the elevator and the coffee pot.

From her own cubicle, Diana watched the suits hurry in. She leaned back in her chair, fingers resting on the computer keys, and observed the morning rush of business people. At the end of the hall, the elevator doors swung open and another gust of suits scampered into their cubicles, eager to attack their to-do lists. Diana pulled herself toward her computer screen and gazed into its synthetic depth. Layer upon layer of Dianas stared back at her, reflected through the mirror that hung behind her back. Each Diana gazed out with a pair of dismal eyes. Each mouth hung like an upside down horseshoe with all the luck dripping down the chins.Read More »



Help! I am lost near the Bermuda Triangle.
There are weird noises and it’s foggy.
There is a waterspout! There are sharks up to 25 feet!
I’m on a remote island, and I’m lost in the jungle.
I hear cazzzzaaa, then there’s a thunder sound,
after that I see a flat disc with lights and hear whecazzzz.
I’m tall and dark with a sailor outfit, and black hair and brown shoes.
I was with my crew, but they sank and died
when a giant squid attacked us.
It was 48 feet tall and red, with 10-foot-long tentacles.
They drowned, but I survived.
I’ve seen snakes up to twenty feet long, and bugs 6 feet tall that fly.
I saw a plant called a Venus Flytrap. It was 12 feet tall with 7-inch teeth
with a red mouth and a green outside body.
I’ve seen spiders bigger than puppies.
I’ve been here for eight weeks. I’m 32 years old.
I’m an adult sailor without a compass.
I’ll send more letters.

June 13, 1902



Tick tock, tick tock! I stared at the clock. It seemed like eternity before the bell would ring.

“Time to pass out your tests from last Friday,” Ms. Depsey said. A groan was released from everyone in the class, except for me. I knew what I got.

“Horrible. Disgusting. Bleh. One question correct, Jeremy. Jordan, the twenty-eighth president was not Michael Jordan. And Rachel, best grade in the class! You all could learn something from Rachel!”

The bell rang! I grabbed my A paper. I was always the last out because I had to put my papers away before they fell over. I took out my Purell.

I have OCD. I don’t have a really bad case, but I still have it. Because I have this problem (and great grades) I kinda scare people. If someone I don’t know touches me, I freak out and have to wash immediately. Everything has to be in place for me and I keep every paper clip I find in case I might need it. I have one friend. Her name is Ella, and she has gotten used to my weird ways. Because of this, I’m not very far up on the social ladder.

But I’m hoping to change that.

“You did great!” Ms. Dempsey said.

“Thanks,” I said. I left the classroom and went to my locker. I whipped out a whip and turned the lock.

“Hey. So how was class?” Ella said.


“And the test?”

I nodded my head.

“Are you ready for try outs?”

I had been planning on trying out for the cheerleading squad. Ella wanted to at first, but thought I would be better. As we were walking to the gym, a feeling started in my stomach.

“I’m not so sure about this, Ella.”

“It will be okay.”

We hustled to the gym. I watched the girls as they shouted and twirled. I wondered if I would ever be that good

“Next up, Rachel Aller,” the head cheerleader Stacey Sharp read. I walked up and stood there.

“Get some pom-poms!” I heard Ella yell. Eww. I couldn’t touch those. I looked at the bin of pom-poms. I could just see the little germs squiggling all over my hands.

“Can I do mine without pom-poms?”

The cheerleaders nodded.  “Can you do a cartwheel?”

I nodded then. I looked at the floor as I started to bend. AHHHH! The gym floor was grimier than the pom-poms.

“Can’t I do that another time?”

“If you’re not gonna do anything, then just go!” Stacey yelled. And I realized I could never be a cheerleader. I was just doing this for Ella. I ran out the door and into the bathroom.

Ella ran after me. “Rachel, wait!”

I ran into a stall and started to weep. How could I have ever thought that I was going to be a good cheerleader!

“Rachel, listen.”

“No, I was stupid to ever think I could get over my OCD!” I said. “I’m not going back out there!”

“Ok, no. You’re not doing this again! This is your one chance to show that you’re not the weird girl who washes her hands every five minutes. I know you can do this! I believe in you!” I was moved. I unlocked the stall and started to the gym.

“I’d like a redo,” I told Stacey.


I started to move to the music. I forgot about the germs and went for it. I did all the cheers Ella and I had practiced and even pulled off a back flip. Once I was finished, I threw my hands in the air. I could hear cheering and clapping, but nothing was as loud as my heartbeat.

“Wow,” one of the flyers said. I looked at Stacey. Her mouth was just open and wide.

“You’re on the squad!” Claire, the co-captain, said over the crowd. I looked around the crowd. I saw Ella cheering the loudest. I knew I made her proud. That was all I wanted.


My Big Brother

My brother is loving and caring. He was born in Austin, Texas. One time, he took me to a football game, but my mom was a little worried because he was only eighteen. I said, “You can trust him,” and when we got to the game he didn’t let me go anywhere by myself. That shows he was watching out for his sis. I love him very much as family, but sometimes he can be a little rough. Still, I always look up to him no matter what. He will always be a great person and a brother. He’s going to school, but I know he will always have time to tickle me, torture me, and play funny games with me. Still, we’ll have a blast.


Superpowers I Wish I Had

If I had superpowers, I would have speed, flight, laser beams, and invisibility.
This is how I would use them:
For super-speed I would beat everyone in tag.
For flight, it would be fun.
For laser beams . . . well, you know.
For invisibility, I would beat everyone in hide-and-seek.
(I would also do that thing Batman does and fight crime.)
That’s all, folks!!!


My Dad

My dad is very fun, has nice hair and wears really nice clothes. Let me tell you how fun he is. First, he will play outside with us. He will play games with us and he will never get tired.

He wears a nice shirt with some shoes. He always wants to look good for my mom. His hair is black, silky and very soft and shiny. So, if you want to learn about my dad, just listen to another one of my stories.


Floating Car

Once upon a time there was a killer that just escaped and went to a store. He robbed food, soda, and many bottles to drink. He robbed a new car and he realized that it could go on the water. The army came in coat-camouflaged suits. The man robbed a kid that was was thirteen. He pushed the kid in the car and the man went as fast as he could. One of the army truck men pushed the pedal so fast it broke the car. The car was on a beach that was all sand. Many people ran away. The broken army truck bumped the car, it flew into the air, it landed on the water, it could float. So the kid found bottles, paper, and pencils all over the place; he wrote a letter, and threw it in the ocean.


The Yummy Treat

The President of the United States got a phone call informing him that aliens were invading. The aliens said they had tanks and weapons loaded with candy. If the President didn’t make a law to clean up the world, the aliens would make everyone eat chocolate and candy. But the President didn’t make that law, so the aliens blocked the White House door so no one could save the President.

The President said, “If I don’t live, tell my three children and wife I love them.”

Then the aliens came out of their tanks and helicopters and airplanes. But when the aliens touched the floor, they died quick as roadrunners. The aliens died because they were made of cookies, and the President and the whole world loved to eat cookies.


The Miracle

In a beautiful country called Mariposa, there lived a very pretty girl named Mary Jane. Mary Jane had a huge dream. Her dream was to become a famous actress and singer. The only problem was that her family was very poor so they couldn’t afford her studies. One day Mary Jane was walking by this plaza where there were all kinds of stores. In one store there was a sign on the door that advertised a scholarship. Mary Jane ran to her house and told her parents about it. The family called for the scholarship but the store owner told Mary Jane’s family that Mary Jane first had to take a test. Three days later Mary Jane went to the address she was given and took the test. She passed it! Mary Jane went to Los Angeles for the scholarship.

Well, as you know, she lived happily ever after.


The Last Time I Felt Truly Alive

The last time I felt the cold touch of the rain.
The last time I felt the rush of a cool breeze.
The last time I felt the warmth of the sun on my cheek.
The last time I heard the songbirds singing.
The last time I tasted the midnight air.
The last time I smelled the sweet roses.
The last time I felt alive, was the last time I felt truly happy.