While going through some of my old stuff in preparation for my graduation party a couple weeks ago, I came across a story I wrote when I was in 7th grade for a short story competition. I got second place out of all the junior high students in the Eastern half of the state, and I was (and still am) very proud of that fact. However, now when I read it, it’s awful. Flat out awful. But because I seem to like embarrassing myself, I’m going to let you read it.
Please keep in mind that I was twelve when I wrote this, so please don’t hate on all the clichés and bad grammar, I am very aware they are there, and I restrained myself with great effort from editing this until it was perfect just so you could see how I started out.
The early morning mist formed itself around a sleek, black mare that was galloping toward a girl that was standing quite still enjoying the morning mist.
“Good girl, Promise,” the girl said affectionately to her horse. “You’re the best horse in the world!” she whispered.
“Amy!” A voice shouted.
“I’m coming Mr. Parker!” Amy shouted in reply. “Come on, Promise, let’s go see what Mr. Parker needs.”
Amy ran toward the saddling room with Promise right behind her. When they reached it, Promise went and stood where she was usually saddled.
“Amy, thank goodness you’re here! I need you to saddle Chester, Ace, and Skippy and go and take the three guests in bunkhouse number four, up on an easier trail. The North meadow trail would probably be a good one. I’d help but I’ve got some bridals to fix and a bunkhouse door needs to be repaired,” Mr. Parker told me.
“OK, Mr. Parker.” I replied. After Mr. Parker had left I went over to where Promise stood waiting. I grabbed her bridal off its hook and slipped it over her ears as she willingly opened her mouth to take the bit. Grabbing three other bridals I jumped onto Promise’s back and loped toward the pasture where some of the horses were kept.
After saddling the three horses, Amy saddled Promise. Leading the four horses to cabin number four, she saw a family of three come out of the cabin. The family consisted of a mom, a dad, and a girl that looked about twelve or thirteen years old. They were a very pleasant family. And it turned out to be a very pleasant ride.
A few hours later…
“What do you think you’re doing with that calf?” Shane, Amy’s father said furiously at Amy.
Amy had herded a calf with a cut on its leg in from one of the feed lots and had it in a chute giving it a shot of Penicillin.
“This calf has a cut on its leg and it was beginning to get infected. If it had gotten completely infected it would not have healed without scar tissue meaning that the calf wont sell for the same price as the other calves,” Amy said as calmly as she could. She was fuming inside.
Most of that is not necessarily correct, but I was twelve years old and didn’t know that much back then about wounds.
“Get away from that calf before you do more harm than goo. Go help Mr. Parker fix the fence down by the creek,” Shane replied angrily.
While fixing the fence Amy thought about everything that had happened between her and her father rover the last year or so very carefully. Maybe if she ran away that would make him think about how unfairly he’d treated her. After all, it wasn’t her fault that her mom had died of cancer! Then she realized that running away to her secret hideaway was the only way she was going to get through to her father. Even her closest friend, Will, did not know about her hideaway. But she would have to plan this out. She couldn’t just run off without and food or water! No she would have to get the food and supplies secretly. But how could she get them without people noticing? The only way was to take them a little by little over the time of a week or so.
Then Amy decided. She would do it very soon.
Then she told herself firmly, “I will get through to him, one way or another!”
One week later…
“Amy!” shouted Mr. Parker. When there came no response he shouted a few more times. Then he saw Will walking by.
“will, have you seen Amy today?”
“No Mr. Parker. I was looking for her too. Promise, her saddle, bridle, and saddle bags are all gone too.
That made Mr. Parker worried. “She’s never late to come help me feed the horses and help out with the morning rush!”
“Well, if she’s not back soon we’ll have to tell her father,” Will responded worriedly but not at the prospect of having to tell Amy’s father that she hadn’t shown up for chores but because it was so unlike her to be missing. He hoped she wasn’t hurt somewhere.
“For her sake I hope we don’t have to, he’ll be furious!” Mr. Parker said sadly.
Two days later…
“Mr. Parker do you have any idea where Amy could be?” Shane asked for the hundredth time. Only now with a different tone. It wasn’t quite so angry but filled with concern. He was realizing his faults.
I cannot believe that I didn’t make any semblance of a backstory…
Amy’s plan was working.
I totally forgot to actually explain the “plan”
One week after…
Amy knew it was working because she could hear the search parties calling for her when she too Promise through the forest to se how well her plan was working.
All of the sudden Amy could hear a whooshing noise not too far away in the distance. It was a helicopter!
“Come on, Promise, we have to hurry!” Amy said as Promise ran through the forest toward a cave that she had found and knew well. She had taken Will there before, and that was why she wasn’t hiding there. They had sworn to never tell anyone else about it. Promise started to shy at something in the cave.
“Will! What are you doing here?” Amy said astonished as Will emerged from the cave.
“Amy! You’re OK!” Will exclaimed.
Amy slid down from Promise’s back and ran inside the cave grabbing Will by the arm, dragging him inside with her. Amy knew that the helicopter wouldn’t see the cave because of all the trees.
“Where have you been? Everyone has been worried about you!” Will said a little annoyed. “Your father has even called the police and told them to send a helicopter!”
You cannot actually tell/order the police to do that
Amy looked at Will, seeing all the worry and concern and relief in his face. She couldn’t hold in the tears that she had held in her heart since her mom had died. She broke down crying on the cave floor.
Will looked at Amy in shock. He had never seen her cry so bitterly before. He went and knelt at Amy’s side and wrapped his arms around her, and in return Amy clutched him as if she was drowning.
It took a long time for Amy to calm down. When she did calm down Will looked her straight in the eye and said, “Amy, why did you run away when we all love you so much?”
“Not everyone. Have you not noticed the way my dad treats me? He treats me like an undeserving employee. This seemed like the only way to remind him that I’m his daughter. And I think it worked,” Amy said with her spirits rising at that last statement.
Then Will said softly, “Let’s go home Amy, Let’s go home.”
Wow! That is the WORST conflict resolution I have EVER had in a story. To be fair to myself, that was NOT how I’d planned on ending the story, but I ran out of time before it had to be turned in. I cringed the whole time I read this every time I found a spot where I unnecessarily restated something, or where I could have reworded it to make it sound better. And for crying out loud, I wish my teacher had yelled at me for using “said” so many times. And all the times I should have used exclamation marks but instead used a period or a comma!
It’s terrible, but by some miracle, I won a pretty large competition with it, and it was yet another thing that confirmed in my mind that I wanted to be a writer, so I guess it was worth every cringe-worthy, unoriginal, cliché-filled paragraph.
I hope I didn’t scare you away from reading my (much better) stories from now on. I bought a book called Complete the Story, and it’s chock full of awesome short story ideas.