Posted in fabo story, Prizes!, The Winners!

Sue’s FABO Judging Report

Fabsters, I am so impressed with you all! I was hoping for a bunch of stories that gave me the creeps, and you rose magnificently to the challenge. You had me looking over my shoulder and jumping at the slightest sound, just like Jack the caretaker.

As the entries came in I made a “possible winners” file on my computer, and it grew and grew like a monster in a science lab. Many of you made the connection between green smoke and Miss Green (extra points!). There were also mentions of rats, and Merlinsky and Lancellotus put in an appearance. I love how we seem to be on our way to an entire novel (possibly horror) about this school … which still needs a name. Something to think about? It was also great to see the bonus words used in such inventive ways.

Choosing a winner was incredibly difficult. Before I tell you who are my awesomest of the awesome this time, here are some honourable mentions:

In Noah Fifita’s (Ardgowan School) Jack cleverly defeated a dragon, turning it from fearsome and magnificent into “embarrassed and soggy”.

In Jess Hudson’s well-written story (Remarkables Primary), the smoke became a “thought reader” with Miss Green’s voice. I loved this line: “Jack, I assumed you would have realised by now that I wasn’t my usual self. Green smoke, Miss Green. It connects.”

Deanshi Mani – great writing, but you can’t leave a story without an ending: “He finally got a glimpse of the figure and immediately recognised what it was, and what he saw was unbelievable…” YOU LEFT ME HANGING!

The creepy little boy in Sanjana’s (Marshall Laing Primary School) story sent shivers down my spine.

In just a few paragraphs, Frances from Newtown School managed to write an awesome epic fantasy complete with demons and an entire army. Frances you ALMOST won, but there is clearly a Part 2, so it didn’t really have an ending. FABO stories need endings.

Felicia Chen from Milford Primary School, I loved your happy-memory-eating ghost.

Madeline Renner-Daun from Birkdale Intermediate School, thank you for these two memorable lines, “An indistinct figure, just a flitting shadow in the dark night,” and “Rowan won science fair, and it wasn’t long until the Tim Tams and tea came back.”

Joshua Napier, from Adventure School (this is an actual school name? How cool is that!), your story about blue, green and purple men had me chortling.

Charlotte Sutton’s descriptive writing blew my socks off. The potion in the bottle had a skin on like “gravy left unstirred for too long”. You also mentioned master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe. Clearly you know your spooky stuff.

Bessie Martin from Houghton Valley School, your story ticked all my boxes – well written, great ending. You were a very-nearly-winner. So close!

Stella Peachey from Te Mata School, I LOVED this line: “His personality would have run and hid under the bed, and that’s what it did. But Jack’s brave side stayed and studied the lab.”

Grace Gardner’s story (Te Mata School) was also a very-nearly-winner. It featured two monsters, a bomb, a great conclusion, and used all the bonus words in clever ways.

Emma McLagan (Te Mata School) – your descriptions of the night outside the school window were beautiful, and I’m wondering if I can borrow them for my next ghost story. “It looked as if somebody had thrown a handful of salt into the darkened night. Stars danced among the moving clouds. The moon shone like a glowing orb. The trees whispered to each other in the silence.”

Vanessa Dang Nguyen (Mission Heights Primary) featured in her story a creepy little doll that demanded, “Play with me.” When Jack doesn’t, she banishes him to a place with nothing but books. But Jack loves books (of course!). So she sends him to clean a dungeon for the rest of his life. Brilliant story, Vanessa.

Katie from Te Mata School’s story was beautifully written, and I loved the phrase “little licks of quantam flew out.”

And so to the winners. I couldn’t choose between these two so you both are my FABO champions this time.

Joshua Roberts from Adventure School (another Adventurer!) your story about Donald Trump had my whole family crying tears of laughter, and making people laugh is a great thing to do. On top of that, your story was well-written. Congratulations!

And Finn Wescombe, from Aidanfield Christian School, whose story featured not one but two Jacks, a parallel universe, clones, orbs, and quite a lot of science.

Congratulations everyone, and Finn and Joshua, contact me via the FABO website and I’ll send you both an autographed copy of “The Ghosts of Tarawera”.

Joshua’s story

Jack walked silently as a mouse over to the bench. The green gas smelt like stinky socks and Jack started to feel dizzy. He stopped again and said, “Who’s there?”

A head popped up covered in what looked like a ginger cat from behind the bench. Guess who it was? Jack was surprised to see Donald Trump on the other side of the bench.

“Hey, what are you doing?” said a shocked Jack.

Donald Trump coughed and cleared his throat and said, “I am making obeying potions to force people vote for me, so I can be the President of the United States.”

Jack replied, “It’s not fair to make people vote for you. They should vote for who they want to.”

Donald Trump looked cross and said, “They have to vote for me because I want to be President.”

Jack quickly and carefully picked up the beaker and emptied the green stinky sock-smelling potion into the sink before Donald Trump could reach it.

“Hey, that’s my obeying potion!” shouted Donald Trump.

Jack replied, “The people need to like you to vote for you. You are a silly man with ginger cat hair. Go back home and stop making obeying potions in school science labs.”

Donald Trump picked up his bag and walked out, never to be see again. Jack picked up his mop and bucket and continued to wash the floors, knowing he had saved the people of the United States from Donald Trump.

Finn’s story

The sickly green mixture frothed, rising until it began to seep over the top of the bottle. The drips sizzled as they collided with the heat mat and began to burn a hole. Acid, strong acid. The liquid was rushing down the bottle, searing it, but not breaking its HARG (Heat and Acid Resistant Glass) frame. The bench was slowly but surely disintegrating.

Without hesitation, Jack grabbed an oversized HARG beaker, and handled thick tongs to unceremoniously dump the bottle into it. He sighed with relief and watched the disappearing bench, knowing he could not save it. However, there was still the mystery of the person or thing that had set it up. And why. It would only destroy the workbench and a small section of the floor. There had to be more …

Jack suddenly heard an angry shout and turned to see what seemed to be his own reflection glaring at him and hurling custom swear-words at him. Jack screamed in terror and his copy seemed to notice there was another Jack around. Soon both were striving to calm down, taking deep breaths.

The other Jack began furiously, “You imposter! You come in here, impersonate me, and ruin my window cleaning mixture!”

Jack’s temper wasn’t an improvement. “Some cleaning mixture! Look at that work bench! What a mess!”

“It was an experiment!”

“That’s no excuse for hiding! I was cleaning! This is my job, see!”

“Your job! I was going to make a revolutionary cleaning mixture that disintegrates everything unclean, and I was startled and dropped my tongs when you entered – that’s not hiding!”

“Everything’s unclean, nitwit! Why are you impersonating me?”

“Oh look who’s talking!”

Jack fumbled for words. All he could come up with was; “Stupid.”

“Pardon? Wouldn’t you like the new ‘Perfectly-Clean-Window-Wiper-Stuff’?”

“Stuff?”

“Yeah, stuff.” The reflection turned away and stormed off to the cupboard with the bottle to create another PCWWS mixture.

Jack called after him, “Anyway, you aren’t even Jack!”

The reflection halted abruptly and turned, his face a mask of fury. “Oh I am. My parents are Lancellotus and Merlinsky!”

Jack frowned. “Those aren’t my parents, and the principal isn’t married… oh no, clones loose in the public!”

“I’m not loose, I work here! You’re the imposter!”

Jack scowled. This thing was exactly like him, just with a different background. In books he had read about “parallel universes” where the same people lived with different backgrounds and different decisions. If one where “he” was the son of the principal and librarian had collided with his own, things could get wacko!

“Get lost wayward universe, you’re trespassing on ours! Leave me alone.”

True to Jack’s nature the reflection couldn’t bear seeing someone with a mental breakdown. He started to clean as a coping mechanism. “Look, we can work together. We can return each quantum of this school to brand new, starting with that orb over there.” He gestured to a grimy globe. Jack grinned and began to polish Earth.

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