Posted in The Winner

FABO Judge’s Report: Kathy White

A cat ban. A mother with a secret. And a phrase – They Are Us.

I’m stunned that you imagined so many different types of stories based on this dilemma. A loved cat’s life could have ended. And how did you respond?

There were over 100 entries in total. You had a lot of ideas, from the mother being half-cat, a were-cat, the hulk, a witch, an ogre, GreenBlood, shapeshifter, secret service agent, alien and just a loving, determined mother who was willing to fight for what is right.

Cats were hidden in the cellar, the attic, a portal and even the planet, Kirilia. Cats were rescued in backpacks. Humans transformed into cats and went to war. Kids scaled parliament walls and blew up parliament, and some simply used the lovable nature of cats to persuade Jacinda Ardern to reconsider her attitude to pests. A few of you even got the government to decide that cats are actually great animals, but dogs should be eradicated instead. What a twist to the story! Rita did a bit of mind-control with mist. Kendall’s trick went horribly wrong, and the mother turned psycho. Ayden said cats were only the start; Humans were next. That was a very sinister thought.

Some of my favourite lines?
It’s almost as if without cats, the world is dying (Edie).
If you knew about this, you would have told everyone because that is just what teenagers do (Alivia).
Finally there was a pop and I became a big, fluffy Birman (Samuel).
“Your mother treats cats like kings and queens” (Katherine).
“Every night your mother creeps out of bed and brings home in the morning, a dead fish” (Harry).
What if it is our job to keep all the cats safe? (Claire)
I returned to my bed with droopy eyes and legs like overcooked spaghetti (Rita).
We are as silent and as swift as snakes (Paige)
“Is Gwandad my Fwankie?” (Chloe)
She is the government (Charlotte).

Great characters and natural dialogue:
Chloe, Ruben, Kyla, Sylvie, and Neisha.

Some of my favourite endings?
Dad also cried a little bit of joyfulness (Michelle).
Craters were scattered everywhere – and there was Frankie, slinking through the variant aliens, releasing a loving mew from her jaws (Niamh).

Maia O’Callaghan had a fabulously clever bitter-twist in her ending. When the police turned up to arrest her mother for being a shape-shifting GreenBlood, Josie gave up Frankie, saying he was her mother.

The Winner

The winner this week is Chloe Morrison-Clarke of Casebrook Intermediate, who wrote a well-balanced and well-paced story with a mix of logic, surprise, and a funny ending. Congratulations, Chloe. You did a fabulous job, but I still want to know what happens to Fwankie AKA Gwandad. Please use the Contact Form on the website to let me know where I can send your prize.

A high five to all of you for entertaining me with your lovely and lively writing this week.

Chloe’s Winning Story

I sucked in my cheeks. A flurry of emotions swirled up in my chest as I mulled over the rather interesting idea that my mother ( who, by the way, recently inflicted untold embarrassment upon her poor, unsuspecting daughter by informing her school principal that her skirt was too short) might actually be hiding a deep, dark secret …

My eyes fell upon Tim, who met my gaze with the same suppressed excitement I felt pumping through my veins. We simultaneously flopped onto the scratched couch and were quiet, eager to hear more.

Dad took a huge breath like he was about to blow up an enormous balloon, snuck a sidelong look at mum, then began.

“The reason we are NOT going to give up Frankie to those … cat killers, is because … Frankie is your grandad.”

“WHAT?” I exclaimed.
“Is Gwandad my Fwankie?” asked Tim, desperately confused.
I snorted.
Dad had obviously lost his marbles.

“Tim, Josie, Your mother is a witch,” he continued.

My freshly plucked eyebrows skyrocketed and I bit back a wide grin.

Mum stared down at the bowl of untouched dinner and I noticed it had gone cold. Tim was staring at the fluffy cat in his arms.

“It happened one day while your Grandad was helping your mum hone her powers. They were working on ‘the ability to transform humans with irreversible spells,’ and your mother, who – while looking sideways at Mum as though hoping to score what parents called ‘brownie-points’ – was always an excellent student, did it first try, though instead of directing it at her beetle… she hit your Grandfather. And er, turned him into a cat.”

I looked down at the striped cat now slinking in and out between Tim’s outstretched arms. I blinked and stared closer. It was just for a brief moment, but I swear and always will; that cat/Grandad smiled.

I was convinced. Why wouldn’t you want to believe your crazy parents telling you that your mum was a witch? Heck, think what that could mean… No more homework… exciting adventures involving changing your family cat back into your Grandad to escape newly imposed ‘Cat Bans… ‘ just punishment for school bullies… There were endless possibilities…

That was the moment I knew that, one, we were going to win the war concerning the definition of the word ‘pest,’ and two, never again would I shove poor Frankie/Grandad out in the cold on Winter mornings.

Later on, I asked Dad what he meant when he said ‘I know who the pests are, and it’s not the cats.” It turns out he was still grumbling about yesterday when he had strolled out to the back lawn to check on his cauliflower garden. He was eager to see if they were ready for the vegetable growing competition.

There were no cauliflowers. Just bits of shredded leaves and six enormous, fat and satisfied looking caterpillars.

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