I’ve been super impressed with the quality of the entries that have come in over the last couple of weeks.
There were some wonderfully detailed descriptions which really created a picture in my mind of the worlds Anneke and Nikau found behind the double doors.
Georgia (Palmerston North Intermediate): A sea of stars spread over the ceiling, people walking around in the strangest outfits Anneke had seen! Shapes twinkling in the walls like diamonds in the sun … An old woman with wire-like hair that fell down to her bony knees, gnarled up fingers from work and a hunched back, muttering deliriously to herself in too small overalls and sandals tinkered about with a small wooden horse.
Sylvie (Rototuna Primary School): At first they were blinded by the blue and purple shimmers and silver stars on the walls and roof, but as they got used to it, they could see by the light of a few twilight bulbs and squares on the roof that there was a huge conference table in the middle, surrounded by ten violet and turquoise bean bags.
Sasha (Marina View School): There were signs in different spots saying “Don’t Touch.” Everyone was squished into a tiny room.
I also loved the imaginative and inventive products that popped up in the Comet store.
Portable spaceships in bulging bags and dark matter bubble gum, which was later used to encase the baddie in a bubble. Maddie (Te Huruhi School)
Dark matter Oh My Stars glitter eyeshadow palette, able to literally transport you to a different world. Daisy (Discovery School)
Neisha (Tauranga Intermediate) had my mouth watering with her space-themed candy descriptions: Star Sherbert (turned your mouth from pink to a silver star colour, Asteroid Lollipops (made your mouth swell up with candy flavoured ulsors) to Universal Chocolate (never ran out).
Some superb characters came to life on the page.
Bob the Blob:
At the exact time, a bizarre creature consisting mainly of a green slimy and liquidy blob with an eye smack bang in the middle came and said, “Hullo there, my name is Bob the Blob. It is quite the pleasure to meet you mod dom. How may I help you?” Reinhelda (Palmerston North Intermediate)
I also liked the way this idea was carried over into other areas of the story with a “blob jumping” competition, followed by Anneke and Nikau exiting Comet with hands full of “thingamabobs.”
Byron (Te Huruhi School) made excellent use of dialogue, in his funny and fast-paced story, to create a likeable alien character.
“Wait you’re just going to go without me?” asked a quiet voice. They turn to see a small alien man about the size of a small book case.
Other stories impressed me with the creative way they used language.
Madeleine (Marina View School) made Comet an acronym.
“Cooperation of meteorite engagement team … C.O.M.E.T. plans to destroy the earth with a big meteorite!” Anneke explained.
Mia (Te Huruhi School) created a new word for her story’s space creature pet – a flirkin.
“Flirkin Food! Why Flirkin Food?” spilled the shopkeeper.
“We have a flirkin … obviously,” Nikau said.
Daisy E. (Rototuna Primary) included some wonderful similes in her story.
It was like sprinkles being sucked up a vacuum cleaner! …The children landed on a moist, fuchsia-coloured field. The surface of it felt like a damp sponge.
Jerry’s (Greenhithe School) story began with a clever simile which linked in nicely to the story starter:
The swinging entryways opened essentially smoother than the female voice.
Aiesha’s (Marina View School) story ended on a memorable and unusual last image.
They trotted down the road as the horizon lay upon them.
I also really liked Jacob’s (Glen Eden Intermediate School) understated ending which echoed the story starter:
They made it but they were 13 minutes late.
Isabella’s (Discovery School) story took an interesting twist when Comet turned out to be a computer game (Comet the Unicorn). Her story’s ending included some beautiful imagery:
The unicorn gestured them onto her back, so they climbed on. Comet lifted off into the sky with icy wind blowing past their faces.
Aden (Te Huruhi School) wrote a great fast paced story, which skilfully built up the tension:
“This ship has a rusty engine, low fuel and you say this is my fault. I’m trying to fix it not make it worse.”
Olivia (Fenwick Primary) created an impressively eerie and evocative story.
Both children could immediately hear a well-oiled mechanism click, and they jumped back in surprise, while a low hiss was heard and slowly, the huge, heavy doors slid open.
Great writing Olivia!
Erin’s (Te Huruhi School) story included two of my favourite lines:
“Calm down, Nikau. We’re still in the Milky Way. There is nothing to panic about,” Anneke said …
“I know a device that can teleport a building anywhere in the Universe! We need the dust of a newly dead star and an old robot,” said a rather elderly lady.
The following stories made it into my shortlist:
Ava Lister’s (Tokomaru School) atmospheric and very spooky story stood out because it was almost entirely dialogue, which I thought was very clever and gave it a unique tone.
Isabella McGregor (Tokomaru School) wrote a wonderfully accomplished and surreal story that skilfully took the reader through a number of alternative scenarios.
Indigo Tomlinson’s (Whakatane Intermediate) story combined excellent world building, evocative description and great characterisation with a clever story arc.
And the winner is Kate Barber (Oroua Downs School). I loved your circular plot with its clever twist at the end and am impressed by the way you managed to draw me in with a mystery and then resolve it, all within the word count.
Elena’s Story Starter
Even though it was only just after 5pm, the misty mid-winter drizzle meant it was already getting dark by the time Anneke and her younger brother stood waiting for the pedestrian light at the bottom of Queen Street. They had plenty of time. She and Nikau had managed to catch the earlier express bus into town – it was at least an hour before their robotics workshop was due to begin at the library.
De-de-de-de-de-de-de … The pedestrian signal went. She and Nikau wove their way through the flow of people crossing the road in the opposite direction. Someone, she didn’t see who, pushed a flyer into Anneke’s hand.
“Hey, what’s that?” said Nikau, once they’d reached the other side. He pointed to the stylised image of a comet streaking across the outside of the leaflet.
Anneke shrugged. “I dunno. Probably a new electric scooter or something.”
“Can I see?” Nikau grabbed it. A handful of glitter stars fell out into his hand. “Wow! Listen to this.” He moved into the nearby entrance of a brightly lit food hall to read it.
COMET is here!
For a limited time only COMET, the most famous and fabuloso POP UP SHOP in the universe, is orbiting into your galaxy right now!
If you can imagine it – we have it! Gazillions of prizes and give-aways, the very latest inter-galactic games and absolutely astronomical opening specials on all – yes, all – of our signature range, dark matter make-up!!!
Entry by invitation and in the allotted time-slot only:
17:13 local time
Strictly no late entries. Present this ticket at the door. Valid for 2 customers.
Make sure you don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity! COMET will not be popping up in your galaxy again for another hundred light years.
Snooze and you lose! Be there or be E = mc2! Find us at Queens Rise (2nd floor) right now.
“Did you hear that? Free stuff,” said Nikau. He took a few steps back and looked up at the sign above the food hall entrance. “Woah! Queen’s Rise. The store’s right here. Can we go?” said Nikau. “Please, Anneke.” He stuck out his lower lip and made pleading puppy dog eyes.
Anneke sighed. It did sound fun. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to have a quick look. She checked her phone – 5:10pm, or 17:10 using a 24-hour clock. They had exactly three minutes before their time-slot.
She and Nikau bounded up the short escalator to the first floor two steps at time. Once at the top they hurried past a circle of busy restaurants to the next up escalator. This one was much longer and steeper. The noise of the first floor faded away. Anneke checked the time on her phone. 5:12pm. Nearly at the top now. She reached back for Nikau’s hand and they stepped off. In front of them was a large solid double door. Scrawled across it in purple neon was the word, COMET.
The digital clock above the door flicked from 17:12 to 17:13. A green slot lit up and blinked.
Welcome universal shoppers – said a smooth female voice – 17:13 time slot customers may now scan tickets for entry.
Kate’s Winning Story
“I’m so excited,” Nikau grinned his face spread in a wide smile. I squeezed his hand and exchanged a smile. Slowly the crowd started to move forward. Up ahead a curly brown-haired female staff member was at the front of the line taking the tickets. A phone in her hand, her eyes fixed on the screen. Her golden name tag flashed Jane.
When we got close to her she mumbled “Ticket please,” Reaching into my jacket pocket I produced the ticket. Quickly she glanced up and checked the ticket over before giving it back.
“Name,” she asked still looking at her phone.
I replied back “Anneke Thompson and thi-” Jane interrupted me.
“Wait your Anneke Eva Thompson,” she questioned, her blue eyes staring at me. I paused, how did she know my middle name. This was weird.
I waited for a moment until I spoke again.
“Yes I’m Anneke Eva Thompson,” I said uncertainty echoing in my voice. Immediately I regretted it. You don’t tell strangers your personal details.
“Oh my gosh.” she blurted. ” I am honoured to be in your presence. The work you do is incredible.” My heart leapt in my chest. I glanced at Nikau, his brown eyes filled with fright.
“What do you mean,” I asked trying not to let my nervousness show. Jane stared at me a puzzled expression plastered on her face.
“Are you Anneke Eva Thompson,”
“I am,” Silence. For a moment everything was quiet.
“Then why don’t you tell me about your great inventions.” Jane accused, her voice rising. Slowly I backed away pulling Nikau with me. Terror filling my body
“What about your Time Retract ball.” She takes a step towards us. My mind races, what to do, what to do.
“Answer me,” Jane shouts. Nikau cowers behind me. Heart leaping in my chest.
“Who is making all that ruckus,” An angry voice grumbles from behind me. Startled I turned around and saw a burly man with brown hair and a thick beard. His mouth twisted into an angry snarl.
“Jane what did you do,” he continued. Jane crouched down in fear. I stood still frozen in shock. What was happening?
“I’m sorry sir,” Jane apologised. “It’s just this is Anneke Thompson.” The burly man looked me over before speaking.
“You silly girl. There’s a time difference here in Earth. Anneke isn’t even over fifteen. And now I’ll have to sort this out” Still angry he reached into his pocket and pulled out a strange-looking device. It was circular with bright lights spinning around inside. On the base was a silver metal label that said A.T company.
“Bye, bye,” he said. I gripped Nikau’s hand even tighter. Then….De-de-de-de-de-de.