The eleventh FABO Story competition will be judged by author Melinda Szymanik. Enter below!
1. Read the story starter and continue the story.
2. We prefer your story to be 500 words or less (not including the story starter). Stories over 550 words will be disqualified.
3. You have two weeks to write your story, so there’s no need to rush! Take your time and send us the best story you can write.
4. Send your story to us by 7pm Friday July 31st (NZ time).
5. The winner of the competition will be announced on this website a few days after the competition closes.
6. Every fortnight there will be a new competition and a children’s author will post a new story starter for you.
7. The competition is open to kids aged 13 and under.
8. The winner will receive a Puffin book of their choice* and their story published on the Penguin NZ website!
*book must be $25 or under, book must be in stock, book will be delivered post lockdown.
Melinda’s Story Starter: The Wrong Note
Willow and Isla had been mucking around in the woods on the hill above their town all day.
Willow called it fossicking.
Isla called it foraging.
“It’s only foraging if we can eat it,” said Willow.
“Humph,” Isla replied.
“This is definitely a fossick,” Willow went on, holding up the bone she’d just pulled from a hole at the base of a tree trunk.
“That’s disgusting,” Isla said.
“It’s NOT!” Willow insisted. “It’s super old. It probably hasn’t been alive for like a hundred years. I mean look at it.”
They both peered at the bone, almost like a shin but not quite.
“There are holes in it,” breathed Willow. And before either of them could think, she raised the bone to her mouth and blew in to the largest hole at the top. A single long note.
The noise was sweeter and deeper than they expected. A shiver crawled down their spines. The ground seemed to hiccup, the sunlight swelling in a terrible, brilliant way, and then everything was normal again. Nearly.
“I think we should go home,” Isla said.
“Yes, lets,” Willow agreed. She let the bone drop to the ground.
They held hands as they galumphed down the path between the trees, hopping over the twisty vines and slippery rocks in their way. They emerged out of the bush near the bottom of the hill, just as the sun began to pull the horizon up over itself.
“My goodness!” Willow gasped.
“Oh Willow, what did you do?!” Isla squeaked, her eyes wide at the sight before them.
Where had everybody gone? And what were those frightening things that had taken their place?