Thanks to everyone who entered this round of FABO. I wondered what you’d think the blood moon signified, anticipating plenty of werewolves, vampires and monsters, and I wasn’t disappointed. Just … a little grossed out, perhaps! Some of you didn’t hold back in your descriptions about what a rampaging monster might do when there’s a blood moon (yikes). I’ll be keeping my windows shut if there’s another!
Before I share the winning story, many honourable mentions – you all have the best imaginations! To: Ana Sarniak-Thomson for a well-paced story with plenty of action; Shiloh Weavers – lovely description of Charlie turning into a monster; Anna Duff, who described Charlie’s fear as being ‘worse than the time she had to sing in front of the whole school’. I loved Sophie Strugnell’s story, especially the part about food being named after the charmed little girl: ‘There were Morgana biscuits, Morgana cupcakes, Morgana Brussels sprouts … the brussels sprouts were soon take down and replaced with Morgana lemonade.’ It really works to put a bit of humour into a horror story.
Mattie Lang deserves a mention for her tomato-sauce-loving bunny from Mars. Mereania Makoare’s story had a moral, summed up in her last line: ‘I learned to always listen to my mum, respect our culture, and never, ever leave the windows open on a blood moon.’ And Sophie Cooper, I loved your plot twist at the end 😉 Elizabeth Stroebel’s story was beautifully written and stood out to me as an editor, for its total lack of mistakes, its spelling and punctuation all just so. Lauren McKenzie was a hot contender for first place – I loved your well-written apocalyptic story with a great twist at the end. Another special mention, to Shaun Zixu, who at the age of seven wrote a great little blood-curdling tale about a dog eating the moon and making it bleed. Amara Shah wrote about why the moon turned red – blame the vampires! Amelie Forrester’s beautiful description of a ghost blew me away: ‘She had big, round, milky eyes framed by snowy lashes. Her skin was pearly, with frosty hair that carried a tint of red …’ and her story ended ‘All ghosts aren’t bad’, which as an author of ghost stories, I totally agree with!
Richard Xu your story was so fast paced it really bowled along. Kennedy Lee’s excellent story was terrifying. More lovely writing from Gracie Moody, Charlotte Houliston, Isabel Foster and Juliet Young (who described Charlie’s nerves as feeling like ‘fantails flitting in his gut’). I loved Johnna Zixu’s description of passing through a ghost as being like ‘showering in ice cubes’. Araav Das Roy came VERY close to winning for inventive use of language, especially ‘sweat ran down his face faster than a Maserati’.
My overall winner is nine-year-old Isabel Wadham from Remuera Primary School, whose story stood out because of its lovely description, its pace, its clever theme (each blood moon is an omen of a natural disaster) and the touch of humour at the end. Here’s Isabel’s story:
Sue’s Story Starter
‘I hope the sky stays clear for tonight,’ said Charlie’s mum. ‘This only happens once in a blue moon.’
‘Once in a red moon, don’t you mean?’ said Dad, helping himself to more salad.
‘Silly me, of course. Red moon.’
‘Blood moon,’ said Charlie. ‘Why does it turn red?’
Charlie regretted the words immediately – Oh no, what have I done? – as Dad reached for a tomato and began, ‘So, imagine this tomato is the sun …’
Ten minutes later, when the large, medium and small tomatoes were back on their plates, Mum said, ‘Well that’s interesting, but where I come from, a blood moon has a different significance.’
‘How so?’ said Dad.
‘Let’s just say, we should keep the bedroom windows shut tonight.’
Isabel’s Winning Story
After that unearthly dinner, Charlie brushed her teeth. As chalk white foam flowed out of her mouth, notions were gushing through her mind. What did Mum mean by “where I come from”? What is a blood moon? Why did Dad use so many tomatoes?
Charlie inched into her bunk bed, questions that needed to be answered lurched around her brain, questions that needed to be answered NOW! It was around 10:30 at night, but Charlie was still wide awake. She stood up, with her back hunched, and toddled to the end of the hall.
On the other side of the door, Charlie’s parents were discussing, but Charlie could only faintly apprehend what they were saying. So she flicked back her creamy cocoa brown hair, and tucked her fringe behind her ears. “I can hear much better now!” she thought.
Mum said “A different natural disaster happens every year when there is a blood moon, shouldn’t we be worried?!”
“Well, 2020 was a landslide, 2019 was a volcano, 2018 was a tornado, should we warn Charlie?” Dad replied, anxiously.
“It’s late, we’ll let her rest for now,” Mum said in a drowsy tone. “But remember, the redder the moon, the wilder the disaster!”
Charlie was panic-stricken, and was breathing as loudly as never before. She gently tiptoed to her room, but instead of climbing into her bunk bed, she gazed out the window. The moon was a bloodshot red, with a baffling feel to it, and a smoky grey cloud, with its tip covering the moon. Charlie was dazzled, but then she remembered what Mum said. “The redder the moon, the wilder the disaster,” she whispered to herself. All the dazzle melted into pain and fear.
Beneath the moon, the ocean started to inhale all the water, sucking it further and further away from Charlie. A wave formed. Charlie’s heart dropped lifeless. The wave wasn’t like the ones in cartoons, teal and transparent, usually with a face on it. This one was as black as a panther, staring it’s vicious eye at you. On the top of the tsunami, there was a livid dollop of milk white foam bubbling with rage.
Mum and Dad suddenly burst through the room. “TSUNAMI!!!” Dad yelped, with a bewildered look on his face.
But Mum just strutted away, with her heels making a “CLICK!” each step she made. Mum noticed that Dad and Charlie weren’t following, so she called from the hall, “Follow me!”
Charlie and Dad were confused, but did what she said anyway, like they always did. They all dashed up their local mountain, and boy, Mum could really run in heels!
The smoky grey tsunami had everything in it. It was like the merry go round at the park, but this one has howling people in it, praying to live just one more day. The sickening tsunami came under the family but then suddenly pulled away and… THEY LIVED! Mum said to Charlie in a cocky tone, “It happened all the time where I grew up, you guys should get used to it!”