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Spring, 2009
24-Hour Short Story Contest
3rd Place Winner!

TOPIC OF THIS CONTEST WAS:

"Silly Scilla, silly Scilla," the young girl sang, as she pushed another tiny blue flower into her hair. She knew she would have to remove these adornments before they returned to the house. When Mamm gently cleared her throat, the girl remembered the tiny celery seeds that had been spilling out of her apron all morning.

She sighed and settled down in an empty row, digging her bare toes into the cool soil. She froze when her foot bumped something hard. Scooping the dirt aside with her fingers, she found a tiny, tattered purse. Glancing at her mother to ensure her secret treasure was still a secret, she opened the clasp...

Entries must touch on the topic in some way to qualify.


The Trail With Sacagawea
by Robert Shannon, Chicago, IL

It was her world. The rest of us were just passing through.

"Silly Scilla, silly Scilla," the young girl sang, as she pushed another tiny blue flower into her curls. Won't she look wonderful, she thought, at dinner that night with her stylish new hairdo adorned in pretty petals.

She walked with her mother on this lovely spring day and they stopped to do what the young girl liked best: Simply be a part of it all. She sat down next to her mother and dug her bare toes into the cool soil. She froze when her foot bumped something hard. Scooping the dirt aside with her fingers, she found a small, tattered purse.

Glancing at her mother to ensure her secret treasure was still a secret, she opened the clasp, for temptation was something she had yet to master - a daring squirrel, a random balloon, sprinklers that magically squirted water around the yard, the quarter that Grandpa just pulled from her ear, whatever might cross her path - fascination drew her this way and wonder pulled her that way.

She took it all in. Everything was new or at least hadn't yet grown old. Her favorite questions were, "What?s this?" and "What?s that?" Nothing escaped her eye. Her father marveled at her sense of discovery and playfully called her "Sacagawea."

She tried, but she couldn't repeat it back to him. "Sacajawhogee?" she'd ask, scrunching her nose and then letting out a giggle.

If she found a penny she imagined the many, many miles it must have traveled before it found its way to her. Once she happened upon a dollar bill and figured a millionaire had lost it while going through town, perhaps on his way to buy a shiny new car.

She invented her own languages and used them in the different "countries" of their home. She spoke Cookinese in the kitchen and Dreamyinia in her bedroom, and every day new words were assigned to different objects.

She loved to learn, to experience, to make things her own, which sometimes gave her mother fits. Dogs must be played with. Trees must be climbed. Butterflies must be chased. "You be careful, young lady," her mother would gently scold. But there was too much to see, too much to feel. And besides, she wasn't quite sure what "you be careful" meant, but she knew it wasn?t for her.

Such imagination. Such curiosity. Why, this mysterious purse never stood a chance. As the young girl spread it wide and peeked inside, she found a small device the likes of which she had never seen before. She took it out and began to push its buttons and the gadget came to life. She pulled a small stick from the side of her discovery and began to punch at the pictures on the screen.

A huge smile grew on her face and her eyes opened wide as animated figures began to move at her every command. She saw nonsensical words like "Nintendo" and "Pokemon" and made a note in her mind to use those the next time she was speaking PottyOtty.

With her mother lost in the idyllic weather that embraced them, the young girl continued to dance the small stick across the screen and worked the buttons on the side as if she had being doing it all her life. She watched her new friend Mario jump and skip and fly through the stars.

She was captivated, and suddenly she was taking up space in our world, not the other way around, not like it always had been. A dog barked, but she didn't look up. Kids on bicycles scooted by, shouting and hollering, but she didn't care. And she had grown oblivious to the crown of petals in her hair.

As her mother soaked in the sun and let the breeze soothe her mind, the little girl focused solely on her splendid new toy. When she let out a yelp of glee, her mother took notice of her daughter's latest find.

"What have you got there, young lady?"

"Look Mama. Look what I can do!" she said, showing off her newfound proficiency.

"What on earth Where did you get that?"

"In here! In this purse!"

Her mother examined the purse. No name, no nothing. Then she examined the gadget. "Hmmm Just looks like a waste of time to me."

"Oh but it isn't! Look! See what I can make him do! He can run and jump And he's got a funny little mustache. Can I keep it? Can I?"

Her mother made a face.

"I'll never put it down! I'll play with it all the time!"

"That's what I'm afraid of Look at this beautiful day, and already you've got your face buried in some little video game. You should be playing, not going cross-eyed."

"Oh Mama, you're just being silly. I won't play with it all the time."

"Well, we can only hope," her mother said, breaking into a smile. "Come on, Pandora. Let's go. We need to get home and fix dinner."


What Robert won:

$200 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website
1 - Freelance Income Kit Includes:
-- 1-year subscription to the Write Markets Report
-- How to Write, Publish and $ell Ebooks
-- How to Publish a Profitable Emag
-- How to Be a Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Special (includes the book; database of 6000+ newspapers; and database of 100+ syndicates)

ENTER THE NEXT 24-HOUR SHORT STORY CONTEST HERE!
Contest guidelines are HERE.


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