Alison Burns wins Lisa Rector Young Writers' Scholarship Honourable Mention

Alison is a grade 10 student at Handsworth Secondary School in North Vancouver, BC, and she was the second Honourable Mention recipient of Lisa Rector's Young Writers' Scholarship for 2008.

Her fantasy prologue is titled AUBURN QUEEN.

Prologue


In the elves kingdom of Vaene it was that surreal time where the sun was just settling into sleep.  The darkening sky cast deep shadows along alleyways and doorsteps while the deserted streets held a mystery about them that could not be ignored.  As the moon began its dance into the sky the whole world held its breath.


Just as quickly as the moment of magic had come it faded away, replaced by a man cloaked in darkness.  He carried a small bundle.  He also held a dim lantern and as he hurried forward the light raced ahead chasing the demons away as the shadows followed closely behind him.


He could not be caught.  This thought drove his actions; forcing his steps and quickening his pace.  They could not know he was gone.  The wind howled through the streets and he jumped as something creaked loudly.  Disturbed, the bundle in his arms stirred then let out a single cry.  It was not loud, but to the man it was a signal alerting his every opponent to their position.  Worried, he held the bundle tighter and began to run.  He did not slow down until he reached the forest.  Slipping inside he looked upwards. 


Like everything else in Vaene the trees seemed to have been gifted with something extra by whatever had created them.  Their ancient trunks, stronger every day, whispered wisdom.  While their soft sway hinted at tales long ago and adventures far within the future.  Finally, the leaves were a pure emerald colour that shone.  Even in the weak moonlight the forests beauty could not be diminished.


However, no matter how beautiful the forest may have been that was not the man’s focus.  After a moment of searching he found what he was looking for.  A cabin nesting high above the ground.  Notches cut out of a tree provided the only entrance.  The man put out the lantern plunging everything into blackness and set it on the ground.  Keeping the bundle in one hand he felt for the first crude hack out of the wood and began to climb.


He pulled himself one-handed into the cabin without trouble.


“You're late,” the voice rang throughout the room.  It appeared, however, that there was no one there.


“My apologies Alleys.”  The air before the man shimmered and a woman appeared.  Her intense green eyes were fixed on him and she stood rigidly.


“Give it to me,” Alleys said, relaxing only once the bundle was in her arms.  Pushing her ebony hair behind her pointed elf ears she carefully parted the blankets in her arms to reveal a tiny sleeping baby.

The infant's bone straight hair was auburn, which was unusual for an elf but looked beautiful against her pale skin.  A tiny band of gold sat upon her head.  Suddenly, the baby woke and opened her eyes.  Alleys gasped.  Instead of the usual colour the baby’s eyes were a muddied brown flecked with periodic doses of the expected bright green.  Carefully she pushed the baby’s hair back from ears that were both human and elf.


“So it is true,” it was not a question; more like a statement and the man only nodded. 
“Take her far away,” he said. “She cannot stay here.”


“Are you sure…”


“It is the only way,”


“Very well,” Alleys sighed.  With a flick of her hand she vanished taking the baby with her.


Chapter 1-sixteen years later

Jaclyn was sitting at home alone, flipping through a mountain of homework without really doing any of it.  She wasn’t sure her day could get any worse.  She hadn’t finished her project for English, she’d managed to get detention from two different teachers, and she’d forgotten her Math textbook at home. 


Not to mention that her ears were looking especially odd today, How she hated them.  Always sticking out just waiting to be made fun of.  A beacon for kids who wanted a good laugh at the expense of her dignity. Why couldn’t they be normally shaped?  She ran her hand absentmindedly through her hair.  It was the only thing good about her appearance.  At least in her opinion.


It hadn’t always been that way though.  When she’d been younger she’d embraced the little oddities about herself.  Overly pointed ears made her an “elf” while small feet made her Cinderella and she would spend hours pretending.  Now it was not so easy.
Screeching tires in the driveway brought her back to the present.  Automatically she looked to the clock on the wall but it was only 3:30.  Neither of her parents finished work till five.  Wondering who could be knocking, she got up from her chair in the kitchen and opened the door. 


Standing in the doorway was a woman she’d never met. Short black hair framed the stranger’s face and striking eyes stared straight through her.  Jaclyn noted with slight surprise that the woman’s ears were even more pointed than hers.  The woman made no move to introduce herself.


“Hi, can I help you?” Jaclyn asked.  The woman’s eyes were very green.  So much so they were beginning to make her uncomfortable.  So deep and mysterious they were the kind of eyes that kept secrets.  Who was she?


“Do you trust me?” the woman’s voice was so smooth and captivating.  The way she asked this it was as if Jaclyn’s answer was the most important thing in the world.  She found herself nodding without really knowing why.


Without saying a word the woman reached out lightning fast and grabbed Jaclyn’s hand so hard it hurt.  “Ow!” Jaclyn pulled away from the woman but her grip was vicious.  Suddenly without warning the world began to spin around her and her vision blurred.


Jaclyn and Alleys vanished together the same way they had 16 years earlier.   

 

Congratulations to Alison!

~kc

also blogging as leftwriter      

Comments

I think it's actually "Auburn Queen", kc :)

Thanks, Sophia! 

 

Guess that's what I get for typing too late at night. Corrected.

 

~kc

 

kc dyer
SiWC Conference Coordinator