Congratulations to This Year’s Young Authors Winner: Gabrielle Williams


Ava M. and Alexandra W., Story by Gabrielle Williams

Young Authors is a really fun contest to help young writers express their work and win awards. The requirements you need to participate in young authors are a dedication page, a story that was not longer than ten pages, a title page, and an about the author page. Gabrielle’s inspiration came to her over time when she figured out she liked to write.

The writing tools Gabrielle used to write her story were figurative language, metaphors, idioms, expanded on details, characterization, dialogue, and setting. When Gabrielle won,  she was beyond excited and she did not expect to win. It took Gabriel​le ​three weeks to complete her story. Surprisingly, this was Gabrielle’s first year participating in the competition.

Read Gabrielle’s Winning Story Below:

​Silvery mist was woven between the trees. I raced through the forest at light speed. Crisp snow crunched beneath my feet. A terrible howl pierced the night, and my eyes flew open.

I sat up in bed, breathing like I had run a mile. Then I sighed a long sigh of great relief.

“I am still in my room, I just had a nightmare,” I mumbled, “Everything is fine.”
But everything didn’t feel fine. Something about the dream unsettled me. I was almost

convinced it was real. It was too vivid, too lifelike, it couldn’t just be a dream. I didn’t like it,

but I knew something wasn’t right. II

I walked up the stone school steps, and into the air conditioned classroom. I was eager to start the day and get my mind off of my worries. As each class passed, my faith in being another normal student in another normal middle school was restored. At least until 4th period.

I strolled into the gym, having completely forgotten about everything. When our gym teacher, Ms. Hayes, announced (or rather shouted) that we were going to be playing dodgeball, I was almost excited.

A whistle sounded, and I scrambled for a ball. As soon as the ball hit the wall (missing my target), I knew something was wrong.

Darkness began to spread along the wall, engulfing everything in its path. Shadows swallowed each of my classmates, one by one. Each ball seemed to erupt in black flames. But I saw something else too. As if I could see two layers, I saw a normal game of dodgeball. But looking harder was a different story. I would have passed out, then and there, but the whistle blew, dragging me back to reality. Or what I always thought was reality.

“Hi Lexie, how was your day today?” My mom asked, while picking me up.
“Oh, hi mom! My day was great! In reading, we started a new book, in PE, everybody was consumed by darkness, and in math we multiplied decimals! Just another typical day in

my life.” I said shakily.
“Um, did you get enough sleep last night?” She asked. “I’m waiting.”
“For what?” She avoided eye contact.

“I would really like to know: What is going on here?” I said, trying to remain calm. “Am I going insane?”

“I’m guessing we have a lot to explain,” she said as we pulled into our driveway.

I sat down at the kitchen table. “So……”
“It began about a decade ago.” My mom started, “A darkness began to spread. Not

everybody notices, though. Most humans see what they want to see, the good, not the bad. They are oblivious to anything too negative around them.”

My dad continued,“You are not like that. You can see everything. The good and the bad, the pleasant and the evil. Seeing through what you want is a gift. You may not see that now, but you will. You will learn how to control it. It is up to people like you to stop this threat.”

They pressed a key into my hand. “This is for you to use. It will come in handy along your journey. We hate to ask this much of you, but….”

I didn’t hear the rest through all the thoughts running through my head. Not my typical day.

“…….I know it’s a lot to process, but—”
My focus snapped back to them. “A lot to process?” I almost laughed, “I’m sorry if you’ve

never felt this way before, but hard to process doesn’t even begin to cover it!” My voice faltered. An idea formed in my head, and I bolted out the door.

“Lexie, wait!”
Now, I was free of the responsibility my parents so willingly placed on my shoulders.

Outside, a light snow began to fall. I ran straight into the woods. The dark, forbidding woods. Silvery mist was woven between the trees. I raced through the forest at light speed. Crisp snow crunched beneath my feet. A terrible howl pierced the night. But this time, I

just kept running.
“No no no!” I muttered. “This can’t be happening!”

But it was happening. I didn’t know why or how, but I did not like it. Why was it snowing in fall? Why me? I hated this new life of mine. I hated it and would not accept it. I wanted to give up.

I started to notice the cold creeping across me. Frost crept up my legs and arms, finally reaching my neck. I fell to my knees. Just let the cold take over. It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters any more. I found that my vision was failing. I fell back, and everything

went black. III

A dimly lit room came slowly into focus. I didn’t remember when I arrived. I only remembered the flickering image of being dragged down into darkness. Torches illuminated the space around me, highlighting the chair I was perched on. A shaft of light streamed through the open slot between the door and frame.

That sliver of light provided incentive to simply stand up, and saunter casually out of the chamber.

After ambling along the hall, I came across a room, with a girl standing in the window. She seemed to be singing a song.

She turned right to me, and looked me in the eye, like she knew I was standing there all along. A chill ran down my back. Maybe she did.

The girl started to sing again but soft.

I found myself mesmerized, wanting to just give in.

I drifted slowly toward her.

Give, in listen, my mind told me.

I kneeled on the floor, defeated.
But I would not give in. I looked up at her and responded without thinking:

She looked at me, and for a moment, I was afraid. But then she smiled. “Well played,” she replied.

She had emerald eyes that sparkled at me. A golden chain hung around her neck, with a stone in the center.

“You realize, what you are doing right? It’s like you are chasing moonlight. You will never reach it.”


I seemed to have a knack for spotting small details, because I nearly had to squint to see the small hole in the mountainside. But Opal must have spotted it first, since she muttered something about possibly “wasting time on this sudden obstacle.” So I pulled the key my parents gave me out of my pocket, and crammed it into the keyhole without further thought.

“Problem solved!” I said helpfully. I heaved the rock slab barring our way aside, hoisted my backpack high on my shoulders, and said, “Well, what are you waiting for? After you!”

It was clearly a struggle not to smile, but she put on a straight face and replied, “Yes ma’am! Should I march as well? Anything to please the drill sergeant.”

“Well yes, of course! And pick up those feet while you’re at it!” She couldn’t help it. She burst out laughing, until her body was racked with sobs that only came with the funniest of jokes.

Inside was the most breathtaking, beautiful garden I had ever seen. I gasped, admiring the vivid blossoms and the arched structure of the place. When I drifted over to what seemed to be a fountain elegant enough for a palace, I gasped again. Instead of water gushing upward in a spout, liquid as dark as blackest night you have ever seen spewed in an arc.

Right in the center of the substance, a milky patch of light was like poison to the dark liquid. I reached to touch the light, for reasons I still don’t understand. But as soon as I did so I felt a chill that crawled down my back.

Darkness cloaked the garden, and I thought I would never see the light again. A shadow appeared, laughing and dancing through the air. But it was cruel laughter, like a hiss rather than a laugh. When it finally spoke, its words seemed to slither through my veins. Its voice was even worse than its laugh. It seemed to speak in three tones, while also chilling me to the bone with the whispers creeping up my spine within each word.

So. These are the ones derailing my plans. Interesting. Now, I will put an immediate end to this madness. I would not let this shadow worm its way into my head. And I do know you will resist, but I can always find a way to make you crumble.

“Please stop this madness immediately!” Opal bravely stepped in front of the shadow demon. “Who are you helping? Why does this satisfy you? Please, just consider what would be best—”

The creature would wait no longer. It swept a hand at her, and I barely had time to scream Opal’s name before I heard a whoosh, and she flew against a wall.

All sounds were trapped in my throat when I saw Opal’s lifeless form crumpled in a heap on the ground.

That was the last straw. First it destroys my world and my life, then it kills my new friend! Now it’s my turn. I will destroy its world and life, and it will pay for all it’s done. I hadn’t realized what a dark side I had until then, but it was showing. Especially when I ran mentally through my plan.

“Hey! Over here! Do you like the light?” The demon shriveled up in disgust,”I didn’t think

I sprinted to the fountain, scooped up the light, and cradled it behind my back so it was

out of the monster’s sight.
As I catapulted the light across the landscape, all I could do was watch the demon dance

casually out of the way. It had won. I sank down to my knees. There was nothing left to do, but give up. Until I heard the scream.

It was more terrible than anything I had ever heard, like nails on a chalkboard times ten. My gaze swiveled to the shadow, and its arm was sizzling. A drop must have landed right on target, right on the creature, and completed my mission.

I watched in a mix of horror and amazement as it crumbled to dust, all the while screaming like a maniac. And it was over. Just like that.

Now for the fountain. I had thought of the idea to restore it when I first saw it, but how? I stretched out my arms, walked back to the water, and (know idea why) thrust my hands into the dark liquid. Miraculously, it started to clear. Then it dawned on me. I wasn’t just chasing moonlight, I was the moonlight, I could provide the light.

I rushed over to Opal, and hoisted her up on my shoulder. She was breathing, which was a good sign, and she even started to stir.


The sun wrapped me in its warm embrace as I stepped into the light, and had a slight mental collapse. Ok, did I seriously just attack a shadow with a light? That wasn’t even the worst of it; I fear I will never have any hope at restoring my sanity, and a firm grip on reality. Too much. Brain cramp. My mind protested when I tried to come up with a logical explanation, and I soon found Opal’s hand bringing everything back into focus. It had all happened, it really had.

Well, on the good side, she was up. “Um, Opal, you are looking a bit shaky.”

“I… don’t feel—” she collapsed back into my arms.

I paced back and forth, more worried than ever. Her eyes fluttered open.

I rushed over to Opal, relieved, but not completely relaxed. Her eyes were open, and she was sitting up, which was a good sign. She broke into a grin when she saw me.

“Lexie! I had a dream about you! But—” Her smile faded when she remembered what she wanted to talk to me for, ” I should probably tell you something.”

“What’s that?” I asked, oblivious to her sadness.
“It’s just…well, um,” she chose her words carefully, while studying my face, ”I have… to

leave… I might never see you again,” she avoided my eyes, and my sorrow. “Where? You—you can’t—please don’t. It would…crush me.”I said, defeated.

“I can’t explain where, and I have to go. And please don’t argue, as that will only make it harder to say goodbye.” She handed me a small handkerchief. “Take this. To remember me.”

In the handkerchief was a stone, and on the stone, was an engraved message: A new day will come, a new sun will rise,
The right one will see a fitful prize,
Now a friend, once a foe,

You must decide which path to go. OPAL XVII

Then she was gone, just gone. Epilogue

I awoke to the gentle ping of rain on windows. I got out of bed, and tiptoed over to my window seat. I grabbed my stone

I sang the words softly to myself, while rubbing Opal’s stone between two fingers. What does OPAL XVII mean? I sighed. Too many questions. No answers. Watching the rain was one of my normal habits, and usually brightened my day. But as a raindrop began its slow descent down the window, the seat seemed to sag from the weight of my depression. Normal. That was a word that could never describe me again.