Meet Aleena, the Grade 5 winner of Word WarriorZ contest. She wrote the spectacular bit of fierce fiction called “Write to Know.” Aleena’s writing is packed full of emotion. She is able to weave past and present times and include a nice jump in narrative by including her main character’s journal entries that reveal her inner thoughts.
While reading her piece I kept thinking her story concept was novel worthy. She includes themes of sacrifice, love and family secrets. I hope you enjoy her story.
Write to Know
By Aleena Price
“Mom!” Natalie Whitter says.
“Sorry, I’m busy right now. Talk to me another time,” her mother answers back. Natalie pouts. Her mom never even asked what she wanted to talk about! Mom seems so busy ever since her dad had left. When he was here, they were all so happy. They did everything together! They were all so—close. Natalie walks up the stairs to her room, to her soft leather diary. Natalie opens the back door and steps up the ladder to her tree house—the place where she loves to write her thoughts, hopes, and dreams. She begins an entry
Sunday, June 2nd I miss my dad. Things aren’t the same without him. I’m still not even sure why he left.
Natalie sighs and turns to the very first page of the old book. It was the story of her dad’s first day of third grade. Natalie smiles and frowns at the same time. She sees her reflection in the mirror next to her and bursts out laughing!
“I love you dad.” she almost cries and records how she feels in her diary:
I read my dad’s funny story again and I smiled, frowned, laughed, and almost cried. I almost cried because it reminded me of when me & my dad would try to make our funniest faces. I miss him so much it hurts! Who knows when I’ll ever see him again. I don’t even know his address!
Natalie sighs and closes her diary. She sniffs the leather cover—it smells just like her dad. He had given it to her the day before he left. Natalie remembers the feeling she had when he handed her the book and opens her diary once more.
When he gave me this diary—his old diary—I felt, well, confused. It was his favorite possession—it held all his thoughts, hopes, and dreams. That’s why I want to use it just the same way he did. Besides—it’s all I have left of him, except for pictures.
Natalie picks herself up off the tree-house floor, steps down the ladder, and strolls into the house. As she approaches her room, she hears a voice:
“I know, I know. I just don’t want her to know.” There is a reply that’s a bit fuzzy so she can’t make out the answer, but one thing she did know: that her mom was on the phone with her dad! Natalie barges into her room with anger, rips open her diary, and hides in her closet. She writes frantically:
Do you know what I just overheard? My mom was talking on the phone to my dad! I’d know that voice anywhere! And if you’re wondering why I seem so angry, it’s because they don’t want a certain girl to know something, and that girl might be me!
She closes her diary with a frown and props it up on her bookshelf. She jumps on her canopy bed and before she knows it, she is fast asleep.
Natalie awakens to her mom calling:“Time to get ready for school!” She feels tired and angry from Sunday’s events. Natalie drags herself and her backpack out the door and hops on the bus as she wonders how she ever got any good clothes on. She seats herself, looks at her shirt and sees that her outfit isn’t exactly what you would call good. Natalie sighs as the bus stops and the other children around her pile out of the bus
“As you know—“ Ms. Lafter says, smiling. “We are going to Playland today!” Oh yeah, Natalie had forgotten about that! She had been so focused on everything that was going on at home. “And we leave right about… NOW!”
On the bus, Natalie is entirely bored, so she decides to write in her diary:
Monday, June 3rd. Random writing! I don’t have the slightest idea what to write about, so I’m just going to write about what is on my mind. Hey, RANDOM is one of our spelling words for this week! Wow, I’ve written a lot when I don’t even have an idea what to write about! Anyways, for some strange reason it helps me write when I put my hand on my ear. I just realized that right now! How funny! Oops! Time to go to playland!
Natalie is being pushed by the crowd towards a tall purple and yellow ride called the “Atmosphere.” She can’t get where she wants to go, so she just stands in line and waits. All she can think about is her Dad and Mom, and how her Dad had left. But those weren’t happy thoughts, so she tries to think about the persuasive argument letter she was going to write the principal about cutting school short. Natalie’s thoughts are interrupted when the bell rings for her turn on the ride. She climbs aboard as the ride begins. Everyone around her is squealing with delight as they draw closer to the top. Natalie tries to enjoy the ride, but her thoughts are again on her Mom and Dad. She tries to squeal, but she just can’t! What is happening to her? At the very top, everything goes BLACK!
“W-w-w-what’s happening?” Natalie yelps. She blinks. Then blinks again. She finds herself in a small village with a dusty gravel road. Everyone she sees is making their way into a large building with a cross on the roof that reads “St. Luke’s Chapel”.
Oh… Natalie thinks. It must be the church her parents went to… before they had her. All the villagers were now inside, so a young man comes and closes the door. But there is one man that is not going inside, who is sitting under a willow tree. His head is hung low, and his eyes are stinging with tears. He doesn’t look up as she approaches him, for he is burying his head in his coat. In fear that he would see her, she hides behind the trunk. When he finally lifts his head, Natalie sees that he is her dad! He gets up and walks towards a house. He opens the door and Natalie can see her mom, who also seems sad, holding a baby. Her mom nods and closes the door. Natalie hurries to the window, letting her curiosity get ahead or her. She listens:
“I have a plan” (Dad)
“They take me, not her.”
“No! I love you too much.”
“I know. We’d keep in touch.”
“But you just can’t.”
“I must. But we don’t need to tell her.”
“It won’t be now, it’ll be in ten years.”
“Fine. But I’ll still miss you and love you.”
“Okay. What’s for dinner?”
Then it is just boring things about dinner, so Natalie stops listening. So that’s why her dad had left! He still loved her and her mom. Besides, she was almost 11 and her Dad left almost a year ago. Suddenly, Natalie feels a pang of sadness and longs for her Mom. How can I get home? She wonders and turns to find a way. She steps on what seems like a piece of paper and blinks. Suddenly she is on the Atmosphere ride again and stuffs the paper in her pocket. She can finally enjoy the ride! She screams and screams and screams. She has never been on something more exciting! She smiles for the first time that day and is ready to go home to her Mom.
“Mom!” Natalie says as she got home.
“Natalie, I’m sorry I’m…” her mom is interrupted by Natalie. “I know you’re busy, but can we talk? Just this once?” Natalie pleads.
Her mom sighs and says “Alright, what’s up?”
“Well…” Suddenly, Natalie doesn’t know how to begin. “I’m sorry about Dad and I know you still love him and it was hard for him to go but why did the man want me? And why did Dad sacrifice himself so I wouldn’t have to go?” Natalie blurts out in one sentence. Then she bursts into tears.
“Oh, honey, I didn’t know, I…” Mom says but also starts crying. She pulls Natalie into a hug and they cry until there are no tears left.
“Can I talk to Dad?” Natalie asks.
“We’ll see what we can do. Why don’t you write in Dad’s old diary and then go to bed?” Mom suggests.
“Okay.” Natalie takes the leather book out of her backpack and carries it up to her room. She wants to tell the book all that has happened. As she reaches for a pen in her pocket, her hand feels the paper she found on the road. She opens it up and reads: To Samuel Whitter, You have done a terrible deed and the only thing you can do to make up for it is to give your only daughter in ten years. Signed, Curtis Longhead.
Natalie felt the edges of the paper and put it on her desk. As she lay on her bed thinking about what just happened, all she can do is sigh….
This kid adds suspense and wonder to her words. This fiction is fierce because it talks of lost love, family sacrifice and the desire to understand one’s origins. She has touched on some very important challenges we all face in our lives and so it makes for a very compelling piece of fiction. Consider sharing your response and encouraging Aleena in the comments section of this blog. Aleena was brave to write this fierce bit of fiction and I hope she continues to write her soon to be novel “Write to know.”
If you know of any young writers please share this blog with them or tag on instagram account @emilyscale….more contests to come
I hope more and more young writer’s will write and write and write and write and write to tell the stories they need to tell so we can better understand our complex world through the eyes of the young.