Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Flash Fiction Challenge #2 Winner!

And I am proud to announce that our most recent winner of the Flash Fiction Challenge is . . .


What makes this an even happier and more spectacular moment for me, is that Sydney is one of my teenage students in the after school writing program I co-teach for one of our local junior high schools. I'm so proud of her!

And without further ado, here is her story. Enjoy! (And I apologize for the formatting. I can't fix it no matter what I try!)


Fretchen pulled at the gears. The tracton bucked and violently shuddered as it plowed through the field. The tracton’s gray and green scales glistened dully in the hot sunlight. The powerful breeze smacked at her silky brown hair and sent it flying. It got in her eyes quite frequently.

I can’t believe it, Fretchen thought sourly. Grellem gets magic lessons and what do I get? A stupid tracton.

She kicked at the machine angrily. It made a slight snorting noise. It was half tractor, half dragon, raised from the dead to plow through fields and kill bugs. And it made quite a lot of fertilizer.

The tracton slowly smoothed out the terrain and killed the weeds, yet somehow left the wheat stubs unharmed. However, if she let it sway at all, she had to reset the system.

“Hey, Fretchen!”

Her younger sister Grellem ran down the sloping hills of the fields, donned in her wizard’s cloak. “You won’t believe what I’ve learned today!”

The tracton shuddered and sniffed the air until it found Grellem. It snorted steaming ashes onto the budding crops. Fretchen winced, but Grellem hopped up and down eagerly.

“It’s a separation spell!” she chirped in her high pitched voice. We made spaghetti and meatballs spaghetti, meatballs, and sauce and we turned boiled eggs into boiling water and raw eggs! You have to see it!”

“I can’t do magic,” Fretchen said dully. “Remember?”

Grellem stopped jumping. “Oh, yeah. Can I show you?”

“I’m not sure if that’s such a good idea,” Fretchen began, but Grellem ignored her.

She pointed her finger at the tracton and shouted, “SEPERATION SPELL!”

The air bent, and Fretchen was roughly thrown sideways. When her vision cleared, she saw a dull gray dragon right beside a simple green tractor. Grellem was trying to talk to the dragon, but the dragon simply roared and took off in a dead sprint through the fields.

“We have to catch it!” Grellem shouted in distress. “Oh please, Fretchen. You have to help me!”

Why do I always end up fixing some the problems she causes? Fretchen thought sourly. She climbed onto the tractor. It was a lot simpler now, but that as probably good. She pulled the levers and pushed the buttons, and the tractor rumbled off.

It wasn’t very fast. It destroyed the wheat and the weeds, and the dragon was growing further and further away. However, Fretchen was certain they’d be even slower on foot. All the same, she peppered Grellem with questions.

“Do you have any joining spells?”

“No, that’s tomorrow’s lesson.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Fretchen grumbled as she steered the wheel. The tractors machinery cut through the fields and left a clear path to show where they’d come from. “Why not teach you tomorrow’s lesson today?”

Grellem cocked her head in confusion. “Wouldn’t that ruin the point of tomorrow?”

“No,” Fretchen snapped. “It would save us a lot of trouble.” They cut through the tiny wheat clumps. “And I hope you have a repair spell, because we’re ruining all the crops.”

“Oh,” Grellem said. “Well you can fix that, can’t you?”


The dragon was getting further away, a mere ashen speck in the endless fields that Fretchen had spent so much time tending. The hot sun continued to beat down, but Grellem didn’t complain despite her heavy wizard’s cloak. She probably had a cooling spell or something.

“Why are we going so slowly?” Grellem asked.

“This is as fast as we can go,” Fretchen snapped.

“What about a speeding spell?”

“I. Don’t. Have. Magic. However, if you have something, that would be useful.”


The tractor sped up and raced through the hills. Fretchen just managed to steer the wheel. She tried not to destroy the crops, but the beastly machinery swayed like crazy. Grellem clapped her hands.

“Look, the dragon stopped!”

Sure enough, the bulky beast had halted on top of the hill. Even from the distance, she could see his opaque gray scales and coruscating yellow eyes. It was crouched like a cat about to pounce.

When they reached the top of the hill, the dragon stared at them silently. It growled.

“Uh… nice dragon?” Fretchen tried.

The monster snorted and raised its head angrily. It roared.

“Any joining spells, Grellem?” Fretchen asked as the dragon began to approach.

“Nope,” she answered with na├»ve joy.

“How about since the rest of your spells are things like ‘Separation Spell,’ why don’t you try ‘joining spell’?”

“That’s stupid,” Grellem snorted, but she tried it all the same. “JOINING SPELL!”

For a moment, Fretchen couldn’t see. Then, when her vision cleared, Grellem was standing above her and giggling. “Hey, look Fretchen, your hair is the color of wheat!”

“What?” Fretchen groggily grabbed her hair. It was no longer silky brown, but it was now blunt yellow and straw straight. “What did you do?”

“I joined you with wheat!” Grellem giggled. “You’re lucky you didn’t get wheat eyes or something.”

“You wait, Fretchen growled. “I’m going to get you!” She stood, and then stopped. “Where’s the dragon?” The shiny tractor was still right there, but where was the dragon?

“It ran off while your hair was turning yellow,” Grellem said simply. “Really, Fretchen I thought you would’ve been able to catch it.”

“Next time, how about your hair turns yellow and I do all the fancy spells?” Fretchen suggested.

When they got home, all Fretchen got was a scolding about the state of the fields and the disappearing half of the tracton. When her parents turned to Grellem, however, she said simply, “I was only showing her my education. She said it was fine.”

Fretchen spent the next few weeks fixing the damage to the crops. Grellem was always a step behind her, chattering about how well she’d done in magic lessons.

Grellem’s favorite subject was how well she was doing in joining spells.

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