Middle School

"Hey, Riley."

"Hi, Ms. Ladin."

"No need to whisper Riley."

"But It's a library. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't."

"Okay." Ms. Ladi imitates my quiet speaking, and I flush.

"I'm sorry Riley, I was joking, trying to have fun. But anyway, three of the looks you put o hold came in. Plus something extra I think you will really like."

"What is it?"

"Oh, oh, oh. That is the fun part."

I shift a little, nervous about what she's going to say.

"You love to write, but you never share your stories with anyone but me. If you want the thing that I'm 100% sure you'll want, you have to submit one of your stories to a writing contest. But there's a twist! It has to be a new write! And the topic is werewolves!"

I hesitate. "I cross my heart and swear to die that you will love what I'll give you in return for entering this contest."

"What is it though. It could be a grilled cheese sandwich, like the one's at Larry's Cheeses."

"It's a bunch of books, about a dozen. And I'll let you borrow all of them, more than ten."

". . .Fine."


I sit at my writing desk. Werewolves. Books that keep you hooked and wanting more always start with a climactic scene. Maybe a werewolf hunting and eating a deer. I could make that very climatic. Then I could do, maybe an intro? Sam Shullberg? Maybe a tom-boy? Lives in a pack or in the real world? Probably a lone wolf. Maybe tweak it so they can change whenever, but have to change on a full moon. Makes sense. 

"Rie! Ty-tys got my caw!"

I get up and go to the living room. Andrew and Tyler are fighting over a neon green Hotwheels monster truck. I know Andrews's favorite color is green, and Tylers is purple, so I grab the purple and pink Disney princesses carriage, and hand it to Tyler.

"What happened, Andrew, go first."

"Fust, my name Ender. Sacun, I was paying with da caw in fwont of Ty ty, and he took it."

"Nu uh. Pbbbttthhh. Da caw was deya an den i picked it up and pwayed with it, but Andy gawt mad."

"Ender gawt mad," Andrew corrects.

"What I think happened is that Ender put down the car for a little bit. Ty ty saw the car, and thought he was done playing, and picked it up. But Ender got mad because Ender wasn't finished playing with the car. How does that sound?"

Tyler thinks about it for a moment. "So I'm nawt in twuble?"


"Wha bou me??" Andrew questions

"You are not in trouble too."

I leave Andrew and Tyler, going back to my writing desk, and scribble a few more ideas.


A few days later, I go to Ms. Ladin and give her a printed copy of my Werewolf.

"On the Full Moon." Ms. Ladin reads out loud. She skims it, flipping through at astonishing speeds. "Word count?"



"Werewolf who wants to be regular, but learns to accept her identity."


"The contest and the books."

"Perfect." Ms. Ladin reaches under her desk and pulls out a stack of new books. "I was going to give you these anyway, but now you can have all of them at once."

"Wait, you were going to give them to me anyway? Then I'm not entering the contest. Give it back." I try to snatch the book from her desk, but she pulls it away.

"Nuh-uh, what's done is done, you can't turn back time." Ms. Ladin shoves it into a drawer and locks it.

"Why. I don't like people. I read the flyer. If you win you have to read it in front of millions of people. It goes on the front page of every newspaper. You make history! I don't want to do that."

"Someday, honey, you'll realize that all I've ever done is help you, even if it doesn't seem like it." Suddenly my watch beeps. "Well, you've got to go now. Bye-bye! And tell Charlie to return The Return of the Jedi. It's a year past the expiration date, and he owes the library twenty bucks."

"I think that's why he won't come. He spends all his money on candy." Then I leave without saying goodbye.


When I go to school the next day, the loudspeaker-surprisingly-crackles to life. The speaker has been used only once in the many years I've been at the school.

"How do you use this stupid thing. . .Am I on. . .I don't know. . ." There's a little bit of shuffling around.

"Good morning Lakeberg, we have a, umm, very important announcement. Can you guys hear me? Anyway. . ." The principal's voice fades out for a moment, before coming back. "And she won the contest! I don't know if she's been informed yet, but congratulations, and let's give it up for our very own Riley Ingram!"

I sit stock-still as everyone cheers.

"You're all over the news, and this school might just have some new upgrades."

Everyone cheers as loud as they can for that.

"Oh! Ms. Ladin, what do you need? Ok, I see. Well, go ahead!"

Ms. Ladin's voice crackles on the loudspeaker.

"Riley, can you come to the library, we have to talk. You're not in trouble, but I want to talk to you about the contest."


I shift nervously in front of Ms. Ladin's desk.

"Well, Riley."

I squirm under her gaze.

"We're going to New York so you can share your story!" Ms. Ladin hugs me tightly.

"But I don't want to go. I have stage fright."

"I'll be there."

"I have Enochlophobia."

"Me and your mom can help you through it."

"I have Glossophobia."

"That's just a fancy word for stage fright. Stop making excuses. You have no way to wiggle out of this one. You're going to New York, New York, no matter what. Now, go pack."


"Your up," a man in all black tells me, handing me a hard copy of my book. It just got published yesterday, when we arrived.

I nod. Ms. Ladin grips my shoulders. "You got this. Your going to go out there, and show that crowd who created On the Full Moon, which has become a number one hit."

"Stagefright!" I squeak.

"You're not even on the stage! All right, just close your eyes, and when you get up there, pretend like you're speaking to me."

I nod, and we go up the stairs, onto the stage.

The crowd cheers loudly, and my ears almost burst. The spotlight swings onto me, blinding me.

"Please welcome the one and only. . .Riley Ingram!!"


"Let's calm down, this is Riley's first-ever time on stage, we wouldn't want to give her the wrong idea of us!"


"Now let's get started!"

The crowd quiets, and the spotlight is on her. The whole world is watching.

I squeeze Ms. Ladin's hand.

"A week ago I was just like you. A regular person who went to school every day, and had two younger brothers and an older one, a mom and a dad. I wrote stories, but I was embarrassed and refused to show them to anyone but myself. Then this crazy old librarian found out."

I gesture to Ms. Ladin, and the crowd laughs.

"She made me a deal, and in return for this book most of you are holding, she gave me a bunch of new books, and I was able to borrow more than the maximum limit. She said if I won, my face would be plastered all over the news, but I was pretty sure I wouldn't win. Look at me now!"

The crowd laughs and Riley smiles.

"So I won. And this is possibly the biggest moment in my life, I've had and will ever have. As a thank you to all of you who came here, I'm going to read a short version of the first chapter of my book."

I open my book to the first page and clear my throat.

"The majestic stag bent low as it sipped water from the stream that shimmered and glowed in the full moon. It did not see the figure that stuck to the shadows, tracing its prey. The claws glinted for less than a second before slashing deeply once, twice, three times. The creature that stepped out of the shadows was a wolf if you could even call it that. It was more feral, more intelligent. Its eyes glinted, and its teeth were bared. Words could not describe it. It was a Werewolf."

The crowd erupted, cheering for Riley, and Riley grinned.

"On the Full Moon."

February 12, 2021 00:02

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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