Library announces short story winners

When it comes to engaging the youth of the Tri-City United School District, the Montgomery Public Library knows what to do: hold a contest and offer a modern electronic device as the grand prize. In October, as part of national Teen Read Week, the library held a special writing contest for students to submit a spooky short story with the chance to win a color Nook. The Nook is a full-color, multitouch touch- screen, electronic e-reader tablet by Barnes & Noble. A total of 86 entries were submitted from students in the seventh through 12th grades for the “Spooky Short Story” contest. Judging the contest were retired English teacher Cindy Curtis, and Therese Dotray-Tulloch, author of “Life on Pleasant” and “For Opossum Falls”. The first place winner and Nook went to Hannah Montreuil, who won a Color Nook for her efforts. Second place winner of a $60 Amazon gift card is Annalys Hanson, and third place winners of a $30 Amazon gift card are Autumn Gare and Madison Glende. Receiving an honorable mention are Sarina Wolbeck, Celeste Friederich, Victoria Roberts, Ashley Soltau-Lindman, Ryan Riebel, Jazmin Brown, Brittani Desmond, Alyssa Quist, Mackenzie Kodada and Emma Lindman. Tulloch said the judging was difficult to do because the entries were so fascinating to read. “Being a judge was a much more rewarding experience than I ever anticipated that it would be.  The essays were, for the most part, fascinating to read and extremely difficult to judge,” Tulloch said.  “I truly felt 95 percent of them could have been winners, it was that hard to choose.” Tulloch said essays dealt with zombies, ghouls, and vampires, and the profoundly scary topics of bullying, depression, mental health issues, and death. “The imagination and creativity the kids put into their essays was delightful, and I often found myself laughing out loud or hurrying to get to the end of the essay to read what would happen next,” Tulloch said. “Hannah Montreuil's story hooked me in at the first sentence. With the skill of an experienced storyteller, she dropped hints along the way that kept one reading.  The surprise ending was simply terrific.”    She added that the depth and variety of these students' essays were impressive, to say the least. “I for one am very proud to live in a community where kids are such talented writers and are willing to work so hard on a library contest,” she said. “I would also like to commend Nancy, the librarian, for her efforts in launching the project.  Congratulations to all of the participants!  I truly enjoyed reading those amazing essays!” The Montgomery Area Friends of the Library donated the Nook and gift cards, and Domino's and Casey's supplied food coupons for additional prizes.



The Lost By Hannah Montreuil


“How is it that 113 people can just vanish into thin air?” Mr. Smith stood in front of the class waiting for ideas as I let out a small yawn. This history class could not get anymore longer, consisting of hours and hours of lectures per week. My teacher, Mr. Smith, had chosen to talk about one of his particular favorite topics: The Lost Colony of Roanoke. I sat there, twiddling my pencil and trying not to look at the clock for if I do I know only thirty seconds from the last time I looked will have gone by. Please bell, I thought, it’s the last hour of the day. Just ring already. “Anna,” Mr. Smith said suddenly causing me to jump a little. “Any thoughts?” You ever have one of those moments where it feels like the whole class is staring at you waiting for you to say something stupid? “I’m sorry, what was the question?” I said softly hoping no one heard me. A few kids giggled and I just wanted to vanish. Mr. Smith turned around and went on, “Over 100 people disappeared, all of their personal items left exactly as they would be. The only thing found was the word ‘Croatoan’ carved into a tree.” Groaning softly, I finally looked at the clock. 2:15. Thirty seconds had gone by. I slammed my locker and threw my backpack over my shoulder. The day was finally over. Typically I’d be in the parking lot by now in a race against the other students to be the first to get out of here, but not today. I was staying after to talk to my English teacher, Ms. Erickson, about one of my papers. Walking down the hallways after school was a lot easier without a ton of students pushing each other around like it was during the day. You could actually see the striped, blue carpet and the plain, white walls with small windows running along the edge of the ceiling. This was a new school, and you could definitely tell. I got to her room, her name neatly written on the door panel above, and knocked lightly on the door before entering. The room was empty; all but her bag remained on her desk. I figured she left it to go to the teacher’s lounge or another room for a short while before returning to get her bag so I decided to sit in a desk and wait. I chose the fourth row, farthest from the door, setting my bag on the ground and pulling out my paper and a pencil. I looked around, taking in the walls covered with maps of early America and books still open on her desk. The whiteboard had been completely erased and cleaned; you could still smell the awful cleaner spray she used. It gave me a headache just sitting there. About ten minutes went by as I read through my paper for a fifth time. Giving up, I reached down and grabbed my bag. I walked by her desk and glanced at her bag which was sitting open on top of a large text book entitled The Lost Colony with some loose documents next to it. “Weird,” I whispered aloud pushing aside her bag and textbook and picking up one of the documents with messy, cursive writing. Who would have thought Ms. Erickson and Mr. Smith would be talking about the same subject on the same day, especially since Ms. Erickson was strictly an English teacher. I set down the document and continued to make my way to the door when something caught the corner of my eye. Turning to the board, I noticed something written largely across it in red marker. It was just one word: “Croatoan”. “What the — is this some kind of joke?” I said a little louder looking around the classroom. That was impossible! There was nothing written on the board before, I swear it. I was the only person in the classroom. Croatoan was written in large, messy handwriting by a red marker across the board, but I was the only person in here and before there was nothing! “What are you doing in here?” a deep voice startled me. I looked to the door to find the janitor standing there holding a large set of keys. He stood with a grim expression on this face, his impatience was clear. “I was just waiting for Ms. Erickson–“ I started to mumble. “Well she’s obviously not here now, is she?” he said sarcastically. “And she doesn’t need you going through her bag either.” “I wasn’t!” I scoffed and then adjusted the strap of my bag wanting to get out of here as quick as possible. “I just had a question about my paper. Someone must be playing a prank on me because…” I was about to finish with pointing to the board, but when I looked again, the word was gone. My voice caught in my throat and my entire head spun. Unable to finish, I quickly turned away and headed out the door. “You’ll never believe what happened!” I ran into my first hour study hall the next day to my two best friends, Ray and Samantha, and explained to them what happened. They looked at me with disbelieving eyes. “Oh come on, he probably just wanted you to get out because he thought you were going to steal something,” Ray laughed. “No, I’m serious! How do you explain the white board? I swear the word was there, and then it suddenly vanished!” “And you were the only one in the classroom before the janitor showed up?” Samantha asked. I nodded. “Maybe the school is haunted,” Ray tried to say without smirking. “Oh please,” Samantha chuckled. “How can a brand new school be haunted?” The two of them continued to joke, but I knew someone was messing with me. “Guys, I’m serious. One second the board says ‘Croatoan,’ the next it’s clean. I’m not imagining this!” “Is that referring to that colony back in the 16th century?” Ray asked. “Basically there was that guy who had left for supplies over in Europe and when he came back, no one was there; all their personal items were left where they should be, but there weren’t any people: living or dead. It was as if they disappeared into thin air, right?” Samantha and I started to ponder on this, but then Ray made a spooky ghost noise to break the tension. “Hey, you want to know what else is really creepy, Anna?” Samantha asked. I slowly nodded, unsure if she was just going to mess with me again. She wasn’t sure if she should say it at first, but then finally came out: “Ms. Erickson didn’t show up for advisory this morning. I overheard it from a kid walking down the hallway. They said the office kept trying to get a hold of her, but she’s not answering. They’re looking for a substitute now.” My mouth nearly dropped. It took me a while to process everything she said, but finally I realized the connection between her disappearance and the papers talking about Roanoke. This had to be someone’s idea of a joke. All I knew was that I needed to proof so I could show my friends and perhaps even the authorities when they find out she’s really gone. Someone was playing a seriously messed up joke and I knew I had to find out who. The documents left on her desk were the key to solving this and I was going to get them. I went to the volleyball game that night at our school, but instead of going straight to the gym, I took a turn down one of the hallways to Ms. Erickson’s room. All of the lights were off now so I used the moonlight reflecting through the windows as my guide. Finally I arrived to her room. To my surprise, the door was slightly cracked open. Chills ran down my spine, but I knew I had to get those documents. Pulling out my cell phone, I used the brightness from it now to see as I quickly walked to her desk. When I finally reached her desk, I opened the desk to find the documents neatly stacked in a pile. I pulled them out, but suddenly a greater chill filled me, this time causing me to jump slightly and drop my cell phone. “Shoot,” I whispered bending over to grab it when suddenly I heard a ruffled noise coming from outside the door. I looked up, seeing the door opening slightly, creaking incredibly slow at every inch. “Oh my God,” I choked out, shaking intensely. It was then, staring at the open door, that I discovered what the mystery of Roanoke was all along and what happened to all those people…and what would happen to me as well….

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