Huiru May Huang: On Encountering a Stranger  

My students were putting on Little Red Riding Hood today and I was the Big Bad Wolf, so I showed up to Sister Marianne’s door in my wolf costume. Sister Marianne is my ninety year-old neighbor. She works at the church next to my school, so we’d walk to work together every day, rain or shine. We wouldn’t say much to each other, but her petite presence always puts my mind at ease. Prolonged silences like these used to drive me out of my skin, but I’ve grown to understand the solitude that…

Convenience Store Encounters, by Katie Chen

HONORABLE MENTION, HIGH SCHOOL CATEGORY The alarm beeps. And where there is no response or movement from the lump of blankets on the bed, it beeps again, with increased urgency. And beeps again. And vibrates with increased frequency. And when it seems like the alarm is about to vibrate itself off the counter it’s sitting on, a hand emerges itself from its home on the bed and smashes the alarm clock hard. Twice. Finally, there is blissful silence. It is 6:31 AM.  Carla stumbles out of her…