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Young Writers Project: Haunted History, Haunted Houses

Each week, Young Writers Project receives several hundred submissions from students in Vermont and New Hampshire in response to writing prompts and we select the best for publication here and in 20 other newspapers and on VPR.net. This week, we publish responses to the prompts, “Haunted: You and your friends explore an abandoned house when things turn scary;” and “Candidate: It’s election season!” Write a political ad for yourself. Read more at youngwritersproject.org.

Prompt: Haunted

These Fields Are Haunted

By Jacob Hatch

Grade 10, Chelsea Public School

They say these fields are haunted,

That many battles have been fought here.

The blood of innocent citizens

Has been shed here,

Fought for slavery,

Fought for freedom,

And all that’s left,

Is the howling of the night,

The disasters caused,

The inventions made.

People say The Civil War was the deadliest,

Most disastrous,

Pain-inflicting war,

The loss of over 620,000 innocent people.

People say

If you listen closely,

You will hear

The dead soldiers

Whispering your name,

Screaming in agony,

Begging for help.

People say

At night,

You can hear the sounds of

The horses scrambling,

The wild gunfire,

The destruction being caused.

No wonder they say these fields are haunted.

It

By Daphnie Friedman

Grade 7, Frances C. Richmond Middle School

BOOM, CRASH, then all darkness. All I heard was Gwen’s heavy breathing next to me. I clung onto her arm as I sat squatted in the closet. “What was that?” I whispered, my voice shaky.

“No idea, Shhhhh, it might be back.” We found “it” came when we came home from school. At first we thought it was another regular day where we came home and then we were bored for an hour until Mom got home.

Today was different. We had heard a crash while coming up the driveway.

“Must have been the wind,” Gwen had said. But I knew she said that just to make me feel better.

As we walked in, everything was silent, then we saw the coffee table moving across the room. It made a horrible squeaking sound as it made scratches along the floor.

“Hello,” I called, hoping it was just Mom rearranging, but I knew she was at work.

“Shhhh, do you want to get us killed?!” wGwen whispered harshly.

I didn’t respond. We slowly walked in but soon stopped abruptly when we heard footsteps. When the mysterious footsteps stopped, we quietly tiptoed into the living room; no one was there. What had caused the table to move?

All of a sudden, POP! “What was that?” I said, trying to whisper, but I was so scared I did not know if I could. Noise was happening all around us; now someone was coming down the stairs. That was when Gwen pulled me into the closet.

When everything was quiet, I peeked my head out; there was nothing; everything was silent. We both grabbed something to defend ourselves.

Gwen grabbed the broom, and I got a dustpan. We made our way through every room. They were all empty. From around the corner, I saw a slit of light coming from under the door to the dining room.

“Follow me,” I whispered while sneaking up on the room. “One,” I lifted my dust pan.

“Two,” Gwen lifted her broom.

“Three.” Creak, the door opened. I held my breath. What I saw shocked me; it was a room full of balloons with a big cake.

“Surprise! Happy Birthday!” Finally, everything made sense.

Prompt: Candidate

Broken Pieces, Not Broken Promises

By Eliza Russ

Grade 11, Oxbow High School

As a middle-class American citizen, I know how hard it is to pay income taxes, pay the mortgage every month, and even fill the tank up with gas.

Currently, the United States of America is in improvement mode. We are beginning to build ourselves up again. I promise to continue the improvement of our country by giving tax relief to the middle class, the working people, the backbone of our society.

I would also like to continue to improve the job rate by enforcing tax breaks or waivers for those who have a career in technology or environment-related fields of work.

My platform is to help develop an environmental plan where every country will be accountable for the world’s environmental future.

More than five years ago, we went to war with countries without a dime in our pockets. As we remove our troops from those places and end those wars, I will direct our military attention towards protecting our country from the inside.

It is time for us to build up America, pick up the pieces that still remain, and create a stable economy.

I promise to help you and that is a promise that I intend to keep as your next President of the United States.

Fight for What’s Right

By Meaghan Williams

Grade 11, Oxbow High School

Are you tired of your voice not being heard and acted upon?

Well, if you vote for Meaghan Williams, every voice, every question, and every hope and dream of this nation will be answered and fulfilled.

A dedicated and honest person, she will always do the right thing and stand by her decisions.

Do not be fooled by her calm demeanor, she can fight for what is right and never back down. No one will be left behind. Vote for the future, vote for you, vote M.W.

Prompt: General Writing

Words Behind “I Miss You”

By Cherish Amanda Greene

Grade 12, Chelsea Public School

I don’t know how to say it to make you understand the way my heart is yearning to have you close at hand.

The common way’s not good enough, “I miss you” is too pale; beside the truth of what I feel it’s far too stark and stale.

I miss you like the Earth would miss the sun if it should die.

I miss you like a bird without its wings would miss the sky.

I miss you like the trees would miss a spring that never came.

For everything needs something else and my heart is the same.

You see, my love, I have no words for what I need to say.

My whole world rests on you alone, through endless, countless days.

Without your smile, your laugh, your joy, my heart grows ever weak.

It’s laden with a love-bound ache and words I’ll never speak.

About the Project

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with audiences through the Newspaper Series (and youngwritersproject.org) and the Schools Project (ywpschools.net).

Next prompt:

Light/Darkness. Use the idea of extreme contrast in any way you’d like, such as day vs. night, good vs. evil. Create a story or poem that centers on extreme contrast. Alternate: Superpower. You are granted superpowers: What superpower would you pick and why? Imagine an anecdote of you using that superpower. Due Nov. 16.