Here’s my entry for #FallWritingFrenzy 2020, a fantastic kidlit contest run by agent and author Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez (@KaitlynLeann17) and children’s author Lydia Lukidis (@LydiaLukidis). Many thanks to them for organising such a fun competition!
You can read more details about the contest here: https://lydialukidis.wordpress.com/fall-writing-frenzy-contest-2020/ or read the other entries (guaranteed to get you in the mood for Autumn!) here: https://lydialukidis.wordpress.com/2020/09/30/fall-writing-frenzy-entry-form/
The task was to select one of the fifteen Fall-themed images provided as a prompt to write a kidlit piece of 200 words or less – ‘a poem, a story, a mood piece, (…) happy, scary, beautiful, grotesque, whatever suits your fancy for any kidlit age’.
This image of a girl with a beautiful red leaf was the one that spoke to me! By the way, in case you don’t know, ‘Oma’ is a German word for ‘Grandma’.
Orla’s Leaves – a Fall Faery Tale (200 words)
Orla kicks up whirling blizzards of color. A damp-earth smell rises into mist.
Of all seasons, Oma misses Fall most. So, Orla will bring leaves to Oma.
First, oak – crimson… russet…
Next, hickory – lemon-yellow… amber…
Then, a maple mosaic – scarlet… magenta… gold…
Mist is now thick fog. Orla is lost.
A voice stirs like shifting leaves: ‘Help me!’
On clammy moss lies a deer, shivering. Orla sighs. Such beautiful leaves she’s chosen. But Oma is warm, and this poor creature is not, so she spreads her whole collection over the deer like a blanket.
‘Kindness begets kindness,’ says the deer. ‘Hurry home, then shake out your knapsack three times.’
‘But it’s empty,’ says Orla, ‘and I’m lost in this fog!’
‘Don’t look too far ahead,’ the deer replies. ‘Follow the leaves at your feet, step by step: maple, hickory, oak. When you look up, you will be home…’
‘I’m back, Oma!’ Orla says, and shakes her knapsack three times. Leaves flutter down, rich pigments aglow, then fit themselves together to form an intricate quilt. Orla tucks it around Oma. The forest smell envelops them. They will endure winter step by step, and when they look up, Spring will be there.