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Girls With Pens, East Austin June 2017

What a great week! This was a group of nine girls who wrote with intensity and passion. Among other things, we heard about a killer fluffamudoodle, an arrogant green gorilla and a mysterious Shadow Huntress.

I was knocked out by the girls' metaphors, similes and overall imagery. These campers

make me excited about the future of writing!



By Alexa Borden

She was ten years old before she met her first clone.

I hated myself for it. Why so young?! My little sister didn’t mean to. People that young make mistakes, and I tried to tell them that. All of the fighting got me nowhere. The cops took my sister, not sure why, and left me staring at the inside of a cell. I had taken not just one step, but five leaps away from finding my sister, and was gonna get a running start toward her.

Three days later I was wearing a hat and a large coat, watching a news report of the police investigating the giant girl-sized whole in the door of my cell.

I was in a safehouse with 100% of my town. But if I’ve learned anything in this town, it’s that 100% doesn’t necessarily mean everyone. My sister’s safehouse bed was empty.

I live in a society centered around discovery. Well, people very quickly discovered that you can make an exact replica of yourself, that will basically be your lifelong helper. It was 100% safe. But something went wrong.

The only thing that you could use to tell clones apart from real people was their eyes. They were pitch black with a single white highlight. I swore those clones were up to no good. In a situation where nobody believes one person, the person should be wrong, correct? Of course that wasn’t the case this time.

The clones vs. people––they started a war. A war on the surface we could hear through the roof of our underground safehouse.

This was a war nobody could win. You and yourself had the same thought process, and did the exact same thing. All of the brave soldiers were fighting a mirror.

I didn’t care. My sister was out there. So I place my hand on the door, opened it and stepped out. What am I gonna do if a clone stops me, I dunno.

Then I met my 5th clone.


The Shadow Huntress

By Joslyn Boyer

She was ten years old before she met her first clone. It was one of many but it took her breath away just the same. She swayed on her feet and sweat rolled down the bridge of her nose. The girl drew her dagger. Across the market festival crammed streets, her clone did the same.

All this meant was that she had done something to displease the Shadow Huntress, but what? She racked her brain––trying desperately to think of what she had done. Displeasing the Shadow Huntress meant certain death––most likely of a most painful nature. Her father had passed on everything he knew about the Huntress and the clones to her––and now it was time to put the knowledge to the test. Other people had recognized the threat and were moving to clear a path. They moved out of the way, but lingered, to see the outcome of the fight.

She took a few steps forward and saw something fleeting in the clone’s eyes. Was it hesitation? Clones NEVER hesitated. Then a horrible thought occurred . . . was SHE herself the clone? The last thing she remembered was getting a queasy feeling in her stomach before falling backward into her father’s outstretched arms.

Claire woke up in a rickety hospital bed hundreds of miles to the south. The heat was energy sucking, thought consuming, hopelessness that everyone had to give into in order to survive. She was in the Huntress Testing Zone. What could that mean? Was she a clone? Claire patted her belt where she always kept her dagger, to find it missing. Now what? Her whole life she had spent mastering the dagger as an assassination tool to kill her duplicates and to survive as long as possible. Now a weak stomach had blown it.

She had to get it back. She stepped out of her room and slipped down the hall. Her mind was so focused on getting her weapon back that she didn’t hear the soft footfall of the Shadow Huntress approaching her.


Hidden in the Night Sky

By Sadie Cravotta

It was a magical night. Everything was silent, but there was so much going on. It was the middle of December when all of the magic started. Beautiful white flakes of snow fell gently from the dark sky above and everything seemed at peace. No one was thinking of what was lurking in the shadows or what was hiding in the night sky.

So when midnight struck no one was prepared. They should have known no night could be perfect. Dark clouds started forming above and the wind was howling like mad. Then, it started. Monsters crawled out of shadows and spilled onto the streets.

All anyone could do was hope, hope that they would not be harmed, hope that they would be safe. Then like magic all the monsters were pulled back into the dark, wailing and screeching. From then on there was peace, peace throughout the city. People climbed into their beds, believing they were okay, not knowing they could never be safe again.

To be continued . . .


Dopey and Mator

by Lallithia Grace

I is Dopey and I is very dumb, That’s what the other dwarfs are saying. So I is running away!!! I is hiding in a dumping car and I is finding a great spot to sleep. It’s on a rusty, oldish car. Good night.

The next day.

“Hey! What are you doing on me?”

“I’m living, you know!”

“I is not knowing that.”

“Oh. Ok. Well, who are you?”

“I’m Mator.”

“Oh. It’s Dopey.”

“Hi. I’m Mator. No. It’s M.A.T.O.R.”

“Hi M.A.T.O.R.”

“It’s fine, I guess.”

Narrator: They were talking for hours when a huge fire started. They had to get away quick so Dopey hopped on Mator and Mator drove off as fast as he could. Dopey carried some gas so he wouldn’t run out. The fire followed them until they hid in a car and just missed dying. They stayed there for a week and have a great living space together.

One day, a robber came and kidnapped Dopey. Mator looked for him. The second week of the second month he took him back and kept an eye on him at all times. They were very happy together for the rest of their days.

The End


The Clone Sky

by Lila Nix

I was ten years old when I met my first clone. It looked like they have been doing the cloning thing for about 12 years now, because all the houses look the same in our town in and out. But they haven’t and I was the first person to be cloned. I was when I was born. Everyone forgot about my clone until today.

Hi. My name is Sky and I’m 10 and this is my clone. To make it not as confusing my parents call me Sky the Original and my clone, Clone Sky, but each time they say that, my clone gets sad and that makes me sad.

Clone Sky has the exact same features as me––same light blonde almost-white colored hair except for the platinum blue tips of my hair. Same buffed chipped nails, dressed in the same favorite purple shirt with the matching short skirt and we both love watching Supergirl and The Flash. We’re like twins: look the same, like the same things, wear the same thing. Although we are different in two ways. One of us is a clone and one is a human. #2. We have different parents.

[change of perspective] Sky the original tried to make Clone Sky feel comfortable even though Sky the Original’s parents call us by different names even though we are the same people.

The Clone Sky was missing her parents, her bed, her house. It wasn’t my parents. It wasn’t Sky the Original. Clone Sky was just missing her family and her house and her friends. I was sad to see Clone Sky leave but it was time. I said goodbye and gave her a locket that was matching to mine. They both had a pic of us. I said I would never forget her. She said the same and we parted our ways.We hope that we can meet up in the park or bump into each other at the grocery store.

The End


The Memories are Key

By Emily O’Brien

The Queen of Light lived in a palace full of her most loyal subjects. Every day was bright and lively. Every night there were dances, great and wonderful things they were. The Queen called upon the best musicians in all the land to play for her guests and the best dancers for her entertainment.

She lived a wonderful life. But she was unhappy.

Years ago, something had been stolen from her. Her son, the shadow prince, was taken.

She missed him dearly. When no one was around she cried for him and people said her tears created the stars in the sky.

The Queen appeared happy but only to please her subjects. They too wore a happy façade but at any sign of weakness they would turn on her. She knew because she had seen it before. Her husband had mourned their son. He had been public in his sadness. And their subjects had rioted in the streets.

“We need a strong king!” they roared. “We have no need for a weak fool!”

The King and Queen’s power were only show––the true rulers of the land were its people and a wicked people they were.

One night, they crept into the palace and took the King away. The Queen tried to be strong.

“I command you to stop this,” she ordered. “You will obey me.”

But her voice broke. It wasn’t enough.

First her son and now her husband. She was completely alone, for her subjects were no comfort. They were not friends, nor family and they could never be!

When she first became Queen she thought it was a blessing. She lived in a beautiful palace, with only the finest food to eat, the most comfortable and gorgeous clothes and a perfect family. She had been genuinely happy for a long, long time. She thought she had everything she wanted.

But in years to come, she found that her palace was but a prison. Her clothes, her very crown were chains locking her to the position. The food seemed to become slop, her advisors, guards. Her title was a lie. She was trapped in a place she hadn’t the slightest wish to be in.

She needed to leave. To escape.

In the dead of night she took her horse and ran from the castle. She thought she was safe, unfollowed, and she cried out in joy.

But her wicked subjects were upon her. They knocked her from her mount. She fell and hit her head, rendering her unconscious. She began to dream. No, not dream. Remember.

She, too, had been evil, in what seemed like another life. She truly had power then, and it corrupted her and her husband. They took money, they exiled and killed people who would not give it to them.

And one day, her son had fallen from his horse and he had died. Her people had blamed it on her. It hadn’t been her fault. She hadn’t meant to frighten the mare. She remembered she and her husband had been executed and then they appeared in the perfect palace.



By Kate Starkloff

A long, long time ago, a woman was grooming her sheep. She heard a loud booming noise and then everything went white. Although she was still conscious, she couldn’t hear or see anything except a lovely brown dreamcatcher. The dreamcatcher appeared to be quite far away and extremely large. It was a light brown shade “just like the color of my sheep,” she thought.

It had black and white beads dangling into mid-air below the perfectly woven circle, tan feathers sprouting out below the beads. The beautiful web, connecting one edge to the other, created a connection between the old woman and the dreamcatcher. The webbing consisted of many diamonds and circles woven together so precisely.

The woman felt an urge to go touch the beauty. She tried to walk but all she could do was fly. As she came upon the dreamcatcher, it started to grumble and shake. This scared the old woman. Seconds later she felt the dreamcatcher telling her something, something she couldn’t possible describe to mankind. The air around her started to get thicker. It was getting hard to breathe. Could she do anything about it? Slowly the old woman started to shrink. Her body felt lighter; her feet became feathers. Soon her legs were long strands of leather, her torso, the tan circle, and her head the perfectly woven string.

To be continued . . .


The Legend of the Dreamcatcher

By Maya Starkloff

A long time ago, a small Native American tribe called the South was having a feast and a gathering. Then someone heard a gunshot. The women and children ran into the teepees for protection. The men gathered their weapons and mounted their horses. One man, the tribe’s leader, decided to go closer to the noise to see what was happening.

When the man came back, he said, “There is war between the East and West.”

Everyone hid in their teepees. One girl in the tribe, Ava, had the power to see and catch bad dreams. While the tribe was sleeping, Ava caught all the bad dreams about war. Everyone slept better than ever that night.

Then one night Ava got terribly sick and died. The tribe buried her and made a beautiful grave. The next morning the first ever dreamcatcher hung from the grave. Now everyone in the South tribe has a dreamcatcher hanging in their teepee. They believe Ava’s spirit will catch their bad dreams and they will sleep safe and sound.

The End


The Man Who Lived in a Clock

By Hazel Tounsand

The old clock tower stood strong, still. The man who worked it was getting tired. The clock was creaking. The hands were delicate but complicated. They ticked slowly. He looked up at the pitch-black sky. It was somewhat peaceful. The stars gleamed. The hissing and wheezing of the clockwork sort of ruined what could have been a beautiful sky. He sighed and glanced at his watch. Oh, the irony. Living in a clock but never able to know the time unless he had a watch.

He slowly hobbled over to his rotting bed in the corner. The bed moaned under the man’s weight. He coughed and lay down, placing his glasses on the overturned box. He tugged on the chain hanging from his lamp. All was still. His eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. His head turned and he was looking at the portrait hanging on his wall. It was of a woman with two small children. Boys. The picture was yellow with age. The family did not smile. The man started to close his eyes. He opened them once more and glanced at the dark photograph.

“They deserved it,” he thought. “They deserved it.”

He closed his tired eyes. And fell into a dreamless sleep.

Outside it snowed lightly, men and women pranced around.

The shops were closing. Carriages dropped passengers. Children yawned. Gentlemen waved goodbye. The rats scurried across streets. Even the peddlers were going in to sleep. Somewhere across this small city, a young boy awoke from a nightmare.

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