Brianna entered the Carroll County Library's "Summer Shorts" writing contest and won an honorable mention. They had an award ceremony last week and she got a Target gift card, a pen, notebook, a book called "Ala Carte" and a certificate. Most of the family was able to go and watch the ceremony and we were all so very proud of Brianna....so here is the story she wrote....
First it starts off with a slight tingle. Then comes the pain, sharp, hot and stinging. You start to glow with a bright orange that moves through your whole body. You become not just a conduct for the flame but it’s parent. You feed it. You shelter it. It is a part of you as much as you are a part of it. You give it all of this and in return it lets you contain it for a moment. It lets you in. Suddenly you are part of the light. Today was my day to be that light.
The life of a match is one of waiting. You sit upon the shelf with your brothers waiting for that fateful moment, your one moment to shine (literally). To find out how your power will be used.
My life started out in a match plant in Indiana. I was packaged with 249 of my brothers. Talk about squished! After a long and bumpy ride to a store and a shorter bumpy ride away from the store I ended up in the home of Mr. Tyler B. James. Mr. J was a nice man, always fine to us matches. He had a special place for us all our own so that kids didn’t mess with us. Matches hate it when kids mess with us. I heard a story once about one match whose owner didn’t put him up right and one of the kids started to play with him and lit him up. Well, the kid got so scared he dropped him and started a fire that burned the whole house down. Imagine that. Your one moment of glory, the power, the exhilaration, and you create a disaster. Not me. I had a special purpose in mind. No Mr. J treated us right. He left us alone for the most part and most importantly he never took us on the dreaded…campouts.
Campouts are every match’s worst fear. From the time as a stick in the assembly line little matches are told horror stories about matches that went on campouts and never came back. First you get put in a backpack so squished your lucky if you make it out in two pieces. Next they try to use you to start a fire only it never works the first time. If you’re really lucky it will only take fifteen of you to start a fire and then they will take all of you that helped start the fire and throw you in so you burn till there’s nothing left. Those are the lucky matches the ones that actually serve a purpose. The unluckier ones get left, stomped on, broken or worst of all wet. They are left completely useless and get thrown or carried away never knowing what it feels like to burn. That is every match’s wish, to feel for those few seconds the heat, the burning, the crackling, and the giving of life to a flame. It was said to be the most wonderful sensation ever. Second to that, a match’s only wish is to be used for a noble purpose. Nothing was looked down upon more than a match who helped destroy.
All matches have their desire for a noble purpose. For some it is the danger of going on a campout and starting a real campfire. For most though it is something simpler like lighting a dark room or burning a paper. As for me, I had my desire for a noble purpose picked out from the very beginning. I had waited my whole existence for this day and it was finally here. Today was little Tyler’s birthday and he was turning three. Now I had known right from the beginning that there could be nothing nobler than lighting a birthday candle. To be the match that lights the candles on one of a child’s first birthday cakes, to be part of a birthday wish, that was my dream. Other things come and go but birthday wish magic lives on forever.
Today was finally the day. My whole existence had been building, waiting, culminating for this final event. I might finally light a birthday candle. It wouldn’t be long now. I had heard the guest arriving one by one and had patiently waited while they ate dinner and now I could hear Mr. J’s voice. “Almost time for cake everyone!” he called. He was coming! “Lucy get the matches so I can light this cake” came Mr. J’s voice muffled through the cabinet doors. She was coming. She was coming now.
All of a sudden the cabinet door flew open and the matchbox shook. Light flooded the matchbox and energy pulsated through. All of the matches quivered with an excitement that made the whole matchbox tremble. Mrs. J’s hand reached ever so slowly down until her long fingers brushed the top of the matches feeling for the right one. She started on the left side of the box away from me. She brushed the first matches and slowly started towards the right side of the box, towards me! Closer and closer she came. I could feel her getting closer! She was almost here! Then she brushed me. I felt the excitement flush through my small body. Everything I had waited for, my dream in life, was here. Then I started to feel her fingers pass. “No! You can’t go! Pick me! Pick me!” my thoughts screamed. I felt her fumble through the matches for a moment, and then it happened. I was in her hand lifted up above all the other matches. My time had come. I felt Mrs. J’s hand wrap around me and then I was passed into Mr. J’s large warm hands. “Ok, I am going to light it he said”. Then he struck me. It happened so fast I almost missed it. The top of me scraped against the side of the matchbox and in a moment I was burning. It was all they said and more. The heat started at my head but I could feel it slowly edging its way downward. I tingled and crackled through my whole body. It took the life out of me and shriveled me up and I loved it. I was glowing and I was burning. Mr. J leaned down and I could feel the flame leap onto each of those three birthday candles. Then I felt a slight wind and the burning stopped.
I could feel the life leaving me quickly now. I had seconds left, but in those last seconds I looked around and saw little Tyler’s face. It was all scrunched up ready for a big wish. I could tell. In those last few seconds I knew my dream had come true. Even though physically I would be gone and discarded I knew that I would live on forever through the power of birthday wish magic.