Calvert City, KY (August 14, 2020) – Calvert City’s Youth Voice is a monthly writing contest developed for young authors between the age of 5 and 18. August 5 was the first deadline for the monthly writing contest and the winner for August is Heather Risher of Calvert City.

Calvert Area Development Association used a rubric judging system focusing on convention, organization, style/voice, and content. “We received 10 submissions for the first month and they were all wonderful,” said Blair Travis, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Business Development for Calvert City. Judges received the submissions with just the writings. They did not know how old the author was or where they were located. “I am so proud that the first winner of the writing contest was from Calvert City. Submissions were submitted from all over our region,” followed Travis.

Risher is a 16-year-old originally from Huntsville, AL. Her family moved to Calvert City seven years ago. She enjoys writing, playing the piano, and participating in the band. She will be a junior at Marshall County High School. Her favorite teacher is Mrs. Tessa Powell.

The next deadline for the monthly writing contest is September 5. Young writers are encouraged to submit original work in any style of creative writing. One winner will be awarded monthly.

Monthly winners will receive $50 and an ad in the Lake News with their published work. The deadline to submit work will be on the 5th of each month beginning August 5. This contest is not limited to Calvert City residents. We encourage writers from across the region to submit their original work.

For more information on Calvert City’s Youth Voice, please call City Hall at 270-395-7138 or by email at info@calvertcity.com.

Congratulations Heather! Read Beloved Sister by Heather Risher below.

 


Beloved Sister

By Heather Risher

The sun shone down on a warm evening in a rural neighborhood, bathing the picturesque foliage with rays of content tranquility. The delightful sound of children playing outside filled the air. 

“Delpha, slow down! Wait for me!” a young girl shouted, clambering after her sister. 

“Shh! Keep quiet or you’ll scare him off, Belle. Come on!” the older one replied. The younger one caught up to Adelpha as they trudged up the slope of the hill, following the source of their interest and curiosity. 

The pair reached the crest of the hill in time to watch the small rabbit dart across the highway and scurry into the woods beyond it. Adelpha kept staring at the spot where the rabbit disappeared and heard a gasp next to her.

“It’s beautiful,” Belle exclaimed.

“I know, wasn’t he?” Adelpha sighed, mind still on the furry creature. 

“No, not the bunny.” Belle pointed, drawing her attention to a spot a bit to the left of where she had been looking. “Look at those flowers! I think they’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen!” 

And she was right. Adelpha could sit and admire them from afar until she perished. The flowers seemed to glow and radiate with pure natural beauty and elegance. 

“I want one,” stated Belle.

“So go get one.”

“I will.” Belle started down the short slope, looked both ways, then hesitated. She turned around. “I’m scared. You know what? We’ve been gone too long anyway, momma will want to know where we are. And dinner! We don’t want to miss dinner!”

“Oh, come on! I’ll go get it. Besides, marigolds are my favorite,” Adelpha assured. 

She marched down the hill, checked for cars, and crossed the highway. As she approached the bush, the majestic blooms glowed and flourished, stretching out their petals to be chosen. Adelpha plucked one, cradled it close to her, and watched its beauty in her hands as she walked back to her sister.

CRASH! 

The tranquility of the evening was shattered with shrieks of pain and terror as metal met flesh and bone and blood glittered on the pavement. 

———————

Belle sat on the frozen ground, not caring if she dirtied her pants. Not caring about anything at all, really, except the headstone in front of her. She still didn’t understand it, understand Death. Some said Death was cold and cruel with hands like ice. Death would wrap his bony brittle fingers around your throat like a vice and strangle you, squeezing the life out of you. You can’t breathe.

Others said that Death was quick and burning. That he would scorch the land and dry up the waters of life, engulf drops of life and consume them in a blazing inferno. The fire of Death would leave you with burns so severe they would never fully heal, a painful scar the permanent remnant of losing part of yourself. 

For Belle though, she didn’t care how Death presented himself. She just wished he hadn’t, wished he would leave already. But one thing was the same, she considered: she couldn’t breathe either. She was lost, she didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t do anything, couldn’t think, couldn’t feel, couldn’t breathe. She didn’t want to breathe anymore. There was no point without her sister. Adelpha was her other half. Now that she was gone…. Belle was lost. 

“Little cold to be out. Odd hour too.” 

A voice jarred Belle from her thoughts. Good thing she recognized it, too, or she would’ve screamed. An unfamiliar voice, in a cemetery in the middle of the night? No, thanks. 

She sighed. “What do you want, Cody?”

“Penny for your thoughts,” he replied as he sat down next to her. He hugged his knees to keep warm. “How are you not cold? It’s freezing out.”

“Below it, actually. And I stopped feeling a long time ago.” She wasn’t in the mood for her little brother’s antics right now. He needed to go away and leave her alone.

“Oh, stop with the dramatics, will you?” he returned. “You weren’t the only one who lost a sister that day. It’s been nine years. When are you gonna let it go?”

Big mistake. Cody could almost see Belle’s blood come to a boil, but he wasn’t going to back down.

Excuse me?” Belle shot back. “‘The dramatics?’ I lost my best friend! My sister’s dead and it’s because of me. It’s my fault! If I hadn’t-”

“It is not your fault!” he interjected. “There’s no way you could have known what was going to happen. You were both young. You were seven years old at the time. Adelpha may have only had eleven years on Earth, but she lived them to the fullest. You may be sixteen now, but you stopped living when she did. When am I going to get my sister back?”

Belle was quiet. She tried to process what he was saying behind the swell of anger that was building inside her. He wasn’t wrong, but she was mad. He barely remembers Adelpha, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

“Where do you get off telling me-”

“I know. Okay, I know. I don’t have many memories of her and I wasn’t really old enough to be anything but confused when she died. But still. Do you think she would want you to wallow in self-pity and never move on? She always saw the beauty and hope in everything. It’s time you let yourself live again.”

Silence. He has a point, she thought. The beauty, the hope, the life in everything… Adelpha would want that to be reflected in her, living life to the fullest. The dam of her emotions gave way and she finally let it all out sobbing on her brother’s shoulder.

“I j-just want t-t-to breathe again!”

While her brother held her, she saw a rabbit scamper past in the trees. And for the first time in seven years, Belle felt like she just might be able to.

Breathe.

 

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