Short Story Publications from Summer Class

This summer, The Highlander staff collaborated with Fairfax County Public Library to hold the Summer Writing Program for upper-elementary school and middle school students. During each class session through Zoom, participants work on a category of writing and receive edits from the staff. Here are some short story highlights from students’ first session.

Middle School: (listed by alphabetical order)

Izzette Azari, Grade 8, Thoreau Middle School, “General Quagmire: Configuration 2; Operation Blend-in.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story.

Whenever you hear the word ‘zombie apocalypse’ you immediately think of green zombies with rotting flesh that walk super slow, trying to eat everyone’s brains, sagging skin, coming up from their graves, not at all appealing to the eye. But a true zombie apocalypse is impossible. Unless of course there’s a mad scientist who finds a way to bring people back from the dead. Now that would be a true nightmare. But when all of a sudden your entire hometown is consumed in a deadly virus, that just by chance happens to make them crave brains, nothing you do will make in impact, trust me I’ve been there, and the only way we humans survived, was though a battle that lasted 9 months. Eventually, all the soldiers on both sides were so tired, they had to call a draw. Now everyone dreads the day when the war will start once more. Yet never would I have thought, that this all started from a simple secret experiment. I guess science is more dangerous than we thought.”

Weston Borodin, Grade 8, Thoreau Middle School, Ghostkiller.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story. 

Joe woke up to the sound of his dog barking very loudly. As he got up he thought, ‘What time is it?’

He looked at his alarm and saw that it flashed 8 o’clock and got up to get dressed because today he was going to finally visit his Grandfather’s grave. It had almost been a year since he had died and Joe still hadn’t  gotten over his death. He was going to muster up the courage and go to his grave. So he got dressed, brushed his teeth, ate breakfast, and went out the door to walk to the graveyard.”

Morgan H, Grade 7, Cooper Middle School, The Next Pitch.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story. 

“Hi, my name is Caleb Johansen, and I’m a baseball player for the Rockets, in Trenton, New Jersey. I’ve been playing baseball since I was five, but even before that I was throwing a ball around with my dad. My mom keeps telling me that if I put half as much effort into school as I do baseball, I’d be at the top of the class, but in response to this, I tell her that I’m already at the top of the class, and I barely put any effort in. School’s pretty easy for me, so there’s really no reason for me to put effort in. I mostly sit at the back of the class and read during class, but my teachers can’t complain because I ace every test and worksheet they throw at me.”

Moubon Kurukumbi, Grade 7, Frost Middle School, “Life.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story. 

“This is a story about a girl who did everything for one thing. It all started when she saw the tree. The tree was filled with life, love, and hope. It was a home. She watched the tree everyday and sketched the animals as they squabble and loved. She longed to be accepted like them. She loved how all the creatures coexisted. How they all worked together. How they all loved each other. She sketched the skunk helping the crow. She drew the squirrels collecting for the barn owls.”

Camila Nunez, Grade 7, Thoreau Middle School, The Power of No.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story. 

“‘Hi Cameron! How are you doing?’ A little girl runs up to me and hugs my waist. 

I reach down to pat her head. 

‘I’m doing well, how about you, Annie?’

She giggles. ‘I’m good,’ Little Annie’s mom calls to her. ‘I have to go. Bye!’

I walk away, smiling. I like to work with the younger ones, even though sometimes I am considered a young one. I’m only seven, and still not eligible to work. To get a job, you have to take a test to see your usefulness. The five Leaders decide when to give you a test. I’ve known people to get their test at age six, and some get it at age sixty-six! I haven’t gotten mine, but the Leaders know best, and we must trust them.”

Anisa Yusuf, Grade 7, Lanier Middle School, “An Undead Friendship.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story. 

“Once upon a time, there was a zombie and his name was Nick. But Nick is not like any other zombie. He doesn’t eat brains and kills humans, he actually likes them. All the other zombies think he’s weird because he likes humans and doesn’t want to eat their brains but instead, he eats normal human food like vegetables and fruits.

And then there’s Zoe. A human who doesn’t know yet she will become best friends with a zombie, Nick. Zoe always thought the zombies were cool and wanted to get to know them more, but was always told to stay away from them. However, that never stopped her from being curious.”

Elementary School: (listed by alphabetical order)

Andrew Ni, Grade 5, Oakton Elementary School, The Hacked Computer.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story.

“Steven jumped with excitement. Tomorrow was his birthday! He was five turning six. At school, Steven couldn’t wait for tomorrow. He couldn’t wait to get his new, fresh computer. His friend Josh asked Steven about how rich his family was. 

Steven replied, ‘$250,000.’ 

At the end of school, Josh asked, ‘What if something happens with your new computer?’

That night and the curiosity of what type of computer he was going to get eventually took over his excitement.”

Amelia Nunez, Grade 5, Oakton Elementary School. Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story.

“‘I’m so excited!’ exclaimed Liliane McCather. ‘It’s not every day you move to a ship!’

‘Oh!’ said Rachael Young. ‘They just called our group.’

Liliane and Rachael walked up the gangplank with their parents onto the craft. They brought their suitcases to their rooms (which were right next to each other–the McCathers and the Youngs were very close).

The ship blew its horn and set sail. Rachael and Liliane decided to go outside.”

Adrita Pal, Grade 4, Floris Elementary School, “Halloween to the Fairies.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story.

“My sister, my friends — Aliaya and Farah, and I went trick or treating. Well because it was Halloween night. The only problem is how are we supposed to get enough candy and follow the rule– to stay on Petrified Street. Plus there are spooky woods at the end of this street! Ah, there is this crazy rule that we have to follow, and we will follow it and go trick or treating.”

Simrin Puri, Grade 4, Oakton Elementary School, My Short Story.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story.

“There was once this girl named Mary. She was 10 years old and loved to draw. She had been given an art assignment to do and it was pretty tricky. She had to make 3 clay structures and make a clean, neat background out of paper, glue and scissors.

She never had experience with clay before, so she got all the clay on her clothes and hair. On her first try, it was not properly done. On her second try, she showed it to her mother who decided to guide her. Mary made the partitions and her mother sculpted. It turned out to be absolutely perfect.”

Samah Shibili, Grade 4, Oakton Elementary School, A Tour Around the World.” Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full story.

Dad used to be a librarian. Now he’s the owner of a brand new restaurant. The new house is so big. I’m sure it can hold my entire family. Anyways, while I was talking, we reached our new house. It was huge. I decided to start putting things in my room. As soon as I reached my room I could only look at the one same part over and over again. It was my very own window seat. I’ve always wanted a window seat. Maybe this move wasn’t so bad.”