ACMA 8th Grader, Jasper Gillispie wins First Place, Scary Story Creative Writing Contest
Title: Chloe Green
Chloe Green does not exist.
I’m not the kind of person to remember family reunions. I don’t have any memories of playing with relatives I’d only see once a year, of eating overcooked hamburgers by a rusty swing set, of listening to mind-numbing stories from bygone college years.
What I do remember, though, were the Greens. They were my first cousins, once removed—my great-aunt’s children. There was Mrs. Green and Mr. Green, Kathy and Jon, mother and father. There was their beautiful golden retriever, Esther—although why they gave a dog the name of a seventy-year-old woman eludes me.
And then there was Chloe Green, their daughter. She was born a year after me, although she could have easily passed for even younger. She had sandy blond hair and freckles that spread across her face and the tiniest little dimples when she smiled. She was a wonderful child, never misbehaved, never screamed or cried. There’s a picture of her in our family photo album—right there on page 26—of her standing right next to me, right in front of the swing set, with both of us grinning from ear-to-ear.
As far as everyone else is concerned, the Greens never had a daughter. They were a childless family. “Esther is enough of a handful,” they’d laugh whenever anyone asked why they remained without any kids. “She’s already our child.”
One reunion, back when Chloe still existed, she just didn’t show up. “She’s not feeling well,” was the excuse.
She wasn’t there the next year, either. Apparently, she had thrown a tantrum, clung to the doorframe and sobbed until her parents finally obliged and let her stay home. Chloe Green, the perfect daughter who never cried, had thrown a temper tantrum—or so her parents claimed.
Year after year, the excuses kept coming—until one day they just stopped.
Someone would ask the Greens, “Where’s your daughter,” and they would give the offending party the most confused, quizzical, genuine look until all questions eventually ceased.
Eventually, everyone forgot.
Eventually, I forgot.
Recently, though, something jogged my memory. I’m not sure what it is, but I remember Chloe Green loud and clear. So loud and so clear, in fact, that I went rummaging around in our attic—our old, cobweb-infested attic, stinking of dust and mildew—just to find our family photo album, to prove to myself I wasn’t insane, that my memories were too vivid to be fake.
I flipped to the page I remembered so clearly. Page 26, the page my parents had showed me when I was young, the page that contained the only evidence I had that Chloe Green had ever existed at all.
My eyes scanned the thick paper, covered in glossy photographs of smiling children and equally happy parents. Finally, I found the picture I was looking for.
I was standing in front of the swing set, grinning from ear-to-ear, holding my arm out as if I had someone to wrap it around.
And I was completely and utterly alone.
Congratulations to the winners!
- Second Place: Shards of a Mirror by Sahana Srinivasan, Grade 8, Valley Catholic Middle School
- Third Place: Spirits by Ryan Judelson, Grade 7, BASE
Thanks to everyone who shared their writing. For more library contest information, Visit www.beavertonlibrary.org