To celebrate last week's premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I held a contest on my blog for the best short fiction based on Harry Potter. Great entries poured in from fans of all ages, but the four that won were amazing (spoilers below!).
In the 14 and older category, the winner was Elizabeth Kilcoyne, 14, who will be a sophomore in the SCAPA creative-writing program at Lafayette High School. I pulled a real live LOL while reading her piece about Percy's come-uppance.
Runner-up was K.C. Wells, 36, a homemaker (and one of our Bluegrass Moms), who captured Dumbledore's death from Snape's perspective.
In the 13-and-younger category, the winner was Abbey Bowe, 13, who will be in eighth grade at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary. She also reimagined the scene at the Astronomy Tower, and she did it beautifully.
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The runner-up was Phoebe Clardy, 10. Hands down, this was the most creative entry in the contest, and I can't wait to see what her writing is like down the road.
Prizes were movie tickets, Harry Potter bookmarks, and a handmade Hogwarts acceptance letter.
Here are the stories.
14 and older: Elizabeth Kilcoyne
Percy Weasley turned to examine the peeling wallpaper of his childhood home, praying that the minister would finish his business already so they could be gone.
"Look at this place," he thought with a bit of guilty satisfaction. "It's falling apart without me."
He couldn't decide whether the awkward silence that filled the room now was any worse than the arguing he'd once imagined would erupt if he ever set foot in the cramped house again. The voice of Fred Weasley cutting through the quiet made up his mind: silence was better.
"So, the prodigal prat has returned. How's Christmas been, Perce?"
"Come and join the feast," George sneered. "We didn't have time to slaughter a fatted calf "
"But the parsnips are divine."
"Remus, will you pass them?"
Lupin placed a bowl of soggy parsnips in front of Ginny. He shook his head, looking away, but the gleam in his eyes was reminiscent of a boy long ago who'd helped to create the Marauder's Map. Percy gulped.
"I really should be ... ."
"No, Perce, we insist, really," the twins chorused. George brandished a spoon dripping with parsnip. Fred and Ginny had forgone the entire concept of cutlery and held goopy parsnip snowballs in their hands.
"Try the parsnips!"
13 and younger: Abby Bowe
Snape ran, his black cloak billowing behind him, toward the sound of battle. When he got there, he saw curses firing everywhere. He could not tell who was there except that he did not see the white-blonde head of Draco.
Looking around, Snape noticed the hazy shimmer that the Death Eater's barrier gave off. He ran straight through it. He burst into the tower, his black eyes sweeping the scene. Dumbledore was slumped to the ground.
"Severus," Dumbledore pleaded. Snape looked down into the twinkling blue eyes that, so many times, had penetrated him. At that moment he felt such an overwhelming surge of hatred towards this man who had, although given him so much, asked much in return.
"Severus ... please ... ."
He narrowed his eyes. All this time he had thought he was protecting the boy to honor the memory of his mother, the woman he loved so much. He groaned inwardly at the thought of her beautiful green eyes. The last time he had stared into them, they were filled with hatred. Snape raised his wand and pointed it directly at Dumbledore.
"Avada Kedavra!" There was a green flash and Dumbledore was flung, limply, out of sight.
14 and older: K.C. Wells
A tangle of thoughts ran through Snape's head as he stared at the great wizard lying on the ground and begging for release. This was the man who had trusted him. This was the man who defended him while everyone else around whispered, pondered and believed the worst. Albus Dumbledore was the man who, in fact, may have loved Snape as a father loved a wayward son who had found his way back into the fold.
What Dumbledore never understood was that, for Snape, it was never about Hogwarts or Harry. It was never even about Dumbledore himself. It was beautiful, green-eyed Lily, always Lily.
As Snape raised his trembling fingers and prepared to deliver the final curse, the killing curse, he had one lingering thought that he couldn't erase, no matter how hard he tried.
"Foolish old man," he thought, his lips curling into his trademark sneer, even as the words "Avada Kedavra!" left his mouth.
13 and younger: Phoebe Clardy
Evelyn was swimming in the icy cold water of a dark pool when she saw a teenager with glasses and a tall wizard with a big white beard. Evelyn couldn't remember how long she had been swimming in the pool, only that she had been 10 years old when that evil boy Tom Riddle had left her there.
The tall wizard pulled a chain and a boat from the pool. The wizard and teenager got in and went to the island in the middle of the pool. Evelyn swam up to the top of the dark water and waved her hand at the scared-looking teenager, but he didn't wave back.
At the island, the tall wizard pulled out a cup from his robe and dipped it into a glowing green basin. He told the teenager to make sure he kept drinking from the basin until all the potion was gone. With help from the shaking teenager the wizard drank all the potion but looked very sick and thirsty when he was done. Unable to use magic to fill the cup, the teenager dipped the cup into the pool where Evelyn was swimming to get water for the wizard.
Thanks to the spell put on her by that tricky boy Tom Riddle, as soon as the teenager dipped the cup into the pool, Evelyn was forced to swim up to the surface and grab the teenager's wrist. All around her, the other swimmers were moving to the island also.
Scared by her cold touch, the teenager shouted "Petrificus Totalus!" which made Evelyn freeze and fall back into the water. Evelyn watched as the other swimmers grabbed the teenager and pulled him back toward the icy cold water. But then the wizard made a circle of fire appear from his wand, which made the other swimmers scared, and they dropped the teenager back onto the island.
As Evelyn sank back into the pool, she still couldn't move. She watched as the teenager and wizard took the boat back across the pool and left the cave. As soon as they left the cave, Evelyn unfroze and started swimming again, very sadly, in the darkness.