First Annual Short Story Contest at Cologne International School
Short Story Contest class winners
In March, the ISS English department offered our first annual short story contest. It was an honor to read work from our students! The prompt was, “Something in the room had changed . . .” and we received many creative entries. Here are excerpts from each class winner and the complete essay of our overall short story contest winner. Enjoy!
“Suddenly, something shiny caught my eyes. I ordered the unicorn, “take me to the other side!” As soon as we landed, I saw a backdoor . . .”
Angela, grade 5 winner
“My room is a cage that I share with others. This cage is my home. I live here. And just like all the others, I do not have a name.
[. . . ] They drove me to their home, which is my home now. The humans are my family, and I will never forget the first smell of the green grass in the garden and the way it felt under my paws.”
Tim, grade 6 winner and 2nd place finalist
“I heard a voice saying, “come with me,” that made me wonder if they were ghosts. Before I knew it, I had passed out. When I woke up, I was being carried away by what seemed to be goblins with wings”
Sebastiaan, grade 7 winner
The winner of the 2022 Cologne International School’s Short Story Contest:
Something in the room had changed
I returned home after a long, chaotic day of work in the world that I live in. My body yearned to be back in my room, have a quick meal, and dive into my small, cosy bed. But, to my utter dismay and astonishment, when I entered my room, I just kept walking and walking into a long tunnel.
My eyes adjusted to the darkness. The walk was unnerving and put me on edge. Cold fear and trepidation gripped me. I was hesitant to take any further steps. Suddenly, I felt a push on my back. The push was strong, muscular, and beefy. I was frozen to the bone.
“Who are you?” I stuttered. The reply was met by absolute daunting silence. I looked at my shaking hands, forced them to be still, and mustering a bit more courage, I asked again, “Who are you?” The man answered by gently pushing me this time.
“Move!” the man with a mysterious voice reiterated, and that was enough incentive for me. There was to be no more conversation. It took another five minutes to get through the T-junctions, turns, and zig-zags of the tunnel. I was worn out. Fortunately, we reached the end of the long, uncanny tunnel by seeing a single tube light a few meters ahead. This gave me a glimmer of hope.
Lo and behold! As I reached the end of the tunnel, it was a whole new world altogether. A world which I had seen in movies. It was surreal. And I slowly turned to look over my shoulder to have a glimpse of the person who brought me through the tunnel. I was aghast to see no one behind me, I assumed it was an angel.
Slowly, I started taking stock of my surroundings, and I watched the people. The way they talked and behaved was a stark contrast to where I came from. Compassionate, Kind-hearted, Generous, and Loving people. No one seemed to be in a rush. The surroundings seemed serene and pristine. Untouched beauty encompassed the place.
As I saw this beautiful world, I was saddened to think about the world I live in. Selfishness, Envy, Covetousness, Malice, Despite always grips the world I come from. Hunger, Poverty, War, and Ruin circle through my head. I wanted to come back and make a change in my world. I thought, No matter how advanced the world we live in may be, without Love, Peace, and Harmony, it is an incomplete world.
I slowly walked back into the tunnel, wanting to return to the world I belonged to. I walked, walked, and walked back. This time there was no strong push. As I came back to this end of the tunnel, it was still pitch dark. I realized that I had not switched the lights on when I had first entered my room and felt that something in the room had changed.
Sean Michael, grade 9 winner and overall short story contest winner
Cherie Parenteau, International Secondary School