Nightfall Micro Fiction Contest Winners
It was two years ago this Spring that Dandelion Press ran our first MicroFiction Contest. Many of the writers we receive stories from have been participating in the contest from the get-go! Adults and children, teachers and students, published authors and beginning writers alike have been enjoying this opportunity to express their imaginations and creativity, inspired by Lori’s magical illustrations. And at the conclusion of every contest, we here at Dandelion Press eagerly gather together your submissions and share them amongst our panel of judges. It is surprising to us how often our evaluations match up—there is rarely any disagreement regarding our winners and honorable mentions.
Our unanimity was once again plain to us all when we recognized 12-year old Ruthie Lee Biette of Fork Union, VA as our clear winner. Congratulations to Ruthie, now a two-time winner and once an honorable mention! Her ability to zero right in on Lori’s own artistic vision and then express it in clear, concise imaginative prose continues to resonate with us. We congratulate Ruthie on her skill and talent. May she go far with it!
We also had an honorable mention for Nighfall. Adult writer KM Beatty of Durango, CO submitted a melodious poem called Sleeping Lion that just delighted us. Though not a faithful telling of the illustration, the feeling-tone of the poem, almost sung as a lullaby, was simply irresistible.
We thank all of our contributing writers for the Nightfall contest, and hope that you will continue to ply your pens with the coming seasons. We will post our Spring contest artwork soon, followed by one for Summer, and the final round of 2019 for Autumn. Keep those creative juices flowing!
The Winning Story
by Ruthie Lee Biette, Age 12 - Fork Union, VA
The sun had set, and the first star shone brightly in the night sky. I gazed into the window of a small, golden-haired child. Her chest rose and fell as she breathed, and the brown felt hat slid down her face. My breath made little clouds in the air and fogged up the window. I wiped it clear again with my paw.
The child turned on her side, and the hat fell off her face completely.
I stood up on my hind paws and tapped the window. I don’t know why I did it; but something felt right.
The child sat up groggily and rubbed her eyes with tiny fists.
I tapped the window again, and she turned to look at me with wide eyes. But they were not fearful; just inquisitive. I am not accustomed to people looking at me without fear in their eyes because, in fact, they should be fearful! For I have killed many antelope and zebra in my days. It was good for this girl that I had not come to hunt that night.
I tapped the window again, and the girl stood up, blankets falling off her as if she were a butterfly, coming out of her cocoon.
The child began to walk towards me, but stopped and bent to pick up her hat. As she stood again she knocked over a trunk. I heard her gasp and I heard the footsteps in the hall.
The door of the room began to open as I crouched beneath the window sill.
“Miss Lily?” I heard a hesitant voice in the doorway. “Is everything all right?”
“Oh, um…yes, I just got up to close the curtain. The um…moon is very bright tonight.”
“Alright. Hurry and get back into bed.”
“Yes, but may I sleep in my safari tent?”
“Well, I suppose that would be alright. Just get to bed quickly.” The door shut and the woman left.
The child, Lily, walked a few steps towards the window and stopped. “Could it have been my imagination?” she wondered aloud.
I popped up again and she smiled and ran over. She pulled the window open and began petting my head.
I was surprised. No one had ever dared to even get within five elephants away from me. I began to purr.
She climbed over the windowsill and said quietly, “May I?”
Somehow I knew what she meant. I laid down and she climbed onto my back. I waited until she had a grip on my fur before standing again.
I began to walk and then lope, faster, faster, until I was in a full-out run. We ran for hours and hours, underneath the bright full moon. The dew wet my fur and the edge of her nightgown. We ran though forest and field, and we even crossed a small stream.
Eventually she let go of my fur and stretched her arms out wide.
As she sun began to rise she whispered in my ear, “I must go home now or my nurse will miss me.”
I did not indicate that I had understood, but I changed direction and loped back to the house.
The child yawned and began to sag. Once she nearly fell off my back but I caught her just in time.
When we got outside the window, I laid down and purred loudly.
The child woke up and I helped her to climb back in the window. She put her brown hat on my head and laid down.
I laid down next to her and stayed until she fell asleep.
Then I left, leaving behind me nothing but an open window and taking nothing but the brown felt hat.
by KM Beaty - Durango, CO
While you’re lying asleep
A sleeping lion begins to stir
To welcome you to your dream
Or is it you who welcomes her?
Rest your eyes my weary child
Off to bed, sleep tight
And dream a dream so serene
As I guide you through the night
Each night as you drift off
Your head soft upon your pillow
Meet me in the shaded fields
Beneath the weeping willow
Let me take you to a place
Where the children come to play
A world of possibilities
Not seen in light of day
Anything can happen here
I can ride a whale across the sea
Or take a trip to outer space
In dreams I can just be me
Walk with me through garden gates
Feel the flowers brush your cheek
Hear them laugh and call your name
In dreams even flowers speak
We’ll run so fast through open fields
Or make like a bird and fly
Soaring above the snowcapped hills
That touch a sunlit sky
Listen to the mermaids sing
Let the music fill your head
Slide upon a rainbows bend
You don’t even have to leave your bed
And if a nightmare rears its head
Think of something sweet instead
A dream is just a sleeping thought
A dream doesn’t even need a plot
So Pleasant dreams my little one
Hope you liked the story that I’ve read
About the little girl and her lion friend
It’s late now, time for bed.