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Short Story School Years 8 to 10 Runner-up: Sara Bensalah with ‘The Coldest Day Of The Year’

In the small village of FrostWood, nestled deep in the heart of the snowy mountains, the coldest day of the year arrived with a fierce and unrelenting chill. The wind howled through the streets, whipping up flurries of snow that danced in the air like ethereal spirits.

Among the villagers was a young girl named Elara, whose love for adventure matched the wild spirit of the winter winds. On this particular day, she awoke to find the world outside her window cloaked in a blanket of frost, the trees bowing under the weight of the snow.

Determined to make the most of the coldest day of the year, Elara bundled up in her warmest clothes and set out into the frozen landscape. The air was so cold that it sung her cheeks and made her breath hang in the air like a wisp of smoke.

As she wondered through the village, Elara noticed a strange stillness that seemed to have settled over FrostWood. The usual sounds of laughter and chatter were replaced by a hushed silence, broken only by the soft crunch of snow beneath her boots.

Curious, Elara followed the sound of a distant melody that seemed to drift through the icy air. It led her to the villagers had gathered around a small bonfire, their faces illuminated by the flickering flames.

At the centre of the circle stood an old man with a weathered face and twinkling eyes, his fingers dancing over the strings of a violin. The music he played was haunting and beautiful, weaving a spell over the frozen landscape and thawing the hearts of those who listened.

Elara watched in awe as the villagers began to dance, their movements fluid and graceful despite the cold that ripped at their heels. She joined in, her body swaying to the rhythm of the music, her breath forming clouds in the frigid air.

As the night wore on, the bonfire crackled and spat, sending sparks spiralling into the sky like fiery snowflakes. The villagers laughed and sang, their voices rising in harmony with the music, creating a symphony of joy that echoed through the frozen night.

In that moment, Elara realised the true magic of the coldest day of the year. It was not just a day of bitter cold and harsh winds, but a day of warmth and togetherness, a day when the bonds of community were strengthened by the shared experience of weathering the winter’s chill.

And as she danced and laughed with her fellow villagers, Elara knew that she had found a home in FrostWood, a place where the coldest day of the year was not something to be celebrated as a testament spirit of those who called it home.

Adjudicators Comments:
‘What a confident piece of writing! A complete story with beautiful imagery, not an easy feat considering the word count. Some very effective use of vocabulary and a brisk sense of pace allow for a cozy work of fiction that allows the reader to feel themselves right in the world that the writer has created.’

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