WMS seventh-grader wins statewide writing honor

Laura Howard wins Silver Key at Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards; read her winning work “Hush” here!


Splash photo Kailee DeJesus

Some of the books on writing in Lisa McDonagh’s seventh-grade classroom at Watertown Middle School.

Kailee DeJesus, Watertown Splash staff

In the recent Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest, Laura Howard, a seventh-grade student at Watertown Middle School won for her amazing writing. She was awarded a Silver Key for her flash fiction writing piece called “Hush”.

Laura said she is very fond of writing and has even got nominated for another project in science, the “Clean The Harbor” project.

“[Writing’s] a way to express your feelings through different characters,” she said.

She said she can get inspiration from any books she reads, other stories, and the environment around her.

Laura was taking the Writers Workshop enrichment at WMS, which was where she found out about the statewide contest. About 4,000 entries came in from grades 7 through 12.

Enthused about writing, she took the challenge and in the long run ended up winning.

“This is a big deal for me,” said Laura.

Here is Laura’s winning entry:

“Hush” by Laura Howard

What is your biggest fear? Some people may say heights, or clowns, or spiders. The usual fears, the fears of a normal person. But deep down you have that one fear that you don’t even want to say out loud. One that you don’t even want to think about because if you do your whole body will shut down. You will start to fall into a black hole and you will keep on falling until you are forgotten, until you are gone.

I looked down to see the stack of papers they have been collecting for half my life, with numbers and things I don’t understand. He seemed intent on looking everywhere but my eyes. A nervous lump formed deep in my throat. He finally looked up at me and I could feel my teeth clench, and I started to bite my lower lip.

“Charlotte,” his voice was bitter and cold as the word rolled off his tongue and echoed in my head. The two syllables rang in my ears. It felt as though my skull was about to crack open.

“As you know we ran more tests. But none of them came back with new information. As for now we still don’t have a solution to this,” he paused “problem of yours.” My fingernails started to cut into the palm of my hand, and my eyes filled up with tears, and the memories flooded my mind of every time I walked through the doors of a hospital. The hospitals that smelled like latex gloves and hand sanitizer. The smells I had gotten used to. I tried to block out the sound of torture, but kept talking.

“Can you explain to me the pain today?” If I try to explain it he wouldn’t understand. He won’t understand the suffering or how noise hurts me, it kills me, it’s like there is something inside of me that can’t get out and it’s trying. It is a fire in my ears and it’s killing me. He won’t understand and no matter how many tests he runs he will never understand.

I couldn’t hear myself, but I could feel my throat burn, and I knew I must’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs. The walls around me started blurring and a siren had gone off around the facility. Doctors ran in to take me away from the comfort of my mother, who cried for them not to. I could feel the cold doctor hands grip my waist, and l screamed and kicked as I tried to get out of their hold. They strangled me, and pushed me down onto a bed. Somewhere in my delusioned state, I could still hear the beeping around me, and the siren was still going off. I was screaming so hard that I didn’t notice my hands were bleeding. My fingernails were digging into the already healed calluses from last doctor’s appointment, eight days ago.

A nurse shoved a plastic bag over my mouth and told me to breathe deep. I didn’t want to breathe but from all the screaming and crying I had to. Then I stopped, I tried to keep kicking and screaming and crying but my body wouldn’t let me move. I could feel every cold tear on my pale face. The tears were still streaming down my face like rivers, around my nose and into my mouth, where I could taste the salty ocean I had made. The tornado I created in this hospital, the hurricane. Then everything went black.

–May 31, 2018–