English Teacher Jodie Springhall and year 9 student Charlotte Landherr. (Picture: Contributed)
English Teacher Jodie Springhall and year 9 student Charlotte Landherr. (Picture: Contributed)

South Burnett student wins national writing competition

YEAR 9 St John’s Lutheran School Student Charlotte Landherr will have her work published in a new teaching resource used by secondary students across the country after winning first prize in a national writing competition.

Miss Landherr received first place in the Flash Fiction – Student (Year 7-9) category of the Jacaranda Writing Competition 2020 for her story ‘The Monster’.

Her entry tells the story of a five-year-old child who’s woken by her parents in the middle of the night and told the family is being chased by a monster and must run away.

Miss Landherr said she enjoys writing stories with a twist.

“The story is written from the point of view of the child and the truth about her situation isn’t revealed until the final sentence,” Miss Landherr said.

“Fantasy and dystopian stories are my favourite genres to write because they allow you to escape and create a whole other world.”

Organisers of the national competition said hundreds of entries had been received but Miss Landherr’s story really stood out among the many high-quality submissions.

St John’s Lutheran School Principal Karyn Bjelke-Petersen said the school works hard to encourage a love of reading and writing.

“We’re fortunate to have some talented teachers who’s love of literacy is infectious,” Mrs Bjelke-Petersen said.

“It’s wonderful to see our student’s work receive recognition at a national level.”

For achieving first place, Miss Landherr received a $100 cash prize and her story will be published in the new English 7 Jacaranda resource.

Jacaranda is the Australian School Division of Wiley, a leading global learning company. Jacaranda publishes education resources used by schools across Australia.

In addition to short stories, Miss Landherr also enjoys writing longer works of fiction and is currently working on a dystopian novel set 800 years into the future called ‘Fatal Return’. She plans to publish a new chapter online each fortnight at https://glidingonraysoflight7.blogspot.com/

The Monster – By Charlotte Landherr

I’m scared. Daddy is driving so fast. He never drives this fast. The city lights outside of the car are blinding my eyes. They are like blurry sparkles, glittering and flashing against the dark sky. Red, green, yellow, white. Cars are beeping so loudly. They sound like angry dinosaurs, yelling at Daddy to stop. He doesn’t.

It was the middle of the night when Mummy pulled me out of my warm blankets and told me we had to run away. She said we were going on an adventure. We had to run away from a monster. I didn’t want to run away. I was safe in my bed. But Mummy and Daddy made me get up and into the car.

“Where are we going, Mummy?” I ask.

“We have to escape the monster,” she tells me.

“What monster is it?” I’m scared of monsters. The honking cars are beeping in my ears. I hear a new noise. A wailing siren. Mum doesn’t answer my question. Instead, she yells at Dad to drive faster. I turn around, and I can see swirling red and blue lights. Could this screaming, flashing thing be the monster we are running away from?

“What monster is it, Mummy?” I ask again. It’s Daddy that answers.

“Mummy and I have done something this monster doesn’t like. It’s trying to capture us, so we have to run away.”

Daddy keeps on driving, so fast. The blurs of towering buildings fade into dark houses. There is no more honking. But as the houses fade into forests of tangly green trees, and the night is almost silent, one thing stays the same. The swirling red and blue lights that blind me when I turn around, and the howling siren. The monster is following us. We have to keep running.

“Maybe we should pull over,” Mummy says. She looks worried.

“I can outrun them,” Daddy makes the car go even faster.

Daddy is going so fast, I can’t even see anything out the window any more. Everything is so blurry. Oh look, a tree, out the front of the car! It’s coming closer and closer.

Everything goes black.

I open my eyes. There is something big on top of me. I can’t move.

“Mummy? Daddy?” I whimper. Mummy and Daddy can’t hear me. The screaming sirens and whirring lights of the monster are flashing in the distance. Oh no. The lights are coming closer. The monster is going to catch me! I use all of my muscles to lift the big thing off me. I run as fast as a cheetah into the trees. I see a big, tall tree. It looks like a lighthouse, a safe place I can go to hide from the monster. I scramble from branch to branch, like using a ladder. I finally perch myself high up in the lighthouse tree. I can see the monster from here. It is running as fast as it can.

The monster stops whaling and flashing, and it spits out three people. They bring out their own little lights, and look around the dead car. One of them pulls out a body. Uh oh. I think that’s Mummy! Another body is pulled out. That must be Daddy! No! The monster’s servants have captured my parents! I want to scream, but I can’t let them capture me too.

Mummy and Daddy start walking beside the servants. They must be awake now.

“Where is it?” One of the servants says. He sounds angry, like a bear.

“We swear, we did what you told us to do,” Daddy says. I don’t understand what he means.

“That thing is dangerous. We have to take it back where it belongs.”

“Please sir, she isn’t doing any harm!” Mummy pleads.

“Not yet, but when it’s fully grown, we won’t be able to control it.”

“She’s harmless!”

“Do you really believe a Martian to be harmless?”

“She’s just like you or me!”

“Except green, with tentacles and fangs. We’ve had this conversation before. Either you take it back to where you got it, or we put it down.”

My parents and the servants are walking far away. I cannot hear what they are saying any more. I don’t even know what they are talking about. I’m scared. The monster has captured Mummy and Daddy. It starts up its chilling scream. The red and blue lights fade off into the distance. I have to stay hidden. A shiver runs down my spine. I wrap my tentacles around myself, and hope with all my heart I can stay hidden from the monster.