At the end of this week, we were made excited and proud writing parents when we heard that our son, Nassem Al-Mehairi would be advancing to the District Tournaments for the State of Ohio program called POWER of the PEN!! He had taken part in a school assessment that included observations by his English teacher and his writing based on several writing prompts.
I immediately shouted my pride through a Facebook status and was overwhelmed by the amount of people who were as encouraged as I. Tim and I both feel it’s so very important to encourage writing and literacy skills in young people! Though we’ve known our children to have writing and reading talents, we we’ve been thrilled to see Nassem blossoming on the creative spectrum.
He’ll go next Saturday to Districts and then we’ll see if he’ll move on to Regional and then State Tournaments, where even at State several hundred students compete! Either way, we are very proud of him and so happy they offer such writing programs in our State. If you don’t know what POWER of the PEN is, you can go here: http://www.powerofthepen.org.
And with that announcement, I thought I’d post below a creative historical short story he wrote for his English class, in which he had to write a suspense story in a limited amount of words. I hope you enjoy, and if you do, please encourage him in the comments!! You can also check out his writing and book reviews and interviews at http://www.nassemalmehairi.wordpress.com.
Congratulations, Nassem! Keep writing!!
Independence is to be Done on this Continent
by Nassem Al-Mehairi
“You are late!” I heard this from outside my windows and got up as quick as a roadrunner, put my ear to the window, and listened. “I am sorry, William…” That is my brother’s name! “But General Howe, that son of the devil, would not approve. We are now going rogue.” William said, as sly as a fox, “I plan to slip across Valley Forge, and when I reach the eastern hill, I shall stab General Washington with, no less, a British-forged knife.” How could William do this to me?? He knows that I have supplied the cause of freedom! how the bloody hell could he do this to me?!? I lay back down, feeling my tears roll down like dice across my dark, weary cheeks as I fell asleep.
I awoke the next morning. I walked down the stairs, trying to suppress my emotions from last night. I first see my father, a Frenchman who owns a merchant’s guild. He once, 16 years ago, got a little “lonely” after his first wife left him like the colonies are leaving England. He then had a daughter with his slave, and that girl is now me.
“Good Morning, Father.”
“Good Morning, Cecile. You look as beautiful as the moon, just like your mother.”
This fills me with the frustration that comes with being from two worlds and not belonging to either. I tell him to have a good day and he promises to bring home my favorite French chocolates. He always wants to just pamper me instead of having a real relationship. I respond with “thanks” and run up to la salle de Bain to freshen up. When done, I run into William. I become very stoic, and it takes all my might to not blow up like a cannon at him. He says, “Hello, Cecile. Ca Va?” I respond simply with “Bien, Merci.” We part ways.
The smells, sounds, and sights of the Philadelphia harbor are beautiful. But I hardly notice as I follow William across the pier. I crouch behind barrels of French wine as William and the man speak. “He is to be killed by my hand tomorrow,” said William. “Oh my God,” I whispered as I ran away back into the crowd. I start to remember the days that he used to defend me from the other people who called me “mulatto” and “a sad accident.” Now, though, he had been corrupted. “They will never attempt it again is idle and visionary, we thought so at the repeal of the stamp act, yet a year or two undeceived us.” I must kill him.
“You cannot escape your fate, William,” I yell as I chase him across the snow-covered ground that is Valley Forge. He takes out a pistol and fires a blind shot. It goes wide and I keep after him through the burning pain in my legs. I keep inching toward William as Washington’s command tent comes into view. As the great General walks out, William pulls out the knife and yells “God Save the King!” But before the assassination, I felt my knife enter William’s back. He asks, “Why, Cecile?” and I respond, “You became corrupted. You sought to make all oppressed. I love you, though.”
As I got up, I found five Continental soldiers standing with muskets raised. I was hit three times and as I felt myself fall, I heard the General yell that I had just saved his life. I saw my world fade away, my part and destiny in it finished. The chocolates, so delicately made, wait for their consumer, who shall never come.