What does a short story for children in which somebody feels guilty have to do with Valentine's Day? If you read children's author Susanna Hill's blog, you already know. It's time for the 2019 Valentiny Writing Contest, which involves writing a maximum 214-word, Valentine-themed story for children featuring the concept of guilt.
Here's my entry, loosely inspired by events in the news:-)
The Year without Sweethearts
Maddie pressed ON. Cranked the colormaker. Pumped the sugarpopper. The SweetheartCreator whirred into action. Within seconds, heart-shaped candies slid down the chute. MINE BE. YOURS I’M. ME HUG.
Oh, no! Kids wouldn’t eat sweethearts with mixed-up messages!
OFF! Maddie started over.
She pressed ON. Cranked the colormaker. Pumped the sugarpopper. The SweetheartCreator clanked to life. Moments later, candies dropped. BE MINE, I’M YOURS, HUG ME. Each kidney-shaped candy had the perfect message.
Oh, no! Kids wouldn’t eat Valentine’s kidneys!
OFF! Sigh. Maddie began again.
She pressed ON. Cranked the colormaker. Pumped the sugarpopper. The SweetheartCreator sputtered. Nothing. Maddie rattled the rollerwriter. Finally, heart-shaped candies tumbled down the line. BE MINE. I’M YOURS. HUG ME.
Sweet success! The candies looked perfect, so perfect that she tried one.
Yuck! Splat! Kids wouldn’t eat salty hearts!
Without the perfect treat, Valentine’s Day would be ruined!
Suddenly, a crowd of kids entered the room.
Oh, no! The 3:00 factory tour.
“Can I try a sweetheart?” asked a girl.
“I’m sorry. The machine is broken. There won’t be any sweethearts this year.”
“How can we have Valentine’s Day without sweethearts?”
“I don’t know.”
The girl put her arms around Maddie in the perfect Valentine’s treat: a hug.