December 19th

by Caroline Kollander, age 10
December 19th Caroline K. was a writer from an early age. When she was six years old, she discovered the beauty of writing. When she is older she dreams of completing a full novel. Her favorite genre to write is realistic fiction. The story "December 19th" is a realistic fiction short story. It takes place in a private school in Manhattan. The story is about a girl named Chloe who struggles after the loss of her best friend, Grace. Through the tragic loss, Chloe learns multiple life lessons, secrets, and more.

“Grace stared back with her eyes WIDE.
She said to me, “Chloe, the smell is getting really really strong. Should we say something?”
The smell was getting really strong. I said back to her, “No, let’s wait here until further notice.” Little did I know that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.”

We were sitting in the classroom talking about how we wanted to do the athletic ability class, but my mom said no. We wanted to do it because Grace isn’t that good at running, and I enjoy it. It would be a win win! After that, we just talked about our weekend plans.

 I then started to smell smoke. I glared over at my best friend Grace. She has been my best friend for over 10 years. Grace stared back with her eyes WIDE. 

She said to me, “Chloe, the smell is getting really really strong. Should we say something?” 

The smell was getting really strong. I said back to her, “No, let’s wait here until further notice.” Little did I know that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.

 Just then the fire alarm rang. Everyone in the school rushed out of the building just like we practiced in our fire drills, except this time it was much more chaotic, like our lives depended on it, because they did. I heard a scream and automatically recognized that the scream was Grace’s. 

I ran back into the building, even though my life could have ended right there. I saw Grace surrounded by fire as she let out her final screech. 

I yelled to her, “Never forget that I love you!” 

I ran out of the building screaming for help. Once I was outside, I watched the school burn from a distance. Many were crying. The teacher called attendance to make sure everyone was here and safe. She called:

“Henry?”

“Here.”

“Ben?”

“Here.”

“Chloe?”

“Here.”

“Dan?”

“Here.”

“Kate?”

“Here.”

“Rina?”

“Here.” 

“Zachary?”

“Here.”

“Grace? Grace! GRACE!!! WHERE IS GRACE?”

I knew. Tears were in my eyes. The firefighters came with an announcement. I could hear my heartbeat echoing through the pure pressure of myself understanding what was about to happen. They stated that they found a dead body inside of the treacherous fire. They described the body and asked if anyone knew the person they described so they could call her parents. I told them what I saw and the firefighters tried to calm me down as I sobbed. Grace’s parents arrived at the school bawling. 

“If only I just agreed to leave with Grace earlier.” I said to myself, trying to hold back tears.

Every day felt so empty without her by my side. All the hours were unexciting and lonely. All the minutes were filled with grief. I could never replace her. EVER. The world needed her. I needed her.

TWO YEARS LATER

  My life was surrounded by that day. The day of the fire. December 19th.  Every time someone said Grace’s name, my heart skipped a beat. Today is Grace’s second yahrzeit. I’ve gone to therapy every other week preparing for this day, so I wouldn’t have breakdowns or asthma attacks. Therapy was working fine although it was hard not to cry on December 19th. This year, I prepared a list of inside jokes, handshakes, ideas, art projects, dreams, and most importantly, our talks. I passed around the list for everyone at the gathering to see. Only me, my parents, Grace’s parents, and Grace’s siblings were at the gathering.

I made it out of the gathering without any asthma attacks or breakdowns. I was really proud of myself for being strong. I teared up, although not too badly.

When I got home, I heard some strange sounds. I peeked out of my bedroom door and noticed my mom talking on the phone. She was talking discreetly. She had no idea I could see her. She then said the words into the phone that changed my life. “I did it ok! I did it! I set the fire!”

I yelled at my mom so hard while wailing! She immediately got off the phone. She explained everything to me. She told me that Grace was always doing better than me in school. 

“SO YOU KILLED HER!?!?” I screamed. I was confused, how did my mom know she would die?

The words spiraled around in my brain. My mom told me, “When I first had the idea two years ago, I immediately started planning. I know that Grace is a slow runner. So I didn’t support your athletic ability classes. If I did, Grace would become faster and would have survived the fire. You recognized the huge scream of Grace and ran for her.”

 It all made sense now. I called the police and they took my mom away while I cried. I have no one. No one.

  In school the next month, I was completely productive. I was trying to be more available and open since I noticed I really hadn’t been. I realized that I am grieving however, that can’t take over my entire life. I still need to live it and fulfill the dreams both Grace and I forever wished would come true.

 And they did.

THE END.         


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