Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2019 finalist, Kylie Chen! Kylie finished 7th grade this past school year. The story she submitted is called “Invisible Girl” 

Clouds roll through the dark sky, covering the glowing moon with fine, grey mist. Raindrops start to fall; the bitter, cold teardrops of the heavens. At first, they barely sprinkle the damp soil, but they get progressively stronger until the wind is howling right along with the clouds’ spilling tears, and thunder rumbles in the distance, getting closer and closer. Then, all of a sudden, there is a flash of light, and everything stops.

The sun rises the next morning, a startling crimson, the sky a blank canvas of opportunity; bold brushstrokes paint across it in reds, oranges, yellows, pinks, and purples, swirling and blending around the ball of fire that slowly travels over the infinitely wide paper.

Small flakes of snow drift down from the skies as the temperature begins to drop lower and clouds start to darken the light. A petite girl sits in a skinny tree, clothed in a shirt and pants that were reduced to rags in the peculiar storm from the night before. Her tree sits on a busy street, surrounded by a miscellaneous assortment of other plants. People pass by her, but they don’t see the reality. They see only what they want to see. They don’t wonder about how the tree is holding her up, or if she is okay, up there by herself. They don’t worry about her blue lips or her tired eyes. They don’t care that the breath she is currently taking in may be one of her last. Instead, they walk away, ignorant of everything but their own lives, wrapped up in their own fantasies, too afraid to see the world for what it really is.

The girl, a runaway orphan, lifts up her hand, channeling her last bits of strength into taking out a pen and a paper from her shirt pocket. Pushing the ache of her heart away—down, into the pit of her stomach, she scribbles some words down onto the lined paper.

Her voice is soft and sweet, but broken, as she sings to herself, reading from her paper.

“No one sees the real me,
No one hears the real me,
No one knows the real me.
You may think you do,
But think again.
You see who you want to see—
A different girl each day,
Her colors fading; blending into the background.
None of these facades is the real person.
Now you see me,
Now you don’t.
I’m an invisible girl.”

She starts to tremble, and she rubs her hands together, putting them against her cheeks. Then she continues to sing.

“No one sees the real me,
No one hears the real me,
No one knows the real me.
You see the masks that a girl wears,
But you don’t recognize them for what they are.”

Her voice gets stronger and stronger, yet no one seems to hear her.

“These layers are infinite—
You can keep peeling,
But the real person has gone too deep.
There is no return for her—
She is too far in her sorrow and despair.
Now you see me,
Now you don’t.
I’m an invisible girl.”

Tears start to stream down her face, and she is unable to stop them. Instead, she frees them, letting loose the emotions she’d held back for years: the sorrow of being abandoned, the hurt of being ignored. The silvery droplets carve a path down her pale, pale cheeks as she chokes on them. Swallowing hard, her voice quiets down until it is barely a whisper.

“This girl is trapped;
Forever alone, with no way out.
Falling down,
Into a pit of eternal darkness.
She can no longer see the light.
People pass by her.
They don’t see her.
They see a smiling girl
Playing in a tree.
They don’t look farther,
Past her disguise.
They don’t see the deep pain in her eyes,
And so she goes on.
Hiding everything away,
The real emotions locked into her
Aching heart.”

She leans against the tree, feeling hopeless and giving up. She draws in a shaky breath, letting her paper flutter to the ground.

“Now you see me,
Now you don’t.
I’m an invisible girl.”

Leaning back against the tree, she closes her eyes and whispers out to the sky above her. and exhales for the last time. Then her body goes limp. A light breeze ripples her dark hair as the sun illuminates her body, exaggerating the dark circles under her eyes. In this one second, she seems to be alive and glowing—full of life.

Then, the sun moves on and everything returns to normal. As the girl’s broken form hangs from the scrawny tree, a glittering flurry of snow sweeps her away, and she disappears into the early morning sky.

Wondering how to support the youth writer in your life? We can help! Check out our cheat-sheet below which will help you have creative, writerly conversations with your Young Inkling—even if you’re not a writer yourself.

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