Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Write Across Ontario: Fader by Jaimie-Ann Adams

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Write Across Ontario: Fader by Jaimie-Ann Adams

Every Tuesday in January, the Open Book Magazine has featured one of the four winning stories in Open Book: Ontario and IFOA Ontario's Write Across Ontario contest. Ontario elementary and high school students were asked to compose a story of 500 words or less in response to a "story-starter," which was written by a well-known author.

Congratulations to Parkdale Collegiate Institute student Jaimie-Ann Adams! Her short story, "Fader," was selected by the judges as the winner for the grades 11-12 category of the Write Across Ontario contest. The story starter was provided by Dionne Brand (Ossuaries, McClelland & Stewart).

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Fader

By Jaimie-Ann Adams

The image replayed in Jackie’s mind like clockwork, the closeness of the sack taunting her. With the absence of tickets, the three were escorted off the train 14 miles from their previous destination. The burden fell upon Jackie’s shoulders, the one who pleaded that the tickets and money be placed in her possession. The proximity of responsibility was dreamlike; never before had anyone thought her capable of bearing something of such importance. She now understood why. Their plans, summer and last moments together now laid 14 miles north of their current location, undoubtedly in someone else’s hands. The cities resembled that of a prison with criminals roaming the streets. Kris, two days into the trip, became a victim of a pickpocket. Jackie on the other hand conformed, pirating a pack of cancer sticks from the platform for the sole purpose of a thrill.

Jilted due a dearth of funds, Caz and Kris headed to the main office attempting to contact someone; Jackie was not so keen with the idea of returning home, more so to reality. She’s the girl at 4 a.m. with last night’s makeup running down her cheek, forgetting who she is and what she wants to achieve in life. Perhaps she never knew. She was the antithesis of her friends, disastrous, fruitless, lost. She was 19 and for the first time in her life she took charge. Grabbing some crumpled paper and a fading pen she wrote the following note, then left.

When I look up at the stars I don’t feel like I’m a part of your universe. I feel small, a flying speck of dust that won’t be missed in a world made of billion other specks. Let me drift.
                                                                  Jackie

With her freedom she bummed a ride off a trucker taking her further south. With no plans or money, her fate was left to the gods. Jackie dismounted from the truck; 60 miles separated her from the train station. She thanked the driver for his kindness and began her journey on foot. Jackie was drawn to a figure in the park about half a mile down. She kept her distance, observing this mystery anatomy blowing smoke through his nostrils. She had never liked the activity of smoking until she saw him wrap his lips around the cigarette tip, inhaling the toxic mist like oxygen, smiling at her as if he wasn’t ruining her lungs. Jackie inched her way over, holding eye contact. Heart pounding loud enough to be heard, she pulled out a fag placing it delicately between her coarse lips. With the strike of a match she told him her story and he gazed back with a confused expression gracing his face. “You don’t seem so sad.” She smiled, because she knew that on the outside she looked normal, even happy; but on the inside there was a never-ending war tearing her apart. She inhaled. The embers burned similar to her; she was a blur of light, fading into darkness never to be seen again.

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Read the other winning Write Across Ontario stories:
"Madison Smart and the Broad Street Baker" by Meghan Butcher
"Negatives By June" by Rhianyth Warwick
"The Blue Light" by Alana Dunlop

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