ElenaC

Australia

Hi! I’m Elena. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was 5 years old. I'm a Best Peer Review winner! You can usually find me writing, doing homework, or procrastinating.

Published Work

Op-Ed Competition 2020

Consumed by Consumerism: The Dangerous Allure of "Stuff"

We've all heard the saying, "Money can't buy happiness", but it seems like society believes differently. The average American household owns a staggering 300,000 items. The increasing availability of cheap, low-quality items for sale, along with "fast fashion" and companies like Afterpay, means that it's easier than ever to fill our homes with, well, more stuff. People buy and buy and buy, never satisfied with what they have. It may seem harmless, but this consumerism is a growing issue in our lives. It has enormous social, environmental, and personal consequences. Is it even possible for society to break out of this illusion that physical items are all that matter? I believe that we must, before it is too late.

Things like fast fashion and the convenience of online shopping are making products even easier and cheaper to buy than ever before. But with all of this comes an enormous environmental cost. The average American throws away 60 pounds of clothing every...

Op-Ed Competition 2020

Consumed by Consumerism: The Dangerous Allure of "Stuff"

We've all heard the saying, "Money can't buy happiness", but it seems like society believes differently. The average American household owns a staggering 300,000 items. The increasing availability of cheap, low-quality items for sale, along with "fast fashion" and companies like Afterpay, means that it's easier than ever to fill our homes with, well, more stuff. People buy and buy and buy, never satisfied with what they have. It may seem harmless, but this consumerism is a growing issue in our lives. It has enormous social, environmental, and personal consequences. Is it even possible for society to break out of this illusion that physical items are all that matter? I believe that we must, before it is too late.

Things like fast fashion and the convenience of online shopping are making products even easier and cheaper to buy than ever before. But with all of this comes an enormous environmental cost. The average American throws away 60 pounds of clothing every...

Environmental Journalism Competition 2020

Australia is burning, but we're adding more fuel to the fire

These summer holidays, my family headed down to the beach, hoping to enjoy a relaxing break from school and work. But the sky was choked with smoke and everything glowed an eerie orange. The harmful air quality confined us to the house.

We were some of the lucky ones.

Throughout this bushfire season, which commenced in June 2019, fires raged all across Australia. They destroyed almost 6,000 buildings, covering an estimated area of over 18 million hectares. There were 34 deaths from the fires, and countless lives were ruined. Not only was the impact of the fires felt environmentally and emotionally, but they caused huge economic damage, too. According to The Guardian, the cost of recovering from the 2019-2020 fires is expected to exceed $4.4 billion dollars. Australia's tourism industry has also suffered, with the bushfire crisis costing it over $1 billion in lost revenue.

Frequently, this fire season was described as "unprecedented". These fires are indeed far more extreme than any...

All An Act #SecondPerspective

I watch from the wings as Damian stands in the centre of stage, illuminated by a bright spotlight. He delivers the final line, and rage stirs inside me. It's the perfect ending to his perfect performance - at least, that's what the audience seem to think. They burst into applause, cheering and clapping. Some get to their feet. Damian bows, and bows again. The clapping gets louder.

I glare at him, my hands clenching into tight fists by my sides. My nails dig into the flesh of my palm, but I ignore the pain. Of course Damian got to play the main role in the play. He's always the hero. Everybody loves him. I auditioned for the role, too, but ended up as a mere understudy.

I can't believe it.

Finally, the applause dies down a little and the velvet curtain begins its slow descent. Damian strides off stage, looking flushed.

I plaster a smile onto my face and pat...

The Length of Forever #ArtOfCompression

The woman sits with half-closed eyes, lost in a painful memory.

“I love you, Ana. I love you more than anything else, and I want to be with you forever.” The man’s earnest blue eyes had stared into her own, finding only unflinching grey.

“Forever?” She had echoed, sceptical.

“Forever.”

She had thought about it for a moment. “Promise?”

“I promise.”

She had believed him.

Ana sighs. Those empty words had deceived her. Forever hadn’t seemed so permanent back then.

Rubbing her eyes, she stands up. “James?”

A thud from the study is accompanied by a cry of pain. “Ouch! I’m fine. Yes?”

“What are you doing?” Ana calls. She already knows the answer.

He fumbles for a response. “I’m... ah, working on... my project.”

Of course. The secret “project” that has dominated his life for six years. The project that means the study is deemed out of bounds. The project that has practically erased him from her existence.

Ana...

Environmental Journalism Competition 2020

Australia is burning, but we're adding more fuel to the fire

These summer holidays, my family headed down to the beach, hoping to enjoy a relaxing break from school and work. But the sky was choked with smoke and everything glowed an eerie orange. The harmful air quality confined us to the house.

We were some of the lucky ones.

Throughout this bushfire season, which commenced in June 2019, fires raged all across Australia. They destroyed almost 6,000 buildings, covering an estimated area of over 18 million hectares. There were 34 deaths from the fires, and countless other lives were ruined. Not only was the impact of the fires felt environmentally and emotionally, but they caused huge economic damage too. According to The Guardian, the cost of recovering from the 2019-2020 fires is expected to exceed $4.4 billion dollars. Australia's tourism industry has also suffered, with the bushfire crisis costing it over $1 billion in lost revenue.

Frequently, this fire season was described as "unprecedented". These fires are indeed far more extreme than...

How To Start A Revolution #kickoff

Aya stumbled as rough hands pushed her to one side. She cursed, turning to see a stampede of people scrambling desperately to safety. Seconds ago, the street was peaceful and quiet, but now panicked cries and the sound of hundreds of feet pounding on the pavement filled her ears.

"What's going on?" Aya said, but her voice was lost amidst the chaos. She grabbed a passer-by's arm. "What's happening?"

"Hey, let go!" The guy squirmed, trying in vain to wrench his grubby blue shirt out of Aya's fingers. He stared defiantly at her sallow, dirt-smeared face and sunken eyes. "What do you want?"

Aya's grip loosened. "Sorry. I was hoping you'd know why everyone's running."

He raised his eyebrows. "You hadn't realised? It's the Lawkeepers from Central City. They've arrived. Everyone's trying to avoid them, because... well, you know what happened last time they came on one of their visits."

Aya dropped her gaze, remembering the carnage the Lawkeepers always...

Five Sentences, Five Stories


(1) He held her hand, but she pulled away, taking his heart with her.

(2) The boy stared into the creature's smouldering crimson eyes, and in them he saw his death.

(3)  Araya stepped into the teleportation booth, stepped out again, and found herself on an entirely different planet. 

(4) The ancient prophecy had foretold that a hero would rise and save the kingdom from the tyranny of the Dark Ones, but nobody expected that hero to be a ten-year-old girl.

(5) Our heads fill with dreams and our hearts with stars, so we pick up the pen and pour everything out onto paper.

The Observer #scifi

I press my hands to the cold glass and stare upwards, letting out a long, slow sigh. The sky is alight with hundreds of escape pods shooting through the tumultuous storm clouds, hurtling away from the ground and towards space, the only hope for humanity now. It’s a strange sight. Every single person is leaving this planet. It's become uninhabitable because of the soaring temperatures and deadly natural disasters.

Well, not quite every single person.

Convicted criminals stay in their prisons, permanently. That’s right. They get left behind as if they’re not even human, even if they’ve learned from their mistakes. There is no forgiveness here, only desperation. The leaders justify this by saying that humanity needs to start afresh, and that there isn’t enough room for us in the escape shuttles, anyway. But we all know that’s not true. They’re abandoning us in these prisons because they fear us, even if we’re innocent. They’re afraid, so they’re trying to run...

Writing for Children Competition 2020

Pickleberry Blackbon and the Forest Adventure

In a small brick house on Reddon Street, a boy lived with his mother and father. His name was Pickleberry Blackbon.

(Pickleberry is short and has curly brown hair. He stands proudly outside his house with his parents)

In the street next to Reddon Street, there was a school. Pickleberry went to this school. At school, all the other boys had ordinary names like James and Alex and Will. Every day, when Pickleberry arrived at school, a boy called Harry would point at him and laugh. Harry would shout, “Look, everyone! It’s Pickleberry Blackbon! What do you have for lunch today, Pickleberry? Got any nice pickles or strawberries?”

Some of the other kids would laugh, because they thought that Pickleberry Blackbon was a strange name. But Pickleberry liked that his name was different.

(Harry is tall with blond hair. He points at Pickleberry, who is seated at his school desk trying to ignore the crowd of kids laughing at him)
...

Writing for Children Competition 2020

Pickleberry Blackbon and the Forest Adventure

In a small brick house on Reddon Street, a boy lived with his mother and father. His name was Pickleberry Blackbon.

In the street next to Reddon Street, there was a school. Pickleberry went to this school. At school, all the other boys had ordinary names like James and Alex and Will. Every day, when Pickleberry arrived at school, a boy called Harry would point at him and laugh. Harry would shout, “Look, everyone! It’s Pickleberry Blackbon! What do you have for lunch today, Pickleberry? Got any nice pickles or strawberries?”

Some of the other kids would laugh, because they thought that Harry was funny, and that Pickleberry Blackbon was a strange name. But Pickleberry liked that his name was different.

Pickleberry’s name was different because his mother and father came from a nearby forest called Shiverwood Forest. The kids from school thought Shiverwood Forest was scary and filled with bugs, but Pickleberry and his parents knew better. It was...

Chasing the Inevitable #bemine(5)


“Bye, Mum!” I call out in a falsely cheerful voice as I walk out the door.

She comes rushing down the hallway and embraces me in a warm, stifling hug. “Bye, Jacob! I’ll see you after school. Have a good day!”

I squirm, trying to get free. “Ugh, Mum! Let me go! I’m too old for this.”

She ignores me, planting a sticky kiss on my cheek and ruffling my hair. “I love you! Now, don’t be late.” 

“I’m trying to leave,” I grumble. As she lets go, I catch a glimpse of the familiar writing on the back of her hand, and, like always, it sends pain shuddering through me. In neat black ink, it reads Richard Price.

That writing, on everyone’s left hand, is supposed to determine their soulmate. It worked for my mother, at least. Richard Price is my father’s name.

But now, it’s a constant reminder of our cold new reality. We learned the hard...

Swarm

Arilly dropped the bauble with a flourish. It fell for a second before pausing and hovering in midair, quivering slightly. It steadied itself and began to rotate slowly, shimmering and sparkling in the light.

She stood back to admire her work. “Perfect! The house looks more festive already, don’t you think? I can’t wait to get the rest of the decorations up.”

From the other side of the room, her sister Zilara groaned. “Really, Ari?”

“What?”

Zilara flicked her wrist, sighing dramatically, and the bauble went flying off to one side. “It looks much better over there.”

“Oh, okay. If you say so,” Arilly said quietly. Whenever the two of them tried to do the Christmas decorations, Lara would inevitably take charge. Arilly was used to it by now. They had lived together for three years, ever since that day when they both moved out of their parents’ house, deciding it would be convenient to live together. Neither of them...

Monsters From Beneath The Earth #LightShadow

I woke to the sound of my little brother’s screams.

“Mum! Dad!” I could hear him shrieking and sobbing from his bedroom, calling out for help, but our parents had already left for work. “Help!”

My alarm clock flashed 7:03, and the first rays of morning light had started to trickle in through my curtains. I jumped out of bed, rubbing my eyes. As I hurried into my brother’s room, I found him curled up on his bed, bawling.

“What’s wrong, Toby?” I said with a yawn.

“M-m-m-onster,” he whimpered, fear tangling his words. “U-u-nder my b-bed!”

I sighed, sitting down on the bed beside him and ruffling his curly hair. “Don’t worry, Toby. You’re safe now. It was only a dream.”

He looked up at me with wide, fearful eyes. “Really, Isobel?”

I smiled. “Really.”

Then, with an unearthly screeching-growling-hissing noise, an enormous creature leaped from beneath the bed. A high-pitched scream escaped my mouth, and Toby pointed at...

An Ancient Rivalry #taleoftwotales


1
Maya


My skin prickles, and I glance around me uneasily. The courtyard appears deserted, but I know better. I might be the youngest Hunter on the team, but I can sense better than almost anyone else when an Ancient is lurking. Plus, this courtyard in the ruins of a temple is one of their favourite places. It won’t be long before one comes out of hiding, trying to murder me. But what the bloodthirsty Ancient doesn’t know is that I’m prepared. I’m not just an innocent teenage girl wandering around a creepy temple at night. No, I’ve come with a mission in mind. I’m here to capture whatever Ancients are around, so they can never harm anyone again.

Like always, my thoughts drift to ones of my childhood best friend, Lauren. Taken by an Ancient when she was only ten years old. She is the reason I do this. I can’t let anyone else have a similar fate, and...

Three Gifts

Three Gifts

  • Paint or draw something. I like to use watercolour, but there are so many different ways to create a personalised gift for someone. It’s also lots of fun!
  • Give someone an experience they will remember. Memories of a fun activity will last much longer than a physical gift that may just be thrown away.
  • Give someone a heartfelt compliment, or a card with a thoughtful, handwritten message. You might just make their day.

A Fictional Landscape

The Burning Land

I feel it coming long before I see it. The air seems thick with tension, heavy with the feeling that something big is waiting just beyond the horizon. The feeling we’ve gone years without. 

I can smell it, too. The scent is faint yet unmistakeable. My heart leaps in my chest, and I know with every bone in my body that it’s finally here. The rain.

In our dry, red, dusty wasteland, the rain is all that spares us from a slow, burning death. When the rain returns, it replenishes the earth, and we store as much water as we can in the maze of caves that lie beneath the parched surface. The caves we call City. The City we call home. But when each rain ends, we can never be truly sure when - or if - the next rain will arrive. The fear that everyone shares, although it usually stays unspoken, is that the boundless blue skies will...