Aspen Education Foundation’s Adult Writing Contest winners |

Aspen Education Foundation’s Adult Writing Contest winners

The 7th and 8th grade students who judged the Aspen 134 Adult Writing Contest read and critiqued the adult essays and chose winners for 27 places and prizes. Contributed photo.

On Sept. 19, 1881, Aspen’s first school session began for the town’s children. Class was held in Judge Root’s log cabin on Main Street across from the Catholic church, according to “Aspen: History of a Mining town 1879-1893,” by Malcolm Rohrbough.

That was 134 years ago.

To celebrate Aspen and its history of high-altitude education, the seventh- and eighth-grade classes held the second annual Aspen Education Foundation Adult Writing Contest — Aspen 134 — for district employees, parents and guardians of children currently enrolled in the Aspen School District.

In honor of each year that Aspen has been educating children, the rules were to submit an original story of exactly 134 words. Papers were judged by a group of seventh- and eighth-grade students.

The following stories were the top three winners.

First Place

“Out of the Darkness”

by Kristin Kail

Shrill whinnying emanates from the television, sending shivers down her spine. Just like that, she is hurtled backward in time as if she has emerged directly out of H.G. Wells’ time machine.

The ominous farmhouse looms before her, its four solid pillars standing at attention like soldiers along the front porch. She sees them as clear as day … the men who stole her spirit. A single tear escapes, trailing its way down her cheek.

“Why are you sad?” the little girl whispers, breaking her out of the nightmarish reverie.

The woman grimaces at the memory that prevails like a permanent tattoo on her soul. But she has refused to let the anguish consume her, for out of that monstrous moment an angel was conceived, dragging her out of darkness.

“I’m not sad anymore,” she smiles.