Highly Commended Story - Sub-junior Category
“The Magic Pen and the Superhero” by Tudor Achim, Școala Gimnazială 'Oltea Doamna', Romania, is the Highly Commended story in the sub-junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Tudor is also a competitive child with an appetite for literature and storytelling. Since an early age, he showed an increased interest in reading and writing, and a passion for the written word. He is a great team player who enjoys basketball, water polo, tennis and soccer. He divides his time between school, skateboarding, reading and water polo. Tudor is also fluent in Romanian and English, and speaks Spanish very well. One of his most rewarding accomplishments were being introduced in Stone Soup’s June 218 Honor Roll for one of his short stories. Following the success of that particular story, a local Romanian editor published the story and made Tudor one of the youngest published authors in the country. The event was widely covered by the Romanian media channels.
The Magic Pen and the Superhero
Jeremy was a dreamer who constantly hoped for an adventurous life, full of supernatural encounters. Like most boys at his age, Jeremy also wished for super powers and extraordinary adventures. But despite of excellent grades and various school achievements, Jeremy was constantly miserable because he was a victim of bullying.
His love and passion for mathematics got him the nickname “nerd” which was anything but kind. But what gave Jeremy comfort especially in the dark days when older boys bullied him, was the unconditional love of his family and the amazing friendship he shared with a little boy named Michael.
Michael had a tougher time than Jeremy, as older boys always mocked his appearance and skinny framework. Often, Jeremy wished he could turn into a Superhero so he could protect his friend and all the kids who were constantly bullied.
He wanted to invent a fantastic object or something that could revolutionize the whole world, making it a better place for everyone around him. His invention would erase hate, pain and differences among kids. And one day, his secret wish was answered.
It all started with that day when he found a beautiful pen on the street. At first, Jeremy thought the pen was an ordinary one but then he saw that the writing instrument had magical qualities. After a simple touch of the pen, the homework would write by itself. So Jeremy tried to see if this works even with his English composition, and yet again, in just a few seconds, an essay was written without any effort from his side.
Then Jeremy’s plans became more ambitious and he drew two big wings which were attached through a belt to his body, and he flew into the night, overpassing buildings and cities. For five days, Jeremy drew things he always wanted, like a pair of magical ears with which he listened to people’s thoughts, or a suit that would make him invisible. He played like this until he realized that superpowers mean nothing if they aren’t shared with friends, thus he draws another magical pen for his good friend Michael.
The next day, Jeremy left for school having hidden the two enchanted writing instruments in his pencil box.
After meeting his good friend, Jeremy recounted the pen story and all about his latest adventures. Following his story, he offered the second pen to his friend but to his great surprise the boy refused the gift and went on to ask: “And how do you intend to use your newly found powers against those bullies?”
Jeremy told Michael about his plan of becoming a powerful Superhero who would beat the bad boys the way they used to beat him. But instead of enthusiasm he saw fear on his friend’s face, thus he asked Michael which part of the plan burdened him.
“I’m concerned because you don’t see that this pen and your new powers are transforming you into a different person. You use an unknown force against those boys and that doesn’t make you better than them. I don’t think I want to be friends with someone who wants to dominate others through power. I like my old friend, the good Jeremy, but I dislike this power hungry Superhero.” And Michael left Jeremy all alone and very confused.
At the end of the day, those bad boys who were always bullying the younger kids stopped in front of Jeremy’s class. This time, they were harassing a blonde girl, pulling her ponytails and screaming names back at her.
Jeremy wanted to draw a sketch of his Super Suit so he can save the girl from those horrible kids but then he saw that an older child intervened. The brown- haired boy defended the young girl and exactly like a Comic Book Superhero, stopped the villains without even moving a finger. It was then when Jeremy understood that younger kids like him, don’t need magical pens but rather friends like that teenager who have the courage to go against bad boys and do the right thing.
The youngster didn’t attack the bullies because aggressiveness is a distinctive feature of super-villains but instead he showed them that he could be as ferocious as them. Of course, the bullies didn’t expect to find someone who stands up against them and when they found that person, they proved to be cowards, running as fast as they could from the danger.
That day, Jeremy understood that Superheroes live among us and they don’t need super wings or super suits.