Creative Writing: Labels

Prompt: If we were all forced to wear a warning label, what would yours say?

I took this prompt literally and made it into an excerpt of a story. So enjoy!


It felt a lot like that game where you have a headband with a word to describe you, but you can’t see it. You know, the one where everyone can see it but you, and if you try to look it’s cheating. Because of this unknown definition of yourself, other people get to judge you and think up their own thoughts before you even get the chance to say hello. Walking around, you can’t help but feel the eyes as they stare at the big block letters slapped across your forehead. Of course, reflections will only make the words disappear, disabling you from seeing them. And I know what you’re thinking…

Why can’t you just tell each other what they are? No, it doesn’t work like that either. For some reason, your body will not let you see or hear it until you’re ready to. It involves some self discovery of finding who you truly are, or some spiritual thing like that. I don’t know. Some achieve this very early in life, which is amazing considering how life messes with us, making us believe we’re one thing when we’re completely the opposite. Others, however, don’t realize until they’re well into their years, past any time that could help them decipher what it means.

Personally, I’ve never really had a problem not knowing what my Label was, except for today. I was simply minding my own business, doing some shopping that I have long since procrastinated, when it happened. Usually, I noticed a few glances, but none of them really lingered long. So I had come to this conclusion that my word was uninteresting and essentially boring. That I was uninteresting and essentially boring. But then, it was another girl, about my age with the word Lost scribbled across her face, who seemed to think I was something more.

First of all, with a word like Lost, I couldn’t help but feel sad. Most Labels I’d seen had said more positive and straightforward things than just Lost. This implied she may never find herself, and that to me is heartbreaking, since that’s everyone’s goal, of course. Other than that, it would’ve been pretty easy to forget about her if she hadn’t followed me around the whole store. Talk about lost. No matter how many times I had thought she left, she was always lurking around some corner, waiting for me to see her. And I always did, but I didn’t want to. The way she looked at me, studying my word; her eyes pierced through as if wanting to burn the letters off my skin or sear them further in. While the rest of her demeanor suggested she was harmless, I didn’t want to stay around her any longer. Ducking out of the building, I thought I had finally cleared her when I turned around to see those unforgiving eyes.

And all she said was “You too.”

-Sabrina C., 11th Grade

Creative Tribute: The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

Editor’s note: Have you read the 1979 Newbery Award winning title, The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin? If not, put this clever mystery on your to-read list. If you’ve read it, you’ll be able to picture the following script as an edge-of-your-seat awesome movie trailer.

westing_game_winnie

This is a game that is worth two hundred million dollars.

[I, Samuel W. Westing, hereby swear that I did not die of natural causes. My life was taken from me- by one of you!]

Sixteen heirs, one winner.

[They were mothers and fathers and children. A dressmaker, a secretary, an inventor, a doctor, a judge. And, oh yes, one was a bookie, one was a burglar, one was a bomber, and one was a mistake.]

Who is the dead soul looking for?

[Who among you is worthy to be the Westing heir? Help me. My soul shall roam restlessly until that one is found. The estate is at the crossroads. The heir who wins the windfall will be the one who finds the…]

Who is the final answer?

[“Somebody’s in real danger, and I think it’s me.”]

For the two hundreds million, the answers are given.

[Wrong! All answers are wrong!]

What is the real purpose behind everything?

[“Uh—uh——UHHH!” His hand flew to his throat. He struggled to his feet, red-faced and gasping, and crashed to the floor in eye-bulging agony.]

That one- that person is the answer!

[Shhh! They were struggling with their conscience. Millions and millions of dollars just for naming the name.]

The heir who wins the windfall will be the one who finds the… what?

Who will be the one?

Welcome to The Westing Game.

-Wenqing Z., 11th grade