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Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

First place winner of the winter writing contest

“Untitled” by Lily McKinney.

Avery’s fingers raced across the keyboard. Click! Clack! Click! The sounds of the video game she was playing filled her ears as she guided her digital jet through the brightly colored loops on the screen. The music crescendo in her headphones as the finish line appeared in the distance. The sound was deafening, the adrenaline pumping, her fingers speeding across the keys in a blur.


“Just a second, Mom!” Avery yelled back, steering her jet towards the blinking checkered flag waving in front of it.

Hearing her door open, Avery jumped, her fingers lifting off the keys for a split second too long. Another player’s jet zipped by hers and won the game. Avery leapt up in frustration before whirling around to see her mom leaning against her door frame.

“Mom! I would’ve won that one!”

She let out a heavy sigh of frustration. Her mom surveyed the room slowly, her eyes lingering on the tangle of cords snaking from the outlet to Avery’s cluttered desk, her PC whirring loudly, and then again on the piles of clothes scattered around the room.

“Honey, I’ve told you to clean up a million times,” her mom sighed wearily, collecting the crumpled clothes off of the carpet and into the empty hamper by the door. “It’s almost Christmas, go outside and play in the snow.” “I hate it out there. It’s wet and cold and there’s nothing fun to do but catch a cold,” Avery groaned, sitting back down in her gaming chair.

Avery watched as her mother went to her window, where the heavy curtains were drawn shut, and opened them wide, pale winter light pouring into the dark, dingy room. Rolling her eyes, Avery swiveled around and entered the queue to get back into her game.

“Avery please, I just want you to appreciate the world around you, and what better time to do that than Christmas?”

“Will the Christmas spirit stop me from getting frostbite?”

Her mom sighed, shoulders sagging, “I just don’t want you to be old and gray and think of all of the times you could have played in the snow, making wonderful lifelong memories instead of sitting in your dark room all alone.”

“Just leave me alone!” Avery shouted.

“Fine, but before I go, I got you something on my way home from work today, so will you please get off your video game and open it?”

Shutting off her PC, Avery turned quietly to her mother, who placed a small box wrapped in gleaming, bright red wrapping paper and topped with a frilly green bow. Picking it up, she hesitantly began to unravel the bow.

“Come on, tear into it like when you were a little kid, you used to love that,” Mom nudged, a note of nostalgia in her soft voice.

Speeding up a little, Avery tore into the wrapping and discarded the bow, revealing a small snow globe. Avery inspected it, it was a little woodland scene, with a small wooden cabin, a wreath with red ribbon on the door nestled in snow covered evergreen trees.

“A snow globe… thanks,” Avery said, forcing a small, fake smile.

“I know, I know, but I thought it might help you appreciate the magic of nature during Christmas.”

With that, Avery’s mom gave her a soft kiss on the forehead and exited the room. Once she had left, Avery looked at the snow globe again. In the minute or two since it had been stripped of its wrappings, all of the fake snow had settled at the bottom. So, on impulse, Avery shook it.

It was only a little, effortless shake but all of the snow began to swirl quickly around the globe, obscuring the trees and cabin from view. Avery attempted to put the snow globe down but found that she could not let it go as a strange, warm, tingling sensation filled her body from her fingertips that touched the globe to her toes. A flash of white light filled Avery’s senses and once she blinked it away, she was no longer in her bedroom.

A cold, exhilarating wind ruffled her sweatshirt and pajama pants, snowflakes falling down onto her brown hair and eyelashes. Opening her eyes, Avery’s breath vanished, her room towered over her, everything ten times larger than it had been a moment before, and it was all obscured by a curved, glossy sheen.

Turning around, Avery saw a few tall, evergreen trees swaying in the wind, shaking snow down onto the equally snow covered ground around them. In the middle of all of the trees was a quaint wooden cabin, the door of which stood slightly ajar emitting a warm, homey light from inside. Eager to escape the snow, which was now soaking into the hems of her pants and her fuzzy socks, she ran inside the cabin and shut the door behind her.

Exhaling, Avery took in her surroundings. To her left there was a set of ornately carved shelves with a thick jacket, knitted hat, matching gloves, socks, and leather boots. To her right, there was a counter space, on which was a kettle steaming from the nozzle, a large mug, and a porcelain bowl of candy canes and marshmallows.

Since the intense cold outside still slipped in as a brisk breeze into the cabin, Avery put on the articles of clothing left folded neatly on the shelves, which were surprisingly warm, and approached the counter warily. The smell of hot chocolate filled her nose, wafting from the kettle. Smiling softly, Avery remembered the times her and her mom would go sledding after the first snow and she would make little Avery the best hot chocolate, heaped with marshmallows and topped with a candy cane. While she recounted this memory, she found herself pouring the hot chocolate into the mug and sprinkling a fistful of marshmallow on top, finishing it with a candy cane.

Taking the mug, Avery looked around and realized there was nothing to do in the cabin. That’s when it set in. She was in the cabin. The cabin that was in the snow globe. The mug slipped from her fingers but instead of shattering on the wooden floor it hovered an inch above it.

“What is happening,” Avery said, her voice shaking as she picked up the cup. “I’m stuck in a snow globe. I’m stuck… in a snowglobe.”

Avery took a long sip from her hot chocolate, quelling her anxiety with the warmth and fond memories from the drink. “It’s fine,” she muttered to herself, swallowing the gulp of hot chocolate, “It’ll pass. It happens in every Christmas movie.”

Avery sat down on the wooden floor and began to sip the hot chocolate, but when she realized that no matter how much hot chocolate she drank, the amount in the cup didn’t go down. So once she was bored of staring at the wooden wall, sipping her hot chocolate, as the subtle warmth of the cabin became sweltering, she decided to go outside.

The cold that was so terrible beforehand met her as a refreshing wave, sending a bolt of exhilaration through her body. Avery watched as the snow fell down in graceful flurries and the evergreens danced in the breeze.

She realized she had missed out on so many of these beautiful winter days, and she felt a sort of mellow sadness. With the cool wind rushing through her hair, and the feeling of cool, crisp, pure air in her lungs, she felt so free. The difference between this feeling and her being hunched up in her gaming chair with her eyes glued to the screen couldn’t have been starker.

Just then, Avery began to relax. Even if it took a while for her to get out of this miniature winter wonderland, it was a wonderful place to be. She hadn’t felt that exhilarated and just plainly good in months.

Avery closed her eyes and breathed in, the snow kissing her cheeks. She felt the tingling sensation fill her body as her heavy boots lifted from the snow covered ground. The warm mug in her hands vanished and the cold wind fell away, replaced by the stale, heavy warmth of her room.

“Avery-” her mom said, walking into her room. She looked Avery up and down, taking in her heavily clothed form.

“I didn’t buy you that coat…”

“It’s a friend’s,” Avery shrugged. “Well, why are you all dressed up?” she laughed.

“I think I’m going to go outside and build a snowman or something,” Avery said with a smile.

Her mom broke into a grin and stepped forward, enveloping her in a warm hug, which Avery sank into.

“Now go have fun!” her mom exclaimed, releasing Avery from her grasp.

Avery raced down the stairs, her boots clapping heavily against the wood, before she opened the front door, welcoming the exhilarating wind and dancing snowflakes, and delved into the wonderful, snow-covered world she had ignored for so long.

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  • D

    Donna Karwacki
    Jan 9, 2024 at 4:58 pm

    What a beautifully written story! The descriptions used really brought the reader into the scene and made them feel a part of the story. I loved the reality of the video games in 2023 and the fact that the mom was stressing the importance of getting outside, and being in the fresh air and enjoying nature. Being trapped in the snow globe was also a great idea! I just loved this story!