First Place Winner!
Title: “The Mystery Club”
By: Marwan Lahbabi, California, USA, Age 14
Description: A troubled teen tells his story to a new psychiatrist.
(A boy walks in and sits on a sofa in his psychiatrist’s office.) So, Dr. Broomfield is gone, huh? Just as well, I guess. He was what? Like eighty? But then again, I gotta be honest. You look too young to be a psychiatrist. (pause) Alright, well, I’ll give you the backstory. You might want to get a snack. So, last March. I was a sophomore, and this whole high school thing? Trust me when I tell you that I despised all of it. The people, the lunches, the drama. But home wasn’t much better. I’ve always been really smart. Practically a quantum computer, and my two brothers were jealous of this, which led to my being bullied by my own family. So, no friends at school, and treated like crap at home, I guess I was set up to be more prone to fighting and self-harm. Then, I guess it all came to a head on March 2nd. You probably read that. About me going to the rooftop of the school and being ready to jump? Yeah. I had a note, but couldn’t think of anyone to give it to. So, I’m standing up there, and this guy I barely knew, Mark Holmes, appears out of nowhere and yanks me down. Of course, I immediately punched him in the face, but he stayed up there and just kept talking, and after a couple of hours, I felt better, and actually started to like the guy. He asked me to join his club which he called the Mystery Club, which had nothing to do with mysteries at all. It was more like a hangout spot for him and his friends. A boy named Conan Doyle. He was British and personality-wise he’s pretty eccentric. Madman, actually. Julie Paretsky, she was and still is the delinquent of the group. And a girl named George. I know, it’s weird. But she’s great. She’s energetic and very optimistic and able to see the best in everyone. So that’s how I got into that group. Now to talk about why I was in the hospital. It was a normal day at the club, or what we call normal. We had just left a party. Well more like we were kicked out of a party. Yeah, Julie had punched someone because he was being rude. She can be scary sometimes. But anyway, that was the day George started seeing this guy. His name was Alex. He acted like a nice guy around her, but I could tell he wasn’t a good guy. I tried to warn her. She didn’t believe me. Soon enough, Alex confronted me in private tried to fight me. Little did he know that my history of self-harm made me tolerant to pain and my terrible upbringing made me a great fighter. So, it didn’t end well for him. Turns out because of that little scuffle he started to verbally abuse George, but she still wouldn’t leave him. So, me, Mark, and Julie decided to take matters into our own hands. First, we trashed his place. Put graffiti on the walls. Destroyed his TV. That was fun. After that I went to George’s house to tell her about it. I saw her on the edge of her balcony. As soon as she saw me, she jumped. I ran and caught her hand as she was falling and tried to pull her up. I used all my strength to save her. She put her hands on the ledge to pull herself up, but by that point my arms were done and when she pulled up, I fell down. Right off the balcony! I thought it was funny ending up right where I started. It felt like time was slowing down. I saw George’s horrified expression as I was falling. You know, I though falling to your death would be scary, but it was somehow soothing knowing it was all over and I was about to die. After I fell, I was in a coma for two weeks. My family is pretty much done with me, but hey, I’m alive. Oh, that’s the end of our session? Great. I got somethings off my chest at least. Well, got to go. The mystery club is waiting. I heard Julie hit someone with a bat.