These entries from June's challenge were selected as Honorable Mentions. Those who completed this challenge are now encouraged to share their stories in the comments section of the "June Writing Challenge."


One of my biggest desires was to leave town — to leave people behind, as rude as it might sound. I couldn’t stand being next to people who just spit lies out of their mouth. I thought that after graduating high school my life would be better, but boy, was I wrong.

Do I regret standing in the middle of nowhere, all by myself, with just a map and a compass as my friends? No. Hold on…The compass is broken. Fine, maybe I regret it a little, but just for that tiny detail. But who cares about a broken compass? My hair is damp because of the drizzle half an hour ago, my shoes are covered in mud, mosquitoes are eating me alive… But there’s also a squirrel climbing up a tree and its tall companions  are dancing to the rhythm of the wind.

My mother said that a trip with myself is worthless, that there was no sense in wandering around without someone to share the experience with; and so when I told her I was going away, she understood, but I never told her where.

As for my ‘travel mates,’ I think that Abraham Lincoln is doing pretty well in my right pocket. Too bad the dollar bill is fake. Thank you, old man from the store who told me the opposite –your fake smile was almost as real as my love for school.

The wind is getting stronger. If it rains one more time, I’m screwed.

I talked too soon.

The map I once was holding with my hands is now soaking wet, the material slowly falling to the ground. Staying positive during a situation like this is hard, specially for someone like me.

Thunders erupt from above and now I’m running nowhere. Where can I find a refuge in the middle of a forest? But just when I thought hope was over, an unfortunate miracle happened.

Why is he, the first person I wanted to avoid, the only one in this boisterous forest besides me?




Alicia Arellano

This journey is one I must walk alone. Heartache cannot vex me and loneliness is just a word.

The city is always lonely, with crowded streets of empty people through and through. The camera lay still at my hip, the escape to a different world through the lens. There the lowly dollar bill at my feet has a story, the way it still flows though it’s been trampled makes a masterpiece through the lens. It’s motion, a will to fight, the footprints, a purpose keeping it grounded.

The compass leads me through streets I’ve known for years, streets others have known, others have followed, but I follow blind, chasing a desire I’ve yet to find. Every step leads me closer, but every breath sends me back. The camera no longer lay still. It follows the compass past bus stops and worn shops, through alleys and parking lots. My feet find their way to soft grass. Where the park consumes the pavement and refuses to let go.

People aren’t as empty here, and I find myself snapping away to preserve that as best as I can. And it is through the frames I find what the compass couldn’t lead me to. I find the desire I’ve been chasing all along. I’ve been chasing the things that keep us full, so I never have to become like the empty people on the crowded streets.




Mary Teresky

“Oh, and don’t forget to make some friends!” Diana, my mother, surprisingly squeaks out before the car turns right onto the main road, and just like the wind, the car vanished within the blink of an eye.

I start to make my way over to the camp check in, but I hesitate. Something catches my eye. I walk, no, gravitate towards the object of my attention. As I near the reflecting treasure, I start to notice the heavy smell of the lake in the breeze flowing through my hair, the size of the monstrous trees shielding me from the sun, and the little sounds of bugs flying, birds chirping, and all the woodland creatures bustling around me. Is this what it feels like to be fully aware of your surroundings? I feel alert, completely in control for once in my life. As I nearly become lost in my thoughts, I arrive at what I ventured out here for… a pair of broken glasses?

I hold the frames steady in front of my own eyes, as I squint to try and focus, not on the cracks, but looking through the glasses. I realize what horrible vision this person had. How long has it been since this person lost their glasses in the woods? Have they gotten a new pair yet? How did they lose them? My mind becomes filled with questions, ignited like a wildfire from just these small shattered glasses.

My curiosity gets the best of me, and I go deeper into the forest, looking for more, wanting to discover more. Not long after, I find a torn up piece of paper, which appears to once have been a map before it was impaled on this oak tree’s scrawny branches. It must have been a camper’s because it has camps most frequently used trails printed on it. The map even has peach pit path on it, my favorite trail; it has minimal hills but a long curvy path that has numerous peach trees along it. That’s why it’s called peach pit path, because the dirt pathway is littered with peach pits. Maybe I should walk on the peach pit path. I’m sure I could find it. I’ve been coming to this camp for years.

Later, after walking through at least half a mile of mild forest brush, I finally made it to peach pit path. I can feel the breeze on my flushed cheeks, the gorgeous smell forcing its way into my nostrils. The first thing I see is a book, lying open in the middle of the path, two or three pages flowing back and forth in the wind. I walk over to the novel, pick it up, and close the book to read the title; it was by Kurt Vonnegut. Later that day I researched him, and found one more thing, my favorite quote to date. Now looking back, the quote also described that day perfectly.

“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” –Kurt Vonnegut


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