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Peace and Quiet – 3rd Place Kids Writing Contest

March 22, 2023

By Kenzie Gingrich

Creak! I winced as the rickety staircase groaned beneath my weight. I anxiously made sure I was alone before continuing my descent into my family’s gloomy basement. Cautiously and strategically, I placed my foot on the next step.

Upon arriving at the bottom of the staircase, I felt the walls for the light switch. My face lit up with the room when at last I came across it.

I tip-toed to an old, dusty cabinet lying forlornly in the farthest corner of the room. The cabinet stretched from floor to ceiling, although the deserted condition of the cupboard made it look as though it wanted to shrivel up in misery.

Excitedly, I began pulling the cabinet out of its dark corner. Though it was a struggle, I finally managed to reveal what was behind it. I grinned as a tattered, rustic-looking door came into view.

Earlier today, I had discovered this door while I was down here reading. I often read in the basement because of the peace and quiet. I always like to sit in a worn, brown chair right beside the cabinet. Once I finished reading, I realized my bookmark had fallen underneath the cupboard. As I searched beneath it, I thought I felt the hinge of a door. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to check, because my brother came bounding down the stairs telling me it was supper time. I then decided to investigate once everyone was asleep.

I took a deep breath before turning the dusty, brown doorknob. My family had never told me about this door, and I was about to find out why. Nervously, I peeked into the room.

Instead of a deadly murder scene or secret spy headquarters like I was hoping, I saw a tall, thin man with tousled brown hair and stunned blue eyes.

“Dad!?” I said in shock and astonishment.

“Olivia!?” he said with the same expression.

“What are you doing down here?” I asked.

“I could ask you the same question,” he replied as he straightened his tie that resembled a piano keyboard. My dad is a music teacher; hence the tie.

“I found this door earlier, and wanted to see what it was,” I explained. “What are you doing?”

“I’ve been here since after supper working. I often come down here for peace and quiet,” he said.

“Oh,” I said, “I do that too sometimes. How do you stay awake?”

My dad held up an empty, green mug that had previously contained coffee.

I smiled.

“Please don’t tell your siblings about this, Olivia,” Dad said. “It will ruin the silence.”

I nodded as I started out of the room. Suddenly, I got a mischievous idea and turned around. “I’ll only keep this a secret if you let me read down here,” I said.

Dad sighed and rolled his eyes. “Alright,” he said reluctantly.

I grinned triumphantly as I went up the stairs. RR

This story weaves the mundane, everyday dust with an unexpected but equally ordinary surprise that leaves us with renewed calm and the smugness of a shared secret. Great use of visual descriptions to set the tone of the story.