Abi’s heart sputtered, then picked up speed. She felt the rest of the class drift away and her shaky finger had to press three times on the email before it opened.

Her eyes skimmed the page, hoping to spot the answer but she gave up, starting again from the top. She was light-headed and her mouth felt like she had eaten a cotton ball.

Dear Ms. Abigail Cole,

We, at the Indie Youth Magazine, have completed our judging for the Young Adult Inter-agency Excellence Competition and are writing to give you feedback on your performance.

She felt her stomach drop a little.

A separate e-mail will be sent to you from a judge of the competition with advice you might find helpful. His/her critiques should aid in shaping your future writing and editing processes as IYM strives to create the best in our youthful writers.
Regardless of the changes you make, your short story will be featured in our Jan/Feb 2017 issue. You have our fullest congratulations!
Expect a third e-mail within the coming week with details of the issue your winning edition will be showcased in.

    May your well never run out of ink,
Louise Magdelaine
President of Correspondence
Indie Youth Magazine

Abi’s heart was beating so fast it took a moment to feel the finger poking her arm, again and again.

“You look like you’ve just seen a ghost. You okay?” Cora’s voice was low, trying not to get the attention of Mr. Regan. Abi wasn’t afraid, no.

She was holding in a squeal, trembling in her seat.

Abi nodded and passed her phone to Cora. She waited for her facial expression as Cora read the e-mail, growing fearful that she had imagined the letter. What if it was a fake? What if someone was trying to pull a joke on her?

It had been an oddly written letter, both the best and worst one she had ever received. Who began a congratulatory e-mail with a notification of feedback?

The same confused look passed across Cora’s face.

“Oh shit!” Abi jumped, along with the rest of the class, but Cora kept stride. “Is this for real?”

“Excuse me, Miss Cora!” Mr. Regan glared in their direction.

Cora was still waiting for a response as Abi’s cheeks reddened at the disruption to the class. Everyone was staring at them.

“Holy. Shit.” Her voice had risen a few octaves.

“Cora!” The teacher slammed the yard stick down on his desk.

This snapped her out of it and she finally took notice of the class. “We’re in the presence of a famous person here. You all mark my words, you’ll remember the day I yelled ‘Oh shit’ in this class.” With that she handed Abi’s phone back and gave the teacher her best model-student impression.