Abi’s heart sputtered then picked up speed. The rest of the class drifted away as she pressed a shaky finger on the email icon three times before it opened.
She skimmed the page, hoping to spot the answer, but she gave up, starting again from the top. She was lightheaded, her mouth dry like she’d just eaten a cotton ball.
Dear Ms. Abigail Cole,
We at Indie Youth Magazine have completed judging for the Young Adult Inter-agency Excellence Competition and are writing to give you feedback on your submission.
Her stomach dropped.
You will receive a separate email from one of our judges containing advice you might find helpful. His/her critiques should aid in shaping your future writing and editing processes, as IYM strives to promote 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 email within the coming week providing details of the issue in which your winning edition will be showcased.
May your well never run out of ink,
President of Correspondence
Indie Youth Magazine
Abi’s heart was beating so fast it took her a moment to realize someone was poking her arm, again and again.
“You look like you’ve just seen a ghost,” Cora whispered, trying not to gain the attention of Mr. Regan. “You okay?”
Abi wasn’t afraid, no. She was holding in a squeal, trembling in her seat.
She nodded and passed her phone to Cora, afraid she might have imagined the letter. What if it was a fake? What if someone was trying to pull a joke on her?
It was an oddly written letter, both the best and worst one she’d ever received. Who began a congratulatory email with a notification of feedback?
The same confusion passed over Cora’s face.
“Oh shit!” Cora shouted. 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.
Abi’s cheeks reddened at the disruption to the class. Everyone was staring at them.
“Holy. Shit.” Cora’s voice raised a few octaves.
“Cora!” The teacher slammed the yardstick 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.
“Another outburst like that and you’ll be taking a trip to the principal’s office.” Mr. Regan’s threat elicited a few oohs and ahhs from the other students.
Abi had never been so happy to be so embarrassed before.
Once the class had quieted down, Cora texted her again.
She didn’t reply immediately. Abi had been so antsy about whether or not she would get that email she hadn’t given Cora’s request serious thought.
Bzzt. Abi glanced at her phone again.
Now you have reason to celebrate! Come on, just one party!
Cora always did this to her, but for the first time, Abi felt a sly grin tugging at the corners of her mouth. She had waited months for that email, and now that she’d gotten it, she felt light and … what if she said yes?
Mr. Regan’s large belly grazed the smartboard, knocking two markers to the ground. Abi could tell he wrote them off as a lost cause as he continued his lecture, but she wasn’t listening to him anymore.