INA, Ill. – Shelby Patterson, a 10th grade student at Waltonville High School, is the winner of the 2010 Rend Lake College Big Read short story contest. Patterson’s prizes were a $100 gift card and a RLC Big Read tee-shirt.
Her short story, titled “Kiss Me, Kill Me,” is about a high school student on her way to school, who decided to walk instead of getting a ride with her aunt. Filled with a terrible feeling about the day, and a sense that someone was watching her, she stepped into an alley to avoid a man she felt was following too closely. When the girl stepped back onto the street the man was waiting for her. Part of her thought she knew him as images from the past flashed in her mind. For months she had seen the man’s face everywhere she went. As he wrapped his hands around her neck and said “Get ready to see your father and mother again, sweetheart,” she knew he was her cyber-stalker from the past. She recalled his promise that, after he murdered her parents, he would hunt her down and kill her. At this moment, she realized his promise was about to be fulfilled. As he lightly kissed her, she knew it would be her last.
The short story contest was open to high school students in RLC District #521. Submitted stories were required to be mystery fiction using a local area as the setting.
The mystery theme was in conjunction with RLC’s Big Read celebration of the 1920’s American crime novel, “The Maltese Falcon,” by Dashielle Hammett.
Administered by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Big Read is meant to address the national decline in literary reading. Partners, such as RLC, are able to choose one title from a list of great novels that they would like to promote for readership in their respective communities.
Big Read events are coming up in the area. Book discussions are scheduled for April 14 from noon to 1 p.m. at Benton Public Library and 2-3 p.m. at The Buzz in Benton; 5:30 - 7 p.m., April 22 at McLeansboro Public Library; 6 - 7 p.m., April 28 at C.E. Brehm Memorial Public Library in Mt. Vernon; and noon to 1 p.m., May 5 at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon. Seats have filled fast for a haunted mystery walk to Lebanon on April 24. To check on availability, call 618-437-5321, Ext. 1367. For a complete list of Big Read events at RLC, go online to www.neabigread.org and search for Rend Lake College.
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.