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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: The Hills of Enelee
By Amy Michelle Wiley


The blue hills swirled with silver mist, whispering stories of tranquility and strength, and of a peace that was as far from reach as the hills themselves. I huddled on the wooden bench, the ocean breeze chilly despite the bright sun.

I grabbed the rail just in time as the boat thumped against the dock. Only then did I allow myself to lower my eyes from the hills in order to search the faces of those who milled around the port.

Right away I spotted her, a girl around my age, waving wildly as though she honestly were excited to see me. I knew the speech she’d give, about how she’d always wanted a sister and how I should make myself at home because, after all, it was my home now, too.

As if.

As if a foster kid like me ever had a home. As if she really wouldn’t mind sharing her room, day after day. As if they’d keep me for more than a few weeks, or months if I was lucky.

I didn’t wave back, and when the gangplank was lowered and the man with her came to carry my bag, I didn’t speak. Instead, I concentrated on the odd clothing these people wore, such long, full dresses. And the men with their cotton coveralls.

“Vyel ly Kusanto Enelee!” The girl beamed, the foreign words tumbling like water off her lips. “Welcome to the Island of Enelee. I’m Melina.”

“Luella.” I told her my name and waited while she exclaimed over it like everyone else. It was so pretty. It was so unusual. It was so everything I wasn’t.

“Dad will bring your bag, but you can I can walk home.” She said it as though she were offering me a special gift, her voice lilting in an Eneleish accent. “That way I can show you around town.”

Oh joy.

We walked through the “business” section first. All the signs were written in Eneleish and the stores were taken right out of an old western novel. Most of the products were locally grown. Even the clothes in the mercantile were made on the island.

Then Melina led me out of town and down a tree-lined road. “Our farm is around that bend.” She pointed ahead. “But I want to show you my special spot.”

Oh great. Now the sister thing.

The trail she chose went up steeply, surrounded by trees. She chattered away, about what, I could care less. All I wanted was to get to the house and watch TV. My luck, they wouldn’t even have TVs out here.

“Here we are.”

We had reached the top of the hill. The island was laid out below us, shimmering with every imaginable shade of green. The colors of the surrounding sea were so rich and deep I couldn’t even name them. To the right, the hills rose even higher above us, the greens slowly changing to a majestic blue.

Melina’s voice was like a whisper of the wind. “God’s here. I can feel Him.”

It was the first time I’d heard the name of God without cringing. I couldn’t say I felt Him… or even that I believed in Him… But for some reason, up there surrounded by beauty, I just let her talk. I even listened a little.

“Someday I hope you learn to love this place like I do, Luella.” She looked at me, her eyes steady. “I know you’ve lived a lot of places, and maybe feel like you don’t dare love a place. But Enelee is different. It’s different because the people are different.

“For one thing,” she chuckled a bit, “there isn’t much time to get into trouble. We work hard, and we play hard. But more than that,” her smile softened into something deeper, “The people of this island are full of hope. Full of love. We’ve invited you here, and we’re not gonna back out on that.” Her eyes found mine. “I mean that. You belong here now.”

A part of me wanted to laugh. To say, ‘yeah right.’ I’d heard it before. And yet, I hadn’t. There was something different here.

She must have sensed I wasn’t ready to say anything, because she smiled again and said, “Well, let’s go show you the house.”

We took our time, but eventually we were back on the path, walking toward the bend in road. Walking toward the future.

Author’s Note: I began creating the island and language of Enelee when I was twelve years old, but this is the first story written about it. Someday I hope to write a novel about Enelee.

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This article has been read 1456 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery06/14/07
Sounds like a lovely place, not just to visit, but to stay. I can see why you keep coming back to it---there seems to be yet much to explore! I truly like your writing style - the wonderful wording is perfect for your story.
Dee Yoder 06/14/07
I'd like to read more! This beginning is a beautiful picture of a special place and the new start for your main character is intriguing.
Kristen Hester06/15/07
I would love to read a novel about Enelee. Very good story.
Debbie Roome 06/15/07
Loved your descriptions of the island.
Marilee Alvey06/16/07
You write of Enelee, of your continued desire to come back to your images of Enelee. One day, you will....and so will I, because I have a strange feeling that it's Heaven, a beautiful place of acceptance and belonging where we will totally feel home. Keep yearning. God placed that in you. It's a homing beacon that is leading you toward Home. Yes, write a book, because we all need not just to be told, but to feel what God has made for us that is beyond our wildest imagination! Help us to feel it in our bones, as you do!
Sharlyn Guthrie06/17/07
Fascinating! I could definitely read an entire book about Enelee. And what a perfect time for it to debut...in the "teen" genre.
Joanne Sher 06/18/07
I want to read the book - you created an absolutely beautiful world, with its own wonderful characterization, not to mention the human characters! This charmed me like no other thus far this week.
Jan Ackerson 06/18/07
Your narrator's voice is perfect!
Pam Carlson-Hetland06/19/07
Loved it. The description is wonderful. You were able to bring across all the hurt and hesitancy of a teen coming in as a foster child and even the understanding that the other character had for her situation. I agree with the others, please write that book. We all need a island of hope.
David Butler06/20/07
Even just the title alone has a lot of charm. It conjures up images of a magical place full of peace, healing and wild tranquillity. Does it have deer and other wildlife roaming freely over the hills, without any fear of man? I'd like to come and visit. Well done.
Sara Harricharan 06/20/07
Write that novel of Enelee! I am so waiting to see what happens next! This was so fun to read, I liked disappearing into a different world, it was nice. I loved this. Especially Luella. She's definitely a keeper. ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/20/07
This beautiful story is one of my favorites this week. I would definitely read your novel. I hope the judges agree with me.
Jacquelyn Horne06/20/07
This is a good novel beginning. Teens should really love it!
Benjamin Graber06/20/07
I love it! I want to hear more about this land, where the lonely can feel at home.