Announcing the Winner of the Summer Vacation Story Contest

Posted by Cybil on June 15, 2018
Congratulations to Chastity Chavez, a student at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School in Dallas, Texas. She's the winner of the Hotel Transylvania Summer Vacation Story Contest, which was open to high school students in the United States. Read her winning short story below.


My feet avoid the large ant piles along the grassy nature path. Each step reaches a steeper point upon the hill, and I reach the top of it after a few more steps. It is not the same.

My eyes travel to the edge of the field; gray barbwire attempts to separate nature from human construction. Moments later, my mother joins me in viewing the scenery in front of us.

“I know you wanted to go to Durango for summer vacation," she says while placing an arm around me. Instead of responding, I stay silent and enjoy the sound of crickets and birds. A breeze follows the silence.

Meanwhile, I shut my eyes and feel the cool wind collide with my skin. Suddenly, the ground beneath me shifts into a flat surface. Voices echo all around me, sounds ranging from children’s cries to adult laughter. What in the world is going on? I open my eyes to come across white walls brown benches in rows.

“Come over here, Camila! The ceiling looks amazing from here!” I pull away from my mother’s embrace and turn around. My uncle frantically waves underneath a brass chandelier, although his smile expresses his desire to stay in the building all day. Confused, I walk towards his direction all while avoiding collisions with eager visitors. After what seems like hours, I meet my uncle whose chin points up towards the ceiling. I look up and view intricate golden shapes bordered by elaborate designs, all forming a harmonious ‘X’.

“Where are we?” As soon as I finished my question, my uncle lowers his head and furrows his eyebrows. “I already told you! We’re at the Cathedral Basilica. Do I have to remind you we’re in Mexico?” He shakes his head and laughs. We’re in Durango? We were just standing on a hill in Dallas, Texas not too long ago. “Come on! There is a lot more to see!” With that, we continue my eventful summer vacation.

I adjust the canvas under my left arm, nearly dropping it down the beige cobblestone stairs. My uncle laughs. “We should have bought a lighter canvas. We are almost at the top.” A few more minutes pass until we reach the destination. Beyond a short cobblestone wall is the entire city. Cars are parked along narrow streets, and buildings differ from aged white to subtle yellow. Large trees find their ways between tight knit spaces, releasing a dose of peace in a crowded city. Durango is everything I imagined. It beats any beach or amusement park I would have visited during a summer vacation.

“I finished setting up the easels and paint.” Immediately, I turn around and walk towards the set up with my easel. My uncle settles my canvas into place, and we stand with a paintbrush in one hand and a paint palette in the other. “You are finally doing what you dreamed of as a child. Now painting should not be mechanical or forced. Instead, imagine yourself walking through the streets of the city you see in front of you. When you walk forward, do you feel anxious? Are you lost? Or do you feel a sense of comfort? The emotions you have when you place yourself in a scene determine the painting you create. Close your eyes and explore the city.”

I do as my uncle says and visualize Durango. Just as I reach the end of the road, the ground beneath me shifts. There are no buzzes or conversations surrounding. All that is there is silence. When I open my eyes, I smile.

Deep in the heart of Durango is where I lived my best summer vacation.


Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Marren (new)

Marren Very lovely with the imagery. When we close our eyes like Camila our imagination can travel everywhere.


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