Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
- TITLE: Lilacs in the Snow
By Marty Wellington
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I’m starting this diary today to mark the beginning of a new year. It’s January 1, 2005. I’ll be graduating from college in a few months and then it’s out into the real world. I’m studying to be a journalist and hope to be an investigative reporter. The possibilities are exciting.
March 18, 2005
Wow, the weather’s sure been weird this winter. The last three weeks it’s been 70-80 degrees every day—unseasonably warm for late February-early March. Our fruit trees have already bloomed. The daffodils popped up last week. I’ve been reading a lot about global warming in the news nearly every day. I’m starting to believe something’s truly wrong. My mom and dad think it’s all just hype—they don’t believe there’s any danger.
March 22, 2005
Unbelievable. We had five inches of snow today. I went out to help my mom cut some lilacs so we could save part of them from the icy weather. By the time we made it back to the house, arms loaded with lilac branches, we were covered in white fluff. It’s so weird to smell the fragrance of lilacs inside the house while winter snows swirl around us. I think my mom’s starting to get more curious about the abnormal weather conditions. It’s certainly got me wondering. Every day I read something more on the Internet about global warming and wonder whether anyone will ever find a solution.
March 30, 2005
Mom came home from work today rather agitated. One of her Alzheimer’s patients is quite a handful, I guess. Despite his advanced years, he’s in the early stages of the disease. The problem is he’s Russian—defected to the U.S. back in the 1960s—and many times he lapses into Russian and no one can understand him. Mom told me he has no relatives or friends and he’s very lonely.
From all she can piece together he was a scientist in the Soviet Union who developed some of the original satellite technology. His name is Mikhail Balininski. I think I’ll do an Internet search on him—might make for an interesting story some day.
April 5, 2005
At my mom’s insistence, I went to visit Dr. Balininski today. He was having a “good” day, she said. That meant he was coherent and not too agitated. I prompted him to talk about the early days of the Soviet space program and he proudly related the achievements that took the world by storm during the late 1950s. With his permission, I recorded our interview and we made plans for more visits. This series might make for an interesting personal interest piece for the university paper, if I can pull it together before graduation.
April 14, 2005
Dr. Balininski was sullen today much like the weather as of late . . . cloudy, rainy, dismal. I sensed his lack of openness. We didn’t get much accomplished in our interview. Sometimes I wonder if he’s really with me . . . or if he’s living in a world of his own design. Is the past haunting him? Is his gruffness a cover-up? Gee, maybe I should be an analyst instead of a journalist. Then again, ferreting out motives and feelings is part of investigative journalism, right?
April 16, 2005
I’ve been visiting Dr. Balininski at every opportunity. My mom says my visits have made a difference in his attitude with staff. What mom doesn’t know yet is that there’s a story here that must be told. I’m still trying to piece together the vast puzzle of his addled thoughts to make sense of his ramblings. It all has something to do with Soviet satellites, atmosphere, and acid rain. I think I know the truth. But, how can I be sure? I’m not a scientist. Who would believe me—an almost college graduate?
April 20, 2005
Today, Dr. Balininski and I talked about the weather. I told him of the strange weather patterns across the United States and a sad look crossed his face. “I know what caused it. I am the cause,” he said. I looked in shocked disbelief at him, but he would not elaborate. Again, I left our interview, perplexed and worried, wondering if I had the strength to tell this story.
Dr. Balininski died tonight, slipped away from me and the world, with secrets that I plan to share. Maybe I can make a difference.
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