Forever by Veronica Tatone (Nora Roberts Young Writers Institute)

We loved each other before we knew anything. When we were still just souls, drifting in another world where there is no gender or race or even species. We were content to simply be together.

Everything changed the day the messengers came to us. They told us that it was our time to fulfill our destinies, to be given physical forms and start a new life on a planet that the native species called ‘Earth.’ We knew nothing of such a place, and at first we were distraught. I remember comforting you in your fear.

The messengers told us that they would be kind to us and send us to Earth at around the same time, so that we could be together there. They warned us it would be hard, that they had no control over where we would be sent. Countries and borders meant nothing to us in the Otherworld. We would have trouble finding each other.

They sent me before they sent you, at my request. I knew you’d be frightened to go first.

But the messengers unknowingly damned us the day they sent you. They had no way of knowing the cultural customs of Earth, none of them having lived there themselves. How could they have known we would be shunned, that people would want to keep us apart? How could they have known it was a cultural taboo, that they had done the same to millions of souls before us?

For you see, they made us both human men.

Veronica Tatone is a 16-year-old entering the 11th grade at Mercersburg
Academy, where she will be taking AP English and writes for the Arts page
of the school newspaper. She attended the Nora Roberts Writing Institute
and has been published in her school’s art and literature magazine, the
Blue Review. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy.

Run to the Thicket by Marissa LaPorte (Nora Roberts Young Writers Institute)

A beautiful female fox, with shining red fur, basks in the sun. A male is nearby, drinking from a stream. There is not the slightest hint of a breeze. Yet the heat is not stifling, it is pleasurable. The birds produce a melodic symphony. The sound of the male fox’s lazy lapping can be heard, along with the gentle trickle of the stream.  The female fox is dozing off, her majestic golden eyes becoming hidden by her drooping eyelids.

The male fox raises his head from the stream and scans between the trees. The female arouses and her black tipped ears flick back and forth. The birds abruptly stop chirping and there is silence, only for a moment. The deafening crack of a gunshot rips through the air and the birds take flight. The male fox falls and blood trickles from his shoulder. The female nimbly jumps to her paws and rockets in-between the trees, kicking up soil behind her. Shots are being fired behind her and soon the howling of hounds fills the air.

She races deeper and deeper into the forest. The trees and shrubbery grow thicker the further her legs carry her. She bounds over fallen trees and ducks under low hanging branches. With her ears flat to her head and determination burning in her heart, she draws near to her destination. She jumps through a thick bush and hunkers down in a small clearing, hidden by its surrounding vegetation.  She has reached the thicket.

Marissa LaPorte is entering her senior year at Escanaba High School in Escanaba, MI. She won the annual “Edgar Allan Poe Writing Contest” held at Escanaba High School three consecutive years. She has also been selected as one of a few different winners for four contests held on the writing website and was a runner up the “Letter’s About Literature Contest” and the NRYWI contest in 2013. She visited the NRYWI in 2014. Realistic fiction is her genre of choice but she also enjoys and writes horror occasionally.

Blow by Sean Kenny

Let us wind up the day

Crank up the winds, stopper up the sunlight

Cross the tracks the wrong way round

And dance through the dust with the alley cats


Jelly burns, bloody tires, chains swinging free

Skins on the table, bones in the sink

Tears all dried up, and far too much to drink


Come with me, sing with me, pierce the piercing howl

Skip the fence, beat the bricks

Rattle your rosary beads

Beechwood, maple, ponderous ponderosa


Let us pop the world

Catch its humors in a sieve

Sift the hugs from the fangs

And let the chaff float away with the weeds


Cross the tracks the right way round

Bend ‘em, make a bow

Sit down among the dandelions

Make a wish, and


Hedge Apple Reception on October 14th

The Fall 2014 Issue of the HCC literary magazine has arrived! Please join us for a celebration and reading!


WHEN:         Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

5:00 — Food, conversation, and sign-ups

5:20 – Hagerstown Magazine Internship Experience (Matt Makowski and Stephanie Eberly)

5:30 — Prose and poetry readings by contributors, followed by an open mic session

6:45– Workshops


WHERE:    Career Program Building 210-212

Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served.

Workshops will include:


Writing Dialogue – Amanda Hart Miller

Progressive Story Group Write – Hannah Streett and Stephanie Eberly


The reception and workshops are open to the public.


New pieces of fiction, poetry, and artwork released at throughout the year. Special congratulations to the 2014 participants of the Nora Roberts Young Writers Institute who were published in the online edition of the Hedge Apple.


The submission deadline for next year’s Hedge Apple is January 31st 2015.

Email your poetry, fiction, artwork, or photography, with a brief bio, to

Publication of Authors from the Nora Roberts Young Writers Institute

The Hedge Apple magazine is pleased to publish the work of several young authors who attended the Nora Roberts Young Writers Institute this summer. These teens were wonderful to work with, and as you can see from their writing, they are a talented bunch. We will announce the editor’s choice award at the Hedge Apple reception on October 14th at 5:00 in CPB 210-212 on the HCC campus in Hagerstown, MD.

The Golden Boy by William Poe-Pitcher (Nora Roberts Young Writers Institute)

The golden boy played all day,

With his golden toy amongst the hay.

He played and laughed and had his way,

Upon him the sun casted its ray.

Then from what is the horizon came the rider,

Beneath his wreath sat a spider.

Its eight eyes shining like rubies in the sun,

Its fangs the size of barrels it looked like no fun.

The golden boy sat still,

And gazed upon the rider ill.

To him, it seemed so very far,

And moved slow as if engrossed in tar.

Until it came upon the time,

When the golden boy would see it close and fine.

Then for he could see,

Said it swift and loud ‘It’s coming for me’.

So he ran away,

Beyond night and day.

Now the golden boy,

Was without his golden toy.

Instead all they boy had,

Was a head that sat mad.

Then one golden day,

The rider got it’s way.

Upon the fang the golden boy thrust,

Into a new world would he trust.

Now there was no toy,

And now there was no golden boy.

Instead stood tall a silver man,

A grimace and no thoughts of I can.

Instead he’s dealt a silver hand,

Of which he works to bone from the world’s demand.

William Poe-Pitcher is currently in the midst of pursuing enrollment in the Barbra Ingram High School. He spends time studying philosophy, history and political academia and tends to base his work around such things. He has an admiration for symbolism and strives to put multiple layers to a singular story. He enjoys ancient culture and exploring old theistic ideologies which can also be seen incorporated into his writing.

Wink of an Eye by Elizabeth Anders (Contest Runner Up: Nora Roberts Young Writers Institute)

When I was a little girl, I used to dance in the fields under the stars and pretend that the moon was smiling at me. It was like she was ready to wave a magic wand to take me away from the home where my parents argued and smoke rolled out of my brother’s bedroom. As the years passed, however, it quickly became clear that the moon was too busy chasing the sun around the world to notice a tiny girl who could not escape from her own family.

It was during the winter which had frozen both our hearts and the ground that the life of my mother was taken by means of a premeditated suicide. From then on, whispers circled around me in our small town about how it was my fault she had died. To them, I was the one who caused her to pick up the pills.

Everything was public, and the only time anything was private was when I was around my father and brother. It made me nauseous to be around them, but they still provided a brief pause from the dark cloud that seemed to circle my head every day.

As I grew older I established my own whimsical musings into poetry, even though I only published a little. Whatever I did publish was nothing that would tell of the secrets I kept locked up in my soul. Nobody knew of those, even the numerous friends I shared precious moments with.

When I left town for good, my family stayed behind. They did not understand my desire to travel or my love for writing. They could not comprehend my belief that the moon was a true part of my reality, as they felt she was not part of any reality.

Hairs grew gray and dreams dried up as the years passed. I died in a town that nobody even knew of unless you landed right upon it. Nobody missed me; my father had passed away years ago and my brother had overdosed on his many drugs.

When I passed away, light expanded past my eyes into the universe beyond, and I had never felt so alive before. My ribcage was ripped out and replaced with something more durable. Something that was better built for a star took its place. A new name was branded into my wrist, ‘Colette’, and another star by the name of Desirae offered me a bent wing to climb up into the sky.

I took it and we travelled like I had always wanted to. We made our way to the heavens where all the other stars were dancing around the moon and clinking glasses full of wine while laughing merrily.

“I found her.” Desirae stated before pushing me into the center of their circle.

I was not used to flying however, and quickly fell before I felt someone catch me. I looked up to find the moon, the one I had dreamt of for years and lost faith in, holding me.

“You’re real,” I whispered in awe.

She laughed and pulled me back up to set me in a chair that seemed to be held by the sky itself. “Of course I’m real, honey. I was always there, you know, looking out for you. We all were.” She motioned to the other stars who were still twirling around the sky. To humans they seemed to be in place, but truthfully they had left ghosts of themselves behind as they slipped from their bodies to celebrate above the earth. If one of the stars would forget to leave their ghost, humans would then see what many referred to as a shooting star.

“Now, why don’t you tell me about those secrets of yours?” the moon said.

“You know?” My eyes widened and I glanced down at my glowing body that seemed to have taken the shape of a star.

“Oh, haven’t you heard darling? When all of the stars lived as humans they held three different lives: public, private, and secret. Since becoming stars they have told their secrets.” The moon stopped to look around, searching for examples. “You see Daniel over there? When he lived, he was the greatest movie star of his time. However, what many people did not know was that his wife was an alcoholic. Daniels’ heart simply grew too weak to deal with it all.” She paused to search again. “And Marilyn over there? Her father was a serial rapist. That poor girl went through so much with the media and drove straight into another car to end it all. The humans called it an accident but all of us up here know better.” She stopped once more. “And Desirae? An abusive husband who was the CEO of one of the biggest companies in their day.”

“You see, Colette, we all lie, we all cheat, and we all steal. Most of all we keep secrets. Up here, our mysteries seep out of our skin so we can sparkle and fly across the sky.” The moon looked wistfully across the night sky to where a tiny ball of light could be found: the sun. “Even I have some secrets, but for a few hours while it is night I can forget them all and just live.”

I found this was true as the years went by, and I spent all my time in the heavens talking to other stars with heartbreaking backstories. Every night we twinkled in the sky and enjoyed the freedom that came from spilling secrets and marveling at the private lives of those below. So, think of me tonight when you look up at the sky and find a little star winking goodbye to the tragic life of secrets she once held.

Elizabeth Anders has attended both the Nora Robert’s Young Writers Institute at Hagerstown Community College and Barbara Ingram’s Advanced Creative Writing Class. She was a runner-up in the Young Writers Contest with her submission “Winking Goodbye.” When she is not writing, she is either reading one of the many books she loves or exploring other forms of art.