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Catherine Horvath ~March 2013

Page history last edited by michianawriterscenter@... 8 years, 11 months ago

In her own words:


I have been in love with reading and writing since the age of four, when I was introduced to my literary friend: Harry Potter. With the help of J.K. Rowling’s imagination, and a string of wonderful English teachers, I have developed my passion for literature and hope to see my own work published in the literary world one day. Please don’t let the serious subjects and tones of my writing deceive you—in person I am pretty optimistic and spirited! I love to travel, relax with friends, and volunteer when my nose isn’t stuck in a book (or when my hand isn’t attached to and ink pen and paper). I am currently a loving, hard-working, faithful senior at St. Joseph High School.  Next year I will be a loving, hard-working, faithful freshman at Indiana University Bloomington, where I will be pursuing a major in English.


*Out of more than 120 entries from seven different school corporations, senior Catherine Horvath took first place in the high school division of this year's writing contest.

Catherine's novel excerpt, "Mind Games," impressed our judges with its use of strong images to develop setting as an integral component of the story.



Escape  (Preface to Mind Games)

by Catherine Horvath


England, 1734

          It had been a week since her mother’s trial. The stench still hung in the air, choking her lungs. Here in her silent corner, her mother’s screams still rang in her ears. Even when she closed her eyes, she could still see that day playing over and over again in the shadow of her eyelids. She could see the flames engulfing her source of life and stealing it from her. She had been forced to watch. She had been forced to watch her mother die at the stake. But the pain was worse than that. It was worse than anyone could imagine, because she had felt it. She could truly feel it.

            It wasn’t the pain of a broken heart, this pain. It was her mother’s pain. She had been able to feel the burning inside of her; her throat ached with screams she had never cried. She felt as if she were dying along side her mother. She wanted to die.


            He was calling for her.

            “Danielle Drabardi, you must get off the floor.”

            A light was cast over her dark corner as the cupboard door was thrown open. He picked her up, hastily brushing the dirt and dust off of her dress.

            “You mustn’t let anyone see you cry like this,” he instructed, smoothing her hair with his rough hands. “You don’t want them to suspect us too.”

            She peered apprehensively into his eyes. Blue irises had turned to grey with despair. The purple flecks that had been so vibrant when her mother was around were gone. She could tell he was hurting too. She missed her mommy’s ringing laughter, and the way Daddy’s eyes glowed when he heard it. Where her mommy used to run her gentle fingers through her hair, her head now felt cold. There was absence in her, where she once felt the love of her mommy’s embrace coursing through her veins as mommy carried her around their garden. Daddy must be feeling that absence too. His now-dull eyes told her there was a vacancy in half of his heart. The other half weakly clung to her as he clutched her in his arms.

            “Do you understand, Danielle? What ever happens, be easy and gentle.  Act as if nothing is wrong. Just let things unfold. Okay?”

            She nodded her head and buried herself in his shoulder.


            She tried to behave; to act normally and let things unfold. She did. But no one looked at her the same as they did before the trial. She could feel the scorn in their eyes. It pierced her soul. They had forced Daddy to take a new wife. He said it would help people like them again. It didn’t. Her old friends no longer played with her. She could feel their fear in her heart and their confusion in her bones. The hateful looks their mothers gave sliced her like a knife creating an open wound. The pain shot through her veins.

            But that wasn’t the worst. Her new mommy not only didn’t like her, she hated her. New mommy thought the most horrible things about her. Yes, her thoughts. She could read her new mommy’s thoughts. Her real Mommy had warned her this might happen. Daddy said it is what they burned her for. For being different. He told her Mommy and Daddy were different, and one day she would also be different. They had found out about Mommy, but they could not find out about her and Daddy. Daddy said they would burn them too.

            That day had come. She tried to tell Daddy what was happening to her. She told him in a whisper when her new mommy was away. He had looked shocked. And scared. He made the same face that he had made when they read out Mommy’s sentence.

            “You’re too young, Danielle,” he said.

            She assured him it was true.

            He took her into his arms and rocked her. There were tears and devastation in his eyes.

            He came to wake her by moonlight long after she went to bed that night. He told her that she would have to go away.

            “It is not safe for you here anymore. You need to go far away, my Danielle,” he said gently, his voice cracking as he held her. “I’m going to take you to a boat on the sea and you are going to get on that boat. You are going to be on that boat for a very long time. When you get off, you will be in a new place called ‘Georgia’. Do you understand Danielle?”

            She nodded. A pain in her chest grew until it caused tears to leak from her eyes and slide down her cheeks. He did not try to stop her crying this time for he was crying too.


Ma Belle

by Catherine Horvath 

            Her feet pounded furiously against the pavement; her lungs screamed in agony as she drew in each stabbing breath. Despite protest from every fiber of her muscles she surged forward. The only pain she could feel was the thunder pushing against her rib cage, each clap fatally reporting the seconds that had slipped by. She was losing time, she was losing him.

            She turned sharply, stumbling as her feet sliced through an icy puddle. She clenched her jaw to prevent her throat from letting out her heart’s chilling cry. She squinted, her arms pumped back and forth, as she fought against the cutting-edge wind that slashed through her tangled hair and froze her tears to her delicate cheekbones.

            “Please,” she whimpered through cracked lips, “Please, let it not be too late!”

            She pushed her body further with each plea that she uttered. Pushing harder and harder, she was beyond breaking point now. A narrow shadow cast across her path cut out all the sun’s light and a glacier-like shiver slid down her spine. The atmosphere was cooler, harsher, unforgiving. Her weight shifted as her feet hit uneven ground. Her fingers closed around the ice-cold metal of the rail and she hauled her aching body up the unyielding concrete steps. She reached out a numb hand, and with her last ounce of strength she plunged through the heavy wooden doors.

            “Luke! Wait!”

            Her body halted as her voice echoed in the high rafters of the ceiling. One hundred pairs of eyes turned and froze as her breath caught in her throat. Her eyes found his. She was blind to everything but him. She was deaf to every sound that didn’t come from his lips. His image alone gave her strength.

            “I love you, and I know you love me still. If you need me as much as I need you, tell me now. But if I am wrong, I will let you go. And even though you will forever be in my heart, I promise never again will I cast a shadow on your doorstep.”

            She gasped for breath as her throat reopened and she heard her voice reverberating around the hallow walls. His cool, sapphire eyes that had given her strength flashed through a movie reel of emotions. Shock. Pain. Intensity. Love. Pain again. Sorrow. Her eyes looked searchingly into his for the final answer.

            “You’re wrong.”

            Her heart beat inside her ears. A knife pierced her chest and pain shot to the tips of her fingers and toes, burning through her whole body. She wouldn’t have believed the words ringing in her ears if she hadn’t seen his lips utter them. She felt the whole world give way beneath her, and saw the red-carpeted, stone floor rise up to meet her. Sobs escaped her before she could suppress them, and burning tears spilled over, obscuring her vision.

            Her body trembled as a blurred, black figure crouched before her. A gentle, sturdy arm pulled her carefully off the cold floor into a warm, familiar embrace.

            “It’s not that I don’t need you,” he spoke softly, the sound of his voice soothing her pain into a dull ache. “I couldn’t live with out you.”

            She slowly lifted her head. His hand caressed her wet cheek and cleared her vision. She could see into the depths of the blue irises that comforted and consoled her, where the hard edge of pain still lay.

            “But I can’t be with you, ma belle,” his gentle voice strained as he methodically wove his fingers through her hair. “When you left me, I--I made a mistake…”

            Dread clenched her heart in a tight fist as she forced her eyes to peer over Luke’s shoulder. The beautiful bride stood tall, her hair gracefully cascading down her back, her dress hugging her slight curves, and one hand rested over the slight bulge of her womb. She couldn’t draw her eyes away from the bride, her fingers clenching Luke’s clothing harder and harder.

            “I’m so sorry. So, so, sorry…” he whispered shakily in her ear.

            She turned back to him, her shock filled eyes wavering with uncertainty. She knew he was a gentleman, he would do what he thought was the noble thing to do. There was nothing that could be done. She looked searchingly into his eyes once more.

            “I love you,” he murmured steadily.

            She felt her frozen body lean forward, fitting perfectly against his. A shudder ran through her as she pressed her lips to his and felt the truth he spoke. With a great deal of effort she quickly tore away as she felt his lips move to kiss her back. Cold seeped down through her bones as she felt the warmth of his arms fade away, and the wind whisk through her hair, as her feet pounded her pain into the pavement and she ran once more.


Mind Games

by Catherine Horvath


     She glided past the sterile white walls. For months she had been pacing

these halls, hoping an answer would somehow seep through the blank paint.

One had not appeared. Many nights she lay awake in a room they called “hers”,

scanning an empty ceiling for a sign—a nick in its smooth perfection that would

somehow indicate the correct answer in the decision she must make. There was

not a mark in her suspiciously pristine surroundings. She laughed silently to

herself, a smirk pulling at the corners of her mouth, as she reached a ridged

staircase that was strategically placed in the middle of the hall. Leave it to the

CIA to never leave an unintended trace.

            She sank down onto the first step and resumed a neutral expression.

She strictly controlled her emotions here—she could not risk revealing a single

aspect of herself that she did not want them to see. Every move had to be carefully made. She was inside their headquarters now; she had to play by their rules. She didn’t bat an eyelash as the sharp slap of high-heeled shoes echoed down the barren hall. The footsteps of a young field agent drew closer and closer. Her stony eyes followed the agent as she made a wide birth around her, and edged her way up the stairs. The inexperienced ones were still slightly frightened of her, how amusing. The footsteps receded to the floor above her. She heard a glass door slither open, and the footsteps disappeared.

            She let out a small sigh. She had fought long and hard to be here—for a cause she was now unsure of. Nothing was made clear by achieving entry; everything was wiped clean in the face of a new perspective. She had been warned. She had not listened. And now, in a hall above her, behind sealed glass doors, she had reached a fork in her path. A decision had to be made. At one end of the bustling hall above, the CIA held a man said to be her father. At the other end a young man, who said he loved her, waited for her to choose what he believed to be the right answer. All of her strength and effort had led to this—tantalizing white walls and not a plain answer in sight. She could run. Getting out would be far easier than breaking in. She was still powerful enough—she would be long gone before any Intelligent could blink. But then it really would all have been for nothing.

            She turned in her seat and peered up the staircase. She could not see over the

edge of the top stair. For the first time she could not sense it all, she was not one step

ahead of the rest. A tingling sensation spread through her body as the air in her lungs

was arrested with a realization. That was precisely what they wanted. But could it possibly be that what they wanted, what she dreaded, was what was best for people

like her? What was truly holding her back in this spacious prison? No. They wanted her to think that way. The lack of substance in this place tampered with her acute perception. She knew of their cleverness; she could outwit it. She was prepared for their games. But. Was it the fact that she wasn’t as courageous as she thought she would be? Did she not have the bravery to give up absolutely everything for her people? She thought she had given everything and surrendered—well not so much surrendered as agreed to a mutual cease-fire. No. She had one thing left to give. This was not the end; it was just the beginning.

            She grabbed hold of the cool, iron railing that lined the stairs and raised herself unto her numb feet. Her soft footsteps made not a sound as she ascended the flight. Her shoes left not a trace in the wake of her steps. The path behind her remained pristine. As her foot slid over the last step, she reached the frosted glass. She saw the shadows of obscure beings moving behind the door; their motions fluid, yet pixelated. She reached out a hand and laid it gently on the glass’ serene surface. A crack appeared at her touch, and, with a hiss, the door slid open.

            All movement hesitated as her image appeared before them. She stepped commandingly into the hall as the glass sealed shut behind her. The agents carried on with their tasks, and all motion flowed around her as if she were a mere bolder in a stream. A smirk pulled at the edges of her mouth. She wasn’t a bolder. She was a dam. She pivoted to her left, stepping defiantly down the crowding hall. All eyes darted in her direction—a pair at the other end of the hall was watching her back intently.

            “No. Vi, what are you doing?”

            The young man’s voice yelled to her back.

            “You’re making a mistake! This is the wrong decision!”

            Vi’s smirk curled into a full out contemptuous grin. She was not making a decision. She was making a deal. She pushed open a clear glass door at the end of the hall. A hush fell, as all eyes in the room looked upon her—some with smugness, some with contempt, some with fear. She let the door slide shut and silence the commotion behind her. She reveled in the stillness before the storm. It was time to make the last move in their game; now, as she stood where all could see, it was time to bend the rules.






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