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Spinetinglers // The Aliens

Something was wrong. I knew it the second I saw my father sitting at the kitchen table with his head in his hands.

My father isn't that small. He's about 6 feet 2 and heavily built. He has black hair and blue eyes that seem to stare you down.

He looked at me and gave me a look of complete and total despair.

"Hi, Jackie," he said in a flat, lifeless tone.

"Dad, what's wrong?" I asked, almost scared to know because my father works for a company that does a lot of experiments and tests on animals. I am often disgusted by some of the things they do there.

"Nothing, just a hard day at work," he said in a slightly menacing tone. His eyes seemed to say that something was bothering him, though.

My eyes wandered and discovered a manila folder.

"Okay, dad. I'm going to go do my homework now. Call me when dinner is ready, okay?"

"Okay."

As I left the kitchen, I wondered what was in the manila folder. When I sat down on the couch, my mother walked in the door.

"Hello, sweetie."

"Hi, mom," I said, smiling.

My mother is like an alien in our family. She has light blond hair and blue-violet eyes that are unbelievably large.

"Carmen, I need to talk to you very soon," a voice called from the kitchen.

"Okay, Peter. I'll be there in a sec."

My mother disappeared behind the kitchen door. I ran to it and put my ear up to the door, and strained to hear their conversation.

"Carmen, we have a little problem. Do you know the Hinley project? Well, the people at the lab want to test it."

"What?!" my mother's voice boomed across the world, it seemed.

"They want to study the specimen," my father said, almost whispering.

Specimen? What are they talking about? Geez, I'm getting kind of scared now. My last name is Hinley.

"Carmen, what are we going to do? She's half-alien. It's time she knew."

Oh, my gosh. What am I? They can't be talking about me. They must be talking about some lab rat or something.

I couldn't take it. I burst into the kitchen.

My parents both turned to me, eyes wide with fear.

"Hinley project?" I said it in a voice that was loud, but strangely soft, as if a human had not said it.

"What am I?" I was screaming by now. I was so scared. "What am I?"

It's amazing what you can learn in half an hour with your parents.

I now know that my mother is not of this planet.

The Hinley project is my entire life. I am a living, breathing alien/human experiment.

It's kind of scary to find out that your entire life, you've been living with an alien, my mother. It's even scarier to find out that you, yourself, are half alien.

The scariest thing of all, though, is to find out that your mother's species is coming to meet you. And to take over.

Take over not just your life, but the entire human population's lives.

That's all I can say. Scary. Really scary.

Jean Marie, 12, is a seventh-grader at Madeira Beach Middle School.

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Honorable mention

Chiquita Anderson, Kendra Anderson and Shanetra Wells, The Abandoned Crack House, eighth grade, Tyrone Middle School, St. Petersburg

Erin Applebaum, The Old Men's Society, sixth grade, St. Paul's School, Clearwater

Jonathan Boykin, Gary the Goblin, eighth grade, Tampa Preparatory School

Jacquelyn Bradford, You Understand, Don't You, seventh grade, John F. Kennedy Middle School, Clearwater

Justin Carr, Before the Dawn, ninth grade, Ben Hill Junior High, Tampa

Rebecca Chambers, The Makeup Monster of Moton, Maine (or Don't Rinse Your Revlon), eighth grade Ben Bill Junior High, Tampa

Nichole Delemeester, Butcher's Life, sixth grade, Riviera Middle School, St. Petersburg

Jake Eberts, Immortal Death, seventh grade, Carwise Middle School, Palm Harbor

Melanie Formentin, A Chill Ran Down My Spine, eighth grade, Ben Hill Junior High, Tampa

Natascha Geppert, Camp Smiley Face, sixth grade, Bayonet Point Middle School, Port Richey

Anthony Hall, One of My Homeboys Got Killed on Halloween Night, Tyrone Middle School, St. Petersburg

Hiroki Haraguchi, The Daughter, eighth grade, Southside Fundamental Middle School, St. Petersburg

Rachael K. Johns, The Scary Candidate, eighth grade, Roland Park Middle School, Tampa

Michael Krul, Ham Today, Worms Tomorrow, sixth grade, Azalea Middle School, St. Petersburg

Michael Leparc, The Legend of the Flesh-Eating Ape, eighth grade, St. Mary's Episcopal Day School, Tampa

Paige Maskavich, Alligator Man, sixth grade, Weightman Middle School, Zephyrhills

Linda Minnix, Good Luck, eighth grade, Country Day School, Largo

Casey Moore, Mother Dear, sixth grade, Lockhart School, Tampa

Shannon Sarbo, Deadly Triangle, seventh grade, Tampa Preparatory School

Christy Schusler, Home, Sweet Home, eighth grade, Roland Park, Tampa

Erin Sprague, The Swamp of Lost Souls, sixth grade, Adams Middle School, Tampa

Pam Szott, The Nightmare, eighth grade, St. Cecelia's School, Clearwater

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