First place: The Cosmic Cure by Ishaan Srinath

I heard an unusual sound outside - WHOOSH!. I opened the door to check what the sound was. Was it a tree falling ? A tornado ? But there was nothing. Just another afternoon.
Suddenly WHOOSH! from above; a beam shone down on me. It was bright, I shut my eyes. I felt myself being pulled upwards by a tractor beam. Hours later, it was still, and dark enough to see. Two shrivelled bat-like faces, one brown and one green, were looking down at me.
Brown said, “Zqfmgb”. I stared blankly.
Green turned to Brown and said, “This creature speaks the language called English”. Brown pressed a button. The next words were in perfect English.
“We apologize for bringing you forcefully. We need your help.”
I said, “Who are you ? And how can I help ?”.
Brown replied, “We are responsibleI heard an unusual sound outside - WHOOSH!. I opened the door to check what the sound was. Was it a tree falling ? A tornado ? But there was nothing. Just another afternoon.
Suddenly WHOOSH! from above; a beam shone down on me. It was bright, I shut my eyes. I felt myself being pulled upwards by a tractor beam. Hours later, it was still, and dark enough to see. Two shrivelled bat-like faces, one brown and one green, were looking down at me.
Brown said, “Zqfmgb”. I stared blankly.
Green turned to Brown and said, “This creature speaks the language called English”. Brown pressed a button. The next words were in perfect English.
“We apologize for bringing you forcefully. We need your help.”
I said, “Who are you ? And how can I help ?”.
Brown replied, “We are responsible for the pandemic destroying your planet. It started as an experiment on creatures that we thought are genetically similar to us.”.
I looked at their faces and asked, “Bats?”.
Brown replied, “Yes. We injected some bats with our cells to speed up their evolution.
Unfortunately, it was a blunder, and what we injected became a virus”.
Green said, “We did not know that some earthlings eat bats. The bat we injected got eaten by someone. The DNA mutated and this has become a pandemic.”
Brown said, “We apologize. We now have a cure and need help making humans take it”.
I was baffled. “And you chose ME ? I’m only 12. Nobody will listen to me”. “Yes they will”, they replied, “take us to the place where it started”.
They gave me the ship controls. It had a map. I pressed ‘Wuhan’, and we flew off.
In minutes, we were in Wuhan. It was evening. I told them the bats would only come out in the night. I made a simple trap using a fruit and a wire and we waited. Soon, I heard the trap snap, and we had a bat.
The aliens took the bat’s blood and we went to the laboratory of the ship. They mixed something green with the bat’s blood. It turned bright yellow.
Brown and Green then shouted “It works ! Now take us to the leader of the world”
I said, “Our planet isn’t like that. We have many leaders. No one listens to children. This won’t work.”
“Just try”, they pleaded.
I reluctantly pressed the New York button. I flew the ship straight into the General Assembly. It was midday and world leaders were fighting. “Stop arguing !”, I said. We have the cure for Covid. The aliens then told the whole story.
The leaders were initially skeptical but they’d heard Greta and now it was my turn. I softly said, “Please. Let’s unite to save the planet”.
They then saw how serious we were. Slowly, smiles broke out. They all shook hands and agreed to make this medicine for everyone on earth.
The entire crisis was going to be over!
I realized, ”I did make a difference.” for the pandemic destroying your planet. It started as an experiment on creatures that we thought are genetically similar to us.”.
I looked at their faces and asked, “Bats?”.
Brown replied, “Yes. We injected some bats with our cells to speed up their evolution.
Unfortunately, it was a blunder, and what we injected became a virus”.
Green said, “We did not know that some earthlings eat bats. The bat we injected got eaten by someone. The DNA mutated and this has become a pandemic.”
Brown said, “We apologize. We now have a cure and need help making humans take it”.
I was baffled. “And you chose ME ? I’m only 12. Nobody will listen to me”. “Yes they will”, they replied, “take us to the place where it started”.
They gave me the ship controls. It had a map. I pressed ‘Wuhan’, and we flew off.
In minutes, we were in Wuhan. It was evening. I told them the bats would only come out in the night. I made a simple trap using a fruit and a wire and we waited. Soon, I heard the trap snap, and we had a bat.
The aliens took the bat’s blood and we went to the laboratory of the ship. They mixed something green with the bat’s blood. It turned bright yellow.
Brown and Green then shouted “It works ! Now take us to the leader of the world”
I said, “Our planet isn’t like that. We have many leaders. No one listens to children. This won’t work.”
“Just try”, they pleaded.
I reluctantly pressed the New York button. I flew the ship straight into the General Assembly. It was midday and world leaders were fighting. “Stop arguing !”, I said. We have the cure for Covid. The aliens then told the whole story.
The leaders were initially skeptical but they’d heard Greta and now it was my turn. I softly said, “Please. Let’s unite to save the planet”.
They then saw how serious we were. Slowly, smiles broke out. They all shook hands and agreed to make this medicine for everyone on earth.
The entire crisis was going to be over!
I realized, ”I did make a difference.”


Second place: The Nightmare by Aegan Vijay

I was fast asleep when I heard an unusual sound outside, and opened the door to find darkness. Unfazed, I went slowly down the steps into the living room. I groped in the dark to find the light switch,but the light was not switching on.
I stumbled in the dark to find a flashlight. I found it on the table and I flicked it on. To my horror, I spotted a rock golem in the far corner of the room.
In a rumbling voice, it said “crush you”. It curled in to a ball and rolled towards me. I tried to find something to defend me all the while thinking “I shouldn’t let it come near me”.
I grabbed a metal baseball bat and smashed the golem on its bald head and ran back up the stairs. I went into the TV room and slammed the door. I waited for 5 minutes, but I felt as if I was waiting for hours. Nothing came through, I started to relax.
Then I saw the TV move. “That’s impossible” I thought. But it moved again and just lunged at me. I fell off the sofa thinking “is my TV is trying eat me??”. I ran out and closed the door trying to hide somewhere. I ran to the kitchen to find a weapon. I opened the kitchen door and slowly put my foot in,
expecting to fall into nothingness but the room was intact.
I was thirsty, so I went to the water fountain to get a glass of water. But instead of filling the glass, the fountain threw all the water at me. I stood there completely drenched and shocked. All the other kitchen appliances took this as a cue, to attack. “This is not going to be easy” I thought, and sure it
wasn’t. The refrigerator snapped at me like a crocodile with its doors and started shooting ice cubes at me like a machine gun. I used a plate as a shield to protect me, thank God my mother always kept a metal plate to feed my dog, Hero.
Trying to escape, I slammed the door on their angry faces in the exact moment they all tried to pounce on me, thinking it will crush them. Sadly they weren’t. They just tore the door down like foil paper. All the appliance monsters, small and big, got out of the kitchen. I gulped. I tried to run, but they were too fast for me and the coffee maker lunged and hit my head hard. I fell down hard and my vision went black.
After what I felt was an eternity, I opened my eyes slowly. It was a beautiful morning, I was in my bed and every thing looked normal. Whoa, what a weird and scary nightmare!!
I got up and looked at me on the mirror and found out I was drenched in coffee.
Was it really a nightmare??

Third place: Behind the Scene by Caroline Zita Dias

I heard an unusual sound outside and I opened the door to find myself suddenly being sucked in by a time machine many moons ago, when there was a person by name Jackson. There was nothing extraordinary about him. He wanted to be a showman. Like a performer in a circus. So he called his friend John and they both worked hard to start the show. They prepared everything, for the show on April 1st. 
The show started: John entered with a cartwheel announcing -“ Ladies and gentlemen may I present an amazing display of magic, melodrama and music!”. They proceeded to sing, dance and held the audience in thrall.
A few in the audience spotted a ragged looking man, walking towards the front rows. He was distracting, but the show was on. Suddenly, all of a sudden, the man threw a steel baton and it flew and went to hit John! He dropped dead.
All hell broke loose. The audience ran and the man melted into the crowd. In the confusion that followed, John’s body went missing! The police searched, but it came to nothing. 
Life had to go on. Jackson had to find another assistant. He gave an advertisement in the newspaper. He found Tarzan, who acted silly and strange at times. One evening, Tarzan shouted - “ Sir Jackson, someone is at the door!!”. Jackson croaked, “Ouch! You made me drop the hammer on my foot, you idiot!”. “Sir Jackson, you told that a man will come at 5.30 And here he is!” said Tarzan. The door creaked open. “ Shut it, Tarzan” said Jackson. “ Shut the
door?! The man has come!” exclaimed Tarzan. Jackson snorted “ I told you to shut your mouth! Not the door!”
“ Hello Mr Jackson, I saw the advertisement - I am Dack” said the man. His face flickered in Jackson’s memory before it suddenly struck him – it was the same man in the rags, who threw the baton at John! Without showing this, Jackson asked him, “Have I seen you somewhere earlier?” Tapping the table in front, Dack said “ Well sir, you might have possibly !”
Suddenly Jackson jumped and hit him on his face. Dack lay on the floor. Jackson jumped on him. Holding the hammer above Dack’s forehead, Jackson asked Dack, “ why did you kill John?”.
Dack described what happened earlier to John. John had run up huge debts in the past, borrowing from a lot of people. He wanted to somehow escape from all his debtors, as he could not find any way of repaying them. So he wanted to stage his own murder, where his debtors saw in front of themselves that he died. So in a carefully made plan, his death was staged. Dack finally concluded, “John lives the life of a normal man in the North”. Jackson was relieved that
John was alive. The show on April 1 st had made a fool of an entire town!
Jackson took Dack into his team to pursue his dream as Dack’s acting on that fateful day was natural. They jelled as a team and became the toast of the town!