Senior winner Samantha Strauch, age 11, Emrys ap Iwan GM School, Abergele, Clwyd
There it was. Its monitor glinting in the afternoon sunshine. It was a vision in plastic. My eyes goggled at its sheer beauty. The monitor winked again, as its hard drive mouth curved into an inviting smile.
My hand ventured forward. Should I switch it on? Should I hear its throaty grumble as it buzzed into life?
Without a final thought, my finger jerked forward and jabbed the button. Ding! Poetry in motion.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I sat at the yellow chair, my back erect with tension.
My whole body tingled with the excitement. My face was flushed and my hands clammy. I began to wonder if I'd feel the same on my first date.
I ran my fingers over its plastic body, caressing its cold touch. I was meeting a new friend.
I savoured the feelings coursing through my body. I knew I'd never feel a combination like this ever again. I felt like I'd taken some new happiness drug to which I could become addicted.
I watched in wonder as words began to form on the screen. Everything else was immediately banished from my mind. My thought process now revolved around a small word: Computer.
It astonished me how just three syllables could make a person so happy. No, I wasn't just happy. Happy was such a meagre word to describe my feelings at that time. I was ecstatic!
My eyes shone as I gently stroked the keyboard. My fingers tapped lightly on the keys, as I feared that the slightest touch would hurt it like a dagger.
Next the printer. This time there was no hesitation, as my finger pounded the power button. The printer purred softly as the green eyes flashed. Eagerly my hand fed it five sheets of crisp white paper. It pulled it in hungrily.
I looked over the computer so carefully. I wanted to memorise every bit by heart.
The mouse. The printer. The computer.
My heart pumped faster, as one of the sheets was spat out of the printer's mouth. The writing. It was so amazing. So exhilarating to see such wonders. My heart was singing. I slowly bent forward so that my lips brushed the speakers. Then, softly, I whispered, "My love, my darling, my computer."
At that moment I realized, if I should ever get another computer, the first moments I spend alone with it would never be as magical as the time I had spent with my first computer. My vision in plastic.
* Some people have commented on the sexuality in Samantha's story, but, she says, the idea was news to her when people at school pointed it out. She does love her computer, though, and spends a lot of her spare time writing. Ironically, it crashed recently, swallowing two months'-worth of horror stories and poems. But Samantha promises: "I'm going to print things from now on." Sue Richardson, Samantha's teacher,and the able pupils co-ordinator at the school, describes her as "unassuming, but with an incredible inner landscape". Samantha says: "I like reading, especially horror and murder stories. When I wrote the competition entry, I was sitting at my computer wondering what to write and I thought I'd write about the computer itself."