The Anniston Star received more than 200 entries in our 29th annual Halloween story contest for kids. This year, we’d like to give a special shout-out to the teachers who every year encourage their students to write, and to let their imaginations run wild. Scroll down for this year’s winning stories. (Beware of ghosts, stalkers, haunted paintings and the wolf apocalypse.)

ELEMENTARY DIVISION

+15 
Mackenzie Graves

Mackenzie Graves, age 8, Coosa Valley Elementary

 

1st place

Mackenzie Graves, age 8, Coosa Valley Elementary

“The Clown Figurine”

One night my mother came home with lots of action figures, and one of the figurines was a clown! So I took it in my room. I woke up the next day and it was gone. I looked everywhere but I still could not find it.

I told my mom and we searched and searched but did not find it. When I went to school and walked in my classroom, there it was. The clown figurine was sitting on the teacher’s desk. So I snatched it off the desk and put it in my pocket.

My teacher asked me if I touched the clown figurine. I told her I did, and my teacher told me not to touch things on her desk and to give it back to her. The teacher said, “Don’t worry, it will go home with you today.”

When I got home, there was the clown sitting on my desk. I was scared so I went downstairs, but no one was there. So I went to my friend’s house, but again, no one was there. I even looked in her room, but she was nowhere to be found.

Someone I did not know called my cell phone and said, “I have your friend. She is in the circus. Come and get her!” I went straight to the circus, but I was too late. She was already gone.

I went home, got the clown, took it to the dump and destroyed it. I thought it would bring my family and my friend back, but it didn’t. I am an orphan now.

Many years later, the clown figurine appeared on my dresser again. I did not know what to do, so I smashed it to pieces. Every morning I wake up, and there it is!

The end … but not for long.


 

+15 
Alexa Dean

Alexa Dean, age 9, Coosa Valley Elementary

2nd place

Alexa Dean, age 9, Coosa Valley Elementary

“The Grave”

There was a grave in the middle of the park. Kids stop to ask who it is, but their questions are never answered. What they didn’t know was the grave belonged to a girl nobody knew. But she knew all of them.

One morning on the way to school, they noticed the grave had been dug up and a man was next to it with a shovel and a bag. The children looked at each other with big eyes, then yelled at the man. He took off running with the bag and the shovel.

They started to chase him, but they went to school instead to tell the teacher. She assured them she would handle it.

When they headed home from school that afternoon, they saw the police at the park. They walked over and the officer asked, “Are y’all the ones that saw this?” They said yes. The police asked what happened. They told them all they knew was a man took off with the bag and a shovel. The police wrote it down on a notepad. The cop told them that she was the girl who died in the sledding accident a few years back. Her name was Kathryn Burns.

As the children walked home, they started talking about the girl. Alice said, “I remember her, she was the big kid on the back of the bus who was always so nice to us.”

Billy said, “I wonder what happened on the sled.”

When Alice got home, she told her mom what had happened today. Her mom said, “You were so young when it happened that we didn’t tell you. Kathryn got a new sled for Christmas from her dad and was on it all day. She got too cold and very sick and died later that night. Her dad has never been the same again.”

Alice asked her mom why anyone would want to dig her up now. “Sweetie, I’m not sure. But I think we should let the cops handle it.”

The next morning on the way to school, Alice told her friends what her mom told her. When school was over, they took the long way home so they could see the grave.

Alice told her friends that she thought the man they saw could be Kathryn’s father. “My mom said that he was very upset after it happened.”

Jessie said, “Why would her dad want to dig her up?”

Alice said, “I don’t know. Let’s go ask him.”

They knocked on the door and he opened it. They said hello and started to tell him who they were. He stopped them by saying, “I know who you are. My Kathryn used to babysit you.” He started to cry while inviting them in.

Billy said, “Are you the man we saw at the grave?”

Mr. Burns looked upset and said, “Yes. I am going to turn myself in. I just can’t stand her being so far away anymore.”

The children decided to help Mr. Burns. The next day, Alice put a note in his mailbox telling him to meet them at the grave at midnight. Mr. Burns did as they asked. When they all got there, the kids told him they wanted to help. They all dug up Kathryn and helped him take her back home to bury her there. After they were done, he said a prayer and thanked them for their help.

They all agreed to never share the secret with anyone else, and to visit often. The cops were wondering where she went, but never found out.


+15 
Haron Shropshire

Haron Shropshire, 4th grade, Ohatchee Elementary

3rd place

Haron Shropshire, 4th grade, Ohatchee Elementary

“The Candy Monster”

Once on Halloween night in the town of Goulsville, when the werewolves were howling, Vlad came over to the Invisible Man’s house and they read an urban legend about a monster made of thrown-away candy. This is how it goes!

“There once was the first day of Halloween and kids were trick-or-treating. And every year on Halloween, the kids had candy that they didn’t like and also toys that they didn’t like. They would throw them in the junkyard.

“Now, this was no ordinary junkyard. Once, a little vampire asked how he could cast a spell, but his witch friend would not tell him, so he stole her spell book when she was asleep. Then, he found a spell that had never been used. So he tried it and nothing seemed to happen. But he hadn’t read what the spell did, and it cast the Candy Monster.

“The Candy Monster makes you collect 500 pieces of candy before all five pumpkin candles go out. If you don’t get 500 pieces before all five pumpkin candles go out, then he eats you!”

That night, Vlad and the Invisible Man were more scared than they had ever been. That same Halloween night, the news was on and there had been reports of people seeing the Candy Monster. Well, that must’ve not been enough, because they started throwing away the candy that they didn’t like to see if the legend was true.

Just 15 minutes later, there was a knock on the door, and Vlad got up to see who it was. It was a huge man made of all the thrown-away candy. He covered himself with a hood and cloak and asked Vlad, “Trick or treat” in a very scary voice.

Vlad said, “We aren’t giving you any candy. And besides, who are you anyway?”

“I’m the Candy Monster!”

Hah hah! The Candy Monster!

“If you are the Candy Monster, then take off your cloak and hood.”

And the man took off his hood and cloak and he was a monster! He had black licorice and peppermints and bubblegum in him, and his eyes were peppermints and his mouth was black licorice!

Then to my surprise, the Invisible Man started eating him and said, “Yum, you’re tasty!”

As he got eaten he said, “All I wanted is for someone to like the taste of me. Thank you!”


+15 
Jillian Badgett

Jillian Badgett, age 9, Ohatchee, homeschool

 

 

Honorable mention

Jillian Badgett, age 9, Ohatchee, homeschool

“The Ghost Hunter”

One day, a girl named Meana and her friend Jacob heard that there was a ghost downtown at the Sanfield Museum. Jacob was too scared to look for the ghost, but Meana was not.

“I don’t care how spooky that place is, I’m going to look for it anyway,” said Meana.

“But you might be in ‘grave’ danger,” Jacob replied.

Meana laughed. “The people who told about the ghost were probably just seeing things,” said Meana.

But Jacob made her prepare anyway. She took a vacuum, baby powder, walkie talkies, a camera and a flashlight.

When Meana was walking up the steps of the museum, she realized she was more scared then she thought. She took a deep breath and walked through the doors. “Creeeek,” sounded the doors as she entered alone.

Meana started walking through the dark museum, looking around with her flashlight. Then, she saw a transparent figure walking behind the piano. She threw the baby powder, but it only hit the ghost’s leg. Once she disappeared behind the piano, Meana could not see her anymore.

“Hello,” yelled Meana. And the entire museum went black. Meana could not see anything at all. When she could finally see, Meana realized she was on her knees. She was almost out of breath. Then she saw the ghost walking toward her with an evil smile.

The ghost asked, “What are you going to do now?”

Meana said, “I’m going to say goodbye,” and she turned on the vacuum and vacuumed the ghost. Suddenly she fell asleep.

“Meana!” yelled Jacob as he ran into the museum. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” said Meana.

A lady ran into the museum and shouted, “Children, there’s a ghost in my basement!”

The children looked at each other and smiled, because they knew this was just the beginning.


 

+15 
Carson Hicks

Carson Hicks, 3rd grade, Coosa Valley Elementary

Honorable mention

Carson Hicks, 3rd grade, Coosa Valley Elementary

“The Wolf Apocalypse"

One night I saw a boy named Jason. Jason was sleeping like a baby. But creeeek, a strange noise came from under his bed. So he beat his bed with a baseball bat. Suddenly, a wolf came out from under his bed. Jason thought it was cute. But then the wolf bit him on the finger. Then the wolf apocalypse began.

Soon there were over 1,000 wolves. The leader was Snowwolf. But then the sun came up and everything went back to normal. But the apocalypse kept happening over and over again. Bun bun bun!

But one day a little boy was digging in the dirt and found a wolf skeleton. So he went to his dad, and when they went back the skeleton was gone.

Next, the boy’s dad was bit by the skeleton. So the boy screamed and ran, but over 1,000 skeletons were popping up out of the ground. Suddenly, 1,000,000 zombies rose and defeated the wolf skeletons. But then 1,000,000,000 vampires came out of 60 huge castles and started to fight all the zombies. So the zombies charged at the vampires and were fighting for a long time until the sun came up and the undead was dead.

One year later, 1,000,000,000,000 Zombiealiens were going to destroy the universe. Suddenly an asteroid destroyed the spaceship. But the deathray survived the crash, and the city was destroyed. But a brave hero saved the world from huge destruction.


MIDDLE SCHOOL DIVISION

+15 
Caedan Patten

Caedan Patten, age 14, The Donoho School

1st place

Caedan Patten, age 14, The Donoho School

“The Petroglyphs”

“Where am I?” whispered Austin to himself in a shivering voice.

Austin stood up, remembering that he had been on his private plane. He took one spin and found that his plane’s tail was sticking out of a large, frozen pond to his left.

He limped over to the pond to see if there was anything left of the pilot or his things. He hopped in the back door to find his hunting pack, filled with all his basic hunting gear, hanging from a nail near the back of the plane. In the pack, he found his machete, his flashlight, his revolver, his heavy winter jacket, his sleeping bag and his rifle.

He tried to look for the pilot through the clouded water, but there was no hope. Since there were no tracks leading from the plane, he assumed that the pilot was dead inside the crashed plane.

He had always been an avid hunter, so he had been in similar situations in the wilderness. He knew he needed to find some sort of shelter.

After walking what seemed like a mile, he spotted a small cave on the side of a snowy hill. As he entered the cave, an eerie shiver ran down his back. He thought nothing of it and kept walking.

The cave quickly became dark, eventually pitch black. Austin pulled out his flashlight, surprised to see it still working. As soon as he turned on the light, he was encompassed by petroglyphs all over the walls.

There were hundreds, maybe thousands of them. But they all had one thing in common: Each of the paintings depicted a horse-like creature. The creature was a horse with flaming eyes, razor-sharp teeth and magnificent, solid black wings. The creature had large, ram-like horns.

In some of the paintings it looked as though natives were bowing down to the creature, while others depicted the creature chasing the fear-filled natives, many who got caught in the creature’s path, consumed in the process.

“Thump. Thump.”

Austin’s heart began to race. He quickly pulled out his revolver and turned around. He slowly walked, almost in a tiptoe, toward the entrance of the cave, greeted by a pitch black night. He shone his light toward the ground, finding bloody tracks of a hooved animal leading from the cave.

At that point, Austin was shaking. He sprinted as fast as he could back to the spot where the petroglyphs were. He was terrified to find that the paintings were gone.

“Thump. Thump.”

When he heard the stomping of the horse, seeming to be right behind him, he closed his eyes, refusing to turn around. After waiting a few minutes, very slowly, he spun around to find that the creature wasn’t there.

He walked towards the entrance, finding it still to be dark, but the trees were now covered in all the petroglyphs from the cave. Austin took a few steps back, but soon felt the feeling of warm breath on the back of his neck.

“Thump. Thump.”


+15 
Kelsie Gilmore

Kelsie Gilmore, age 12, The Donoho School

 

2nd place

Kelsie Gilmore, age 12, The Donoho School

“Pretty”

The bathroom lights flickered. It was so quiet in here, even on prom night. The party thrived outside, full of life. I stared at my broken reflection in the mirror. Mascara stained my face. My dress was demolished.

“Plastic surgery can’t help you this time — neither can your daddy’s money,” they both snarled, laughing. I shivered. I hated looking at myself.

Laughter sounded from outside the door. A tall, lean, tan girl with brown hair entered alongside two other girls. My heart dropped when I saw the tan girl’s hand. She was holding a silver crown. The item I yearned for. I darted into a stall, resting my head against the door to eavesdrop.

“I’m so proud of you, Amber!” a short, blonde girl in a pink dress remarked. “You totally deserved it.”

Liar! She didn’t deserve it!

“Thanks, hun,” Amber replied, “but honestly it’s not that big of a deal. I only did it for Vince, but you know it will help my modeling resume.” The girls squealed in homogenous excitement.

She doesn’t care! I felt faint, the flashbacks racing into my head. The puking, not eating, running every hour, and the plastic surgery. Abusing my skin and health all for what? To feel pretty? Silence hung for a moment before Amber spoke once more.

“Go on back to the party. I’m just finishing up my lipstick,” she exclaimed with a lip smack. “You know what the best part is though?” she started as her friends began to leave. “That brat Denice Klarry didn’t win. It’s not my fault she just isn’t pretty.”

I exited the stall. Amber’s shoulders hunched as I entered. She really was pretty. She had a tiny waist, flawless skin, and a beauty mark placed almost strategically above her lip. I looked at myself in the mirror, laughing at my reflection. It is remarkable how a person can lose themselves so easily to materialistic things.

“What?” she said with a scowl.

“You’re just so pretty,” I replied with a fake smile.

“And that’s funny how?” she retorted with a look of disgust on her face. I just continued laughing as she slid her crown back onto her head. My hand lunged forward, landing on her crown. At this moment I remembered why I hated her. “It’s not my fault she just isn’t pretty” echoed in my ears.

As I grabbed the crown, she let out a choked scream. It was all happening so fast. The sink overflowed onto the floor as she struggled. Finally the bubbles stopped, her body limp, as she hit the floor. The sound of metal rang across the floor.

I picked it up and held it in my hand for a minute, admiring it, before sliding it on my head. Amber’s lifeless corpse lay below my feet. I wrapped my hands around the sink as I studied my reflection with a final laugh. “ … Pretty.”


+15 
Drew Williamson

Drew Williamson, age 13, The Donoho School

3rd place

Drew Williamson, age 13, The Donoho School

“The Hayride”

It was a cold, dark and rainy night on Halloween. My friends and I decided that we should go on a hayride through Glenwood. We all thought that we were too old to dress up, so we wore our casual clothes and got on the hayride.

I immediately knew that something seemed sketchy. The tour guide gave me a creepy smile, and I began to get a little scared. I put the fears behind us because the tour guide kept giving us candy. It could have been for a reason though. I never knew.

Suddenly, the tour guide told us we were going in the middle of a dark trail through the woods. My friends didn’t think much about it, but I did. I realized about that time that my phone was dead. I couldn’t reach the charger, so I had to stand to get it. Suddenly, we hit a huge bump, and I went flying out of the hayride. The last thing I remember seeing was the tour guide wink at me.

I woke up after sitting in a ditch for a minute and realized that nobody knew I fell off the hayride. Nobody except the tour guide. I knew he hit that bump on purpose. Just like how he had been haunting me this entire night.

I felt scared, cold and confused. It was pitch black and my phone was dead, so I couldn’t call anyone. I kept on walking slowly until I felt someone touch me. I immediately turned around to see who it was. I could barely see his face, but I knew who he was. It was the tour guide.

I ran for my life. I had never been more scared before. I finally stopped when I was out of breath. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop running. He finally chased me down and tied me to a tree.

He shouted, “Drew, Drew, Drew!”

The voice sounded familiar, really familiar, like I have heard that voice my whole life. In that moment, I woke up.

My mom was the one saying my name. It had all been a dream. I was so relieved that it was. I felt good again. My mom was in a rush to get me up.

I asked, “Why are we in a rush?”

She replied, “We are going on a hayride for Halloween.”

I felt weird, very weird, like she knew about my dream.

I asked, “Where at?”

She replied with the same creepy smile the tour guide gave me. “In Glenwood.”


+15 
Ryals Jones

Ryals Jones, age 11, The Donoho School

Honorable mention

Ryals Jones, age 11, The Donoho School

“What Really Happened?”

Psychosis. I have it. If you know anything about psychosis, then you know it is a mental disorder characterized by a disconnection from reality, or lots of hallucinations. I can’t remember much, but I do know I have hurt the people I love most because of my wretched illness.

It all started one dark Sunday night. I was sitting at the kitchen table, my husband beside me. It all started without my consciousness. I was in my own little hallucinating world, dreaming of picking up a flower to give to my dear husband. What I didn’t know still haunts me, because in reality that flower was a knife.

He kept running in the dream. I assumed it was just playing like we used to before we had Betty and Imogen. He was really just running from me.

He started running and running. He soon saw Betty and picked her up from the flower field. I gave her the flower and she fell. I had wondered why. Then I picked up another flower to give to my crying husband. I had just assumed he was asleep when I started to awake from the dream world.

Now I was crying over my dead husband and child’s bodies. Imogen came in and I told her to run. Run and never come back, because I didn’t want to hurt her, too. I haven’t seen her since, and no one else for that matter, ever again.


 

+15 
Nicholas Oehler

Nicholas Oehler, age 11, C.E. Hanna School

 

Honorable mention

Nicholas Oehler, age 11, C.E. Hanna School

“The Story, dun dun dun”

It was a dark and stormy nigh— “Hey, don’t you think this is cliche? I mean you’re using Google Docs and everyone uses that,” said Nick. “Hey shut up I’m the one writing the story here,” said the narrator. “As I was saying, It was a dark and stormy night and Nicholas Alan Oehler and Landon Morales were talking before class as they always did and suddenly there was a lightning bolt that was so loud that it made all three of them jump as high as 12 bricks (of course all three of them got hurt) in a graveyard somewhere. The gravedigger heard moans that made him scared and he saw the entities, they were zombies, then the zombies tore into everyone that was mourning the loss of their loved ones. The zombi—

“Seriously, this is very cliche,” said Nick.

“HEY SHUT UP I’M THE ONE WHO IS WRITING THIS STORY. As I was saying, The zombies tore into their loved ones and then the loved ones that they had eaten turned into zombi— 

“Seriously, this is the plot of every zombie movie.”

“DO YOU WANT TO BE THE FIRST NAMED CHARACTER TO DIE I MEAN REALLY JUST SHUT UP AND LET ME CONTINUE ALREADY then a bullet came through and killed Day. We chopped him up so he could not come back and then me and Landon decided to go to Nick’s house while the zombie went and hit a grandma off her motorized scooter then the zombies ate her.”

“Oh wow.”

“Then Nick and Landon were watching the news and they saw a show that looked good, then it was interrupted by a news flash saying, ‘The zombie apocalypse is here also are you paying too much for your taxes?’ Nick and Landon said yes even though they did not pay taxes. Then Nick and Landon went outside, being idiots, even though they heard about the zombie apocalypse just before then. Sadly there’s a price for ignorance, because right after that Nick and Landon were eaten by zombies, then he and Nick teleported right back alive in his house and they said, ‘What just happened?’ They were revived by God maybe.”

“Who revived us?” Nick said.

“I did because I write the story and it would suck if the main characters died so soon. So Nick and Landon went out of his house again and the same thing happened. Really, are you survivors or dopes with death wishes?”

“I think we are survivors.”

”Obviously not, you two heard of the zombie apocalypse yet you went outside. Then Nick and Landon went outside again. Some time later Nick and Landon went outside prepared and were wandering when they saw mad grandma and her zombie chickens. They killed her and got the cure and saved the world. Then Nick and Landon heard, ‘Wake up you two it’s time for Nick’s birthday party.’

It was all a dream.


HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION

 

+15 
Mercy Mangum

Mercy Mangum, age 15, The Donoho School

1st place

Mercy Mangum, age 15, The Donoho School

“Killer Hair”

I wake up with the sensation that something bad is about to occur. Getting out of bed, I quickly get dressed and put on my boots. I always know when something is going to happen.

As I walk to the door of my room, I hear people outside of my house laughing. I quickly get my gun and knife out of the closet in the hallway. Tiptoeing to the front door, I look out the window. There they were, two women walking alone in the dark.

“What are they doing? There is a killer loose,” I think to myself. “How foolish does someone have to be? Maybe I need to go out there and make sure they are all right.”

After I pocket my gun and put my knife in my boot, I open the door. The women were about to turn the block. One had blonde hair and the other had black. I quietly closed the door, careful not to make a sound, and started to walk after them. They turned the corner and headed to the end of the sidewalk.

“Excuse me, ladies,” I shouted and made my presence known.

“Yes ma’am,” the blonde girl said. “Can we help you?”

“I just wanted to let you girls know that there have been women around this area who have been killed. The police still haven’t found the killer,” I stated. The girl to the right had the blonde hair, and the other had the black. Their hair is so beautiful; I wish that I could have hair like that. There was a slight breeze that lifted the hair of the girl to the left.

“We do, but we can take care of ourselves. We wouldn’t let any strange man come up to us at night,” the girl to the left said.

“But thank you for your concern. Have a nice night.” The blonde one started to turn around.

“Who said the killer was a man?” I took a step toward them. They glanced at each other and started to back away. “There’s no need to leave; I was just asking a question.”

The girl with black hair pushed her hair behind her ear. “We really must be leaving now. Have a good night.” Her black hair cascaded all the way to her hips. What beautiful hair. As the girls walked away, I watched the way their hair moved back and forth. It was time. I pulled out my gun.

“Excuse me, I have one more thing to say,” I shouted after them. The girls turned once more to face me. They had no time to even react as I shot them one by one.

As they fell to the ground, blood leaked out of their heads, staining the ground around them. I pocketed my gun for the second time tonight and walked toward the girls.

What beautiful hair. Even when the blood pooled into it, making it sticky, it was still beautiful. I pulled out my knife and started to cut.


 

+15 
Emma Wiedmer

Emma Wiedmer, age 16, The Donoho School

 

2nd place

Emma Wiedmer, age 16, The Donoho School

“Sweet Lucy”

This summer, I worked as a camp counselor at Camp Longpine in rural Georgia. It is a secluded place, seated upon a large lake and mountain range. Since I was the youngest counselor, I had to sleep in the room with the young campers. For a while it was going fine, until the third night.

There was a shy, nice girl named Lucy. In fact, she was so shy most of us would forget she was there. On that third night, I woke up startled to find Lucy standing at the end of my bed. I immediately wondered if everything was alright.

Is sweet Lucy homesick? Is sweet Lucy afraid of the dark? She told me she couldn’t fall asleep. I asked her why she could not go back to bed, and she whispered, “I hear screaming in the distance.” Chills ran down my spine. Panicked, I walked her back to her bed and assured her everything would be fine. I said, “Goodnight, sweet Lucy.”

The next night, I woke to the slamming of the cabin’s screen door. I hopped up out of bed, but didn’t see anything. I walked outside the cabin to see who had left. Realizing that no one was outside, I got back into my bed.

As I rolled over to the left side of my bed, Lucy was standing there watching me. Frightened, I fell out of the bed.

Lucy told me that she heard the screams again, but this time they were much closer. I tried to assure her that it was just a bad dream, and walked her back to her bed. I said, “Goodnight, sweet Lucy.”

The following night, I was too anxious to close my eyes. I rolled around in my bed hopelessly, until I saw a shadow arise from Lucy’s corner of the cabin. She began to walk slowly to my bed. I asked her what was wrong.

Frantically, she told me, “The screams are coming from this cabin!” I responded, “Sweet Lucy, I do not hear a thing.” A devilish grin spread across her face and she said, “Oh, but you will.”


+15 
Sarah Green

Sarah Green, age 17, The Donoho School

 

3rd place

Sarah Green, age 17, The Donoho School

“The Painting”

The picture was dark. The trees looked like black church steeples, the grass rotted. A stroke of white paint imitated a fog seeping through the woods. She was proud of it — the painting. In fact, she was so proud of it that she could not stop staring at it. The trees, the grass, the fog. Even her art teacher had said that the painting was impressive, nothing like anything she had ever seen.

The painting was a landscape of the ominous woods near the girl’s house. The trees were the same trees she saw every day in her backyard. The painting was important to the girl. It was on display at her school, and she would come during art class to stare at her masterpiece.

Something seemed different today, though, the painting seemed different. It hung on the same spot, on the same wall, but the girl knew something was different. She stared. The trees, the grass, the fog. Her eyes fell on a spot between two dark trees. The girl stepped closer to her painting, leaning in, her eyes never leaving the face that stared back at her.

The eyes were sunken; the cheeks stretched over bone. The girl looked around, frightened by the evil face that had appeared in her cherished painting. She stared at the face and the face seemed to stare back. It was twisted in an eerie expression. It chilled the girl.

Calling to her friend, the girl asked if she too saw the face in the painting. The friend looked at the same spot without a pause.

“No, I see nothing,” she said and walked away.

The artist was mortified. She looked back at the painting and there it was: a grotesque face that would haunt her dreams at night. She left the art room, hoping to return tomorrow to her old, faceless painting.

The girl finished her school day in a daze. As she walked home, she did not feel the sprinkle of rain. She did not see the clouds roll in, darkening the sky, or the fog that came seeping through the woods.

The girl walked home. She did not notice how tall the trees loomed, or how the grass was rotted. It wasn’t until she turned around and looked upon a spot between two dark trees that she noticed it. She took a step closer towards the woods. Yes, she was sure, she saw it.

As she stared in between two trees by her house, the face stared back at her. The very same face, pale as death, that had haunted her painting that day. The girl ran. This time, it followed, no longer a painted face.


+15 
Edwin Connell

Edwin Connell, age 16, The Donoho School

Honorable mention

Edwin Connell, age 16, The Donoho School

“Jerry’s Home”

It was a cold winter’s night as I was headed home from dinner. I was excited for tonight because my parents wouldn’t be home. They were with their friends eating a late dinner and they wouldn’t be home until midnight.

As I got out of my car, a chilly breeze hit my face. I walked up to the front porch of my house and hurried into the warm living room. Well, I wouldn’t call it my house, my family was renting this one out until we could find a new house to buy. Our last house went up in flames.

I can remember the night it happened. It was a cold night like this. My little cousin Jerry kept telling me, “I’m cold,” so I kept the furnace running. At 11:11, I could smell the smoke in the house. The flames spilled out of the furnace. I ran out as fast as I could, fearing for my own life. As I rushed outside, I heard Jerry scream for help. I tried to save him, but I was too late.

I blame myself for his death. I had left him in the flames. I miss him very much.

This new house reminds me of the times I used to spend with Jerry. I play the piano sometimes to remember the times I tried to teach Jerry how to play. I would laugh whenever he would try to play; he would bang the keys making loud, unorganized sounds.

There is also a couch adjacent to the bed I’m sleeping in. It is just like the couch that was in my old room. Jerry used to sit on that couch whenever he felt lonely.

I headed upstairs to take a shower, and when finished, I turned on the TV. I couldn’t find anything interesting, just cartoons that Jerry used to watch. I became tired, and I walked up to my room. I got in bed to go to sleep.

At 11:11, I was woken by a loud, repeating sound. It was the piano being played. It stopped, and I wondered if it was my parents. My room became uncomfortably cold as I lay my head back on my pillow. Then the piano sounded again. I hesitantly got up and walked to my door. The sound continued. As I opened my door slowly, the piano stopped. I looked down at the piano. No one was there. The lights were still off, so it couldn’t have been my parents.

I walked into my room and it was noticeably warmer. I crawled in my bed while taking off my pajamas. I lightly tossed them on the couch next to my bed and when they hit, I heard a muffled grunt, followed by silence, until I then heard Jerry’s voice whisper to me, “Thank you. I was getting cold.”


 

+15 
Adam Stremmel

Adam Stremmel, age 16, The Donoho School

 

Honorable mention

Adam Stremmel, age 16, The Donoho School

“She is Coming”

She is coming. I can hear my heart beating rapidly in my chest as I hide in the shower. I can only imagine the blood-curdling shriek that she might let out if she caught me.

This all started when I was sneaking through the old house in the early hours of the morning. The pitch black hours of the morning are one of the only times I can get food.

I cannot leave her house — the alarm would alert her that someone is in her presence — so I must wait and take the food from her kitchen whenever she is on the other side of the house.

She usually searches for me late in the night, her dark eyes scouring through all corners of the house. She never searches for me this late, though, so something must have tipped her off to my presence.

I was almost back to my hiding spot when I saw the light flick on in a nearby room. Having no good hiding spots nearby, I tiptoed as quickly as I could into the bathroom on my right. My heart started pumping as I quickly hid from her in the shower.

I’m not really scared of her; I’m scared of what might happen to me if she found me. It couldn’t be anything good.

I heard her slow, lumbering steps as she made her way to the bathroom where I am. The dim light in the hallway gave just a slight illumination to her silhouette. I could see her dark, disheveled hair framing her pale, porcelain skin. In daylight, I might have even called her beautiful.

Without turning on the lights, she fumbled around the bathroom, seemingly searching for something. I hoped it wasn’t me that she was searching for. She always searched in the shower.

After holding my breath for what felt like hours, she finally left, stumbling her way back to her room. The lights of her room flicked off soon after.

I can’t keep going like this. This constant hiding needs to end. I’m finally going to get what I came here for.

With apprehension, I snuck to her room. Slowly, I creaked open the door. I heard a shifting in the room beyond the door. I doubted that she heard me. She always listens to music as she sleeps.

I entered the room and slunk to a corner. I could see my prize just a few feet away from me. I saw a shifting from the bed as I slid myself against the wall ever so slowly. She slowly lifted her head from the bed, peering around the room.

The glint of my knife gave me away, but it didn’t matter for much longer. She was dead within seconds, my beautiful prize, and now, she is mine forever.


 

+15 
Ghostwriters Raggedy Ann

Boo!

 

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