And Now, the 2nd Annual Halloween Writing Contest’s Newest Addition: The All Hallow’s Short Shorts.
This year’s new category, “The All Hallow’s Short Short” received many amazing submissions. However, two stood above the rest. “Camp of the Dead” and “The One With a Soul” caused candy corn to fly and curses to be muttered as editors argued for their favorite. At argument’s end, “Camp of the Dead” triumphed, thanks to it’s clever use of all the words in both of our starter pack lists. Still, we couldn’t let you walk away without multiple anecdotes of mayhem.
–by Chloe Butcher, President of the Yuba College Literary Arts Club
Camp of the Dead
I chatted my parents’ ears off as we drove down the mountain to my summer camp. I began to feel nervous, because my tuberculosis caused them to shelter me from the outside world. I blinked, as my eyes drifted past the alley way.
A counselor with pitch-black eyes said, “Welcome, I’m Tajar, and you must be Agnus Bothin. You’ll stay in Stonehouse with all of the other dead….” Creepily, she stopped herself.
We flew up the stairs, where we met a clown, who was conducting health checks.
“No pulse, you won’t be any good for the children’s stew,” he grunted.
Later that evening, we hiked up a hill to participate in the opening field-hockey games. Behind some poisonous apple trees were the oubliettes, smoke surrounding them. Inside, were screaming campers, holding their heads, which were severed from their bodies.
Normally when I engage in physical activity, I get a razor-sharp pain in my chest. However, since I’ve been here, I don’t feel anything at all.
Upon our arrival, I realized none of my teammates had shadows, and they were all missing limbs. “What do we get if we win,” I asked.
My counselor whispered, “You escape the denailing!”
The opposing team shouted, “You girls are so dead.” And, everybody laughed.
I brushed off the strange humor, but as the ball went through my stomach, I began to panic. The last thing I remember is loud cheering and the camp director’s words, “Welcome to Camp of the Dead.”
–by Rachel Herman, Yuba College
The One With a Soul
Sara 6 sat in the stainless steel chair, her arms, forehead, and shins cuffed holding her firmly against any physical protest. It was quite an audience really, there were so many spectators to see what lies within her.
When that thought occurred to Sara, she felt panic. Within her. The Governor and the spectators assumed she could feel no pain, but this wasn’t true. Indeed it was a falsehood- she could feel.
“Ask it a question,” someone demanded from the auditorium.
The Governor, a broad woman with steel grey eyes turned to look at Sara, “Do you have a soul?”
Sara considered this, then inquired, “What is a soul?”
The Governor quickly responded, “It is given to you by God. You must be human to have one, it makes one regret and feel.”
“Then no,” said Sara 6, “I suppose I don’t because I am not a creature of God.”
The Governor smiled in that way young children do when delighted in torturing a bug, feeling omniscient power for the first time.
“See, this one is ideal for dissection. Whe can speak to us the entire way through the operation; and yes, dear donors, you get to see what makes it tick!”
Sara then told the Governor, voice shaking, ” “B-but I can feel. I’m scared.”
The rest broke out laughing, as Sara’s final thought floated into her terrified mind and the chair declined to prepare her for dissection. “They must be the soulless ones, I could not live with myself hurting another this way.”
She prayed for their souls.
–by Kate Perrie, Yuba College
The Nightmare We Became
Civil dusk begins the night for the dead and ruined. This strange feeling of loneliness cannot be shown in crooked smiles from scarecrows. Loneliness. The lonely shadows haunt the divine as flames chase wilted dreams. Darkness. The darkness feeds off of the sickness that the forgotten are made of. Disease. The growing epidemic of hatred blinds ghosts as the fire dances. Eyes of dolls watch the innocent waiting for answers of destruction. Ruination. Chaos severs the ties from sanity that distinguishes horns and halos. Sanity. Under the bed is where the monsters lie with sharp nails to steal your humanity. Monsters. Our pulses match the heart rate of the crestfallen drummers and clowns. Melancholy. The clowns don’t smile while they are waiting for you to run away from the fire caused by madness. Insanity. We are not alone while we wait for the apple to drop from the hands of witches who wish to poison kindness. Water drips from the alleyway in the oubliette. Rain. The rain crashes onto the field where nightmares are created. Night terrors. Screams fall through the cracks that reveal what we are made of. We don’t drift to sleep, we drift farther away until we are made of tone. Fear. Fears hurt like razors and glow like candles until we notice that they are there. The end is near as the light shines through the darkness of the night. Soon the night glory will be over and the pitied hallows will wait again for Halloween.
–by Kim Hernandez, Andros Karperos Middle School
One Halloween night, she was left all alone
Candy apples & pumpkin carving were never to their liking, so there was no sign of mommy
or daddy at home.
She turned off the lights after she got ready for bed,
Then heard giggles and thumps in her yard in the shed,
A trail of nails and drips of blood,
Her fear was building like a thick stone wall,
She ran and screamed through the field hoping her neighbors would hear.
The shadows were following,
Yet it felt as if nobody were there,
Once she turned around it was all a quick glare.
Eyes red like fire,
Teeth sharp like knives,
Smile as big as the fear in her eyes.
It severed her quick & there she lied.
“Happy Halloween” her parents said as they chuckled inside.
–by Monica Baiza
To read the winners and honorable mentions in our other categories, see: