The Third Time is Definitely the Charm!
This year, the YCLAC received over 90 submissions for our 3rd Annual Halloween Writing Contest. The fame of the contest continues to spread (like a CDC escapee!); in addition to pieces by students from Yuba College, we also tricked students from Andros Karperos Middle School, Willows High School, and Butte College, plus writers from North Carolina, into giving us their creative treats. We had first time writers who want to be nurses, accountants, and long-time writers having fun with new forms. First up, fiction.
Fresh from Frankenstein’s Lab: Monster Slash Fiction
Below you’ll find the winners from our newest category, Monster Slash Fiction: short fiction from the perspective of a monster, ghoul, villain, or demon. While this category had the smallest pool of entries, it did provoke the most debate over which were the best. Finally, we settled on a top two. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who submitted!
First Place: The Things We Do For Love
-by Barbara Ward
When I think about the things that led me to this point, I can’t help but feel ashamed. I never should have let it get this far. Unfortunately, you can’t always help who you fall for. There isn’t even a guarantee that they’re going to feel the same way. I’m not going to pretend that I made all the right choices, but I think we’ve all done stupid things for the person we love.
It all started the day of the accident. Maybe if I had seen the truck, I could have put an end to it before it even began. But, I had a green light, and I was already running late – who really thinks to check every mirror, every time? I don’t remember much else, until I got to the hospital, and even then the memories are fuzzy.
What I do remember was the beautiful woman who came into my room. I had never seen her before, yet I was captivated by her classical beauty. There was something mysterious about her, and I wondered what she was doing in my room. Then again, a part of me didn’t care what she was doing there. There was a part of me that only wanted her to stay.
Just as I finally got the courage to ask for a kiss, she shook her head and told me it wasn’t the right time. Of course she wouldn’t want to kiss a total stranger with a busted lip, a broken nose, and several days’ worth of hospital stench. “But what is your name? How will I find you?” I asked. I had to try again when I was more presentable.
A slight smile crept across her lips before she replied, “You’ll see me.” Then she turned on her heels and left the room, without giving me a name. For days, I couldn’t decide if it had really happened, or if I had imagined it. Once I was out of the hospital, I tried to track her down, but without a name it was impossible.
Finally, after I’d made it through the healing process and given up on seeing the mysterious woman again, I decided to visit the hospital. The staff had been great during my stay, and I was still on leave from work because of the accident. I visited the children’s ward, the maternity ward, and finally the terminal ward – and that’s when I saw her. She was wearing the same floor-length dress she was wearing before, but somehow she looked even more stunning. I couldn’t believe my eyes. In the time it took me to pick my jaw up off the floor, she had made her way over to me. She was standing close enough to touch, but I didn’t dare.
“Who are you?” I requested. I had spent months thinking of the perfect thing to say, the thing that would win her over. In the heat of the moment I could hardly muster those three words. She closed her eyes and thought long about her answer. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I eagerly waited to hear it. I took a sharp breath when she finally replied, “I am death personified.”
I couldn’t believe that this beautiful woman could be something so dark, but I listened as she told me the story of her life. She told me of the things she’d seen, and the dark people in the world who made her existence necessary. She also told of the people in the hospital who had been begging for mercy, as I had done after my accident, and as one of the patients in the terminal ward had. At the end of the day, it was a dark job, but a job all the same, and once it was done she had to be on her way. Just like that, she disappeared again.
I knew what I had to do to make sure she came back. I was selective about who I chose, though. I took the time to find the people who were already on their way to her, and sped along the process. I looked for the people who had done no good for the world, and I took them out of it. But the lines between good and evil are easily blurred, especially when you’re searching for just the right anniversary gift. What do you get the woman who kills everything she touches?
Why, an unsuspecting reader, of course.
Second Place: The Demons Within
–by Laurel Capps
At nineteen, you don’t expect to get trapped inside a sentient haunted house.
“Hey. You okay?”
“Yep.” I grimace.
My roommate Carrie gives me a knowing look. “C’mere.”
Her arms have caught me before I have the chance to wriggle away, and I find myself in a strong embrace that lasts for all of ten seconds. When she finally pulls back, I meet her warm brown eyes and something passes between us.
She’s already icy cold, but maybe we can make it through this. Maybe I can save her. My face finds a weary smile of its own accord.
“Now we just need a way out of this damned nightmare.” The vicious “employees” are standing in a corner murmuring together about a pagan ritual involving candles. In an attempt at blasé conversation, I joke about ceremonial sacrifices, but my laugh is a little too loud and they give me irritated looks.
There’s this skinny woman that looks a bit like a baked lizard coming towards us. She’s sidling along the wall in an attempt to be surreptitious, but I can see her clearly moving in our direction and so am able to anticipate when she makes a lunge to poke at Carrie. She rounds on me in irritation as I stand up and move between them.
“Hey! What the heck are you doing?” I have to catch her by the arm because she keeps trying to poke around me.
“You must be silent,” she intones in a grating voice. Her eyes seem to burn, and she tries to shake me off.
“Would you stop? We won’t be quiet until you stop. You’re the ones who forced us to stay here, so you can deal with it.”
Our struggle is intensifying, but I’m determined not to let her poke my poor shivering roommate with her hard little fingers. She makes a sudden wrench to the side, so I yank her back even harder. Apparently I’ve now made her angry, because her brittle body seems to swell in wrath as her burning eyes rise to bore into mine.
And then her face changes, contorting into a foggy yellow mask of fury, morphing into someone –something – else. She’s getting taller, or maybe I’m falling, because the room is darkening as if I’m in shadow.
My whole body is frozen in terror. But I must be squeezing her arm really hard because her face and body suddenly turn normal and she’s looking at me with this primal mix of pain and fear that scares me almost more than the anger did. I let go of her like a hot iron, and she immediately backs away and retreats to the other side of the room, dry as a leaf scuttling in the wind.
I let out a breath and murmur something indistinct to Carrie, but she’s gazing at my brightly glowing hands with a strange expression and doesn’t say a word.
I’ve barely sat back down when a man with bulging eyes starts bearing down on us. I sigh in exasperation and get up again. He’s crowding me, but I don’t want to make a scene, so I wearily tell him to go away. He growls and menaces me with his red splotchy face that is steaming a little.
I find myself abruptly possessed with an irrational anger towards these people and their endless shenanigans, so I lightly punch him on the nose, just to rile him up. Of course, this gets a mighty reaction, with much roaring and swelling and misty warping of the face, except this one’s brick red instead of yellow. And this time, I’m prepared. My hands are shining again, but I don’t notice.
He’s not finished changing, but apparently is impatient to destroy me and stretches out his still growing limb to strike a blow. I deftly sidestep, take hold of his arm, and throw him across the room as easily as a puppy. He hits the wall with a satisfying smack and bursts into a cloud of red dust.
There’s a long silence, and then I notice the skinny woman sniffling.
“I think that was her husband.” I’m surprised to see Carrie staring up at me with confused, reproachful eyes. The sniffling grows into soft weeping. I feel the awkwardness and growing guilt weighing on my iron-hard hands as surely as the red dust staining them.
“I – I didn’t know – I’m sorry – I didn’t mean –”
Then something clocks me from behind and I dissolve into bright black darkness.