I had intended on announcing a winner about three days after all the entries were in. There are two reasons why I didn’t. Firstly, there were a few late entries I had to consider. Secondly, I’ve judged competitions before and honestly, it was never this difficult to select the best entry. While it may seem trite and cliched to say it, it’s nevertheless the absolute truth here: I was literally inundated with exceptional work by writers both known and unknown to me. In the end, I managed to whittle the entries down to seven, then six, then four, until finally I was left with a shortlist of three. And that’s where I got stuck. It was nigh-on impossible to select the best among the three remaining entries. I even enlisted the help of my indispensable first-reader and, with no input from me, she ended up with the exact same problem.
But a choice had to be made, and ultimately I chose the story I felt best captured the spirit of the theme. The winner receives publication here, ten cents a word, and a copy of my next book. And because I feel the other two stories deserve some recognition too, I will be awarding second and third place prizes of $10 Amazon Gift Certificates.
So, without further ado, here are the winners:
WINNER: “Costume” by Blu Gilliand
2nd Place: “Happy Villagers” by Joe Nazare
3rd Place: “October Dreams” by Michael Kelly
I would like to sincerely thank the writers who entered the competition (all sixty-eight of you!) I was blown away by the quality of the entries, and look forward to seeing future work by all of you!
Here is the winning entry. Congratulations Blu! All the winners will be hearing from me shortly!
Halloween morning. He dug it out of the attic, held it up in the sunlight slanting through the kitchen window. Dusted it off. It had been a while since he’d brought it down from the dark spaces above. A whole year, in fact. And so what? This was really the only night it was of any use to him. If he brought it out any other time of year, people would just stare. Snicker. Make comments behind cupped palms.
Tonight, though, it would blend right in.
He ran his fingers over its lumpy features. Poked his fingers into the empty eye sockets, wiggled them around. Scraped a fingernail over pointed yellow teeth and purple tongue. Thought about combing the dust and cobwebs out of its hair, then thought, no, it adds to the look.
He took it into the den and tossed it on the couch. Watched soap operas and a game show. Watched a Frankenstein movie on cable. Drank a little.
Night fell. Soon came the sound of footsteps on porch steps, of ringing bells, of nervous laughter behind latex masks.
He decided it was time. Grabbed it up off the couch by the hair. Took it into the kitchen, shoved a plastic bag in its hand.
“Come on, boy,” he told it. “Daddy wants some candy.”
Copyright © 2010 by Blu Gilliand. No unauthorized reproduction permitted.