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A weekly short story contest
Looking for a steady supply of holiday short stories? Every week thousands of writers submit stories to our writing contest.
Coming of Age
People of Color
Teens & Young Adult
We'll send you 5 prompts each week. Respond with your short story and you could win $250!
At first glance, the old hotel looked different than Jeremy remembered. It resembled a mountain when seen through the trees in the dwindling light. Jeremy realized the mist drifting through the towers gave the impression of movement. On first sight, Jeremy’s horse, King, pulled back. The massive structure loomed. But appearances were not the only cause of Jeremy’s hesitation. He stroked King’s mane gently. “You’ve been here before, King. Is that why you balk?”This was his tenth and final year paying tribute at the mans...
The Halloween Hotel: Join us, if you dare….“This sounds lame.” Casey groaned. “The Halloween Hotel? Couldn’t they at least think of a better name for this gimmick? Ugh.” “Maybe you should have pitched them your marketing services.” Erica grinned. “I know you would have come up with a great name. But names aside, read the history. Some serial killer holed himself up in this house in the 1920s. Women were going missing and the maid there at the time worked out he was behind it. Doesn’t actually s...
Elyse Tapley sat as passengers spilled out of the buses accordion door, all in a rush, to be where? The quaint drugstore was the bus stop in Niantic, Connecticut and where everyone bought their bus tickets in the small town on Long Island Sound. She waited until the last person was off, and then walked down the aisle to the door pausing before stepping down to the brick sidewalk. Elyse froze for a moment feeling as if she were instantly transported back to the 1950’s. She walked toward the bay where she had ren...
Richard Miller was average; middle aged, mediocre shape, slightly balding. He was not married nor had he ever been, and he lived in a modest two bedroom Cape Cod on a street called Oak in a town known as Pleasant Hill. Richard had a good job-one that he could tolerate at least, teaching ninth grade English at the local high school. His students were mostly attentive and never gave him a great deal of trouble, except for that time that they found out his first name and used it more than once in a sexual context. B...
1The knife doesn’t slip in easily, I have to really force it. 2During the summer months, the hotel is bustling with life. People from all over the country holiday in our little slice of heaven. People from other countries come to pay us a visit, too. Our fields are green and expansive. Our mountains – albeit small – instil a sense of peace and wonder in the hea...
NIGHT OF HORRORCassandra rolled her luggage into the hotel's reception area, a warm smile plastered across her oblong face, eyes glinting with infectious happiness. It was the eve of Halloween and she couldn't wait to spend time with her family and little cousins. She had brought her favourite costume and looked forward to wearing it for the occasion. With face beaming uncontrollably, she approached the receptionist and got a key to a room she had reserved earlier on, glad that she was lucky to have found a hotel that wa...
The mansion was immense, a construct of towers, turrets, and gables linked by mansard roofing, crowned by a railing of black iron. The walls were dotted with windows, a hodgepodge of arch, lattice, and porthole, from small circles to long, narrow rectangles. The exterior was liberally decorated with ornate scrollwork, trimming every edge and border. A sweep of broad steps led up to a large porch, its roof supported by tall columns. The whole place was a masterful study in Victorian architecture, somethi...
As individuals, we hold the pen and paper. We hold it to victory, in hope of a stroke of luck that may come up and pat us on the back. We crave for many events to occur and you may or may not get that chance. You see it is all about opportunities. And that first opportunity I got was one you’d never get.If I told you, you’d think I was mad. Delusional. Living a fantasy life. However I built my fantasy life through bloody fists, every single day after school. They’d approach me, in a huddle or flock. They’d hold onto their ...
The hallways, labyrinthine, wide and ghoulish, attracted her in a weird manner, as if her feet were eager to feel the touch of the cold hardwood floor and explore that fascinating place. For some reason, Pauline could not stop thinking about it; she sighed, tossed and turned in the imponent matress that she laid on, faced the ceiling and counted sheep, however she could not sleep. Every now and then her eyes met the eyes of the big oil portrait that hanged in her room; it was a woman, fair and pale, with unsettl...
"I can't believe that it's Halloween and I don't even have any plans for tonight", Candace thought, digging into her bun and cheese.She took up her phone and called her best friend Kevan.“Hey what are your plans for tonight”“A happy Halloween to you too”Candace l...
The Victorian no longer looked scary. Every light was on in the four-story house. Maybe the place never had a ghost walking its halls, and only her imagination on Halloween night saw shapes in the windows. But it didn’t keep Sarah from hugging her overnight bag as she walked up the steps. “Welcome to Smith Manor!” A woman dressed in Victorian clothing stood in the foyer. Sarah planted her feet in the doorway. Pumpkins and hay barrels covered the foyer. The mansion looked like a hallmark card than a haunted house. “...
“Come to me Jane, and all will be well. (evil laughter) Come and be apart of my collection!” I awake from a bad dream I have been having for a month. I walk over to the window and sigh. It is the month of October. Where the rainfalls are heavy and clouds are dark. The vibe of the city is misty and the people walk around with fear and gloom on their hearts. I close the curtains and glance at my cale...
The old brick house with its gabled roof and stained-glass windows had been converted into a church building. The church was on a hill. A narrow path bordered by wild ferns led up to it from the main street. It looked quite odd among the few cottages scattered here and there in the tiny community of Meadow Valley. Travelers passing by often stopped to take pictures of this Gothic looking church in the middle of ‘nowhere’.
Halloween in a hotel, that’s what we’re doing this year since no one ever has enough room for the entire family to sleep. At first mom didn’t like the idea but she finally agreed, with the one condition that I had to do the planning, which I did. I found a gorgeous old Victorian home that was recently developed into a hotel and from the pictures I could just tell everyone will like it. It is in a safe area so the kids can go trick-or-treating. There is a charming brick fire place and a library to keep the adults busy. Wh...
A VERY SPECIAL GUESTJennie Dobson prided herself on not being one of those people that hotel owners and employees dreaded. Her Auntie Jean had owned a guest house for many years, and had plenty to say on the subject of “people who complain for the sake of it”. She was a reasonable person, and had no problem at all about legitimate grievances and requests. Many people came back year after year. But that wasn’t the kind of thing she meant. She had sold the guest house five years ago ...
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