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A weekly short story contest
Looking for a steady supply of mystery 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 $50!
Once upon a time, in a faraway land near a forest, lived a boy called Edwin, and his mother. They had lived there for all their lives, and they had never gone into the forest. When he was a child, Edwin often asked his mother why they never went there. “Surely,” he said, “there are fruits and things to be had?” But his mother said the same thing each time he asked: “It is forbidden.” When he got...
It's a tale as old as time itself; Stay away from the woods or you will never return. Both the parents of Rome and Constantine warned them nearly every day of the threat posed by the woods near the edge of town so being obedient boys, they never strayed away from their safe streets and houses. Every day the two boys studied in class, went home, ate with their families then laid their heads to rest. On a day like any other, Sparta had showed up to town. Sparta was an old soldier from the days when the town was not perfect. His face ...
You were told, weren’t you? Don’t go into the woods they said. Ah, but the confidence of ignorant youth that ignores the wisdom of knowledgeable age.When you first came to the place, you were told, your parents were told, don’t go into the woods. Don’t go into the woods because it’s easy to get lost. People have gone missing.You look on a map. How silly. The woods are not huge, a scant mile wide at their widest point. How could anyone get lost? Just walk in a straight line, you’d come ...
Alan Smith lived with his parents in a small village by the Dark Woods. His parents always left early after breakfast for work and came back late evening. Every time before they left, his Mum would always warn him the same thing. ‘Remember, Alan, bread and jam for your lunch is in the cupboard. You can play at the yard in front of the house, or play with Peter. But don’t you ever go near the Dark Woods, understood?’ &nbsp...
The rain has stopped, but only barely. “Finally!” I shout to the empty room. I can feel my cabin fever drop from my shoulders like a heavy coat. I wouldn’t say I love walking, but I do love the idea, and after being cooped up in this house for a solid week I need to stretch my legs. There’s a wooded area behind my house I find especially enticing on days like this, so before the rain can harass me anymore, I’m getting my tennis shoes on and taking one of those rare walks that I enjoy thinking about so much. &...
Through the Leaves They FallMegan DeRouinIf the seven foot high chain-link fence covered in thorny vines as thick as a quarter didn’t dissuade you, then there were the signs. Spaced exactly ten feet apart and hung at a uniform height the NO TRESPASSING’s faded red letters were sure to drive the message home.There were no cameras though, but that was just because when that fifty acre parcel of nothing but overgrown trees became off-limit...
Don't go in the woodsThe words pounded against her skull as she ran, stumbling over a stray tree root as she went. Ahead of her, drawing closer by the second, the forest's edge loomed. Tree branches waved in the air, beckoning her. Behind her, shouts of the mob chasing her echoed. Don't go in the woodsVillagers knew the story well: those who entered the wood beyond the east edge of the village never returned. Less suspicious folks believed they had simply found a better settlement somewhere else. The...
My grandmother lived in the country. My brother & I would visit every summer. She owned a beautiful huge plot of land which consisted of deep green pastures, hills filled with lavender flowers, & all the way in the back there was the woods. She would let us play in the pastures & on the hills but she always warned us not to go near the woods. She never told us why, when we would ask why she simply would say "no one knows who lurks within the murky darkness." That phrase always frighten my brother & I. Yet, this summer we w...
"Don't go into the forest," Old Man Whitaker told me. "Why not?" I asked. He said darkly, "Legend has it that every person who goes into the forest never returns. But every night at dusk, a loud moaning noise arises from the woods." I rolled my eyes. This was just another one of Old Man Whitaker's tall tales. "The horror," I said sarcastically. He nodded, not picking up on my sarcasm. "They say that the voices belong to those who are stuck there, trapped there forever in the forest. And if you were to go insid...
In the meadow outside the walls of Almeria, where purple Lanterns flower and stags graze in the early morning, little Henry was running in front of Elizabeth through the tall grass. Her skirts swished around her legs as she huffed to keep up. She had beat him up the hill, but when it plateaued he quickly overtook her. “Come on, Liza! Last to the tree line has to go into the woods!” His ha...
Lana was baking a pie. She was very excited because it was her very most favorite flavor, cherry. She put it in the oven to bake for the last time and went to change her apron. And when she got back she took it out of the oven but it was very very hot. She left it on the windowsill so it could cool before dinner time. Her family was very much looking forward to eating the pie. When she came back the pie was not on the windowsill. She looked out the window into the deep dark Forest the window was facing and wondered who would take a pie ou...
Jasmine was tired of all the efforts she made that doesn't give any results. She had tried everything she could to get her a job that at least would pay her rent and stop her from starving. Everyone in her apartment complex had been talking dirty about her because of her being jobless. They even said that she was an idiot for not getting any job at all.With determination, she got herself ready for her trip to the Green Hills forest, where a magical waterfall, named Moon Waterfall, located. The Green Hill forest was also associated ...
Embers few into the sky, lighting up the eyes of a little mousy, nine-year-old boy named Renan. His small face, pointy nose, and buck teeth glowed in the light of the roaring fire. The timid boy sat huddled between his two parents, staring at the town Elder as his monotonous voice drew out the story of their ancestors. "Long ago, before the great Medicinars created the cures that healed that of the Roaring Sickness, a group of pilgrims came upon a lowly valley. They forged an icy river down from the land of the Drought, and settled here. ...
"Valka! Get back 'ere tis instant!" The young girl of about twelve turned towards her mother, her bright red hair in twin braids whipping around her shoulders. "Mother, what is really in there?" The girl pointed to the thick forest border that was behind their home. "Never you mind that, get back inside tis instant!" Valkas shoulders slumped as she turned her back to the forest and headed towards the brightly lit doorway. "You know better than to wander off where you know not." Her mother scolded and waved a finger at her. ...
She blinked. The little voice pulled her from her thoughts -- pulled her back into the moment. She had been staring at a bottle of wine for three minutes. Lost. With a tilt of her head, she glanced down at a little boy to her side. There was a pellet gun slung over his shoulder. “Excuse me?” “There’s a b...
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