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A weekly short story contest
Looking for a steady supply of suspense 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!
WARNING - Mentions child pornography and child abuse.Jim ‘JJ’ James sounded puzzled. “Let me get this straight – you want me to break into the gallery and take a photograph. I am sorry Mr. Collins – that isn’t the sort of thing we do. We do penetration tests of the network – we don’t remove items from the client’s business.” Marshal Collins, chairperson of the CM Sherman Gallery Society, smiled – “Sorry – poor choice of words. Not ‘take’ as in steal but just take a picture of yourself ins...
-Oi, come back!
-What do we have here?
From the outside, you could see two thugs pulling a blanket from a battered (haggard?)-looking kid. From the inside, you couldn’t see much, as it was all hazy and dark, and painful. Tiny spots of pink were there though, shyly pulsating, although right now the haze was starting to threaten them.
-Give it to us, it’s too big for a scrawn...
Elizabeth gently opens the ceiling door to enter the attic. The rickety sound of the long-unused hinges sends a shiver up her spine and only antagonizes her jittery nerves. Grateful to have finally pulled the door all the way open, she pulls the ladder down from the attic and places her foot on the first rung. Pausing for a moment, she gathers her strength. "I am strong. I am not afraid." The mantra rings in her ears. Lo...
The metal box rattled as she picked it up off the attic floor. Her fingers left marks in the dust frozen in time on the outside of the green-tinted box. Shaking it, she tried to guess it’s contents.
“Coins? No, it sounds like one item. A pen? One of Uncle Pat’s war medals? Maybe a magic diamond that will make me rich and I can move to Ireland and become a sheep farmer?” She chuckled at the last guess.
WARNING (this story contains depictions of stalking, be wary before reading)
The water quickly rushing down to meet it’s mother earth was merciless and triumphant.
“Oh that’s a good line,” I said to myself.
I quickly jotted down my passing thought into my writing journal and then stared back at the rushing wa...
**TW/CW** This story contains instances of physical harm, violence, and gore, as well as adult language. Ashley and I had known each other for nearly 15 years, since the freshman year of college when we sat next to each other in English 101 at the University of Arizona. We became quick friends with similar interests. She became like a sister, and I was always protective. After graduation, we both moved back to Phoenix and...
The Case of David and Oswald
It was the first day of summer, the temperature reached 90 degrees on a Friday night, and a full moon was in the sky. On-duty rollcall begins in an hour. I can hear Captain Reed tell my immediate supervisor we are in for a long hot, and dangerous summer this year; I hope...
There’s nothing like taking a picture. It’s like capturing a moment in time to hold onto forever. A smile, a twinkle in the eye, a heartfelt conversation, a long coming embrace. Weddings have always been my favorite. Emotions always run high. To immortalize the look on the groom’s face when his bride walks down the aisle, the tears of a father never really ready to let go of his daughter, the envious look of a childhood...
Elizabeth Conway - reported missing on the 18th of November 1986. 5ft 5, slender build, brown hair and green eyes. Last seen leaving school premises on the 13th of November at roughly 16:00 wearing her school uniform (white shirt, navy blazer, tie, and tights), a double-breasted, brown overcoat with white buttons, and a black woolly hat. First missing person’s report of the victim. No previous criminal record, no records of mental illnesses, no reports of family conflict, no re...
Note: story contains brief use of coarse language
Erica jolted at the bright flash in the cabin’s bedroom – was it lightning? She blinked around the dim, moonlit space, expecting a crash of thunder. Nothing; only the twittering of mountain bluebirds greeted her.
She stole a quick glance at Barry, still slumbering beside her. Another quick glance went to her phone’s weather app: th...
(Content Warning: body horror, self-harm, themes on mental health)He's six years old when he visits the doctor with the ficus tree in her office and the bindi on her forehead. Bosie stands, straight and stiff like a plank, with the side of him fully exposed. He's never liked being naked, having the air around him tickle his open wounds, keeping still while covering his boy parts as the doctors studied each rift and scar in his private universe.Click. ...
Marisa Wright. She looked so normal to me, so painfully average. She was a young woman that posted pictures of her little white dog and her iced lattes from Starbucks. Who donated to homeless shelters and posted pictures of her volunteer work every other week. Missing? I couldn’t believe the stories going around. In all my years as a crime detective, I’ve never studied a case so mind-boggling. Disappeared, out of nowher...
TW: allusions to mental and physical abuse
"Say cheese!” I chirped happily.
Darling screamed at me from behind the duct tape on his curved lips, tears rolling down his long face as he struggled against the ropes on his hands to no avail. I had spent months practicing those knots and it was safe to say he was tied firmly to the chair beneath him. I shook my head and bent down t...
“Senator Lizer, don’t look so serious,” Aileen said as she looked through the shudder of her digital camera. “It isn’t every day that your only granddaughter gets married. Smile!”
The wedding party loosened up and relaxed for the photoshoot in the garden of the Governor’s Mansion. Aileen suppressed a sigh as she continued to position and photograph the posh group. So this is my breakthrough, she though...
"Looks Good," said Willis as he took the picture of his newborn baby niece. Willis was an aspiring photographer who was just starting his career. "You took way too many pictures," Marissa said, laughing as she looked lovingly at her baby. You can never take too many pictures. We might need them someday," he replied jokingly. Marissa put the baby to bed, and they quietly walked downstairs. They walked into the kitchen and...
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