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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!
The wind wasn't blowing “Marilyn’s” skirt up, nor was it penguin cold. It was probably, seven to eight miles per hour, off the Pacific ocean in early spring. If you live in the Midwest, it was definitely still winter and you won’t need a Punxsutawney pampered rodent to tell you so.Here, in Southern California, February is not really winter and nor is it really spring. As the sun goes down the ocean sneaks in at the ankles and chills your bones. The wind was blowing in over the backs of the parents sitting in the stands, ...
THE THIRD FLOOR
By J Hirtle
Fleeing like the pearls of a fractured necklace, perspiration rolls down the unhandsome, pock-marked face of Freddie Shackleman. The tick, tick, tick of the cooling engine provides metered ear candy for the car’s lone occupant. Outside, the temperature has crept past the century mark again (five days running and it is only May); inside the nine-year-old PT Cruiser, whe...
"I am your God and you shall worship me."
He stared at his people balefully, this beautiful Abyssinian tyrant. None dared to disobey his wishes, afraid of the curse those vivid green eyes might level upon them.
The people watched, quivering, apprehensive as the last stone rolled into place. Their God walked amongst them and had driven them hard. He ruled their ancestors for millennia, and ...
Lurking in the dark shadows of a slum alleyway, I stealthily waited for my chance to strike an emancipating blow for justice. What had been in the planning for three months would unleash unsuspecting and vengeful hell on some deserving reprobates. I knew their patterns of behaviour and without detection, had followed these violent creatures of habit for the last several nights. Vengeance was about to take on a new form and I assigned myself the responsibility to execute it with severe intolerance. When done, the city would breathe a big s...
Clarissa's hand shook uncontrollably. Having pulled herself back from the edge of hyperventilation, she squeezed her eyes tight and sobbed. Opening them again, they drifted over to the door, slightly open, blinds askew, the echo of it slamming reverberated in her head. She sniffed and reached for a tissue, her other hand clutching her cell. Wiping her face, she blew her nose and grabbed another to dry the tears that had dripped onto the screen of her phone. Karen's number was suspended in the center of the display, the giant green button ...
McCann had pulled me aside from the cab I had been trying to call. There's something I want to show you, he had said.
I had heard the other crew gossiping about him behind his back, eyes mean through folds of cigar smoke. On occasion, raunchy laughter sliced through their hushed voices. They thought he was crazy, with his endless bouts of silence ...
Is this a deja vu? This can’t be real can it? I don’t even understand what the hell is even going on. Why is everyone looking at me like that? Ok, this doesn’t make any sense at all. Ok, think Jack, why are you here. Wait, where is here? How can I figure out why I am here when I don't even know where here is. Shit, this is going to be harder than I thought. Look around but don’t make eye contact. Who is this beautiful blonde woman walking my direction while looking at me? Don’t panic, she’s getting closer, ok now she’s approaching. The my...
Schedule of Doom I sat down at my desktop computer at 6:10 a.m. with a mug of coffee, “woke” it up, scrolled down to the last thing I’d been working on—and saw something that made me gasp and fall back in my chair. “Please don’t do it,” I heard myself say. I shook my head to ...
“You still haven’t finished the first draft?! Are you serious Matt?” Samantha screeched over the phone. Matt pulled his cracked iphone away from his ear, wincing at the sudden change in volume. He leaned back in his desk chair and propped his socked feet up on the scratched fold up table he used as a desk. He stared at the computer document that contained a book with no ending as his editor continued to berate him. “You’...
“Please don’t do it! Disassembling Syn now will be a big mistake,” pleaded Dr. Karl Meyer to the group of engineers and director Dr. Laura Keller of the ethics committee at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute .
“This isn’t about you, Dr. Meyer, but the experiments you are conducting with Syn are clouding your judgement. Syn is manipulating you not the other way around.”
“No. No! With the help of Syn and...
Max pedaled his bike furiously along the city street, clutching a small red USB drive to the handlebars. As he rode, sweating in the late-summer heat, all he could think about was the flash drive in his palm. Jeremy had given it to him at school that morning — an early birthday present, he said — which meant that Max had to wait all day to see what was on it. Now, the wait was finally over. The only thing Jeremy had to...
The hydrangea plants flourished a healthy bundle of pink on their stems while fluttering softly in the gentle breeze. Tuesday morning, middle of June. I sat on my porch wearing a basic white tee and dirty red Converses, hiding just the slightest bit from the fabric of my flimsy jeans. “Will!” Mom shouted from behind.“I’m on the porch! Can you bring Bobby?!” I screamed back.Mom came a minute later, and I saw a red mark around her lightly-freckled arm from carrying her heavy tote ba...
Do it.I bask in the glow radiating from the ceiling I covered in stickers of phosphorescent stars as I lie, sprawled across the bed beneath them. They represent the promise I made to myself the date of my diagnosis: that I’d always reach for the stars, and let them be my guiding light when things got bad. But things are always bad, that’s just what depression is. An altering of your brain chemistry that blatantly denies you happiness. At least that’s how I define mine. You mean nothing. You are nothing. Do ...
“Another gift basket from the company?” My brother asked me, his tone disapproving. He refused to call the company I worked for by name.
I didn’t have to respond; he could see it was true from my shame-flushed cheeks.
“James,” he continued, his condescension barreling toward me like a 10-foot wave. “What are they trying to cover up now? They can’t keep ...
Staring into her eyes, I realize this person cares not for me or my well-being. What a master she is. Quite the trickster, a manipulator like no other. The discipline required to maintain such an all-encompassing lie for so long is shocking.
A soul-shattering sigh escapes me as I resign myself to my fate. A single tear runs down my cheek as I close my eyes, shutting out the shattered illusion of the frau...
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